Buongiorno! Our vacation to Italy was one for the books. This country was at the very top of my dream bucket list and I’m so glad we made it happen. We had little time for relaxation, but it was so worth it. If you only have a week, but want to see some of this beautiful country’s highlights, this post is made especially for you! Below you will find details of our trip including restaurant and some tour information. We visited Venice, Florence, Rome, Pompeii and Positano all in seven days, excluding two full days of travel just to get there and back home.
You can find the requirements for entry here with COVID-19. We had to show our CDC cards to board the plane, once we got to the EU, every tour, hotels, train rides, etc. We also had to get a negative Covid test 24 hours before leaving the U.S. and also 24 hours before coming home. Check the requirements for each country before your trip. We also had to fill out the EU Passenger Digital Locator Form.
Watch a few highlights of our trip on my Instagram below!
We took a redeye from Atlanta to Paris Friday and then flew into Venice from Charles De Gaulle the next day. The flight into Venice was beautiful. We flew over the Alps for a while and it was breathtaking. The flight itself was okay on the way there. I slept most of the time. Although, my husband may have slept 30 minutes. He was not well rested on the first day we arrived.
We had a transfer meet us at the exit and we got a water taxi to San Marco. You can take the public transportation. It is called Alilaguna and it is much more cost efficient than the private water taxis, but I would still take the private water taxi if I had the choice. The water taxis are docked right outside the airport.
Venice is made up of 120 islands. Technically, you’re island hopping by using the bridges to go across the canals! Your itinerary for Venice must include St. Marks Square where St. Marks Basilica is, Doge’s Palace, Libreria Aqua Alta (Instagram photo), the famous Gondola ride, and the famous Rialto bridge. We stayed in San Marco. This island is where all of the things I listed above are, if not very close in walking distance.
There is a nice restaurant in St. Marks Square we had drinks at called Cafe Florian. We sat outside and listened to the live musicians while we had an Aperol Spritz (the famous Italian cocktail). It was a beautiful atmosphere! Also, drinks in Italy are served with complimentary snacks. They usually bring you olives and potato chips. So yummy! We had dinner just around the corner from our hotel at La Piazza. The service here was amazing and so was the food! This restaurant is in a small alley, so it wasn’t in a really busy area. We ended up meeting some friends from California and had Aperol Spritz with them from 7 pm – 1 am. It was a great time! Also, don’t forget your Limoncello! Most restaurants serve this to you as a treat to help with your digestion. It’s an Italian signature!
The next night, we had dinner right in front of the Rialto Bridge at Restaurante Sapori Di Mare. The view of the grand canal is nice, but this is more of a busier area. We still had a nice dinner and had a few drinks. We shared a banana split for dessert that was so good. Oh, and there is a gelato shop right in front of the bridge next to the restaurant we ate at. Can’t forget the gelato!
You also cannot go to Venice without a classic gondola ride! We rode through smaller canals and also went under the Rialto bridge in the grand canal. It was so romantic and we learned a lot about the city from our gondolier.
Our hotel was right down the alley from St. Mark’s square. We stayed at Hotel Montecarlo in Venice and we would definitely stay here again! They have a wonderful staff and they were very accommodating. There is breakfast on the main floor every morning and it’s delicious. The hotel has a very unique charm. It was built in the 1700s.
On Monday morning we had to wake up and pack to meet our transfer in our hotel. They were taking us to the train station so we could head to our next destination. We had to take a water taxi to the train station as well. If there is any advice I could give to anyone traveling to Italy, I would say to book your tours and transfers in advance if you can. This saved us a lot of time and this was so important since we were only there for a week. We had transfers scheduled the whole week. We were picked up in luxury vehicles and they took us all over! It was such a nice experience, especially not having to worry about getting a cab. I will be doing this again the next time we go!
In order to travel via trains, you have to wear FFP2 masks and have your “green pass”. If you’re American, this is your CDC card.
We arrived in Florence at lunch time. Our hotel was a five minute walk from the train station, so we had no need for a transfer here. Everything we did, we walked to. I think the most we walked was 30 minutes to a destination. We checked into our hotel Girabaldi Blu Hotel and waited for our tour of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the crypt and to climb the Duomo. Construction started on this cathedral in 1296. I was so amazed at this!! To walk on and around these buildings was an experience that leaves me absolutely speechless. Your list for Florence should include a tour of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore and Duomo climb, Winery tour in the Tuscan countryside, Uffizi gallery, Ponte Vecchio and David at Accademia. We did a bike ride through Chianti and had a wonderful olive oil and wine tasting at “grandma and grandpa’s house” through Tuscany Bike Tours. You can also do a Vespa tour through them! So much fun!
“Grandma and Grandpa” make their own olive oil and wine. We tried both and they were delicious. She also made us fresh bread, tortellini and meatballs. One of the best meals I’ve had to date.
