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Venice/Florence/Rome Plan - Feedback needed

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I have been thinking through an itinerary that can work for us (2 adults, 3 kids) after reading a bit. I am trying to use the time the best I can. Please provide feedback, if this is not doable please suggest modification to make it doable:

12th July, Thursday - Reach Rome from US at 8:30am, get out of custom by 9am, get out of baggage drop and arrive at train to station by 10am (is this realistic taking the Leonardo connection) – Get out of Rome by 10:45am….Reach Venice at around 3pm – can we pick Lunch in the train station and eat in the train or does the train have pantry?
Go to the Apt by 4pm, Get out of Apt by 5pm after snacking etc …Do evening sightseeing till 7pm, eat dinner and go to bed by 9pm
13th July, Friday - Full day sightseeing in Venice
14th July, Saturday – Half day sightseeing in Venice and half day trip to Murano and Burano
15th July, Sunday – Breakfast in Venice, Checkout of Apt, Pick a car (where is the best place?) and drive to Lucca, visit Lucca and drive to Pisa, visit Pisa, drop the car and take a train to Florence
16th July, Monday – Full day sightseeing in Florence
17th July, Tuesday – Full day sightseeing in Florence
18th July, Wednesday – Full day sightseeing in Florence
19th July, Thursday – Checkout, pick a car, drive to San Gimi, Siena & Orvieto (Is it possible to do all three by car in a day?)… Drop the Car in Orvieto and train to Rome 20th July Friday, Full day sightseeing in Rome
21st July Saturday – Visit Pompeii
22nd July Sunday – Full day sightseeing in Rome
23rd July Monday – Full day sightseeing in Rome
24th July Tuesday – Fly out of Rome in the afternoon

Thanks a lot for your response.

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    hi junk,

    personally, i think that the beginning of your trip is rather frantic, and I would forget about the 1 day car hire options, and use the trains for your sightseeing especially as the places you want to visit are easily accessible by train.

    i can't help you with how long it will take to get to Termini [rome's main train station] from Fiumicino, but I suspect that you will be there well before lunch-time. there are plenty of places to buy food on the concourse - you could snack there while waiting for your train to Venice. [i suggest not pre-buying tickets for this part of your journey - it could be expensive if you miss the train for some reason].

    so you should be in Venice in time for tea, and i would stay 4 nights there - one to recuparate, and two to sight-see - you don't need to decide what you're going to do on which day, unless you want to pre-book the Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge's palace - which your kids might like.

    after that, I see no reason to get a car to see Lucca and Pisa, since both can be reached on the train from Florence- you could do both in a day trip.

    get the train to Florence - arriving by mid-day, and stay 3 nights. [if you stay 4, you could do a day trip to siena, which is reached by bus as is san gim.]

    finally train to Rome via Orvieto. Well worth a proper stop for 1/2 day at least, and no way, IMHO you could see San gim, siena, AND Orvieto in one day en route to Rome.

    once in Rome [arrive by lunch-time and you gain 1/2 a day] stay 4 nights. you'll have 3 and 1/2 days of you follow this plan.

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    Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your response. I inadvertently opened two threads and you posted on this one, while some people posted on the other. I felt I can respond to you here, but you (anyone else who reads this thread) may want to post your response in the other thread (can two threads be merged by moderator?).

    First day, I am trying to go to Venice, so that we use the jet lag time in Train and in arriving a rather slow city (this I have seen advised in the forum). For the 1 day card hire, I am trying to fit our travel from one city to another and a day trip into the same day so that I do not lose precious time in check in etc. In car, I can have the luggage with us and check in at the end of the day. We are staying 3 nights in Venice. 4 might be stretch since there is more to do in Florence and Rome than in Venice, I have heard. I am assuming I cannot possibly fit train travel from Venice to Florence, and a trip to Lucca/Pisa the same day. May be I can if I use the left luggage service at Florence train station.

    We will be in Florence for 4 nights. Originally my plan was to go to San Gimi and Siena in one day and return to Florence and go to Rome by train the next morning... so this way I lose half a day, when returning to Florence for the night halt really does not buy us anything except to pick the luggage. Is it possible to do the car trip from Florence to San Gimi and Siena by car in one day and return to Rome by train from Siena? This way, I realize, we will not see Orvieto.

