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Advice on 3 week itinerary for September?

Advice on 3 week itinerary for September?

Old Jul 21st, 2021, 12:22 PM
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Advice on 3 week itinerary for September?

Hi all! Planning my first trip to Italy this September, and I'll be traveling solo for the first time as well. I've already booked my flight (going in and out of Milan - in hindsight realize an open jaw would have been better!). I think I've nailed down my itinerary but would appreciate any additional thoughts!
  • Land in Milan, train to Verona (1 night)
  • Venice (3 nights)
    • Possible day trip to Padua or Burano
  • Rome (5 nights)
    • Possible day trip to Villa d'Este
  • Ravello/Amalfi Coast (3 nights)
    • Explore Amalfi, Positano and Ravello
    • Possible day trip to Capri, if time
  • Florence via Orvieto (5 nights)
    • Possible day trip to Lucca
    • Possible day trip to Siena/San Gimignano
    • Possible wine tasting or 1/2 day winery tour
  • Varenna/Lake Como (2 nights)
  • Milan (near airport) (1 night)
I wanted to see as much as possible while still being able to soak in each area, and also like having a mix of city, small town, coastal/lake, etc. Would Verona be better as a day trip from Venice? Should I give one night in Rome to Ravello or Florence? Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 01:21 PM
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You had me until Ravello--I would not go through all of that travel for only two full days. But you could do Capri one day, and Positano + Amalfi on the other day. I would save either the Amalfi coast or the Lake for a future trip.
I guess you are flying out of Malpensa at an ungodly hour? Otherwise, you could stay in town.


PS Fodors, I hate this new format! I have to open a second tab to see the question I am responding to. And is anyone else only able to reply if they hit "quote."
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 03:24 PM
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Thanks! I agree - 3 felt too short. I really want to visit Amalfi Coast but also have this idea of ending my trip with a relaxing visit to a lake. My flight is at 11 AM so I'd need to be at the airport by 8 and wanted to be close by to avoid last minute stress/train issues. My other thought was staying at Lake Maggiore in Arona (instead of near the airport) for 2 nights, and taking a taxi to the airport since it's much closer than Como. That would give me 1 extra night that I could tack on to Amalfi coast - whether it's 4 days in Ravello or 2 days on Capri and 2 in Ravello (can't quite decide which). Do you think that seems feasible?
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 05:12 PM
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Seven hotel stays (8 if you stay on Capri) over 20 nights. Only 13 days not interrupted by transfers (12 if you stay on Capri). The entire itinerary is too fast-paced for me, but it's not my trip.

Unless you've been to Venice before, 3 nights/2 days is very little time to see and experience one of the most interesting cities in the world.

Plan your Florence days carefully. If they include Sunday/Monday, you may not be able to see everything on your sightseeing list as the major sights are not all open every Sunday and/or Monday.

For me, a "relaxing visit to a lake" at the end of this trip would necessitate more than one full day
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 07:13 PM
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I tend to travel on the quicker side, but since you mention this is your first solo trip I would recommend cutting one destination because (and I didn't really learn this well until I had taken a few solo trips, including Italy):

When you're traveling solo, you do every.little.task yourself. This can take more prep, more time, and occasionally more energy.

Example:
If you're at a train station with a short connection and you need to go look something up or wait in line to confirm some info at the ticket window because something's unclear or the schedule has changed or you missed your connection or whatever...and you also desperately need to buy water and you're dragging luggage and you need to find the loo. With two people, one person can deal with one problem and you can deal with the other. When you're on your own, you need to manage everything.

What I'm saying is, though I love traveling solo, especially for improving my Italian, I have found it's better to pad my normally very fast-paced touristing schedule and give myself a little more r-and-r and "just in case" time.
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 07:16 PM
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If it's important to you to visit the Amalfi coast, then I would take a day from each of Rome and Florence in order to enjoy it better. Ravello is beautiful but if you want to explore the coast it is a little less convenient. btw one extra night would give you three full days south of Naples, not four, so whether you split your stay across Ravello and Capri depends on how fast you want to be moving on.

You may also want to check out the Alibus shuttle from lake Maggiore to Malpensa (I took it from Stresa to Malpensa). I had a similar situation in needing to fly back from Milan at a similar time of day and I chose to stay near the airport the night before (I didn't want the stress). The only problem I encountered was that the hotel I stayed at had insufficient seats on their shuttle service between the hotel and the airport so next time I'd pay more and stay within walking distance (I actually thought my hotel was within walking distance but didn't realise that would have meant walking on a freeway).

Stopping in Verona is appealing but if coming off a long haul flight, I'd probably add that night to Venice instead and skip Verona. I wouldn't want to have to be up and out of my hotel the next morning by check-out time on my first holiday day.

All nice problems to have - enjoy your holiday.
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 09:14 PM
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Italy in September, such a lovely time to go, and having three weeks is wonderful!
Personally, the itinerary seems a bit hop scotch, but you already know an open-jaw would have been better, so I would consider ways of making it a little more straightforward if at all possible.
Several ideas:
First option:
I also recommend skipping Verona and going straight to Venice. Cut Verona altogether and see Vicenza, Padua or some of the islands like Burano as a day trip from Venice. Verona is fine, nice arena, etc. but absolutely nothing to compare with Rome, Florence or Venice (Bologna, Naples, Siena, Lucca, Vicenza, Assisi, Orvieto, Pisa are all beautiful), so do not worry that you are missing a major sight. Venice is a wonderful place to relax for a day or so, terribly busy during the day, but quiet at night.
From Venice, I would take a short flight to Naples, see the Amalfi Coast, then Train to Rome, Florence, Milan.
While in the Amalfi Coast area, I would not miss Pompeii and Herculaneum. A day in Naples would also be great.

