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Genova, Firenze & Milano in 4 Days

Genova, Firenze & Milano in 4 Days

From exploring the Italian coast and shopping in one of Europe’s most historic malls, to exploring the renaissance art and delicious italian food, this is the ultimate guide to spending an extended weekend in Italy

The itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrive at Genova, Meet friends, Explore the city
Day 2 - Explore the city, Via Garibaldi, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, etc.
Day 3 - Train to Milan, Explore Milano
Day 4 - Train to Florence, Explore Firenze, Capital of the region of Tuscany.

Day 1&2 - Genova

A soon as I stepped outside of the airport in Genoa, everything exuded a whimsical charm. Although Genoa does not rise to the top of most Italy travel itineraries, the underrated birthplace of Christopher Columbus and pesto Genovese offers visitors rich maritime history, refined gastronomical fare, bustling piazzas, and noteworthy medieval architecture.

Genoa was dubbed “La Superba” or the proud one by medieval poets and served as the European Capital of Culture in 2004.


Petite fruit stands, focaccia shops, convenience store and locals sipping fresh coffee were all a part of the narrow path leading to Vico Lavagna, my friends home in the city. Ah, home sweet home - for the time being at least. The pastel-colored buildings were beautiful and inviting. Venturing my eyes towards the beach, I spotted locals and tourists alike enjoying the making of a golden glow.

Genoa is not as famous of an Italian destination as Positano, Cinque Terre, or Florence, but it is well worth a stop on your next Italian getaway!

Things to Do

  1. LEARN ABOUT GENOA’S MARITIME HISTORY

  2. EXPLORE THE HISTORIC GENOA CITY CENTER

  3. TOUR THE OPULENT PALAZZO REALE

  4. VISIT THE LARGEST AQUARIUM IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

  5. ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE OF SAN LORENZO CATHEDRAL

  6. PEOPLE WATCH AT PIAZZA DE FERRARI 

  7. CHECK OUT THE GENOA STREET ART

  8. CATCH THE SUNSET AT THE OLD PORT

  9. SAVOUR GENOVESE GASTRONOMY

  10. CHECK OUT THE GLITTERING ITALIAN RIVIERA

Day 3
Milan in a Day trip

From exploring Piazza del Duomo and shopping in one of Europe’s most historic malls, to the historic Milan football clubs and delicious Milanese food, this is my take how to spend one day in Milan. There are so many things to do in Milan in one day, so start early and head for the Piazza del Duomo (Duomo Square), Milan’s most famous spot. Milan’s impressive cathedral (Duomo) is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and one of the must-see sites in the city.

Things to Do

  1. TOUR THE DUOMO DI MILANO

  2. WINDOW SHOPPING GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II

  3. ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE CITY, ITS CONTRASTS

  4. VISIT PINACOTECA SI BRERA

  5. VISIT THE SFORZA CASTLE

Getting Around Milan

Milan’s public transportation uses the same ticketing system across all modes of transportation: bus, tram, and subway. Each ticket costs €1.50 EUR for 90 minutes. You can ride as many buses/trams/trains in that period as you like. You can also purchase a 10-ride pass for €13.80 EUR or a 24-hour pass for €4.50 EUR. A 48-hour pass is €8.25 EUR.

Where to Stay in Milan

Milan has lots of cool places to stay, Some good deals in Airbnb
Each neighbourhood of Milan offers visitors something different and unique. I recommend that every visit to Milan include at least three neighbourhoods, depending on the purpose of your visit.

To help you better plan your time in Milan, I have broken down the top five areas in Milan

  • Milan’s most renowned neighbourhood is Centro Storico. Here you will find the city’s most famous and popular tourist attractions. This is the best area to stay in Milan if you’re visiting for the first time.

  • South you’ll find the fun, lively, and atmospheric neighbourhood of Navigli. Famous for its trendy bars and clubs, Navigli is where to stay in Milan for nightlife.

  • North of the city centre is where you’ll find Brera and Fiera/San Siro neighbourhoods. With lush parks and luxury shopping, these two neighbourhoods are where you can experience an authentic Milanese way of life.

