Travelling to Italy is always a good idea. I have been to Italy countless times. The first time was a cute trip to Milan for my friend’s birthday. I also visited for a day trip to Bologna. During the pandemic, I travelled again to Italy, but this time to Rome, and more recently, I travelled to Pisa and Florence!
Every time I visit, it’s a new and different experience. This time I travelled to Italy for my cousin Quedding = Queer Wedding and decided to spend a few days exploring Pisa and Florence.
I enjoy Italy because it’s a country that varies from city to city. The country is rich in history, cultural heritage, art, architecture, fashion, and cuisine. Oh, and we can never forget the food! The pasta, the gelato, everything is so tasty!
Italy is in Southern Europe. Its population is approximately 60 million people, with its capital as Rome. The country borders France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Before you travel to Italy, check the ‘Entry Requirements’ section for current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning, so please set alerts or keep an eye on the Gov.UK website.
Travelling to Italy
Travelling to Italy is relatively straightforward, depending on where you are based. I flew in from London with Easyjet and paid for checked luggage. This cost me around £115 RT – note that the earlier you book, the cheaper the flight.
The flight was less than 2 hours which I love about travelling, quick, short trips. I landed in Pisa and stayed a few nights before getting a train to Florence. If you are going to Pisa and Florence, I suggest travelling to Pisa first and then getting the train to Florence as it saves you a lot of money. You can book your train tickets in advance here.
Two Days in Pisa
I arrived in Pisa late evening and dropped my bags at our hotel. We decided to do a walk along the Arno River and have dinner. The Arno River flows through Pisa, and there are several bridges where you can walk and enjoy the views and the city’s atmosphere. There are many oversized doors which I love. You can spend wandering the street all day. The old town has narrow streets, colourful buildings, and plenty of cafes.
I woke up early (around 8 am) to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I like my mornings to myself when I’m travelling as it allows me to reflect.
The leaning tower in Pisa is iconic and is the most famous landmark in Pisa and a must-see attraction. The hotel I stayed in was only an eight-minute walk from the building. You can climb to the top for stunning views. Things to do in Pisa:
- Pisa Leaning Tower: The leaning tower is one of the most famous constructions in the entire world. This is a perfect insta worthy moment, and I would get there early for the best pictures. You can book a tour with lunch here.
- Visit the Palazzo Blu: This art museum features temporary contemporary and modern art exhibitions and a permanent collection of 19th and 20th-century paintings.
- Explore the San Matteo National Museum: This museum is housed in a former monastery and features art and artefacts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
- Walk through the University of Pisa: Lightly stroll through the lively university area. It is wonderful.
Where to stay in Pisa
There is a variety of accommodations and stays. The hotel I stayed in is called Hotel Roma. It wasn’t my favourite, but it was close to the train station (2 mins walk) and the leaning tower (8 mins walk). You can book this hotel here.
Getting the train from Pisa to Florence
As mentioned, I suggest flying into Pisa first and then getting the train to Florence if you are going to Florence. Florence is a busy airport, so the flights are more expensive than in Pisa. You can book your train tickets in advance here. However, you can get them at the station if you don’t book in advance. Here is a video of me purchasing my tickets in Pisa.
Three Days in Florence
Florence is my favourite city in Italy. Yes, I said it. The rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant art scene are truly everything. It sits in the Tuscany region and is truly beautiful.
Florence is very different from Pisa, and I recommend visiting. Below is a list of things to do:
- Visit the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore): Explore the magnificent Duomo. You can climb to the top of the dome, which is around 463 steps (no elevator). It took me around 30 mins to walk to the top. Walking to the top is great for a panoramic view of Florence, and the cathedral is stunning! You can purchase your tickets and skip the line here.
- Admire Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture David: You can see this at the Galleria dell’Accademia. There are other significant works of art housed in this museum. You can book a ticket earlier for a tour here.
- Ponte Vecchio: See the famous medieval bridge with houses lined with jewellery shops across the Arno River. You can do this with a pleasant stroll in the city. If you would like a tour guide, you can book here.
- Mercato Centrale: I highly recommend visiting the Mercato Centrale if you love great pasta and want to immerse yourself in the local food scene. You will find fresh produce, regional delicacies, and various food stalls here. There are also cooking classes too if you would like to book. You can go by yourself or book a private tour here.
- Piazzale Michelangelo: I booked a photographer via Airbnb Experiences, which you can also too here. I highly recommend booking a photographer as the panoramic views of Florence from this square are genuinely stunning, especially during sunset. The cost of my photoshoot was around £50.
- Stroll along the Arno River: you must cross over the various bridges, such as Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte alla Carraia if you’re in Florence.
- Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens: Explore the lavish Pitti Palace, which houses several museums, and wander through the extensive Boboli Gardens with its beautiful sculptures, fountains, and greenery.
- Time to head back: Get a train back to Pisa if you are flying back from Pisa.
Note Uber is not available in Florence, Italy. Walking was my favourite thing, but please wear comfortable shoes! You can book transfers here to get to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station.
The magical castle stay in Tuscany
If you follow me on IG, you will know I visited Tuscany, Italy, for my cousin’s quedding. My family and I went to the Pisa International Airport to be picked up by a party bus. It took us just over 3 hours for our castle stay. Here is where we stayed at Castillo di Potentino, which you can book here.
Everything I ate in Italy
I ate so much in Italy. There are lots of things to eat in Italy. The food in Italy can vary across the regions. For example, the sea drives Southern Italian food, and Northern Italian food embraces the land.
The country is known to have some of the best foods in the world. Along with pasta, tiramisu, pizza gelato, and, did I say pasta, I was thoroughly impressed with these restaurants/food markets below:
- Venchi: A great authentic Italian Chocolate Store in Florence! I got myself a chocolate crepe here.
- Gelateria dei Neri: The best gelato in Italy. I got myself three scoops of pistachio, vanilla and cherry.
- Mercato Centrale: You can only go to Florence if you visit the Mercato Centrale food market. This market was suggested to me by a local. It’s where you can find fresh produce, regional delicacies, and a variety of food stalls. I got myself the truffle pasta.
Other things to eat in Italy:
- Bistecca alla Fiorentina: A juicy T-bone steak cooked over an open flame. If the T-bone is not as wide as 4 of your fingers, then it is not a true T-bone.
- Ribollita: This bread soup is made with vegetables like cannellini beans, kale or cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and stale bread, simmered together for hours. “Trattoria Mario” is a popular spot to taste authentic ribollita.
Some of my favourite restaurants included Osteria All’Antico Mercato and La Giostra. Tip: Worth searching for these restaurants on your Google Maps and then bookmarking them. Oh, and don’t forget to make reservations to avoid disappointment!
Conclusion – my time in Italy was truly magical
Italy is always a good idea. There is always a different experience when I travel to Italy. I enjoyed this trip because it was a family affair.
I will undoubtedly be revisiting Italy. Maybe I want to do Venice this time or go to Milan and Lake Como – a group trip? I hope this guide helps shape your trip and provides valuable tips for your summer adventures in Italy this year!
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask; I will be more than happy to help.