18 or 19 nights in Italy

Aug 21st, 2012, 05:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
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18 or 19 nights in Italy

I am planning a trip with my husband and 16 year old daughter around mid April 2013 to Italy from the UK. We are hoping to arrive in the early evening if we can find a flight so we can book into a hotel and get settled and start fresh the next day. However failing this we will get an early morning flight which will give us 18 nights and we will lose half a day travelling and booking into hotel etc.
We would like to spend 4 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Florence and do a day trip to Tuscany including a visit to Pisa, whilst in Florence. Then 3 nights in Venice including a trip to Murano and a gondola ride. we would also like to visit Verona, Milan and possibly Lake Garda and Cinque Terre, which we have been told is spectactular. Not sure whether it would be best to stay in one or two places and take day trips, it was suggested we spend 2 nights each in Verona, Milan, Cinque Terre and Lake Garda but this seems a lot of packing and unpacking. We thought about flying into Rome and home from either Venice or Verona to save time and doubling back. We would rather not hire a car just use trains and buses which I have read are reasonably inexpensive and reliable. Is Lake Garda worth visiting in April as I have heard that the weather may be grey and cold. We have never been to Italy before and would like to see and experience as much as possible without wasting too much time travelling. Also not sure about accomodation is it better to stay in hotels or B & B's or apartments so we don't have to eat out all the time. Are we trying to see too much in one trip we don,t want to miss things but also hate to sit around doing nothing. A holiday is for seeing and experiencing as much as possible, in my opinion. We are happy to get early morning trains to places to make the most of our time. I would also like advice on what tickets we should buy before we travel so as not to waste time queuing and is it worth buying a Rome pass and using the hop on hop off buses in some towns?. We love history and beautiful or unusual buildings and monuments, castles, caves and museums, my daughter also likes to shop and we like markets selling local crafts. Any advice would be welcomed as we are still in the planning stages so nothing is booked or finalised.
Springermad is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 05:29 AM
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I'll try to answer some of your questions but please, please, please use paragraphs. This is a messy jumble of words. Separate your thoughts and questions.

What do you mean by a "day trip to Tuscany?" Florence and Pisa are in Tusany. Do you mean that you want to visit Pisa and some other Tuscan town? Any particular interests? Are you looking for recommendations or just stating your itinerary.

Your Rome, Florence, Venice part looks ok.

The next 4 places with 2 nights each is too much, as you suspect. Why do you want to go to each of these places, particularly Milan? Milan to La Spezia takes about 4 hours plus you then have to transfer to Cinque Terre. I would either do the Lakes and Verona or the western coast of Italy.

I haven't been to Lake Garda but I have been to Lake Como and it's wonderful. I stayed in Bellagio. You can take a train from Venice to Varenna (via Milan) and walk to the ferry station and cross the lake to Bellagio. Or you can stay in Varenna or Mennagio. But I preferred Bellagio.

Weather can be cold and gray any place but April is a bit early in the season for the Lakes.

<< A holiday is for seeing and experiencing as much as possible >>

What I tell people is that running around, moving from place to place is far removed from seeing everything. You'll spend more time packing and unpacking, getting to the next place, trying to find your way around a new location.

Apartments will save on eating out but how much will you be eating in with all the moving around you're doing.

Please read at least 1 guide book and search on this board for other information. You can get lots of good info by reading other people's posts.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 05:49 AM
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Whew! Tough to read. As Adrienne advises, paragraphs next time. A couple of suggestions:

(1) spend an extra day or two in Venice and do Verona as a day trip from there.

(2) Spend an extra day in Florence and do a daytrip to the Tuscan countryside from there.

(3) Skip the lakes for this trip - it is pretty early to assure nice weather. Visit Pisa on your way from Florence to Cinque Terre as it is on the train route. Spend a couple of days in CT.

(4) Add the remaining day to Rome.

Fly into Venice and out of Rome. You will lose more than a day moving from place to place.

Use the "destinations" feature of this forum and get a good huidebook and a good map. Have fun planning and have a wonderful trip!
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 06:51 AM
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Just one general remark, you need to watch your seasonally-related planning. You have a lot of resort destinations in there e.g. Cinque Terre. April in Italy may be very rainy. Even beyond that, it has very strict 'codes' for when things are done and you will find many hotels and restaurants closed out of season for both CT and the Lake Como area.

