Welcome to Part II of our travel guide from our two weeks spent in Italy. In case you missed Part I, you can find it here and read all about our time in Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Montepulciano.
Day 7 \\ Wake up in Florence and walk the ten minutes from Hotel Rapallo to the Santa Maria Novella Train Station and take the high speed train from Florence to Rome. To be guaranteed a seat on your journey, make sure you book your tickets at least a day in advance (We always used the trenitalia website. Everyone will tell you to make sure you validate your tickets before getting on the train, but if you’ve bought an electronic ticket beforehand this is unnecessary and you just need to show them the code). Once in Rome, walk the five minutes to iQ Hotel Roma. Freshen up briefly in your room before heading out to the Colosseum (buy your tickets beforehand – they’re good for any day of the year, at any time). Stop on your way at L’Archetto di Cavour for some pizza. Afterward, take your time exploring this grandiose wonder (probably between one and half or two hours). Head out of the Colosseum and stop at the Arch of Constantine before making your way to the Circus Maximus. Head back towards the Colosseum, and stop at Palatine Hill or make your way back to the hotel if you’re tired, stopping in a few of the souvenir shops on your way. Before dinner, head to the hotel’s rooftop bar for your complementary prosecco. As the sun begins setting, walk over to the Trevi Fountain. It will be crowded, but no where near as badly as it is during the day. Maneuver into a spot up front and throw a coin into the fountain (right hand over the left shoulder), that way you’re guaranteed to return to Rome in the future. Head to dinner and afterward, make your way back down to the Colosseum. Stop in one of the markets on your way and grab a beer or prosecco to take with you. Once there, sit on the bridge, enjoy your beverage and admiring the illuminated Colosseum.
Day 8 \\ This is going to be an early morning, as you’ve made reservations for the earliest time slot to enter the Vatican. Make sure you’ve reviewed the dress code before you go! Have the hotel call you a cab, then head over around 7:30 – 7:45 am. Get dropped off at St. Peter’s Basilica, so you can truly enjoy the piazza and the view of the Basilica before everyone arrives for the day. Then walk the half mile to the entrance of the Vatican Museum. The closer you get to the entrance, the more chaotic everything is going to be. If you’re meeting a tour group, find them at the designated location. Otherwise, make your way directly to the front, because you were smart and made your reservation ahead of time. Once inside, take your time in the different museums (it will be very crowded) before ending in the Sistine Chapel. Afterward, you can either wait in line to get into the Basilica (it will wrap around the piazza at this point in the day), or head across the street to the Castel Sant’Angelo for some of the most spectacular views of Vatican City and Rome. Grab a taxi from the taxi stand to head back to your hotel to put on something more comfortable for the mid-afternoon heat. Walk over to the Pantheon, stopping for lunch on your way outside of any main piazza. After enjoying the Pantheon (entry is free), stop for a drink in the main piazza and sit outside marveling at its beauty over a glass of wine. Head back to your hotel for a quick refresh. Then head to Hotel Forum for dinner and drinks on the rooftop as the sun sets. Afterward, head back to the hotel – it’s been a long day and you deserve an early night!
Day 9 \\ Get up and get going so you can make your way to Positano! Head back to the train station and take the high speed train from Rome to Naples. Once in Naples, your pre-arranged driver will meet you to take you to Positano (there are other ways to get to Positano using public transit, but we both agreed hiring a car was by far the smartest thing we did the entire trip. Partly because of the distance between Naples and Positano and partly because of our luggage.) Enjoy the drive into the city, but be wary if you’re prone to car sickness. Stay at Hotel Villa Rosa in the standard sea view room. Take a few minutes to marvel at the view from your balcony – it will take your breath away. Then have the hotel make you a reservation at Caffe Positano. This will guarantee you have the best seat in the house, overlooking the sea as you enjoy antipastos. Order a limoncello spritzer, but be careful – they are dangerous. After your light lunch, walk back to the hotel, stopping in some of the shops on your way. For dinner, head down to the beach and eat at Le Tre Sorelle.
Day 10 \\ You have been going nonstop for nine days, so today is your day to relax! Wake up and enjoy breakfast provided by your hotel on your private terrace. Then head down to reserve a lawn chair on the pebble beach. The first two rows are more expensive, but the third row is only 12 euro per chair for the entire day. Take a dip in the icey water to cool off, then order a beer or a wine from Il Capitano (the most delightful man who takes care of the beach chairs and guests). Have lunch at Chez Black, just a little ways down the beach. After you’ve had your fill of sun for the day, head up and get ready for dinner at La Tagliata. Your hotel will arrange for the shuttle from La Tagliata to come and pick you up. There is no menu here, but no worries, the food is amazing and the views are even better. You’re greeted by the owner, and you’ll enjoy the freshest, most delicious antipasto, pasta, meat, dessert, and wine while overlooking Positano. Take the shuttle back to the hotel at the end of the meal and enjoy any leftover wine on the hotel terrace.
Amalfi & Positano
Day 11 \\ Take the 10:00 am ferry to Amalfi and enjoy the morning and early afternoon exploring another part of the Amalfi Coast. Pre-book a lemon tour to learn more about this local beauty and how limoncello is made. Have lunch at one of the restaurants along the beach before catching the 2:00 pm ferry back. Once back in Positano, do some more shopping on the way back to the hotel. Have an early dinner at Da Constantino, up in the cliff side. This way you can admire Positano while it’s still light, and enjoy the sunset. Take your time, there’s no rush here and they have the most delicious fresh fish!
Day 12 \\ Book your ferry tickets to and from Capri a day in advance, and take the 9:15 am ferry to Capri. Spend the morning walking around, exploring, and getting lost on the island. Head up to the city center, either by walking (about 20 minutes uphill) or taking the tram (about 3 minutes). Once in the city center, find a spot with spectacular views for lunch, like Ristorante al Capri. You’ll overlook Vesuvius while enjoying pizza and wine. After lunch, take the tram back down to the port. Purchase some beer and wine to prepare for you boat tour with Gianni’s Boats (this is probably one of the highlights of the whole trip). Take the three hour private tour, go into the Blue Grotto, swim in the Green Grotto, and see all the amazing sites of Capri, the way they were meant to be seen. Afterward, take the ferry back to Positano. Grab a take-away pizza and dessert, head back to your hotel, and enjoy your final night on your hotel balcony, taking in the views one last time.
Day 13 \\ Travel back to Naples and take the train from Naples to Milan. When in Milan, take a taxi or the train to the Malpensa airport. Stay at a hotel near the airport and rest up before you leave the next day. Reminisce on the fun you had and promise to return one day. (Note: if I did this over again, I would have flown out of Naples and had an extra day to spend in Positano to explore Ravello. It was cheaper to fly in and out of the same airport, but after spending two full days to travel back, I would say it was definitely not worth what we saved. But, hindsight is 20/20.)