Week in Italy 2021
Italy is a beautiful destination. While in the year 2021 I had still many off days I decided to spend a week there. Ryanair had a cheap flight from Zagreb to Rome (13 €). I put up a daring plan to visit Zagreb, Rome, Rimini, San Marino, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Milan, Sesto Calende, and Vicenza in just 9 days. Below is the map, you can find links to daily events, and lower there is a summary about cost, accommodation, transport, food and drinks, sightseeing, and COIVD-19 for Italy 2021 adventure.
Table of Contents
- Rimini-San Marino-Rimini-Florence
- Pisa-Cinque terre-Genova
- Genova-Milan-Sesto Calende
- Sesto Calende-Arona-Baveno-Sesto Calende
- Sesto Calende-Milan-Vicenza-Ljubljana
The total amount for accommodation, transport, and food was around 680€. The accommodation was 250 € (20 € tax) in different kinds of places. I was lucky to get 3 days to stay with family and friends. Transport was a similar amount, mostly trains, the flight was just 13 €. For food, I paid around 150 €, from street food to 700-gram steak. Again this was lower because of family and friends. For entry fees, I paid 30 €, but I left out most of the places. Besides that, I spend on unnecessary things around 150 € (postcards, jacket, umbrella, sneakers, underwear, …). Parties were again a big item in the budget, but this is excess spending so I didn’t count it. A general rule would be budget backpacking is possible for 500 €, midrange would be around 100 € per day and on the high-end sky is the limit.
I tried to experience as many different places as possible. Cousins couch was great. Next was disappointment in Rome, Al Iram Guest House. This place was close to Termini train station. I paid 30 € + tax for a room that was probably a bathroom before but it wasn’t too clean. The next place was a turn to better in Rimini. 4-star hotel Polo for just 30 € with good breakfast included. I had even a balcony with a partial view of the sea. The Montenegrin receptionist that likes Slovenia was also a nice surprise. From there I went to Florence and a 5-star hotel River by the Arno for 108 €. Great room, helping staff but not with the best view. In Genova, I went to hostel Ostello Bello Genova for 24 €. It was a 6-bedroom dorm, clean and you got 1 drink for free. Last two nights I was at Antonio’s on a foldable bed, sufficient.
I did different types of transport. The main mean of transport between cities was a train (6-26 €), from regional slow-paced to expensive fast trains. I used a bus ride to San Marino from Rimini (5 €). I used a cheap flight (13 €) to get to Italy. Inside cities, I would mostly walk, up to 20 kilometers per day. When the time was crucial I would use a taxi (10 €) or metro (2 €). With the car, my cousin took me to the airport and Antonio drove us around Lake Maggiore. Gas was expensive in Italy, 1.75 €, road toll was 3.6 €. So possibilities are there and you should find your optional choice.
Food and drinks
Italy as a destination is known for its cuisine. Here you can find many local specialties. Of course, you can’t go there without trying pizza and pasta. In Rome, I tried a slice of pizza (5 €) on the street, in Genova spicy pizza with beer was 9 €, and at Antonio’s place, we order 5 different kinds of pizza (average 12 €). Penne arrabbiata – primi piatti was in Rome with some chicken and wine 25 €. Also, Antonio made some spaghetti with pesto. Aldente on both occasions. Florence was placed for the big rear steak (45 €) and some gelato (5 €). Fast food was as well on the menu, Mc Donald’s in Rome (11 €) and Burger King in Milano (10 €). The kebab was option in Pisa (5 €). In Cinque Terre, I ate calamari (9 €). Breakfast ranged from hotel omelet, interesting toast, cereals, panini to brioche and macchiato.
Drinks also offer many options. Basic is water where price range from 2€ for 0,5 l to 0,5 € for 1,5 l. In restaurants, tap water is for free, but you pay coperto (service, 2 €). Coffee is an institution in Italy, even I had a few, mostly macchiato (2 €). As for beer, the main labels are Peroni and Moretti but also many kraft beers are available. The price is around 5 € for a pint, the pitcher 15 €, but in Milan small beer was 7 €. Wine is probably a more popular option. In restaurants, house wine is cheaper than beer, 5 € half a liter. Chaintti glass in San Marino was 5 €, bottle in a shop in Florence was 20 €. Antonio had some nice white wines from the south. Spirits variety is wide, ie grappa (5 €). Mixed drinks are often on the table as well, ie Aperol spritz (7 €). Night out can cost you easily 100 €.
No matter what you are after, art, architecture, history, nature, Italy will provide. One sentence for location would be: Rome as an eternal city has many historical sites from ancient Rome onwards (Colosseum, Forum Romanum, Piazza Venezia, Pantheon, Spanish stairs, Piazza Navona, Trevi fountain, …). For religious ones, the Vatican enclave is inside the city. Rimini offers a long sandy beach. San Marino has great views from the top of the towers. Florence is medieval Perl with a marbel cathedral, Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. In Pisa, you shouldn’t miss white Piazza dei Miracoli with leaning tower. Cinque Terre is a region with 5 colorful villages on cliffs. Genova is a port town on hills. Milano is Europe’s center of business and fashion with a great gothic cathedral, first opera Scala and great shopping Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Lake Maggiore is a place of nature, tranquility, and view of Monte Rosa. If you are going inside paying attraction, buy online a card that covers those venues, because it is not just cheaper but also faster.
Italy is a Mediterranean country, mostly surrounded by the sea. In the north of the country are the Alps. These are the basic characteristics that affect the weather. In Rome, which is centrally located and fairly close to the sea, temperatures are over 300 C in summer and around 150 C during the day in winter. If you move south, the temperature rises and vice versa in the north. Summers are hot and in August they have a collective holiday, winters are colder and rainier, in the north even with snow. The ideal time to visit is April-May and September-October.
My visit in early November from Rome to the north meant a temperature range of 250C in Rome to frozen mornings on Lake Maggiore. It rained one day in Rome, it was windy close to the coast in San Marino and 5 Terre. So the weather covered quite a wide range, but it was still possible to go for a walk in T-shirt. But a month earlier, the weather would have been ideal
Lately, I’ve been trying to pack minimum. So this time I packed in a small backpack 6 sets of T-shirts/underwear/socks (ran out before I washed at Antonio and bought one set for € 30), towel, swimsuit, cosmetics (shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste and brush, deodorant), phone charger, power bank, 5x mask. I was wearing a softshell jacket (the zipper was torn off, I bought a new jacket for € 30), Levi’s 501 jeans, a hoodie Levi’s, old Salomon sneakers (they were torn, I bought new ones for € 65). In addition, I had a Samsung A52 mobile phone (COVID certificate, boarding pass, booking, pictures, GPS), ID card, payment and credit card, and some cash (HRK and EUR).
All in all, it weighed less than 5 kg. This was important because I always carried all things with me (Omnia mea mecum porto). I took the older stuff, but what was worn out I bought a new one, not top quality. It is important to have documents and money, everything else can be purchased along the way. Also, the phone has become indispensable lately.
COVID-19 also has changed traveling. Rides on a train are with masks, fast train requires a Green pass. Entering Croatia was possible with a Green pass. For a flight to Italy masks, Green Pass, and PLF form were necessary. In closed spaces mask is obligatory. For attractions, a Green pass is a necessity. In open spaces, a mask was on many faces even if it was not obligatory. So if you have a valid ID, mask, Green pass (vaccinated, tested, or had COVID in past) and PFL form you are good to travel to Italy,