We are starting this year with some positive vibes and travel recommendations.
We love to travel with our miniature dachshund Cesar as happy dog owners. He has been travelling
with us, all over Europe, but Italy always felt like the best choice, as it is a super dog-friendly country.
You can easily find dog-friendly accommodation here; dogs are welcomed in restaurants/bars, shops, and shopping malls. Also, many visiting sites accept dogs. So why not take your pup to Bel Paese this year?
Let’s explore Tuscany. We love wandering with Cesar in Florence, especially not touristy parts and neighbourhoods. The best start of the day in Florence is to climb the stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square) for the most fabulous view over Florence. It is an enjoyable walk, especially in the early hours, to avoid the heat. Then you could head to Porta San Niccolo and follow Via San Niccolo, a perfect spot for little shopping. Stop at atelier Sileno Cheloni for a fantastic perfume experience. Then turn to Costa S Giorgio and move forward the Fort Belvedere. Currently, the fort is closed and will reopen in the springtime. Nearby, you will notice gardens – Gardini di Bobboli, the dogs are not permitted there. We hope this will be changed soon, so also our pups can enjoy this incredible park.
Next you can head to another excellent neighbourhood with lots of eateries (Santo Spirito). Why not grab some lunch or a light bite. Check out nearby streets as they are full of artisan workshops and lovely little shops. End your day heading towards Arno river to grab a glass of wine in the traditional Florentine way. A restaurant called Babae, has reopened one of Florence’s wine windows (bucchette) and brought back this special tradition (in renaissance times, these small windows were created and opened, onto the street, and used for the sale of wine from the wine cellar). So head to Via Santo Spirito R21, here from seven to eight each evening (“L’ora della Buchetta,”), Babae serves glasses of their wine by handing it out to the street.
If you are looking for a unique spot to discover with your dog, Capri is an excellent choice. We love it as it is easy to go around it and you do not need your transport. All the ferries accept dogs; you just need to remember to take a leash and muzzle. Once on the island, you can use public transport. Dogs are allowed on the funicular, with a leash and muzzle, and require a ticket. Small and medium dogs are allowed on the buses, and also require a ticket. You will find more info here:
Capri is famous for the faraglioni – towering rock formations rising from the ocean. The best place to see them is the Gardens of Augustus (botanical gardens established by the German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp). Here you can enjoy the 180-degree panoramic of the island, Mount Solaro, the bay of Marina Piccola, and the Faraglioni.
Make sure to check out another fantastic view of the Faraglioni by following Via Tragara towards an observation deck, the Belvedere di Tragara. Keep walking, and you’ll see the Pizzolungo, a circular path with hundreds of steps. It will take you along a wooded trail around the coast with stunning views of the Arco Naturale, a natural rock arch.
The second great itinerary for walking with your four-legged friend is Via Krupp, a pedestrian walkway leading down to the sea below. As you go down, you’ll arrive at Marina Piccola, a gorgeous beach shadowed by cliffs. A great hangout place, full of hidden gems and luxury villas.
For lunch, you can head to Ristorante Da Gioia and dine on their lovely alfresco terrace, then enjoy a glass of wine on one of their sun loungers.
If you love discovering hidden treasures, you should not miss the Hermitage of Cetrella, located on the slope of Mount Solaro. Referred to as “Capri’s most otherworldly church”, it dates back to the 14th century and was founded by Carthusian monks. The hermitage is comprised of a small church, bell tower and sacristy with a low dome, which was added in the seventeenth century. Visiting is allowed, especially during the summer period, thanks to the care of some volunteers. To arrive there, take the chairlift from Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri (12 minutes), or walk up the mountain (60 minutes) using Via Capodimonte, Via Monte Solaro and then following the path.
While you’re in Anacapri, be sure to enjoy the slower pace away from the crowds. There is plenty to do here: shopping in artisan workshops to get lovely souvenirs or eating out in many fantastic restaurants. Top off your day by sampling a glass of local Limoncello. The best places to see in Anacapri include:
Villa San Michele – belonged to the doctor Axel Munthe, a philanthropist who made his home on the island. Today his villa is a museum that houses archaeological artefacts from different parts of the world, and it’s surrounded by lush gardens of unique beauty. Dogs are welcome here. Munthe himself was a lifelong lover of these animals.
