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First Trip to Italy - need help w/ itinerary, please!

First Trip to Italy - need help w/ itinerary, please!

Dec 28th, 2001, 10:36 AM
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First Trip to Italy - need help w/ itinerary, please!

I have read much of what I have seen posted on this site, and have more questions now, than ever, and would appreciate your advice...

My husband and I are planning our 2nd trip to Europe at the end of May/beginning of June. We will actually be in Italy for 10 days.

We are scheduled to fly in and out of Rome. We have gotten recommendations to do the following trip (which my brother did 2 years ago). It sounds wonderful, but I want to make sure it's not too much or too little.

This past year, we went to Ireland, and although we loved every minute, we covered over 750 miles by car in 3 weeks. It was too much driving (for my husband) and too little time in each place - too much moving around. We've sworn to eachother that we won't do this when we go to Italy.

The recommendation we got from family was:

Rome (arrival city)
Rome to Cinque Terre (by train)
Cinque Terre to Florence (by train)
Florence to San Gimignano (by car)
San Gimignano to Sienna (by car)
Sienna to Assisi (car)
Assisi to Spello/Spoleto area (car)
Spello/Spoleto to Orvieto (car)
Orvieto to Rome
Leave from Rome

What I don't know is how many days to stay in each, or if some should be skipped. My husband and I LOVE food & wine, so the Tuscany/Umbria area seems to be a natural draw. Any thoughts on the itinerary or other suggestions for a better one?

Thank you!
Dec 28th, 2001, 11:06 AM
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Hello CFW, You need some work on this itinerary. I see 4 destinations here, assuming you do not stop in Rome. They are: Florence--Cinque Terre--Tuscany--Umbria. I would do it in this sequence, taking the train to Florence and getting the car as you leave. Each of the 4 deserve 3 nites each since your first day will be a wipeout. That is 12 days in Italy. I would keep your car and spend your last nite In Orvieto. It is a 2 hour drive to FCO from there. You will be OK if you have a departure at 11:00 or later. You can do the Tuscany destinations from one location.
I have done this itinerary and it will work in 12 days---10 will make it tight.
Let me know if you need more help.
Dec 28th, 2001, 11:09 AM
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Your trip seems doable to me. Spend a couple of days in Rome either at the beginning or end. Cinque Terra is worth a couple of days and you will use up a good part of a day getting to and from there. The Tuscan-Umbrian itinerary is remarkably compact and you should easily make it by car in the time alloted. Ciao e buon viaggio.
Dec 28th, 2001, 11:34 AM
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I guess the main question is do you plan to visit Rome or not -- the airport is easy to get in and out of and driving on the A1 is really not difficult at all, so if you want to save Rome for another trip someday, you're still in good shape. You might want to train to Florence first, spend 2 nights there, then train to Cinque Terre for a night, pick up a car and base yourself near SanG for 3 nights while you explore Tuscany, then head to Assisi for 2 nights and spend your final night in Orvieto (as Bob notes it is an easy drive from there to FCO). You could even do this trip in reverse. Of course it does leave Rome for another trip. If you want to spend some time in Rome, I'd suggest holding it until the end and dropping Cinque Terre and Orvieto.
Dec 28th, 2001, 12:17 PM
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I agree with Diane. Rome needs atleast a couple of days. I did a similar trip -just Rome, Florence, and Tuscany in 10 days and it was perfect. Cinque Terre is gorgeous, and the hikes between each town are gorgeous, but you don't need more than two days. It's very small, with very few sites - and has become very touristy. San Gimigniano and the surrounding countryside is gorgeous and fabulous. I would recommend a walking tour of Tuscany based out of Florence. It's websit is www.accidentaltourist.it. It's a wonderful walking tour of a vineyard and olive oil estate and comes with a wine tasting and a full lunch in the kitchen of a 13th century villa - which is cooked by an old woman and her daughter - whose family has lived in that same area for over 700 years. It's incredible, and very affordable. It was the highlight of one of my trips - and I love food and wine. So, that's what I would have to say. Devote your time to Tuscany and Umbria if you're into food and wine. Rome is my favorite city in the world, but you need so much time to do it properly - save it for another trip. Also, don't plan too much - just enjoy yourselves and have a romantic fabulous time.
Dec 28th, 2001, 12:30 PM
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CWF, Have you considered flying into and out of different cities? It might save you some time. Perhaps fly into Rome and work your way North (Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, CT). I'm not sure which airport is closet to Cinque Terre.

