Italian Summer Vacation Series: Island of Murano

pinterest murano 1Today we’re talking Murano! This amazing little island is the first stop on your boat tour from Venice. If you missed Monday’s article, check it out here to see the other island of Burano with its stunning rainbow colored houses.
Murano may not have all the colors like Burano does but, it has so much character!

murano Once on the island after the 40 minute ride from the main island of Venice, the first stop is right into a glass blowing workshop where you’ll get to see a professional create two beautiful works of art. I was way more impressed than I thought I would be watching how quickly and precisely he could mold these glass shapes!!DSCN3720DSCN3721Murano is known for its glass blowing so you’ll find quite a few glass souvenir shops as well as a few large glass sculptures while wandering the island. DSCN3750Besides the glass, the terra cotta colors of all the buildings and the flowers decorating each window show just how much character and beauty this little town has to offer. I loved being able to wander the streets and come across sights such as the crisp, white laundry hanging out to dry. The atmosphere and lifestyle here felt so relaxed, exactly how you might imagine an Italian village in summer time to feel. DSCN3725murano shirtsDSCN3731The building below was my favorite house to photograph. The shape, colors, and all the flowers made it irresistible 🙂murano buildingDSCN3745The half day trip to Murano and Burano were so worth it! I think I took more photos here than I did in all of Venice. If you are planning a few days in Venice for your next Italy trip, make sure to save one morning to go out and visit these islands. We booked our tour through Viator ahead of time but you can also just take a walk along Riva deli Schiavoni at the waters front from St. Marks Square heading toward the Victor Emmanuel II statue and sign up with one of the tour stands there. You won’t regret it!

Next week we’ll be hopping over to the fashion capital of Italy to share with you our perfect One Day Itinerary for sight seeing in Milan!

 

Italian Summer Vacation Series: Island of Burano

pinterest burano 1When spending a few days in Venice, one of the best day trips to make is to the lesser known islands of Murano and Burano. The first island I want to share today is Burano. This island is an Instagrammer’s dream to photograph! All the colors!!!! Riding up to the dock with the tour boat, I could start to see all the little houses each a different and brightly painted color. Then you realize the entire island is a maze of beautiful alleys and pathways covered with unique and rainbow colored homes. It would be very easy to get lost just wandering through, admiring each street that you came upon.DSCN3783DSCN3809DSCN3796DSCN3808HOW TO GET THERE: The best way to see Burano is with a half day boat island tour starting from the Venice main island near St. Marks Square. We chose a tour through Viator for $40 per person. The tour includes both a stop at Murano and Burano and leaves plenty of exploring time on both islands. The ride takes about 40 minutes from Venice and you’ll get to see a few interesting sights along the way. When nearing Burano, you’ll be able to see it’s leaning bell tower that has been there since 1704. DSCN3761Once on the island, there is also plenty of time to take a break and stop for an Italian pizza lunch with Bellinis(peach deliciousness!).  DSCN3847 copyDSCN3767DSCN3832
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We ended up having a cloudy and rainy day while there (end of May the weather tends to be a toss up near Venice) but, even so, it was still one of the most stunning and unique places I have ever photographed. Plus, with fewer people outside, I think the photos turned out even better! This quaint fishing town, now home to quite a few tourist shops as well, was an absolute must for me on my Venice bucket list. 🙂
DSCN3762 Wednesday we’ll be continuing the Venice island tour and heading onto Murano! Check back then to see all the stunning views of this beautiful island known for its glass blowing!

Italian Summer Vacation Series: 1 Day Itinerary for Milan

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After a little break, today we are moving eastward through Italy and giving you an amazing and jam packed one day itinerary for sight seeing in Milan. Milan is a beautiful metropolitan city full of beautiful architecture, delicious espresso, and amazing shopping. The major sights can easily be seen in a one day walking route but, there are also city buses that can easily get you around from place to place.

MORNING:
Getting an early start for Milan sight seeing has its advantages. The place that all the tourists want to see is Piazza del duomo where the Milan Cathedral is. This means as of noon, this place is packed!

