Being invited on an Italian CIT holiday educational was a great honour.
On arrival at Perth International airport – Etihad check in. I was given to opportunity to experience Business class on their new Dreamliner 787.
From the large comfortable seats, large TV screens, amble storage and lay flat bed – I was in heaven.
From my glass of Champagne upon finding my seat, to the gorgeous five course meal that I could choose at any time during my flight. I opted for the Salmon and a nice glass of wine to be delivered right after take-off.
Having never experienced business class lie flat seat, I was pleased to find it comfortable, and they had a nice thick blanket and pillow to top it off.
I had travelled to Italy briefly before and was happy to be exploring some of my favourite selling destinations – Milan, Cinque Terre, Florence and Tuscany.
Milan was a busy bustling city, full of history and fashion. Although the weather wasn’t the best, it was still an easy city to get around. We utilised the use of the Metro in and out of the city, and found it easy to use. Cost of one way ticket was 1.50 Euro.
Our Milan city tour was insightful and I learnt new things about Milan.
We travelled on a 1st class Italian rail pass, which needed to be stamped before travel. This can be done even a few days before your journey so that you can be ready for your journey. If not it is recommend to have the date stamped on it about an hour before your train departs.
Rail pass was valid for 4 days of travel – in a 1 month period. Each rail journey is then written on the page and to / from destinations. The rail inspectors can then stamp it when they check your tickets.Very easy to use and no other documents are required.
Travelling Italy via rail, was great way to see the Italian country side and avoid the traffic queues.
Cinque Terre region was everything you see in the photos and more. The weather cleared up in time for us to experience some of the famed walks between the towns. Some a leisurely stroll, others a hike over the mountains.
After our mini hike, we enjoyed a meal and a wine at a gorgeous restaurant with views of the ocean.
A Cinque Terre Card can be purchased locally for either 1 – 3 days, giving travellers access to the locals bus, trains, walk trails and access to WIFI (great for loading selfies onto Facebook).
After leaving Cinque Terre, we trained to Pisa, and car transferred to Tuscany. You can instantly see why people love the area, rolling hills and gorgeous Tuscan villas scattered throughout the countryside.
If you ever wish to try something different try Truffle hunting, absolute highlight and we have a great time scurraging through the forest trying to find the elusive truffles. We had success and spent the remainder of the afternoon at an Italian cooking class, learning how to cook with Truffles, making fresh pasta and enjoying the company of a great Italian Chef.
We travelled into Florence, this city is one of my favourites, so peaceful with so much history surrounding it. Easy to get around city, great for families and travellers alike, it offers cultural sights and lots of shopping, known for leather and jewellery.
I would recommend a Florence city walking tour.
We used the fast train from Florence to Rome, travelling at over 248km per hour, the countryside soon turned into city outskirts and we were in Rome in over an hour. Business class even offered complimentary Prosecco and snacks.
Having been to Rome before, I was keen to check out the sights again. We stayed at Hotel Accademia, about 300m from the Trevi Fountain. Heavenly spot. Easy access to local transport, shopping, eateries, sightseeing, more shopping and Gelato.
Rome is a busy, vibrant city with all the old world charms and new modern buildings. Vatican tour and Colosseum are always a must, and I would certainly recommend joining a group to gain quicker entry to sights. Groups have their own entrance.
I enjoyed my second trip around Italy and will certainly be heading back to visit the southern areas of Naples, Amalfi Coast and Sicily.
Chao Italy, for now