After Austria, Neala and I headed to Italy, where we are spending the remainder of our trip. We decided to spend 6 days in Venice, and 2 days in Cinque Terre.
Neala and I have been to Venice before, and it was our favorite city on our Italy trip in 2012. We decided to spend so long in Venice because the last time we visited we were pretty young and didn’t get to go out and do things we wanted to do.
Unfortunately when we were in Venice this time it was about 93-98 degrees every day.
The combination of the heat and the fact that Neala and I have been traveling for so long made it so that we were pretty burned out for a lot of the time we spent in Venice. We still went out to the island and did things every day, we just weren’t able to last very long outside. Regardless of the heat, we still had a fantastic time.
One of my favorite days in Venice was the last day we spent there. By that point we knew the city very well, had mastered the train station and schedule, and didn’t need a map to get around.
A few days back, when taking a water taxi, I had seen an area of Venice that looked like a park, and so we decided to explore it on the last day.
On the walk there, which took us over the Rialto and across Piazza San Marco, there was an overwhelming amount of tourists. I felt very claustrophobic, and it made me appreciate the smaller, less touristy towns we had been to previously.
However, after getting only a few hundred yards away from the square, there were almost no tourists; just a vast empty stretch of sidewalk along the ocean, with some of the most beautiful sights of Venice I had seen so far. The path led us to a beautiful park with grass and rows of thin, wispy trees.
This experience solidified my belief that the best way to discover a city is by merely walking around, without a particular destination in mind. The best experiences have come my way by walking around without a set plan, and I feel as if I really get to know a city by the time I leave.
After Venice, we headed to the west coast of Italy to visit Cinque Terre, a chain of five small towns on the seaside.
During our brief period in Cinque Terre, both Neala and I agree we had the best day of our entire trip. We had heard from other people and internet searches about a popular hike between the five towns and decided that we were interested in doing it.
At 9:30am, we got a shuttle to the first town, and then took a train over to the last city where we began our hike.
We started down at sea level and climbed several hundred feet up the sides of the hills along the seaside. Despite it being about 95 degrees and sunny, the hike was spectacular.
We experienced some pretty incredible views of the cities from up above, and looking across the ocean it was impossible to tell where the water ended and the sky started.
After two hours of hiking, we stopped in the second town for a swim and lunch. This town, Vernazza, was the most beautiful in my opinion. The pink, yellow, and orange pastel colors of the buildings contrasted with the bright turquoise of the sea; Vernazza has easily made my top 10 favorite cities list.
Two more hours of hiking brought us back to Riomaggore. Ending an exhausting 12 hours later, we watched the sunset on the rocks by the ocean.
If I had to recommend one place in Italy to visit, it would be Cinque Terre, hands down.
While it is still touristy, for obvious reasons, it is a lot less touristy than many of the other places we have visited. It didn’t feel too overcrowded to me, which I really appreciated.
The hike was relatively easy but requires some base level of fitness as it is a lot of uphill and stairs. Even though it is a small chain of towns with not necessarily “a lot to do,” I could see myself going here again someday.