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anton4475 Sep 2nd, 2005 10:15 AM

February 2006 Itinerary Help
My wife and I are making our first trip to Italy and have 8 days and night there. Trying to decide where to go and have come up with this rough itinerary. Any thoughts, ideas, comments would be appreciated.

Fri Fly Newark to Florence
Sat Day in Florence
Sun Day in Florence
Mon Florence- Day trip to Pisa
Tues Rent a Car see Siena, San Gimignano, and Assisi- Spend the night in Tuscany/Umbria
Wed Drive to Rome
Thurs Day in Rome
Fri Rome- Day trip to Orvieto
Sat Day in Rome
Sun Fly Rome to Newark

Also, what is a decent airfare to pay for February? We have seen about $600 all fees included per person.

Eloise Sep 2nd, 2005 10:24 AM

With only eight days, I would make only one day trip each from Florence and from Rome.

The general opinion here is that Pisa is not that interesting (with which I concur). If you insist on Pisa, it can be done in half a day by train.

San Gimignano, Siena and Assisi are too much for one day. I would suggest you drop Assisi. See San Gimignano and Siena; drive to Chiusi and drop the car there. (Look into this, though; it seems there have been car-rental agency changes in Chiusi.) Take the train to Rome.

Personally, I would not give up a day in Rome for Orvieto, but I know many people do like Orvieto very much.

monicapileggi Sep 2nd, 2005 10:30 AM

In my opinion:

1. Skip Pisa! Use that day for a place in Tuscay, because:

2. It's not reasonable to say you can drive from Florence and see Siena, San G. and Assisi. Assisi isn't even in Tuscany, so that will take up a whole day in itself.

3. Head to Orvieto before going to Rome. Drop off car and spend rest of the time in Rome. You don't want to be driving in Rome! Maybe even consider dropping the car off in Orvieto and taking the train to Rome.

I haven't checked flights for February, but that sounds decent. I've been looking for June flights to Rome and the lowest I've seen was $1200!

Monica ((F))

suze Sep 2nd, 2005 10:51 AM

7 cities/towns on an 8 day trip is too much in my opinion. I think your general outline sounds right (the Florence/Rome part) but I don't see how you can fit all the rest in, in that timeframe.

anton4475 Sep 2nd, 2005 10:51 AM

Thanks for the info so far. OK so Pisa is probably a waste of a day. Do you think we can avoid the car thing altogether? Maybe 2 day trips from Florence to San Gim/Siena and somewhere else?
Also, we would take the train from Rome to Orvieto not drive there. I really want to see that city so it is a must.

Eloise Sep 2nd, 2005 11:02 AM

There are "packaged" trips that take you to San Gimignano and Siena in one day. Avoid them! You hit each town with hundreds of other tour buses, you have no freedom to go where you want or to eat where you want.

Trying to do San Gimignano and Siena in the same day by public transport involves a fair amount of hassle. I would suggest you stay with the idea of a rental car.

For the second day trip, you can either do the Chianti area (Greve, Radda, Castellina) or the area south of Siena (Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza).

If you choose the latter, I would suggest that you spend the night between the two day trips in Siena, drop the car in Chiusi and train to Rome from there. Dropping the car in Chiusi saves you from having to change trains; also, I'm not entirely sure that you can drop the car in Siena.

Leely Sep 2nd, 2005 11:03 AM

I'd not do any day trips and overnight in Siena or San G. or Orvieto on the way down to Rome. Assisi is actually my favorite of those you've mentioned, but I agree it's a bit out of the way. If just doing an overnight en route to Rome, I think you wouldn't need a car. Perhaps someone can advise you on what would be the easiest way to do this?

I love Rome and think you need at least 3 1/2 full days there.

I've been to Italy in February and in my experience it was wonderfully uncrowded.


anton4475 Sep 2nd, 2005 02:12 PM

Thanks again. Guess we'll put off Assisi for some other time since its that far off route. We are pretty fast "sightseers" but I suppose my original itinerary may be rushing things. Maybe will do 2 day trips from Florence and one from Rome. Possibly, Siena and San Gim from Florence and Orvieto from Rome. Then skip the car and just take the train from Florence to Rome.

motor_city_girl Sep 3rd, 2005 05:27 AM

We trained from Rome to Florence and spend the day in Orvieto. That was plenty of time and saved travel time too. We arrived about 8:45 AM and left the town about 3:45 PM. Got to Florence in time to check in and have a leisurely dinner.

Believe me, you will appreciate not having to get back on a train again once you get to Rome. Enjoy!

tdyls Sep 3rd, 2005 07:16 AM

Pisa is worth seeing only for the Leaning Tower/Campo dei Miracoli. It's a half-day trip at most from Florence, about an hour by train each way. I think doing San Gim and Siena in the same day is going to be tourist-and-schlep overload. I recommend doing one or the other, but not both. Assisi is way out of the way relative to San Gim and Siena to do it plus another city in one day. I do, however, recommend seeing Assisi.

The short answer is that with only 8 days, going everywhere to see everything will cause you to see nothing. You'll be on the move so much that you'll just be swallowing up kilometers and cities without pausing to enjoy them. I would alter the schedule thusly:

Day 0: Fly EWR-FLR
Day 1: Florence
Day 2: Florence
Day 3: Day trip to Siena or Assisi
Day 4: Florence, maybe Pisa
Day 5: Travel to Rome, maybe with a short stop in Orvieto
Day 6: Rome
Day 7: Rome
Day 8: Rome
Day 9: Fly FCO-EWR

Given what has happened to gas prices in the past 3 days (gas went from $2.69/gal to $3.19/gal in 12 hours, and to $3.49 in 24 hours in Charlotte!), I don't even want to think about what airfares to Europe would be 6 months hence.

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