The train companies are on top of things, too - the trains are hardly ever late and they always check your tickets. And, they are much faster than driving and they serve you snacks if the ride ahead is long.
We don't mean to say that there's no other way to get around Italy besides riding the trains...you can hop on the local bus route, metro, or grab a taxi within the town limits. The metro card was actually useful - you can purchase a day ticket, a weekend ticket, or longer.
When we made the journey, we had registered for a bus tour to some of the smaller towns outside of the bigger tourist destinations. You can do this as well!
Top 5 Cities to Visit
Well here it is - our favorite cities! It was really difficult to narrow it down to just five, y'all. Keep in mind that we only had 2 weeks to cover most of the country so there are some locations that didn't make our list. If you'd like to see read more about how to prepare for an Italian vacation visit our other blog post here.
Milan is number one on our list because it is one of the fashion capitols of the world! Everywhere you turn there is a designer boutique or a store filled with hand-crafted furniture. You will not be disappointed with what you find in Milan.
An area we recommend to visit is next to the famous Duomo di Milano, an impressive cathedral at the heart of Milan. The shopping center is called the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, located along the street named Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The center is kind of a tourist trap, but if you are looking for all the designer brands, look no further
We absolutely fell in love with Florence! We did spend more days in this city than the others so we might be biased...but the city is full of attractions to satisfy your shopping needs. The shops here were fun to visit, but it was the street art here that we really enjoyed.
If you are looking for architectural design inspiration, visit the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the Uffizi Museum, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Piazza di Duomo (get a ticket to climb Brunelleschi's Dome!), the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, and the Galileo Museum.
Venice is fantastic! You are surrounded by so much culture throughout the city. And nothing beats coasting down the winding canals or gazing across the Adriatic Sea at sunset. The streets of Venice can be confusing but they are lined with shops. This is a popular tourist area so be sure to browse before you buy - there may be something better around the corner.
This city is a great place to just explore, as long as you can find your way back! Basilica di San Marco (Saint Mark's Basilica) on Saint Mark's Square is a completely free museum. It would also be a great idea to book a boat tour to the island regions of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. If you want to find a nice beach, get a day ticket for a boat to take you to the island Lido.
The town of Siena is a short ride from Florence and is nestled in Tuscany wine country. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its diverse architecture (the streets haven't changed since the medieval age!) and the Palio di Siena. We could give you a history lesson on this city, but we'll let you find out more details on your own.
As far as where to shop and visit, go to the piazza at the city center. This is where the Palio di Siena takes place. Almost every street extending from the city center is lined with unique shops, as well. Tour the contradas (districts), but be respectful of the residents - you are touring their homes after all!
Rome...we didn't explore it enough. This is the only reason why we rated it last on our list. The capitol city of Italy has so much to offer, but it is heavily traveled by tourists. Rome already has almost 3 million residents and sites like Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Roman Colosseum and the Roman Forum, Villa Borghese, and countless beautiful basilicas. The city is great shopping near the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain (of course - it's a tourist destination!).
Out of all the attractions in Rome, our favorite site of all was the Museum & Crypt of the Capuchin Fryers. Now, we can't show you any pictures because, out of respect for the monks buried in this crypt, you are not allowed to take any photos in this museum. We can't tell you much more about touring Rome (sorry!) because we did not plan enough time here. Learn from our mistakes, y'all!
Just a couple of travel bums living life to the fullest. Join us on our adventures from coast to coast, from country to country, and everything in between!