travel concierge Italy

How to build a multi-stop vacation: Research and Planning

Now that you have looked at your vacation in a big picture sense, it’s time to get started on the nitty gritty details. 

Day Trip to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a stretch of five towns across the enchanting Italian riviera. I fell in love with this place far before I ever visited it. Perhaps you have too. The photos of pastel colored buildings, perched precariously on the cliffside and gazing out onto the sea are enough to make anyone’s heart skip a beat.

Last week I made my way here by way of boat on a day trip. This is the most scenographic way to go, and provided me with a unique viewpoint of the landscape. The ferry from La Spezia will take about an hour, and once you are in the villages, you can easily spend the day village hopping (except for Corniglia). You should also take the opportunity to visit the village of Portovenere, which isn’t one of the 5 villages but certainly is a worthwhile stop.

So, what are the differences between the villages? Here is a quick rundown on each of their unique characteristics, as well as photos from my vantage point of approaching the villages by boat. My suggestion would be to visit them all, and choose to spend a few nights in the one that best suits your tastes.

2 week Italy Itinerary

I love Italy. Like, loooooooove.  And I am speaking broadly here, because as well all know, there are many different destinations within Italy that you can visit and they all will afford you a different experience.  But since I have yet to find a region I didn’t like, I am using the blanket for the entire country. 

As such, for the past few months I have been blogging about different destinations within Italy, and sharing amazing places to stay, things to see and do, and even some detailed itineraries for some of the more popular destinations. Because there is so much to see, do, and fall in love with in this country, many people choose to include multiple destinations when they visit.

I would like to share with you my perfect two weeks in Italy itinerary, if I was headed there today. Of course, different stages of my life might produce a different itinerary, but for now, this would probably be it. It’s some of my favorite cities, in a logical and easily followed itinerary, that allows you to travel the country by train. (Have I mentioned yet how much I love good public transportation when I travel? I do.)

The energy of the Eternal City with a visit to Rome

The essence of Tuscany and incomparable charm with a stay in Florence

The quaintness and beauty by the sea in Cinque Terre

The romanticism and beautiful spirit of Venice

Take a look at the outline of my perfect two weeks in Italy and let it inspire you. 

TWO WEEK ITALY ITINERARY

But as always, what’s most important is figuring out what your perfect two weeks looks like, and making that come to life. If you are planning a trip for anywhere in Italy, I'd love for you to contact me to start planning the trip of YOUR dreams. 

Postcard Perfection in Tuscany

 

Yes, the scenery really is that gorgeous. The food really is that delectable. The wine really is that wonderful. The art really is that exquisite. All of it is true.  There are so many things to love about Tuscany, that it can be a little overwhelming when you try and wrap your head around it all and start to consider what might be best to put on your itinerary. 

My advice is this: Think about about who YOU are.  Then go from there. 

If you have an obsession with food and wine, you will be in heaven pretty much anywhere. Three of Italy’s greatest wine’s are produced here in this region, and the food is simply prepared, locally sourced, and out of this world amazing. Head up and down the region to taste each area’s specialties and fall in love with what is known as Slow Food.

If you are hoping to experience the artistic masterpieces that you’ve dreamed of seeing in person one day, make sure you include Florence.  This is a city like no other, and will surprise you time and time again, no matter how many times you visit. For such a small place, it is packed to the brim with treasures you love discovering.

Central Tuscany is where you will find the medieval hilltop fortresses, hillsides covered in vines, and rows upon rows of cypress trees. This is classic Tuscan countryside at it’s finest. The most well-known and visited part of this area is  the gothic town of Siena, which can give Florence a run for her money in terms of popularity.

If your intention is to slow down and not get caught up with all that you “must do” while you’re in one of the most exquisite destinations in the world, you probably want to spend some time in Northwestern Tuscany. Here you can really unwind and not feel the need to do much except relax and meander around hilltop villages and enjoy the regional cuisine.  This is the place to linger, but while you’re here you might as well take your picture hoisting up that famous tower.

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I cannot think of a type of traveler that could not find their own perfection in Tuscany. Whether you are looking for relaxation at it’s finest, adventures of a lifetime, an epicurean delight, cultural wonders, natural beauty, authentic city life, or anything in between… you can find it here.

Figure out what your perfect postcard looks like, and we can make it come to life.

Rome daily itinerary: Day 2

Last week I blogged about how most visits to Italy include a stopover in the capital, and how you should allocate a full 3 days minimum in order to experience the city. This blog series will share a detailed Rome itinerary for 3 days, and all the attractions you should make sure are part of your travels. To read more in depth about my Rome Day 1 itinerary, make sure to read my blog about travel tips for visiting the historic sites in Rome.

