After checking out of our hotel in Florence and we were on our way to Pisa. We decided to take a minor detour and checkout “the mall” about half hour from Florence. The outlet mall has some genuine deals and it is highly recommended for those in need of some retail therapy. So, after an hour at the mall, we commenced our drive to Pisa. After driving for an hour and a half, we arrived at the leaning tower. There is a lot of noise on the “tilt” of the leaning tower but when you are actually seeing it, it simply transcends all logic. The square and the gardens where it is located are also very pretty. We spent a couple of hours marvelling the engineering masterpiece, while the kids played in the gardens. We then resumed our journey to Italian Riviera. Grabbed dinner en route to La Spezia and checked in to a hotel close to the central station there.
Next morning we visited the Cinque Terre (meaning 5 seaside villages in Italian and a word heritage site). From La Spezia we took a train to the first village of Riomaggiorie; the weather was a little wet but it was clearing out fast. We then took a ferry to the beautiful Vernazza, the crowed jewel of the 5 villages. It is strikingly picturesque. No surprises, it is so popular. The wife had discovered a great seafood restaurant. The red lobster with spaghetti and a perfectly paired wine was delicious. We wanted to try out an easy trail but as it turns out they were all shut due to the weather conditions. The sun, however, was out now. We took a ferry to another village called Monterosso, it boasts of the best beach of the 5. The boys had a great time at the beach with their snorkels and sand castles while we grabbed a drink. After spending some time at the beach, we took the train back to La Spezia, took our car and were on our way to Milan. The drive to Milan from the Italian Riviera was surprisingly beautiful. Tall skyscrapers greeted us as we entered Milan, we felt that we were on a glide path from the surreal to just another big city. Checked in and returned our car to the rental
After a late breakfast, we went to check out Milan. Started with visiting the Duomo and the really upscale Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest and prettiest shopping malls. Milan and fashion are synonyms and the Milanese are really well dressed. If you want to see fashion personified you need to visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We walked to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, this street, a shopper’s paradise, runs from the Piazza Venezia to Vittorio Emanuele I. We went to the Disney store to pick up something for the boys and leisurely strolled through, grabbing some gelato slush and coffee.
The last day of our trip was here. With nothing on our list on this relaxed day, we headed to the Duomo again. It was a sunny day and the large Gothic monument looked marvelous. They were getting the grounds ready for a music concert. We headed to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the aroma of fresh coffee from the many cafes there lingered in the air. We stopped at a fantastic café for some coffee and desert while the boys played at the small square adjacent to the cafe. Today was also all about family time for us. The last two days of our trip were planned for pure family time, nothing else was on our list whatsoever. We had dinner at one of the terrace restaurants overlooking the Duomo and got some gelato from CioccolatItaliani. After dinner, we took a tram to the central station and walked to our hotel.
So like all good things, our fast paced holiday across Italy come to an end as well. This trip was perhaps the fastest family holiday we have ever had; and just so many memories. I can just go on and on with the stories. So, while we wait for that time of the year to arrive again for us and our next holiday together, this trip of ours will always remain with us.