Italy Weekend Getaways

Italy – Our 5 favourite cities

May 27, 2020

Italy is one of our favourite country. We were lucky enough to visit it several times, but only once together, and it was to go to Naples, almost two years ago now.
We cannot stop exploring Italy, so many treasures to see in this beautiful country, but we have decided to show you our five favorite cities (and, what a surprise, most famous ones) with every time one masterpiece and one book, movie or show to travel there in another way (quite convenient in these locked down times…). A way for you to (re)discover the Boot and its thousand facets – which is a unified country only since 1870!

La bella Roma

No need to introduce Rome anymore. The Colosseum, the Roman forum, the Vatican, the Palatino, the Trevi fountain… and much more!
Rome is one of our favorite city in Europe. It teems with life like a capital, it shines with its treasures of yesteryear, the city offers the best dishes in the World and the language is chanting happiness.
Yes, we really love Rome.


One masterpiece ? Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne in Galleria Borghese
Bernini is Alexandra’s favorite sculptor (with Rodin, the French sculptor). Bernini was only 24 when he started his work on the sculpture and was without doubt truly gifted. The statue portrays Daphne, after her father has started to transform her to a laurel tree, to protect her from the God Appollo, who is trying to clutch her.

One movie? Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. A princess tired of her busy and very official royal schedule escapes her security for a while to discover Rome as a normal tourist. She will cross the path of an American reporter and a short but intense romance will follow between these two. Romantic and beautiful, a magical and old fasioned way to discover Rome!

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Missing Rome already

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Florence, the flower of Tuscany

Florence, the Duomo;  Cathedral
The Duomo- Cathedral of Florence

Its history has given it an artistic and architectural richness, Florence is truly the jewel of Tuscany, or even of Italy as a whole.
Start your visit on the famous Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, built in 1345. Then, head to la Piazza della Signoria – a real open museum, next to the Palazzo Vecchio, town hall of Florence.
Finally, discover one of the largest Duomo of the World, the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, an architectural wander from the 13th century.
End your day on the other bank of the Arno, Piazza Santo Spirito for the well deserved aperitivo, only with locals!

A masterpiece ? Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, in the Uffizi Gallery in the Botticelli Rooms – from mid 1480s. Famous worldwide and one of the masterpiece from the Italian Renaissance, the painting is a mythological representation of the goddess Venus emerging from the sea.

A video game ? Assassin’s Creed II. Old but gold, it showcases a conspiracy set in the pristine and brutal version of a Renaissance Italy. Its version of Florence is impressive of realism. A great way to visit Italy while we are still on lockdown, don’t you think?

Venice, Queen of the Adriatic

Venice, the city of 177 canals, 455 bridges and 123 churches. You will find there something you will see nowhere else. A timeless and magical city on the water. Formerly a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world, Venice is now the romantic tourism destination par excellence, and e understand why!
The Venetian ghetto, the Grand Canal, Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sights, the Venetian Arsenal: there is so much to see in Venice. And if you visit in February – and are not afraid of the crowd- you will have the chance to be part of the famous Venice Carnival !

The canal of Venice
The canals of Venice

A masterpiece in Venice ? For a bit of change from everything you will see in Venice, go check on the Empire of Light by René Magritte at the Penny Guggenheim collection. The painting is typical work of the artist, establishing an impossible contrast of day and night lights at the same exact moment.

A movie in Venice ? The tourist (2010) starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The thriller may not be that great, but the views of the city are splendid.

The canal of Venice
The canals of Venice

Siena

Some legends states that that the city was founded by Senio and Ascanio, nephews of Romulus, who founded Rome.
Close-by its famous and historic sister and rival Florence, Siena is definitely worth a visit while you are in Tuscany. Siena, as Florence, is a picturesque medieval city, filled with small and dark alleys as well as majestic monuments and museums.
The historic center and the heart of Sienne are a a Unesco World Heritage Site – this is the area you will find most of the site worth visiting and the most beautiful part of the city.

