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13 Day Trip to Italy

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Mar 4th, 2015, 03:32 AM
  #1
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13 Day Trip to Italy

Hello Everyone! We are four friends (2 couples) planning a 25-day trip to Europe. We are planning to visit Paris, Italy and Switzerland. We will be in Italy from 27th July - 8th August, 2015. The following is our tentative itinerary -

27th July – Fly from Paris to Naples. Arrival in Naples at 09:15 hours. Go to Capri, visit blue grotto, wander on the island and return to Naples in evening, overnight in Naples
28th July - Check out and go to Positano through a private transfer, spend the day at Leisure, overnight in Positano
29th July – Spend the day in Positano - shopping, eating and wandering around the small town, overnight in Positano
30th July – Check out and go to Naples through a private transfer, take a high speed train from Naples to Rome, overnight in Rome
31st July – Rome City Tour, overnight in Rome
1st August – Vatican City tour, evening at leisure , overnight in Rome
2nd August – Check out and take a high speed train to Florence, overnight in Florence
3rd August - Day tour to Tuscany and Pisa, overnight in Florence
4th August – Check out and take a high speed train to Venice, overnight in Venice
5th August –Venice walking tour with Gondola Ride, evening at leisure, overnight in Venice
6th August – Check out and take a high speed train to Milan, further take a train to Lake Como, overnight in Lake Como
7th August – Relax the entire day, overnight in Lake Como
8th August – Check out and go to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland

Kindly suggest if it is a good idea to add a day trip to Cinque Terre from Florence and skip a night in Venice.
We are also confused if we should go to Positano or stay in Capri for 2 nights.

Looking for some good suggestions
aneri27390 is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2015, 04:43 AM
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Your trip would probably work bettter if you went directly from Naples airport to Positano and sleep there. Then take a ferry from Positano to Capri -- either as a day trip or to spend nights there. If you overnight in Capri, you can take a ferry to Napoli and then a taxi to the train station to catch a train to Rome.

Whether you like to go to le Cinque Terre as a day trip is up to you but be aware that in July/Aug it is extremely hot in le Cinque Terre from about 10am to 4pm because the sun is very strong and there is no shade. Everything is on a hill, so it can be very hot to walk around. Also, since you are already visiting Positano and Capri, going to another seaside desintation with cliff villages might not be as interesting as visiting the islands of Venice.
sandralist is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2015, 05:24 AM
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I'm sure the last thing you want to hear is that your trip is mostly moving from place to place with very little time to enjoy the places. We've been to all of them more than once and they are all worth a visit. I'm not sure what to suggest to calm it down a little but if it were my trip (and it most certainly is not)and considering the time of year you are traveling, I would eliminate the Naples, Positano and Capri from the trip. It will be hot everywhere and very crowded with tourists so moving about so fast with few breaks will be tiring.

Everything you have planned is fabulous. It is just that there is a bit too much planned.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 05:45 AM
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To be most efficient, I would suggest either sleeping in Capri that first night, or doing as suggested above and heading directly to Positano, then visiting Capri the next day.

Were you planning on visiting the Uffizi or other museums and/or churches in Florence? If so, you would want at least one full day in the city, maybe more. Same is true for Rome. So I would suggest writing down the sites you plan to see in each city and making sure you will have enough time there. Most museums take about half a day. Don't forget to factor in some time to enjoy some long leisurely Italian meals.

Since you will be enjoying the mountain scenery of Switzerland, you might choose to drop Lake Como from your itinerary, to give more time in the major cities. Or, if Florence holds no interest for you, either drop it altogether or perhaps stay in Pisa or somewhere else in Tuscany so you have the most time among the things you would really enjoy.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 05:46 AM
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Sorry - but this is much more like a forced march than a vacation - esp in August when the whole country is very hot and humid and packed to the gills with about a gazillion tourists.

IMHO you will spend a very large part of your time getting places and next to no time actually seeing/doing anything. For instance - 3 days (4 nights) is really the minimum to see much of anything in Rome (1 day ancient rome, 1 day vatican and associated sights, 1 day a bunch of other key sights, piazzas, and renaissance rome and at least a couple of hours learning how romans relax and don;t live at constant warp speed - sit in a cafe and watch the unique word go by. You could easily spend a week but 3 days is really the lower limit. ( I have been to Rome more than 10 times and there are still many places I want to see - and resee.)

IMHO you should be removing stops - not trying to stuff yet more places into a very overfilled itinerary,
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Mar 4th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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Apart from flying into Naples, you don't plan to spend much time there, so when you arrive, go straight to Positano and day trip to Capri. Opinion is divided on this board about Capri. There are those who love it and overnight there, others like myself can't see what the fuss is about and have no desire to go back.

