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Help with 3 week itinerary (Barcelona/Southern France/Italy)

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We are planning a 3 week European vacation for mid October through early November. Flying into Barcelona and flying out of Rome/Naples.

Family of 4, all adults. One in a power wheelchair so need to be very careful in planning where we are able to go (i.e. the Cinque Terre with all the stairs isn't ideal obviously). Renting a van since this will be a partial road trip and we'll be driving from Barcelona to Rome/Naples. We enjoy the experience of seeing the countryside and being able to stop when we want. Driving is also much cheaper than buying train tickets for 4 people and avoiding the hassle of calling ahead each time for wheelchair preparation. We do have previous driving experience in Europe as we drove through Germany, northern Italy, Austria, and Switzerland last year. Except for trying to fit into tight parking spaces with a van and some scary switchback roads, the driving experience wasn't too bad for our first time in Europe.

Our interests include beautiful scenery, breathtaking views, great food (cafes, bakeries, etc), the ambiance of smallish quaint and charming towns, mixed in between the big cities (Barcelona, Florence, Rome, etc), unique shopping, and just an overall experience of the culture. Not huge art enthusiasts but will want to see the highlights. Interested in nature related activities (trails, etc) but must be wheelchair accessible.

Following is a rough itinerary:

Barcelona (3 nights)
-3 nights in Barcelona
-Since we plan on having a vehicle upon leaving Barcelona, any interesting places to stop on our way out of the Catalonia area?

Southern France (4 nights)
- 1 night in the Provence area. Deciding between Arles/Aix/Avignon...or if you have other suggestions? Spend the next day exploring the area...highlights of the area?
- 3 nights in Nice...explore the area including taking a couple day trips. Thinking maybe Antibes/Monaco/etc...would love suggestions.

Italy (14 nights)
- 1 night in Cinque Terre. One night isn't much but I don't think we can fully enjoy the area with a wheelchair. At least one night lets us see it, plus it's on our way to Florence. Which of the 5 would be the best fit for us to stay? Which one has the largest promenade, etc?
- 3 nights in Florence. On the way from Cinque Terre, stop at Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and then stop in Lucca for a few hours. Have heard lots of great stuff about Lucca. We'll have 2 full days in Florence to explore and see the highlights.
- 3-4 nights in Tuscany. Which hill towns to see...Siena, San Gimignano, Orvieto, Civita, etc? I think we'd like to stay in a villa in the countryside and then drive to these different hill towns. Would love to hear your suggestions for which towns to visit, where to stay, etc.
- 3-4 nights in Sorrento. Drive or take the train to Naples? Sorrento seems like the best hub for taking day trips to Pompeii, Positano, Ravello, Capri, etc.
- 3 nights in Rome. Taking the early train from Naples will give us 2.5 days to explore Rome. Fly out of Rome.

Or we could reverse the Rome/Naples portion of the trip but that would mean flying out of Naples. Does anyone have any experience flying international out of the Naples airport? If staying in Sorrento, will it be a hassle to get to Naples for an early flight?

Thoughts? Any interesting places on this route that I've missed? It may seem a bit fast paced but we don't mind that. Last year we did 5 countries (Munich, Bavaria, Innsbruck, Verona, Venice, Lake Como, Jungfrau region, Lucerne, Rhine River valley, Paris) in 18 days and felt like we had just the right amount of time in each place.

Would love to get some input! :)

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    >>-Since we plan on having a vehicle upon leaving Barcelona, any interesting places to stop on our way out of the Catalonia area?

    Southern France (4 nights)
    - 1 night in the Provence area. Deciding between Arles/Aix/Avignon...or if you have other suggestions? Spend the next day exploring the area...highlights of the area?<<

    This is what your first driving itinerary might look like:

    - Check out of hotel, get everyone assembled, secure the van, extra time for wheelchair person?, and drive out of Barcelona by 10:30. Any commute traffic??

    - Budget a 5 hr drive to Arles. No stops along the way, except for toll booths, pottie breaks, lunch, and the unavoidable "road deviation". Arrive in Arles at 15:30. This is a boring drive with many opportunities to get a speeding ticket (I have two from this road).

    - Find parking for the van, unload everyone, check into hotel, freshen up, & ready to see the sites by 16:30.

    - See the sites in Arles - Ampitheater, baths, wander streets. 16:30 to 19:00. 2 1/2 hrs to visit only a few things in Arles.

    - Return to hotel, get ready for dinner, and dinner at 20:00.

    - Next morning have breakfast, check out of hotel by 9:00.

    - See a few more sites in Arles - museum, more street wandering & depart Atles by noon.

    You have spent only 5 1/2 hrs in Provence. We've spent 20 weeks there & we're returning for 2 more in 2017. Lots to see & do in Provence. Too bad for you!!!

    - Leave Arles at 12:00 and drive 3 hrs to Nice. Arrive in Nice at 15:00.

    >>- 3 nights in Nice...explore the area including taking a couple day trips. Thinking maybe Antibes/Monaco/etc...would love suggestions. <<<

    - We spent 2 weeks in Nice last year and we consumed a lot of time securing a place for our rental car near our Apt. We parked it in a garage (street parking impossible). I didn't see any places in the garage for a van - but I really wasn't looking. Secure van parking, walk to hotel, check into hotel by 16:00.

    - Freshen up & out on the streets of Nice to explore by 16:30

    - Wander the Blvd des Anglais, visit Old Nice, sit down to dinner at 19:30 on the Cours Saleya That's only 3 hrs to explore Nice. Too bad!!

    - Next day visit Villa Ephrussi, Menton, Villafranche, Monaco, etc. Very difficult parking. This might consume an entire day for you. I doubt if you can visit all in one day in late-October.

    - Next day visit Antibes, Cannes, etc. Again - difficult parking. This may consume most of a day also.

    We've spent 20 weeks on the Cote d'Azur & you'll only be there for 2 1/4 days.

    - Check out of hotel, retrieve the car, assemble everyong, and leave Nice by 10:00 (there is rush hour traffic in Nice)

    - Drive 4 1/2 hrs to the CT. This is a very difficult drive. Hundreds of tunnels (or at least it seems there are that many). Lots of opportunities to make a wrong turn & find yourself on the streets of Genoa - without a map. Arrive in Monterosso at 14:30. Park in the large parking lot & take a golf cart or walk to Hotel. Check into hotel & ready to visit the CT by 15:30. It might be getting dark soon. Hope the weather is "good" in early Nov - or it's not going to be that exciting for your 3 hrs on the CT.

    - Next morning, check out, return to the car, and hit the road by 10:00.

    - Get to Florence by 13:00. Really difficult car navigating & parking. No guess at what time you'll be ready to visit Florence this day - maybe 14:30?

    You have spent a whopping percent of your daylight hours either "getting there" or checking in & out of hotels. Very little time "being there".

    I would suggest that you re-plan your trip. Barcelona and Southern France, or only Italy.

    If you do - e-mail me at StuDudley@aol.com and ask for my 31 page itinerary for Provence & the Cote d'Azur, or my 20+ page Italy itinerary. I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. But do so in late July - we're heading for 4+ weeks in France on Friday.

    Stu Dudley

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    Curious about cross-border drop off fees, I called up Autoeurope and asked [Italy to France]: $500 to $750.

    With respect to driving in Italy, read this, particularly the part about ZTL's:

    http://driventoit.blogspot.com.au/

    For route planning consult viamichelin.

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