This post is for Day 2 in Rome, and will provide you with a Vatican City itinerary, and the attractions and activities I believe are not to be missed, especially if this is your first time to the eternal city.

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Day 2: The Spiritual

Vatican City is an independent city-state surrounded by Rome, and is the ecclesiastical home of Roman Catholicism. The main sites here are the Vatican grounds and Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square.

  • Consider visiting the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel first, either first thing in the morning, or early afternoon when the morning crowds have died down a bit. Make a reservation on the Vatican Museum’s website beforehand. 
    • If you are mainly interested in looking at the artwork, a tour isn’t really necessary. If you are fascinated by the history and learning more about the artwork, consider a tour. On an individual tour, the guide can show you parts of the museum not normally visited by the standard tours. Consider an exclusive, private visit to the Sistine Chapel for a truly unique and emotional experience. This type of tour must be reserved far in advanced, but is worthwhile.
    • The Sistine Chapel is certainly one of the world’s greatest masterpieces, and Michelangelo outdid himself with the painting of the ceiling that will take your breath away and render you speechless…which is a good thing because noise in here is frowned upon.
  • Lunch Break. All the walking around and effort it takes to gaze at past priceless splendors is enough to build up quite the appetite. Consider a quick lunch in the Piatti neighborhood before heading on over to St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • The first building you will see from Bernini’s colonnaded St. Peter’s square is the largest church in the world: St. Peter’s Basilica. Highlights inside include many works by Bernini, Michelangelo’s Pieta, and the oldest statue of St. Peter in existence.
  • Next, make your way to Michelangelo’s other masterpiece, St. Peter’s dome. When you find your way to the top, you are greeted with a breathtaking panorama of Rome, and if you time it right, the sun beginning to set over the eternal city and covering it in a rose-gold light. 
  • For dinner, chose an establishment simply known for their good food and where you can dine alongside the locals, such as Da Enzo. Here, the superstar will be the food and your meal will certainly be memorable. During the summer months, make sure to have a reservation, as it is a very small restaurant. 
  • After dinner, take the short stroll to the Spanish Steps, which will provide the perfect people-watching perch.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR VISITING ROME:

Where to stay: See my post on a great boutique hotel in Rome here.

Where to go next: Consider a Rome and Amalfi Coast itinerary and this beautiful resort I highlighted here.

To put this Vatican city itinerary together with another detailed itinerary for visiting the Roman historical sites, click here.

If you like these Rome daily itineraries, check back next week for Day 3!

Feature Friday: Where to stay in Rome

Roma. Italy's capital is truly one of the world's most epic and thrilling cities. A journey here will leave you smitten by its artistic masterpieces and iconic monuments.  Deciding on the perfect place to choose as your home base and where you will rest and rejuvenate as you recover from days spent exploring all the city has to offer is of utmost importance.  I'd like to showcase an amazing property that would certainly be an ideal starting point to experience the elegance of Rome and continue this Feature Friday series exploring some of the great accommodations  in one of my favorite countries.  

Hotel Raphael is a magnificent residence that is a small museum itself, with works of art including sculptures, paintings, lithographs, antiques, and collections of Picasso ceramics and Mayan art. Staying at this charming hotel puts you within a stones throw of must-see destinations and is ideally located right next to the lively Piazza Novana, where both locals and tourists flock to. The fascade is covered in Ivy and the rooftop terrace gives you an amazing view of the eternal city.

As mentioned in last weeks Feature Friday post, Rome makes an excellent pairing with a visit to the Amalfi Coast. Because of it's central location, it also makes it easily accessible from other highly desirable destinations in Italy that we will continue to explore and highlight during this series on some of my favorite hotels in this beautiful country.

Contact me to start designing your next vacation and if you are interested in detailed and custom itineraries for Rome and beyond!

Feature Friday: Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is magnificent. Absolutely breathtaking. When traveling to Italy, one of the most difficult decisions to make is where in the country you are going to decide to visit.  My recommendation is to definitely choose more than one, and if you desire a luxury beach hotel while in Italy, I have just the place. One of the most beautiful properties I have found on this coast is the stunning Hotel Santa Caterina.  It has an understated luxury that attracts the discerning traveler who appreciates hospitality and refined luxury. 

The hotel boast some of the most incredible views and vibrant accommodations, and the breadth of facilities available ensure that if you chose not to leave the property, you would be more than taken care of. 

The closest airport for visiting the Amalfi Coast would be Naples, which is approximately 1 hour and 30 min by either car or train. It's also about 3 hours and 30 min from Rome, which makes it a nice companion destination for travelers looking to visit two distinct areas while in Italy, by choosing to split time in both locations. Traveling through Italy by train and seeing the countryside while you move from destination to destination is something I highly recommend. However you fit the Amalfi Coast in your travel plans, my only suggestion is that you absolutely do it!