So your plan could be:

27/07 Arrive Naples--travel to Positano
28/07-29/07 Overnight in Positano, trips as you decide
30/07 Travel to Salerno further round the AC and catch train to Rome
31/07-01/08 Rome
02/08-03/08 Florence
04/08 - 05/08 Venice
06/08-07/08 Como
08/08 depart

You now need to build in and understand the time it takes to leave one place, travel and settle in to the next and look carefully at the itinerary and decide if that's what you want. One man's rushed is another man's travel. I personally don't think you've got enough time in Venice at all and I also don't see the point in going to Florence if you spend hardly any time there. So IMO you are cramming too much into too short a time and need to cut at least one destination out of the itinerary.

Maybe take out Florence, or the Amalfi coast altogether and use the time released to spend in Venice and/or Florence. A series of two night stays including travel days is really only one full day.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 06:22 AM
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Many people who post of Fodor's about European trips are coming from Asia, yet they don't mention it in their posts. Forgive me if I am speculating you might be, and if this is irrelevant to your trip, but If you are coming from Asia, you might not feel the same need a lot of American tourists do to spend long amounts of time doing things other than sightsee, and you might have less interest in visiting multiple art museums. You might also have a higher tolerance for heat than many Americans do.

Even if you are not coming from Asia, many of the reasons that people recommend spending more time in Italian cities are almost a moot point in August. Many restaurants will be closed, the locals will be gone, the tourist sights will be overrun with tourists. Most Romans are not in Rome during August, so if you sit in a cafe, the "world" you will be watching walk by will be the world of your fellow tourists, not local life.

If you want to see Positano, go to the blue grotto, visit a few famous sites in Rome, Florence, Pisa, the Tuscan wine country and Venice, plus spend a day on the lake, I don't think your trip is undoable or unenjoyable if you are people with energy. It seems to me you have left time to relax. The fast trains are very good and provide relaxing breaks to enjoy each other's company and watch the world go by at warp speed (yes, Italians do love speed).

If you are unaware that you will only seeing tourist sights in places that are hot and crowded, and you now think that sounds unpleasant and you want more time to see another side of each city, then, yes, you should go fewer places. But if you want to see a lot of beautiful places and things, you have arranged it pretty well.
sandralist is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2015, 06:34 AM
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Also, I encourage other people to re-read the OPs itinerary.

Two days are allotted for nothing but relaxation in Positano, with a bit of shopping.

They will take a 1 hour train trip from Naples to Rome, and then have nothing else planned for that day.

They will take a guided tour or Rome for part of one day, and a guided tour of the Vatican for part of another day, but otherwise plan to relax.

They will take a 90 minute train trip to Florence and spend two nights there. One of the days will be an organized tour of the wine country plus Pisa, but the other day is for Floenence. Tens of thousands of people spend less than 10 hours visiting Florence. It is very normal.

A two hour train trip to Venice, with a full free afternoon and evening for exploring. The next day, a walking tour that includes a gondola ride, but then an evening of leisure.

Next morning is their most complicated train trip, but they should be on Lago di Como in time for lunch. They will be there for 2 nights and have no plans for Lago di Como other than to relax.

And then they are going to Switzerland, which is hardly hectic!

A lot of people would not have a hard time doing this and they would enjoy seeing such a variety of sights in Italy. Other people would be digging in their heels and be in a tizzy and in tears -- but those who would are not the last word in travel.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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Six hotels in 12 nights is two too many.
Do yourself a favor and drop 2 of them.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 09:15 AM
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Two too many for bobthenavigator, but a great many people are not bothered by road trips. Not in the slightest.

Do yourself a favor and take the 13-day trip to Italy that suits your group and would be the trip you all enjoy. If that is 4 hotel stays, or 2 hotels stays, great. If that is six hotel stays, equally great.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 10:40 AM
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Sorry - road trips are driving - typically stopping in many smaller places for part of a day. And doesn't require constantly moving - road trips can be much slower paced.

Train is not a "road trip" since it lacks the essence of stopping wherever/whenever you choose at the drop of a hat to see an unexpectedly interesting town or site - in fact, train is the antithesis of road trip.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 11:13 AM
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There was a time when everyone fled the Italian cities in August to spend time in the mountains or at the beach, but that's no longer the norm. In those days, most factories closed for the whole month. Now they don't, and most people don't work in manufacturing anymore, anyway. The difficulty of synchronizing holidays when both members of a couple work is one reason for shorter holidays, and the difficulty of affording a month away from home is another. People who work in the tourist industry stay in town until the high season is over.