I would say that one night each in San G. and Siena is enough. I would spend at least 2 or 3 nights each in Rome and Florence.
Dec 28th, 2001, 02:01 PM
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Check out www.malvarina.it for a lovely place to stay just outside Assisi. You could use it as a base for your Umbrian portion of the trip.

Buon viaggio
Dec 30th, 2001, 01:51 PM
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Thank you all for your responses. They are extremely helpful. What about staying in Civitavecchia on our last night before going back to Rome? Also, based on some of your comments, the plan is to spend the first 2 nights of our trip (as well as the last night before we fly home the following morning) in Rome. The second 2 nights in Cinque Terre, 2 nights in Florence and the rest spread out among the Tuscan/Umbria area...
Dec 30th, 2001, 11:53 PM
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You've chosen great destinations, and this is doable, but very agressive considering that you've sworn this won't be whirlwind as your Ireland trip. While the Italian autostrade is a dream to drive, compared with Irish roads, the tiny one-way Tuscan/Umbrian hilltown roads require careful manuevering and you can lose alot of time just finding your way in, parking and walking uphill. I think you should make some choices. Mine would be to skip San G., Spello, and Spoleto to reduce your time on the road and have a more thorough visit, abeit one night stays in Siena and Assisi which are both spectacularly interesting. If you find time, I personally think Spoleto is more interesting than Spello. Also, I'd allow three, rather than 2 nights at the beginning in Roma since there is so much to see in this wonderful city and your first day in you'll will be jet lagged. It's easier to spend three consecutive days in Rome than trying to return a rental car and check in for only one night at the end of your trip. I'd spend the last night in Orvieto and book an afternoon flight out of Fiumicino. This way you avoid having to drive into Rome which could be daunting. I don't know Citivecchia but Orvieto is also fascinating.

Have a wonderful trip!
Dec 31st, 2001, 04:42 AM
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I noticed that Vita above suggested in and out of two different airports. Doesn't that sound like a good thing? Into Rome and out of Milan with the CinqueTerre as the last or second to last stop? No?
Dec 31st, 2001, 06:00 AM
the turnip
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This is just my 2 cents but I think you're sending mixed messages. One one hand it seems like you've expereinced the "whirlwind effect" and realize it's drawbacks, but on the other hand you have all these terrific places you want to see. Believe me, I've been there done that. Have you considered trimming a destination?

We went through the same conundrum when planning our Italy trip. For us it came down to this - Do we want to "see" X number of sites or really enjoy a lesser number of destinations. Nobody can really tell you what's best for you. Our experience taught us to see less and enjoy more. Ultimately we trimmed Florence from our list.

We spent 4 days in Rome and felt we had barely scratched the surface. The best lira we spent in Rome was on private guides. We met a young Belgian man named Jasper who provided who provided excellent tours at VERY reasonable costs. His e-mail is [email protected] (and no I'm not affiliated in any way with him).

Some of our "must see's" in Rome include the Forum (without a guide difficult to appreciate), Colluseum, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Cathedral (definately do the walk to the roof - awe inspiring all the way up), the Villa Borghese was a lesser known but incredible visit. Even not being a true sculpture afficianado you could see the genius and beaty of the works there. We also enjoyed all the major fountains.

In Orvieto please eat at least once at Antiquo Bucherro (sp.?). We ate under the stars drinking Orvieto classico and eating wonderful food. It's maybe six blocks from the Church. Just around the corner from there is a wonderful gelato stand. I forget the name but it's only a block from Bucherro and has a green awning. The toursit office has catacomb tours that were very enjoyable. We did a day trip from Orvieto that Rick Steves reccommends to Civitia that was well worth the trip.

Siena was rather touristy but still enjoyable. We had a fabulous dinner at the Cane & Gatto that was a little bit of a splurge but worth every penny/lira.
You may want to try just wandering some of the side and back streets in Siena, away from the toursit hordes to get a little better feel for the town.

No matter what you decide I know you'll love Italy. The food is to die for, the people friendly and it has some sights you simply can't compare. Enjoy!

Cheers, the turnip
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Mar 22nd, 2003 02:57 PM
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