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5 Days in Italy

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Sep 18th, 2015, 08:54 PM
  #1
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5 Days in Italy

In November, we are visiting Europe for the first time. My husband, 20 year old daughter, and I only have 5 nights and 4 days. Boats are not an option - at least not any in the sea!
My daughter wants to see Florence. What else should we do?
We figured Florence 2 days....and where else???
Cinque Terra? Sorrento? Rome? Naples?
Obviously, we don't want to spend our short time on overly long train rides!
Love to walk, see beautiful sights, not much on museums.
Also, our daughter is studying abroad this semester in Madrid, Spain. Is it worth it for my husband and I to go from USA to Spain for a day and a half and then fly with my daughter to Italy? Or should we just meet her in Italy for the 4 days?
My daughter can leave Spain on a Thursday night, and has to be back on Tuesday night.
My husband and I can leave New Jersey/NY on a Tuesday night, and have to be back by the following Tuesday.
LeenieA is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2015, 09:03 PM
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You should head directly to Italy and forget about spending any time in Spain on this trip.
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Sep 18th, 2015, 09:06 PM
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Florence is quite close to Rome so I would likely head there. November would not be ideal for the Cinque Terre. It takes a half a day to travel between places and you have very limited time. Rome has many beautiful sights you can enjoy without spending time in museums.

With only 5 days I wouldn't try to do Spain and Italy. It sounds like you would only have 3 days with your daughter if she only has Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you have to leave on Monday or can you depart on Tuesday? If you depart on Tuesday, then you only have 4 days with your daughter.

Of course, another option is for her to show you Madrid and she could travel to Florence at another time on her own or with friends.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 08:10 AM
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Why don't you fly to Italy a bit ahead of your daughter so you can get over your jet lag at your own pace? If you like, you could consider flying into Venice if there are convenient flights for you, or Pisa if you feel like seeing it but your daughter doesn't.

I would suggest spending the entire time in Florence, so that you can really enjoy it in a leisurely way. If you get restless, you could do a day trip to Bologna if your daughter would be curious to experience the oldest university town in Europe ahead of her studies in Madrid. It's just a 45 minute train ride. Or you could take a day trip to Siena or Lucca, about an hour away. Most people find Rome rather overwhelming for a day trip, but there are many people who do visit Rome just for a day from Florence and have a good time.

What is your daughter studying? Florence is very centrally located in Italy, and it might be that there is another Italian city or town within a few hours train ride that would really be especially interesting for her to see, whether that is Milan or Verona or Ravenna or Arezzo or Cremona or Volterra -- all of these places have their specialties, and if she (or any of you) have a special passion, you might enjoy that more than the typically famous sights.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 12:41 PM
  #5
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I am SOOOOO grateful for all suggestions and opinions.
My daughter would like us to come to Madrid, so we will try to get a flight on Tuesday night, with the hopes of getting there Wednesday morning before she gets out of class at 12:00. She will take us to The Retiro Park, Madrid. Then on Thursday when she gets out of class we will head to Italy that evening. We will be in Italy all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. She will fly back to Spain on Tuesday and we will fly back to NY!
So, in our four full days in Italy it sounds like Florence and......???
November is kind of cold in Italy, right? So Venice sounds wet in November. Florence and Rome, or Florence and other Tuscany places. Can you tell, I have no clue if Tuscany is a place or an area??
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Sep 19th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Hmm. Tuscany is both a place and an area (region) like New York State is both a place and an area. Florence is the adminstrative capital of the region (area) of Tuscany. It is easier to tour the areas of Tuscany outside of Florence if you have a car and stay somewhere with it outside of the city of Florence (which is riddled with "no-go" driving zones, complete with heavy fines for tourists who violate the rules).

Any place in Italy can be wet in November, although Venice has the special problem of often being wet up to your ankles in November, not just wet on your head. Bologna has the advantage of having covered streets, but if you are not interested, no point in going. Rome is often a bit warmer than the rest of Italy, and of course is a fabulous destinaton and easy to get to without a car -- and plenty to do indoors if it does rain. It is only 90 minutes away from Florence by train, and the airport is a simple taxi ride out of town with many ways to get back to the US or to Madrid.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 12:56 PM
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Another thought is that you should definitely check out flying to Rome first and finishing up in Florence if the air options work out better that way.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 03:02 PM
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I think the obvious choice in November is Rome. If the weather stinks, there is still plenty to do, but that's how I feel about Florence, too.

If you were interested in churches and museums, I would definitely suggest staying in Florence, but it doesn't seem that you are. BUT if you did, you could take a nice enough day trip, maybe through the Chiantigiana, by car or maybe bus. Another choice by bus, where you could do a lot of walking and looking, but not huge on museums, would be Siena.

Since you are walkers, staying in Florence could open up a few remarkable walks, with San Miniato al Monte being one.

A train to Lucca from Florence is fairly easy, and walking around the walls is nice.

Driving in and out of Florence is very problematic, as noted above.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 06:03 PM
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Do remember that it will be chilly and quite possibly rainy (weather similar to NY), that daylight hours will be short and the countryside kind of grey and dreary. I too would focus on Rome which has a lot to see/do besides museums (which is what Florence is full of, as well as other sights).
nytraveler is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2015, 06:05 PM
  #10
 
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Sorry - you need to be sure what YOU want to do.

What does daughter want to see/do in Florence that you would spend your time there? You all need to check out some guidebooks so you are prepared and don't waste you very limited time.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 07:21 PM
  #11
 
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Just in case you all want to take a trip to the Tuscan countryside, if the sun is shining -- and it very may well be -- it absolutely beautiful and colorful in December. (NYtraveler has never been, she forgot to mention.)

If its your daughter's wish to see Florence, presumably she has a reason, and she sounds like she has some definite ideas about this trip in terms of organzing at least parts of it, so while I don't want to discourage you from reading guidebooks, I'd first consult with her about what she wants out of the trip to Tuscany.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 08:05 PM
  #12
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sandralist and Nytraveler - thanks so much! My daughter had considered doing her study abroad in Florence (which I would have loved since I am 100% Italian), but she chose Madrid because she speaks Spanish. I think she also wants to see Florence because so many of her sorority friends studied in Florence last fall. She told me today that I should pick where I would like to go since I have never been anywhere, and she knows that she will definitely travel to Italy again someday.
Truth be told, I wish we didn't have to go to Italy in November, but being a NJ teacher, that's when I have days off for Teacher's Convention, and this is when my daughter is studying abroad.
If I chose my time to visit Italy, it would be during warmer weather, and I would visit Calabria and the Amalfi coast.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 09:25 PM
  #13
 
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One suggestion.
While Retiro is an OK park, it is no nicer or more interesting that many others.
So, your first afternoon, have your daughter take you out to Toledo instead. It is only about a 25 minute train ride (take a little nap). Toledo is an incredible walled city with one of the most stunning cathedrals in the world. It is, IMHO, one of those don't miss sights while you are in Madrid. It will be an amazing introduction to Spain. Look at images and read about it. You may be tired, but will probably be OK, still running on adrenaline. Otherwise, do it the next morning while she is in class? You will not be sorry.

If you are into art, visit the Prado, even for a couple of hours, better than a park if you have the energy, and paintings you can see no other place in the world.
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Sep 20th, 2015, 11:11 AM
  #14
 
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sandralist -

I would really appreciate it if you would stop telling other people what you imagine my travel experiences to have been. You have NO IDEA where I have been - or when - and the list is very long since I have been to europe more than 100 times.

Just, please, stop making things up.
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