My husband and I are traveling through Italy for 2 weeks. We live in Los Angeles and want to go towards the end of September/Early October as we've read that's the best time to visit.
We plan to land in Rome or Naples and rent a car and drive everywhere. This is more of a road trip excursion than a R&R getaway, and let me state that I totally understand we are a bit ambitious in tucking all these towns into 2 weeks but we are totally fine with that. We love being on the road and love the idea of a "shot gun" Italy tour. That said, this is NOT final. It's close but more of our "ideal" itinerary and based on feedback and more research we will be tightening it up a bit. If you have ideas about small towns worth seeing, or some cities you'd favor over others, (and why), would love to hear from you.
At the moment we would really like to visit these towns in this order. I've mapped it all out and most of these drives are 2.5 hours. The biggest stretch is driving from the Amalfi Coast to Florence (5 hours). The arrow indicates a drive from > to and I've included tentatively how many nights we think we'll spend. Some towns we think we'll just poke around.
Land in Rome / 2 nights
Rome > Naples / 0 nights
Naples > Positano (Amalfi Coast) / 2 nights
Positano > Florence / 2 nights
Florence > Arezzo Chianti and/or Siena / 2 nights
Tuscan towns > Vernazza (Cinque Terre) / 1 night
Vernazza > Portofino / 0 night
Portofino > Parma or Modena / 1 night
Parma/Modena > Verona / 0 night
Verona > Venice / 1 night
Venice > Milan / 1 night
Overall, would love to hear your suggestions about the best places to eat in these towns (including what to eat), great B&Bs and fun non-touristy things to do. Since it's pretty easy to find all the tourist attractions.
1) Are there downsides to flying into Naples vs Rome?
2) Which Tuscan towns are not to be missed? Simply put, all the towns I've read about sound epic. Anyone with a great experience in any of these towns or a town not listed? Note: we love good wine, but not snobs in the least. I'd prioritize 1) lush scenery 2) epic / beautiful B&B to stay in 3) good wine (pretty sure there's no shortage of that anywhere tbh)
3) Where should we stay in Cinque Terre? I've heard all 5 towns are all a day trip away from one another but any suggestions?
4) If you had to choose, is it worth spending a night in Portofino or saving that night for one of the smaller northern Italian towns like Parma, Modena, Verona etc? OR, doing away with all of these small towns (maybe just stopping off in Parma to eat Prosciutto) and staying an additional night in either Milan or Venice, which I'm thinking might be a better less-rushed way to end our trip.
5) So I've heard how tourist-y and overrun Venice has become. I also know we must go visit because we'll probably never be back. Any tips?
6) Any ideas on how best to navigate into Venice? What's the best route to get there from essentially what will be Cinque Terre? This also depends on question 4, and wether you favor any combination of the northern Italy towns.
7) Anyone been to Lake Como? It sounds idyllic and great and since it'll be so close I thought we should allot a night to it (like splitting one night between Lake Como and 1 in Milan).
8) What am I missing in Rome?
Vatican city: Sistine chapel / St. peters basilica / museums
9) Florence? Academia de Belle Arti de Firenze / Statue of David / anything else?
Things to consider (we love):
Historic small towns
Antiques and small-town shopping
Art museums (would like to see some contemporary art along with all the historic stuff)
Local-only spots that are NOT packed with tourists (bars? restaurants? comedy clubs?)
Nature and the outdoors
What and where should we eat in Italy?
If you read all of this, bless your soul. And thank you in advance.
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