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15 days in France / Italy - Is this itinerary too Ambitious?

15 days in France / Italy - Is this itinerary too Ambitious?

Old Aug 30th, 2021, 11:53 AM
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15 days in France / Italy - Is this itinerary too Ambitious?

Hey y’all,

Firstt off want to say thank you for all the help and info on this sub. It has made planning this trip much easier! I’ve recently booked Airbnb’s and everything and just want to make sure my itinerary isn’t too ambitious. I appreciate the help in advance! We have flights that we cant change currently so Paris and Rome are locked in, however all our Airbnbs are fully refundable and we haven't booked travel within Europe to each city. My gf and I love road tripping and driving places so the travel between cities isn't bad for us, I just want to make sure I do her first Europe trip right!

October 3 - Land in Paris

October 4- Paris

October 5 - Paris

October 6- Paris

October 7 - Leave to Venice

October 8 - Venice

October 9 - train to Milan then rent a car and drive to Alba(arrive at 1pm) for the truffle festival and stay the night.

October 10 - hop in car early in the morning and drive(2hrs) and spend night in Vernazza(Cinque Terre).

October 11 - head to Florence mid day via train

October 12 - Florence

October 13 - Florence

October 14 - take train midday to Rome

October 15- Rome

October 16 - Rome

October 17- 10am flight to Austin

I know it seems pretty packed but i am a huge foodie and would really love to see the truffle festival. My gf and I love road tripping so we like the small 2 day road trip idea as well.

Would love y’all’s thoughts!

Thanks
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 12:39 PM
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That looks like our first trip to Europe in 1977. On the go constantly. My mom & sister bailed out half way through the trip. My wife refused to go on another European vacation with me. We remembered very little about the places we visited. Arrive near dinnertime, spend a hurried day, and then depart the next morning. We learned from our mistakes - and today we usually spend 2 weeks in one spot and then we move on to the next destination for 2 weeks. We also spend a lot more time in the quiet countryside than you will .

Your Venice/Alba/CT is a nightmare, IMO!! I love Alba white truffles (we purchase at least one every year around Thanksgiving), but I would be leery of a "festival" in a foreign country - especially since you will spend a lot of travel & other "wasted" time getting there. Try to contact someone from the US who has actually attended the festival.

1 1/2 days in Venice is about 3 days too little, IMO. There is a lot of "overhead" in getting to the tourist area of Venice. If this was my trip, I would go from Paris to Florence, and then spend some time in the beautiful Tuscany countryside either before or after Florence. I think you will regret so many big cities!!

If your trip is this year, I would be more conservative than you are - because of Covid. What would happen if you miss the Paris to Venice leg by 1 day???

See attached

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Italy-revised.doc (167.0 KB, 25 views)

Last edited by StuDudley; Aug 30th, 2021 at 12:57 PM.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
That looks like our first trip to Europe in 1977. On the go constantly. My mom & sister bailed out half way through the trip. My wife refused to go on another European vacation with me. We remembered very little about the places we visited. Arrive near dinnertime, spend a hurried day, and then depart the next morning. We learned from our mistakes - and today we usually spend 2 weeks in one spot and then we move on to the next destination for 2 weeks. We also spend a lot more time in the quiet countryside than you will .

Your Venice/Alba/CT is a nightmare, IMO!! I love Alba white truffles (we purchase at least one every year around Thanksgiving), but I would be leery of a "festival" in a foreign country - especially since you will spend a lot of travel & other "wasted" time getting there. Try to contact someone from the US who has actually attended the festival.

1 1/2 days in Venice is about 3 days too little, IMO. There is a lot of "overhead" in getting to the tourist area of Venice. If this was my trip, I would go from Paris to Florence, and then spend some time in the beautiful Tuscany countryside either before or after Florence. I think you will regret so many big cities!!

Stu Dudley
Heed Stuís advice.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 01:08 PM
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Thank you so much Stu, I think this is what I needed to see and hear. I am going to make adjustments and cut down the travel
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 01:40 PM
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IMHO, too little time in Venice and way, way too much travel for time at festival or in CT. Some car trips are great, but I don’t think that one would be the best. Also, too much backtracking to make the timing work.
1. Add at least one day to Venice and visit one of the islands. Beautiful and romantic.
2. Since you are a foodie, rather than all that travel for a festival, stop in Bologna. I am not a foodie, yet the best food I had in Italy was in Bologna. You could spend a night and head to Florence early the next morning, or check to see if they have left luggage at the train station and just do a day stop in Bologna between Venice and Florence.
3. You might also take a cooking lesson in Rome.
4. Skip the CT and if you want a car trip, rent a car in Florence and do a day trip in Tuscany or visit Siena or Lucca (excellent food in Lucca also).

So many things have changed, but check out local outdoor market in Vicenza. It used to be absolutely wonderful. There used to also be some great chocolate festivals in areas near Venice.

