Many years ago I watched the film “A Room With a View”. The film is set in Edwardian times and is about a young lady who travels to Italy with her chaperone and cousin. The film is set in Florence and after seeing the film I wanted to travel to Italy. There is something about Italy and its contrasts, gorgeous weather, busy bustling cities, quiet sleepy villages and wonderful architecture. The language itself is lyrical and you can sit in street cafes and just soak in the culture.
I visited Italy some years ago with my husband before I had my son. I have always wanted to go back and experience it again as a family. I would love to take a month out of my life and just get lost in Italy, travelling on a tight budget and really getting to know it on a more personal level. I would want to do a tour around Italy, not just stay in one place. The easiest and cheapest way to do this would be to fly into Italy and then buy an InterRail card which allows unlimited travel on trains within that country. In order to conserve our money we would bring a tent and arrange to stay at various campsites along our route. It would take a little bit of planning in advance but the weather in Italy is so nice it would not be a hardship camping. It would definitely be a family adventure to remember for years.
To start our adventure we would fly into Milan. Milan is the fashion capital of Italy and is also known for shopping. We would take some time to stroll around the Piazza del Duomo and the shops in this area.
When visiting Italy it is obligatory to visit cathedrals and Milan has a beautiful Gothic cathedral that is worth a look. Stopping for to long in a shopping city is a temptation to spend money so we would hope on the train and visit Pisa. A visit to Pisa has to take in the leaning tower.
My son has been fascinated with the leaning tower for some time and it would be lovely to take him to see it. Famous for leaning over, it was also the site of Galileo’s experiment to prove time of descent is nothing to do with mass. He dropped two objects of different masses off the side of the tower to see which reached the ground first. My son would love to try this but sadly you are no longer allowed to climb the tower. There is more to Pisa that just the tower though, the Piazza dei Miracoli or Piazza of Miracles is dominated by the cathedral, Batistry and Camposanto. The Camposanto is a graveyard known as the most beautiful in the world. If you are not keen on architecture then there is a market nearby where you can pick up souvenirs of your stay and enjoy the sun.
Any visit to Italy has to take in Florence. Everyone is familiar with the domed cathedral in the city, Santa Maria del Fiore or The Duomo, which dominates the skyline.
A bustling city which has amazing architecture and statues around every turn. The river Arno cuts though the centre with the Ponte Vecchio bridge passing over it, its ramparts filled with shops. Florence is a place to savour, filled with atmosphere. The cathedral has many famous people buried inside as well as many important art works. You will linger here for a while as there is plenty to see. It is worth a stroll round the city at night, the architecture is flood lit and the Palazzo Vecchio or the town-hall looks amazing.
There is plenty to see in Italy and we would stop off at many smaller places on our travels. Sienna would be worth a stop, especially around the time of the Palio. A horse race though the streets where the whole town gets involved flying the flags of the different districts taking part in the races. I would also love to take in Venice, my son would be amazed at the canals and watching the gondoliers at work. We would take time slowly seeing what we wanted to see and planning our route the day before. It would be an amazing adventure but all adventures have to end. What better place to end than in Rome, the capital of Italy.
A place of contrasts where busy city streets intermingle with architectural wonders like the Colosseum. It just appears as you drive though the streets and you can imagine the crowds roaring as they watched the gladiators fight.
The Vatican is also worth a visit but do take fans and water as the queues are often long and it is busy. It is worth seeing Michaelangelo’s work in the Basilica but this is only a small part of the tour. Don’t forget to visit the Trevi fountain and throw in a coin to make a wish to come back. I did the last time I was there and am hoping to return soon. Indeed it would be a wonderful adventure to tour Italy on a train with my family, taking it at leisure and soaking in the ambience.
Disclosure: This is my entry into Moneysupermarket.com’s Grand Adventure competition