Throughout June, Jack and I decided to tick off a lot of the must-see Italian places at once, we just want to see everywhere! As Italy has so many of the most stunning places to see, we road tripped down from Venice all the way to Naples, stopping at cities along the way. We had the best time on this holiday and can safely recommend everyone to squeeze a road trip into your holiday. If you also have a bucket list taller than you it’s a great way to get ticking. Have a look at the Italy tab on the blog to see how to plan your road trip, and the exact route we took. After Venice, our next port of call was Florence. We picked up our car here to drive through the rest of our holiday, so stayed a little further out of the city to get cheap parking. The train from Venice to Florence was quick and easy, and actually so relaxing – we realised we could easily travel through Italy purely on trains in the future.
We booked a morning train to Florence, and arrived in Florence about midday. We spent the biggest part of our first day there checking in and picking up the car. We booked one from the Florence airport and arranged for it to be dropped off in Naples at the end of our stay. The whole process was a little stressful, but necessary for the rest of the road trip to work. Take a look at our road trip tips blog for advice on hiring your own car and how to make everything run smoothly! We were happy when this was all over to get to start exploring Florence properly. It was about a ten minute drive to the centre of Florence, or a half hour (plus!) walk – so we would sometimes park on the edge of the city and wander in, as it didn’t cost too much to park and made everything more simple. We booked taxis on the days we chose to drink there, but as they do not use Uber and have their own taxi app instead we ran into a few issues here. (More on that on the tips post!)
A lot of our Italian road trip consisted of trying all the pizzas possible – we must have had around twenty over our time here! We had a browse at Tripadvisor and found the highest rated pizza place in the whole of Florence. It was surprisingly a cheap pizza place with just a few tables inside, so we knew we had to try it. Gals and pals, my god. It was so damn good. This was possibly the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, at the very least top 5. It was so fresh and I just loved it, I would go back to Florence purely for this badboy alone. (It’s called Gustarium and anyone in Florence should give it a go, it’s so cheap and you can get a small amount as a snack, or stock up and have a meal there. You can also mix and match different pizzas to try them all, yaaaas queens.)
We walked around cobbled streets and beautiful market stalls, and headed over to the heart of Florence – the Duomo. The Duomo is the huuuge cathedral in the middle of the city – completely unmissable and the gem of any view looking over Florence further outside the city. We explored the museum and learnt about the history of the city and cathedral. I feel like this wouldn’t be the top of everyone’s list to do, but we’re slowly finding it more and more amazing learning about all the facts behind our favourite places. It was also incredibly air conned in there which was well needed!
We bought tickets to walk up the bell tower, there was so many steps and it was absolutely knackering, but so so worth it for those views. The bell even rang whilst we were up there – the walls were vibrating and it was such an epic experience!
The next day everything really took it’s toll and we were exhausted! It’s so important to factor in some rest days when road tripping, We were woken up really early by a room cleaner coming into the room (there was do not disturb button but apparently that didn’t work haha. We were in bed so that was pretty damn awkward! But no body’s fault.) We decided to have a stroll through the city, not putting pressure on necessarily getting loads done, but just to have a wander. We walked to the river, took a whole bunch of pictures, and walked over the bridge of shops on the Florence river. It’s a little like the Rialto bridge in Venice – not quite as incredible, but so pretty still and worth a visit.
We grabbed a couple of ice creams and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for cocktails on happy hour. I chose a scoop of cookie flavoured and after eight ice creams; the after eight ice cream was so bloody delicious. I think of it sometimes still! (A lot!) We tried to visit a Hard Rock in most of the cities we visited across Italy, as we are collecting the Hurricane cocktail glasses and really enjoy the vibe. We kind of unintentionally started collecting them but we love it now! A lot of Hard Rock’s are also set in the most beautiful buildings and locations – for example the Amsterdam one where you can sit right on top of the canal as you enjoy cocktails and food.
We spent the rest of our time here heading ever so slightly out of Florence into the surrounding mountains and at a stunning lake. It was completely empty and the waters were so calm and clear. With the clear blue skies and beautiful Tuscan countryside surrounding us, it instantly became one of the loveliest places we have been able to visit. And we’ve since come back to this very lake to find our spot! If you do visit the lakes in Tuscany definitely pack a towel and some swimming gear, it was too lovely not to get in and enjoy! We topped our Florence adventures off with takeaway pizzas and headed to Tuscany soon after! Have a read of the blog for our Florence bucket list, what happened in Tuscany and all our other adventures!