Black Families Travel: A Tour of Italy
Black Families Travel: A Tour of Italy
We finally made it to Italia!
Exploring Italy has been an idea I tossed around in my head, and in my google search field for over 2 years. I was apprehensive at first because of the amount of time required to travel between cities. I also needed to make sure we had enough time to visit the cities on my MUST-DO List. If it is not already clear, my husband and I are both full-time employees and our son attends a small private school (he is now a 5th grader). This all means that we can’t just go when we want to go, and as my son advances, skipping school is becoming more of a challenge. BUT…… somehow, we did it! From booking on a budget to scheduling the trip during summer break, to finding affording flights after the kid’s summer swim league ended.
In this post, I’ll briefly explain our route which is based on the least amount of travel time and fare. I probably calculated 4-5 different routes; including time and cost, before settling on the route below. I hope this route and lessons learned helps you plan your next journey.
Let me start by explaining why we started in Milan??? We started in Milan because the itinerary was created by ME, after purchasing nonrefundable, round-trip tickets to Milan because they were super affordable!
Okay. Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, you‘ll understand why the route below was the most efficient. So here’s how we toured Italy in 10 days:
1st Stop: Milan
We landed in Milan around 9AM and after breakfast, we headed to the local train station, which took us to Milano Centrale train station. From Milano, we took the fast train (with prepaid tickets/online) to Venice.
Here’s a few tips:
o Buy tickets for the local train at the ticket booth after consulting a customer service rep. The kiosk did not give us the option to purchase a child ticket. Using the service counter, we were able to buy 2 adult tickets and 1 child ticket and saved a few bucks.
o The local train made several stops and it is common for some locals to board the train asking for money (Caution: They are unusually resourceful, as they may give you a poem or note, asking for money. If you accepted it, they’ll want cash)
2nd Stop: Venice
Upon arrival at the train station in Venice, we walked outside to purchase tickets for the vaporetti (the bus on water). We purchased the 48-hour pass, which allowed us to ride as much as we wanted to within 48 hours. Purchase tickets to accommodate your stay. Once onboard, park your luggage in the designated area, stand in the center and enjoy the view. Just don’t forget to validate your ticket…. It’s a MUST! The validation machines are conveniently located near the vaporetti entrance and waiting area.
3rd Stop: Florence
We made an attempt to walk to our hotel, Hotel La Scarletta. The hotel was absolutely darling! But walking became a bit of a hassle with the luggage, so we decide to stand in the cab zone and wait for a cab (a marked area on the street, next to a curb).
On our second day in Florence, my husband walked about 15 minutes to pick up a rental car- your best option for visiting Tuscany. We drove to the beautiful hills of Tuscany to tour the Castello di Veranazzo Vineyards. If you absolutely do not want to rent a car, there are several bus trips/ day tours to visit the most popular vineyards in Tuscany.
4th Stop: Rome
Our stop in Rome included 2 nights as well. We conveniently checked into a hotel about a 3 minute walk from the train station. While in Rome, we use the metro to visit some of Rome’s most famous landmarks and museums. Initially we purchased three 24-hour train passes at a newspaper stand in the train station. However, we quickly learned that we were not required to purchase a ticket for our son, which was under 10. So, remember to at least inquire about purchasing a child’s ticket first. A police officer near the turnstyle filled us in. I hope that the clerk charged us for 3 passes because she assumed my son was older than 10. But who knows? You could also use the ticket machine, which can get crowded quick, and the locales are impatient.
5th Stop: Naples/ Sorrento
From Rome, we hopped back on the fast train for an hour-long train ride to Naples. When we arrived in Naples, we were greeted by Eduardo of Eduardo Shore Excursions. He grabbed our luggage and we made our way to Sorrento by car, which was about 50 minutes. He stopped so that we could enjoy the beautiful view from the hills, as we made our way up to our cozy hotel, Hotel Astoria- Sorrento.
6th Stop: Capri
With Eduardo Shore Excursions hosting for the day, we were transported from our hotel to the Sorrento Marina for a private tour of the beautiful island of Capri. On the island, we took the bus up to the top for shopping and gelato. After a great day on the water, sailing, and touring the island by foot and bus, we were transported back to our hotel in Sorrento.
7th Stop: Milan
After a lengthy train ride from Naples to Milan, we were back at point A again. We checked into a hotel in Milan before flying back home the next day. That evening we stepped out to enjoy one last Italian meal. An awesome dinner at Dry Milano. The next morning, we took an Uber to the airport, instead of taking the local train as we had when we arrived.
This trip included lots of travel, approximately 12 hours total by train, but even that was filled with beautiful sites and adventures. I was grateful for the time we spent on the train, as it allowed us to recuperate and reflect on our experiences in each city. The fast trains are FAST, affordable, clean and easy to navigate.