9day itinery help on Italy

Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:26 AM
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9day itinery help on Italy

I and wife (late 20's) are planning a 9 day trip to Italy in late Nov. We are interested mostly in the local culture, history and nature. We are not into too much hiking/ beaches etc. We would prefer a whirlwind trip where we get to see the essence of Italy , preferably driving in a car (but using trains if it saves time/ expense).

With this, can you guys help me with a 9 day itinery. I have done this for Spain travel last year and with the help of fodorites, I was able to chalk out a perfect itinery (down to the advance hotel reservations) for our greatest vactaion yet.
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:50 AM
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My husband and I just returned from three weeks in Rome, Sorrento/Amalfi, Florence, Tuscany then back to Rome.

Trains are the way to go unless you enjoy sitting in traffic, deciphering conflicting road signs, and white knuckle driving.

Our one experience with driving was three days in Tuscany. We were stationed in Florence every night, so had to endure that journey in and out 5 or 6 too many times. Fortunately, we had a parking lot pre-chosen (25 euro per night) and it was close to the train station and our accomodation. There were road signs leading you to the train station so we faired pretty well. God help you if you are not near a well known marker. There is no parking on the street (god help you to find one anyway).
Driving in Tuscany is however, the only way to travel. Beautiful scenery.
Having been there, we could have easily missed Capri and Sorrento areas. Capri was a disappointment - perhaps we were comparing it to the Greek islands. If you like shopping at Gucci, Feragamo, Cartier and paying way too much to have something to eat or a glass of wine, then perhaps Capri is a destination for you.
We had 18 days and removing the 4 days in the south, leaves 14 days. We felt we were in Florence and Rome one or two days too many.
There is a ton of history and culture in Rome. The Vatican, historical section, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Colliseum etc. are all amazing and look so different from day to night.
The restaurants in Rome are excellent and plentiful.
We took a day train trip to Venice from Florence - three hours each way - about 60 euro for two (dont waste your money on the first class Eurostar - the second class is just as good and about 30% cheaper - we did both). Venice was well worth the trip and the train schedule was perfect for a six hour visit.
Florence is beautiful and again you have the Ufizzi, the Academia, Duomo, etc. Their restaurants are again plentiful (not as much as rome) and we found the Lets Go recommendations on Florence to be bang on (with the notable exception of Le Colonnine - DONT GO THERE!!).

Tratorria Anita in Florence was our favorite - amazing service, food (mushroom risotto to die for), and prices. It is a Lets go recommendation.

I think splitting your time between Rome and Florence with a side trip to Venice would be the way to go for a local culture, history and nature tour. The nature would mostly come from the train rides - not too much in those big cities.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about other restaurants or hotels - in the areas we stayed in. I will try to answer if I can.
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 12:54 PM
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Hmmm ! Nine days--late Nov.--culture.
Tough call, but I would not do more than 3 destinations. I would do Venice, train to Florence, see the hill towns in Tuscany by car, and then fly out of Venice or Rome. That will give you a good taste in a short time. Good luck !
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 02:44 PM
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PG, I would agree with Bob. I am doing just that in late November. Flying into Venice. 2 1/2 days in Venice; training it to Florence, 5 days in Florence (will probably rent a car and do tuscany); training it to Rome, 2 days in Rome and flying home from Rome. No point going back up to Venice to fly home. Might as well see Rome and fly home from there. It's only an hour and a half by train (Eurostar) from Florence to Rome, while it's a 3 hour ride back up to Venice. You're probably better off on the train as much as possible since you only have 9 days. Anyway, that's just one opinion. I'm sure you'll get lots more! Have a great trip, and I'll look for you on the train from Venice to Florence. ;-)
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 03:20 PM
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BOB THE NAVIGATOR has given you the perfect itinerary for your 9 days. I agree 100%.

We always drive in Europe and have seldom been on any trains. I do agree that there is traffic, but the one poster with all the bad things about driving is incorrect. We have never found it to be that bad. We live in a large town so find the driving about the same. If you are from smalltown USA, you may have a concern. Only exception is Rome....never drive in Rome as you do not need to.

Venice is one of our favorite spots. I don't know how anyone could spend 14 days in Italy and only allocate 6 hours to Venice. This was a major mistake.

Capri is overrated. Nice place for a few hours, but not necessary for us to return to.

Florence is fantastic. Before you go pick up a copy of BRUNELSCHEIS DOME (sp). The title is mispelled but this 165 page book is a great story about the building of the famous dome on the church. You will really appreciate this building and the construction if you spend a little time with this book that reads like fiction.

Ya gotta get to Bellagio sometime, but not this trip...too short. Listen to Bob the Nav and you will have a great time.
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:07 PM
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Grazie Bob--your bottle of brunello is in the mail.
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:54 PM
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Bob the Navigator has it right. Fly open jaw into Venice and home from Rome. Even if the airfare is a bit higher figure that to include both Rome and Venice flying RT to one or the other, will require one extra day's lodging, food and train fare or inter-city airfare.

Also, the reason Terry had a bad experience with the car is because they stayed in Florence and drove in and out to see the countryside. Makes no sense. You could stay in Venice 2 nights, Florence 2 nights, Tuscany hilltown 2 nights and Rome 3 nights. Rent a car to exit Florence and use for your two night Tuscany/Umbria tour, returning the car either to the Rome Termini OR dropping it in Orvieto and training the last leg into Rome. Orvieto is well worth visiting either way. Drving in Tuscany/Umbria (as opposed to in the big cities) is very easy. Autostrade is a dream. Just be careful of narrow streets in hilltowns and one-way streets.

If you really don't want to rent a car, then stay 4 nights in Florence as take a couple of day trips by bus to Siena and San Gimignano, for example.

Old Oct 25th, 2002, 06:38 AM
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Ditto the advice to fly into Venice and out of Rome. Do drive. It is very easy to pick up a car when leaving Venice and drop it off when you get to Rome. I would stay outside of Florence in the countryside, somewhere where you can get a train to Florence for a day trip. This will enable you to do the big three and get a taste of the countryside. I know many people disagree but I think one day is enough for the city of Florence and prefer the countryside in that area. Rome and Venice on the other hand are endless.
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