I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with Italy the way I did. Months later and I still dream of how fresh the food was prepared, how astonishingly beautiful the beaches are, and how magical Venice is. If you are trying to decide between Italy and somewhere else, choose Italy. It is a life changing experience.
I had big plans for Italy. My original itinerary had about 5-6 cities on it. But after riding the Trenitalia ( Italian train system) during COVID, I decided to slow down. Italy would be seeing me again Insha Allah.
I don’t like wasting days on travel so I decided to book an open jaw plane ticket that arrived in Venice, took the train to Cinque Terre, and then took another train to Rome. I then flew back home . If you’re working with limited time, I definitely suggest you to do the same.
Day 1 : Fly to Venice
To get from the Venice Airport to your Hotel, you have a few options:
Alilaguna Water Bus
Pros: Affordable (~15 Euros),
Cons: Short wait for
Pros: Most Lux experience, Less Waiting Time, Amazing views, Delivers you directly to your hotel.
Cons: Most expensive ( ~120 Euros)
ATVO Bus Service from VCE to Venice
Pros: Cheapest (~8)
Cons: The bus drops you off at Pizzale Roma. You will then need to purchase a Vaperetto ( a Venetian public waterbus) ticket to get you closer to your hotel and then walk from your stop. Don’t pack heavy as you will have to carry your own luggage around and off the boat.
Drop luggage off at your hotel. Rest
Dinner at a local restaurant. Make sure to only trust restaurants with price on menu. I got scammed by a waiter who overcharged me for the fish by saying that it weighed much more than it did.
Recommended Restaurant: Dalla Marisa or Riva Rialto Ristorante for a romantic view & amazing photos
Get coffee at one of the many local coffee shops. One recommendation is
Walk to Piazza San Marco/ St.Martin’s Square and admire the historical architecture . it’s home to the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and the orange campanile bell tower. Make sure to cover your legs and shoulders when visiting the Basilica or you may not be allowed in.
Lunch: Rossopomdoro (Try the Pettole as one of your appetizers ! You will fall in love)
Visit the Libreria Acqua Alta, an eccentric looking bookstore. You can even take a FREE photo in a gondola.
Go shopping! There’s so many cute shops were you can pick up local goods, gelato, luxury handbags and shoes, locally made leather goods, etc. Make sure to leave room in your luggage though 🙂
Take a walk by St. Martin’s Square again. There is usually an outside band and the water looks beautiful. It’s a good place to buy small toys or for kids to run around if you’re traveling with little ones.
Take a ride on the Gondola
Try Gelatoteca Suso’s Gelato. They have a few vegan options as well.
Visit Peggy Guggenheim or Gallerie dell’Accademia
or do a Murano Glass and Burano Lace Tour
Train to Cinque Terre (4-5 hours)
Cinque Terre is made out of 5 islands. Each have unique quirks aout them. I stayed in Monterosso and loved it. It seems to be the biggest island. You can always hike or take the train to the other islands. Vernazza is a must! It’s gorgeous.
Cinque Terre is known for its pesto, sardines (made many different ways) and it’s beauty.
Cars are not allowed within Cinque Terre but you can park your rental at the train station for a fee. You will have to walk your luggage from the train station to your AirBnB and those steps are steep! Seriously, there’s a lot of stairs. If you have any mobility issues, I seriously advise you to choose a place to stay that is on the main road , near the ocean.
Restaurants close a bit early and shops aren’t open all night so focus on getting food and snacks. Take a walk on the boardwalk.
Go to the Beach. The paid beaches are worth the money imo.
Eat at Il Bocconcinco. It looks like a fast food spot but that was some of the best seafood I’ve had during my entire trip in Italy. I never knew calamari could taste so good.
Go for a sunset cruise. AirBnB Experiences makes it really easy to find one. Make sure to call ahead of times as they as often canceled due to weather or water conditions.
Dinner/Rest and then Stare out your window and thank God for being Blessed enough to witness Cinque Terre’s Beauty for yourself!
Take a pesto making class
Go Paddle boating or snorkeling
Relax! Eat and Be merry
Travel to Rome ( 3-4 Hours by Train) I suggest an early train
I recommend staying in the Trastevere neighborhood, near the Pantheon, or near Trevi Fountain.
Settle in and just walk around. You’re bound to see something interesting.
Vatican City Tour ( Book in advance and cover legs and shoulders)
Book a Vintage Vespa (Moped) Tour to see most of the major Rome Sights (Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, the Temple of Venus, etc) without hurting your feet. My tour guide, Alex taught me so many interesting things that I would have never known. A cheaper alternative to a Vespa Tour is the Bus Hop On/Hop Off tour and the Golf Cart tour.
Experience an Aperitivo. An aperitivo is a pre-meal drink, similar to Happy Hour but drinking alcohol is not mandatory. There are lots of food and non alcoholic beverages too. Your options are endless.
Rome Food Tour (Trip Advisor or AirBnB experiences)
or a Day trip to Amalfi Coast ( I suggest saving a multi-day visit there on future trip)
Pasta Making Class
Pasta Making Class
Go shopping! You can save hundreds of dollars due to the VAT, tax refund. Make sure to save your receipt and you must spend more than 175 Euros.
Last Minute Gifts
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.