One Week in Italy: Venice, Bologna, and Milan

Last March, I went to Venice, Bologna and Milan for a week with my family! We thought it would be the perfect time since Venice would be slightly less crowded and not smell as bad as it does in the summer. We were right- Venice was not nearly as touristy as I had expected and was absolutely beautiful! Here are some of our favorite things that we did in each city.

Venice

For the 3 days we were in Venice, we stayed at Bauer Pallazo, which was so beautiful! The photo above was taken on the roof where we had breakfast every morning. We had a balcony where you could see St. Mark’s Square and watch incredible sunsets every night.

Here are the top things we did/saw:

  • Walks of Italy food tour: went to several different restaurants and included a quick gondola ride
  • Go to the top of the companile de San Marco for incredible views
  • Rialto Bridge at sunrise and the Rialto market
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Doges’ Palace
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
Rialto Bridge
Basilica di San Marco

Our favorite restaurants in Venice were Osteria San Marina for seafood, any ciccheti place but we liked All’Arco, and SuSo Gelatoteca for incredible gelato!

Day trip from Venice to Burano

After exploring Venice for 2 days, we took a boat to the nearby island of Burano! It was so beautiful and colorful, but definitely a touristy island. I recommend going because it is such a unique place, but you definitely don’t need to spend more than half a day here.

Bologna

Next stop on our trip was Bologna! After a quick train ride from Venice, we arrived and settled into our Airbnb, which was super cute and overlooked an outdoor market. We did some sightseeing in our 2 days here, but mostly we just ate at all the restaurants around our Airbnb! There are lots of little places where you can eat outside along the street and they were all great! These markets were also great for tasting and buying Balsamic di Modena, a delicious balsamic vinegar made in the neighboring town.

Tower Asinelli

Things to do in Bologna:

  • Climb up the Asinelli tower, which is the tallest leaning tower in Italy
  • Go to San Michele in Bosco, which has great panoramic views of the city
  • Walk around the University of Bologna, which is the oldest university in the western world
  • If we had had more time, I would have loved to do a gelato tasting and bike tour! I’m sure there are great food tours here too
View from San Michele in Bosco
View from Tower Asinelli

Milan

Our final stop was Milan! Once again we took the train and got to Milan in the afternoon, just in time to go to the Duomo for sunset! We went to the top and walked around the roof of the cathedral- one of the coolest things we did there. For the few nights we were there, we stayed at Palazzo Matteotti, which we great and had one of the coolest pools I’ve ever seen.

The Duomo
View from the roof of Duomo

The next day we went to Sforza Castle and explored the massive park around it. We also went to the Da Vinci exhibit in the science museum, the Basilica di Santa Maria, and Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the Last Super Painting. We ended our last day in Italy with a lovely pizza dinner on one of the rooftops overlooking the Duomo.

Sforza Castle
Outside Santa Maria delle Grazie

Hope this helps anyone planning a trip to Italy!

~Ali

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