Add to your time in Rome.
LJ is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 06:55 AM
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All just personal, but if this were my trip with a teen, I would fly into Venice early morning
Venice 3 nts
Train to Florence 4 nts
(day trip to Pisa and Lucca)
(day trip to Siena)
Sassafrass is online now  
Aug 21st, 2012, 07:03 AM
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Sorry, accidently posted. To cont.
Venice 3 nts.
Train to Florence 4 nts (two day trips)
Train to Rome
Rome 4 nts.
Train to Sorrento 4 nts
(see Pompeii, Capri, The AC)
Fly home from Naples

I am suggesting this because the weather might be nicer nearer the AC than in the North, yet you see a beautiful coastal area.
I am suggeting Sorrento rather than Capri or further south because it has easy transport to Pompeii and Naples, and though it is touristy, it has some fun shopping for your teen.
Sassafrass is online now  
Aug 21st, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Whatever you decide, I would start at your most southern point and work your way north. April 25th and May 1st are national holidays in Italy.
Jean is online now  
Aug 21st, 2012, 08:33 AM
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Thank you for replies, have found a day trip from Florence to Pisa, taking in a Tuscan winery on the way and including lunch.
The reason for including this in my post is because it obviously takes a whole day so is one less day to explore Florence.

My daughter wants to go to Milan, personally I would not bother, but its her holiday too and she has her heart set on going.

My husband particularly wants to visit Verona, but we are happy to just visit for a day trip.

Originally we looked at staying in Rome, Florence and Venice and just doing trips to the other places but I am not sure if Milan is doable as a day trip from Venice or Florence.

My husband would quite like to see the lakes, but it is not a priority and we would forego them if its too far or bad weather.

As for Cinque Terre we had not included it originally but were told it is spectacular and not to be missed.

I have never been to Italy before and have never worked out my own itinerary before and trying to please the three of us is not easy. This is a dream trip for us and one that will probably never be repeated so we want to get it right.

Sassafrass, I would love to do Sorrento and include Pompeii and Naples and if I can work a trip to Milan in or talk my daughter out of Milan your itinerary sounds lovely, especially as the weather may be better.
Springermad is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 12:21 PM
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If your daughter wants to go to Milan for shopping purposes only, you will probably find that designer items are no cheaper there than in the U.K. Also, I didn't find the stores in Milan especially glamorous. If I didn't plan on seeing the Pinacoteca di Brera, Sforza Castle, Duomo, Last Supper, La Scala, etc., I wouldn't include Milan, especially not on a first trip.

The Cinque Terre is beautiful, but so is the Amalfi Coast. I probably would not try to do both in one trip since they are both coastal destinations but at opposite ends of the country. Of the two, I personally think the Amalfi Coast is more spectacular and more likely to have better weather in April.

Unlike some others, I am an advocate of gondola rides. I have taken 3, at different times of the day, and my favorite time is at dusk.

Do you want to go to Murano for glass? Of the lagoon islands, I think Burano is really nice. It has some shops and restaurants but is smaller and more picturesque.
Delaine is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 12:32 PM
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If your daughter really wants to go to Milan then you should go. The Last Supper is there and the cathedral is spectacular. It's 2.5 to 3 hours by train from Venice but there is also the time to get to/from the train station so it's a long day trip.

You could leave Venice, stop in Milan and do whatever your daughter wants to do then in the late afternoon continue traveling to Varenna and spend a couple of days on Lake Como.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 12:45 PM
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You will see remains of the ancient empire in Rome. Might your DH see Pompeii as more interesting and exciting than Verona?

Your daughter will see beautiful shops in Florence, and many of the same goods, leather, etc. everywhere from Venice to Sorrento. Of course, you want to give her something special, but unless the cathedral and the Last Supper are the draw to Milan, other places are just as special.

It is easier to fly into Venice and train out, harder to fly out from Venice. Also, thinking to put you on the AC for the warmest weather. The AC also gives you a stunning coastline with more mjor sight seeing than the CT.

You could add a day to Venice and day trip to Verona. Milan is really too far for a day trip.

Not great, but you are coming only from the UK, so if you must visit Milan, fly in early, stay a night. Train next day to Verona - one night right in city center - just grab a taxi from the train station - easy and quick. Train to Venice and slow down from there for the rest of your trip.

You still have time to read and look at photos to make the best decisions for you.
Sassafrass is online now  
Aug 21st, 2012, 04:02 PM
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Verona is totally 'doable' as day trip or on enroute to/from Venice. Milan can also be added given your time frame and that you are 'losing' CT and only adding the lakes if you are lucky enough to have great weather....the nice thing about your timing is that you will be able to be flexible and move things around.

My suggestion would be to take the info you currently have and frame out an intinerary and re-post so that you can get information from folks that are right up-to-date on your destinations-revised itinerary. That is the best way to get the expertise that this group has to offer!
LJ is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 06:13 PM
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Taking all the advice on here and bearing in mind the weather and pleasing us all I think I may have the beginning of a better itinerary.

Fly into Verona from London have checked its cheaper and there are early morning flights.

Spend 3 nights in Verona, see some sights and include a day trip to Milan, keeping husband and daughter happy and we would like to see Da Vinci's supper.

Train to Venice, takes just over an hour and leave from 8,10 am. Spend 3 nights in Venice.Go on Gondola trip and visit Murano and Burano and get lost in Venice.

