The best road trip that I have been on was in Europe but, mainly Italy. I would not recommend doing the trip the same way as me but, All of the locations were great places to visit ! I visited 6 countries in 7 days and covered about 2,000 miles and it was worth it.
3 – Pisa, Italy
After finally getting to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa in real life, I wasn’t disappointed. Pisa is a smaller size town that is a little further away. if you can fit it in the trip I would recommend staying for at last a half day. You get to experience a little bit different atmosphere compared to the larger cities in Italy.
4 – Florence, Italy
First stop here should be to see the very large Florence Cathedral. Then just down the street is a Leonardo Da Vinci Museum. It is filled with all of his works and most of them you can interact with. I was also lucky enough to stumble on seeing daytime fireworks for the first time. The last stop in Florence should be getting to see sunset from Palazzo Dei Vescovi in San Miniato al Monte or Abbey of San Miniato al Monte. A church on top of a hill with one of the best views overlooking Florence.
5 – Rome Italy
Rome really lived up to the expectation I had built up in my head. The city was huge and there were unique pieces of history and architecture all over town. There are too many places worth visiting in Rome to list. I would really recommend the Spanish stairs, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Colosseum, various historical sites to visit all over town.
Some of the hidden places that I found most people I talk to didn’t visit were the Roma Ice Club near the Colosseum and the Steelers bar in Rome. La Botticella of Poggi Giovanni. It is La Botticella Wine Bar Pub Sports Bar Craft Beers. I was fortunate to be able to talk to the owner who is not from Pittsburgh as most people would guess. He just became a very big fan of Steelers and Pittsburgh. I surprisingly even saw my small college’s banner on the wall, on the other side of the world!! The first jazz club I found in Rome had a bartender from my hometown of Pittsburgh, small world
6 – Vatican
Two most important rules for visiting the Vatican.
- Schedule your trip ahead of time
- Try not to go during peak season
I always try to be as spontaneous as possible during my trips and I try to not plan too much ahead but, you don’t want to take a chance missing the Vatican. It is officially the smallest country in the world and arguably one of the best museums.
7 – Bovino
One of the most important things you can do in any country is sit down with a local family, talk to them, eat with them and get them to show you around. I was lucky enough to have a distant relative that was willing to meet for the first time. His family was amazingly kind to take some time out of their day to show us around their beautiful town in the mountains. There was a lot of history in the many churches in town.
8 – San Marino
I believe this tiny country was the best hidden secret I have found in Europe so far. Not many people I have talked to know about it. I was driving to Venice and was looking at the map to find anywhere to stop on the way. Then I noticed a small black outline. It took a couple minutes before I realized it was a small country. San Marino is essentially a small country with one tall mountain and three castles on the top. Park and take the cable car to the top for some amazing views !!
9 – Venice
First rule of Venice, No cards !! Most people that visit Venice want to stay in Venice. I would really recommend getting a hotel on the mainland and taking a bus over. I had seen alot of people dragging luggage from one side of the city to the other. Not a lot of fun. Best places to visit are St. Marks Square which has St Marks Basilica and St Marks Campanile (tower). The tower easily gives the best view of Venice. You also need to visit the main bridge in Venice, Rialto Bridge and take a Gondala Boat tour. Dont worry about shopping around for a cheaper Gondala. They are unionized and all have the same prices.
12 – Bellinzona, Switzerland
The longest part of the trip was making it back to Italy and up to Switzerland. Anywhere you visit in this country is worth it. It is hard to compare it to many other places. The first stop was to find Ponte Tibetano Carasc a suspension bridge just outside of Bellinzona. Amazing views form the bridge. Then visiting the city of Bellinzona. It had a lot of history and quite a few castles to visit.
13 – Lugano Switzerland
Verzasca Dam was the next stop. This dam was featured in the opening bungee jumping scene for James Bond movie Goldeneye. The views are jaw dropping.
Then on to the city of Lugano. Amazing views of a giant lake and huge mountains. There is also a small area on the other side of the lake where there is a small town Campione d’Italia. It is part of Italy but completely surrounded within Switzerland
6) Vatican City, Vatican
8)San Marino, San Marino
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What is your favorite place you have visited in Europe ?
Which area of Europe are you planning on visiting next that you would like more details on ?
Let me know you think my next article should be about. I am currently planning for an overview of Egypt or a more detailed article about Venice.