1st time in Italy

Old Sep 5th, 2016, 07:26 PM
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1st time in Italy

We are a family of 4 (early 50's, a young adult and a teen). Very active, like to know cities by foot rather than taking pre-packaged excursions. Planning on traveling the cities via train. Arriving at Venice and leaving maybe from Rome? Will prefer to visit as many cities as possible. Late May early June. Is 15 days doable for this kind of trip? Any suggestion will be much appreciated.
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Old Sep 5th, 2016, 08:18 PM
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You can have a very nice 15 day trip. Where are you flying from? If it is a long distance, the first day is usually quite a blur.

Which places are you thinking of visiting?
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Old Sep 5th, 2016, 08:32 PM
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Maybe two stops between Venice and Rome with possible day trips. Train schedules here using italian city names:
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Old Sep 5th, 2016, 11:09 PM
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Visiting »as many cities as possible« must not stand in the way of enjoying it all. Thanks to its excellent (and cheap!) trains, you can limit yourself to a few cities as a base, and use them for day trips.
Bologna would make a perfect stop after Venice. Nice city and excellent for visiting interesting places around, such as Ferrara and Ravenna.
Florence is a must-see for most first-time visitors and for good reasons. But it is very, very crowded. Instead you could base yourself in pleasant Lucca. From there you have one of the frequent trains to Florence, which can you bring you there within 1,5 hrs. And Pisa is less than half an hour away.
Use the Trenitalia website for compulsary reservation of long-distance trains (payment by credit card; pdf for printing at home). They come with a huge discount when booked two to three months ahead. No advance booking is needed for regional trains.
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Old Sep 6th, 2016, 07:13 AM
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If you're flying into Venice and out of Rome, you first need to decide how much time you want to spend in those cities to know how much time you have left to see other places. Depending on your interests, you could easily spend 8-10 days in just those two cities.

Speaking of your interests, it would be helpful to know what you want to see/do in Italy.

If art, architecture and museums of the Renaissance are among your interests, Florence should be one of your priorities. And IMO, if you want to see Florence, stay in Florence. I admit I'm not a big fan of Lucca, but spending at least 3 hours traveling to and from Florence would put me off Lucca for a first-time visitor to Florence.

Another option between Venice and Rome is Perugia which has great access by bus and train to most of Umbria. It's a hilltop, walled city dating from the Etruscans. There are a few Etruscan sights to see.

But be careful about planning too many stops, too much moving around. There's visiting as many cities as possible, and then there's not remembering what you saw where.
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Old Sep 6th, 2016, 10:08 AM
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OK - trains - booking tickets in advance can yield sweet savings over just showing up and buying tickets - is the official Italian Railways site for booking - Venice to Florence; Florence to Rome especially can have nice discounts.

For lots about Italian trains check - lots of great info on discounted tickets; and

There is an Italian Eurailpass but no way can you realize its benefits on such a short trip.

Land in Venice perhaps

3 full days

Train to Florence

3 full days

Train to Rome

5 full days

Add days to Florence and do day trips like to Pisa for the Leaning Tower and or to Siena or some other classic hill town - Siena is my favorite - easy short cheap bus ride from Florence.

day trips from Rome could be Ostia Antica, ancient Rome's port and now an archaeological site whose ruins IMO on par with Pompeii or to Tivoli and the Villa d'Este water gardens and Hadrian's Villa just outside of town.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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It would be easy to stop off for a few days in the fabled Cinque Terre and in May it will not be so so so SO mobbed as in summer - perfect time - do the classic hikes between the villages (about 7 miles all told) or take the train between them.

You could go directly from Venice to the Cinque Terre- then to Florence and then south to Rome.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 02:28 PM
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A guidebook ?
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