As promised I’m filling you in on some of my travels this year. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I celebrated my birthday this past May with a a trip to a few cities in Italy with my family. Italy was one of the first countries that I ever visited when I was 15 years old and it will always hold a special place in my heart for being one of the most scenic and romantic places to visit.
Italy is perfect for a multi-city trip due to the fact that there are many popular cities within driving distance of each other. During this trip I managed to see several cities starting and ending in Milan, I visited Lake Como, Florence and Pisa. I’ve shared some travel planning advice in a previous post and following my own advice we were on the first flight at 7am on Saturday to arrive shortly after 10am local time due to the 1 hour time difference from London.
I decided to rent a car in order to maximize our time and comfort rather than be bound to train schedules and taxis to move from city to city. After picking up our car and driving to our hotel to drop our bags we drove as closely as we could to the center of Milan and parked the car to walk around the city. We stopped for lunch before visiting the Duomo Cathedral and browsed around the galleria and surrounding shops including a stop at the Nara Cameci store to pick up a few of my favorite Italian shirts and Sephora to restock on my favorite lip stain. We had amazing gelato nearby and walked and walked until we were satisfied that we had seen and done everything that we wanted to before grabbing dinner and returning to the hotel for an early start the next day.
We were up early for breakfast at the hotel the next day before the taking an hour and a half drive up to Lake Como. I was prepared for a beautiful lake area surrounded mountains but this place absolutely surpassed my expectations. With no particular agenda, we drove near the Villa area and spent the afternoon enjoying a leisurely lunch at a lakefront restaurant and browsing the local shops and of course more gelato. It was great family time and a day that my family nor I will soon forget.
The next day we headed out of Milan bright and early for the 3 hour drive to Florence. We stopped at the shopping outlets on the way and while I managed to keep the damage to a minimum in the Fendi store but my husband couldn’t resist purchasing 2 Italian suits. We had lunch at the rooftop Gucci café and of course more gelato and made it into the city of Florence in the late afternoon to check into our hotel and stroll around the city in search of a restaurant that would suit all of our tastes just as the sun was setting . We admired the Florence Cathedral Duomo and ironically settled on dinner at Eataly, which is a New York City favorite.
Florence is a wonderful city to walk around and felt relatively safe even at night. Shopping in Italy is unrivaled and we passed many stores that were closed thankfully or else I would have risked seriously blowing my budget. Italy is world renown for its shopping and where the best international brands meet the finest Italian leather goods and craftsmanship. Its no wonder why the finest shoes and clothes are synonymous with Italy.
We left early the following morning for the drive to Pisa where we saw the leaning tower and snapped a few photos before grabbing more gelato and heading back to Milan for the flight home. I was tempted to go and see the Keith Haring wall in Pisa but didn’t want to risk getting back to the airport late due to traffic. Driving in Italy is easy peasy on the highway but patience is required in small towns like Pisa that struggle to cope with the volume of visitors. We made it back to Milan and ultimately to London with little fanfare outside of my husband leaving his camera in the airport in Milan but fortunately he got it back in perfect condition after sweating it out for a couple of days.
Gelato was definitely the theme of the trip and Italy always delivers. This trip has inspired me to take a longer European roadtrip. What do you think? Should I plan a European roadtrip next summer?