One week in Italy

One Week In Italy: (Milan-Cinque Terre-Florence-Rome)

Posted June 27, 2017 Written by Jason

My dad once said that “Italy is one of the most beautiful countries.” I doubted him. Imagining the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the leaning tower of Pisa, I was thinking it will be a boring country to visit. One week in Italy?! It will just be another European country with lame structures with nothing to be excited about. All you can do is just sight-seeing. I’m not your typical tourist who is satisfied just by taking snapshots and eating. I want to do something more.  Something that will induce adrenaline rush like bungee jumping, scuba diving, skydiving, etc.

 

One Week in Italy

 

Well actually, I learned that Italy does have bungee sites (in Vicenza and Ponte Colossus), scuba diving sites (in Ustica, Sardinia, Santa Lucia off Rome, and Portofino National Marine park), and drop zones (in Nettuno, Pesaro Urbino, Reggio Emilia, Alessandria, and Cremona). Without using Google to search these places, I can’t even pinpoint them on the map. I don’t know where the heck these places are.

 

One Week in Italy

 

Italy is not really known for extreme sports, unlike Nepal and New Zealand. So off I went to try out the usual, boring tourist route last July of 2016. And boy I was wrong. It was not lame at all. It was like I was transported back to the past. The streets and architecture were awe-inspiring. “Just sight-seeing” was a big understatement. Italy’s aura plus authentic Italian cuisine will blow your mind!

 

One Week in Italy

 

HOW TO GET THERE

 

Because I’m lucky enough to have a sister who works for an airline company, I have the privilege of purchasing discounted ticket from Manila to London. Then I bought a Ryanair ticket from London to Milan. Going back, I went with British airways from Milan to London, not because it was the cheapest, but because of convenience.

 

One Week in Italy

 

If you don’t have a sister who works for an airline company, don’t fret. I recommend checking skyscanner.com for the cheapest flight possible. Take note that visiting during the autumn/winter (September to early December) season will be cheaper than the summer (June to August) season. A word of caution: the summer heat in Italy or Europe in general can be pretty intense. Your temper will be tested especially if you have to walk a long way to your accommodation. Good luck.

 

One Week in Italy

 

Jason’s hot tip: Staying near the coastline like Cinque Terre will keep you cool during the summer. 😉

 

GOING AROUND

 

The best way to go around Italy is by riding a train. You can check the train schedules at Trenitalia.com. Once you’re in the big cities like Milan, Florence or Rome, you can ride the bus or the metro like the locals.

 

One Week In Italy

Jason’s hot tip: Validate your tickets before riding the train. Insert the tickets in the slot on the validating machine. For the bus, just swipe the card on the validating machine inside.

 

MILAN IN 2 DAYS

 

Milan has three airports so make sure you know which airport you’re arriving at. From Malpensa airport, you can take the bus (€10) or the train (€12) to the central station of Milan. From Bergamo airport, take the bus called “Orioshuttle” (€4). From Linate airport, take the air bus Linate (€5). From the central station, take the metro to your hostel/hotel.

 

I recommend staying in Koala Hostel. A private room costs about €70 a night with free breakfast while a dorm type room costs about €31. The cleaners here are Filipinos so you’d expect it to be really clean. The room I stayed in has a balcony with the view of the streets. It was really awesome. The place also has a lobby so you could mingle with the other occupants. To go directly here, take metro M2, the green line, to Loreto station. Then find the exit to Viale Abruzzi and walk until number 15, Via Stefanio Canzio. Check out hostelworld.com for other hostels.

 

One week in Italy

One Week in Italy

 

After a night’s rest, you should head directly to Lake Como. Trace your way back to Milano Centrale (Central Station) and take the train to Varenna-Esino station (€13 for a return ticket, 1 hour ride). Walk your way around and pose for your pictures with the lake as your background. Continue the adventure and ride the ferry boat to Bellagio (€9 for a return ticket, 15 minutes ride) – a cute lil’ town for window shopping.

 

For the second day, take the metro to Duomo. Feed your eyes with the view of Milan Cathedral, and Vittorio Emmanuele II Gallery – the place where celebrities pose for their pictures. Then feed your stomach at Lunin pastry shop. You know you’re there if there’s a long line of tourists.

 

One week in Italy

One Week in Italy

 

Milan Metro Fare (€)
Single journey ticket 1.50
10-card (carnet) 13.80
24-hour ticket 5.60
Evening ticket from 8pm 3
48-hour ticket 8.25

 

 

CINQUE TERRE IN 2 DAYS

 

From Milano Centrale, take the train to Levanto (€25 for a one way ticket, 3 hour ride) then switch trains to Riomaggiore (€4 for a one way ticket, 20 minute ride). The hotels are within walking distance from the station. Check-in at Affittacamere Ca’ Dei Lisci and pay €90 a night for a standard double room with breakfast. Check out booking.com for other hotels.

