1st time to Italy Trip

Old Oct 27th, 2021, 04:01 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1st time to Italy Trip

Hi!

I'll be traveling to Italy for the first time. For my wife, she's already been to Venice, Pisa, and Rome.

I've been put in charge of scheduling the itinerary. Could you let me know if the below high-level itinerary seems reasonable? Our main desires would be 1) eat amazing food 2) sightseeing.

1) Fly into Milan and spend 2 days there
2) Spend 1 day in Parma (I've heard the Emilia Romagna region has some of the best food)
3) Spend 1 day in Modena
4) Spend 2 days in Bologna
5) Spend 2 days in Florence (I hard Florence is a bit touristy, but a must)
6) Train back to Milan, spend 1 more day there before flying out.

Total ~9 days in Italy across 5 close cities/towns.
chriswu0728 is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 04:44 PM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 11,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In my opinion you're making a typical 1st timer's mistake - moving around too much to try to go too many places.

Milan - I've never been, and while it certainly has some sights worth seeing, it's very much a huge modern metropolis... There are better choices.. But, for flights, if you can get a non-stop from your home airport then it's not a bad gateway option. If you need to connect somewhere regardless, then look into flights to Pisa - might be some non-stop flights from the US, Florence (connections in Europe), or Bologna (connections in Europe).

Parma/Modena/Bologna. Pick one and use it as a base to enjoy, and consider day trips if you want to explore the other 2 by train. Bologna actually has a nice mix of "large enough city" and "small town Italy" feel so don't rule it out. For me, the most "amazing food" experience is the small cafe I find in my wanderings that has fresh food, a nice local vibe, good wine or beer, and is convenient.... And you'll only come across those places if you stay in one place long enough to pass by on your walk home one night and decide to go there the next day....

Florence. Yes, it is touristy, but for a reason.... The city is filled with so many architectural and art wonders you don't need to tour any museum, see the Uffizi or the David, or wait in line to climb the Duomo to be awestruck....

For 9 days I'd stay in 2 places max. Personally, I'd pick Florence or Bologna as my airports (maybe into one and out of the other), perhaps stay in Bologna or Modena, then a few days in Florence. You can side trip from Florence to Siena for a day, or countless other places nearby. By bus, or train.


J62 is online now  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 04:45 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,328
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK, what made you choose the places you did? What is of particular interest in each of them?
What do you mean by “high level” itinerary?
When is your trip?
Have you already booked flights?

First bit of advice. Do not stay twice in the same place. If you are flying out of Milan, go straight away to one of your other cities and put all time in Milan together at the end of the trip.

Allow travel time, remembering that to get one whole day in a place requires two nights, three nights gives two whole days, etc.
Sassafrass is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 05:38 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 26,388
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you base in Bologna, you can easily day trip to Modena, Parma and others by train. If your plane lands early enough, consider training directly to Bologna. There are shuttles from the airport to the Milan train station. Then make your last two days in Milan. Milan's Duomo is a must...Last Supper, opera, shopping and more. Duomo in Florence also a must.... are you an art person?!!

Last edited by TDudette; Oct 27th, 2021 at 05:56 PM.
TDudette is online now  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 07:20 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
OK, what made you choose the places you did? What is of particular interest in each of them?
What do you mean by “high level” itinerary?
When is your trip?
Have you already booked flights?

First bit of advice. Do not stay twice in the same place. If you are flying out of Milan, go straight away to one of your other cities and put all time in Milan together at the end of the trip.

Allow travel time, remembering that to get one whole day in a place requires two nights, three nights gives two whole days, etc.
-By "high level", I just mean the # of days we are staying in each city.
-We are looking to plan for late March, early April 2022
-Flights have not been booked yet.
chriswu0728 is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 07:26 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
If you base in Bologna, you can easily day trip to Modena, Parma and others by train. If your plane lands early enough, consider training directly to Bologna. There are shuttles from the airport to the Milan train station. Then make your last two days in Milan. Milan's Duomo is a must...Last Supper, opera, shopping and more. Duomo in Florence also a must.... are you an art person?!!
Yes, we love art and museums (I bucket this under "sightseeing").

