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Considering the weather may be wet in March, I am questioning whether I should spend three of my twelve nights in Venice! Could you please offer me further advice?

Considering the weather may be wet in March, I am questioning whether I should spend three of my twelve nights in Venice! Could you please offer me further advice?

Feb 24th, 2006, 04:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 87
Considering the weather may be wet in March, I am questioning whether I should spend three of my twelve nights in Venice! Could you please offer me further advice?

I have been fortunate to get some excellent advice on this site already, regarding a trip that my Mom and I will be taking to Italy next month. This will be our first trip to Italy, so your advice has been so helpful. Just when I thought I had everything worked out and everything booked we need to adjust our schedule a bit. There is an unexpected Papal Mass on the Sunday morning we were scheduled to leave Rome (unexpected only for me of course, I think the Pope has had it on his calendar for awhile). I am worried we may end up in a mad rush to get to the rental office before they close at 1pm (Sunday hours) after the mass. With this I am wondering if we should just spend one more night in Rome and take one night from Venice? I am looking at taking the time from Venice because of things that I have read on trip reports/posts and heard such as: possible colder/wetter weather in Venice in March than other cities we will visit, not sure if the musicians are playing in St. Marks square in March, the restaurants sound pricier and possibly not quite as good as Rome/Florence, the city closes up pretty early and it doesn't seem like there is a lot to do if the weather is not good. That being said I have read many, many times that Venice is magical and that days and days could be spent there easily. It looks magical, but is it as magical if it is cold and/or rainy?

Could you tell me what you think I should do? Please take into consideration the weather in March and the difference of leaving Rome on a Sunday vs.Monday via a rental car. Also, thinking that if we leave mid day on a Sunday many of the Tuscan shops may be closed on that day. That would leave us with just Monday to deal with things being closed. As you may have gathered my head is spinning. Important to note, I can make changes to hotel reservations if needed and all of the tours & museum reservations will still work if I take a day from Venice.

Current Itinerary:
We arrive in Rome on March 16th, in the morning. Plan on walking around and visiting the Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon that day.
17th Scavi tour and ICON tour of the Vatican
18th am reservations at Borghese Gallery and pm tour of the ancient City with ICON
Sunday the 19th there is a 9:15am (maybe 9:30) Papal Mass. No tickets, just need to arrive very early and wait. My Mom says she would sleep out all night in line if it meant attending this. Obviously, we will just be setting our alarm clocks for an early hour instead, but it is a must do/see for her! I imagine the mass will last around two hours, but maybe longer. We have to rent our car at the Termini Station because it is the closest and easiest of the few rental offices open on Sunday. It closes at 1pm. We will be driving to Tuscany from there.
Spend 3 nights in Montalcino - Il Giglio
Spend 1 night in San Gimignano - La Cisterna Hotel. Then drive to Florence.
Florence 2 nights - Hotel Davanzati - then train to Venice
Venice 3 nights - Locanda Orseolo
Fly out of Venice early morning on our 13th day

Would you leave this as is or take a night from Venice to add to Rome? I know that I don't want to make any changes to the amount of time in Florence or the Tuscan countryside.

All things considered, what do you think? Thanks in advance to any help you can give me.

CVerga is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
In March it's likely to be wet at times anywhere in Italy - not just Venice. Don;t let a few raindrops affect your choice of vacation spot - you're not walking into a monsoon!

(If you want sunshine and warm weather in March you should be in the Carib - not europe.)
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I actually really disliked Venice, but it certainly wasn't the weather.

That said, I would not alter your plans based on this event. Basically, you have said that you have everything planned, but that you have been thrown 2 curve balls: a Papal Mass and possible wet weather. Well, we can't control the weather and frankly, if a place is magical, then it is so wet or dry (though degrees might differ). I think that Venice would be really beautiful soaking wet: like a harsh, glistening, architectural seal.

Are you attending this mass? If so, then you might need to find an agency open later than 1pm (there are others, I am sure, that are) so that you can get on the road. Or, unless you think it is disrespectful, you could leave mass early (c'mon, we've all done it. . .).

Ask your mother what she wants to do. I have friends that have spent entire years in Rome and have not had enough, so one night more is no problem, but if you want a more rounded itinerary, keep Venice.

laclaire is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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If you have an instinct you are going to feel harried and rushed, spend the extra night in Rome. It has less to do with the weather in Venice than missing out on your rental car.

All that said, there is plenty to do in Venice if the weather isn't good. I don't think the orchestras play in March, rain or shine, but I could be wrong.

Whether or not you find Venice magical probably has less to do with the weather than how you react to the city as an individual. A lot of people go there in full sunshine with the music playing and can't wait to get out of the place!

