Since Covid-19 forced us to be stuck in our homes in April 2020 instead of on our highly anticipated trip to Italy, I decided to lead the trip virtually and let our imaginations run free!
April 19, 2020: We leave tonight and the great thing is that there is no packing or luggage necessary for this trip! No navigating airports, no security lines and no long, cramped flight or airplane food! Silver lining! The excitement is building – get some rest because we land tomorrow morning and we have a busy itinerary!
Day 1 (April 20): Ben venuti in Italia!! We arrive in Rome, fully rested thanks to our very comfortable virtual flight over. We check in, drop our virtual bags, freshen up a bit and do a little exploring of the area that will be our neighborhood for the next 2 nights. Centro storico is my favorite part of Rome for the history, charm, energy, food…. And within Centro Storico, Piazza Navona is my favorite square (or oval, in this case!). We’re staying around the corner from this beautiful piazza which means we have everything at our fingertips – it’s all walkable – the sites, fountains, restaurants, bars, boutiques, etc. So, let’s explore a bit! Check out the pics from around our neighborhood (don’t worry, we’ll stop for cappuccino and gelato along the way!).
Day 2 (April 21): Happy Birthday to Rome!! Wear your comfortable shoes today because exploring Rome on foot is the best way to see this fascinating city! And how lucky are we to be in Rome on the day celebrating its birth?! Our full-day guided walking tour of this sensual city highlights all of the key sites. I hope you also enjoy our skip-the-line admission to the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel. Make sure you remember to throw your coins in when we visit the beautiful Trevi Fountain, to ensure a return visit to Rome!
Day 3 (April 22): Get ready for a busy, but breathtaking, day! We’ll get an early start making our way south towards (and then past) Naples. Ravello is our first stop on that dreamy Amalfi Coast. Then it’s on to the town of Amalfi, itself, where we’ll stop and wander around the town, taste a few lemon-flavored treats and admire the view. Back on the road, we’ll head up into the hills toward Agerola where we’ll be ready for a snack and, lucky us, we be getting the 411 on how limoncello and mozzarella are made – with samples, of course! While we’re up there, how about taking in some of the scenery with a little walk along the Path of the Gods? We’ll complete our drive along the Amalfi Coast with visits to Praiano and the famous Positano before arriving at our destination, Sorrento – our home for the next 2 nights.
Day 4 (April 23): A change of pace today as we enjoy a leisurely morning and a ferry ride from Sorrento to the lovely island of Capri! Once we’re there, we’ll explore a bit and head over to Anacapri by hiking (it’s a good workout – be prepared for lots of uphill and stairs) or by chair lift. If we’re lucky and the seas are calm enough for us to make it through the cave opening, we’ll visit the famous Blue Grotto.
Day 5 (April 24): While we’ve already enjoyed a few days of fantastic Italian wines, today is the day to experience some of the more well-known regions. As we make our way north from Sorrento, we’ll stop for some “degustazioni” at wineries in Montepulciano and Montefalco. We end the day in the charming town of Siena, famous for its Palio horse race, for a 2-night stay within the city walls.
Day 6 (April 25): Today will be a relaxing day of exploring all that bellissima Siena has to offer. We’ll lead ourselves on a self-guided tour of the town, the center of which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll have plenty of time for you to take in the main sites, including the iconic shell-shaped piazza which is the site of the annual Palio horse race. Dinner tonight will be the result of the cooking class we’ll be taking – an authentic Italian meal, made by YOU (wine sampling included)!
Day 7 (April 26): After breakfast in Siena, we make our way to San Gimignano, another charming walled-in Tuscan town. This one, famous for its many towers, saffron and a wonderful white wine. After exploring San Gimignano (along with the possibility of some wine tasting), we visit a beautiful organic farm in the Chianti region where we’ll get a tour from the owner, including an explanation of the process of balsamic vinegar production. The visit will culminate with an amazing lunch that will also be a pairing of the food with the farm’s wine and balsamic variations. We end Day 7 in Florence, which will be our home for the next 2 nights.
Day 8 (April 27): We wake up in Florence, the beautiful heart of Tuscany and do a little exploring of the area that is our neighborhood. Our B&B is my favorite place to stay in Florence. It’s very centrally located around the corner from the pedestrian areas with easy access to all of the key sights and sounds of the city. Today’s guided walking tour will grant us skip-the-line admission to the Accademia Gallery where you can see the original Statue of David with your very own eyes. We’ll also see all of the key landmarks in Florence and maybe even meet up with a few friends.
Day 9 (April 28): Today we have a leisurely morning stroll in Florence. We then say “Ciao” to the Renaissance city as we make our way over to Italy’s Western coast, to the 5 five towns famously called the “Cinque Terre”. We’ll spend the evening exploring and enjoying Monterosso, where we’ll be staying for 2 nights.
Day 10 (April 29): Today is hiking day! Well, for those up for the challenge, that is…. We’ll take on the iconic “blue path” Cinque Terre hike from Monterosso to Vernazza (don’t worry, there are options for non-hikers who still want to explore these fabulous towns!). From Vernazza, we can continue the hike (if the path is open) or we can hop from town to town on the very convenient train that runs along the coast. Regardless, our ultimate destination will be Manarola, where we will savor our “aperitivo” while watching the breathtaking sunset.
Day 11 (April 30): Our adventure is winding down but we still have so much more to see! From the Cinque Terre, we make our way to Pisa, where we’ll check out the famous Leaning Tower. You’ll also want to join the others in creating that classic tourist picture of you holding up the tower! Our afternoon will end back in the Eternal City, Rome! We get one more night in this fantastic city before we head home tomorrow. We, of course, will have to make one more visit to the Trevi Fountain so we can toss in our coins and ensure a return!
Day 12 (May 1): Sadly, all good things must come to an end. We say “Arrivederci” to Roma and look forward to our next adventure! We expect to head back over to help Italy rebuild their tourism industry as soon as possible. As of right now, we’re hoping that will be in September. If that’s not possible, then Spring 2021, so please watch for updates on this website and on Europe Your Own Way’s Facebook and Instagram!