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Ponte Cestio Connecting Isola Tiberina

How I spend my first time in Italy

Last Updated on July 30, 2019 by Mr. FightToFIRE

As I posted earlier, I was on a holiday to Italy this past week. This was together with my girlfriend, her father and his partner. As you can imagine, going on a trip with your girlfriend and her father makes for an intersting experience. As it turns out, interesting in a fun way.

I’m going to share my experiences in two parts. First I talk about my general experiences. A follow-up post will contain a more detailed view in my expenses during this Italy trip.

We're going on a trip!

First of all, this trip wasn’t really planned way in advance. Heck, I originally didn’t plan any holidays this year after my winter vacation. But if your girlfriend’s family lives at the otherside of the globe and you have the opportunity to meet them, you better take it. This doesn’t expain why it’s last minute of course, until you know that her father wasn’t sure on the details till about three weeks before he was coming over…

Because of the nature of the father’s complete trip I would join them separately by flying over to Venice at roughly the same time they (being my girlfriend, her father and his partner) would be flying out from Amsterdam.

Luckily my first meeting wasn’t in Venice but in the same city as where my gf is studying. He stayed in the same city for a couple of days before heading out to Amsterdan and then Italy with her. It certainly took off the edge.

Flying from Brussels to Venice
Flying from Brussels to Venice

The first flight: Brussels to Venice. Took about 2 hours with Brussels Airlines.

Train ride from Venice train station to Rome Termini

The train ride we took from Venice train station to Rome Termini. It took about 3.5 hours in total. we had one switch in Padova.

Flight back to Brussels from Rome

The flight back to Brussels from Rome took a bit longer (obviously) and was with Ryanair. I know what I said but unfortunately, when you are limited in your options you have to break the rules sometimes.

The itinerary

I departed for Italy on the 21st of July early afternoon and stayed until the 26th in the morning. The first leg of the trip was Venice and the second, starting on the 23rd was Rome.

First stop: Venice


First leg of the Italy trip

Flight to Venice

21 July

Brussels Airlines


21 – 23 July

Airbnb appartement in Castello

The first leg of the trip to Venice was relatively short. We arrived at roughly the same time and departed from the airport together after purchasing our 48 hour public transport passes (ACTV).

The cool thing about these passes is that they are valid for all public transport in Venice and can also include one- or two-way connection to the Marco Polo airport (VCE). The only downside is that they are bit on the expensive side due to the “waterbusses” aka vaporetto. My ticket for 2 days incl. one way trip from the airport to Venice was 36 EUR.

Using these waterbuses we reached our airbnb fast but at the same time see parts of Venice already. We stayed in the Castello neighborhood. From here we got to see most of Venice in the 1,5 days we were there. It was just right. Without rushing things and even sleeping in, we were able to see most of the main island.

Being able to spend time together in a small but good appartement was a good way to get to know her dad a lot better and even though there was a language barrier we were able to share fun and silly moments.

Second stop: Rome


Second and final leg of the Italy trip

Train to Rome

23 July

Frecciarossa Venice – Padova & Padova – Rome


23 – 26 July

Airbnb appartement
Holiday House Santa Maria alle Fornaci

Flight to Brussels

26 July


St. Peter's Square
A nice open view of St. Peter’s Square on a very hot summer July day.

The second and final stop was Rome. We departed from Venice on the 23rd in the morning. Using the waterbus we got to the trainstation in time and reached Rome 3.5 hours later using the high-speed train or Frecciarossa. The total price for both connections was 84.80 EUR.

We had one day more compared to Venice which was good but not great as there are a lot of things to see and do in and around Rome. Four full days would have been better but since the trip duration was set in advance based on my girlfriend’s father’s holiday, we had two.

We did manage to see quite a bit of the city but mainly the historic center. We were not able to go further out besides Vatican City. Luckily the public transport pass (Rome72) was cheap, only 18 EUR, especially compared to the Venice pass.

Fine della dolce vita

It was a wonderful and fun experience traveling with my girlfriend, her father and his partner. Enoying this ‘dolce vita’ was a great break and brought us even closer.

A bit less romantic is that thanks to her father I was able to save money on the accomodation and a few of the restaurant bills. As you will see in my monthly overview, I still spend a bit more but I should remain above 50% Savings Rate.

In the end the total “bill” comes in at 757.06 EUR. This includes:

  • Transportation (plane, train, metro, and (water)bus)
  • Restaurants
  • Clothing
  • Snacks
  • Groceries (for eating at the appartement)
  • Gifts
  • And even some medical expenses for mosquito bites

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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