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Italy - 14 day driving trip in May

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I'm flying into Venice mid-May, spending three nights there, then renting a car to do a loop of Northern Italy for two weeks.

I've started by mapping out UNESCO World Heritage sites in Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Mantua, Ferrara, Modena, Ravenna, Urbino, Assisi, Pienza, Val d'Orcia, Siena, San Gimignano, Florence, Pisa, Portovenere, ending in Verona where we'll leave the car and take a train to Munich.

I know that 's too much! I want to see Venice (never been) and Florence (haven't been in literally decades) and Cinque Terra (again, have never been) .

We also want to stay in some Agriturismo places...esp looking for a couple that are associated with wineries.

Any opinions on the "not really worth it" from this list or the "don't miss it!."

BTW, we plan to stay just outside Florence and take public transit into the city! Thanks for any suggestions.

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    Some of your UNESCO world heritage sites are car-unfriendly and drivers can unknowingly drive into restricted zones that land them HUGE fines later on from the police, who capture the license plate of their rental car on video cams. Between now and when you leave in May, you really need to get a firm grip on the Zona Traffico Limitato areas in each city (look this up on the web and memorize what the traffic sign looks like). You can sometimes find maps of the restricted areas and it is helpful to have Michelin Maps that show the location of public parking areas at the edges of these historic cities. Get used to the idea that you will park outside of town and walk in.

    If you arrive in the vicinity of le Cinque Terre on a nice weekend, you can spend hours looking for parking. Even on a week day in May, you should be looking to park the car in another town with a large parking lot, and take a train or boat to the tiny villages.

    There are books you can buy on the web and in Italy that list agriturismi with lodgings all over Italy, and indicate what kind of product they produce -- wine, olive oil, fruit, etc. You should buy one and carry it in your car.

    My opnion of "not really worth it" and "don't miss it" is that it is a totally wrong question to ask on a tourist message board forum like this unless you ordinarily tell the waitress wherever you eat that she should pick your food for you, if you let other people order from a clothes catalogue what you wear, and if you tell your financial advisoer to just do whatever, you're not all that interested. If that's the way you live your life, figuring that other people always know more than you do so you should just go with that, fine. If you actually tend to do what you like to do most of the time, the crowd be damned, then read up on these UNESCO places -- which are chose for political reasons -- and figure out if you'll bored stiff there or fascinated or would rather be spending more time with nature anyway than in cities.

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    I think the value of these boards is to be able to hear different views of different places. Often someone on this board or others will mention a place or site that hasn't even turned up in my research. Then one can take their own research and play it against what others have recommended and experienced and make some pretty good decisions on where to go.

    I loved NItaly so much so that we spent about three weeks there and then went back for three more weeks the next year. Of course many years ago did the same thing in the Tuscany/Umbria region, so for 2 weeks I suggest you map out a reasonable area and see as much as u can in a limited area. Places I absolutely loved include Padua, Mantova,& Ravenna. Also loved Urbino and Assisi. Haven't been to Ferrara, Pisa or Cinque Terre. Happy planing

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    Mid-May this year??

    I would calculate driving times between towns and decide how many consecutive days of driving you're willing to do. Research a little more about each town and evaluate your interest versus the effort/detour required to get there. Make sure whatever you're going to the town to see is open on the day you would be there. If you don't want to drive every day, determine where you want to spend two nights (one full day).

    Consider putting Florence last before Verona and dropping the car before you get there (Siena, Pisa, etc.) and then taking the train to Verona. It's likely you'd want to spend a couple of days in Florence and won't need the car. FYI, Florence to Verona by train is only 2 hours. If you drive from Portovenere to Verona (as you originally contemplated), you would be backtracking between Modena and Verona.

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