First trip to Italy

Old Oct 24th, 2016, 03:59 PM
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First trip to Italy

Helloo All,

I am planning my first trip to Italy next year with some of my friends and I am having some questions in order to plan it right

so first of all will it be better to travel there in September or October? I have heard both are good but I want to know from people who lives there or who traveled there before which is the best time
and also, if there is a time when there are promotions and sales it will be much better

second my plan is to go to Rome, Venice and Florence
how much time should I take in each city, knowing that I won't have more than a week vacation.

third how can I travel between these cities?
train or bus is better? and can i know where to reserve the tickets or how to find the stops and stations there? an average price if it is possible?

fourth hotels recommendations will be perfect, as we want something that is not very expensive in the same time in downtown or near the city center, hostels and inns will be good as well.

lastly, where I can shop that is not expensive and it shouldn't necessarily be a place for malls and famous brands?
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Old Oct 24th, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Train is best. All three cities are well connected by frequent train service. Italy has an awesome train system.

A week is perhaps not enough time for all three cities. You'll spend half of your time connecting between them, assuming you have an overnight flight in as well. You need to start with realistic estimates of how much time you'll really have total. Can you leave Saturday and return the following Sunday? That would give you nine days including travel days and only seven nights in Italy after the overnight flight.

Your mix of time in each city probably depends on your interests. Museums? Sightseeing? Museum lovers would probably spend more time in Florence. If you love ancient ruins, you'll find more in Rome than the other two cities. If you really aren't big into museums, I'd probably minimize my time in Florence - maybe one night and three nights each in Venice and Rome.

FYI, it's best to fly "open jaw" into one Italian city and out of another. Don't try to book a round trip because that will force you to waste time doubling back to the arrival city - and open jaw flights to Europe typically cost the same or even less than a round trip, anyway.

I'd prefer late September or early October.
Andrew is online now  
Old Oct 24th, 2016, 04:57 PM
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This is where you can buy train tickets up to 4 months in advance, using italian city names:

Rome and Florence, the best bet would probably be to fly in and out of Rome, head to Florence immediately. The train journey is 1.5 hours once you get to the Termini station in town. Rome/Venice would be the option calling for multi-city tickets, as the train time from Rome is 3:45.
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Old Oct 24th, 2016, 05:18 PM
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I agree with everything Andrew said.

I got lots of help by reading Rick Steves Italy, and using just to get an idea of how to get between cities (not to book, but more to research the options and costs). Put Florence in the middle, and you might go north to south because the weather will be warmer that way. (Venice-Florence-Rome)

There are two great train websites:
The man in seat 61 explains everything clearly:

And I thought this site was easy to buy, and if you download the app, it gives you reminders and easy reading screen for picking up your train tickets: (used to be called Captain Train)

Have a look at airbnb and homeaway, search by number of bedrooms and try to stay in the historic district of each place. With several chipping in, you may be able to afford a pretty neat place! Have fun planning!
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Old Oct 24th, 2016, 06:16 PM
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Definitely train, and I agree, if you only have a week, you'll probably do better with two cities rather then three.
Indeed, some would say a week is not enough for any one of the cities. The above idea about getting a guidebook and just leafing through it is actually what has worked for me. You can then define and prioritize your desires, and plan accordingly. There are no wrong answers, just fun dreaming of the possibilities!

You may also wish to check out the following: which is an excellent resource for first time travelers.

If you should happen to want to stick with a plan to see Venice, (which I suggest, but I am biased) an outstanding value is the Hotel Pensione Guerrato
less expensive as it is on the "wrong" side of the Grand Canal, but an easy walk to the Rialto bridge, which then is in turn an easy walk to San Marco's square and just about everything else in Venice.

Also, if you do go to Venice, a lunch at one of the panoramic terraces on the Guidecca Canal is recommended. One example is La Piscina, at the Hotel La Calcina ( There are about four such restaurants near the "Zattere" vaporetto stops, and since they are all in competition with each other, you will do well any any of them. The entire gamut of watercraft from gondola to cruise ship and maybe the occasional naval vessel will pass in front of you while you are enjoying your meal. It is a fantastic setting fro lunch.
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Old Oct 24th, 2016, 06:30 PM
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Agree to go with open jaw tickets (multi-city on many search engines) and to reconsider trying to do 3 major cities in so few days.