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    We are staying 3 nights in Venice. 4 might be stretch since there is more to do in Florence and Rome than in Venice, I have heard. I am assuming I cannot possibly fit train travel from Venice to Florence, and a trip to Lucca/Pisa the same day.>>

    firstly, there is more to do in rome than anywhere else [possibly in the world!] so however long you are there, you won't see it all! as for Venice v florence, there will be as many opinions as there are fodorites, but there are arguments for staying longer in Venice - you may need a day to recover from jetlag, there is certainly enough there to fill 3 days, and if you did by any chance get bored, you could do a day trip to Padua or Verona.

    you could see Pisa on the way to Florence - there are left-luggage offices there, and i really don't like the idea of hiring a car for a day to see cities - they all have restricted traffic areas in the centres which can mean you get a nasty shock by way of a fine when you get home.

    you can get to san gim and Siena by bus from florence, and for the same reason as above, i would not suggest driving to Siena just for a day trip. all trains to Rome from siena go via Florence, and the journey takes about 3 hours, so that isn't really a good plan. better to drop the car off at Orvieto, or somewhere else on a direct route to Rome.

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    sorry, junk, part of what i just posted is rubbish - of course Pisa is the OTHER side of florence from Venice - scusa! you could do exactly what you suggest - train to Florence, deposit luggage, then get the train to Pisa.

    also, after having looked at the map, [which is what I should have done earlier] you could drive to Grosetto to return your car after Siena - it is on a direct train route into rome and would probably be easier to get to than Orvieto.

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    It wouldn't be impossible to rent a car and drive to Pisa/Lucca as you say, and this is a good way to combine all the overhead of moving locale into one day. A visit to the leaning tower area doesn't require much driving in down-town Pisa (and there are huge parking lots nearby); in Lucca you'd pretty much have to look for a parking spot outside the wall anyway.

    I personally wouldn't want to do it, though, because its such a long time in the car. Venice to Florence is long and boring enough, without going a couple extra hours past Florence. I would prefer to break that trip into the two shorter legs, and
    go by train. It would be worth it to avoid having to drive in Florence at all.

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    Hi Annhig and capxxx,

    Thanks a lot for your comments.

    @annhig: I know I cannot see everything in 12 days. I am trying to fit a variety of things to see and do in and around Italy’s most famous 3, assuming I may not return anytime soon. It is a hard thing to do, which is why feedback from all the travellers here is so valuable. I am dropping the idea to rent a car; I am thinking of going to Florence by train, leave the luggage at the Florence station, and go to Lucca/Pisa and return to Florence in the evening to check in. Will Padua and Verona be better to see than Siena/Orvieto to experience small towns of Italy? I will check Grosetto.

    @capxxx: the car drive from Venice to Florence is dropped. I might drive from Florence to Rome, but not sure yet. Will look into possibilities. Renting a car is my way of getting around the issue of losing half a day to go from one city to another by checking in early.

    Please suggest anything else that I cannot think of right now. I appreciate your feedback very much. Thanks again!

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    You are still trying to fit too many places into a day. For example, train to Florence is long enough without thinking of then taking trains to both Pisa & Lucca, before training back to Florence, all this with kids in tow. If you accept you cannot see everything, you will enjoy your trip so much more, and you will have happier children. Sit down and eat the gelato, slowly.

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    have to agree with socaltraveller that you are being too ambitious, especially if you weren't accompanied by kids [what age? - I've missed it if you've told us how old they are].

    Grossetto i suggested only as a dropping off point for the car; neither Orvieto or siena are exactly small towns, ditto Verona and Padua, but they are all easily accessible for day trips - Verona and Padua by train from Venice, and Orvieto by train from Rome. Siena is best down by bus from Florence.

    I go back to my first post - the itinerary there would IMHO be more than enough for a first visit.

    i go back to my [solo] visit to Italy last year. this was probably [I've lost count] my 6th visit to Italy, but my first alone, and using trains. snags I encountered: the ticket validation machines at Pisa aeroporto not working, almost getting on the wrong train at Pisa Centrale, [in fact I was sat on it for 10 mins before I realised my mistake] not being able to find any ramps or lifts on my outward journey [strangely they had appeared by the time I came back!] AND I've been on italian trains before and speak some italian. you need to give yourselves time.

    I am not trying to frighten you, but to let you know that you are going to be in a foreign country where they do things differently. and travelling with kids just multiples the potential problems.

    take it slowly, be prepared for things to go wrong, and you'll have a great time.

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