Italy, Day 1: Traveling to Levanto in the Italian Riviera

In May Ryan and I traveled to Italy with our toddler, and survived to tell the tale!  It was a great trip, if exhausting.  Traveling with children is never quite a full “vacation” but we were thankful to have this opportunity!

Our trip started with a drive to New Jersey, where we left the poodle with my in-laws. We flew out of JFK in New York because we got a great deal with our credit card points.  Our plane left New York that night, and landed the next day at noon.  Maple slept really well on the flight and had no issues with the pressure, despite having been to the doctor the day before for an ear infection that wasn’t going away.  We were incredibly lucky that she took the flight so well.

It was only 6 am back home when we landed.  We had to take a train from the Milan airport to the Milano Centrale train station. The “express train” was a slow 30-minute ride with many stops. Ryan and I were exhausted, but had an exuberant, well-rested toddler in tow!

Italy 2016 Packing Light Traveling With a Toddler

Thankfully we packed light for a family of three, with just a backpack, my purse, and a carry-on suitcase.

From downtown Milan, we had to take another train west, then south down the coast to the town of Levanto, near Cinque Terre region. Maybe we were just tired, but the day seemed to take forever. We had to wait two hours for our train, so we tanked up on Italian coffee which is tasty, even at the train station.

Our very long, very hot train ride was made slightly more tolerable a delightful college student who got on at Genoa. She entertained Maple for the remaining hour of the trip. I was amazed that she rode the train for an hour each way, every day, to go to college while living with her parents in Levanto.

We’d stayed in the same hotel in Levanto on our last trip, so once we got off the train we easily walked down the hill to the hotel. A Durmi Guesthouse was just as relaxing as we remembered, with our room opening onto a beautiful garden and courtyard for Maple to play in.

2016 Italy Levanto Sunset View Garden

Arriving just in time for sunset over the garden.

2016 Italy Levanto Maple Plays

It took a long time to get Maple to sleep that night . . . around 11 pm. But that night she (and I!) slept like a champ.When I woke up in the morning, I felt so well-rested and didn’t know why. Then I realized it was the first time I’d gotten to sleep through the night in over a year!

When Maple awoke, I left Ryan to sleep and took her for a walk around town. We had breakfast – cappuccino and brioche – at my favorite pastry shop, Bianchi.  Maple basked in the attention she received from all the locals who came in for their coffees.  She really loves an audience!

2016 Italy Levanto Pasticceria Bianchi

It was a beautiful morning, so after breakfast she and I took a walk around town.  The hotel provided a stroller which was great, because we didn’t want to pack one.

2016 Italy Levanto Town Square Cinque Terre

Maple threw these sunglasses overboard shortly after this photo, never to be seen again!

Maple threw these sunglasses overboard shortly after this photo, never to be seen again!

2016 Italy Levanto Cinque Terre Fresh Vegetable Market

This vegetable market had the most incredible fresh smell!

2016 Italy Levanto L'Orto Vivo Vegetable Market

Italy’s produce is just drool-worthy.

2016 Italy Levanto Hyper Boutique Bicycle

2016 Italy Levanto Cinque Terre Bikes Doorways


2016 Italy Levanto Bicycle Bridge Town Square

I took so many photos of bikes it’s ridiculous, but I loved this wall!

2016 Italy Levanto Potted Gardens Old Town

The pedestrian streets of the old town have such amazing potted gardens.

That afternoon we revisited our two favorite towns in the Cinque Terre, but I’ll share in the next post so this doesn’t get too long.

Exploring Levanto, Italy, our favorite seaside town on the Italian Riviera right by the Cinque Terre.

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