The canals of Venice, the tower of Pisa, the food of Bologna, the romance of Florence… The north certainly takes up a big part of our dreams of Italy.

In this travel podcast, we talk about the best places to visit in northern Italy, based on our recent IndieRail trip.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 257 in iTunes or Soundcloud:

Padova

Underrated Padova is not only worth your time, it’s worth more of it than you thought. Perfect to explore for 2-3 days, and you can use it as a base to day-trip to Venice, Pisa and other cities — under an hour, and under €5 each way.

The Basilica of St Anthony, Padova. Worth a visit inside!
The Basilica of St Anthony, Padova. Go inside this one.
Hiking in the forests outside Padova with our Couchsurfing hosts.
Hiking in the forests outside Padova with our Couchsurfing hosts.

Pisa

It’s got its Leaning Tower and Plaza of Miracles, but there are other pretty spots. If you’re in a rush you can wander from the train station to the information centre to the plaza, and then get the bus back, all in under two hours.

The top of the leaning tower of Pisa.
The top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I wasn't drinking honest. Maybe the original engineers were though.
I wasn’t drinking, honest. Maybe the original engineers were though.

Bologna

Great plazas, neat inner-city markets, and good food abound. We feel the large university really adds a lot of energy. We used our ACP Eurail Passes to good effect and spent a few hours here this time around.

The Plaza of Neptune is a central spot in Bologna.
The Plaza of Neptune is a central spot in Bologna.
Bologna has its leaning tower too!
Bologna has its leaning tower too!

Florence

Beautiful Florence is the home of so much art it’ll make you cry, especially if you really love or really hate sculpture and painting. Once-capital, home of the Medici family, and so steeped in history and wealth it’s hard not to appreciate its beauty and depth.

Our great Florence Apartment, thanks to Go With Oh.
Our great Florence Apartment, thanks to Go With Oh.
The baptistry and cathedral lie at the heart of Florence.
The baptistry and cathedral lie at the heart of Florence.
A detail from the cupola of Florence Cathedral.
A detail from the cupola of Florence Cathedral.

Looking to book the apartment we used? It’s right here. If you go, I’d highly recommend the Firenze card — it’s pricy, but so are all the museums and galleries.

Venice

You know it’s lovely. What we discovered on this, our third visit, is that there’s a quieter, hidden side of Venice just a stone’s throw away from the crowded tourist thoroughfares. We explored that on this evening food and wine tour of Venice.

Venice's colour and canals are lovely to wander, but avoid the crowds.
Venice’s colour and canals are lovely to wander, but avoid the crowds.

Remember, all our stories are in the podcast, so download episode 257 in iTunes, or hit play on the Soundcloud player above.

But then again, there’s a lot of places we missed. What’s your dream travel destination in northern Italy?


IndieRail is brought to you by ACPRail.com, providers of a wide range of rail passes and train tickets including Eurail, BritRail, Rail Australia, Japan Rail and more. Great pricing, friendly service. We’re glad to be working with them. Local day trips are provided by Urban Adventures. We’re sharing stories as they happen thanks to Droam: mobile data without boundaries. Check out our next destination…

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