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Italy itinerary advice - april 2013 (venice, florence, siena, rome)

Hello all!!!

I will be traveling with four friends (all in our mid 20s to early 30s)to Italy this coming April. I have been to Italy twice before and have been tasked with creating our itinerary. We will be in Italy for 12 days (not including our two travel days).

Based on what i remember from before, this is the pretty detailed itinerary that i have come up with thus far.

I am hoping to receive some invaluable advice from fodor's italy experts.

constructive critism welcome!!!!

Day 1: Venice (Wed)

o Arrive at Marco Polo airport
o Bus to Piazzale Roma.
o Vaporetto/walk to hotel
o After settling in, go back to Pizzale Roma and take vaporetto #1 length of canal, listen to Rick Steves audio guide of Venice
o stop at St. Marco square and take in the sights
o head out for early dinner
o Sleep early; get use to time change

Day 2: Venice (Thurs)

Walk along North Side today
o Bascilica San Marco. EARLY
o Ascend Campanile Tower for best views of Venice
o Doge’s Palace and Secret Itinerary Tour (reservation)
o Santi Giovanni e Paolo
o Saint George Greek Church
o Arsenale
o Dinner (ask hotel for recommendations)

Day 3: Venice (Fri)

Walk along South Side today
o Rialot Market very early
o San Giorgio di Magggiore
o Santa Maria della Salute
o Santa Maria del Frari
o Scuola San Rocco
o Walk & get “lost” today in the Dorsoduro section
o Pub Crawl for dinner

Day 4: Florence (Sat)

o Train from Venice to Florence
o Check into hotel
o Picnic lunch on stairs of San Lorenzo. PIck up food from Mercado Centrale
o Renaissance walk: Duomo (dome, museum), Bapistery, Orsan Michele, Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio
o Home to rest
o Ponte Vecchio at sunset
o Late Dinner Reservations: Golden View Open Bar

Day 5: Florence (Sun)

o Medici Chapels
o Reservation @ Uffizi
o Santa Croce church
o Piazzale Michaelangelo
o San Miniato church
****need more suggestions for afternoon/evening****
o dinner in florence (ask hotel for recommendations)

Day 6: Pisa/Lucca (mon)

o Day trip to Pisa and Lucca
o Pisa: Field of Miracles
o Lucca: Bike the ramparts. see some of the churches
o Back to Florence for dinner

Day 7: Chianti/San Gimignano (tues)

o Accademia for statue of david (reservations)
o Leave Florence. Rent a car in Florence (drop off in Rome)
o Travel south through Chianti with stops in Greve, Castellina
o Over to San Gimignano to sightsee and Vernaccia
****do we have enough time to see monteriggioni??****
o Final stop ... Siena

Day 8: Siena (wed)

o Spend the entire day sightseeing in Siena
****need possible suggestions for afternoon/ early evening****
o dinner at trattoria la torre
o evening drinks at the campo

Day 9: Montalcino/Pienza (thurs)

o Day trip to Montalcino and Pienza
o Pienza: sightsee and eat pecorino cheese! (and lunch)
o Montalcino: Brunello winery tour (Ciacci Piccolomini d' Aragona)
o Montalcino: Sightsee Montalcino
o If time allows possibly see another small town
o Back to Siena for dinner/evening

Day 10: Rome (fri)

o Drive from Siena to Rome. Drop off car.
o Walk around and get acquainted with Rome
o Walk from hotel to Spanish Stairs and this area
o Spend evening near Trevi Fountain

Day 11: Rome (sat)

Vatican City
o Vatican & Vatican Museum/Sistine chapel (reservations)
o St. Peter’s Square
o St. Peter’s Bascilica
Walk around Rome and see other churches including:
o Santa Maria in Trastevere
o Santa Maria Maggiore

Day 12: Rome (sun)

Caesar Shuffle (to sightsee Ancient Rome)
o Colloseum
o Arch of Constantine
o Roman Forum
o Capitol Hill
o Pantheon

please feel free to offer any advice. i am more than willing to change anything i have planned. the three friends i am traveling with have never been to europe, so i am hoping to give them a wonderful first experience!!!!

thanks in advance!!!

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