3. Cinque Terre
5. Vatican City
Milan is know as the fashion capital of the world and I had heard you might see various celebrities in the fashion districts in town. The food is great of course, and you get a bit of a different flavor in this region. The Duomo and Castello Sforzesco are worth visiting. Also you can check out Santa Maria delle Grazie to view The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. (book tickets early). Otherwise, I didn’t find Milan all that great personally. If you have the time and interest, you could spend a day or two, but otherwise there are places I would put ahead of Milan.
The main reason we stopped here was to visit the nearby town of Maranello, home of Ferrari, and the Lamborghini Museum. Modena is a very lovely town in its own right and the home of the best balsamic vinegar in the world. It’s where most of it comes from, plus of course there is amazing food. The city center is restricted to avoid too many cars, so watch out for signs about traffic or you could receive a huge fine. The Ferrari museum should be booked in advance, especially if you want a tour of their track.
This charming medieval town was an optional excursion on our tour that of all the excursions offered, our tour leader recommended above all others. Both my sister and I loved it. It was our first exposure to a medieval town, and it was wonderful. Well preserved. Nicknamed the “medieval Manhattan” of Tuscany.
Wonderful food, the birth of spaghetti bolognese. Pasta here is handmade and the best I’ve ever had. There is also a leaning tower like the one in Pisa, just not as big or touristy. Kind of makes you wonder about what the architects were drinking back then when they were building…
Assisi was a short stopover for us (like an hour) to see the Basilica Papale di San Francesco Assisi and take a bathroom break on our tour. The area is very beautiful and a nice break in your trip if you have the option to stop.
Home to the famous leaning tower of Pisa which is certainly an awesome spectacle to see in person. It’s easy to get to from Florence and you basically just spend an hour or two taking funny pictures and avoiding people trying to sell you stuff.
- Water. This was my first trip to Europe and if it's yours, you should note that there is both mineral and carbonated water available. Or as they like to call it "gas" (bubbles) or "no gas" (flat). If you hate sparkling water, there is nothing worse than walking through the streets of Rome on a hot day and chugging a bottle of sparkling water without knowing it. Also you'll notice lots of fountains around town given Rome's intricate aqueduct system that runs throughout the city. I'm still not sure if the water is drinkable, but I heard it's spring water. I'd exercise caution in filling up your water bottle with it though. You can also ask for cheaper "tap" water at restaurants as opposed to bottled which was perfectly fine to drink (at least when I was there). Check with the locals and do your research though.
- Trains. It was my experience that trains in Italy are horrible and unreliable. We had a trip and purchased tickets to Naples (which apparently is not very safe) en route to the city of Pompei. Needless to say we paid extra for an express train to get there earlier that was delayed and I don't think ever came. So we were "forced" to spend another day in Rome. I know, tough life. Just be aware trains can be horribly unreliable and late, so don't make plans that require trains to get you to your destination on time.