10 Days in April-May

Jan 13th, 2008, 04:59 PM
  #1  
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10 Days in April-May

My wife are Italy bound at the end of this April into early May, and are finalizing our itinerary. I've appreciated all of the information on this site, and would appreciate your feedback. We're going to be there for 10 days, and have our sights set on seeing Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. We'll be flying in and out of Rome from Philadelphia.

I know this goes against most of the received wisdom here, but we're young (relatively, at 30), eager to see as much of Italy as we can, and pretty sure we're not going to be back there anytime soon. I've found Rick Steves' book Italy 2008 to be immensely helpful in our preparations. I'd really appreciate your thoughts on the best way to structure our trip.

My initial thought was to train directly from Rome to either Siena or Venice, and then work backwards (either Siena-Florence-Venice-Rome, or Venice-Florence-Siena-Rome) so a to minimize the amount of hotel check-ins. My tentative time allocation is 2 days/2 nights in Venice, 2 days/2 nights in Florence, 2 days/2 nights in Siena, and 3 days/4 nights in Rome. These times are approximates, and are certainly up for debate if you think they are weighted improperly. This does include our US flight arrival at 8:30 Friday morning the 25th.

I know an immediate 4.5 hour train ride to Venice after an 8 hour flight is not exactly ideal, but if we head to Siena immediately we run into the problem of being squeezed for time in Florence, since we'd be arriving noonish Sunday and the big sites are closed Monday.

Alternately, I think we'd probably still run into that problem if we hit Venice first, since Florence would be the next stop, which would be Sunday night.

Some alternatives I'm considering:
1. Head immediately to Siena, and day trip Saturday into Florence (4/26) or Sunday (4/27) to see the Uffizi and Accademia, reserving our subsequent stop in Florence for other sights.
2. Spend our first 3 days/4 nights in Rome, head to Venice, then Florence, finish in Siena, and train directly from there to our Rome outbound flight at 11:30AM (which could be crazy, given what time we'd have to get going)
3. ???

Thanks again for your input.
mainegod is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:58 PM
  #2  
 
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Land FCO---to Florence--3 nites with day trip to Siena by bus on Monday

Train to Venice---3

Train to Rome--last 4 nites

Hope this helps.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. From what I've read, and my friends' experiences, it sounds like a night or two in Siena is worthwhile and I think we want to do it. I'd appreciate others feedback on whether that is an accurate assessment.

I found it interesting that in the Rick Steves' book he seemed to place more emphasis on seeing Siena rather than Florence. I believe it was something to the effect that if you were time constrained you should stay in Siena and day trip to Florence. Of course the former doesn't contain the art and museums that the latter does.
mainegod is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:18 PM
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agree with a PP. Siena is good for a day trip .
Spend the extra time any other of the 3 places.

danon is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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I preferred Siena over Florence, as your friends have suggested, though Florence is not to be missed.

Our visit to Siena concided with the annual Palio, and while we did not stay for the actual race, we felt a lot of the excitement as different communities were parading throughout the narrow streets in their colorful medieval costumes with oxen and carts. Quite a spectacle! We enjoyed the food, the views, the general ambience of Siena, a good break from intense touring. In some ways it reminded me of Sedona, in Arizona. Maybe it was all that red rock.

We chose to stay in a convent which had a much appreciated honor system freezer full of beer. It was called Casa del Pellegrino - a very cool building, orange stucco, iron gate to get in, then down , down , down several marble staircases to your room. Our particular room had a balcony, sort of, at least pots of geraniums on a small deck for fresh air and a bit of light.

I noticed online that the convent is gone, but a youth hostel operates out of the Casa now - might be an option for you. If I recall, I got my original info for this accomodation from Rick Steves - I liked his matter of fact approach and suggestions .

Whatever you decide, Italy is awesome! Enjoy your trip.
tripinink is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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Hi

Well, my recommendation is to not squeeze in town much...but I know that it is very tempting

My wife and I went to Florence in the summer of last year and you can check out my trip report with pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/florence_italy_travelogue.htm

After our stay in Florence we drove out to the Chianti district and we used this as a base for exploring various towns. Here is the trip report http://gardkarlsen.com/tuscany_italy_travelogue.htm .

We also visited Rome a couple of years back and that was wonderful. Here is the trip report with pictures, links, maps etc

Hope this helps

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 06:42 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi M,

I agree with Bob, and have often taken his advice.

However
>From what I've read, and my friends' experiences, it sounds like a night or two in Siena is worthwhile and I think we want to do it. <

You have a good plan.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is online now  
Jan 14th, 2008, 09:17 AM
  #8  
 
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Why not stick with your plan to stay in both Siena and Florence, but go to Florence first?

Florence to Siena to Venice to Rome

No need to daytrip from Siena to Florence if you plan to stay in Florence anyway. Connections between FCO and Florence are frequent and easy. I know you may feel like you are backtracking a bit to go to Siena after Florence, but it makes more sense to me than visiting Florence from Siena, and then to go stay in Florence later in the trip.

Or perhaps hit Siena on the way back from Venice to Rome.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Thanks to all for your responses. Ellenem, I had toyed with the idea of going to Florence first, but wondered if it made sense to backtrack to Siena before going onto Venice. You have to go through Florence from Siena to get to Venice, per my understanding - either way it is a long day of travel I know.

So that would have us arrive Friday morning at 8:30AM in Rome, head straight to Florence, and have most of the (jet-lagged) day there, followed by a full day Saturday, before heading to Siena mid-day or so Sunday, through to Tuesday, and then onto Venice and Rome.

I wonder how much sense it would make to rent a car and drive from Siena to Venice? I'm guessing it probably wouldn't be much better timewise.

Thanks again
mainegod is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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If the only reason to rent the car for the trip from Siena to Venice is to save time, skip it. You probably won't save much if any, especially when you add on the time to actual rent the car and turn it in. A car is of benefit if you plan to go off the beaten track, which I don't think is your intention with your short schedule.

Yes, I mentioned the backtracking, too, but to do a day trip to Florence from Siena you would be making the same trip--in one day.

Sure, the train trip between Siena and Venice would be 4.5 hours instead of just 3 hours from Florence. . .

You just have to weigh which is more important--one longer travel day versus visiting Florence easily on a day when the museums are actually open.
ellenem is online now  

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