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Advice on itinerary for trip to Italy (September-October 2007)

Advice on itinerary for trip to Italy (September-October 2007)

Jan 25th, 2007, 03:36 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 26
Advice on itinerary for trip to Italy (September-October 2007)

Hi all,

I had previously posted a totally different itinerary but now we're thinking something along the following lines:

Venice 5 nights
Milan or Torino 2 nights
Cinque Terre area 5 nights
Siena 5 nights
Florence 5 nights

We plan to fly into Venice around 23 September and fly out of Florence. We do not plan to rent a car at all so will be relying on trains/buses/private tours or the like.

Any comments or suggestions gratefully accepted.

shaje is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:00 PM
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We would really appreciate some input on this.

shaje is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Looks good. I would pick Torino over Milan.
capxxx is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Hi Shaje,

Can't give opinion without knowing if you have visited Italy before and what your interests are.

If this is your first trip, I would spend less time in Siena and especially Florence and move around just a bit more. You could train easily to some great towns like Assisi and Orvieto.

I also would not spend 5 nights in a CT town. I would stay at least part of the time in another, larger town like Santa Margherita Ligure.
Dayle is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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As a general observation I also would not devote five nights to Siena UNLESS you are planning to use that as a base with a rental car to see other parts of the region. And I'm not sure I would devote five nights to Florence, either unless you feel there are so many things IN that city which would take that long to enjoy (especially if you've already spent five nights in Tuscany elswhere).

Are you at all interested in Rome?
Dukey is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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I would steal a day from Cinque Terre and give it to Torino (also my choice over Milan).

Siena is actually one of the best places in Tuscany to stay in order to daytrip to other hilltowns--best bus connections and shorter distances than from Florence. Luca Garrapa of hillsandroads.com lives in Siena and could provide private tours of anyplace you want in the region.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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I also would not spend so much time in Siena , Firienze or CT.
If you have not been to Rome, I would skip Torino and take a night off the other palces to spend 5 nigts in Rome.
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Instead of 10 nights in Tuscany in two places relatively close to one another, I'd spend 7 in Tuscany and 3 in Umbria - 6 and 4.

StCirq is online now  
Jan 25th, 2007, 07:06 PM
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Thanks so much everyone. Seeing things from the perspective of others really helps to get a different view.

Torino was really the main destination of interest, just not sure if we'd feel we missed out not seeing Milan since we have to pass through on the train anyway. The idea was if we stayed in Milan we could train to Torino for a day.

This is our first trip to Italy. I will investigate places to stay. We probably weren't going to stay in one of the Cinque Terre towns, but in a town that offered good train connections for a couple of day trips. Would also like to see Portofino.

Using Siena as a base to day trip to other towns was what we had in mind. We thought we'd save Rome for another trip at which time we'd also visit Pompeii and Amalfi Coast.

I think I like your suggestion of stealing a day from Cinque Terre. What would you think of staying that one night in Milan to see the highlights and then moving on to Torino for 2 nights? As for Siena I have Luca Garrapa's tours on my list of things to investigate.

I see what you're saying but as mentioned, we think we'll save Rome and southern Italy for another trip.

Thank you for your suggestion but I do think we'll easily fill time in Tuscany easily. While we plan to stay in those locations, we will most likely use buses/trains/private tours to day trip from them.

Your comments are much appreciated.

shaje is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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If you feel the need to stay in both Milan and Torino, I'd steal a day from Siena or Florence to do so--and still steal the day from Cinque Terre for Torino.

Venice 5 nights
Milan 1 night
Torino 3 nights
Cinque Terre area 4 nights
Siena 4 nights
Florence 5 nights

Even though some of your locations are less than 2 hours apart, making that change will take up at least a half day when you consider getting to and from train stations, hotel check-in and check-out.

If Torino is your main interest, by all menas stay there and don't do it as a day trip. By my suggesting 3 nights in Torino, you would have two full days, with travel days tacked on each end. I wouldn't mind staying only one night in Milan, since my list of things to see would be relatively short. (In fact I would probably skip Milan all together, but you seem to be interested in it.)
ellenem is online now  
Jan 26th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Milano/Torino 2 nights
Venice 3-4 nights
Cinque Terre 3 nights
Florence 3 nights
Tuscany Agritourismo 5-7 nights
You fill in the extra nights.

I'm surprised that I rarely see postings about the beautiful agritourism lodgings in the Tuscan countryside/Chianti region. I've stayed in two and they are among the most memorable spots in our travels.

Milan and Turin are each worthy of a day of sightseeing. Venice is nice for 3 nights. I've heard of people spending a week there, but you will definitely get to know the city and see it well in 3 or 4 nights. Florence is wonderful for 3 nights. Many people can spend a week or more there. Three nights will allow you to see all the most important things. The crowds in Florence can be annoying and I'm never sad to leave there. Make sure to have reservations to the Uffizi and Academia, especially the Uffizi. I recommend a guided tour.

The Cinque Terre are five villages along the coastline connected by a local train and footpath along the sea. Most people go there to hike between the villages. You may want to reconsider and stay in one or two of the villages during your visit. Portofino is one or two nights max on this type of itinerary.