Personally, I do not like mid-day trains unless they are very scenic and these are not. Re-think this. You waste the morning getting up and out and to the station. Mid-day, especially in Fall is nice to be out and about. I prefer heading out early so I have most of the day in the next location, or have a day of sightseeing and leaving late, just in time to arrive and have dinner in the new place.

Completely off the wall, based on the fact that you like to drive. Skip Italy this time. From Paris, take train to Avignon, rent car and tour small towns in Provence by car. Fly to Rome from Marseille or Lyon. Lyon - food paradise?
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 01:41 PM
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Another one in agreement with Stu. Only one full day in Venice. Less than 24 hours in Alba. Barely a day in Vernazza. Too little time in all three.

I've been to the Alba truffle festival. It's fun, but I wouldn't consider attending it in Covid times. If it's held the way it normally is, it would be way too crowded even for my fully-vaccinated self. If it's capacity controlled (as it should be but who knows), it wouldn't be the same festival atmosphere. And I wouldn't make the trek from Venice to the Piemonte and then see only Alba and only for a few hours. If you're a foodie, you need to explore the Piemonte and Alba on another trip. This area has great food and wine.

For most people, the "point" of visiting the Cinque Terre is to visit the towns which can take a couple of days. In October, you're risking the chance that the one day you're there the weather is bad, walking any of the paths is a no-go, and/or the boats aren't running.

At a minimum, I would take the nights away from Alba and Vernazza and spend them somewhere between Florence and Rome. If you're willing to skip Venice too, you could have a really lovely time exploring Tuscany or Umbria, preferably by car.

Driving... make sure you understand the zona traffico limitato (limited traffic zones) which are established in almost every Italian town. If you drive into the zone, even by mistake, you risk getting a citation in the mail after you get home. Whoever will be driving needs to get an International Driver's Permit.

https://www.italybeyondtheobvious.co...with-ztl-zones

Covid... make sure you know the latest requirements for both France and Italy and returning to the U.S. France and Italy may not be the same. And if you're not fully vaccinated, you'd better hop right on that.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 02:09 PM
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You talk about your GF so i'm going to assume that you're young enough to believe this won't be your last trip to Europe. So dearly though I love it, I agree with Stu to omit Venice this trip, especially as you only have 1Ĺ days for it. Inevitably you would spend all your time amongst all the crowds and go away hating it.

If you are set on Alba, then the obvious route is to fly into Turin from Paris, spend a few days in or around Turin, and then make your way to Alba for the festival which I see starts on 9th October. You could easily spend a week in this area driving round and exploring if you like driving. Then fly to Rome from Turin and finish your trip.

Or, if you really must have a "road trip", drop Florence and drive down though Tuscany to Rome.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 02:40 PM
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The classic first tour is Paris, Venice and/or Florence, Rome. Cut out everything else. Travel by plane and train. Renting a car and returning it will waste your time. The ZTL fines plus the fee from the car rental company for complying with the fines can easily exceed your airfare. Forget the truffle festival. In Rome you can find plenty of places that will shave some truffle on your pasta.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 04:02 PM
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I agree with everyone else. Cut out the CT and Alba and add time to Rome and Venice. Still a fast moving trip. Might consider cutting out Florence for another time when you could spend the time just in Tuscany.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AJPeabody View Post
The classic first tour is Paris, Venice and/or Florence, Rome. Cut out everything else. Travel by plane and train. Renting a car and returning it will waste your time. The ZTL fines plus the fee from the car rental company for complying with the fines can easily exceed your airfare. Forget the truffle festival. In Rome you can find plenty of places that will shave some truffle on your pasta.
I agree with cutting down. I would focus on Paris, Venice and Rome. I didn't love Florence. Two nights there would be enough for me. We did an overnight in the Cinque Terre but as a day/night trip from a villa in Tuscany. I think you could add in the CT if you were just doing Italy but not without adding days if you still want to do Paris - and I would still want to do Paris.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
I would be leery of a "festival" in a foreign country
Not sure why festival is in quotes, is it not a word?

This is an odd comment, festivals in Europe can be astonishing experiences, though I can't comment on the truffle festival as I've never been.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 07:02 PM
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I love the Bologna idea potentially! I did a roadtrip through south of France two years ago and itís what inspired this one. We went from town to town stating in Antibes.

thanks again for the information.

Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
IMHO, too little time in Venice and way, way too much travel for time at festival or in CT. Some car trips are great, but I donít think that one would be the best. Also, too much backtracking to make the timing work.
1. Add at least one day to Venice and visit one of the islands. Beautiful and romantic.
2. Since you are a foodie, rather than all that travel for a festival, stop in Bologna. I am not a foodie, yet the best food I had in Italy was in Bologna. You could spend a night and head to Florence early the next morning, or check to see if they have left luggage at the train station and just do a day stop in Bologna between Venice and Florence.
3. You might also take a cooking lesson in Rome.
4. Skip the CT and if you want a car trip, rent a car in Florence and do a day trip in Tuscany or visit Siena or Lucca (excellent food in Lucca also).

So many things have changed, but check out local outdoor market in Vicenza. It used to be absolutely wonderful. There used to also be some great chocolate festivals in areas near Venice.

