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kygregg Oct 24th, 2006 06:27 PM

First trip to Italy. Go North or South?
Next Sept. will be our first trip to Italy and we're wondering if we should go North or South. Flying into Rome and staying there for a few days then we need to decide which direction we're going for the next week. We're open to anything, just want to know what we need to consider as we make our decision.

sobster Oct 24th, 2006 06:49 PM

Fly to Milan. Train to Venice. Train to Florence then Rome.

annw Oct 24th, 2006 07:04 PM

One approach is to increase the amount of intensity as you get acclimated. get through jet lag, etc. We took this approach and don't regret it. Also, the weather may work better that way (you hit north closer to summer, south closer to winter). So if you are already booked into Rome, you could head north (Florence/
Chianti, Venice, Milan) fairly soon thereafter and then enjoy your trip south to Amalfi, etc. or wherever you are headed in the south. If you can still alter the flights, consider an open jaw (into north, out of Rome).

bobthenavigator Oct 25th, 2006 05:49 AM

How much time will you have?
My approach is to plan 3 trips in advance since you will return. Do not assume Rome---it was our 8th trip before we spent a week in Rome. I like the north route to include Venice, the Lakes, the Ligurian coast, and parts of Tuscany. Do not try to do both--the most common mistake.

kygregg Oct 27th, 2006 07:15 PM

Thanks everyone. We'll be there 10-12 days and just want to know what advantages there are to going north compared to the advantages to going south for a first trip. Those of you who've been north and south, what did you like about each?

bobthenavigator Oct 28th, 2006 06:26 AM

Given that time, I would pick only 3 destinations. A good starter set is Rome, Florence, and Tuscany---4-2-4.

ira Oct 28th, 2006 06:42 AM

Hi ky,

With only 10 days, I suggest the Big 3 - Venice (3 days), Florence (4 days), Rome (3 days) - in that order.

From Florence, visit one of the following: Siena, Bologna, Lucca/Pisa,

My own preference would be to split the time between Venice and Florence.

If you just want to relax and wind down, I suggest flying in/out of Naples. Three days in Naples and 7 on the AC and Capri.

Sept is a very good time to visit Italy - either N or S of Rome.

Enjoy your visit.


grosenb Oct 28th, 2006 07:48 AM

Our first trip to Italy during Sept included Rome, Naples and the Amalfi coast. We had 10 days (not including travel days.

We have since been to other areas of Italy. In hindsight, I am happy with the choice of our first trip. Amalfi and surrounding villages can't be beat!

Enjoy Italia.


toni_g_b Oct 28th, 2006 05:05 PM

North or South? We've done each on our two trips, and although the Amalfi coast in amazing, I think I got more "Italy" (or what I imagine it to be) by going north. The ancient sites, the art, the duomos, the piazzas, the hills, the grape orchards, the cedars, the narrow streets, even the food.

oneillchris Oct 28th, 2006 05:19 PM

It doesnt matter once you go italian you never go back, I would take a side trip to Amalfi coast south then head north Florence and Venice, but hey either way you will be back to do the opposite, I have spent my life travelling...Italy will ruin you for everything else....

nessundorma Oct 28th, 2006 05:27 PM

I think what you should get out of your head is the notion that because this is a first trip, you should follow some pre-ordained order.

Personally, I'd probably never plan to go back to the Amalfi (which I didn't see until my 5th trip to Italy). I didn't see Rome until my third (and I didn't really like it until my 4th). I'm heading into my ninth trip to Italy, and I've never been to Chianti and I won't be going the next trip either. I prefer Lago di Garda to Lago di Como.

Some of the most exciting and rewarding (and delicious) places I've been in Italy are Ravenna, Torino and Perugia. If I could live anywhere in Italy, it would be Liguria first, Sicily second. I'm a huge fan of Firenze and can only take Venice in extremely small doses.

So -- enough about me! This is YOUR trip, which will cost you thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. The best place to start is with yourself. What do you want out of a trip to Italy? The antiquity? The catholic church? The food? The sun and sea? The art? The feeling of conquering the famous sites -- or of discovering someplace nobody else seems to have heard of?

francophile03 Oct 28th, 2006 05:32 PM

If you fly into Rome you can take the train to Florence and then another train to Venice. To me Rome and Venice are great but Tuscany is also a 'must see'.

kygregg Feb 17th, 2007 05:18 PM

It's been a while since I've posted a reply to this post and I thank everyone for their comments. We've decided that we're flying into Rome (most convenient and fits into our budget from Chicago) then to Venice and wind up in Florence/Tuscany. Now the big question for us is how many days each? We'll be there about 12 days. 2 days for travel in and out of Rome, of the remaining 10 days, 3-Rome, 2-Venice and 5-Tuscany/Florence. What say you?

Dayle Feb 17th, 2007 08:48 PM

Hi K,

I say it look like a fine plan. 10 days is very short, but then you never have enough days in Italy! And, you'll be back.

I say also that you better get hustling on the reservations - you're late!

JeanneB Feb 17th, 2007 09:11 PM


Do you have a total of 11 <i>nights</i> in Italy? Or just 10?

annw Feb 17th, 2007 11:31 PM

I would recommend more than 2 nights in Venice and while you're there get out of the main tourist central area.

But different people have different tastes. On first trip I assumed we'd prefer Florence and planned 3 there and 2 Venice; wished I had reversed it. Others may differ.

I hope you do get out of the cities at least a bit (i.e., Tuscany/Umbria).

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