Comments on 3-week Italy Itinerary?

Old Jun 21st, 2005, 12:12 AM
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Comments on 3-week Italy Itinerary?

Hi all -
I'm planning a five-year anniversary trip for my husband and I to Italy mid-Sept to early-Oct this fall. Although we travel a fair amount for work and for fun, this is the first time to Italy for both of us (and my first time posting, too!) I think I have most of the itinerary worked out, but would appreciate any comments on it - especially if I've packed it too full or not left enough driving time in Tuscany. We're trying to get a little hiking, a little history, and a lot of wine all packed in our time there.

Here's where I am right now in the planning:
19-Sep Mon Arrive Milan late afternoon and spend the evening there - not sure where yet.

20-Sep Tues Early morning train to Cinque Terre. Stay 3 nights in Riomaggiore at "Cinque Terre Residence”. Plan to see the towns, do some hiking, and realize that we are on vacation - and in Italy no less.

23-Sep Fri Morning train to Florence, spend afternoon and the next two days in Florence, staying at "Il Bargello Bed and Breakfast”.

26-Sep Mon Morning train, afternoon and the following day to explore Venice. Staying 2 nights at "Locanda Art Deco” between San Marco Square and Dorsoduro area.

28-Sep Wed Pick up car at Venice Stazione Centrale and drive to Dolomites via Cortina and Val Gardena. Stay three nights in Castelrotto at "Albergo al Lupo”. Hike, see the mountains, hike a litte, etc. (This destination is my rock climber husband's main request of the trip.)

1-Oct Sat Drive to Tuscany via east shore of Lake Garda, arriving San Gimignano in late afternoon. Not sure where to stay here yet – perhaps one of Carla Rossi’s rooms. We would like to just enjoy the evening here and get out relatively early the next day before it gets too crowded.
(My husband has recently expressed an interest in seeing the tower at Pisa – is it worth it to drive a little out of our way to stop there enroute to SG? Or would we be better off taking the train to Pisa on our way from Cinque Terre to Florence previously on the 23rd?)

2-Oct Sun Drive to Siena, spend the day there, stay the night at “Palazzo Ravizza”.

3-Oct Mon Breakfast in Siena, take the scenic drive to Montalcino, spend late afternoon/evening in Montalcino. Thinking of staying at the La Crocina agriturismo/winery and having dinner there.

4-Oct Tues Stop at Pienza in the morning, wineries along the way, Montepulciano late afternoon/evening and then stay in Montepulciano. Better to stay in the town or just outside at a winery or estate???

5-Oct Wed Drive to Assisi, stopping in Deruta area along the way. Maybe stop at Cortona as well if there is time??? Arrive late in Assisi then spend two nights here, exploring the town the next day.

7-Oct Fri Drive to Rome, perhaps stopping by Spoleto on the way if we get on the road early enough, and drop off the rental car when we get to Rome. Stay 4 nights at Hotel San Carlo near the Trevi Fountain/Spanish Steps, flying out frightfully early on the following Tuesday.

Sound OK??? I appreciate your help! Thanks...
Irish_girl is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 04:07 AM
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from one Irish lass to another, I think your trip sound great! Make sure to eat at Gambero Rosso in Vernazza while in CT!
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 04:23 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. I've been to Italy 4 times in the past 6 years. I can't get enough of the country. Some suggestions:
1: Beautiful old world Hotel and reasonable 2 blocks from Milan railroad station is the Hotel Galia.
2: Instead of staying in the Cinque Terra, I would suggest staying in Santa Margherita at the Hotel Continental and taking the "milk train" to the further most town of the Cinque Terra and hiking though all the towns. It can be done in one day with no problem. I did it with my girlfriend and we then took a boat back to Santa Margherita. We also walked one day to Portofino which is the next town north from Santa Margherita and had a wonderful lunch at the very special Hotel Splendido( reservation needed).
3: I would take the train to Pisa on your way to Florence.
Have a WONDERFUL time!
cznetplayer is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 04:47 AM
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Sounds like an absolutely perfect trip. It took me a few moments to figure out the loop from Florence and then returning to Tuscany, but even that makes sense when I look at the map and think about it.

I totally disagree with cznetplayer about not staying in the CT itself. I think it will be very special, especially as your first real stop. Enjoy!
Patrick is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 05:19 AM
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What is not to love?
Very nice trip--you have done your homework.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Hi Irish,

What a wonderful first trip! Sounds just perfect to me.

Recommendation for Milan: Antica Locanda dei Mercanti. Very small rooms, but a great, quiet location near the Duomo on a pedestrian only street. Devine beds and helpful staff. Breakfast optional and served in the room. Reasonably priced for Milan.

If you have any way to add just 1 night to Venice, you'll be glad you did.

Please do a trip report when you return! I'd love to compare notes with you on your short driving distance, one night stays. I'm doing a few of those in Sept too (travel light) and don't like to backtrack.

Re Deruta: I was disappointed in the ceramic stores there. The best store I found was actually a "factory" in Chianti called Rampini ceramics. Beautiful, high quality work and "factory" prices.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 08:44 AM
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It sounds like a great trip, but I too would add at least one more day to Venice, even at the expense of some of your other destinations. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Not to be a contrarian,but let me give you my thoughts.
I really like the locations you have chosen and I think it's all doable in 3 weeks.
First,is there a reason why you don't go from Milan to Venice and then to Castelrotto? It seems to me that your trips back and forth from Florence might not be as good as staying north in the beginning.
While I think all your stops look good, I personally think you might consider less checking in-and-out's the later part of your trip. You can potentially visit a lot of these towns from one or two place.
At least I'd spend 2 nights north and two nights south Tuscany.
I might have skipped Assisi,although I love it, and add another to Tuscany and another to Venice.
Have fun planning.So far you're doing a great job.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 12:26 PM
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Thanks so much for the helpful comments and suggestions thus far. I should have pointed out in the beginning that our routing might seem a bit circular, but we were trying to avoid paying for a rental car to sit parked on the edge of the cites we would visit as we really only seemed to need it in the Dolomites and in Tuscany/Umbria. It looked like the main highway would allow us to link these two areas without losing much time.

Per Jabez' comment, I'm still a little stumped on if the one-night stops in Tuscany are smart or not, which was one of my main reasons to ask for comment. Friends who have been there before (and some other threads I have read) lead me to want to see the character of each town in the evenings without having to "drive home" a significant distance. I'd like my husband (the driver) to enjoy a few glasses of vino as well!

Anyone else have a comment on skipping Assisi in lieu of more time in the Chianti region?

Thanks again to all!
Irish_girl is offline  
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