Cathedral duomo MilanDSCN3575 2Near the Cathedral is the Victor Emanuel Gallery (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II) which is a beautiful sight to walk through and is lined with luxury shopping the whole way through. DSCN3582Victor Emanuel Gallery MilanGiorgio Armani MilanDSCN3589Once out on the other side, you’ll come to the monument of Leonardo da Vinci which is an amazing sight in itself to see. Leonardo da Vinci sculpture milanAFTERNOON:
After taking a lunch break, the best place to walk to is the Sforza Castle. You can take a leisurely walk through the whole grounds and also see some classic artworks and sculptures. Once through, you’ll be in the Parco Sempione, the largest city park in Milan. We had a beautiful sunny day so spending time here was the perfect way to use the afternoon. At the other end, you’ll come to the famous arch, Arco della Place which is a perfect spot for a few nice photos.Sforza Castle MilanArco della Place MilanDSCN3634EVENING:
Before heading off to dinner, take a stroll through the shopping district and indulge a bit or just browse the windows. The best part is walking through all the narrow side streets in awe of how beautiful they can be. There are also some larger architectural sights to be seen in this area as well. Narrow street MilanGenerali BuildingJust to give you a map view of where this full day route takes you, starting from the Cathedral(duomo) walking through the park and then back through the shopping district, you will only have to walk a total of one hour. Wednesday we’ll be heading south and making a stop at the historical ruins of Pompeii! Check back to find out all about spending a day exploring this amazing site.

If you missed the latest articles about the islands of Venice, find them here!
Italian Summer Vacation Series: Island of Murano
Italian Summer Vacation Series: Island of Burano

 

Italian Summer Vacation Series: A Gondola Ride in Venice

Venice has made its way to the top of my list for most romantic city in Europe. Its not hard to see why. Getting lost for an evening walking along the canals with Chris was the most romantic time we’ve ever had. When most people think of Venice, the iconic and most romantic thing to do there is to hop on a gondola and be chauffeured through the narrow canals while you sit back and relax.
However, gondola rides have now become one of the most popular tourist activity to do there and therefore have become quite costly. So the question a lot of people ask is, “is it worth it?” Is it really that memorable or is it just a hype and now a way to get tourist’s money?
A thirty minute ride will cost you 80 euros. So yes, that can seem like a pretty penny for only a half hour especially for everyone trying to travel on a budget. However, many people are only lucky enough to go to Venice once or maaaaaybe twice in a lifetime. That being said, maybe just a stroll along the canals are memorable enough but, for us, a gondola ride was a once in a lifetime experience and totally worth every cent!Venice Canal
Venice GondolaVenice gondolaIt poured rain for about an hour before we wanted to go and just as we saw the sun peeking out, we saw our perfect gondola waiting right in front of us.
My best suggestion for the full experience, grab a bottle of peach bellini (or whatever sparkling drink you prefer) at a corner store and take it with for the ride. 🙂 Most of the rides start in the narrower canals and go through the quiet areas first, then move out onto the grand canal for a bigger and better view. Venice Grand Canal
venice gondolaVenice canalI was so relaxed by the end of the ride and the coolest part is we had seen Venice from a whole new perspective.
So if you have been wondering if you should hop aboard a gondola on your trip to Venice, I say do it! It When in Venice, right?

Share your gondola ride story below!

Check back Monday to find out how to spend an afternoon on Venice’s islands Murano and Burano!

 

Italian Summer Vacation Series: Top Sights to see in Venice

Last summer, I fell in love with Venice. Its not hard to while getting lost in the beautiful narrow streets and being awed by the old buildings built right up to the waters edge. Plus, the over indulgence in gelato and bellini’s didn’t hurt :). This romantic city has so much to offer any traveler and started off our trip through Italy with one of the most memorable weekends ever!
One way to go about getting the most out of your trip is to ditch the map and just go! Take a day or evening to forget about making a schedule and just wander along the canals. Follow your nose for somewhere to eat, take the perfect photo, and give yourself permission to slow down and take it all in.
But after all that, there still are a few amazing sights you’ll want to make sure you see. I’ve listed my top 9 sights that are worth seeing at least once in a lifetime when in Venice.

1. Grand Canal

The grand canal will be your first encounter with Venice after coming over the bridge either with a train or bus from the airport. The Vaporettos (public transport boats) are easy to find and buy tickets for at Piazzale Roma or Ferrovia stop and will take you all the way along the grand canal.
In the first moments already, I felt like I was in a painting, everything felt so surreal. The turquoise blue water splashed around the other boats cruising along next to us, and the red rooftops covered the horizon. My favorites were the shiny wooden boats and of course, the intricate gondolas that lined the edges all along the canal. Vencice Grand CanalVenice Canal

2. Rialto Bridge
Rialto bridge venice

Halfway along your grand canal Vaporetto ride, you’ll come to the famous Rialto bridge. Unfortunately while we were there it was a bit under construction so large billboards covered it up but, it is still a beautiful sight to see.