  • Travel east of the centre and you’ll find yourself at the heart of Citta Studi, Milan’s student quarter, and home to a myriad of affordable cafes, bars, and accommodation. Enjoy an afternoon cappuccino in this lively and eclectic part of the city.

Day 4
FLORENCE IN A DAY TRIP

In my One day trips I usually follow this mantra of a 1 Must-See Church + Local lunch + 1 Must-See Museum (or 2 small museums) + 1 Sundown Activity + Walk as much as possible . Oh and obviously Sketching ofcourse.

The Firenze (as the Itaians call it) is a paradise for artists. I was excited to get my sketchbook out and walk through this renaissance land. Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance and its beautiful scenery. With a plethora of museums, architectural wonders, and simple yet mouthwatering delights, Florence is equally captivating for art and food lovers alike.

I headed to Genova Centrale early in the morning about 6.30 am, bought myself a business class ticket (there were no economy seats available). Trenitalia's Frecciarossa, aka the fast train, was a swift experience at an affordable price. If one is commuting to Naples, Milan, Bologna, Florence or Rome, the Frecciarossa is their best method of transportation. The average journey time by train between Genoa and Florence is 3 hours and 31 minutes, with around 27 trains per day. I took the very first ones. YAY! Costs range between €10.00 - €86.00

Let’s be honest, I had no business being in the business class cabin, but was certainly not complaining being surrounded by professionals in perfectly tailored suits. Bellissimo!


How to Get Around Florence

Florence, especially the city center, is very walkable. You can get between all the top sights (like the Duomo and the Uffizi) in just a 5-10 minute walk. The furthest you will walk to see just about any attraction is 30 minutes.

Things to Do in Florence

1. Santa Maria del Fiore

  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the most iconic piece of architecture in Florence. Words cannot describe how massive and impressive the architecture and details of the cathedral is; visually stunning inside and out. Located in Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral is one of the three buildings in the plaza to form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. If your life goal is to visit all of the UNESCO sites, this would be one of them.

    Admission to the Cathedral is free but there is a 10 Euro pass for the following:

  • Queuing is about 60-80 minutes.

  • Climb up the Dome - 463 steps

  • Climb up Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile) - 414 steps

  • The Baptistery of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni)

  • Museum

2. The Basilica and Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella.
3. Uffizi Gallery
4. The Accademia
5. Ogle at David
Probably the most famous man in the city, seeing Michelangelo’s David is one of the best things to do in Florence. Situated right within the heart of Piazza della Signoria, David stands proudly for us all to see.
6. Sunset
If you have energy after a long day, head to the Oltrarno. After passing over the beautiful and historic Ponte Vecchio get ready for a 20-30 minute hike up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo, where the wonderfully-scenic Basilica di San Miniato sits. Be sure to get there before it closes so you can peek inside. Then watch the sunset from the best view of Florence in the whole city. It’s the perfect to end to an eventful day of exploring.

Italy Travel Costs

Hostel prices – You will pay around €18 EUR a night for a 4-6 bed dorm room. For larger dorms (12+ beds), you’ll pay around €12 EUR. Most hostel private rooms cost between €40-50 EUR for a room that sleeps two. Expect higher prices in the summer season.

Budget hotel prices – A night in a 2-star budget hotel in a room that sleeps two starts around €40 EUR, but expect to pay nearly double in the high season. Included in this price are basic hotel amenities, like a private bathroom, free WiFi, and television. A 3-star hotel room in some places costs around €50 EUR.

On Airbnb, you can find shared rooms starting at €15 EUR per night, or private rooms from €27 EUR. You can rent entire homes (usually studio apartments) starting at €45 EUR per night, although you will find a lot more options starting at €75 EUR  and up.

Average cost of food – Great thing about Italy is that you can get pizza and pasta for reasonable prices. Florence is no exception. You can find cheap sandwich shops all over the city for around €6 EUR for a Panini. Gelato will be around €1 EUR and you can find cappuccino for less than €2 EUR. You can get two slices of pizza and bottled water for about €10 EUR at any casual restaurant. If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, consider cooking your own food to lower your costs. Expect to pay €60 EUR per week for groceries.

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