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10 Days in Italy- Rome, Florence, and Amalfi Coast


Just coming back from my trip to Italy, Ive been asked by a few people who are planning on traveling what I recommend. My girlfriend and I just had the best experience on short notice and minimal planning. I follow a lot of travel bloggers and Lia enjoys reading travel books so combined we were able to put together one perfect trip. 

We started our journey on a red eye flight leaving from Toronto airport on a direct flight to Rome (FCO) and arrived in Italy at noon. From the airport it is very easy to buy train tickets to any destination. We booked our first hotel in Rome near the Termini station. This was a huge blessing because from Termini it is super easy to walk to all the major sights or hop on the metro for a 7 dollar 24 hour pass, but everything is within 1.2 miles (2km). On our walk to our hotel we were starving so we stopped in the first pizzeria on the way to our hotel, and soon found out that was one of our favorite pizzas in Rome, called Famiglia. Specifically the pizza with cherry tomato, pesto drizzle and mozzerala. Pro tip when ordering pizza, use your hands in the shape of rectangles on how big you want your slice. I ordered 4 slices our first go around and the shop owner subtly said 4 slices will kill you man. We booked our room on Hopper fairly short notice called hotel Regio and it was to Lia’s surprise really nice and perfectly located, because I tend to not book the best places. We then ventured off around 3 pm and made our way to the colosseum sat down for a capuccino and proceeded to walk the perimeter of the colosseum. Then we were greeted by people trying to sell tickets inside the colosseum and Roman forum but in my opinion inside is not 100% worth seeing. Instead we paid 25 dollars each and walked around the Roman forum and made it to the top just in time for sunset at the very top. We walked back down and around the side streets near the colosseum and sat down for a Spritz and Negroni (the drinks of choice) at Barzilia. We got ourselves a beautiful charcuterie board (MUST TRY) and cacio e Pepe homemade pasta. 

Day 2 we booked a tour through the Vatican Museum at 8 am. It’s important to go earlier so you have earlier access into St. Peter’s basilica before the lines get crazy long and then you lose your whole day. We booked our Vatican Tour on trip advisor, I payed the 20 dollars extra for the skip the line tour which I think is worth it when your crunched on time, and impatient like myself. That morning we took the Metro to Vatican City from termini station which was super easy. The must see things in the Vatican is the Sistine chapel and St. Peter’s basilica. Pro tip, if you’re looking to buy yourself or a loved one any Italian gold jewelry this is the place to do it. Once you’ve done the Vatican head over to Bonci Pizza, from the famous Netflix Documentary Chefs kitchen and be sure to get at least a couple carbonara balls, and try all the slices of pizza they have to offer. The line will be long but worth the wait, I promise. We took a siesta after that and then headed out for cocktails and probably my favorite bar (based on vibes and a strong pour) called L’Anteca Enoteca. Then we went for a fancy dinner around 8:45/9 (Italians eat very late) to il Gabrielo near the Spanish steps. It was high end and very good but if you want cheap homemade pasta, and low key just as good carbonara you have to go to Pastificio Guerra in the same area. This place serves 4.50 euro meals of made that morning pasta and they only have two options each night, with a free glass of homemade wine. This was one of my favorite meals because you sense their pride in the Pasta and most locals favorite spot. Then we walked by the Trevi Fountain on our way home and grabbed a Gelato from il Come Latte, the only gelato place in Rome I can say stood out from the others. 

Day 3 we took a high speed train called FreciaRossa to Florence at around 7:45. THe trip is 1.5 hours so you can catch some sleep on your way there. On arrival we did walked to the Duomo and got in line to get to the top of the bell tower. I recommend doing this early because its an incredible view as the sun is rising and the later it gets the busier and the staircase is narrow so it can take a lot longer. Then we walked to Ponte vechio the famous bridge. The best Panini in all of Italy is located at Al Antico Vinaio. There’s literally 5 shops all next to each other because the bread is made fresh that day and they are loaded with the highest quality ingredients. I’d recommend hopping in the shortest line but there will be a wait. Then walk back the Ponte vechio and start the Florence walk. Through Ufizzi galery, to the duomo and end at la academia. For entry to academia you’ll need to get tickets ahead of time, I got mine on air BnB experience for a specific time. Otherwise you have to wait in a long line that can take hours. There’s a 10 dollar up charge from the actual entry price because a group of people figured out a scheme to buy all the tickets for each time and sell them on the streets. It’s messed up but that’s just how it is. Once your in go straight to David and spend at least 15-30 minutes looking at it. To be honest nothing else in the gallery even matters once you’ve seen David, like literally nothing. If you find yourself to have any extra time go back to Ufizzi gallery and do that. I didn’t get the chance but everyone I’ve talked to said its overall better than academia, but you can’t not see David so definitely do that if its one or the other. Lastly, for dinner I can only recommend one place NOT to eat at and its Risorante ZaZa. Simply put, its worse than Olive Garden. Find yourself somewhere down a side street for good food. Dont look for pasta or pizza in Florence because that’s not what they are known for. They are known for their panini’s and cold cuts.

