Back in 2016 to celebrate our first anniversary together, me and Gavin headed to Italy for 10 days of exploring. Italy had been pretty high up on both of our wish-lists yet neither of us had visited before. We had so much that we wanted to do and see, its safe to say we were very over ambitious with our plans. We were starting in Naples, heading around the Amalfi Coast, then to Rome, Milan and finishing the trip with a couple of days in Venice. In hindsight I wish we hadn’t tried to do as much because we did spend a lot of time moving around between places but I still loved our time away and it was my favourite trip we have taken together to date.
This was our first big trip together and my first trip where I was solely in charge of the itinerary and the organisation. We agreed on the places to visit and then Gavin pretty much left the transport and accommodation up to me as he hates organising that kind of stuff. We stayed in a mixture of Air B’n’B’s, hotels and apartments while we worked our way around this beautiful country by train. This trip taught both of us so much about when to save the pennies and when to splurge, and just about budgeting in general. So before I share the tips and tricks we learnt along the way I wanted to first share our itinerary from our 10 day trip.
DAY 1 – NAPLES
We started the trip by flying into Naples because we managed to bag flights really cheap in the Easyjet sale. Naples was the perfect starting point as it meant we could get to most places on the Amalfi Coast without much of a fuss once we had decided where we going to visit first. We arrived and headed off straight to the Tennis Hotel for the night. We picked the hotel because it was relatively cheap and you do get what you pay for. The hotel is a little out of the way with not much around it so we did end up having a comical three course dinner at the hotel where not a single member of staff spoke any English. An experience nonetheless but I will definitely be doing more research next time.
DAY 2 – CAPRI
The next day we took the boat from Naples over to the island of Capri where we spent a night at Hotel Esperia. Unfortunately during our stay the weather was very grizzly and a lot of the activities we had initially planned were very weather dependant. Instead we gorged on our first gelato of the trip before wandering around getting lost in all the winding streets and alleyways. Our night in Capri was the actual day of our anniversary so we donned our glad rags and headed to Terrazza Brunella for a extravagant 3 course meal to celebrate. This place is definitely one for a special occasion but the food is absolutely to die for with incredible views of Capri.
DAY 3 – SORRENTO
The next morning the weather was still a bit ropey so we hopped on the boat back from Capri and headed to Sorrento for the day. We headed straight to our hotel, Purple Sorrento before checking in, leaving the bags and heading off to explore. We grabbed the bus back into the town centre and headed to the Mills Vallum before going on the train tour which leads you through the main streets of the historical centre, down to the port with a quick stop offering panoramic views of the seaside.
DAY 4 – POSITANO
Positano was one of my top places to visit after seeing this picturesque cliff top town all over Instagram. We caught the bus over from Sorrento (which FYI if you are even slightly travel sick you will struggle) and landed in this beautiful town. We had actually booked a hotel for the night in Amalfi but after exploring for the morning we decided to hunt for a room for the night in Positano. We managed to find a last minute room at Il Canneto B&B which had the most incredible views of the seaside and had access straight down to the beach. We spent the whole day wandering around getting lost before watching the sunset on the famous black sandy beach.
DAY 5, 6, 7 – ROME
Initially we only planned to stay in Rome for 2 nights and then we were due to head off to Florence for a night but I fell very sick on our second night and so we had to extend our stay in Rome and miss out on this occasion. We spent the first two nights in the Residence Maximus which was a set of self-catered apartments directly opposite the Colosseum, before moving round the corner to the N°9 Colosseo for our last night. Unfortunately we didn’t bag a room with a view of the Colosseum but we did have a fantastic night sleep in the comfiest beds – which was exactly what the doctor ordered. We spent our days soaking in all the history and culture and indulging in gelato galore!
DAY 8 – MILAN
We started on our train journey to Milan just as the entire train line staff went on strike! So, halfway through the journey the train stopped at a random station and we all had to get off. After a lot of wandering around aimlessly we managed to find a bus heading for the central station. We arrived at Idea Hotel Milano San Siro, dropped off our bags and headed to Piazza del Duomo to see Milan Cathedral in all its glory and to check out the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. For dinner we opted for traditional Milanese risotto and steak with grilled veg from a traditional little restaurant in the Navigli district. Unfortunately our meal was…questionable…. We paid and ducked out halfway through the mains and picked up some freshly baked pizza instead!
DAY 9, 10, 11 – VENICE
Venice was the last stop on the visit and the place I was most excited about visiting. We arrived in a torrential downpour so only managed to spend a couple of hours exploring before crying off and heading back to Ca’ Marinella for a night of cold antipasti and Italian soaps. Our only full day in the city it rained all day and night but on our last morning we woke up to clear skies and sunshine. Although the weather wasn’t on our side we still managed to get a real feel for the city and I cannot wait to go back and explore more.
As you can see our itinerary was pretty crammed and in hindsight we definitely tried to pack too much into our time there. Although we managed to see a lot of places that we wanted, I did feel very rushed and it felt like we spent a lot of time travelling between places. This trip taught us so much and we’ve definitely become a lot more savvy since then. If I headed back again I would want to spend 10 days really exploring the Amalfi Coast or revisiting Rome with Florence or Pisa, but that’s a post for another day.