Just a thought but: How many people are in your party? Do you all want to go to Mass? One of you could go down and get the car and wait with it at a pre-arranged spot in the parking lot in front of Termini Station.

nessundorma is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I see that you are have reserved three nights at the Locanda Orseolo in Venice. We stayed there in November and they exceeded all of our expectations. I would NOT shorten a stay there. It will be the highlight of your trip.

In November, the mornings were cold. But for us, this meant no tourists. We walked through St. Marks square one morning and had the entire place to ourselves. Priceless.

As for the restaurants in St. Marks square, you might enjoy it if that is your cup of tea. But we avoided them as we thought they were way overpriced.

Instead, we had some fantastic meals at restaurants recommended by the owners of the Locanda Orseolo. They live in Venice, and will recommed places you will not find in any guidebook.

Woody is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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Posts: 87
Thanks to all of you for your input. Nytraveler, thanks for your tip that the Caribbean is warmer in March. Who would have known? Actually, I am unable to travel to Europe during the warmer late spring and summer months due to my business. Rain and cold weather certainly won't stand in our way of having a good time, but I was looking to see if anyone had some experience with the weather in Italy in March and might be able to offer an opinion on Venice vs. Rome for an extra night. The weather history for Rome vs. Venice shows colder temps and more rainfall in Venice during that time (makes sense since Venice is north of Rome), but I was curious if it was enough to sway someone one way or the other. Anyway, my biggest concern was having to rush in Rome (not the weather in Venice) and I needed to find a night to take from another location if I made a change.

Since it will just be my Mom and I on the trip, I will be with her during Mass and can't get the car. That was a great idea though. I'll have to ask my Mom about leaving the mass early. She never does it at home, so I might have a hard time getting her to walk out on the Pope. If it means missing our rental car pickup she might be persuaded.

Claire, may I ask you what made you dislike Venice? I'm curious since I haven't been there.
CVerga is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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I would think it might be easier driving out of Rome on a Sunday rather than a Monday but I really don't know for sure. Does anyone else have experience with this?

I think you can easily make the mass and be at your rental car office in time. If the mass lasts two hours, you'd be out by 11:30. You could then grab a taxi back to your hotel (where you could already have checked out and have the lobby holding your suitcases) and take the same taxi to Termini.

Of course, the mass could be shorter or you could decide to leave early (but your mother may never forgive you.)

If this sounds too rushed, and you'll be worried the entire time, then do change your itinerary as vacation is supposed to be fun.

Good luck and have a great trip -- it sounds wonderful!
KathrynT is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 641

A few years ago, we had a similar dilemma in Seville about our ideal schedule vs. the limited hours of the rental car agency. I ended up picking up the car a day earlier and parking it at our hotel so that it was ready when WE were ready to leave. Sure, it costs more to do that, but no one had to compromise on what they wanted to see or do, and I did not stress about whether we would make it to the agency on time.

You mentioned <<18th am reservations at Borghese Gallery>>. We have reservations that morning as well! Small world.

Woody is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Basically, we thought it was a cool place, but we found the people completely unwelcoming and rude. To the point where when someone was kind to us, we were surprised. It was high season, though, and I understand they were fed up, but common courtesy should be just that. . . common.

laclaire is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Posts: 45,322
Hi Carol, I have carefully read your post and everyone's elses.

Personally I think that Woody has made an excellent suggestion..if it is possible. Picking up the rental car on Saturday (make arrangements with your hotel in Rome as to where to park it) would seem to me to be an ideal solution. That way after Mass (I am glad the Pope is aware, lol) you can taxi back to your hotel, pick up your luggage and the rental car and be on your way. Is it possible to pick up the rental car on Saturday?

I don't know about your mother but if I had ever suggested we leave Mass early..well let me tell you..you would not want to know the discussion LOL, especially if it was a Papal Mass.

Regarding Venice in March. The earliest I have been there has been in April. And yes it can be cold and rainy. But some of my fondest memories in Venice is when it was raining. And regarding the musicians in the Piazza San Marco. The prices of the drinks having gotten so ridiculous you are not missing anything IMHO. Having dinner in a cozy restaurant can be delightful on a rainy evening in Venice.

Am glad to see you are taking the train from Florence to Venice, that will be so much more relaxing for you. Sometimes the traffic when you get closer to Venice is terrible.

