Florence, Pisa and Milan – A fun memorable road trip to Italy

A long Easter weekend was around the corner and the most awaited summer was in its full glory. We decided to drive all the way to Italy and make a visit to Florence, Venice, Pisa, and Milan. We were based out of Geneva in Switzerland and a drive to Florence in a single stretch would have been hectic so we decided to make a stopover in Verona.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

We reached Verona late evening exhausted and pulled ourselves into the bed for a good night’s sleep. Verona has a good rail connectivity with Venice hence we opted-out driving to Venice. After an awe-inspiring Venice trip, our next stop was Florence.

FLORENCE

The journey from Verona to Florence was around 3 hrs. We had booked our apartment in outskirts of the city which took us some time to reach. Our thoughtful host had already kept all the maps and information ready spread on the table when we reached the apartment. She helped us with public transport access to the historical center and the key attractions.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

A couple of minutes walk from the Florence station is the splendid marble facade of Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. The large nave looks impressive with a row of corinthian columns, vaulted ceiling and the magnificent stained glass windows in the aisles. The frescoes on the interior of the church are excellent piece of art.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The streets were jam-packed with tourists and souvenir vendors. Florence is more like an open-air museum teeming with monuments and every building exuding history.

Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore

We next walked to the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore in Piazza del Duomo. The gothic style church is the main church of Florence spread over an area of 8,300 square meters. It is the largest brick dome ever constructed.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The exterior of the basilica is adorned with marble panels in various shades of green, pink and white. The vast Gothic interior is graced with notable frescoes and up to 44 stained-glass windows.

Piazza Della Repubblica

The narrow cobbled streets opened up into a huge square, the Piazza Della Repubblica filled with street performers.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

At one corner of the square public gathered around a pair of oxen decorated with flower garlands. As a part of the Easter celebration, a procession with an ornate wagon pulled by the pair of oxen would walk through the streets of Florence to the Duomo Square.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The Mercato Nuovo or the new market close to the square is bustling with stalls for leather goods in a 16th-century loggia. The main attraction here is ‘Porcellino of Florence’ a bronze statue of the boar. It is believed that if one shines the pig’s snout they are sure to return to Florence. We too rubbed hard to try out our luck for future.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Piazza Della Signoria

A narrow alley connected the market to the Piazza Della Signoria which houses the prominent art museum Uffizi gallery and Palazzo Vecchio the imposing town hall of Florence.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The arcade ‘Loggia Della Signoria’ itself is an exceptional open-air museum with some of the outstanding Renaissance sculptures.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

It was drizzling most of the times and the weather had turned chilly but that did not stop us from devouring on as many gelatos possible. For, we were in Italy and gelatos here taste scrumptious! And in Florence gelatos from the ‘Vivoli’ are a must try. You will find it on the way to the Basilica of Santa Croce.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce is a burial place of some of the popular Italians artists. We visited the church and spent some time relaxing in the square.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The square was lively with tourists and many street performers. A small musical performance fascinated and delighted everyone around the square with its band.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Last part of our Florence sightseeing was the leather shopping at the Michelangelo’s Leather gallery after reading through some nice reviews on the Internet. Michelangelo has a good variety of leather bags, jackets, and accessories.

PISA

Florence to Pisa took us till more than an hour. Piazza Dei Miracoli or the Square of Miracles in Pisa is home to the religious monuments: the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Camposanto Monumentale.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

While Florence has some of the remarkable architectural masterpieces, the architectural design flaw of Leaning Tower of Pisa attracts millions of tourists every year who pose funny pictures with the tower.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

Originally built as the bell tower of the cathedral in 1173 the tower began to lean soon after it completed the third floor owing to the soft ground. Today is stands tilted displaced 3.9 meters horizontally. One can climb 297 steps to the top of the eight stories tower past 207 columns to the bell chamber for a breathtaking view of the Pisa City.

Piazza Dei Miracoli

The cathedral is an exemplary masterpiece in Romanesque style with a fine facade is made up of grey marble and white stones.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The lower facade has huge bronze doors with intricate carved sculptures.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The statue of Madonna with Child stands atop the four rows of open galleries in the upper facade. The exceptional artwork in the interior is the gilded ceiling, beautiful frescoes on the dome, stunning mosaic work in the apse and the elaborately carved pulpit.

Pisa Baptistery

The Pisa Baptistery is a marvelous blend of Romanesque and gothic architectural styles. The exterior of the marble structure is an exceptional artwork with elegant arches, niches, columns, and statues.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

MILAN

Milan’s Duomo the fifth largest Christian church in the world is a feast for the eyes with its 135 spires and more than 3000 sculptures.

