12 days in Italy

Old Mar 16th, 2017, 11:22 PM
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12 days in Italy

Hi everyone.

My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy/France in February 2018. It will be relatively short (unfortunately), and not having been overseas at all, I am hoping for some general suggestions regarding sightseeing. We really just want to see as much as possible, and understand that the 12 days or so will be nowhere near enough for even 1 or 2 major cities, let alone 5 or 6. Our basic provisional itinerary at this stage is Rome -3 days; Florence-2 days; and Milan/Como/Venice - 6 days. We then intend to train/plane to Paris from Venice and spend 5 days in/around Paris. I understand the options are endless, but as a "taster" trip, what would you consider your favourite places. We are open to anything. Cheers.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 01:18 AM
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Hi scarecrows - I see that you are a welcome newcomer to fodors so welcome!

this sounds like a great plan for a first visit though perhaps it's a little ambitious to try to include Rome, Florence, Milan/Como and Venice in 12 days, but it could work.

BTW, does this actually mean days or does it mean nights? - if the latter you may find that you only have 11 days, depending on how your travel days pan out:

Day 1 - arrive in Rome at ? time. [even if your flight arrives at breakfast time, it'll probably be 12 noon before you can check into your hotel] Day spent orienting yourselves in Rome, self-guided walking tour of centro storico, etc.

Day 2 - Rome

Day 3 - Rome

Day 4 - Train to Florence. Arrive midday and check into hotel. pm spent seeing??

Day 5 - Florence

Day 6 - train to Milan - as Day 4 in Florence.

Day 7 - day trip to Como

Day 8 - Milan

Day 9 - train to Venice - as day 4 in Florence.

day 10 - Venice

day 11 - Venice

Day 12 - Venice - night train to Paris [leaves 19.00, arrives 9am Paris gare de Lyon, no changes of train]

Day 13 - Paris etc.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 02:32 AM
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 03:31 AM
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February, I'd aim for city centres rather than the lakes. Milan is a bit odd some like some not so much.

There are a whole bunch of small cities like Soave, Padua, Verona, Ferrara, Bologna, Mandova etc on the Venice side of the Po valley that might be nicer, Bologna has loads of covered shopping streets which can be a real help on a wet day in Feb.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 05:27 AM
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bilbo - I missed that this is a Feb trip. I agree, scrub Como, keep to the cities and towns.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 08:01 AM
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If it were my trip I would do 5-6 days in Venice and 5-6 days in Paris and call it good. Actually I have done that before and worked like a charm.

For me personally trying to see Rome/Florence/Milan/Como/Venice/Paris would be WAY too much for your short time frame.
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 03:51 PM
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Several tour companies offer 7-9 day trips covering Rome-Florence-Venice. Thoughts on this style of whistle stop tour?
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 01:31 AM
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Generally Fodorites plan their own trips so we don't have much experience of them. However some do, and I've certainly booked into the same hotels as a "crew", though I'm close to where I want to be, they are often in a cheap hotel (compared to what they paid for it) in the outskirts of where they want to be.

They tend to be rushed, they tend to spend a lot of time travelling in a tin box away from the locals (I love Italian trains and listening in/joining in the family scrums) and of course they go on Motorways, then dump you out as close as they can to major sites.

The nice thing about booking your own hotels in Italy especially is walking out in the evening in the Passeggiato (look it up) eating in the restaurant you suddenly spotted at the price you wanted and you are not eating with Dwayne from Idaho.

Then starts in the morning can be a right pain, I hear talks of 8am departures with bags outside the room and breakfast rushed. Now does that sound like a holiday to you?
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 01:55 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. I have much to ponder and so much to plan. bilboburgler, you made my day with "you are not eating with Dwayne from Idaho"! Cheers.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 03:05 AM
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I just got an email from Dwayne. He said he's just as happy not to eat with you, either.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 05:23 AM
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>

I've been on a tour with 7 AM starts and one where the bags had to be outside your door by 6AM! And I've only been on 2 1/2 tours. (That half tour was the white villages of Andalucia, nestled in a larger tour of Spain.)

But if you want a quick introduction to Italy and France a tour will work. Don't know how many such tours are on offer in February.

Do make allowances for traveling that time of year. It's not summer and sunny or even spring, especially in Paris.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 07:56 AM
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vince lol
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