First Trip to Italy

Old Jan 31st, 2024, 05:18 AM
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First Trip to Italy

My wife and I are at the early planning stages for our first trip to Italy.

We would like to spend 10 days there and are thinking of going in mid-October.

Our must sees are Rome, Florence and Venice.

We would appreciate thoughts on how many days to spend at each of these locations, what should we definitely see in each of the locations, and what other destinations would be good for first timers.

Thanks!!
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 05:31 AM
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"what should we definitely see in each of the locations"
that depends on your interests that we don^t know.
There is stuff for at least 2 full days in Venice (5 with suroundings),
3 days in Florence (2 weeks with surroundings)
5 days in Rome (2 weeks with surroundings)
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 06:46 AM
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So our main interests would be architecture (especially churches), Culinary (I am quite the foodie) and historical sights.

Also, as a follow up..... would it be wise to do a group tour of Italy since it is our first time? (We are in our early 60s if that helps.)
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 07:03 AM
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I wouldn't do a group tour, but that's just me. Tours tend to cram a lot into every day but hit the sights lightly and quickly, and you have no control over what you'll see/do.

neckervd's allotment of days is generally ok, but YOU really need to study up and set your priorities. Some will say "not enough time in Venice, too much in Florence" and others will say the opposite. It's up to you. Depending on where you're coming from and how well you do with the time change, the first day of a trip like this can be a bit of a blur.

If you can imagine this being only the first, and not your only, trip to Italy, consider just two of these destinations to give you more time in each place as well as time to make some day trips or possibly overnight somewhere as you travel between them.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 07:09 AM
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"So our main interests would be architecture (especially churches), Culinary (I am quite the foodie) and historical sights."
You will get more than enough of all that.

would it be wise to do a group tour of Italy since it is our first time? (We are in our early 60s if that helps.)
No, it would be a waste of time (and money).
But it might be a good idea to book entries and guided tours for some popular museums (but on the official homepage of the museums, not through some corrupt agencies).
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 07:15 AM
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I think those three locations will give you plenty to do. Italy is definitely an excellent location to enjoy architecture, food and history. There are areas in Rome where you can hardly walk a block without walking by two or three interesting churches.

You certainly can join a tour, and many people do, but most of the posters here like to travel independently. I suggest picking up a copy of Rick Steves's travel book as he has many good suggestions for first time travelers. I would also read travel reports here to get ideas for hotels and restaurants posters here have enjoyed. You can also come here to ask lots of questions!
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 07:18 AM
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When you mention 10 days, do those include your travel days as well?
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 07:58 AM
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The 10 days does not include travel.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 08:37 AM
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That is good! I think you could do neckervd's plan then or something similar. Have you booked your flights yet? Where will you be flying in and out of? If you can, flying into one city and out of another saves you quite a bit of backtracking time.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 08:48 AM
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I suggest you sign up for tours of the Vatican (St Peters Basilica, museums and Sistine chapel) and The Coliseum just to avoid waiting in the very long lines.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 09:44 AM
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Agree with Neckervd
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 01:26 PM
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The classic Venice Florence Rome itinerary flies into Venice, train to Florence, train to Rome. The benefit of a group tour is that you will not need to book hotels and travel independently or try to find the ticket office at the train station. However, the drawbacks of the group tours are enough to turn travelers who do not want to wake up, eat, and tour on a rigid schedule. Also tours have you eat at places that can feed a busload inoffensive cheap food at one time. It is foodie hell. Also, instead of trains (speedy, comfortable) they could use busses ( slower, etc.).

When you are at your hotel, check if they offer day tours that may make your visit easy -- no finding your way to a site, plus get a guide that will give you information as you tour. But only use the day tours if they take you where you want to go and spend enough time at each place. "See" means a photo op while tour means you actually visit the place. But you can't linger in the room you want more time in or skip through the boring parts. On the other hand, a day tour that gets you to the Vatican means avoiding the humongous lines and someone will tell you what the unlabeled art works actually are, so is worth it.

A day tour in Venice might get you to the glass blowing shop on the day that they do demos, but then will spend an inordinate time in the sales room. Of course, they will save you the time in figuring out which boat actually gets you to the glass shop and they buy all the tickets for you.

But, whatever you do, you will be in Italy!
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 05:14 AM
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For certain, fly into Rome and home from Venice, or vice versa. A while back there were direct flights from Venice to NYC; I am imagining that you would fly through there is you are heading for Buffalo (unless you are NOT heading for Buffalo!). What you do not want to do is go from Rome-Florence-Venice and have to then backtrack all the way from Venice to Rome and then to the airport soon the same day. A multi-destination air ticket might cost more than a RT to and from Rome. But it would certainly be worth the cost. You save in time that could be spent in the city.

If you have a serious interest in food (as I do!) you can get great information here, as well as on the food forums of: hungry onion.org.
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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 02:16 PM
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I havenít seen so many people talking about the Trevi Fountain. I know everyone is a photo pushing a tower that doesnít stand still, but Rome offers more than that. Don't forget about the Vatican.
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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 06:03 PM
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Just note that Neckervdís itinerary require 3 nights in Venice and Florence and 6 nights in Rome or 12 total nights not ten
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SeaF
I suggest you sign up for tours of the Vatican (St Peters Basilica, museums and Sistine chapel) and The Coliseum just to avoid waiting in the very long lines.
You can avoid long lines in these places simply by buying your tickets online in advance.

Colosseum:

https://www.coopculture.it/en/produc...-palatine_24h/

Vatican Museums:

https://tickets.museivaticani.va/home
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 09:40 AM
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There's a lot of good advice being given above. I would add one small item to the suggestion of flying IN to Rome and OUT of Venice back to the states. Don't. Not unless you've researched the tides and know that the tide will be up and not down when you need to take the vaporetto back to toward the airport. So many little things to consider. when planning your own trip but, that's half the fun for me. There's the trip you've planned like crazy for, on the one hand, and then there's the trip that you actually experience on the other. They are not identical and I love that. Have fun. Looking forward to your trip report around the holidays.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueRidgeboots
There's a lot of good advice being given above. I would add one small item to the suggestion of flying IN to Rome and OUT of Venice back to the states. Don't. Not unless you've researched the tides and know that the tide will be up and not down when you need to take the vaporetto back to toward the airport. So many little things to consider. when planning your own trip but, that's half the fun for me. There's the trip you've planned like crazy for, on the one hand, and then there's the trip that you actually experience on the other. They are not identical and I love that. Have fun. Looking forward to your trip report around the holidays.
There is more than one way to get to the airport besides vaparetto, such as taking the ATVO bus from Pizzale Roma. Id be more inclined not to fly out of Venice as most flights leave absurdly early.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 12:52 PM
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Just a quick comment to add to BlueRidgeboots'...International flights out of Venice were very early in the day so the entire day is lost. Fly into Venice if possible.
Just seeing Travel_Nerd's agreement!

Last edited by TDudette; Feb 13th, 2024 at 12:54 PM.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 05:54 PM
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Have been to Venice and Florence. Venice is awesome and minimum 3 nights. You could just get lost walking for days. I went for 2 nights due to friend's advice and it's been my biggest travel regret. Food is not that great or maybe I was unlucky. Sandwich shops were the best.

Florence 2 or 3 nights maximum. Beautiful but overrated in my opinion. Lots of museums and sights to see. Food was really good.
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