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10 day Italy Trip-first time for most...6 travellers..itinerary help!

10 day Italy Trip-first time for most...6 travellers..itinerary help!

Jan 9th, 2010, 11:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 17
10 day Italy Trip-first time for most...6 travellers..itinerary help!

Hello- if anyone could give some advice I would greatly appreciate it...

I am organizing an Italy trip for my family- 6 adults from 25-53 years old.
Most of them have never been, my husband travels to Milan on business...that's it.
I went once in high school to Rome, Assisi, and Florence ( barely remember)...

Due to our work schedules we are stuck with April or mid June.....
We have 10 days to play with....but I am torn....there is so much to see...

I know we will fly into Rome, and spend a couple nights in a hotel...after that I am not sure if the best bet is to rent a villa in Tuscany and a car and do day trips etc.....OR

Stay in Rome ( hotels), Siena (hotels), Venice (hotels)...

Amalfi coast was my inital destination...I thought to combine Rome and Amalfi...but April will be too cold...we aren't looking for a beach vacation, but I fear there is not enough to do for 1 week on the coast in April....

Is a villa the way to go? For first timers...what would you suggest...my father wants to see things but isn't a "crazy sightseer"...but i fear we may be bored in a villa in tuscany...

andrea16fh is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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You essentially will have 8 days on the ground; I would personally look at doing 3 days Rome, 2 days in Tuscany and 3 days in Florence. Don't know your budget for hotels but that will help; if you have hotel points, use them - the dollar is weak and rooms will be expensive, especially if you are there around Easter in April. If you can fly into Rome and out of Florence, that would be good. there is so much to see and do where ever you go - don't worry about getting bored. We stayed at the Westin regina in Rome - gorgeous and well worth the points we spent; in Montalcino, we stayed at La Crociona, an agritourismo just outside the village with apartments, swimming pool, onsite restaurant ad easy access to San Antimo, tons of wineries, etc. In Florence, we stayed at hotel accademia - excellent location and good value. You didn't say anything about incountry transportation - a train is easy between Rome and Florence and hotel accademia is about 2 blocks from the florence station. with 6 adults, you'll need a rental van - could be spendy. If you're not going to rent a vehicle, you may want to consider, Rome, Florence, Venice - 3/3/3 and book an extra day for the trip. Again - train travel between the cities is easy, fast and relatively inexpensive.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 11:48 AM
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If you include Venice, fly into Venice and out of Rome.

Six people plus luggage will not fit in one car.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Hello, andrea. First thought is with six of you if you rent a vehicle you would need a van or two rental cars as six people would not fit into one car.

When you say a ten day trip are you including flight time? How many nights will you have in Italy? On arrival day by the time the plane arrives, you get out of the airport and to a hotel and check in etc. half a day at least is "gone". And no doubt, assuming you are living in the US as excited as everyone will be to have arrived in Italy most generally have some jet lag. And most people want to take a shower and change clothes before going out to explore. And usually on the day of departure it is checking out of the hotel after packing up, getting to the airport ahead of time etc., so I always look at that as a completely "lost" day.

If you are counting the ten days to include the travel time since you are arriving in Rome I would be inclined to stay in Rome be it hotel rooms or an apartment(s) and enjoy Rome and perhaps take a day trip or two from Rome. With six people some might want to and some might now. If you have ten days in Italy, nine nights, you could split up the locations. Not knowing what you and your family members interest are it is impossible to suggest a second location.

I will suggest if you stay in two different locations check into the "Open Jaw" also known as "Multi Cities" flights wherein you fly into one city (in your case Rome) and depart from another airport so that you do not have to backtrack to the airport in Rome.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
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I don't think a countryside villa is the way to go. Even once you unload your luggage, piling six people into the same car -- or renting two cars and following each other -- and keep everybody happy for a day of sightseeing -- why? If you go in April, the Tuscan hills can be too cool for just lazing on the terrace for those not interested in sightseeing.

I would visit cities with that size group, so that people who'd rather sit in a piazza and read a newspaper while others shop and still others museum gawk can all find their niche. Or you can all cheaply march around together.

Which cities? Weather-wise, the only downside I could see is that if you go in mid-June, Rome starts to heat up.

Assuming everybody is OK with changing hotels 3 times, you must have some reason for choosing Rome, Siena and Venice. Why do you think they will most appeal to your group?
stepsbeyond is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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Another option, especially with this number of adults who may need time to explore interests of their own or just get away from one another: stick with cities (Venice+Rome, Venice+Florence+Rome, Florence+Rome) and rent a driver for one day to explore the parts of the countryside less easy to reach by public transportation. In addition, some might want to stay in the city, while others might want to daytrip without the whole group to another place that interests them.

