What if I ask you which country in Europe could be a perfect option for you to spend a couple of weeks? I bet Italy would be one of the most popular answers! Well, that was my first thought when finally, after a long season of no-travelling, I decided to join with the help of Luminata on a trip of 12-days of adventure, art, food and pleasure, over four well-known cities of Italy: Roma, Napoli, Firenze and Venezia.
In this article, I want to share my personal experience, but also my itinerary and some tips for anyone considering travelling to Italy.
I need to say, I have been a good traveller in my twenties. Now, in my early thirties and based in Helsinki, I am someone who enjoys the self-discovery adventure when I am visiting a new city or place, but maybe not as before. I am guided by coffee shops and places to eat, fashion hotspots or stores, hotels and certain famous attractions I would like to see. I consider myself almost a hedonist when I am travelling. I like to experience certain luxuries during my stay, but I do need to see the rougher parts of the destinations to understand the real vibe of the city.
However, with the years I am becoming more specific with the kind of travel I would like to experience in overall. I need a plan to follow somehow, and that was the reason why I asked some advice from Evelin when she talked me about a well-planned experience in Italy. Luminata helped me to decide which places I would really like to experience, based on my taste, available time and budget. At the end I had a wonderful weekend visiting Napoli with the founder of Luminata. I definitely had a more organized and well-rounded experience with their guidance.
Here is my itinerary:
- I decided to travel from Helsinki to Rome and stayed there for almost 4 full days
- then I took a train from Rome to Naples and spent almost 3 full days in the city
- after Naples, I travelled by train to Florence and spent another 2 days
- and finally, travel from Florence to Venice for a whole weekend (3 days)
The decision to start this journey in
Rome was the best way to kick off my adventure. Definitely the best option!
Rome is wonderful. A very down-to-earth city, a bit rough. Beauty is
everywhere, the whole city is a mix of nothing fancy, but yet the luxury is
My top 5 places to visit in Rome:
- Morning coffee and pastries at Ciampini
- Vatican museums (with skip the line and guide option)
- Walk and lunch at Trastevere neighborhood
- Sunset at Castel Sant’Angelo
- Dinner at Osteria da Fortunata
This is probably one of the most
vibrant and exciting cities that I have visited in Europe. Full of historical
and cultural references and things to do, the beauty of Napoli lies in its
chaos. Pizza, beach and endless labyrinthical streets are just some of the
things that you can experience. And the Neapolitans are part of the whole charm!
My recommendation is to stay in the Chiaia neighborhood and try to explore
their stores, cafés and local food.
My top 5 places to visit in Naples:
- Breakfast at Gambrinus and try some of their pastries
- Visit the Veiled Christ at Cappella Sansevero
- Pizza at Gino Sorbillo
- Vesuvio and Pompei ruins tour
- Walk around in the Spanish quarter
Like trapped in the Renaissance
times, the calmness and beauty of Firenze is real. Many times I had heard about
this dream city as one of the top destinations, but it was not until I got lost
in their piazzas till I understood why it is a must for travellers. Firenze has
many places to enjoy and relax. The Tuscany countryside is pretty close and it’s
a great spot to have a base if you want to drive around the region.
My top 5 places to visit in Florence:
- Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia) to see the original sculpture of David
- Gelato at Gelateria dei Neri
- Lunch at All’Antico Vinaio
- Walk from the center of the town to the Piazzale Michelangelo and see the sunset
- Enjoy the streets and coffee shops of the city center
My first approach to this unique city was magical. My arrival at the railway station of Santa Lucia was very convenient, as the city starts right away to appear in front of any visitor. Its charm lies in the air, crowds and the endless hidden spots on its streets and canals. Venice is for walkers and made for romantics. My recommendation is to find the best hotel possible on the main island and walk everywhere all day long. Also visiting during festivals or the Biennale could make this experience richer.
My top 5 places to visit in Venice:
- Caffè Florian in the middle of piazza San Marco, listening to the live musicians
- Visit the island of Giudecca or Murano
- Visit the Grassi Palace (Palazzo Grassi) to see the Pinault art collection
- Ride on a vaporetto. A must!
- Sunset at Ponte di Rialto
Photos: by Ebbani Reyes, private collection
© Luminata 2022