Italy, a place I have always wanted to go! From its amazing culture, building’s, history and fantastic cuisine, Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
In June 2016, my boyfriend decided to take me to Tuscany to celebrate me turning quarter of a century. Whilst he paid, I planned all of the must see places we could visit whilst we were there.
Admittedly we do love a beach holiday and decided we would stay in an Italian costal town called Viareggio. We also chose this coastal town due to its train station as it seemed to get us to where we wanted to go without a million changes!
As we were only in Italy for five nights we decided to do two days at the beach and two days exploring. We visited Florence and Manarola (Cinque Terre).
Location – Viareggio is 30-minute drive from Pisa airport and about the same distance from Lucca (both around 30 miles). I would advise pre-booking a taxi or transportation from the airport as we found a lot of que jumping and were charged €100! On our return to Pisa Airport, we booked a taxi at our hotel reception which cost us €65.
Beach – Viareggio has a long stretch of beach, some is private and some public. We stayed on the Private parts which were ran by hotels. We paid €8 each for a bed and umbrella which you can negotiate.
Food & Drink – Along the strip there is a large selection of restaurants, bars, cafes and ice-cream shops which was my idea of heaven! The coffee and pastries in the morning were so tasty and lunch would always be pizza (the Italians really do make the best pizza).
In the evenings, again the food and the choice along the strip is brilliant but I would recommend trying the side streets. One night, (which was a Saturday) there was a street festival which meant all the bars and restaurants were full. We managed to stumble across a family ran restaurant and had the most beautiful pizza and pasta.
Hotels – We stayed in cute 4-star boutique hotel at the very end of the Strip called Hotel Residence Esplanade http://www.hotelresidenceesplanade.it/it/index.html
I would recommend as great place to stay as it’s a short walk to the beach and we enjoyed the walk to the bottom of the strip every morning after breakfast. It cost just under £400 GBP for five nights.
We left from Viareggio early in the morning at catch the train into Florence. Train tickets were surprisingly cheap costing €9.60 each and the journey was just over 1 hour 30 minutes.
In a nut shell Florence is up there with one of the most beautiful Cities I have visited and caters for all. Brilliant if you want to see historic buildings, art and experience culture. It has a large variety of shops from a market, to high street and designer names. There are plenty of restaurants where you can eat and drink indoor or outdoor, cafes and pubs.
Comments – I found it really easy to get around without getting lost and made it back to the train station with ease (even after a few prosecco’s). I would also make sure you have plenty of money as it is pretty expensive!
Manarola (Cinque Terre)
Anyone who visits Tuscany has to go to the beautiful Cinque Terre. They are clutters of stunning little coastal villages with multi-coloured houses surrounded by the dark blue Ligurian coast.
Travelling from Viareggio its around about a 2-hour journey in total and 1 change over at La Spezia. Once you arrive a La Spezia there is a train that will take you to towns starting with Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, and the town of Levanto, in that order.
The trains are quite frequent and take about 10 minutes to each town.
We only ventured to Manarola as we ended up taking a swim and filling our stomachs with Italian breads, meats and cheeses! After that, a lie down was the only thing on my mind.
If you go to Manarola I would recommend eating at Nessun Dorma Cinque Terreit
has the best views of the tows and ocean plus the food was great!