For example, you might split your 10 days (8 nights) as 4 in Florence, 4 in Rome. Then you might spend your time this way:

Day 1-Depart US (I assume US from your post)
Day 2-Arrive Italy; Florence
Day 3-Florence
Day 4-Florence (possible day out with driver)
Day 5-Florence (possible day trip on own to Pisa, Siena, Lucca, whatever)
Day 6-Depart Florence; Arrive Rome
Day 7-Rome
Day 8-Rome (possible day trip on own to Ostia Antica, Tivoli, or not)
Day 9-Rome
Day 10-Depart for home

A driver/guide I have used and very well regarded by many on this forum who have hired him is Luca Garappa of hillsandroads.com. He has a nice van that will easily fit your group and create a wonderful day in the countryside for you based on your interests.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 12:20 PM
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hi andrea,

my experience of travelling is that the more people your are trying to organise, amount of time it takes to get them orgnanised increases exponentionally.

so if you have 10 days, I'd look at staying in two places, max. does Rome have to be your airport both in and out of Italy? if so, i suggest going straight from Rome [assuming you are from the US and arriving early in the day] via Termini station, [where you have to go anyway to get to Rome], then getting the train to Orvieto, staying one night [oops, it's going to be three places] then picking up your vehicle/s and driving to an agritorismo [farm-stay] for 4 nights.

then back to Orvieto to return the car, and train to Rome, stay 5 nights.

you could use the same basic itinerary to go to Florence, or Venice, forgetting abut the car but using the train to get there. if you could fly into venice, and out of Rome [ie "open jaw" ] that woudl be better still.
annhig is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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On one of our many trips to Italy, we went with a group of 6 adults and we found many benefits to renting one vehicle and one large villa--economics was a big one, but not the only benefit.
Our villa was just outside Perugia, which offered us a chance to visit many places in Umbria and Tuscany during the day, sightsee, have lunch. Then, at night, we'd get together for a family-style dinner and talk. While sightseeing, some of us split off to visit places of particular interest, or for shopping, while others grabbed a gelato and watched people, etc. Our vehicle held (a Ducato) 9 adults and luggage and was far less expensive than two smaller cars. The villa was about $3000 per week, which was far less than 3 hotel rooms at $250 per night. The best part of having the villa is that there are always days when someone doesn't feel like sightseeing--the villa offers a comfortable place to just "hang out," versus the discomfort of a tiny hotel room where you are compelled to get dressed and get out. I would vote to rent a villa in a location that is an easy drive to many popular spots and make day trips into the cities.
DonnaD44 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I agree with stepsbeyond.

" I would visit cities with that size group, so that people who'd rather sit in a piazza and read a newspaper while others shop and still others museum gawk can all find their niche. Or you can all cheaply march around together."

Skip the villa idea, you would have more difficulty trying to please everyone.
If this trip is a "first timer" for most, then the cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice are loaded with culture, nightlife, fun . They will allow much more individualism for the group. Everyone can do their "own thing" once in a while.
You can get from city to city easily via train. Fly "open jaw".

Have a GOOD TIME! It is very special to be able to go with your family!
nannibray is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 05:25 PM
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I went to Italy for 3 weeks last September, and I loved it! I spent 4 days in Rome, which was perfect. Probably could have done it in 3. Rome was probably my favorite city, though Venice was a close second. I spend 5 days in Tuscany and that was way too much for me...2 days would have been plenty. Then again, I am the type of person who likes to be busy seeing and doing. I spent 2 days in Florence and could have done without it. I may be offending some people, but it was my least favorite. If you are into Renaissance history, however, then you shouldn't miss it. I think it would be a shame for everyone to spend their time in a Villa and not see such other wonderful things...but to each his own. If I were you, I would do 3 days in Rome, 2 days in Tuscany, and 2 days in Venice.

No matter what you choose, you cannot go wrong. Italy is beautiful and full of history. Everyone will love the trip, and they are lucky to have someone like you doing all this research!
knwolf is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Where do the others want to go? What kind of trip do they want? Are the younger ones paying their own way, or are you in complete control of the budget?
Jean is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:06 AM
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Thank you all...

What I am hearing from most is that for a first timer vacation...the best is to stick with the nuggets...ROME, FLORENCE OR TUSCANY, and VENICE, rather than a countryside villa.

I think increasing the days will help, so we have 10 days on the ground.

Can someone give me advice on why Florence vs. Tuscany...? I mentioned ROME SIENA VENICE, because I thought Siena would be ideal Tuscan location..i do not know the distance, but we want to see PISA, and I would love to go back to ASSISI...I just want everyone to experience the tuscan countryside...the ideas of renting the driver sounds really cool.