Centre of Anacapri – the highest point on the island, much quieter and more peaceful than the centre of Capri town. Stroll through the lanes lined by artisan workshops, the tiny squares and houses with traditional barrel-shaped roofs.
Hiking trails and walking paths – follow the Path of the Little Forts, which takes you to a beautiful view of the lighthouse. Other options are: a path to the Migliera Scenic Overlook and the Trail of the Forts. If you’re looking for a challenge, climb up the 921 Phoenician stone steps that take you from Anacapri to the main port, Marina Grande.
Beaches in Capri:
Unless local restrictions are posted on accessing the beaches, dogs are usually allowed in the free ones, as long as they are kept on a leash and do not disturb others. Beaches where you can bring your dog:
Marina Grande – located close to the port. Can be crowded in the high season, so it is best to leave early in the morning to grab a seat.
Marina Piccola – you will find two small free beaches which are always very crowded during the summer but offer a fantastic view of the Faraglioni.
Palazzo a Mare – can be reached from the Church of San Costanzo, near the Bagni di Tiberio. It is a beach protected by a cliff. You will find here some quiet spots, perfect for your furry friend.
If you look for wilder parts of Italy, pristine nature and turquoise water, you must visit Sardinia. The best way to get there is by ferry, and now it has become easier with cabins dedicated to our “special friends”. We took the ferry from Civitavecchia to Olbia, booked a dog-friendly cabin and even got a dog travel pack (plenty of snacks) for our Cesar.
Our recommendation as a base for exploring is Arzachena. The town is relatively close to Costa Smeralda and way more economical. The beaches in the northern part of Sardinia are spectacular, and you will find many small and wild ones. Usually, we opted for those as we could leave Cesar without the leash and enjoy the seaside. There are also many dog-friendly beaches in that part of Sardinia, and usually, you can find there drinking water, games and veterinary emergency service.
In Palau, we recommend the beach of Punta Nera and, if you have enough time, it is worth taking a trip to the island of Caprera to visit the beach of Porto Palma. Caprera and La Maddalena are a must see places while visiting northern Sardinia. The highlights of this area are: the old town center, La Maddalena National Park, the Pink Beach, the House of Garibaldi and Passo della moneta (the small bridge that connects La Maddalena to Caprera).
Instead in Arzachena you will find 2 dog beaches: Poltu Liccia and La Sciumara. The beach Ira Beach Privé, located in the beautiful territory of Porto Rotondo is impressive because of its white sand and crystal clear water. Also check out San Teodoro – Dog Beach in Costa Caddu and in Santa Teresa di Gallura – Porto Fido, at the beach of Porto Quadro.
If you love visiting we would suggest stopping at the nearby nuraghe. La Prisgiona is an archaeological site consisting of ancient megalithic structures and a village comprising around 90-100 buildings, spread across 5 hectares
Do not miss Roccia del fungo (“Monti Incappiddatu” in local language) – a mushroom-shaped rock, the symbol of Arzachena. You will find it on the hill right next to the village. Make sure also to visit the centre of Arzachena – take a walk through streets with many colourful houses and stop at Piazza Risorgimento to visit the churches in the area. Leaving Arzachena, head to the famous town of Porto Cervo – loved by celebrities. This fancy resort has a lovely Piazzetta di Porto Cervo, worth visiting. Then take a leisurely walk through the charming village and its little port. Another must-see place is Capo Ferro (Iron Cape), a splendid observation point overlooking the archipelago of La Maddalena.
We stayed in Arzachena for around five days and then travelled towards Alghero. If you don’t like staying in one place too long, our itinerary could be ideal for you. Check out our blog post about Alghero to get some more travel ideas. We will be back shortly with some more dog-friendly places and itineraries in Italy.