 

Cinque Terre is the best part of my Italian trip in my opinion. You can hit the beach or stare at the colorful houses all day. It’s so relaxing. Half-naked people are wandering the area with their bikinis. The care-free ambiance just hits the spot for me.

 

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

 

Cinque Terre is composed of five villages, namely Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Moterosso al Mare. You can visit all of the villages in one day if you want to but I opted to split them in to two days. I went to Riomaggiore and Manarola on the first day, then all the others on the second. You can buy a hiking pass and hike all the way between villages but riding the train will be a lot less torture. A single ride ticket costs about €4. Just choose one of the villages to stay in then explore the neighborhood from there. Vernazza has the best view from hiking the top while Monterosso has the best beach. However, I recommend staying in Riomaggiore because it really feels comfortable in that area – the crowd, the atmosphere, the food, everything.

 

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

Cinque Terre Train Fare (€)
Single journey ticket 4
24-hour ticket 13
48-hour ticket 23

 

Jason’s hot tip: Eat where the locals eat. The menus should be in Italian.

 

FLORENCE IN 2 DAYS

 

From Riomaggiore station, take the train to Firenze S. M. Novella (€16.7 for a one way ticket, 3 hour ride). Upon arriving here, ask around for bus tickets which will cost €1.20. Look at the platform, take the exit on your right and then turn left. You’ll see the bus stop labeled N17 to Viale Verge. Ride this bus and get off at Setti Santi. You’ll see a big church in front of you. Cross the street and enter the gate on the left. Check-in at Hostel 7 Santi and pay €92 a night for twin private room.

 

Jason’s note: Hostel 7 Santi has an eerie feeling. It looks like an old convent because I think it is. It’s kind of weird that there’s a shower room inside the room but no toilet. The shared toilet is outside but they do have options for ensuite (private toilet). Nonetheless, it was a good stay because the staff is good.

 

One Week in Italy

 

After checking-in, see the must-visit church: the Florence Cathedral. Buy your bus tickets at the hostel then ride line 17 again to Arazzieri. Ask the driver for the direction to the church and just walk. Eat some pizza, pasta, and gelato while you’re at it. In the afternoon, look for either bus 12 or 13 to go to Piazzelle Michelangelo for the best panoramic view of the city.

 

One Week in Italy

 

For the second day, take “Tuscany in one day sightseeing tour” from Viator.com. It’s a whole day tour which starts and ends at Firenze S. M. Novella. Join a large group inside an air conditioned bus lead by a tour guide. This tour takes you to four locations: Siena, Chianti winery region, San Gimignano, and Pisa. Siena is known for its cathedral with Gothic architecture, the winery for its vineyard – with a taste of Tuscan countryside, San Gimignano for its medieval towers, cobbled streets, and historic town squares, and Pisa for its famous leaning tower. A fancy lunch at the winery is included. Start off with a salad, cold cuts of meat and cheese, then the main course of pasta and bread with wine tasting of red,  white, and dessert wine. The whole tour costs about €91.7 per person.

 

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

One Week in Italy

 

Jason’s note: A double room usually means there’s a queen-sized bed or a bed which can fit two persons. A twin room means there are two separate beds.

 

ROME IN 2 DAYS

 

From Firenze S. M. Novella, take the train to Roma Termini (€20 for a one way ticket, 1.5 hour ride). Exit to the right of platform #1 and cross Via Marsala. Take Via Marghera and walk three blocks up. Turn right to Via Varese until you reach #33 on the right hand side. Check-in at Funny Palace Rome and pay €98 for a night with breakfast. The entrance is the laundry and internet café area of the hostel. I commend the Filipino guy stationed at the lobby. He’s very helpful and accommodating.

 

One Week in Italy

 

The next thing to do is to take the metro (€1.50 for a one way ticket) to the colosseo and marvel at the huge amphitheater. Buy a €12 ticket to get inside both the colosseum and the Roman forum.

 

One Week in Italy

The colosseum was once a site of bloodshed. Public viewing of gladiator battles and wild animal fights were held in this place. The gladiators were usually slaves, prisoners of war, or criminals. Some of them were even women. The games, which included deaths of human, continued until Christianity ended them.

 

One Week in Italy

 

The forum was the heart of Rome, where people from every social level meet, do business, talk about gladiator games, and conduct political meetings.

