First trip to Italy

May 27th, 2008, 06:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
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First trip to Italy

We are embarking on our first trip to Italy in less than a month and are looking for advice. We fly in to Rome at about noon and out of Milan.

Here is a basic plan: Rome 3 nights, then Cinque Terre or Florence 3 nights, Venice 4 nights then over to Milan for our last 2 where we will fly home from.

I am torn with knowing where and for how long we should stay at these locations. After Rome would we want to do just a one night stop off in Florence and then up to CT for 2 nights? Or if we had to chose between CT or Florence what would you recommend? Also, I was wondering if Venice is worth 4 nights or we could maybe cut a night off Venice and have an extra night somewhere else.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

What are the train travel times like between CT and Venice? Is there a possibility of doing an overnight?

We are a young newlywed couple looking for fun, romance, and some good sightseeing. My husband loves being near the water.

aquabot is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 07:27 PM
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You have a nice amount of time for a first trip.

I would add a night to Rome. Unless you have a special reason to be in Milan 2 nights, change that to just one night.

Rome: 4 nights
Middle: 3
Venice: 4
Milan: 1

Train Florence to Venice is 3 hours. From CT it will take 5 or 6 hours. I don't know of an overnight train, but I don't think it's necessary.

As for the middle days, it depends on what you want to do/see. If husband loves the sea, 3 nights in CT might work best for you. Florence is more about art/history/architecture/food.
JeanneB is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 07:28 PM
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Hello aquabot, here is the English language version of the official Trenitalis website

Using this website you can see how long each train trip will take.

Just off the top of my head I would suggest

Florence or Cinque Terre

It seems to me if you visit CT which sounds like a good idea as your husband loves being near the water that saving that for the end of the trip you will be doing rather a triangle. With 12 nights in Italy that means you will have 14 days but not really as the first day you will be arriving and the 14th day you will be departing for home.

I would think perhaps skipping Florence this trip might be a good idea as you don't want to be staying in so many hotels that you lose a good part of days time wise travelling, getting to and checking into a hotel, checking out of the hotel and getting back to the train station plus the train rides etc.

Anyway, just one thought. I wish you two a wonderful time in beautiful Italy.

LoveItaly is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 07:57 PM
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I hope that you get your hotel reservations ASAP as most things are booked early on for the summer in those cities?
dutyfree is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Dutyfree read my mind. I think you need to see what is available in each city in your budget range before you can know where you "want" to go. FYI, hotels in Venice and Milan are generally more expensive than Florence and CT, but availability in CT may already be extremely difficult.
Jean is online now  
May 27th, 2008, 09:55 PM
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see if you can squeeze in a day trip from Milan to lake Como.
Mirella is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 05:04 AM
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I agree with the recommendation to spend at least 4 nights in Rome especially since the first day you will be suffering from jet lag. That would give you 3 full days which I think is the minimum needed to enjoy some of the major sights without feeling rushed or overwhelmed
Vttraveler is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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>> My husband loves being near the water. <<

Therefore - after Rome, go to the Cinque Terre, then Venice and last to The Lakes. Skip Florence and Milan.

You're flying out of Malpensa, which is some distance from the city of Milan. You can get directly to the airport from your last stop in the Lake District and thus you can, and should IMO, avoid Milan.
TuckH is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 05:48 AM
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Venice is lovely. Just walk around the different areas. Some areas are really quiet and quite residential and then there is the busy St Mark's Square. Take a vaporetto (public transport boat) out to the islands of Murano and Burano one of the days. Also take the vaporetto along the entire length of the Grand Canal and around past Dorsoduro. It will give you a good overview.
speckles is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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My husband and I were just in Venice and it was lovely and very romantic. We were there for 2.5 days and three nights and, honestly, that was plenty of time to see everything that we wanted to see. 2 full days and 2 nights probably would have been fine. So if you wanted to shave a day or two off of Venice in order to go somewhere else, I don't think that would hurt your trip. I find it interesting that others suggest skipping Florence. I haven't been there in several years but if you are even remotely interested in art, Florence is a must-do. It has some of the best art in the world. If you do everything else in central and northern Italy now and skip Florence, you might not be inclined to make a return trip to the area and might miss out.... Also the city itself is different from what you will find in Rome, Venice or Milan (or Cinque Terre). That said, 2 days and 2 nights in Florence would give you enough time to go to the Duomo and the main galleries. Cinque Terre is wonderful also, in a completely different way. The water is spectacular. You really can't go wrong, and it really does all come down to how much you want to move around. Personally, I only get to take a long vacation about once a year and like to see as much as possible (within reason-- I like at least 2 nights per place) rather than missing anything. Others prefer to become more intimate with places they visit. It is all a matter of personal choice, I guess!
CordeliaCH is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Hi, aquabot -

I agree with others that - depending on your interests - you might consider adding 1 night to Rome and subtracting 1 night from both Venice and Milan. And I agree that if you have any interest in art or architecture, Florence is hard to skip. If you spent 2 nights/1 day in the Cinque Terre, you would have time to walk some or all the trails (depending on your preferred pace and the weather) and still have time for a short visit to Florence.

The good news is that all of these locations are wonderful, so it should be a great trip! Enjoy!
kja is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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I always get a kick out of the way these threads take off and the OP hasn't checked back in yet.

As for the # of nights in Venice, it depends on whether they're taking that long train ride from CT. However the itinerary gets resolved, try to keep 3 days for seeing Venice. Two just isn't enough.
JeanneB is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 02:18 PM
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I like TuckH's suggestions. However, will the OP have a car or only be traveling by train.?
Grandma is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 03:29 PM
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Wow!!! Thanks for all of the responses. I should have checked back sooner. We will be doing all of our travel by train.

CordeliaCH: Thanks for the tip on Venice. It seems that a there have been a few suggestions to drop a day in Venice and Milan in order to add a day elsewhere.

TuckH: I like the recommendation of the Lake District. I actually am not aware of the location of the Airport. We will be flying out midmorning, so would you think that if we spent our last 2 nights in the Lake area rather than Milan we would be able to get to the airport okay? Also, which Lake would you recommend that would still be close?

There was also a suggestion of doing a day trip to Lake Como-maybe if we stayed in Milan we could just plan on using the whole day to go to the lake? Any suggestions?

As far as deciding between CT and Florence, I am still torn-would it be to inconvenient to say, stay in La Spezia for 3 nights and do one day trip to Florence with the other two days at CT.

Thanks everyone. This time I will check back sooner.
aquabot is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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>> so would you think that if we spent our last 2 nights in the Lake area rather than Milan we would be able to get to the airport okay? <<


>> Also, which Lake would you recommend that would still be close? <<

I like Lake Lugano
a) It's central to Lakes Como and Maggiore so you can day-trip to each. Lake Como is only an hour by car to Menaggio and the boat across to Bellagio and Varenna.
b) It's the most scenic of The Lakes IMO. Very fjordlike. The lakeside towns of Gandria and Morcote are pretty.
c) It's only an hour away from Malpensa by car.

I don't think the day trip La Spezia-Florence is practical. La Spezia is not attractive. Lerici is a very nice alternative - 'commute' from there to the five towns by boat across the Gulf of La Spezia. Lotsa fun!
TuckH is offline  
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