Exploring Italy … (Pisa, Florence, Sorrento, Pompeii)

Me and a friend needed a holiday as we were working way to hard and both needed to use annual leave. I really wanted to go to Florence and he really wanted to visit Pompeii. So we combined to two and made a plan to do both.

All by public transport – bus and trains only

Trip Advisor links need …

Travelled August 2013

Pisa day

Arrived into Pisa Airport and managed to catch a bus to  Pisa . There are enough tourist information desks to help you out at the airport. Also it helps to have a GPS device, so even if it’s just on our phone, you can track you progress if you are heading in the right direction. We hopped off the bus and started wandering around trying to find the hostel we were staying at close to the Pisa tower. We dumped our bags and head to the tower. Let the selfies begin… It’s actually quite fascinating just watching the other tourist and getting inspiration for your picture.

As standard in Italy there are alot of people trying to force you into buying tourist crap but the police are generally pretty good at keeping it under control.

P1090289You really don’t have to spend too long in Pisa. I am sure there was more to see but we ticked off Pisa had a great meal/snacks of wine, cheese and ham at L’Ostellino tiny little place off just off from the tower.

Travel day

We packed up and headed to the train station again by bus not sure how we found it.

We have previously booked the train online from Pisa to Florence but beware to must timestamp your ticket on the platform. We unfortunately had to pay a charge for not but we pledged innocence and speaking no italian helped luckily some nice italian onboard translated what we had done.

The train journey was only 30mins-1hr and it’s always nice to see out of the tourist hotspots.

We arrived in Florence train station and walked from the station to the Hotel Santa Croce.

We explored city a little and planned the next couple of days in florence.

Day 1- Florence

We queued up for the Duomo- Cathedral of Santa Maria not only is it a very impressive cathedral it also has the most stunning view of the city. I would have stayed up there all day if I could have.

P1090293P1090294We got lunch at one of the best sandwich places in town La Prosciutteria. We got there just before the queues beware that the restaurant is on both sides of the street. Unfortunately we asked them to just creat something for us which ended up having alot of truffle oil and I am not a great fan.

We wandered around the Piazza della Signoria which has the Fountain of Neptune and crossed over the famous Ponte Vecchio. We then walked up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo which is the other best view of Florence worth watching the sun go down from here.

On the way back over the river we stopped off at an Italian supermarket grabbed some food and beer and sat on the fair bridge overlooking the famous bridge and took some watery night pictures.

On the way back we also went into the building just off the Piazza della Signoria next to the metal statue of David.

Day 2 – Florence

This morning we visited the Basilica di Santa Croce which is a beautiful church with the graves of some of our most famous thinkers Michelangelo. Will worth a visit to see the architecture and finely. Also worth a visit if you have the time is the market just to have a look.

Pitta Palace

We had a bit of extra time so we explore the Pitta Palace ground (Boboli gardens) after doing the Galleries and Churches we decided not to go inside.

Day  –  Florence

So the FAMOUS GALLERIES

The two art galleries you must see is the Uffizi and the Accademia .

The Uffizi is worth booking in advance but we managed to do the Accademia without booking. i would plan your trip around these timeslots you get for the galleries because you don’t want to miss out. I would ask your hotel what they recommend they can often ring and book a timeslot for you. Otherwise be prepared to queue my advice would be to go off-peak to later afternoon or lunch when they don’t have coach tours.

The Uffizi has two of Botticelli’s most famous pieces – The birth of Venus and Primavera and the Accademia has the most statue of Michelangelo’s David and tell you how he was built.

Travel to Sorrento day

We left Florence and headed to the train station to catch our 3 hour train to Naples. From Naples we then took the local train around the Sorrento. Let just say the train ride you must have your wits about you and not look like a massive tourist. Once you get out of Naples and closer to Sorrento its fine on the train. The train can we carried on using to get to Pompeii and the other archeological sights.

We then caught the bus up to our hotel (La Badia) on the hillside to have the most amazing view waiting. (Again GPS told us which stop to just out at). Nice place great views and quiet would recommend for the older generation but its walking distance down into town with a healthy walk back up the slope.

Island of Capri

Capri is a very posh island full of rich tourists and italian. Worth a visit I wish I had treated myself to a night on the island. We went on a quite a dark day but it was still beautiful to walk up and over the island to a beautiful beach.

Take the ferry from the pier it doesn’t cost much and you can get a ferry back quite frequently.

Amalfi coast

Coast Road is beautiful. Go down to Sorrento bus station and get a bus ticket from the tourist information outside the train station. It’s very easy to get the bus around the Amalfi coast and get out at whichever town you want to visit. We visited Positano which is a town before Amalfi. We walked down to the beach to meet up with Positano Sea Kayak which was amazing. The instructor lost her job as an accountant due to the recession and decide to set up this kayaking company. She shows you around the coast with great skill showing us a little blue cave.  We kayak around the coast which I think was the best way to see its beauty.

Pompeii

We used the train to travel around the bay to Pompeii. Be prepared with sunscreen and water there is not alot of shade especially if you are going in the summer. It’s far to walk all the way around especially with no guide. I would probably go with a guide next time but it was still fascinating to explore the ruins away from the tours.

We also visited one of the other associated with Pompeii closer to Naples than Sorrento again very easy on the train to Ercolano where the Herculaneum Ercolano is. This is well worth a visit its a bit more intact than Pompeii and gives you more of a feel for what Pompeii was like before the eruption.

We decide not to pay to go up the volcano as it apparently isn’t worth it and the view from the hotel was the best way to see it.

Sorrento

The town itself isn’t as quint as Amalfi but it has many restaurants, a busy little boutiques and shopping area and everything you need. Worth exploring the little churches and squares in the evening.

Well I think that’s about it, great adventure, food and scenery .

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