Picturesque landscapes, rolling hills of Tuscany, beautiful Amalfi beaches with crystal clear waters, architecture, art and history
Greatly developed infrastructure including highways, bridges and tunnels set in mountains
We loved Italian cheeses and the mocca pot
Red vino from the Montepulciano region
…and delicious Gelato
We didn’t enjoy:
Naples which proved to be very dirty, sketchy and frightening … we left right after arriving
Too much white flour for our taste, no more pizza or pasta for us for a long time:)
Crazy drivers everywhere
2. Activities our toddler Niko enjoyed the most:
Niko loved playing in fountains (especially those with fish), beaches and boats, visiting churches (looking for baby Jesus:)), running around with Kuba in Tuscany and eating gelato
3. Our average expenses: Italy is expensive
Accommodations: 90 euro/day ($125) per night for one bedroom apartment
Restaurants:30 – 50 euro/visit for 3 of us
Food, transportation (car rental) and entertainment:60 euro/day ($85)
4. Our first impressions of the locals, their culture and customs:
Italians are very expressive and very proud of their heritage. They struck us as courteous but not too effusive.
They are very religious and don’t like discussing religion and politics but love their La Passeggiata, the ultra social neighbour-friendly stroll every evening.
Only the Madonna can save Italy’s insane drivers:)
5. Our favourite places and activities:
Every region we’ve visited had its special atmosphere, uniqueness and feel. We loved Tuscany, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and San Marino (not Italy but you know what we mean). We haven’t seen everything Italy offers, but we are sure that it’s worth seeing! Check out all of our posts about Italy, here.
Here are all of our pictures from Italy and San Marino:
This will be our last instalment about our trip to Italy (and San Marino). After three exhaustive posts, we realized we could not keep up this style of writing for much longer….we have come up with a new format that hopefully proves to be maintainable and enjoyable. We decided to break down our posts into four main categories:
quick and more up-to-date post about where we are at the time with links to most recent pictures
Q&A style post with our thoughts that summarize the country we have just visited with links to favourite country pictures and videos
posts related to things not necessarily connected to travel but rather commentary about our personal learnings while away from home.
Travel Tips and Resources
practical and hands-on information we have obtained via research or experience we wish to share with friends and other travellers with kids.
If you have other suggestions or comments, please share them in the comments section below! Thanks!
Let’s get back to Italy for one more second.
Beautiful Amalfi coast
is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, of course another UNESCO site, which is a natural world wonder married with a 2000 year history. We stayed in a small village called Minori a great starting point of our coastal discoveries. The narrow and windy roads delivered thrilling driving experiences for the not so faint of heart. Home to giant lemons, lemon liqueur Limoncello, picturesque yet stoney beaches, the Amalfi Coast delivered breathtaking views and rich experiences. No wonder, the Amalfi Coast was the holiday spot of Ancient Rome.
Any of its towns offer a unique feel, historical touch and views. Positano, Sorrento, Minori, Ravello, Amalfi and most beautiful village beach of Praiano are places you can not miss on your next visit.
Find out more about Amalfi Coast here and check out our photos below:
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Tivoli Terme and Rimini
On our way back to the airport we stopped over in Tivoli Terme, a small town outside of Rome known for its natural sulphur spring waters. Even-though the waters promised many health benefits
here is what you can expect…a bath in rotten eggs…both from a visual and the scent perspective. Our clothes smelled like sulphur for two weeks after we came back!
We also stopped for a few hours in a coastal town called Rimini known for its long and crowded beaches and the birthplace of the great Federico Fellini.
is the world’s oldest and one of the smallest and wealthiest republics. The cleanliness of the streets and beautifully kept up houses in this small country confirm that people who live here have a high standard of living. Fascinating history of the republic with its stint with communist and fascism governments is worth looking up. The most beautifully set old part of San Marino is a must see,
delivering breathtaking views, amazing architecture, plethora of food and counterfeit goods vendors.
Check out our last set of pictures from Italy and San Marino. Enjoy.
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“Don’t start your walking journey if your mouth does not taste like wine” – Tuscan proverb
Tuscany offers the most wonderful mix of windy roads, amazing sunsets, medieval towns every few kilometers and most importantly its tasteful vino. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci, hence the name of the region. Many consider Tuscany to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, being the greatest repository of art in the world, from extraordinary paintings and sculptures to frescoes as well as some architectural masterpieces.
The countryside roads provide an amazing drive, filled with breathtaking scenery, colourfully dressed cyclists, hikers and exotic cars. We highly recommend renting a car to explore Tuscany and its landscape. For the more ambitious types, rent a bike, if you can survive steep climbs on windy, narrow roads…and make sure you dress the part…remember, Italy is all about haute couture.
We visited over ten towns and villages in Tuscany and here are our favourites. Most importantly we had the pleasure to enjoy them with our friends Aneta, Rafal and their son Kuba.
Montalcino is famous for its Brunello di Montalcino wine and medieval fortezza at its centre.
is very touristy yet beautiful, famous for its medieval towers that can be seen from kilometres away.
is beautifully set and a UNESCO site. Visited by many, it’s famous for its cuisine, art, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year which runs for just about 75 seconds:)
is a little town situated on a steep hill. Beautiful with a genuine feel of a town not yet infested by tourists. You can still encounter groups of local seniors sitting around and discussing daily affairs.
boasts a great mix of medieval and renaissance architecture and history, the small corridors deliver a surprise at every corner. Expect breathtaking views!
“In Rome you long for the country; in the country oh inconstant! you praise the distant city to the stars”
Rome was the ultimate capital of the ancient world, when at its peak it controlled over 6.5 million kilometres. It overwhelmed us with its grandeur, amazing architecture and cultural wealth.
It would be impossible to describe all we have seen but here are a few highlights.
The ‘stadion of the ancient games’ – took 8 years to build and could house over 55 thousand spectators. It was the biggest structure of its time and still welcomes thousands of tourists every year. Expect very long lineups, Niko wasn’t interested in waiting so we didn’t go in:(
St. Peter’s Square and Basilica (Vatican City)
The square is home to some of the holiest Catholic sites, it is the largest church in the world and home to the Pope, of course. The swiss guards protect the papacy, mercenaries (for hire since the 15th century) were well trained, loyal and often hired by foreign European courts. Their duty at the Vatican is the only one that remains today. The Bernini’s matching fountain at the centre was Niko’s favourite!
Ancient place of worship, first for Pagans then Christians. Interestingly pantheon in greek means “to every god”. Its dome is still the world’s largest un-reinforced concrete dome.
For centuries the centre of Roman public life: elections, triumphal processions, speeches, trials etc. It now remains a spectacular site and reminder of Rome’s vast history.
Built as a mausoleum, then a papal refuge (apparently there is a tunnel leading to the Vatican), then a fortress and finally a symbol of the end the plague of Rome in 590.
Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
The somewhat “simple” entrance hides this amazing structure. It contains a meridian line, a sundial, within the basilica commissioned by the pope to help predict Easter more exactly than prior.
Our pictures, more to come in the upcoming part. Pictures from part one here
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To see all pictures from Tuscany and Rome please go here
If you have any comments or suggestions please let us know in the comment section below. Thanks!