Good afternoon everybody... I went on my first backpacking trip through Italy in June of this year for three weeks, solo. Prior to my trip, I managed to receive a lot of helpful advice and tips from the people who are actively posting on this website. I thought the least I could do was post about my trip, share any knowledge, experiences, and anything that could help someone in the future who is going to do the same thing.
I was supposed to fly from Memmingen down to Rome via Ryanair. My flight was cancelled due to protests in Rome, or so I was told by the airport. I live in Germany and have a Bahncard 50 which saved me some money. Took an overnight train down to Rome that same night.
Rome - 5 days/6 nights
Florence - 3 days/4 nights
Pisa - 1 day/1 night
Cinque Terre - 3 days/3 nights
Genova - 2 days/3 nights
Bologna - 2 days/3 nights
Venice - 2 days/2 nights
I became fully aware of the whole "2 nights equals 1 day" concept after being in the first city. I made it a point to arrive in cities early so that I would get the most time out of each city and avoid losing out on most of that first day. As I said, this trip was throughout the entire month of June. The larger, more touristic cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice were very crowded. Personally, I found 5 days to be enough time in Rome. However, I am in well above average shape and traveled alone so I was able to manage time more effectively than others. I only mentioned that so whoever is reading this can get a better idea of me, the traveller, in comparison to their own capabilities, travel plan/situation, intentions, etc... Florence was very nice as well. I enjoyed the museums, although very crowded. Pisa was a cool little city. I actually wish I had stayed longer to see the light festival there (forgot the name of it). One recommendation I have is if you have the chance to visit Cinque Terre, then do it! Please visit those beautiful villages and hike from one to the other. Especially if you are traveling with a significant other. I changed my itinerary and went to Genova instead of Milan because a friend told me about Parco di Portofino, which is along the coast, about a 45 minute train ride from Genova Brignole. I hiked from Camogli, all around the coast to Portofino and then back inland to catch the train from Santa Margherita Ligure back to Genova. Awesome hike! Genova has the worlds second largest aquarium too, so definitely worth a visit if you're into sea life. The only city that I could have lived without visiting was Bologna. I don't regret going there, but I could visit Italy again without wanting to visit Bologna again. Venice was a really cool city, but very crowded. I stayed on the island and don't regret doing so.
Overall, a very successful and life changing trip. I'm thankful to say that my first backpacking trip was safe and positive. I enjoyed every city that I visited and would visit any of them again, except Bologna. However, the Ducati factory made it worth the trip. I felt that I could have spent more time in Pisa, Cinque Terre, Genova, and Venice, but only a day or two more per city. One thing that I didn't do on this trip was make day trips out to smaller towns which I will do next time. Just to give a better idea of myself so that travelers can better gauge off of me... I'm a young male, between the ages of 22-26, endurance athlete, traveled solo, was not necessarily on a budget, but was conservative, and my interests were culture/sightseeing, food, museums, nature, relaxation, and nightlife. I traveled completely by train with no Eurail pass. Every city has it's own characteristics and charm. One thing I would like to do next time is plan my first destination and how I am going to get there then wing the rest of the trip and go where the wind takes me. That way it's more of an adventure ;). Thanks, happy travels!