A Week in Italy Part 2: Cinque Terre & Venice

Hopefully you read Part 1 of this blog which covered days 1-4 of my week-long trip to Italy. This is the rest of the trip which covers days 5-9. Overall, it was a little more than a week. We had one extra weekend so it was 9 days total. We started in Rome, spent a day in Florence, then went to Cinque Terre, and ended in Venice.

Venice Canals

Day 5-7: Cinque Terre

This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. We arrived late in the night by train from Florence to the last of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare. Monterroso is the only one of the five villages that has a beach and since we had planned to do some major site seeing in the other cities, we thought it would be nice to relax at the beach during the day. We did have a hard time finding a place to stay in Monterroso before the trip because there aren’t a lot of formal hotels. We took a chance on a small apartment a couple blocks back from the sea and we quickly learned that there isn’t a bad place to stay in the whole town. Our view was beautiful! The host didn’t speak a word of English but we still managed to communicate and the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. I can’t find the exact apartment we stayed in but this one, this one, and this one are similar options.

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We later heard that a lot of people rent out extra rooms in their houses for travelers and tourists and when we visited the neighboring village, we saw lots of signs advertising open rooms. If you’re feeling adventurous or plan a last-minute trip, you can give that a try!

Highlights of Cinque Terre:

  • Do the hike! Whether you want to do the whole thing over the course of a couple of days or only have time for one section, do it. When we were there, the towns had some landslides so only one section was open which happened to be from where we were staying, Monterosso to Vernazza. The hike was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced! We were hundreds of feet above sea-level and hiking through lemon and olive groves. The trails used to be the only way people could get from city to city up until about 100 years ago. It was incredible! It was difficult though. It’s not for the faint of heart so be sure to wear good walking shoes and bring bottled water.  You can also access the other towns by train if you aren’t able to do the hike!
  • Cinque Terre is known for focaccia bread and pesto. You can eat fococcia for every meal with various types of toppings and I think we did just that! They also have a local wine which is very inexpensive but delicious. Alcohol can be expensive but this was a great, affordable option.

Day 7-9: Venice*

We left Cinque Terre mid-morning by train and went to Venice. We definitely felt like we didn’t have enough time in Cinque Terre but our big trip was coming to an end and we were excited about heading to our last destination.

Venice was so magical and unique. When we pulled up at the train station, the bustling canals and Venetian architecture were grander than my imagination. We stayed in a hotel off the beaten path but it was perfect for us and the staff was very accommodating. By the end of the trip, we were pretty exhausted and were running out of steam. It was also July and very hot but we did some sight-seeing which included seeing St. Marco Square. I could have spent the whole day in the square listening to the live music.

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Highlights of Venice:

  • Make sure to get on a boat. After an interesting experience with a water taxi, we opted out of doing a boat trip to the barrier islands, Murano and Burano. In hindsight, we definitely should have gone through with it but I blamed it on the exhaustion and our funds running low. This is a must do though if you end up going to Venice!
  • Try the squid ink pasta! It’s a Venetian specialty and unlike anything else, you’ve probably ever eaten. The sauce is actually black.
  • Head to Harry’s Bar and order a Bellini. The drink originated there! The bar was also a favorite spot for Ernest Hemingway and is a staple in modern Venetian history.

*If you don’t have the extra weekend like we did, then add a night Florence and skip Venice for a perfect 7 day Italy tour.

I can’t wait to go back to Italy again. I would love to go to the Amalfi Coast or Lake Como. Guess next time I’ll just have to spend a month instead of a week! Have you been? Where do you recommend?

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