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To do our “Road-trip” in Italy, we started from Nîmes and drove to the first destination: Rapallo at about 5h30 drive! Then, we continued our road to discover this part of Italy. We left in the direction of the 5 lands, Pisa, Florence and Venice! Follow our journey to learn more about these Italian towns and villages!
We left for a week and we were lucky because we were stopped on the Genoa bridge which collapsed the next day! And less lucky because we had a car accident before arriving in Rapallo! Luckily, we didn’t have anything and we were even able to use the car during the whole trip (and especially to come back)!
After this fright, we stopped at the first stop on the road, Rapallo. We walked around and ate before heading back to La Spezia where we had booked a bed and breakfast called Affittacamere Angel. The room was nice, we had free wifi, however I wouldn’t recommend the breakfast offered (in another establishment), we tried it and finally preferred to have lunch in the city centre. This allowed us to visit and walk around before going to the boat that was going to take us to the 5 Terres.
For those who do not know, it is possible to go around several small islands accessible by boat or train. We took an unlimited ticket which allowed us to go to all the islands from La Spezia which cost 35€. They offer a 20% discount on tickets when you buy them after 2pm and it costs around 27€. But I advise you to go for the day if you like walks and hikes, there are several that are worth it! Because of a small back problem we preferred to walk in the small islands without going hiking but the pictures are splendid! From La Spezia you can reach Porto Venere, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Beware, Corniglia is only accessible by train! Both means of transport offer journeys throughout the day and the trips are even more numerous during tourist periods (such as July and August).
So our first destination was Porto Venere, it was beautiful but from my point of view Riomaggiore and Monterosso are definitely my two favourites! I advise you to go to the 5 lands if you like colours, caves, churches and ancient castles! I put some pictures to give you a glimpse of this wonderful destination!
We stayed two days at the five lands and then we left in the direction of Lucca. A small town which, although charming, we did not like. We were there on a holiday and no shops were open. So we left for Livorno to visit and enjoy the sea! It was very pretty!
That evening we went to the Tower of Pisa, one of the monuments I wanted to see at least once in my life! Lucca is a 25 minute drive from Pisa, which allowed us to enjoy the sunset over the tower and get back to the hotel without getting tired from the road. We went back to Pisa twice as we had planned a little too much time in this area but we enjoyed it very much. On the other hand it is a very touristy site, especially in August! Watch out for the shop assistants who raise all their prices. We ate in a very good restaurant in the square and we also met an English family who had bet we were French, so we made friends with them and laughed about our accent.
The next day we went to visit Florence which is a city full of charm! There are a lot of places to see and the buildings are magnificent! Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance in Italy and it has its place in the UNESCO world heritage thanks to its great artistic and cultural richness.
One of the most famous sites is called the Duomo, in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, unfortunately we couldn’t get in because the queue stretched all around the monument. This Gothic cathedral was built in 1296 and has an interior of green, pink and white marble with many statues. There are about 463 steps up to the Duomo and it costs 10€ to enter (the ticket allows you to go up to the Campanile de Giotto tower, to go to the Santa Reparata crypt and to go to the Baptistery of St. John). On the other hand, beware of those with vertigo! Even if you don’t enter the cathedral, the outside is quite impressive!
We also went to the Boboli Garden which I recommend! You will have a beautiful view when you get to the top of the gardens! Often compared to those of Versailles, these gardens allow you to walk in a totally different setting from the city. You can see flowerbeds, fountains and large expanses in this historic park in Florence! The entrance fee is 17.75€ but you can also add other visits. (https://www.florence-museum.com/fr/reservation-billets.php)
These gardens were opened to tourists and visitors in 1766 but were designed for the Medici.
For more information: The Boboli garden is 45,000 square metres in size and receives around one million visitors a year! Together with the Duomo, it is one of the most visited places in Florence.
Afterwards we went to the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345 and the first bridge over the Arno that survived medieval times. We were impressed to see so many shops so different from each other in these small secret passages. Most of the shops are authentic and sell gold and silver jewellery. It’s worth the diversion!
Don’t hesitate to walk around the city, it conceals all kinds of passages that will allow you to take beautiful pictures while discovering the beauty of the city.
Of course, if you go to Florence, you absolutely must see Piazza Michelangelo! It is one of the most famous places because of the panoramic view it offers over the city. We took a bus tour to go around the city and we stopped at this square to admire the view, I recommend you to go there in the evening to see the sunset!
We were also advised to go to Palazzo Bargello, the San Lorenzo market and the Santa Croce Basilica but we didn’t have time to do everything! I recommend you to stop in Florence for two days to visit all these places!
After our day in Florence we decided to go to Venice, so we left the car in a private car park and took the train as it is almost impossible to get there by car! The trip takes a little over two hours but we didn’t regret the diversion! I had already been there a few years before but I wanted to go back with my boyfriend to visit the city of love! The return trip costs about 50€ per person, we paid 90€ and booked a hotel (the worst there is in terms of noise but with a beautiful view). It was the Locanda Sant’Anna Hotel which offered affordable prices and breakfast. So we went to put our bags down so we could visit at our leisure.
If you go to Venice, I recommend you to go to Burano! A beautiful little island accessible by vaporettos. You have probably heard about this place with its colourful houses! It’s my favourite place! We walked around the island visiting the small glass-blowers’ shops (you can’t miss them!) then we left with the vaporetto for a complete tour as we had bought passes for the whole day, we took the opportunity to rest our legs!
Concerning the Vaporetto, we took the ACTV Transport Pass, which allows you to take all the vaporettos you want for one or several days. On the other hand, it’s better to take the pass on the spot rather than online because it only costs 7,50€ instead of 40€ on the Internet!
We only stayed for a day and a half but we were happy to be able to extend our stay to Venice when we hadn’t planned to! I advise you to go and see Saint Mark’s Square with the Basilica, which is the main square, but also the Doge’s Palace, the cannaregio district and the most famous bridges like the Rialto or the Bridge of Sighs!
The same evening we left for Florence by train to pick up the car and return to Nîmes.

It was a very pleasant trip and we took a lot of pictures, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have already been there!

See you soon