For help on lodgings you really need to give us a specific nightly budget, how many people would be in the room and what bed configuration you need.

If I were you I would do Oct and later in the year rather than earlier so you are less likely to run into very hot weather since many less expensive places do not have AC.
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Old Oct 25th, 2016, 02:20 AM
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You really cannot do three cities in just one week, so pick two depending on your interests. Buy multi-city air tickets, into one city and out of another so you don't have to backtrack.

Late September/early October is probably best, though no one can predict the weather. There aren't any particular promotions I know of at that time of year.

No one can say where you should stay or where you should shop unless you give us a specific budget, in euros, and tell us what you want to buy. I live in Europe and do not find Italy much of a bargain when it comes to shopping, but shopping is not of much interest to me, so others will know better.
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Old Oct 25th, 2016, 02:55 AM
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I don't know your reasons for choosing September or October. If it's nice weather, both should be fine, and late September or early to mid October are less likely to be rainy than late October.

If you want to avoid crowds, the later, the better. September and October are the two busiest months of the year in Rome, and probably also in Florence, and maybe Venice.

Whether you can enjoy three cities in one week depends on what you want to see and do in those three cities. I suggest you make a list of the things you'd like to see or do in each city, and then we can help you decide if it's possible.

I will say that if you plan a brief visit to any of these three cities, you should skip the big popular attractions, or otherwise you'll spend most of your time shuffling along in a pack of fellow tourists, and seeing little of the cities. I've taken visiting relatives on whirlwind tours of all three of these cities, because that's all the time they had. I've never taken them, for instance, to the Doge's Palace in Venice, or the Uffizi museum in Florence, or the Vatican Museums in Rome. Instead, I've taken them to less famous (but very beautiful) churches, palaces, and smaller museums, combined with a walking tour. This is much more enjoyable for a brief visit.
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Old Oct 25th, 2016, 03:32 AM
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Shopping, it depends on if you want branded goods or really nice things made by artisans, generally you'll get brands on the main streets of the big cities, but pop into the back streets of the right areas and you can buy lovely stuff from the makers.
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Old Oct 25th, 2016, 09:15 AM
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Cynical rules of travel:

Changing cities loses a day. (Pack, check out of hotel, travel to train, leave enough time so you won't miss the train, travel, transfer to new hotel, check in, and also you need breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Day is shot.)

The time needed for co-ordination and planning increases proportionally to the number of people in the group. (How many is "some of" your friends? Do you all like and dislike the same things, such as travel goals, food preferences, and budgets?)

Stuff happens. Tight planning fails. It can rain on the only day that you will try to see an outdoor site. There will be a strike, a holiday, or a political demonstration march.

Sites, museums, and so forth will have closure days that coincide with the day you thought you would go there.

Stay loose, do what you can, come back another time for the rest, be happy.
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 06:27 AM
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Thank you all for your replies this was very helpful and taking it all into consideration.
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 09:39 AM
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The later you go, the more likely you will run into rain, so I say go earlier, though there is no wrong time to go.

Rome and vicinity could alone be quite the trip considering you could spend a day to visit Hadrian's Villa/Villa d'Este/Tivoli (highly, highly recommended) as well as their are other magnificent day trips from Rome.
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 12:59 PM
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we went to Florence for a week at the end of October a few years ago, and if anything it was too hot during the day - and we had no rain at all.

Which only goes to show that you can't tell what the weather will be like in one particular week in one particular year. you can only look at trends and cross your fingers.
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 02:45 PM
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third how can I travel between these cities?
train or bus is better? and can i know where to reserve the tickets or how to find the stops and stations there? an average price if it is possible?>

Yes to all the above who clamor: train! Cars are useless in cities, especially Venice! Italian mainline trains are fantastic and speed along much faster than cars and buses (very limited inter-city buses often at odd hours).

In addition to also check for always cheap fares:

Discounted tickets are I think non-changeable non-refundable largely so be sure of your time and date- and you must book really early to get those limited in number discounted ducats.

For lots on Italian trains check; and
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