Italy Part 1: Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence

I’m switching things up today. I don’t have a recipe to share with you, but lots of pictures from Italy instead! I will also be sharing the second half of my trip next week – so get ready for more pictures of gelato. #sorrynotsorry


Our first stop was Venice. Getting to our Airbnb was a little difficult with the language barrier and our unfamiliarity with the city, but we ultimately found it – right by the Rialto Bridge! With only one full day, we did all that we could to pack in all the sights – outdoor markets, Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Correr Museum, and of course a gondola ride. I also ate gelato two times on the day we arrived… and we arrived after lunch. Oops!


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Cinque Terre

After Venice, we took 3 trains to ultimately end up in Levanto. Levanto is a small town just north of the Cinque Terre and it was great to be away from the craziness of the five towns. Because we were there in early October, we were technically there during peak season and it showed. I just cannot imagine what it would have been like in the summer! We stayed in a little bed and breakfast and were greeted each morning with croissants, espresso, and as much Nutella as I wanted. (Read: too much… I ate too much Nutella.)

On our first full day (also our wedding anniversary!) we hiked two legs of the trail – from Monterosso to Vernazza and then Vernazza to Corniglia – and were totally beat. I rarely have days where I feel like I need to eat otherwise I will pass out, but this was one of those days. We ate something in every single town – pizza in Vernazza (which essentially was foccacia with toppings), gelato in Corniglia (The BEST gelato of the entire trip! I had lime-basil and olive oil.), takeaway fried calamari in Manarola, and another piece of pizza in Riomaggiore. Pat woke up the next morning with heat stroke and a sore throat, so I took to exploring by myself. We ended up having a picnic on the beach and swimming in the Mediterranean. The Cinque Terre was absolutely breathtaking.



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Our next stop was Florence and it only took us another three trains to get there! Only three trains… can you sense my sarcasm? At this point, I was really starting to dread lugging my luggage up and down those train station steps. We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb on the south side of the Arno River, which was the best decision – it was less touristy and had the restaurants “where the locals ate”.

Again, our days were jam packed and we did our best to fit everything in. We toured the Boboli Garden, hiked to the top of the Duomo, ate pizza, visited Santa Croce Basilica (where Galileo and Dante are buried!), ate gelato, did some shopping in the leather markets, ate more gelato, saw the David at the Accademia, and spent an entire day in Tuscany.

Our day trip to Tuscany was focused on Chianti Classico. We toured three wineries and sampled multiple Chiantis at each. And we had the most incredible lunch – five kinds of crostini, homemade pasta with a fresh tomato sauce, four kinds of meat with roasted potatoes, and a salad. Needless to say, we cancelled our dinner reservations that night!

Florence was my favorite city on our whole trip – it was small enough that you could walk almost anywhere in 25 minutes, had incredible food and shopping, and was rich with history.



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Next week I’ll be sharing our other two stops in Italy – Rome and Positano! Ciao!


14 thoughts on “Italy Part 1: Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence

  1. Jamie | A Sassy Spoon

    Omg, I love travel posts! I went to Florence and Rome two years ago and, Florence was my FAVE too! Wasn’t the food just perfect? Sigh. I wanna go back and see Venice!

    1. Ellie Post author

      Oh my gosh, the food was incredible! I ate so so much bread, pizza, pasta, and wine. Definitely craved the greens when I got back but it was so good!

  2. Chrissa - Physical Kitchness

    OH MY. We went to Cinque Terre a few years and your pics make me soooooo anxious to go back someday. SIGH. Such a dream!!!

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  4. Ashley

    Hi! I’m really enjoying your blog (I found it in a search for our recent Italy trip coming up in Early October. I’m torn with only 8 days there on whether we should include an overnight or two to Cinque Terre or just a day trip. So far we’ve got 2 night in Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome (we are flying in and out of Venice). If you don’t mind me asking, did you enjoy so many locations or was it better in hindsight to stay longer than 2 nights at each place with the luggage and train travel? Thank you!

    1. Ellie Post author

      Hi Ashley! I absolutely LOVED the Cinque Terre, but I think it would be better to do a day trip given your time. I was in Italy for 18 days and did 5 cities (those you listed and Positano) and felt that it was too much travel with luggage and trains. You can totally do a day trip and hike or take a train between the 5 towns!

      xo, Ellie

  5. Jenny

    Hi Ellie, thank you so much for this post. My sisters and I are planning a trip to these three places. We are thinking of five days in Florence and taking a day trip to Venice from Florence so we don’t have to worry about lugging our stuff to Venice. And then spending five days in Cinque Terre. In your experience is that too long in Cinque Terre? And which village would you recommend staying in? Thank you so much!

    1. Ellie Post author

      Hi Jenny! I am THRILLED for you and this trip! I loved Italy so much and Florence and the Cinque Terre were my two favorite stops of the five we did. I don’t think 5 days is too long, especially if you are planning on hiking. You can take a day or two to hike and then have the other days exploring the towns or being on the water! But, you could also do it in less time (we did 3 days) if you wanted. We staying in Levanto which is the town just north of the five. I loved being in a quieter, less touristy spot! I cannot comment on which town would be best, but I loved Levanto. Enjoy the trip!!

  6. Martha Gracia

    Hi Ellie,
    My family and I are visiting Italy this summer to meet for the first time my husband’s Italian side of the family located in Asti. We are planning to stay in Zurich 2 days and take a train to Venice. We have 3 days to go explore other cities before we head to Milan and Asti to meet up with my husband’s family. Would you recommend that we try going to Florence and Cinque de Terre, or should we stay closer and go to Bologna, Parmo and up to Milan? Your suggestions are much appreciated.
    Best regards,


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