Anyway, just my two cents worth. How fortunate you are that you can spend time in Italy with your mother, I am sure she is very excited also. Have a beautiful trip.
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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I'm actually living in italy right now, just near venice, and venice IS cold still, but not the kind of cold you're probably used to. it rains, but we've had a relatively dry winter compared to what is average in the states. I'm not sure as to whether the musicians are playing this month, but I'd bet good money that they are, and I can ask a friend if you'd like (he's been here longer than I have, and would know). Two FULL days in Venice would probably be enough. There isn't as much to see as in Rome, and you'd liekly have a better time wandering, eating, and shopping than having a laundry list of sites to see. Hope this helped a bit.
WhereInItaly is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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Woody, LoveItaly and WhereInItaly,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

The more I have thought about it, I have decided to keep the itinerary as is. However, I may look at picking up the car early. Good idea. I can't figure out the length of the Papal Mass (have searched), but am thinking that it can't last more than 2 1/2 hours (or could it?). I think that I will be DONE by 2 1/2 hours being that I am not as good a Catholic as my Mom is. But for her, I will sit for as long as her heart so desires.

Woody, if you see two women in the Borghese Gallery while you are there, one 40 year old brunette with glasses and a blond, that doesn't look like she could be the 40 year olds Mother, that will be us! We get the, "I thought you were sisters a lot." I can't say I enjoy this comment as much as my Mom must Either she looks great, or time is not my friend. Either way, maybe we will run into each other.
CVerga is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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I went to Venice with my mother last year and had a wonderful time. We also went in March (about a week later than you) and happened to enjoy glorious weather.

I've only visited Venice in the winter months and think it's charming...it's so magically to walk around at night and we greatly enjoyed a variety of churches and the Guggenheim gallery.

If it rains there are lots of indoor activities and Museums...not to mention food. We often took the long route round on the vaporetto just for fun! We spent four nights and could easily have spent a week.

We were there the week before Easter and attended mass at St Marks which was very memorable. The cathedral was lit by candelight and the mosaics were magnificent. We alse enjoyed attending a neighborhood church for mass on Easter Sunday.

Have a great time with your mother and leave yourself plenty of time to find the car rental location drive out of Rome.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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I guess it depends on which weather history you look at, but weatherbase.com claims that Venice gets somewhat LESS rain in March than do Rome and Florence.

Also according to the historical information at weatherbase.com, Venice's daily high temp is just 5 degrees cooler than Rome and 6 cooler than Florence, while its average low is the same as Florence and just 3 degrees cooler than Rome.

I'm sure there could be some variance in the averages depending on which sources the various websites use, but it's not as though Venice is subzero while the residents of Florence and Rome are out working on their tans.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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Hi Carol,

My first Italy trip was in March (we were skiing in Cortina) and we spent time in Venice. It was cool and a little foggy, but we wore wool coats and didn't need hats or gloves - it that helps. No rain. We loved it! Nearly deserted, very atmospheric, we wandered all around and had a couple of great meals at hotel recommended restaurants away from Piazza San Marco.

Don't cut your time in Venice. I was thinking the same thing Woody suggested. It will be worth it to pick up your car a day ahead.

Also, I spent 3 days in Montalcino at Il Giglio this past Sept and loved it! Be sure to taste as many Brunellos as possible and have dinner at Taverna Grappolo Blu. The food is fabulous - traditional Tuscan farm dishes. Luciano and Mariapia will treat you very well.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Oh, be sure also to visit the abbey Sant'Antimo where the monks perform the mass in Gregorian Chant! So beautiful! Check out my trip report for this part if it helps. Search for Dayle's Solo Trip to Italy.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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<< I can't figure out the length of the Papal Mass (have searched), but am thinking that it can't last more than 2 1/2 hours (or could it?). >>

Carol: Sunday March 19 is a religious holiday, the Feast of St. Joseph. So things might run a bit differently that day. For example, the Vatican Museums will be closed. As for the Papal Mass, I would just go with the flow. Just remember that you are on vacation, experiencing something that many can only dream about.

We have a 9:00 reservation at the Borghese Gallery. If yours is at the same time, I'll be sure to look for you.

Woody is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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Thanks to all of you for helping me work this out. I am keeping everything the same, except I may see if we can pick up the rental car on Saturday night at the office by the Vatican (it is closed on Sunday). I am going to check to see if there might be a way of signing all of the paperwork and getting the keys, but not actually taking the car until the next day (leave it parked on the lot if it's not fenced). That way we could leave our hotel early Sunday morning, bring our luggage to the rental car, then go stand in line for the mass. Then we could exit Rome from this location which I have heard is easier than the Termini and we won't have to rush from mass. This may be a crazy idea, but it never hurts to ask.
CVerga is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Your plan sounds good except I would caution against placing your luggage in a rental car and leaving it unattended. There's just too much risk of theft.

You could check out of your hotel, leave the luggage with the front desk, pick up the rental car, and swing by the hotel to retrieve your luggage. Your luggage will be safer at the hotel than if you place it in a rental car and leave it unattended.

Woody is offline  
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