First time in Italy

May 6th, 2013, 10:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1
First time in Italy

Hi, me and my family (4 of us) are planning to visit Italy this September, 2013. As this is our first visit to Italy, could anyone give us some rough idea on the below (we plan to start with Rome->fluorence->Venice->Milan, and we will travel to Switzerland after Milan)

1. What to see (we plan to take the hop on hop off city tour bus - save time)
2. How many days for entire trip should be (plan for 10 days)
3. What would be the most cost effective way to travel around
4. Where to stay (mid range)

We love historical building, architecture, sight seeing, eating, leisure, but not so much of museum.
kkheongchan is offline  
May 6th, 2013, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,921
3 days per city at a minimum, but don't take my word for it, read some guidebooks as to what there is to do or see in each city.
Michael is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 01:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi, kkheongchan,

i see that you are a newcomer to Fodors - welcome.

do I understand that you have 10 days [9 nights?] for Italy?

if so, trying to cover Rome, florence, Venice AND Milan in that time is not going to leave you much time for anything other than travelling between those places, HOHO buses or not.

if you look at a map of the area, [try google maps] you'll see that your two outlyers are Venice and Rome - but i can understand why you'd want to see both of them, especially as there are many things to see and do in both places which do not involve museums.

so i would suggest dropping Florence from your itinerary this time, [because much of what there is to see there is museum based] and concentrating on those two places, with a short stop in Milan, really as a stopping off place before Switzerland.

If you decide that this is a good idea, I would suggest 4 nights in Rome, 4 in Venice, and one night in Milan. you could just as easily do Venice - Rome - Milan which would have the advantage that you could arrive in Venice by water, which is lovely, and it is a great place to ease yourselves into Italy, whereas Rome is a bit more " full on".

As Michael says, it would be a good idea to do so research about these places before you finalise your itinerary.
annhig is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 02:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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1. I don't understand how the HOHO bus will save you time as you don't get to see anything except the outside of buildings and you are dependent on traffic and on waiting for people to join the bus at each stop.

2. If you want to visit Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Switzerland you should plan on at least 3 weeks. If you only have 10 days I would cut Switzerland and Milan. You will spend time traveling between each city and that will take up a day of your 10 days so you will only have 9 days total.

3. The most cost effect travel is via train.

If you love leisure then this isn't the trip for you as you won't have any time for leisure.
adrienne is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 535
I know it's a tough pill to swallow while looking at photos of Switzerland but 10 days is simply not enough to include it. you'll see nothing but the back of busses and train stations. If 10 days is all you're able to take consider that each day you switch locations is roughly a half day spent. That leaves you with even less time for all the places you listed. Rome and Venice are the two heavyweights so you could split time between both places. You can take a day trip from either location to see someplace else (like Florence from Rome for example) or even a small charming town in the countryside.

please don't underestimate the time it takes to get from place to place with delays, hiring a cab to get to hotel, packing, unpacking, getting your bearings, etc. rush rush rush rush rush!! There's no worse feeling than wishing you ate lunch on the airplane because it's after 2PM, you're hungry, and you've still yet to see anything in the city you've just arrived in.
tailsock is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 05:21 AM
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Sorry - there is no way you can see all of those places in just 10 days - you would spend most of your time in transit.

If you have 10 days total I would just pick 2 places and actually see something of them - not just ride around on a bus looking at the outside of buildings. (Besides which these buses make no sense in Venice - no streets - or Florence - center with most sights in pedestrian only zone.)

And does the reference to Switzerland mean you have more than 10 days overall and will spend only 10 in Italy. If you are trying to do all of those cities PLUS Switz in 10 days - that is just silly (sorry - but it is).

Please, pick what you want to see most - 2 cities/hotels, no more - and then look into specific sights.

As for hotels - you need to give a specific number of euros per night - and if you are looking for one family room or two separate rooms (since you don;t give ages/relationships of people). (For me, mid range would be about 250 or 300 euros for a double room - but need to know what YOU think).

Train would be easiest way to get around - but you need to buy tickets far in advance to get the best discounts.
nytraveler is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,358
I completely agree with the sentiments expressed above.

Train schedules here:
RonZ is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 06:05 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 565
Here's a plan:

Start by spending 4 nights in Rome. Don't plan anything specific for your first day, because you'll be tired, but the Ho-Ho bus is good idea for the second morning so you can get some idea of where things are and what your kids would be most excited to visit. Don't overload your kids the next 2 days, but get around to see the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the inside of St Peter's, the Spanish Steps and the most famous fountains of Rome, including the one that is a bathtub.

When you leave Rome, take the train to Florence in the morning and put your luggage in the train station. Take a walking tour of Florence, and make a reservation to see Michaelangelo's David in the afternoon. Go back to the train station and get your luggage and continue on to Venice.

Spend 3 nights in Venice. Take a walking tour, and maybe a gondola ride at night. Your kids might like to see the glass blowers on Murano.

If your kids really loved the Colosseum in Rome, take a day trip to Verona by train to see the "other" Colosseum there unless you are having so much fun you don't want to leave Venice. (You can stop in Verona for lunch on your way to Milan.)

Spend 2 or 3 nights in Milan. The day you arrive, take an afternoon tour so you can see the Last Supper, but also make sure to climb the roof of the Duomo. The next day, if it is sunny, go to Lago di Como for lunch. (You can spend one more day in Milan to go shopping if that would interest you, and there is a science museum for the kids.)

It's better to use hotel booking websites to book hotels to find what you want. Try to stay as close to the center Rome and Milan as you can afford. It really doesnàt matter where you stay in Venice so long as you stay in the main part of the city.ù
stevewith is offline  
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