For this holiday, we travelled to Italy for 14 days visiting Venice, Bologna, Florence, Lucca, Milan, and Como. We planned the entire itinerary ourselves mainly using the internet and research were consolidated using Evernote.
One of the good tool to use is Evernote to consolidate our research, as it allows sharing of note with someone else. While the program does not allow more than one person to edit at one time, we do not need internet to access to the document when we reached our destination.
Another good tool, is Google Doc which allows different party to edit at the same time. However, if you are going to travel without internet at your destination, please remember to download it to your phone or print out a copy.
We did not rent a car. Our main transport was mainly walking in the cities as they are very much walkable. From cities to cities, we traveled by train.
Venice (Day 1 & 2)
Detail blog post here.
We took an overnight plane (duh!) from Singapore, transiting in Zurich via Swiss Air. When we reached Marco Polo Airport, Venice, it was approximately 8.30am. The first thing we did was of course to try their coffee.
Venice is totally NOT stroller friendly at all due to all the bridges and steps. It is really a place suitable for lovers. Baby-carrier is a better choice but it may be very physically tiring. Dinning out posed another set of issues as none of the eatery we went has high chairs. You have 3 options, 1) Do not bring your baby, 2) Do not include Venice in your itinerary if you want to bring your baby along or, 3) Endure the carry either of baby or stroller throughout the trip. Which obviously we had chosen option 3 in our case.
Venice is beautiful and the coldest of all the cities we went to. Choked full of people, you have to aware of ‘strange’ people lurking around. They were beggars, pickpockets and gypsies. These people were not those wearing tattered and torn clothing sitting by the corner with a cup. NOPE! They are pretty well-dressed and they will try to con you of your money with various antics.
Bologna (Day 3-4)
Detailed post here.
Unbeknown to lot of people, Bologna is a food heaven in Italy. A location that does not attract a lot of tourist, Bologna is a hidden gem. We travelled on their high speed train from Venice to Bologna which took us about 1 hr 30 min to reach.
3 days was sufficient to cover most of the places we wanted to go. This city is rather easy to navigate, and we often used the tower as the landmark to the city area. One thing that is uniquely Bologna is their red terracotta-liked buildings. When you look down the streets, most of their architects are red in colour.
One of my favourite place to visit was Giargini Margherita. As the weather was great and they were having their local farmer’s market, you felt just like a local, away from all the touristy stuff (not that Bologna was touristy to begin with). Sophie also had a hella of her time running all over after she was recharged from her nap.
Do I have to say again that the food was totally awesome!! We visited Tamburini, a local grocer store that served up the best lasagna that I’ve ever eaten. Even when we visited Sfoglia Rino, famous for handmade pasta, I couldn’t resist ordering their Tagliatelle with ragu sauce. They are also famous for their rabbit meat. But I totally miss their ragu sauce. Too bad I didn’t buy any of it back.
Florence (Day 5-9)
Detailed post here.
We took a high speed train out to Florence on Day 5 in the morning which took us about 35 – 40 min. Super fast. We spent the most days of our trip in Florence because Tuscany had too many nice places too miss. I have to say I enjoyed Florence the most because it has everything. Cultural, food, shopping, attractions. It was a very well balance cosmopolitan city. Not overwhelming too. We stayed 5 minutes walk from the Santa Maria Novella Station which is very near to most of the attractions.
We joined the Chianti Wine Tour which was very lovely; charming winery and very nice people. You can read it here. If I have the chance of going back in the future, I would love to visit the place again. While Florence is not famous for their Pizzas (that’s Naples), the pizzas tasted very good too. One of the best pizza place we visited was Pizza Napoli 1955. Awesome pizza freshly made after you ordered. We also stay near another fantastic pizza restaurant, O’ Cor ‘e Napule Restaurant, which we did takeaway twice.
And of course their famous Florentine Steak was very worth trying which we had it at La Fettunta. Their steak looks pretty intimidating due to the size but really, it’s not. It’s meant for sharing. Mr Choo and I shared it together with an additional side dish of grilled vegetables. I’m not a huge fan of steak. But with this, I was completely sold. I really wouldn’t mind going back for the second time.
I don’t really fancy art gallery but Mr Choo was very enthusiastic about Academia Gallery. We chose to visit it one hour before the closing time. Though the queue looked scarily long, we managed to enter in 20-30 minutes because it was moving rather quickly. And we were also very lucky that Sophie slept throughout the entire waiting time.
Milan (Day 10-13)
Detailed post here.
Our final stop in Milan, we took the high speed rail which took about 1 and half hour. Milan, the glamorous one. Even their Centrale Station looks amazing. 4 days seems a little long for Milan. But we took 2 day trips to Como and outlet shopping in Serravalle. Therefore, we only have 2 days in Milan. As our flight on the 14th day was in the evening, we had another half day.
The place which I love the most is the interior of the Milan Cathedral. Even Sophie was quiet inside most of the time. While Galleria Vittoria Emanuele 2 looks amazing, none of the things they sell were within reach. Even though Milan was the last stop, the only thing that was memorable to me was the Milan Cathedral. Even their food was admittedly not very memorable.
Final day, home sweet home. We endured a 13-hour flight back to Singapore. Luckily this time, Sophie was also more manageable as she sleep almost half of the journey from Zurich to Singapore. The other half, I had no choice but to use iPad to put her in place.