Train to Florence,takes about 2 hours spend 3 or 4 nights in Florence and do 1 or 2 day trips to surrounding countryside, including Pisa.

Train to Rome takes 1 and a half ours ish, spend 4 nights in Rome doing the sights.

Train to Naples takes about and an hour and 15 mins then travel to Sorrento not sure which is the best way yet as I am not great with boats unless the ride is very smooth, but iv heard the train is full of pick pockets, advice please.

Stay in Sorrento 4 or 5 nights, whilst in Sorrento hope to visit AC and Pompei, not sure about Capri, can it only be reached by boat? Any ideas of things to do whilst in Sorrento would be appreciated.
Springermad is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 06:34 PM
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<< about Capri, can it only be reached by boat >>

I guess you could swim! LOL

While in Sorrento you could see the archeological museum in Naples where artifacts from Pompeii are housed. It was interesting. There's Herculaneum, a site similar to Pompeii but very different in look. There is more intact and it's a much smaller site. It's on the train line from Naples to Sorrento.

The train to Sorrento is fine. I've not had a problem. There are pick pockets all over the world. Just use the same caution you use any place else. Be careful with your luggage that you keep it near you on the train.

Thanks for the paragraphs. It's so much easier to read!
adrienne is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 07:07 PM
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You can get to Capri by ferry or hydrofoil - depending on where you leave from. I suppose there might be a place to land a private helicopter - but I don;t think that's what you had in mind.

If you get seasick just pop a dramimine. The trip to Capri is worth it - even if you don;t get to see the Blue Grotto - which you can get a boat into only if the water is perfectly flat. But there is so much else to see and do on the island that it really doesn;t matter.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 07:08 PM
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Your latest itinerary looks good. However, if you can talk your husband and daughter out of Milan I would. The shopping is just as good in Verona, Florence and Rome as in Milan so if that's her main reason for wanting to go she will be disappointed. I actually just went to Milan this summer for the first time (I've been to Italy 7 times, never wanted to do Milan at the expense of other places. I liked it more than I expected to, but all of your other destinations are 'better'). You said your husband also wanted to see the lakes - so perhaps you could convince him that a day trip to Lake Garda from Verona would be more enjoyable than one to Milan. For one thing it's much closer. I took the train to Desanzano and the ferry from there to Sirmirone. Great castle, beautiful setting - one of my favorite days on this trip (which was 28 days long so that's saying something).

Re Sorrento - The train from Naples to Sorrento is a commuter train but it's fine - those stories about pick pockets are urban legend - I seriously doubt there are more pick pockets on that train than in Rome (or Paris, London, or pretty much any other heavily touristed place). And the train goes from the same station as the train you will have taken to get to Naples from Rome (it's down stairs) where as the ferry from Naples to Sorrento requires you to travel through Naples. With four days in Sorrento you could do one on the AC, one to Capri, and one to Pompeii. Here's a link to my trip report for Rome and Sorrento - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rful-weeks.cfm
isabel is offline  
Aug 21st, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Your plan is excellent.

If your daughter is interested in fashion or Da Vinci, Milan is an important destination. I agree with your original reasoning that she should be given the opportunity to see what she wants to see. I also think there is no substitute for Pompei. If your husband regrets his choice, take an early train back (but I doubt he will regret it.)

If you take a hydrofoil, the ride is very smooth. But there is no point in going to Capri unless the weather is brilliant.
vespacurves is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:00 AM
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If you do go to Milan, you must make reservations to see the Da Vinci's Last Supper. You can probably find directions by doing a search on this board.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2012, 03:31 AM
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Thank you so much for all the great advice, I have spoken to Jess, my daughter and my husband and we have decided to forget Milan.

So we have decided to probably fly into Venice and spend 5 or 6 nights there and do a day trip to Verona.

We will then spend 4 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Rome before getting the train to Naples and then Sorrento and spending 5 or 6 nights there.

Some question.... is it worth doing an organised day trip to Verona or are we better just taking a train and finding things our selves?

If we go on the train is it worth getting a Verona card for just one day?

We also thought whilst we were in Venice we may do a trip to Sermione, which includes visiting a winery and a boat trip if the weather permits. Has anyone had any experience of these trips

Also regarding where to stay we were thinking of self catering in Venice and Sorrento as we are staying longer, its cheaper and reviews are good, has anyone any experience of this?

Do you think we would be better spending an extra night in Venice or Sorrento.

BTW I do not get sea sick, I am just a bit of a wimp and have a phobia of the sea and boats and cannot cope with boats moving up and down. I am fine if the water is very calm, but speed boats terrify me. Having said that I have had some very pleasant trips on boats.
Springermad is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2012, 03:37 AM
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Looked at your link to your trip report of Rome and Sorrento, Isabel, beautiful pictures and very helpful- thanks for the link.
Springermad is offline  

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