So maybe a revised itinerary could look like:

Fly into Milan, then train to Bologna
Spend ~2 days just in Bologna
Do a day trip to Parma
Do a day trip to Modena
Take train to Florence and spend 2 nights, 3 days there
Train back to Milan, and spend ~2 days there before flying out of Italy
chriswu0728 is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 08:54 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,678
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with the advice you've already received and your revised plan sounds much better.

Keep in mind that two nights anywhere gives you one full day and some bits of the days either side. So two nights in Florence, doesn't usually give you 3 days. If you're happy with a short visit to Florence, note that Bologna and Florence are not very far apart (40min) so a day trip to Florence is possible (although many would say that short changes Florence). Given your choice of cities, I would be tempted to skip Florence and visit one of the lakes to add in somewhere different. Or skip Milan and stay in Stresa on lake Maggiore (there are direct buses from Stresa to Malpensa)? Any and all of these places are wonderful so there are no bad choices.

Ideally with your itinerary, I would see if you could fly into Bologna and home from Milan. If you buy a multi-city ticket (not two singles) this shouldn't cost you any more, especially if your airline uses both ports.
dreamon is online now  
Old Oct 27th, 2021, 08:55 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,331
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I second the suggestions from TDudette. A few years ago, as part of a longer trip to Italy, we did a report on Florence/Bologna and much preferred Bologna, especially as a base for Parma, Moderna and Ferrara. Although there are a few must sees in Milan, most of that city feels like a modern city that can be anywhere. It is way down the list of our favorite places in Italy. Here is a link to our trip report, and I apologize in advance that it did not include photos which, after that, became a part of future such reports from us. Florence or Bologna? 7 nights early October
whitehall is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 06:16 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your revised itinerary looks fine. I suggest you replace either the day trip to Parma or Modena with Ravenna for these reasons:
1) Amazing mosaics and byzantine churches, nice town overall
2) You might try some different food with respect to Parma , Bologna and Modena wich are "meat lovers" heavens , that is you can try some seafood

Enjoy!
YourTrueItaly is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 08:03 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,768
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by chriswu0728 View Post
Yes, we love art and museums (I bucket this under "sightseeing").

So maybe a revised itinerary could look like:

Fly into Milan, then train to Bologna
Spend ~2 days just in Bologna
Do a day trip to Parma
Do a day trip to Modena
Take train to Florence and spend 2 nights, 3 days there
Train back to Milan, and spend ~2 days there before flying out of Italy
IMO this is better but not great. If you spend two days in Bologna and plan to take two day trips, when will you "see" Bologna ? I'm not the biggest fan of Bologna, but I think it has more interesting things to see than Modena and Parma. If you spend two nights in Florence, you don't have three days there. You'll have two full days and some hours on your arriving and departing days. Yes, you can take an early train from Bologna to Florence and a late train from Florence to Milan, but that still doesn't equate to full days. You have to deal with your luggage when you arrive before check-in and also when you check out several hours before departing. Your hotels will likely hold your luggage, but you have to include time to retrieve/drop luggage in your plan for the day. Two days in Florence may be enough for you, but if "art and museums" are a priority, you will probably be racing around to see the best of this amazing city. If your days there include Sunday and/or Monday, you will likely not see everything you hoped to as the major sights are not open every Sunday or Monday. Buy tickets and make entry reservations wherever possible. I like Milan, but you should research what you would do there. One full, well-planned day might be enough time.
Jean is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 08:40 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,896
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
It's a short trip, I'd try and stuff three stops into it for first timers Bologna, Florence, Milan. I'd do trips by train. Bologna is a great tour centre and pretty pleasant with a fine web of train lines around it. Remember you have to overcome language, culture, signs road markings (if driving) and stuff to overcome which consumes a bit of time.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 08:59 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 26,388
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For art, Florence has a wealth: Uffizi, Bargello David, Pitti Palace comes to mind. Imo, David and Bargello could be done on one day; the other two not so. You might need to add a day there?

