1st time to Italy...

Old Feb 1st, 2005, 06:27 PM
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1st time to Italy...

My husband and I would like to take a trip to Italy in May. We'd probably have about 8 days total to travel. We definitely want to see Rome - but beyond that I'm finding it very overwhelming to try to plan our itineary.

I'd love some itineary suggestions - how many days should we spend in Rome? Where should we go from there? Where should we definitley not go?

I know we won't be able to see everything on this trip that we want to - so we don't want to try to rush around and see everything this time - we figure we'll be back again to see more.

Thanks for your help!!!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 06:44 PM
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It's one of the commonest questions here - - and there are dozens of right answers. Some of the variations may depend on why it is you think you want to go to Italy.

I typically offer a contrarian view - - try to "take in the big three" (Florence, Venice, Rome) - - and in this fairly unconventional (and on the surface, seemingly illogical) order.

You can't fly transatlantic to Florence - - but you can connect via London, Paris and several other cities. You can also get in a decent moderate nap, taking the train from Milan or Rome to arrive in Florence on day 1 (departing from the US on "day 0&quot.

Spend days one and two in Florence, then, train onward to Venice the morning of day three. Take the train to Rome on the evening of day four or the morning of day five.

It's more train travel than "necessary", but it "saves" Venice until day four when you are past, for the most part, the fatigue and grumpiness that can accompany a sleep-deprived trans-atlantic flight. And it delays Rome until the end when you are better prepared for the "intensity" of so much to see, so many sights, sounds, people, scooters...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Hi Morris, for 8 days total to travel I am not sure if you are counting day 1 as the day to arrive in Italy and the 8th day as the day to leave Italy.

Since you state that you have "8 days total to travel" I am going to assume that you have 8 days NOT counting the arrival day and the departure day.

My thoughts are a bit different then Rex has outlined. If you want to see the three big cities (Venice, Florence and Rome) here is what I would do.

I would arrive in Venice. Then go by train to Florence. Then by train to Rome. And fly home from Rome.

But to be honest with you, I would not try to do all three cities with 8 days total to travel.

I would fly into Rome (which you inidicated is your main interest). I would enjoy Rome and take a day trip or two from Rome such as Orvieto.

Not rushing around is IMHO a wonderful way to enjoy what ever part of Italy you are in. And yes most travelers do return to Italy time after time.

Your next trip could be Florence and Venice. With some other beautiful spots in between.

Or an alternative. Fly into Rome, enjoy Rome for several days and then train to Venice and stay there and fly home from Venice. Or do it in reverse, fly into Venice, enjoy your time there and then train or fly to Rome and fly home from Rome.

As to where not to go to. All of Italy is so beautiful. It is not a matter of where not to go to. It is IMHO enjoying where you do go to , without rushing from place to place day after day so you arrive home not really knowing where you have been to so to speak.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:46 PM
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Morris2004, I recommend 5 days in Rome and 3 days in Venice. Fly into one city and out of the other. Take the Eurostar train between cities.

Choose a hotel with good location for Rome, near interesting sights. Hotels near the Pantheon in Rome have a great location, for example. Rome is a wonderful city and you will enjoy Rome even more if you do your research and plan well, but leave your last day in Rome as a free day to do spontaneous things...Take restaurant recommendations with you because in Rome, good food costs the same as bad food! There are some wonderful restaurants in rome. Rome is a vibrant city, like a marriage between the modern and the ancient...just amazing.

Venice is a unique city, romantic and wonderful. Also expensive. We loved the Pensione Accademia hotel in the dorsoduro area of Venice.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Depends on what you want to see? Are you interested more in the cities or hoping to see the countryside too?

As already mentioned, you could do Rome and Venice, flying into one and out of the other, train in between, with the time divided equally.

Or Rome only with a few days in the countryside, maybe?

If it were *me* I'd do Venice 4 days and overnight train to Paris for 4 days, again flying 'open jaw' to avoid backtracking.

I'm scared of Rome being too hectic and huge for my personal taste in travel, is my reasoning on that one. And know I love both Venice and Paris.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:05 PM
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Hi M,

> We'd probably have about 8 days total to travel. We definitely want to see Rome ...<

I suggest:

Go to Rome. See Rome. Go home.

Next time split your 8 days between Venice and Florence.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:06 PM
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PS,

From Rome, you can daytrip to either or both of Ostia Antica and Orvieto.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Rex, that's an interesting approach, but I have to say it sounds more complicated than necessary. IMO, Venice is a fine, relaxing start for someone's first day in Italy. It seems very "easy" if you don't make same-day sightseeing demands on yourself. But if Florence is more convenient, by all means start there, and so forth.

But I have to say I never had the feeling of being overwhelmed, in either Florence or Rome. But others report this - so is it a matter of having visited in winter in my case, or perhaps being used to an urban environment, or being lucky enough to sleep on a quiet street?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Ira might just have it right, here. If you do indeed plan on coming back again, then don't try to do too much. There is plenty of Rome and the surrounding area to see in 8 days.

On the other hand, we split our time between Rome and Venice and had a blast...but we had 10 days to work with.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I'm not sure what it is about Florence that makes me dislike it so much. I've lived in big cities--New York, Seoul, Baltimore.

Maybe it's that a lot of the sights are jammed into a relatively small area so the tourists are concentrated there, PLUS it's a big urban center with all that traffic, noise, pollution jammed into those old, narrow streets.

Anyway, I can deal with Rome's traffic and Venice's daytripper hordes just fine, but the combination of tourist hordes and traffic and noise and pollution in Florence is just an extremely unpleasant experience for me.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 02:30 PM
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Hi Morris2004

I think we could help you better if we knew exactly how many nights you will have in Italy. 8 days total to travel could mean 7 nights. It could mean 8; it might even mean 6!

Before knowing; I can suggest something we have done when we don't have much time: Fly to Rome and train immediately to Florence (which we love). Spend 2 or 3 nights (I think 3 because you will be tired if you are flying from the US)in central Florence at a well located hotel, but maybe not one in the thickest thick of things.

Then, on the 4th morning, train to Rome. Spend 4 nights or 5 in Rome. I like the suggestion of staying in the historic center of Rome. Lots of folks here can suggest hotels in every price range.

In Florence, if you stay 3 nights, you might consider taking a taxi or bus to Fiesole on the 3rd day. You could explore a bit, and have lunch.

In Rome, you might want to stay put. There is a lot to see, and I like going slow through Rome. I also suggest hitting some sites that are less crowded in Rome: visit the Galleria Borghese and try a little stroll through the Villa Borghese. We also like the Terme di Caracalla as a good way to get away from crowds but still see a very important part of Roman antiquity.

My best advice is to slow, only stay in two places, and plan to come back. Soon!
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