In autumn my boyfriend and I went on an unforgettable trip to Italy. He had never been in Italy before, so we had to cram all the beauty that Italy has to offer in 8 days and 8 nights.
We started our journey in Milan where we stayed one day and two nights. On our first night in Milan we had a delicious dinner at Trattoria Toscane Torre di Pisa, an old trattoria in the popular Brera district. The restaurant is clearly a favourite with the locals, it was jam packed with Milanese people. Have a look at the framed Mauny wallpapers, they are super special. After dinner we went dancing at Armani Privé in the Armani mega-complex. Make sure you dress up so you get past the strict bouncers.The next morning we went exploring the excentric fashion capital. We took the old school tram from our hotel to Piazza del Duomo, the famous square were Duomo di Milano is situated, and walked through the breathtaking Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to Piazza della Scala, where the magnificent opera house Teatro alla Scala is situated. Afterwards we had a big lunch at Zerodue (now closed), a lovely restaurant with a light & fresh decor and modern art exhibited on the exposed brick walls. We shared their signature beef tartare and the sicilian red tuna tartare with figs and soy sauce, both equally tasty. After the successful lunch we walked down Via Montenapoleone and we looked at the beautiful shopping windows and the glamorous people walking down the street.
After two fashionable nights in Milan we made our way up to Venice and took the 2h35m train from Milano Centrale to Venezia S. Lucia. We booked our train tickets in advance through ItaliaRail (highly recommended).
We arrived at Venezia Santa Lucia station and took the Valporetto to our hotel, Casa Rezzonico. Valporetto is a waterbus (the main public transportation in Venice) and the perfect way to experience Venice and see a lot in little time. Casa Rezzonico is a very basic hotel but it has a great central location and the rooms are quite big. After we settled in our room, we went for a glass of wine at my ultimate favorite wine bar Vini al Bottegon. This ‘enoteca’ is very popular with the locals and has a great selection of wines from the Veneto area (and the rest of Italy) and delicious tapas. We totally lost track of time so we hurried to arrive on time for our dinner reservation at Caffè Centrale, where we had a beautiful and very romantic dinner. They had so many nice dishes to choose from so we decided to order a few dishes and share them, all equally delicious especially together with the many bottles of Flors di Uils (2010) that we ordered. After all the alcohol we felt like dancing of course, so we went to Piccolo Mondo, where I used to go almost every night when I lived in Venice after finishing high school. It proved to be just as popular and vibrant as several years ago.
The next morning we had breakfast in the garden of Bed & Breakfast Fujiyama and started at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Apart from Peggy’s interesting life story (buy her biography in the museum shop), we enjoyed the special collection of famous contemporary art and sculpture, like Marino Marini, Brancusi, Calder, Henry Moore, Giacometti, and Anish Kapoor. It was raining very hard when we were there, but you should have a coffee in the garden cafe if the weather permits it. Next we walked across the Accademia bridge to Piazzo San Marco and beheld the Palazzo Ducale and the stunning gold mosaics of the Basilica di San Marco. And walked across the Rialto bridge to Basilica dei Frari were The mother and child from Bellini is on display. Very tired we headed back to the hotel and refreshed ourselves to head out again for another great dinner at Enoteca al Volto.
Unfortunately we had to leave again the next morning, so we headed to Europcar on Piazzale Rome were we picked up the car that we had booked for the next two days to get us to Rome. Make sure to check the specific location, most car rentals are situated in Venezia Mestre, a 20min train ride from Piazzale Roma.
Tuscany & Florence
Through the Veneto area, we drove quietly to Florence and arrived as scheduled around lunchtime. We parked our car in the car park Stazione, which is well located in the centre. We walked through Piazza del Duomo, where we beheld the beautiful dome of Il Duomo di Firenze, and the Piazzale deli Uffizi, where the Galleria deli Uffizi is (if you have more time, I would definitely recommend taking a look), to Ponte Vecchio to have an Italian lunch. Just off the bridge is the Golden View Open Bar, were we enjoyed the beautiful view of the Ponte Vecchio and the river Arno while we had a typical Tuscan lunch.
After lunch we continued our route to Siena, where we booked a room at an agriturismo. This cute little place, called Poggio Salvi, was quite hard to find but the kind owner talked us through the right route. That evening we went for dinner in the centre of Siena at Compagnia dei Vinattieri, a restaurant with delicious Tuscan food and very friendly staff.
We woke up with beautiful weather and enjoyed the stunning view over the vineyards from our room. After a nice breakfast in Siena, we hit the road again off to Bagno Vignoni, known for its hot springs. where stayed in a cute little agriturismo, called La Locanda del Loggiato. We went directly to the outdoor thermal baths and because it was autumn we were the only ones there. This is a the perfect place to relax and we stayed until we were all wrinkly. That afternoon we went wine tasting at Fattoria dei Barbi in Montalcino, who make a beautiful and quite famous Brunello di Montalcino. Unfortunately we couldn’t take many bottles, but we bought a few to enjoy at home.
Don’t forget to try the nice homemade breakfast before you leave with delicious homemade cakes and great local products like honey, tuscan bread, yoghurt, pecorino cheese, and many other tuscan delicacies. After breakfast we continued our journey to Rome.
Yes, we finally arrived in Rome! First we quickly dropped of our car at Stazione Termini and took the metro to Piazza di Spagna, where we had arranged to be picked up. We dropped our bags at a chic hotel nearby so that we could walk around until we would be picked up. We stayed at Celine’s boyfriend’s place who lives in Rome and he took us to one of his favourite restaurants, Maccheroni, which is now one of my favorite restaurants (also good for lunch). After a delicious dinner we went dancing at Elephunk Club, tucked away in a small side street, this PDT bar is quite hard to find.
The next morning we rented a scooter and cruised throughout the city. We started at the Colosseo and drove past Forum Romanum to Piazza di Spagna where we had lunch at Gina, a nice escape from the busy city. Then we got back on our scooter and continued our way to Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano and climbed the 320 steps all the way up to the top of the Dome. Here you can enjoy a 360º view of Rome and if the sky is clear you can see very far. We finished our route at the Pantheon. Our last night in Italy we had a very romantic dinner at Bar del Fico (the dishes with Sepe are especially recommended, but everything was just delicious).
These were our 8 exciting days and 8 romantic nights, definitely worth repeating and we will recommend it to everyone!