Last edited by TDudette; Oct 28th, 2021 at 09:03 AM.
TDudette is online now  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 09:27 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9,966
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Like Jean, I'm not the biggest fan of Bologna (have stayed there twice) but if you're there, I'd definitely make the effort to visit Ravenna with its many mosaics.
Leely2 is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2021, 08:04 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 403
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When we were in Bologna a couple years ago my husband and I did this tour:

https://www.italiandays.it/tour-item...ogna-day-tour/

They picked us up at our hotel then on to Parmesan and Modena. We toured a working Parmesan factory that I’m sure you couldn’t do on your own; then a family owned small batch balsamic vinegar producer and finally a prosciutto maker. A farmhouse lunch was included before our trip back to Bologna.

tracilee is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 01:26 AM
  #15  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,487
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm a bit confused. How many nights do you have for this trip? You would need something like two weeks to accomplish your original itinerary. As others have pointed out you need two nights in one place to give you one full day and "bits on the sides". You will also lose about a half day every time you move. I am assuming that you are from the USA. If so flying in and out of Milan makes sense if the cost is good and the flights are non stop. If on the other hand you are connecting somewhere in Europe an open jaw into Pisa and out of Milan is an alternative if the timing and costs are good. In this second scenario train from Pisa to Florence than onto Bologna than Milan. If you like art and great museums Florence should be at the top of your list. You need at least three nights in Florence in my opinion. Florence is touristy because there are a lot of things for tourists. (meaning you and us) Milan requires at least two nights. Time in Bologna dependent on how much time you have and how many day trips you want to do. If flying in/out of Milan train on the day of your arrival to either Florence or Bologna (Check museum availability). There is a train from MXP to Milano Centrale that takes less than an hour. There are also buses. Lastly you can find great food anywhere in Italy. The food is just different depending on region.
mjs is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 03:06 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 39,409
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
I would definitely consider doing the "Italian Days" tour, particularly if you are interested in FOOD. Milan is, as usual getting pushed aside here but there CAN be a lot to do there depending on your interests.
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 06:51 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 549
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Of your destinations I love Florence. I also love Siena close by and all of the wonderful Tuscany region.
I have been to Milan, only once, and it was my least favorite stop in Italy. I would swap Lake Como for Milan.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 01:38 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mjs View Post
I'm a bit confused. How many nights do you have for this trip? You would need something like two weeks to accomplish your original itinerary. As others have pointed out you need two nights in one place to give you one full day and "bits on the sides". You will also lose about a half day every time you move. I am assuming that you are from the USA. If so flying in and out of Milan makes sense if the cost is good and the flights are non stop. If on the other hand you are connecting somewhere in Europe an open jaw into Pisa and out of Milan is an alternative if the timing and costs are good. In this second scenario train from Pisa to Florence than onto Bologna than Milan. If you like art and great museums Florence should be at the top of your list. You need at least three nights in Florence in my opinion. Florence is touristy because there are a lot of things for tourists. (meaning you and us) Milan requires at least two nights. Time in Bologna dependent on how much time you have and how many day trips you want to do. If flying in/out of Milan train on the day of your arrival to either Florence or Bologna (Check museum availability). There is a train from MXP to Milano Centrale that takes less than an hour. There are also buses. Lastly you can find great food anywhere in Italy. The food is just different depending on region.
We'll be there for roughly 11 full days.
chriswu0728 is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 01:39 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ToujoursVoyager View Post
Of your destinations I love Florence. I also love Siena close by and all of the wonderful Tuscany region.
I have been to Milan, only once, and it was my least favorite stop in Italy. I would swap Lake Como for Milan.
For Lake Como -- would this just be a day trip? Or should we look into staying overnight?
chriswu0728 is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2021, 01:55 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 26,388
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I believe (and hope) that Toujours meant add Milan days to Como.
TDudette is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:41 PM.