When I was backpacking through Europe in the Winter of 2015/16 on a Eurail pass, after I left Spain my next destination was Italy. Now, I don’t usually have favourite countries when I travel, but if I did have favourites on this trip, Italy would definitely make the top of the list. I managed to travel to all of the places I wanted to in Italy, at least during Winter, and I was able to do it all using my Eurail pass, saving a ton of money.
Like a lot of girls my age, Rome had been big on my bucket list since I watched the Lizzie McGuire movie as a kid, and it really was “what dreams are made of.” I spent some time exploring the city, and managed to see all of Rome’s top sights like the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City all in one jam packed day. Stay tuned, as I’m working on a “Rome in a Day” travel guide!
From Rome I did a day trip out to the Pompeii ruins, which was only two train trips from the city. Pompeii was an ancient Roman city that was destroyed in the volcanic eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The town and many of it’s people were covered in thick layers of ash, which actually preserved it. It now provides a great example of how the ancient Romans lived, with an excellent museum full of artefacts, and a display of some of the preserved bodies of the people who died.
After Rome, I made my way to the beautiful town of Florence. I spent some time exploring the city, and its churches, architecture, parks, and monuments. I then based myself in Florence so I could do day trips to the other two cities I wanted to visit.
Since the town of Pisa didn’t offer anything of interest to me except for one vegan cafe, and of course the famous leaning tower of Pisa, I decided to visit it on a day trip from Florence. Pisa is located not far from Florence by rail, and because I was saving money I was more than happy to explore the sight on my own, and read up about its history on my phone.
I only had a day to explore one of Italy’s top tourist destinations, and for me one day was plenty of time to explore Venice. To be honest I felt very underwhelmed with Venice, from the moment I arrived it felt like the entire place was just marketed for tourist and it lacked any authentic culture. The architecture and canals were beautiful, and I was happy to explore them on foot, but since I was trying to save money, and I didn’t have much interest in spending my money on anything too touristy I skipped a gondola ride and just used the public ferry to get around. All in all, it was still a beautiful city and I had a nice day out.
If you want to read my guide to traveling Europe with Eurail, check out my Eurail Guide.