Personally if it was up to me I would go in the summer and spend a week in a vila in Tuscany, and explore local towns, etc, vineyards and little restaurants, etc...but not with a group who has never been before...I just hate the idea of moving to 3 hotels...but I think in order to see the most, we will have too.

Any advice on the best location to stay if we decide on Tuscany for a few days...will the countryside be green in April? Any hotel recommendations?


andrea16fh is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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Hi again, andrea,

trying to deal with your queries in trip order:


IMHO yes, yes, yes - but only you know whether you will enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in the world which is traffic free and ideal for wandering around and has attractinos gallour whether it's warm or cold. and it's sinking -so who knows whether it will still be there on your next visit. [ok a bit exaggerated perhaps, but only a bit].

if you fly into venice, I suggest that you spend 3 nights there.

then Florence v Siena>>

both are in Tuscany of course. Siena you can more or less se in a day, but it provides a good base for exploring southern Tuscany plus a day trip to Florence.

florence is a renaissance masterpiece where you could fill many hours in the various churches and museums, plus a centre for many excursions to parts of tuscany like Pisa [via train] San Gim, Siena, fiesole by bus. BUT it is full or tourists enjoying all those things too. only you know which of those experiences you and your party would enjoy most. if you chose Florence, you could stop off in Pisa on the way.

as for Rome, you can hardly miss. you could probably stop in assisi on the way from Florence or siena, but then you lose a day in Rome.

in any event, with 10 days, you still really only have time for 3 stops - say 3 nights in Venice, 3 in Florence or Siena, and 4 in Rome.
annhig is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Andrea,

In 2007 I planned a trip for 7 family members...it is a lot of work, but we had a lot of fun.

I would highly recommend with 10 days picking only 2 locations. With that many people changing locations is going to take a long time. Expect to lose at least 1/2 a day with each move.

I would also recommmend flying into 1 city and out of another (fly into Venice/Florence, train to rome, fly home from rome etc). If you go with 2 of the big three you wont need cars.

Hope this helps!
jamikins is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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Go in April. Air fares will be cheaper and it will be less crowded. I suggest Rome 4 days, then train to Orvieto. It is a charming, medieval walled city surrounded by gorgeous country. Stay at Casa Selita, a charming B&B where everyone will have their own rooms but be able to enjoy the common areas together. There is a car rental agency in Orvieto for those who want to explore Tuscany. When you have had enough of the country take the train to Florence where those who wish to can take day trips to Pisa, Lucca, Sienna or Cinque Terre by train. You can fly out of Pisa direct to JFK, or take the fast train back to Rome (only 2 hours).
anneeby is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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FYI - Florence is in Tuscany. It will be more difficult to reach Pisa from Siena than from Florence and you won't really have time for all these side excursions. From Florence you can catch either the train or a bus to Pisa. Travel time is a little over an hour. If you prefer to stay in Siena instead of Florence I would drop Pisa from my list unless you hire a private driver for a day as it will use a lot of the day getting there.

If you have 10 hotel nights in Italy:
Venice - 3 nights
Florence or Siena - 3 nights
Rome - 4 nights

If you drop Pisa and stay in Siena, bus to Rome on Sena bus.

If you break down your trip into actual time in cities you will see you are trying to do too much.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Tuscany can be beautiful, and my husband and I will be touring the area for a week at the end of April (including Cinque Terre). Siena is a short day trip from Florence, and you can catch a bus or train there for the day, as you can do with other places in Tuscany...Florence is a great base, if you have never been to that charming city.

Try not to overdo, as Italians are the kings and queens of relaxation, and you may not see all you intend, nor need to.... just plan a return trip!
Nancyriz is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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This is great...everyone is so helpful...

OK...so i am thinking that rome, florence and vencie sound great..BUT i would like to experience staying in Tuscany, in a rustic B&B and do a day trip to Florence. I just don't want a full 3 big city trip.

Therefore..if staying in the Tuscan Countryside for 3 nights, what would be the best ideal city/town to stay in in order to see Siena, Pisa if possible, and a train to Florence for the day. Maybe we need 4 nights?

Thanks again...i must sound clueless to all of you!
andrea16fh is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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A rustic B&B in Tuscany will probably require a van. Of the 6 people how many are couples? How many rooms will you need?

You seem stuck on going to rural Tuscany. I really think the idea of hiring a driver and van and doing a daytrip from Florence or Siena is the best idea. You can also do Pisa as a daytrip from Florence by train.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Posts: 2,453
Have you thought of looking at a map? Pisa is more or less due west of Florence, Siena due south, and there are no decent roads connecting them; you have to go via Florence. If you insist on going to both and Florence, you will be spending a lot of your time in "rustic Tuscany" in a van and on the road. Eliminate Pisa, stay somewhere in the Chianti, and you might get to enjoy a little "rustic Tuscany".
Zerlina is offline  

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