10 days in Italy - Suggestions?

Feb 5th, 2016, 07:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2016
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10 days in Italy - Suggestions?

My husband and I are taking a trip to Italy for 9 nights/10 days; We will be there mid-November.

We of course have focused most of our planning on being in Rome, and Venice. We really want to make a trip down to Naples, Sorrento and visit the Isle of Capri as well and see Pompeii.

We are not sure about Florence, I've heard mixed reviews - maybe just a day trip there - is that doable?

Is Cinque Terre worth a trip?

We know we won't have enough time to see everything we mentioned above. And we are definitely the type that appreciate just settling into a city when we travel and not be constantly going city-to-city. I wish we both had more time off, otherwise we would be there for longer.

Any suggestions?

We are traveling from Phoenix, Arizona.
ahess318 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Some people think Venice and Rome are overrated, too. On the other hand, I know people who think Florence is their favorite city on earth. How would we know what your tastes and interests are? My opinion of Florence or the Cinque Terre may be the opposite of what yours turns out to be.

But you barely have time to see Rome and Venice, once you figure in arrival day, departure day, and transit between cities. Presumably you are doing an open jaw flying into Venice out of Rome right? (Or vice versa? Or at least not a round trip into/out of the same city?) Otherwise, you will have even less time as you must double back to your original city.

Florence is easy to fit in because the train between Rome and Venice stops in Florence, anyway. You could do a quick night stop when in transit or even stop for a few hours off the train (stow your bags in a locker at the Florence train station). The other places you've suggested are more of a detour and take more time to fit in. At most I would add either the places in the south or the Cinque Terre but not both - and many would suggest you stick to Rome and Venice only.
Andrew is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 08:57 PM
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Personally, I like the AC when weather is warm and you can take ferries rather than busses. However, weather may make absolutely no difference to you. If that is so, then this may not matter.
The AC is in winter mode by then with no ferries running down the coast. It will probably be average temperature of mid 50s, high in low 60s, low in high 40s to low 50s. It will likely be wet and rainy. It will still be interesting and, of course, uncrowded, which may appeal to you.

The same is true for the CT. You may get a nice day. You may not. At that time of year, perhaps you can be flexible. Make sure to have some hotels lined up that are open and have vacancies. If the weather turns nice, go. If not, go someplace else.

We bagged the CT one trip when we had torrential rain for two days and headed to Florence. The AC, OTOH, in late October, had one really cold, rainy day that we spent in Naples, wearing winter coats, followed by a gorgeous, warm day that we went to Herculaneum and ate lunch outside.
Sassafrass is online now  
Feb 5th, 2016, 10:59 PM
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I think it very understandable that you are having difficulty deciding -- you are contemplating visits to sites with extraordinary appeal and depth! As you realize, you can't visit them all in the time you have. So the good news is that you will see some wonderful things, no matter what you choose. The harder news is that you do need to trim your wish list.

I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their current opening/closing times on their internet sites, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. That's really the only way to figure out what works best for YOUR interests.

One specific suggestion that I think might be worthwhile even before you decide on your itinerary: Look into options to fly into one city and and of another (often called an "multi-city" or "open-jaw" option) -- once you consider the costs of backtracking, open jaw flights are often a much better option.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 11:38 PM
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First, count the number of usable days. The 9 nights/10 days is a tour company's terminology to make it look like a lot. But 10 days are not usable number of days. You probably have 8 to 8.5 usable days.

For example, starting from PHX, if you do open-jaw into Venice, back from FCO, the earliest you can get to VCE is probably around 9am using Skyteam flights. If you are with carry-on only and care to splurge on water-taxi, you can get to Venice around 10am. If you need to retrieve luggage and use cheaper land bus+water bus route, you would get to your hotel closer to noon. If you could not sleep on flight, you would probably eat early and go to sleep early. You might have 6 hours to do visit on this day. If your plane arrives later in the afternoon, you might get to your hotel around 5pm -- basically only time to eat dinner and go to sleep unless you can stay up later on the arrival day.

The return from FCO is either early, or around noon. Even if it is around noon, you need to be at the airport 3 hours before it is US bound, about 2 hours before if you are layover over in Europe. So you would be leaving your hotel not much later than 9am -- meaning you only have time to eat breakfast.