I would advise, though, that you might enjoy some of these cities more if you didn't rely so much on tours. You will be in Rome two days only and you have an organized tour both days. You might consider dropping one of those tours, and just strolling around the city, maybe in the Villa Borghese Park, or on the Janiculum Hill, or in the little streets of central Rome, away from the tourist hordes.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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>>>27th July – Fly from Paris to Naples. Arrival in Naples at 09:15 hours. Go to Capri, visit blue grotto, wander on the island and return to Naples in evening, overnight in Naples<<<

One of the reasons this doesn't work is you will need to do something with your luggage (unless you want to drag it to Capri and find somewhere to store it there). The other reason is ferries don't run all that often or late (6 or 7 pm).

>>>You now need to build in and understand the time it takes to leave one place, travel and settle in to the next and look carefully at the itinerary<<<

It will take 4-5 hours and several train changes just to go from Venice to Como and Como isn't where most people would choose to stay on the lake. That doesn't count the time it takes you to check out of your hotel, get transport to the train station and in Como, transport to a hotel. I would drop Como and add the time elsewhere.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 02:42 PM
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General comments: Check in at a lot of places is after 2pm. You might want to check to make sure you can drop your bags off early. And even that would involve a bit of backtracking to and from the hotel.

Just some thoughts ...

27th July – Pick one: Napoli, Positano, or Capri. You can do day trips to the other two and save the hassle of moving around a lot.

30th July – Three nights Rome. Busy but doable. I have a friend who insists he saw all of Rome in an 8-hour private tour.

2nd August – Two nights Florence. Seems short, especially as one day will be given over to a tour of Tuscany. The ride is about 90 minutes; I don't know that there is a "high speed" train.

4th August – Two nights Venice. I'm not sure that a city tour is needed, and it might be more exhausting and less rewarding than just exploring on your own.

6th August – Two nights Lake Como. I haven't been here, but it looks like it will take about six hours for the trip there. Unless you need to be there for your onward trip, I'd recommend adding using these two nights for Campania (Positano or Capri) or Florence.

8th August – Check out and go to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland
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Mar 4th, 2015, 02:49 PM
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90 minutes between Rome and Florence is the high-speed train.

If I had only three nights in Rome, I wouldn't try to visit both the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum. They're both very crowded, unpleasantly so to my taste, but especially the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. I would never do both on the same day, and seeing them on different days might ruin both of the two full days you have in Rome.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 04:30 PM
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Wow!! that is so many hotel transfers! There are lots wonderful things you could see but really you would need at least a month to do what you are planning and actually feel like you are on vacation. It is true that logistically it may be possible, however I think everyone would agree you would have a much more enjoyable time if you dropped a few cities and really experienced where you are going. Remember traveling from city to city and checking in and out could take up about a third of the time you could spend actually vacationing. Not to mention you will be exhausted. And I agree with michael_cain explore Venice on your own, it is easy enough to get around especially if you utilize the Vaparetto.
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Mar 5th, 2015, 03:54 AM
  #17
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Dear all - Thank you so much for your valuable inputs. These will surely help a lot.

Sandralist - You are a sweetheart. You completely understood what we are looking for. Yes we are coming from India and with a high energy level

We are planning a 25 day trip to Europe and are planning to visit Paris, Italy and Switzerland. We don't know after how many years we will be able to come back to Italy and hence, we want to see a lot of beautiful places in our 13 days in Italy.

After reading various suggestions, we feel its better not to stay overnight in Naples. So we either stay in Capri or directly go to Positano. We are still confused whether to spend more time in Capri or Positano.

We have decided to skip Cinque Terre.

Kindly suggest if it is better to increase a night in Florence and stay there for total 3 nights and stay only for 1 night in Venice.

You guys are really helpful, thanks a lot
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Mar 5th, 2015, 06:00 AM
  #18
 
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" We are still confused whether to spend more time in Capri or Positano."
And I am confused that you want to visit neither Naples nor Pompei or Ercolano.
If you stay at Sorrento all the time, you can make day trips to both as well as to Capri and Positano - Amalfi.
Be aware that you may be tired on day 1 after having left your Paris hotel bed before 4am.

It would be way easier to stay along Lake Garda (Peschiera, Desenzano) or Lake Maggiore (Stresa), both with direct trains to Venice and Switzerland. All big 4 North Italian Lakes are similar and beautiful, Lake Como is very popular with Americans, the others rather with Europeans.
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