Florence Pisa Milan Road Trip Italy

The striking feature being the gilded bronze statue of Madonnina atop the cathedral’s tallest spires. One can choose to walk up the stairs or take an elevator to the roof for an amazing experience to see the pinnacles and sculptures in a close proximity.

Our wonderful trip to Italy had finally come to an end as we headed back to Geneva. Our trip to Florence, Pisa and Milan was definitely not the last visit to this land of diverse and charming landscapes.

Have you been on a road trip to Italy? Which is your favorite of Florence, Pisa, and Milan? Do share with us your experience.

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19 Comment

  1. Laveena Sengar says: Reply

    First of all, it’s so cute and adorable that you guys travel together. It’s best to travel with your family, I have had some very beautiful experiences. Milan is on my bucket list and I wish to visit the place soon enough.

  2. EG III says: Reply

    I have not yet been to Florence or Pisa, but I can agree that viewing the Duomo in person is definitely a site worth seeing. Since you mentioned it’s not your last visit, it looks like the legend of “Porcellino of Florence” is true 🙂

  3. Ami says: Reply

    The one biggest regret I have with Italy is not having any time in Florence. I think I would like to spend at least a week here. Glad you got to spend some time here checking out the Duomo. The leaning tower of Pisa is gorgeous too but again, I could not climb it as I did not know about the prior booking 🙁 I guess my journey to Italy will always be incomplete.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Italy has much more to offer than what we have covered till now but still if got a chance to visit again we would definitely make it to Florence again 🙂

  4. Indrani says: Reply

    The first thing that struck me was the well framed pictures… all with monuments. 🙂 These make great memories. I am reminded of my visit. We did Venice, then via Lucerne to Milan to Pisa, Florence, finally to Rome. It was 17 days road trip.

  5. Joanna says: Reply

    I have done a similar trip a few years ago, I landed in Milano, headed to Cinque Terre, then to Pisa, Florence and left Italy from Rome. I have to say that between Pisa and Florence I loved more Pisa. I think that’s why because I found the city less crowded and more beautiful to walk through without getting squashed (not applying around the tower, of course). Florence was nice, I had some really nice local experiences there but it just didn’t make me feel overwhelmed, like it does to other people.

  6. Shane says: Reply

    I loved Florence and Pisa but never made it to Milan! Did you see any other sites while in the city other than the gorgeous cathedral that I should check out?

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      We had only been to the Cathedral as a stop on the way back to Geneva but we did learn later that Milan has many more wonderful attractions worth a visit.

  7. I absolutely loved Florence and Pisa (and I admit, I also did one of those cheesy pictures with the tower :-D). While Pisa is worth it for the tower, I think Florence has so much more to offer. Still have to make it to Milan 😉

  8. Carmy says: Reply

    I am absolutely jealous! This road trip looks so fun! I’ve been dying to go to Italy (2017!!!!) but haven’t decided on which part….maybe I’ll have to road trip across it too!

  9. Tae says: Reply

    You guys so much on your journey – and Chhavi looks so precious, a natural traveler 😀 Incredible architecture over in this part of the world. Looks like I’ll have to go and follow your path someday 😉

  10. Colby says: Reply

    I haven’t taken a road trip through Italy, but your trip looks like it was tons of fun! I definitely want to eat my way through, I mean visit Italy again in the near future 🙂

  11. blair villanueva says: Reply

    Last night I just watched the movie “Letters for Juliet” and I couldn’t help but fall in-love with the movie, it was set in Verona. Have you visited the Casa de Giulietta?

  12. Anju says: Reply

    I have visited Pisa, but missed Florence and Milan. Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore looks so beautiful, I’ve always liked the gothic style of architecture!

  13. I am Italian, living in the island of Sardinia but I have visited these places twice! All the time I have exactly the same impression: what a beautiful and unique art is possible to find in Italy!! Every single city, or little town or sometimes just a village (I am living in a small town of 3500 people) you will find incredible piece of art and architecture! Great experience and you took wonderful pics too, thanks for sharing 😀

  14. Visiting Florence, Pisa, and Milan must be your legendary road trip experience! All these are dream destinations and hope to visit there soon!
    Also, The Leaning Tower of Pisa looks straight in your picture!

  15. Italy has always been in my list of places to visit for its architecture. This post gives me another place to add in the list.

    On the other note, the romantic in me fell in love with the idea of a family traveling together. It seems like Chhavi is having as much as fun as you two. 😀

  16. Italy has some of the most beautiful cities in the world and being on those places, I envy you! I really wanted to go there! I hope to spend Christmas there next year.

  17. Florence and Pisa have been on my bucket list for so long now, and your pictures don’t calm my wish to go there as they are really beautiful! I also really love Milan! Hope I can make the same kind of road trip you did one day 🙂
    And it’s so cool that you can travel together guys!

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