Siena is a lovely town, but after one or two nights you may get bored. If you stay in an agritoursim spot (or two) , you can rent a car to visit Siena, San Giminano, Montepulciano, even Assisi in Umbria, and so many other hill towns and wineries in the countryside. In the evenings you can return to a 15th century farm with stone walls, etc., surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, and usually a pool. These places run from basic to luxury.

RE Tuscany: I know you don't want to rent a car, but I'm a huge advocate of it. Some people aren't. It gives you so much more freedom and flexibility.

If that interests you, post another reply and I'll help you research.
dgg is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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Hi again Sharon,

I think with as much time as you have planned for Tuscany, you really need to rethink renting a car. Bus and train travel in Tuscany and Umbria is limited and will be much more difficult that just driving. Driving in the countryside is a breeze and lots of fun!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Milano/Torino 2 nights
Venice 5 nights
Cinque Terre 4 nights
Siena 3 nights
San Gimignano 1 night
Florence 5 nights

I agree with dgg's post, except for the part that Florence can be done in 3 nights. I mean, it CAN be done, but you would be rushed.

I was in Florence about the same time of year that you are going, and yes it was very busy with crowds, but to me that is part of the charm and reality of Florence....(I've been there twice for two weeks each and still haven't seen everything!!!). You won't run out of things to do.

You can take daytrips out of Florence to see Pisa (by train) or go horseback riding and wine tasting (if that's something your into) - guides pick you up in town - so no worries about a rental car.

I think that Siena is worth a couple of nights...I love it there....tiny winding alleys, great food, nice stores. You can catch the bus there from Florence..takes about 1 1/2 hours and your right in the center of town.

I would suggest San Gimignano or Lucca as 1 nighters.

Lucca is small, quaint, and your perfect idea of a small Italian town.

San Gimingnano is overrun with tourists during the day (but it's still very, very pretty), but I have heard that it is just magical at night. It is an easy bus ride from Siena or Florence.

Regardless, it is nice to see that you have lots of time to sit and relax and enjoy...instead of rushing from place to place. You will have a marvelous time no matter where you go - the weather is perfect that time of year!

I've posted my trip reports if your looking for day trip ideas or anything.

camelbak is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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I would highly recommend visiting Turin if you get the opportunity. It is a great city to visit and has not become overly infested with tourists; yet, there are still plenty of tourist-type things to do there.

I would recommend a visit to the Egyptian museum which is generally considered to be one of the best in the world.

A friend of mine took me on a daytrip outside of Turin to a very interesting site called the Sacra di San Michele. It is an abbey/fortress built on the edge of a cliff. You can find more information at www.sacradisanmichele.com. If I remember correctly, it is about half an hour outside of Turin going toward the mountains where they had the 2006 Winter Olympics.

I would also suggest a train/tram ride up the mountain (in the city) to the Basilica di Superga. Great views of the city are available from up there.

Turin is one of those places where it is great to just get out and walk around the center of the city too. There are many squares and small parks to enjoy. Turin is also supposed to be a magical city. I believe that there are tours available explaining more about this subject and its relation to the city.

I would also recommend a visit to the Parco del Valentino which was once a hunting reserve for the ruling Savoy family. It is quite impressive.

Turin is a great city. If you decide to go, I hope you enjoy the miles of porticos and have a great time!
capkirk1 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Hi Shaje,

Below is link to my 2005 Sept/Oct trip to Italy (with pictures). We had been to Cinque Terre before, so didn't go on this trip. You could cut out Umbria or a couple of Tuscany days, and see CT with this itinerary. It was a very relaxing trip, yet we saw a ton of stuff. Hope this gives you some ideas, and should you have any questions, please ask away.


maitaitom is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 75
I would second Dayle's recommendation concerning Santa Margherita and Umbria. We used S.M as a base for touring the Cinque Terre region. It worked out great. Short train ride to towns of C.T. Great seaside location with plenty of restaurants and shopping. We took a short ferry ride to Portifino. Had lunch and walked around the harbor. A half day was plenty for us. In summary, I'd spend four nights total in S.M. with two days max touring the villages of C.T.
cousin is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:35 AM
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Thanks again to everyone! We have booked La Culcina in Venice for our first 5 nights but the rest of our itinerary is still a work in progress.

Maitai Tom that's a great trip report of yours! I had in fact read it before but have re-read it and enjoyed it again. You may remember someone emailed you about Agriturismo Il Molino last year - that was me! We probably won't get there this trip as we really don't plan to rent a care (yes, I know it is recommended and we appreciate everyone's advice but we just don't think we want to drive on this trip) but I'll keep it in my ideas file for future trips.

Thanks again and happy travels to all!
shaje is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Hello -shaje - since you have so many days, I recommend visiting Stressa on Lake Maggiore and Bellagio on Lake Como they are only 1-1/2 from Milan by train. This ancient resort area has the most beautiful clear lakes, lush hills, roman ruins, 1400 villas and fab food. We think it has it all and deserves a few days at least. Mary Ellen
desdis is offline  

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