Dream Italian Vacation: Instructions to make it happen

Since our World History in the USA is primarily focused on the Western World, every student grows up with the knowledge of the Romans, Greeks, and the conquest of Christianity. Ever since my days of learning about the volcano at Pompeii, the Roman Colosseum, and the ancient Roman Road, I’ve had desires to explore this portion of the world. It doesn’t matter if your dream vacation is a boat ride in Venice, a view of Michelangelo’s works in Florence, a visit to the Cinque Terre, or getting to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa, it all might be closer than you can imagine. Let me show you how to make a dream Italian vacation come true.


Italian Dream Vacation

Incredible Italian Dream Vacation Loop

For this sample itinerary, I’d recommend you fly into Milan, Italy or MXP. This airport is quite a ways out of town, as it is on the northwest corner Milan, but that makes it easier to get around. You might want to visit our Flight Resources page to see how many miles it will take you to get there with Delta, American, etc.  I’d recommend you score yourself 40,000 AAdvantage miles and go in April, as that is one of the best redemption options around to help you get along on your Italian Vacation.

On this trip you’ll be visiting some incredible parts of Italy, and the best part is that all of your hotels will be covered thanks to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

First stop on Italian Vacation: Genoa

Italian Vacation Gelato

Italian Gelato Smile

Welcome to the birthplace of Christopher Columbus!  Wait a minute…did you think he was Spanish?  This seafaring man was actually born in Italy in this port town of Genoa.  It was Spain who first granted him the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria, not his motherland of Italy.  This port town is rather quaint, and you’ll enjoy watching the ships glide into the harbor as you enjoy your first (and definitely not the last) cup of delicious Italian Gelato.  I recommend the canela (cinnamon).  My wife would tell you to get cioccolato.

Go ahead and indulge in your first cuatro formaggi pizza, you’ll love it.  The next day will get you just as excited as this first one.

Tonight you’ll be staying at the Sheraton Genova Hotel.  Of course it’s on the house, as long as you apply for the  Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card and use our links on this page!  Remember not to spend too much time here because there is much more to see outside of the hotel than you can see on the inside.  Get up early and watch the sunrise over the harbor and watch the ships roll in.

Italian Vacation Stop 2: Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Sienna

Manarola from the north

Manarola from the north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re on the trip with the love of your life, this will be one of the most romantic places of the vacation.  The idyllic Cinque Terre will be the perfect spot to profess your undying love for the one that you’re with.  Plan to spend a day or two enjoying the beautiful countryside, and you’ll love the trip back and forth each day as you stay at your free hotel in either Florence or Genoa.  It’s about 40 miles of breathtaking scenery from the Genova hotel.

The leaning tower of Pisa is a simple building, and it probably wouldn’t be very cool if it stood straight up, but as you know, it leans…  Make sure this is included in  your itinerary.  Take the always required picture of you pushing the tower to get it back up straight again.  You will be the only one who takes that picture ;).

I’ve got an aunt who has spent quite a bit of time in Sienna, and declares it to be the most beautiful place on Mother Earth.  That is quite a statement coming from someone who has traveled quite a bit.  This is all part of Tuscany, so plan on spending some time learning how to cook while you’re here.  You can take cooking classes (that aren’t cheap) because you’re saving so much on your hotels.  Remember that the whole reason we use the points is so we can do the unforgettable adventures.  Remember, this is a dream Italian Vacation -one that comes true!

Dream Italian Vacation Part 3: Florence

Savonarola's preaching attracted huge crowds t...

Savonarola’s preaching attracted huge crowds to Florence Cathedral – like much of the city, Botticelli had come under his sway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course this place needs its own category.  Firenze, as it is known in Italian, at one point was the center of arts and architecture.  Michelangelo did the impossible when he put the dome on the Duomo in the Florence.  Not only was he architecturally skilled, but he also was an incredible sculptor.  You will also pay a visit to your friend David (who slew Goliath) that stands 17 feet tall.

Also while you’re in Florence you’ll need to continue eating more gelato. Remember that when you get home the ice cream just won’t be the same.  The pizzas, pastas, and fish will fill your belly with happiness at each meal.  You should never go hungry, and don’t even try dieting.  You can do that at home, but when you’re here, remember it is a vacation.  Kick back and enjoy the food.  If you’re a wine drinker, this is a great place.  You’ll be passing vineyards all along the drive or train ride.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve chosen to drive or ride the train when it comes to the scenery.  Just make sure you’re looking out the window.  You’ll never forget the moments of this awe-inspiring trip.  Tonight you’ll kick back at the Sheraton Firenze Hotel.  Don’t forget that you won’t be paying for this hotel either, so make sure you order another gelato.  Go ahead…try another flavor.  You probably won’t be back for a while, so make sure you enjoy it now!

This is going to be continued and we’ll show you how to complete the rest of the loop.  Start now by applying for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. This card will help your dreams to come true, and for the Italian Vacation to become a reality.

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9 Responses to Dream Italian Vacation: Instructions to make it happen

  1. Mary says:

    Love these posts where you tell us step-by-step where to go. Can you do one for heading north from Salt Lake City to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone? Also, your posts only appear as a line or two in Google Reader. Can you fix them so we can read the entire post in Google Reader?

  2. Pingback: How to make your dream Italian Vacation a reality

  3. Stephani says:

    Do you rent a car there or take tour buses to the different cities?

    • bradleyjai says:

      Honestly, I just love the freedom and flexibility of renting a car. That way you don’t have to wait for buses or trains and change plans if they aren’t cooperating. It’s especially cost-effective if you have four people, but even with two, I think it’s worth it.

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