3. St. Marks Square

To end your first Vaporetto ride, you can get off at St. Marks square and start to explore from there. This is where most of the major sights are located and its a beautiful place to take a few photos.

4. Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower)

Right inside the square, the first major sight we came to was the clock tower. Talk about your stunning Italian architecture. 🙂

5. St. Marks BasilicaVenice BasilicaSt Marks Cathedral Venice

Anywhere in St. Marks Square is the perfect place to take a Venice selfie but, my favorite sight there is St. Mark’s Basilica. This gorgeous building has so much detail and history. It is also worth it to take a walk through the inside and really experience this amazing sight.

6. Doge’s PalaceDoges Palace Venice

While we didn’t have time to go inside, Doge’s Palace makes for some amazing photos, especially at sunrise!

7. Campanile Bell TowerVenice square

To get the best view, make your way to the Campanile tower across from St. Marks Basillica. You can take an elevator up to the top and have a 360 degree view over Venice.
Venice ViewVenice Viewvenice cathedral

8. Santa Maria della Salute Basilica

This beautiful building was the setting for many Venice street painters sitting across the canal, sketching the incredible shape. I loved this building and tried to take as many photos of it as I could 🙂

9.The Church of San MoisèVenice Church

When strolling through the narrow alleys, tucked away you may come across this astonishing church. Just another example of how amazing the Italian architecture is.

Share your favorite Venice sight below!

Stay tuned Wednesday for a look into a gondola ride!

Italian Summer Vacation Series: Perfect Packing List

Welcome to the first week of the Italian Summer Vacation Series! I can already see us walking through the colorful streets of Burano, eating gelato in Rome, and relaxing sea side in Positano. But, first things first. What do we need to pack!? If you are planning your first trip to Italy, this is a great checklist to have (Plus I just love the little things that help keep me organized).

We decided to travel through Italy Backpacker style. It was really convenient not to have to haul big luggages around when trying to catch a train or bus to the next destination.
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Download the checklist below, print it out, and get excited for your trip! The weather ranges a bit from northern to southern Italy, so even when planning for summer, you’ll still have to pack a few things for cooler and possibly rainy weather in the north and also beach dresses and bikinis for when you head south towards the Amalfi coast.

Perfect Packing List Italy

Monday we’ll be starting off our trip with a visit to Venice! Check back then to find out where all the best sights are 🙂

Ciao!
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Italian Summer Vacation Series: Intro

Buongiorno!! I am so excited to share this next series with you as traveling through Italy was my favorite summer trip last year. It was so amazing, that we are going back this year for double the time and road tripping through all new cities! But to start off, over the next eight weeks I’m going to get you all ready for your own Italian vacation. From planning and prepping, to destinations, delicious dishes, sightseeing and adventure activities, we’ve got it all! Italy is perfect for a summer destination, a place to show off a bit of your beach bikini style as well as fashion city style! It is also a very relaxed country in general which makes travel easy to enjoy.

Here is a preview of whats to come in the next weeks:

Venice
veniceBurano, Murano
burano italianMilan
Milan Italian adventureAmalfi Coast
Amalfi coast italian adventurePositano
Positano italian adventureCapri
Capri Italian adventuresPompeii
pompeii italian adventureRome
Rome italian adventure

So get excited! We’ll also be sharing favorite summer travel accessories, must have items for your Italian trip, plus amazing photos to inspire some serious wanderlust 🙂 And as a bonus we have created a Perfect Packing List specifically for Italy for you to download and use. Look for it in the travel prep article coming out Wednesday. But the best part, at the end of the series, we’ll be doing a GIVEAWAY that will include the Italian Summer Vacation Series: Part 1 Ebook! Then later this summer we’ll be jetting off (or rather driving the German Autobahn) towards that next Italian Roadtrip to create Italian Vacation Series Part 2 just for you!!

Stay tuned on Mondays and Wednesdays! The adventure is about to begin 🙂

And don’t forget to share this article to get your girls or man in on a summer vacay to Italy!

 

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