Personally, I do not like mid-day trains unless they are very scenic and these are not. Re-think this. You waste the morning getting up and out and to the station. Mid-day, especially in Fall is nice to be out and about. I prefer heading out early so I have most of the day in the next location, or have a day of sightseeing and leaving late, just in time to arrive and have dinner in the new place.

Completely off the wall, based on the fact that you like to drive. Skip Italy this time. From Paris, take train to Avignon, rent car and tour small towns in Provence by car. Fly to Rome from Marseille or Lyon. Lyon - food paradise?
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
Not sure why festival is in quotes, is it not a word?

This is an odd comment, festivals in Europe can be astonishing experiences, though I can't comment on the truffle festival as I've never been.
We have been visiting Europe annually since 1977. From 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more, we've spent 2 months in Europe every year. Lots of festivals - mostly "ho-hum" events. Some were interesting - but not the major "event" of the day for us. I would not go out of my way on a short trip to Europe, just to experience a festival.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 12:41 AM
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I actually disagree a bit with the others. If you are under the age of 45, I think this is doable. However, I would cut out CT and after the truffle festival return to Milan. From there it is easier to catch a train.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
We have been visiting Europe annually since 1977. From 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more, we've spent 2 months in Europe every year. Lots of festivals - mostly "ho-hum" events. Some were interesting - but not the major "event" of the day for us. I would not go out of my way on a short trip to Europe, just to experience a festival.

Stu Dudley
Yes, I already got the idea you don't care about festivals in Europe. Putting normal words in quotation marks is a show of derision. Check.

Most people going to Europe for the first time are not even aware that so many festivals take place at all, so since the OP shows a keen interest, here is my advice: if it fits for you, it's hard to go wrong following your instinct. Have done so, and it's always been a remarkable experience.

I do find it amusing that so many times on travel forums the OP doesn't indicate what they are interested in, and then gets grilled about that. Here finally someone tells us and we feel a need to put it down because it doesn't align with our interest.



Last edited by shelemm; Aug 31st, 2021 at 02:23 AM.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by millie2112 View Post
I actually disagree a bit with the others. .
It's not a question of doable but if it should be done.

My first thought on seeing it was why even go to Venice? All they'll be doing is checking in and out with a nap in between

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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 03:18 AM
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We’ve been to the truffle festival. With the parades and truffle / wine tasting …it’s worth a visit if you are say Turin.

i wouldn’t say it’s worth a dash across Northern Italy to be there but then I’m not everyone. Some people fly 5000 miles to spend two weeks in Vegas. Personally, if I was on another US road trip I wouldn’t stop in Vegas if I was passing through.

The itinerary generally - probably needs scissors to it.

I’ve been to all the places on the route - I’d cut out one city - Paris.

How about flying into Nice , take the incredible train to Turin, do Alba , train to Venice , hire a car and wander down to Rome via Tuscany which can be incredible in early Autumn. Florence probably could have two days but again that’s me and ę religious ę art galleries. I love the view over the city from the car park at Piazzale Michelangiolo but I’m afraid that’s it. A day in Florence is a day wasted in Rome or in Val D’Oricia drinking Brunello.

anything is doable - in March I drove to Bordeaux and back from the U.K. in 2 and a half days. 1800 miles - did I see anything ….well lots of tarmac, the inside of the channel tunnel and 3 service stations. All good fun.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Aug 31st, 2021 at 03:20 AM.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 06:36 AM
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My feelings about the Alba truffle festival align with BritishCaicos. We thought it was fun, but we visited it during a weeklong stay in the area. Alba itself is more enjoyable without the festival crowds.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 07:56 AM
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Thank you! We are both in our late 20's and very active in hiking and travel. I personally have done a trip like this when I was younger and it was fine however I was at a different stage of life and had different interests. The Truffle Festival has well over 3k reviews on google with people raving about it which is why it's so appealing. Chef's in Austin, Texas talk about it frequently in the Italian restaurants when they have white truffles and it's always been an interest. I'm most likely going to skip this due to logistics and so many good points made however I do agree that outing all festivals isn't too fair. Stu's document he attached though is loaded with incredible information and I've enjoyed reading it so far.

The reason I asked for advice here is because y'all are clearly experienced and have great feedback! I'm so appreciative of all the comments so far and have been taking advice from each of them to form a final decision on the changes. Thank you again everyone for the responses so far and I'm looking forward to seeing more opinions. This is my girlfriend's first Europe trip and my 8th so it's more geared towards really wow'ing her while still tackling the shared interests we have.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 08:48 AM
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Sorry I missed the fact that you had flights into Paris and our of Rome booked,

To be honest Iíd fly into Paris spend 4 nights there fly to Rome spend 3 nights there and then hire a car and drive up the coast to Pisa / Florence / Cinque Terre and back down through Tuscany with your last night in Rome. Thatís still a lot for 2 weeks.

the good news is that at this time of year there will be less tourists and pretty good weather (usually)
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