Italy is famously known for being one of the most beautiful and cultured cities in Europe. From its phenomenal food to its romantic language, there’s so much to take in here.
When a few friends and I decided to fly to Italy for the first time, we knew we couldn’t stay still in just one place. I mean…. Why would we? For the small size of the country, there were so many big cities to check out! Even if we didn’t get through all of them on the first go-around, we were still able to make it through Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Rome; All in one week! Here’s my experience if you’re curious to know what it is like to travel around this gorgeous country!
My trip to Italy started by flying into the Florence airport. I was immediately swept away by the large mountains and unique architecture of every building. The girls I was meeting with had already spent a week in Italy, so my next task was to meet up with them at the AirBnB. Unfortunately, that did not go well. My cell service immediately stopped working (Even though I had already set up a travel plan,) so a few frantic phone calls to my parents later, I was hopping into a cab to the city.
There isn’t one inch of Italy that is not beautiful, and Florence was no exception. The rows of buildings were a palette of orange, yellow and brown tones, which matched perfectly with the cobblestone streets. I felt like I had been transported into the Lizzie McGuire movie seeing everyone coupled up, zooming around on their mopeds.
We stayed in Florence for one night, sipping champagne on the roof of our AirBnB. We didn’t sightsee as much here, but simply walking around the city was stunning enough. We even made a couple stops at the nearby McDonald’s because of how fancy it was!
Of course we had to hop on over to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! We spent just a few hours here, being a couple hour train ride from Florence, and I feel like we were able to see so much in such little time! And be warned, near the tower will get very tourist-y… So be careful!!
The Leaning Tower is really cool to see in person. It was strange to me at first because I had always assumed it was out in an open area, but turns out it sits right in the town! I also have to mention that it is incredibly hilarious to watch 50 people taking the ‘kicking down the tower’ photos at the same time.
After getting all of our basic pics in at the tower, we decided to get dinner at the first place we could find. We found a neat-looking restaurant to sit at right by the tower, but, it was SO cheesy! (And I’m not talking about the pizza.) I mean, we knew from the moment that we saw keychains and magnets for sale on the restaurant menu that we had made a slight mistake. Alas, even being in the biggest tourist trap of a restaurant we still had some amazing food and wine! Getting to combine my two favorite foods, salami and pizza, was a life-changing experience…
I’ll admit that I did not hear about Cinque Terre until researching Italy on Pinterest, and there’s one simple explanation for that: This city has got to be the most beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing of all the country. There are 5 different villages, hence the name Cinque, and we stayed at Vernazza for a couple nights. The whole village sat on a large hill with no cars… which was beautiful, yet awful in some ways. Of course, our AirBnB sat at the very top of said hill, with a single bus that drove to the top every 3 hours. After continuously missing the bus like Spongebob in Rock Bottom, we decided to walk 30 minutes up and down the hill each time. It was a crazy thing to do, but heck, those are the best memories that are made while traveling!
The village sat right on the ocean, and that 30 minute walk was 110% worth it for our adorable balcony that sat right on top, overlooking it all. After another long walk back down, it was time to explore. We started with a pesto shop at the start of town, where we tried wine and had some fantastic pesto. We bought a bottle to share and the shop clerk taught me how to pop it open with a knife – If you were there you would have seen how clueless and intrigued I was at the same time.
The rest of the area gave off small town vibes, but was still a common spot for tourists. Being right by the ocean, there were many different areas where you could lay out and swim in the crystal blue water. At first we started at the shore right in the center of town and filled with people, but ended up finding a little grotto to pass through that was nearly empty! On top of the shore lay multiple large rocks that worked great for sightseeing, as well as giving me my own Little Mermaid moment.
And finally, our trip ended with one final night in Rome. The other girls had already spent time here, so my goal was to jam as much in as possible! While it was impossible to get everything in I wanted to do in such a short amount of time, I had one obvious wish – to see the Colosseum. As expected, Rome was crowded but lively. Seeing the Colosseum in person is truly an unforgettable experience.
Like most of Italy, Rome is also a very walkable city! We were able to see so much with just a few hours of walking around, even the Trevi Fountain! I have to say, this was the most crowded part of Italy that I had seen…. It was INSANE! I basically had to crawl my way through people to get to the fountain, but it was still a beautiful sight to see. My advice is, if possible, get here super early in the morning for less people!
As you probably have already assumed, Italy is a breathtakingly beautiful country. I highly encourage you to visit more than one city during your visit, as it is so easy to get around here! It only makes me want to come back to visit Milan, Venice, Sicily and all of the other fantastic places here.