Our hotel Girabaldi Blu was right at the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. There were amazing restaurants in the piazza. We ate at Novella Osteria Toscana and Restaurante Vincanto the other night. Both were very good and a nice atmosphere. We ate outside both nights for the view. The piazza at our hotel is such a nice area. Also, a must for Florence: Go to Michealangelo’s Piazza for drinks at sunset. This place has the best view of Florence. This was about a 30 minute walk from our hotel. We had drinks at Vip’s Bar. I also had gelato at Venchi near Ponte Vecchio. It was so good!
Wednesday morning we had to pack and move to the next city, Rome. We headed to the train station that morning. When we got to the train station in Rome, our transfer picked us up and took us to our hotel. I cannot stress enough that having the transfers booked before we went saved us so much time. We will do this again on our next trip. We stayed are the Marcella Royal hotel. It was very nice. The rooftop here is amazing! We had dinner here that night as well.
We booked a 4 hour tour of Rome. We only had the evening in Rome, so it was fast paced, but we were able to see a good amount of highlights. We toured the Colosseum, The Pantheon, saw the Trevi Fountain and the Roman Forum. The next time we are in Rome, we will definitely do a day tour of The Vatican. We wanted to do this tour so badly, but you need at least half a day for this tour and we just didn’t have the time. You can also find water fountains all over Italy, especially in Rome. If you’re planning on walking a lot in the day, I would bring a water bottle so you can fill up free of charge! It is completely safe to drink the water.
Rome was so romantic. I lived out my best “Lizzie McGuire” self. I wish we had more time in Rome to explore. I would say you probably need two days for Rome, especially if you want to be well rested on your trip. As much as we were traveling throughout Italy, I put gaps in our itinerary specifically for resting during each day.
Thursday morning we met our transfer in the hotel lobby and headed for the train station. Next stop, Naples. We were very excited to go here because Pompeii is so close to the train station. If you ever fly into Naples or ride the train in, make some time to tour ancient Pompeii! On the train, you are surrounded by mountains and you can also see Mt. Vesuvius when riding in. It’s a beautiful ride. Another transfer picked us up from the train station and took us to Pompeii. I seriously couldn’t believe the town we were walking in. They started excavating in 1738 and they still have to excavate a lot of it. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the ash covered the town in 30′ of ash. We were in awe by the history and beauty this ancient town once had and still has today. Walking through this city, it’s hard to grasp how these people lived way back then. It will leave you speechless! They even had their own plumbing system! What amazed me too was that how well some of the foundation in still standing today. Look at the frescos! Insane!
I would plan to spend four hours in ancient Pompeii. Probably even more if you’re going to do a self guided tour. We had a guide, and I’m glad we did because they always give you the best information and they point out things that maybe you wouldn’t think about. After all, it is their job. What better way to learn about this ancient city than the people who have grown up around it?
After our visit to Pompeii, our transfer took us to our hotel in Positano. The beautiful Amalfi Coast. The drive into Positano was a DREAM. It was seriously unreal. I remember telling Dylan multiple times that I could not believe we were getting to experience this. Although, it did feel like you were going to fall off a cliff at times. I know in the summer, there is a free section on the beach in Positano and there is another section where you pay 20 euros a person for a chair. We were there at the end of March which is not their high season, so we did not pay.
We stayed at Hotel Eden Roc. I cannot say enough great things about this hotel. The staff, the rooftop restaurant, the pool. It was all amazing! We were treated like royalty here and it was so nice. Our room was to die for. We had a veranda with a panoramic view of the ocean and the colorful buildings on the cliff. I would recommend staying here a million times over!
Positano is literally paradise on earth. Every single experience we had in this small town was amazing. We have enough memories to last a lifetime. Below is a photo I took from our hotel room veranda with my iPhone. Breathtaking views.
The first night, we ate on the rooftop of our hotel. The dinner was very nice and we bought a nice bottle of wine. The second night, we ate at a restaurant right on the beach called Restaurante Letre Sorelle. I didn’t have a single meal in Italy that I didn’t love!
You can take a boat or the ferry to capri or Sorrento for the day. I would love to go back and do the Hike of the Gods. You can also do boat tours. Boat season starts in April. Be prepared to climb lots of stairs! This is the only way to get down to the beach and restaurants. They do have a public elevator to take down, but I’m not sure how far down it goes as we didn’t take it.
We purchased souvenirs at every city we went to. I love stickers and magnets so we got a few of those and of course we had to bring home limoncello!
This trip was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to have had those experiences with my husband. We both had the time of our lives. I encourage anyone who is wanting to travel to Europe to visit Italy at least once. You will be blown away by the beauty. America is so new and I still can’t believe that buildings that I walked in were older than my own country. The world is so big and has so much to offer and teach us. Go out and see it! I cannot wait to go back. Until then, I have a ton of pictures and videos to stare at. I’ll keep uploading them to this blog as time goes on. 🙂