1st Time in Italy - 10-12 Days

Apr 25th, 2016, 11:23 AM
  #1  
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1st Time in Italy - 10-12 Days

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Europe and at his request, beginning with Italy. We know that we would like to do Rome and the Amalfi Coast but are a bit confused as to what else to do since we have received conflicting opinions from friends about Venice and Florence.

We enjoy culture, love history, but are not big art lover. We also love outdoor sports like scuba diving, biking, kayaking, etc..

We care nothing about seeing the Vatican and understand Rome could take up a considerable amount of our time but we really only want 2 days there, 3 if you include the arrival day. We are open to flying out of Naples but were told by friends that the airport has some issues (opinions appreciated about this)

We also don't need to cram everything into this trip. We are finally at that place where we will be doing a trip every year or two.
vfweaver is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 11:33 AM
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since we have received conflicting opinions from friends about Venice and Florence.>

On Fodor's you will receive only or mainly positive responses about Venice and Florence - two absolute don't miss places IMO - especially Venice - when are you going - in July and August the three big cities do suffer from a huge influx of tourists - especially Florence and even more Venice so the time of year could affect one's impression of a city. The Amalfi too at that time could be very crowded.

Are you going by car or train - if cities trains - if rural Tuscany of course by bus or car. But consider trains are being the best way around if hitting cities or places like the Amalfi where driving can be hard too (boats are nicer between cities or the world-famous Amalfi buses) - for lots of great info on trains check www.trenitalia.com for fares and online booking - www.seat61.com for advice on discounted tickets you can book online and for general info - www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

And how long are you going for - makes a big difference in what folks may recommend. The Amalfi for example can be a great base for excursions to Capri, Pasestum, and Pompeii for starters and of course going along the Amalfi Coast.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 11:36 AM
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Hard to address the "conflicting opinions" without knowing what they are. I LOVED Venice so would want to include that myself, and always suggest it to other people planning. May or may not apply to you. But with 12 days and only wanting 2 in Rome you certainly have time to go there if you are interested.
suze is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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Mid September.

Conflicting Opinions (Venice) We have a friend that was in Venice in June and said it was extremely crowded and they wouldn't do it again. Another friend who visited one year in April and said they loved it and if we stayed in Venice proper it is great to see it at night. We are honestly open to any advice and/or suggestions on transportation.

Conflicting Opinions (Tuscany/Florence) A family member told us that if we wanted to do the Amalfi Coast we should skip it since we will only have 10-12 days. Another friend told us that if we only wanted a couple of days in Rome it was completely doable for all 3 and if they were going to leave one off it would be Venice.
vfweaver is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 11:51 AM
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Many of the folks who are turned off by the obnoxious crowds on the main beaten path in Venice between the train station/parking lots/bus depot/cruise ship terminals and St Mark's Square come away with a bad impression of how much fun being in a sardine city is like - but there are so so many areas of Venice where few of this thundering herd of day trippers ever see and this to me is the joy of Venice and there are plenty of areas where you can escape the mobs and be with a quiet Venice and really soak up its atmosphere.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 11:55 AM
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I have been to Venice only twice. Both times were high season (July, August). It was HOT would be my main "complaint".

Of course the tourist areas and main sites/sights get crowded during the day, but you just go elsewhere then. There are more back "streets" and interesting areas to poke around in Venice than you'd ever even get too in a week or a month. The other tourists did not detract one bit from my overall experience there.
suze is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 12:53 PM
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What were the issues about Naples airport that you were told about? I have flown out of Naples airport and it was perfectly fine.
raincitygirl is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 01:17 PM
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There is nothing conflicting about the stories you heard. Traveling opens up your mind to the world beyond your home turf. Things you have always believed to be rock solid one way or another turn out not so solid after all.

There is no shortage of stories describing the multifacetness of many things: Blind men and an elephant and Rashomon are the classics.

>>> Conflicting Opinions (Venice) We have a friend that was in Venice in June and said it was extremely crowded and they wouldn't do it again. Another friend who visited one year in April and said they loved it and if we stayed in Venice proper it is great to see it at night.

Venice is extremely popular and gets crush of tourists. If one insists on visiting places during peak hour, there is no escape from the crush of tourists. One can visit places at hours too early or too late for mass tourists, visit off season, visit less visited part during the peak hours. I take photographs of cities at sunset. Except for few other die-hard photographers, you would find all the streets, even smack in the middle of San Marco square abandoned and glowing in the morning light.