Day 4 was our Heart of Rome walk. Where we start at Campo di Fiori to Piazza Navona, through the side streets to the Pantheon we grabbed food near there, nothing special, then to Palazzo Venezia, the Trevi fountain, then Spanish steps. We went home for a siesta then went out to a rooftop bar Right next to hotel regio for a Negroni and to watch the sunset. Now if there’s one must try Carbonara and high end place you go eat at, its Osteria Romana. They are by reservation usually a week in advance but we didn’t have a res and they do save some tables for first come first serve. We got to there 45 minutes early from when they open and were 3rd in line and were able to be seated right away. By far the best carbonara and overall experience at a restaurant. And definitely get the Tiramisu. 

We had a short time between Rome and Amalfi that we spent with my family in a small town but I wont share that experience here.

From Rome you can take the speed train to Napoli centrale in an hour then hop on the Cercumvesuvia train to Sorrento (its the last stop). We booked a BnB also on Hopper called Caruso suites which again really lucked out on the location right at Via Tasso in the middle of everything. If you’re reading this I can help put you in touch with the company to book a stay here. 

Day 1 in Sorrento we basically arrived (on my birthday) and went out for our fanciest meal of the trip to il Buco which was basically a tasting of everything the Amalfi and Mediterranean had to offer. 

Day 2 we walked down to Marina Picola where we got tickets early to Ferry to Capri. We did a tour around the island and then the blue grotto. I highly recommend going in even though its 14 Euro per person. You’ll never see the color of the grotto anywhere else. It’s important to do that as early as possible because of the way the sun hits the water. Pro tip, Do NOT TIP the people taking you in, they ask for a ridiculous amount but they make a stupid amount doing it. Also there’s a chance you get soaked going in, so bring a change of clothes if possible. Next we took the bus up to AnaCapri, this is a totally separate town, but has the best seafood. Then we did a hike to the top with a view of the entire island. You can take the ski lift up but Lia and I wanted to get some exercise in and we only took it down. We got back to Sorrento and ate at what is widely known to be the best Pizza on the Amalfi, Pizza Da Franco. We enjoyed the Margarita and it was to die for. I personally love Napolitana style much more than Roman.

Day 3 we took the bus to Positano which leaves from the train station. Be sure to know which time your leaving and get there early to get a seat. You can get tickets that morning as well. In Positano we basically had a lovely beach day and did walking around the town. Bring a towel for the beach for sure. There’s also so many spots to have a cocktail with a view of the iconic seaside town, definitely a place to just soak it all in. When we got back to Sorrento we ate at an incredible Kabob spot recommended by Rick Steves, called Kabob Ciampa and to change it up from all the pasta and pizza. Then shared a bottle of wine at a place with live music right in front of Piazza Tasso.

Day 4 in Sorrento was our first free day we didn’t have anything planned except at night. So we went down to the water called marina grande. A small beach but my favorite place in Sorrento. I swam while Lia rented a paddle board and we went out what felt far but in reality probably not that far. We got out of the water and ate at a family owned restaurant called the five sisters, which was phenomenal but honestly all the spots on the water will be incredible. At night we had booked a pizza making class we found on Air BnB experience called Primaluce pizza experience. This is a must do, its around 60 per person but the experience and entertainment of a lifetime. We enjoyed every second with the family who offers 95% of what you’ll eat that night directly from their farm. And learn how to make the proper Napolitana style pizza and drink their homemade wine.

Day 5 and our last day we walked to Bagni di Regina Giovanna. This is an ancient Roman architectural spot of a Princess. My recommendation for this is to bring snacks towels and a bathing suite. If you’re going to get in the water anywhere it has to be here. The pictures tell it all. The best food in Sorrento is definitely at il Convevio, for their homemade pasta and local cheeses. This was also in a Lowkey/more local spot not on the main strip which and recommended by our BnB host.


   

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