Adding all these together, 9 nights means about 8 to 8.5 usable days.

If you are traveling around by train, use www.trenitalia.com and use the same day of the week next week to get schedule. November schedules are not published yet. This gives you an understanding on how long it takes you to move around and when and how often the trains run. With better understanding of how much time you have and how long it takes to move around, you can compute how much time you have available at each destination as you stack more destinations.
greg is online now  
Feb 6th, 2016, 02:32 AM
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For a November trip, severely rainy weather that lasts for days in le Cinque Terre is a high risk.

If you go to Venice in November, best to book a hotel outside of the zones that are affected by tidal flooding so you don't encounter difficulties keeping your luggage dry. You can find loads of information online about the "acqua alta" and which parts of town typically stay dry and which don't.

While ferries to Capri operate year-round, on a windy day the crossing can be quite rough due to choppy seas, so if you go south you need to be prepared for that.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 6th, 2016, 04:10 AM
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For such a short trip it's not really worth the 'risk' of going to a weather dependent place (CT, Amalfi, Capri) in a month when your chance of good weather is rather low. It often rains for days at a time at that time of year. If you are going somewhere where being outside is the whole point (eg a boat trip to Capri) and it rains you will be miserable and will have wasted a day.If it rains for days in Rome or Florence at least you have many indoor things to do.

Plus you don't really have time for everything you mention. For both those reasons I'd stick to Rome, Florence and Venice. If you want to see something besides those then there are numerous day trip options and those don't have to be decided till you get there and can be put on nice days.

Lots of people do Pompeii from Rome as a day trip. From Florence you can do Siena, Pisa and Lucca very easily and there are day tours to vineyards and Tuscan hill towns as well. From Venice you can do day trips to Padua or Verona easily. So as you can see there are way more very worthwhile places you can go than you have time for without either the CT or the Amalfi Coast (two of my favorite places in Italy, actually anywhere. But I wouldn't go to them if I only had 8 or 9 days and I was going in November.)
isabel is online now  
Feb 6th, 2016, 06:27 AM
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I wouldn't do any of isabel's suggested excursions on a rainy day. (Well, maybe Siena.) Keep your schedule loose and let the weather decide your activities. There won't be much competition for bus tours, etc.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 6th, 2016, 09:07 AM
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That was my point. You have day trips 'in reserve' and then if you find you want something more than the two or three cities you are basing in, you do day trips - on the nice days and see museums/churches/shopping if it rains.
isabel is online now  
Feb 6th, 2016, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I think we are all mostly suggesting the same thing, just saying it in different ways.
Firm up the "bookends" for your trip. Have two or three daytrips or other plans for the middle. You don't want to waste vacation time doing research, so have several possible hotels picked out in different places. At that time of year, you should have no trouble finding places to stay.

Look at travel time, including getting from hotel to train station, etc. Allow for that when figuring how much time you have in each place.
Sassafrass is online now  
Feb 7th, 2016, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I am not a fan of changing locations too often. We stayed in Rome 9 nights and did a few day trips from Rome. We still have tons of things to do/see in Rome....didn't come close to seeing it all. We spent a half day in Ostia Antica, a full day in Orvieto and a day in Tivoli to see Hadrian's villa and Villa d'Este. You could see a ton without changing hotels!

I think you could do Venice, Florence and Rome nicely, although it sounds like Venice may not be at its best in November. It is beautiful.

Good luck with the planning and I hope your trip is everything you wished for. Italy is so gorgeous.
denisea is offline  
Feb 7th, 2016, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I agree with the suggestions for the Big 3. They will certainly keep you busy. On a short trip with jet lag, try not to move too much. Although Venice may be chilly, it is still phenomenal and you will no doubt benefit from a few less tourists. We went in April and by 10am people are packed like sardines. Definitely stay a min of 1-2 nights in Venice so you can see what it's like when it's not crowded with a million people! �� Florence is easy to navigate and will be great to explore even in poor weather. I've not been to Rome but there are easy train connections between all 3 so that will help you to be efficient. Enjoy!!!
or2nh4me2 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2016, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Forgot to mention that we canceled our CT reservations in April due to bad weather and went to Bologna instead. I really wanted to go to CT but the trip is long (and there's no easy way-even from Florence). Remember the days you have in Italy are precious. good luck!
or2nh4me2 is offline  
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