I would choose this option because Venice is a great place to begin a trip and flying into Naples is easy. I don’t mind the Venice airport and the Naples airport is not large, is easy to navigate and is an easy, short ride by bus or taxi into the city.


Second option: From Venice, go to Florence, then Rome, then Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Go back to Milan by a flight from Naples.

You could also go directly to Naples from Milan if you could get a flight that did not leave you with too long a layover or if you could get that flight added to your ticket. back to Rome, Florence, Venice to Milan.

I know you are thinking of putting a lake visit at the end, but the AC is so gorgeous, and requires so much travel and effort to get there, I would not short that area or Venice for anything. Depends on travel logistics.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 08:26 PM
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Arrive Milan am, train to Venice
Venice (3 nights)

Fly Venice to Naples. Public or private transportation to Ravello
Ravello/Amalfi Coast (4 nights)
Possible day trip to Capri
Possible Pompeii enroute to Rome.

Rome (4 nights)

Florence (4 nights) Orvieto enroute.
Possible day trip to Siena/San Gimignano

Replace Lake Como with South Tuscany-Val d'Orcia. Sleep at an Agriturismo (4 nights), best with a car.
Or sleep in a hilltop town such as Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino.
Possible day trips- meander scenic local drives, picnics, wine tasting, other hill towns, an abbey,a monastery

Milan (near airport) (1 night)
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 08:57 PM
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Everyone has their preferences but I choose to always take the train rather than fly wherever is it reasonable to do so. I prefer it but I also find that flying takes much longer than it might initially appear. I wouldn't fly to Milan because I'd be nervous that I'd miss my connecting flight home (but I know that not everyone feels the same).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 08:11 AM
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Not at all bad. Do you have a washing day/chore day in there and do you want one?

If not I'd cull a day from Rome
Verona to Venice is only 1 1/2 hours If possible I'd do it as a day trip
I might not go further south than Rome and stretch out that time on other sites/sights
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 09:07 AM
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Dreamon, I am not suggesting flying to Milan.
My proposed itinerary is to take train to Milan.
I did propose flying Venice to Naples(a Sassafrass suggestion) since it is 6 hrs by train.

Summary

Venice-3 nights
Ravello/Amalfi Coast-4 nights
Rome-4 nights
Florence-4 nights
South Tuscany-Val d'Orcia-4 nights
Milan(airport)-1 night


Arrive Milan am, train to Venice
Venice (3 nights)

Fly Venice to Naples. Public or private transportation to Ravello
Ravello/Amalfi Coast (4 nights)
Possible day trip to Capri
Possible Pompeii enroute to Rome.

Rome (4 nights)

Florence (4 nights) Orvieto enroute.
Possible day trip to Siena/San Gimignano

Replace Lake Como with South Tuscany-Val d'Orcia. Sleep at an Agriturismo (4 nights), best with a car.
Or sleep in a hilltop town such as Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino.
Possible day trips- meander scenic local drives, picnics, wine tasting, other hill towns, an abbey,a monastery etc.

Take TRAIN Siena to Milan. Sleep near airport (MXP)(1 night).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 11:16 AM
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I would still skip Verona altogether, add a day to Venice and a day (or even two) to the Amalfi Coast, leaving only two extra nights at the end for wherever you want. Since logistics of getting to the AC require more travel, you are going to the trouble to get there and the whole area is absolutely stunning and interesting, I would do everything possible sightseeing wise that interested me once there, possibilities: Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Paestum, Ravello, Pompeii, Herculaneum and a day in Naples. Seems as if you are already thinking this way. I would love to see you have more time everywhere, including Rome, but you may get back someday and Rome would be a likely arrival or departure point, so easier to visit again.
In the end, all of Italy is interesting and beautiful and there are no bad decisions about places visited or time spent.
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 01:11 AM
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Laurenhauser, If you want to cut out an internal flight [which would be my choice as I far prefer trains to planes] the train from Venice to Rome is a good option as there are several fast trains daily on this route taking about 4 hours. From there you would have an easy train trip to the AC, and coming back, there are plenty of trains from Naples to Florence which bypass Rome taking around 3 hours.

So that would give you Milan - Venice - Rome - AC - Florence - Milan. With relatively little time in Venice, I would not plan to do any excursions outside Venice except taking the vaporetto to Burano and then the little ferry to Torcello to see the 1000 year old mosaics in the basilica there. It's an easy day trip with plenty of nice places to eat either on Burano or Torcello, and you could drop off on Murano on the way back if you liked. All this and all your travel in Venice would covered by a vaporetto pass which IMO is well worth getting to make the most of your stay.
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 09:41 PM
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I do travel solo. Have you been to Europe before? I ask because maybe you can travel this fast. But I think it's a jam-packed plan. Especially if you do even half of those "day trips". You're basically on the move every single day.

When I count each city you mentioned, I am coming up with 19 places. Your trip is 21 days.
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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 02:23 PM
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I have travelled solo to Italy many times. I really think you have too many stops and too great distance between them all. While I completely understand your desire to include the Amalfi Coast, I would save it for another trip. It would just make it so much easier. On the other hand, have you considered calling your airline to see how much it would cost to change your flight to an open-jaw one? Just a thought.
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