We just recently got back from Italy! It was such a beautiful trip with so many cities and sights to see, I wish we could've stayed longer. Our itinerary included Milan, Turin, the Lake Como cities of Varenna and Bellagio, Venice, Florence, and the picturesque postcard villages of Cinque Terre. We traveled by train and used public transportation the entire trip. Before leaving for Italy, I had purchased Eurail passes for myself, my man, and Audrey received a free pass as part of the family discount. Our hotels were all booked via hotels.com and it worked out very well, we had really great rooms and lots of space as well as comfortable beds.
Where do I begin? It was such a wonderful trip, full of walking (from eight to ten miles a day), eating gelato twice a day (morning and night), and lots of pizza, prosciutto, and pasta for most of our meals.
First stop – Milan. Obviously, the duomo is the hot gathering spot, and adjacent to it is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II shopping center housing some big name brands too expensive for my wallet. By the way, when visiting the duomo, both in Milan and Florence, Audrey and I were asked to cover our legs since we were wearing shorts, and luckily, there were men selling long summery scarfs for us to use as wraps around our waist so we were able to get in with no issues.
Walk northwest of the duomo tourist spot and you'll encounter Castle Sforzesco and many more shops and restaurants.
Perhaps one of the most unique things we saw in Italy was the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) in Porta Nuova. The two buildings overflowing with greenery was stunning!
We took the train for a one day outing to Turin. I have to admit, I like Turin better than Milan. Some people say Turin is the Little Paris of Italy and I can see why. It had that Parisian feel to its outdoor cafes and little shops, and it felt clean and friendly. We went to the National Museum of Cinema while there and enjoyed it very much.
We visited a small medieval village (Borgo Medievale) located inside a large park.
There were many cute shops and gorgeous window displays.
I was impressed at how clean and inexpensive these vending machines were.
The second day trip we made while in Milan was to Lake Como. We took the train to Varenna and walked around Varenna and then took the ferry to Bellagio. This is another one of those areas where I favored Varenna (smaller, less tourists) than Bellagio, which is more well known.
Varenna had a beautiful walkway along the lake.
There were also the quaint stone steps and small winding streets to shops and cafes.
Bellagio was grand and had a rich feel to the city, perhaps it was because we spent a few hours wandering the lush grounds and gardens of the Villa Melzi.
The small cobblestone streets are well kept and clean.
The view from the ferry returning from Bellagio to Varenna was picture perfect!
I'll continue this post in Part 2, with our visit to Venice, Burano, and Murano. As I took almost a thousand pictures, it's taking some effort and time to sort through them and post just a few of my favorites. Ciao!