Italy on Credit Card Rewards Part Two - picture of Holly and Greg in Venice

Italy on Credit Card Rewards: Part Two

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On Monday, I posted a review of our first three days in Italy. This post continues with details on our next three days in Tuscany and Venice. As a reminder, I shared details of how we paid for this trip with points here and here. In summary, we paid for the most expensive component of our trip – our flights – with 80,000 American AAdvantage miles and $109 for airline taxes and fees. Meanwhile, we paid for all of our bed-n-breakfast stays with cash back from a handful of point-earning credit cards.

Italy Day 4: Florence

Having just spent several days taking in ancient Rome and the beautiful island of Capri, I thought I might be let down by the rest of our trip. But boy, was I wrong. Picture perfect Florence is stunning and alluring in its own way.

During our days in Florence, we saw most of the main sights – including the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery. This meant seeing some of the world’s most treasured pieces of art – including Michelangelo’s David, which stands an amazing thirteen-feet tall, and Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, which is Greg’s favorite painting of all time.

My favorite part of Florence was its famous Duomo and Santa Croce Basillica. The Duomo is so large you can barely take a picture of it in its entirety. We stood there and stared at it for hours. And the inside of Santa Croce is so beautiful that pictures can’t possibly do it justice. As the final resting place of geniuses like Michelangelo and Galileo, and with artwork from greats like Donatello, it’s simply unbelievable.

And in case anyone is wondering, we stayed at Hotel Globus in Florence, which is just a few steps away from the Duomo. For less than $100 per night (paid for in cash-back), we had an awesome room right in the heart of Florence – with free breakfast, to boot! The hotel also featured a nightly happy hour with appetizers and wine for its guests, but we never quite made it there.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Florence:

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Italy Day 4: Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa

For our fourth day in Italy, I decided to do something different and book a day trip to several cities in Tuscany. The entire thing cost us around 11,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and it included lunch. All things considered, I thought it was an excellent value. With that being said, I enjoyed some parts of the day trip more than others. We didn’t get to spend enough time in Siena to do much more than explore its famous cathedral and use the bathroom, but I absolutely loved the views driving through Tuscany on the way there. San Gimignano was a nice treat, but again, we didn’t have much time to spend there.

And I’m sorry, but Pisa is pretty dumb. Aside from taking some pictures of the leaning tower and having a good laugh over it, there’s not much you can do in Pisa with 90 minutes. The most fun I had there was posing Greg for pictures and laughing at the fact that we were so far off the mark. Also, here’s a special shout out to Peter Anderson from Bible Money Matters for the amazing special effects he added to my favorite picture. We appreciate it!

Siena Cathedral
Siena Cathedral

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Italy Day 6: Venice

Our final full day in Italy was spent in the floating city of Venice. Despite the fact that we only spent one full day there, we had a blast and actually saw quite a bit. In addition to taking a traditional private gondola ride (cost: $80 Euros), we explored the beautiful Piazza San Marco, saw the Doge’s Palace, and got lost in the city’s maze of tiny alleys, city squares, churches, and canal-side walkways. Side note: You can catch our entire 30 minute gondola ride here. We periscoped it!

To be honest, my favorite part about Venice was just walking around. Just like Rome and Florence, every corner you turn in Venice is more beautiful than the last. I loved the smell of the sea, getting lost down narrow walkways that seemingly led to nowhere, and the feeling of just being there.

I can definitely see us fitting Venice into another Italy trip in the near future, or possibly using it as a starting point for a trip through Switzerland and Germany. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our time spent in Venice, Italy:

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Seeing Italy on Credit Card Rewards: A Bucket List Trip

By the end of our Italian getaway, we were completely exhausted but in awe of everything we saw and experienced. I just hope we get to go back someday! There are so many other places I want to see in the meantime, and I can’t wait to start planning our next big trip!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out part one of this series. And if you need help planning your own adventure with credit card rewards, make sure to check out my free travel advice page or send me an email. As always, I am happy to help you plan your own epic journey with credit card rewards.

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What is your favorite part of Italy? What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

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20 Comments

  1. So cool! When we were there we rented a car and drove through Tuscany. It was a little scary not being exactly sure what all the road signs said, but that was one of our fav parts of the trip! Anyway, sounds like you guys had an epic time! Thanks for the inspiration on all the awesome ways to use credit card rewards 🙂

  2. I think Venice was my favorite but we only saw a small sampling of the country. Good to know about Pisa. I guess it’s one of those places you have to see but once is plenty.

  3. We were going to go to Italy at the end of February for our anniversary… then some things happened and yadda yadda yadda we will reschedule for sometime in the not to distant future.

    Your pictures only make me want to go there more. Looks like a great trip!

  4. I really appreciate your point that trips like this don’t happen by accident. How wonderful that you make your credit cards work for you and reap these kinds of benefits. All of the photos are wonderful – and I’m now dreaming of gelato at 7:11 am 🙂

  5. Loved the video! We are dying to go to Italy soon. Which city was your favorite? I want to go to Venice, but I always hear that Florence is better.

    1. I liked something about everywhere we went. Honestly though, my favorite city was probably Rome! Beauty everywhere you looked – it was hard to take it all in. I loved all of Italy!

  6. Love the pics again Holly! Sounds like y’all had a packed but awesome trip. That said, we really want to visit Rome and Venice and will likely wrap them into an extended European trip here in the not too distant future.

  7. I remember taking similar pictures in Florence. It’s a nice city once you get away from all the crowds. 😀

    Looks like you guys traveled on a fast pace while in Italy!

  8. I love that in and among the beautiful architecture and statues you included gelato. I’m not saying it was wrong to include it. Just funny.

  9. I loved the Duomo as well and all of the museums in Florence! When we went, we ended in Northern Italy and spent a few days in Lake Como which was amazing. My hubby has only done southern Italy so we would like to return with our son and show him both. Your trip sounds and looks amazing and I can imagine you were super exhausted because I’m exhausted just reading everything you accomplished in such a short period of time!

  10. Looks like a great trip! You may not have had enough time in Pisa to visit more than the Leaning Tower, but the Duomo and Baptistery there are spectacular. The Duomo has a beautifully pulpit carved by Pisano. The Baptistery is an acoustic marvel – every half hour an attendant sings a few chords and then sings a duet with herself thanks to the perfect echoes. And the city of Pisa is quite pleasant to stroll – although the souvenir stands near the Leaning Tower are the tactiest around! So I wouldn’t advise people to skip Pisa because there are some very interesting sights.

  11. I hope you enjoyed visit Italy and yes you need to came back. My Italy is small country but rich for art, culture, good food and good people:P

  12. Zeid Rustom says:

    I’ve been in Rome and Venice this August for 10 days with my wife and 3 children. Rome was fascinating. Every step held a new discovery. Vatican city, Collosiem , Spanish steps…etc. Food was amazing . Pizza has a different taste in Italy.Our favorite was QUATRO FORMAGGIO.Took the train to Venice for 3 “out of this world” days. A must visit place at least once in a life time.Wonderful, romantic and amazing.
    Your photos are perfect. We took many photos at same places as you did but not as professional as yours.

    1. Glad you loved Italy too. We thought it one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. Thanks for commenting! And I agree that Venice is out of this world. It takes a lot to impress me, but WOW! I felt that way about Italy in general.

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