 

Rome Metro/Bus Fare (€)
Single journey ticket 1.50
24-hour ticket 7.00
48-hour ticket 12.50
72-hour ticket 18.00

 

 

Jason’s hot tip: You don’t want to roam around with your baggage, do you? Upon checking out, you can leave them for free at most hostels (too bad some hostels require a fee). Just come back for your bags before you move on to your next destination.

 

One Week in Italy

 

For the second day, take the open-decker panoramic tour bus. Choose one from the hop and hop off bus: Big Bus Rome Tour Bus ($25 for a day ride), I Love Rome Panoramic Rome Tour Bus (€22), Panoramic Tour Bus from Green line tours (€21) and Roma Cristiana (€20). They are all similar except for the Roma Cristiana which is more centered towards religious visitors. The bus follows a specific route for all the renowned attractions. You can hop on and off at the bus stops and explore all or just choose your must-visits on your own pace. Because I already saw the colosseum, I didn’t stop there anymore and went to see more of the Vatican city, Trevi fountain, and other places.

To fly out from Rome, take the bus from Roma termini to the airport.

 

One Week in Italy

 

Jason’s hot tip: Don’t buy rosaries at the entrance of the Vatican. These are expensive. Walk further and try to find Filipina sales ladies. They can give you large discounts. 😉

 

SAMPLE ITINERARY AND EXPENSES

 

DAY 0 PRICE

(€)

Arrival in Milan
Train from Malpensa airport to Central station 12
Metro from Central station to Loreto station 1.50
Lights out at Koala Hostel w/ breakfast (a private room costs €70 a night, I stayed with someone so we split this in half :P) 35
DAY 1
Metro from Loreto station to Central station 1.50
Return train ticket from Central station to Varenna-Esino station 13
Return boat ticket from Varenna to Bellagio 9
Metro from Central station to Loreto station 1.50
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 17
Lights out at Koala Hostel w/ breakfast 35
DAY 2  
Check out at Koala Hostel, leave baggage
Metro from Loreto station to Duomo station 1.50
Sightseeing Duomo plaza (Milan cathedral and Vittorio Emmanuele II Gallery)
Metro from Duomo station to Loreto station, get bags at Koala Hostel 1.50
Metro from Loreto station to Central station 1.50
Train from Central station to Riomaggiore station via Lepanto 29
Check in at Affittacamere Ca’ Dei Lisci w/ breakfast, (a private room costs €90 a night, I stayed with someone so we split this in half :P) 45
Train from Riomaggiore to Manarola 4
Train from Manarola to Riomaggiore 4
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 20
Lights out at Affittacamere Ca’ Dei Lisci
DAY 3  
One day Cinque Terre Train card with hiking trail access 13
Train from Riomaggiore to Monterosso
Train from Monterosso to Vernazza
Train from Vernazza to Corniglia
Train from Corniglia to Riomaggiore
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 20
Lights out at Affittacamere Ca’ Dei Lisci w/ breakfast 45
DAY 4  
Train from Riomaggiore to Firenze S. M. Novella 16.7
Bus N17 from Firenze S. M. Novella to Setti Santi 1.2
Check in at Hostel 7 Santi w/ breakfast (a private room costs €92 a night, I stayed with someone so we split this in half :P) 46
Bus 17 from Hostel 7 Santi to Arazzieri 1.2
Bus to Piazzelle Michelangelo 1.2
Bus back to Hostel 7 Santi 1.2
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 17
Lights out at Hostel 7 Santi
DAY 5  
Bus from Hostel 7 Santi to Firenze S. M. Novella 1.2
Tuscany day tour 91.7
Bus to Hostel 7 Santi 1.2
Meal (Dinner) 11
Lights out at Hostel 7 Santi w/ breakfast 46
DAY 6  
Bus to Firenze S. M. Novella 1.2
Train from Firenze S. M. Novella to Roma Termini 20
Check in at Funny Palace Rome w/ breakfast (a private room costs €98 a night, I stayed with someone so we split this in half :P) 49
Metro from Roma Termini to Colosseo 1.5
Colosseo and Roman Forum tickets 12
Metro from Colosseo to Roma Termini 1.5
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 16
Lights out at Funny Palace Rome
DAY 7  
Check out, leave baggage at hostel
Panoramic bus tour 21
Get bags at hostel
Bus to airport 8
Meals (Lunch and Dinner) 18
Fly out from Rome
TOTAL excluding air fare and visa fees 693.8

 

Approximately 39, 000 in PHP for one week.

 

Links:

Continue your trip to Santorini! Or Iceland!

Skyscanner – search engine for flights

Hostelworld – for hostel and budget hotel bookings

Booking – another option for booking your accommodation

Trenitalia – Train schedules and fare in Italy

Viator – for awesome tours

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