>>> Conflicting Opinions (Tuscany/Florence) A family member told us that if we wanted to do the Amalfi Coast we should skip it since we will only have 10-12 days. Another friend told us that if we only wanted a couple of days in Rome it was completely doable for all 3 and if they were going to leave one off it would be Venice.

This is a difference in taste, not a conflict of the essence of places unless you believe everyone in the world has the exact same taste for places. You can subscribe to an idea that there is a magic formula defining so many days so many places and anything violating would be a failed trip. You can also define for self what you want to accomplish within your constraints - ignoring what others tell you how to live your life.

In the end you have to decide if you want to live up to someone else's notion of a trip or follow your own interest. Here is a video describing this idea: from Steve Jobs' commencement address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc, starting time stamp 12:31
greg is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 03:05 PM
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With about 8-9 days, I did 3 days in Rome, 3 in Florence and 3 around Florence in Tuscany,I personally liked the combo, a mix of bigg cities and smaller towns. Do have a look at my TR, https://ashwinbahulkar.wordpress.com...rence-tuscany/
ashwinb is offline  
Apr 25th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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We went to Italy last May. Here's my trip report; you might be able to get some ideas from what we did. We chose to skip Venice; though it sounded wonderful, we didn't have time to go there.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...y-may-2015.cfm

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 01:06 PM
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Just seeing Venice for a few hours would be a treat - just to see what many call the most beautiful - Serenissima or whatever they call it city in the world.

Florence is just as crowded in summer in its main tourist areas - travel in May, early June or September are great times for Italy - crowds really thin out after first weekend in September and weather tempers down too - average high in Florence in July a very humid over 90 F I read.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 01:14 PM
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What "conflicting opinions" have you heard? You could hardly find two absolutely different cities in Italy than Venice and Florence, so it's no wonder you've heard what you discern as "conflicting opinions."

What guidebooks have you read? What research have you done? Venice and Florence could not be more different, so which one appeals to you most?
StCirq is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 01:19 PM
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StCirq, she means conflicting opinions about EACH city. See above, she explained what she had heard.
suze is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 02:11 PM
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if you want to see Rome and the Amalfi, do just that. in 10-12 days by the time you have travelled between the two, and back you really haven't got a huge amount of time to shoehorn in another place.

For example -

Day 1 Land Rome [probably about 9am]. 1 hour min to get through passport collect luggage and negotiate customs probably more. [I suggest that if you are flying into and out of Rome, you travel directly to wherever you are going to stay on the Amalfi, and end your trip in Rome so that you aren't trying to rush to get back to catch your plane at the end of the trip.] Catch Leonardo express to Termini [Rome's main train station] and then train to Naples. it's now about 12 noon. travel to wherever staying on the Amalfi by train, boat or car or combination thereof. You might get there by about 3pm. check in and relax [or sleep!]

Day 2 - 6 stay/tour the Amalfi. [gives you 5 clear days]

Day 7 - return to Rome, will take roughly ½ day. Check into hotel. ½ day in Rome.

Day 8-11 [4 clear days] Rome.

Day 12 - fly home.
annhig is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 02:51 PM
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If you don't care to spend time seeing "art" and you do wish to imbibe the culture, and the food and wine, of the modern Italians beyond the artificial atmosphere of the tourist-infested cities and coasts as I love to do, do this (tastes vary): fly to Rome. Never fly to the other international airport which is Milan because you would have to take Alitalia from Miami. I emphatically would recommend that you NEVER do that. Once in Rome, catch the Freccia supertrain to Genoa, arriving later afternoon. There is a hop-on hop-off tour bus circuit in Genoa every day except Tuesday. Stay 2 nights in Genoa, then train to Savona and rent a car and drive around the entroterra (outback) where you will find food to fulfill your wildest dreams. I recommend Bajardo for two nights, Triora for another, and Noli for a one more. Returning the car to Savona, catch the train to La Spezia, the quintessential prosperous provential city for a 2 nights. be sure to pick up a picnic at La Pia and catcj a ferry ride to Portovenere. Then back to Rome until you are ready to leave. The Residenza Cellini, a short walk from the train station cannot be better. Eating at Da Giovanni should be a must. The hotel will arrange a limo to the airport for about the same cost as the train.

Bon voyage

wbanksh
wbanksh is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 03:18 PM
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wbanksh, all that sounds great, but wouldn't it be easier to fly into Nice? Much closer to Genoa than Rome.
raincitygirl is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 04:50 PM
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MXP to Genoa takes 3 hours, FCO around 6.

Rome and the AC the best arrangement is to fly into NAP and out of FCO.
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