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2-week Italy Itinerary - Suggestions Needed

2-week Italy Itinerary - Suggestions Needed

Jun 6th, 2012, 10:03 AM
  #1  
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2-week Italy Itinerary - Suggestions Needed

I know that there are a million threads regarding itineraries here, but I'm hoping that the experts don't mind weighing in on one more!

My husband and I (in our 30s) are planning to take a 2-week trip to Italy in April or May 2013. We are planning for 14 nights on the ground. We have traveled quite a bit, but my husband has never been to Italy. I briefly visited Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre in college, but am happy to repeat the big sights with my husband along this time. We want to see the major sights, but also are focused on food, even moreso than our secondary love of wine. We want a mix of cities and country, and would probably enjoy renting a car for a portion of the trip because we really enjoyed the countryside drives we did when visiting Spain. I like sights like the Colosseum more than art/museums, but don't want to miss the headlining art either. It's a priority to just enjoy the feel of being in Italy, walking the streets, sipping coffee in a cafe, taking it all in.

With that in mind, here is what I'm thinking, along with a few details I'm trying to work out in my head. If possible, we'll purchase open jaw tickets arriving in Venice and departing from Rome.

3 nights Venice

Then rent a car? (Or can I use trains based on my wants below?)

3 nights Bologna/Parma/towns nearby (not sure where I would choose accommodations, your thoughts?) - I want to focus on food tours, cooking class, eating in amazing restaurants, maybe the Ferrari/Lambo museum for my husband. There's a small chance that I will plagiarize much of the Bologna portion of LCI's trip as reported here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm

Day trip to Florence (just to swing by the Uffizi and Duomo, most likely - is this doable?)

on the way to (still driving rental car)

3 nights Umbria or Tuscany, just relaxing and visiting hill towns

Drop off car in Orvieto, Rome 5 nights (possible daytrip to Pompeii or Ostia Antica)

What do you think? I'm not sure that the Bologna/Florence/Umbria section makes sense. Should I take a day from Rome and put it somewhere else (particularly if I don't take a daytrip from there)? Any other suggestions?

Thanks so much!
caze17 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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When you talk about driving in Tuscany, be sure you understand the impact of ZTL, the limited traffic area. Florence is the worst. You can easily google and read horror stories. Don't approach Florence by car until you really understand the ZTL implication.
greg is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Thank you for the warning! I have read about this and know that if I plan a daytrip to Florence (part of the reason I'm not sure this itinerary works!), that I will have to research where I can park and then take public transportation to the city center.
caze17 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Caze17,

I would wait until I got to the Umbria or Tuscany part of my vacation to rent a car, and then get rid of your car before you go to Rome.

I would take the train from Venice to Bologna, for the reasons greg stated, and also because, from what I've read, you don't need or want a car in Bologna or in any of the nearby towns such as Parma since they are so well-connected by train and walkable once you are there. Rome is also well-connected and very walkable (as you probably know).

We are planning to make Bologna our base and then take day-trips to Parma, Modena, maybe Ravenna. These are relatively short train rides. The day trip to Florence by train is fairly easy too--I think it is only about 1.5 hours. Your description of plans for Bologna sounds similar to mine--can't wait!

I love Rome, so if that's on my itinerary and I had a day or 2 extra to fill, I would always opt for more time in Rome. But it's a matter of personal preference.
RMMR2 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 12:20 PM
  #5  
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Thanks RMMR2! That seems to answer my question of whether or not I can explore Emilia-Romagna without a car. While we would like to drive for part of the trip (and definitely will in Umbria or Tuscany), a full week seems like a long time, so trains are preferable for the E-R portion. I mean, how are we supposed to over-indulge in Italian wine if we are constantly driving?!
caze17 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 12:34 PM
  #6  
ekc
 
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Caze, I think it sounds great. We spent 3 nights in Parma (with a car) and had a wonderful time eating our way through the countryside and then having dinner in Parma each night. I am pretty sure I posted my trip report - if not it is probably over on slowtrav.
Honestly, I would skip Florence this time, especially if only doing it as a drive-by with a car. You could even do Florence as a day trip from Rome via the train (I think it is only 1.5 hours each way).
If you wanted to do the Parma portion without a car, I would pick one up on your way out of Parma (or wherever you decide to stay) and then drive to wherever you are staying in Tuscany or Umbria.
I like the 5 days in Rome - lots of good eating and drinking there too!
ekc is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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That's right--have a great time!
RMMR2 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Florence is much closer to Bologna than Rome. It's only about 40 minutes by train.

http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html
Jean is online now  
Jun 6th, 2012, 01:16 PM
  #9  
 
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If you plan just a day trip to Florence, remember that you will need reservations for the Uffizi or will spend most of the day in line. If I had only a day in Florence, I would skip the Uffizi(heresy!) in favor of the Accademia where Michelangelo's David is located. Then I would visit the Duomo and stroll around the center of Florence. It is a beautiful city full of wonders but the Uffizi takes such a long time that you will miss the others.
mamcalice is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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If I decide to use trains for the Bologna/Parma portion, do you think it's possible to take the first train to Florence one morning, check out the Uffizi and/or Accademia, Duomo, and lunch, and by late afternoon/early evening rent a car in or near Florence to drive on to my next destination in Tuscany or Umbria (still not sure between those two)? Or does that sound absolutely ridiculous? I'm struggling with trying to fit in Florence, because I think my husband will be a little annoyed if I make him miss it completely!
caze17 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 01:57 PM
  #11  
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And yes, I would get museum reservations in Florence to make this easier!
caze17 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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Whenever I have planned a day like that, the city visit has been somewhat of a let-down. By the time you check out of your hotel, deal with the luggage (where to store it) when you arrive in Florence, stress about getting to your reservation at Uffizi, get to a rental agency, wait in line, drive out of the city, arrive at your next stop in the dark....
Well, you're young and maybe you handle stress well, but for us, did not turn out too relaxing.

Train from Bologna to Florence takes 37 min, go early, store luggage at hotel which you have reserved, spend day in Florence, enjoy a relaxed evening there, stay overnight, and continue to your next stop in the morning. Half the joy of Tuscany is the drive; you don't want to be driving when you can't see anything.

I made the decision to cut Florence, because its too much of a detour when we are headed to Umbria from Bologna, and on a time budget. (sept 2012)
sundriedpachino is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 08:13 PM
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This is so helpful to me! My husband I are literally planning almost the exact same trip. We seem to have the same interest too; especially food1 (Ferrari, Ducati and soccer are his priorities.)
EA123 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:41 AM
  #14  
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@EA123
If you've found this thread helpful, I would recommend reading the thread on my slightly revised itinerary here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-requested.cfm

I think it makes a little bit more sense! Have a great trip!
caze17 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 05:26 PM
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We stayed in working farmhouse/ vineyard in Tuscany, rented car, but took train into Florence. I think it would be hard to limit Florence to one day, especially with all michelin restuarants and gelato and wine. Drive in tuscany but not Rome or Florence. If you drive keep in mind speed, we got speeding ticket a couple months later - they have cameras in Tuscany.
melrylil is offline  
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