A masterpiece in Siena ? If you are lucky enough to visit the Duomo in Siena, you will find the Piccolomini Library inside.
The Piccolomini Library is one of the masterpiece of Pinturicchio and it was used to host precious manuscripts of the pope. It offers some of the most impressive and colourful frescoes we have ever seen. Each scene is unique, offering a complex story. If you can, visit it with a guide.

A movie in Siena? Quantum of Solace (2008). At the beginning of the moviem after a car chase, Bond drives to Siena in Tuscany. You will be able to spot many great locations of the city, such as Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Piazza del Campo or Sant’Agostino church. What a great avant-goût for your visit !

Siena - Florence little sister

Naples

In Italy, each city has its own very personal history. Naples is no exception here. Away from its reputation, owned by the mafia, dirty and dangerous, Naples is a colourful city with some great discoveries to make: visit the harbor and the port, the Castel dell’Ovo, the undergrounds which served as bunkers for the population during the WWII, the Royal Palace and the Castel Nuovo. Really, Naples is beautiful and has a lot to offer. And, don’t forget to have a pizza – Naples is a city where the famous Italian dish was invented ! For this, we recommend Sorbillo, fresh and delicious product for a very decent price, what else can we ask for ?

A masterpiece in Naples?  The sculpture Il Disinganno (1754), by Genoese sculptor Francesco Queirolo in the Sansevero Chapel. Representing an angel helping a breaking free from a net, the incredible technique and gift of the sculptor is felt in the making of the net, crying out for realism.

A book about Naples? Neapolitan Novels, the Saga written by Elena Ferrante (there is also an HBO tv show My brilliant Friend).
The story begins in the 50s in Naples and will tell the story of two young girls, growing up in a poor district, between violence and misery, from their childhood to their young age. A real social fresco interspersed with mafia and revolutionary ideals.

little fishing boats in Naples
Little fishing boats in Naples

What about you? What is your favourite cities in Italy? We’d love some new ideas for the next time we visit this beautiful destination!

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  • Reply
    Graham Crosby
    May 27, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this. Loved Rome and proposed in Venice. Both beautiful cities. Would love to go to Naples and Florence. Hopefully, we can travel again sometime soon.

    • Reply
      François
      May 29, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Wow! A proposal in Venice must have been so romantic! But same here, Italy has so much to offer, we cannot wait to go back!

  • Reply
    Travelogged blogs
    May 30, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Rome and Venice are my favorite cities in Italy too, they are simply beautiful! Thank you for sharing this post!

    • Reply
      Karl Wilson
      May 31, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      Loved this post. I really need to see more of Italy. I’ve only been to Rome so far and I loved it?

  • Reply
    Love, Em
    May 30, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    This is a lovely post. I think Italy is so beautiful, thank you for sharing these cities!

    Em x

  • Reply
    Maja's little dream
    June 1, 2020 at 8:40 am

    I can’t wait to visit Italy again. At least you gave me such a great ideas how to visit it from my home. Thank you for that 😊

  • Reply
    Emily Adventuring
    June 2, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I’ve been to Rome, Naples and Venice but I’ll definitely be adding Florence and Siena to my bucketlist! I love Italy as a country – it’s just so beautiful and full of history, as well as delicious food!

  • Reply
    John
    June 2, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    Love the format of this, from architecture to art to pop culture. I never really took to Naples, I visited on a rainy day, and found the people rude. But I plan to give it a second chance someday.

  • Reply
    Linda
    June 3, 2020 at 3:52 am

    Siena is a city that I’ve zeroed in on as definitely spending time in. Seems like a good base for other cities as well. Funny I just watched that Bond movie a couple of weeks ago….great recommendation! Rome and Florence….can’t wait to see all the sites in these places! Hopefully next year 😀

  • Reply
    Amana
    June 3, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Italy is such a beautiful country I would have a hard time choosing a favourite. But looks like you’ve got it spot on! Cinque terre is also a favourite of mine! So is Amalfi! Ugh I can’t decide haha

  • Reply
    John and Susan
    June 3, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Great post and photos.

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