First trip to Italy --- where to go?

Feb 18th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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First trip to Italy --- where to go?

Hi All. I'm considering a one-week trip to Italy in mid-October. Seems like there's so many great places to go in Italy, I wanted advice on where to start. Rome would be the obvious choice, but I'm also interested in Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and Florence. I love great food, exploring cities/towns, architecture, art and people watching. Where's the best spot for all this?
mar_76 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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My personal belief is that for one week, your best itinerary for a first trip to Italy is 3 nights Rome, 2 night Florence, 2 nights Venice. Others will say to stick to just one. But the transportation between those three cities is so easy by train, no car is necessary, and you will get a great taste of three varied samples of Italy. And of course, it is more ideal if you can open-jaw it -- fly into Rome and out of Venice.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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With only a week my suggestion narrowing your time down to two cities, but some people prefer to see more in that time. I suppose Rome, Florence and Venice would be possible in a week, but it would be too rushed for my personal preference.

We did a ten day trip to Florence and Venice and thoroughly enjoyed it. We are planning Rome for another time when we can spend at least five days there since there is so much to see. You could also do a day trip from Florence and/or Venice in order to see some smaller towns.

Florence and Venice are more compact and you can get around easily, so that's my suggestion, but I'm sure you will find many more great ideas here.

Good luck in your planning!
Statia is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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rome doesn't have to be the obvious choice.
like statia, our first trip to italy was florence and venice with a couple of daytrips from florence. even in the fall they were pretty crowded, but not terribly, and the weather was nice. they are small cities, and walking cities and everything you want to see that i can think of can be reached on foot.
rome is very large and noisy (traffic and motorcycles) and the buses can be very slow due to the traffic, and the subway stops at only a few places. it's an exciting city with a lot to enjoy, but i can't see squeezing it into just 3 days. so if you want to go to rome, maybe choose just rome, or rome plus one other town.
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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I think it is also fair to ask what your budget is. Venice can, on the norm, be extremely expesive. For art try Florence and then maybe easy bus trips to Siena and, my favorite, Luca. The Hotel City in Florence puts you away from traffic, within close walking distance to the Duomo, Battistero, Uffizi, and Accademia. It is also very cost effective 3 star. MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE TO ASK FOR SOMEONE TO MAKE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS TO THE MUSEUMS FOR YOU!!! Guido at the desk of the City wil be glad to arrange when you call to reserve. To fail to do this is to risk a day of lines.
roundabout is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:06 PM
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No one has mentioned it explicitly yet, but I would suggest that you omit the Amalfi Coast on this trip; it is no longer at its best in mid-October.
Eloise is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Thanks all. I don't have a budget yet, but at this point, am not determining location based on price. Thanks for the tip about Amalfi coast. I've read some mixed reviews about Florence -- is it really so crowded as to ruin it? Also, is one week too long to spend all in Rome? I realize that of course it's not, but not knowing when I'll go back to Italy, will I regret not seeing more of it?
mar_76 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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It takes 6 weeks to make a good dent in Italia. In one week, I would do Rome and Florencea and enjoy it.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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I also would suggest Rome and Florence.

Florence always seems more crowded than Rome because it is smaller, the streets are narrower (although there are very many narrow streets in Rome as well), and the heavy stone palazzi seem more oppressive than the somewhat later and lighter architecture of Rome.

September is still high season in Florence; by mid-October, the crowds may have thinned a little. I would suggest that you try to find accommodation that takes you away a little from the crowds. The Oltrarno (or "other side" of Florence from the Duomo etc.) is a possibility; many points of interest are still within walking distance and there are a number of pleasant restaurants in the area.
Eloise is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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My slightly contrarian opinion is here - -

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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My husband and I did Florence, Positano, and Rome all within 8 nights! Florence is very artsy and small, so the city itself can be explored within a day or two. If you want to see the small towns outside of Florence, as well as Tuscany, you will need more time.

Rome and the Amalfi coast are close - only two hours via train. You can't miss Rome!! It was wonderful and I would suggest at least three nights there. It has beauty, from architecture to people! So much to do, you will not be disappointed!

Postitano is a small, beautiful resort town and is accessible from Naples by a train/bus and takes around 2 hours. From Positano you can visit Pompeii for a day trip - very neat, plus other towns live Ravello and Sorrento!

I would suggest either Venice/Florence OR Rome/Amalfi - or you can do like us and hit three of them, but leaving little time to rest Feel free to email me and I can show you pictures from our trip - [email protected]
jend is offline  
Feb 19th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Pick any two of the four places you want to see. See those two. Save the other two for your next trip to Italy.

My recommendation for your trip would be to see Florence and Rome, flying into Florence and out of Rome. Trying to see more than two cities in one week will likely decrease your enjoyment of the trip because you'd always be on the move. Two cities in 7 days gives you at least one day in one city to do absolutely nothing but sit in a piazza all day and watch the world go by.
tdyls is offline  
Feb 19th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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I too wouldn't normally recommend a whole lot of travel during a one week trip, but an hour and a half one day, and three hours another in a whole week? That's hardly what I'd call "always being on the move"!
By the way, with only and hour and half from Rome to Florence, I still maintain that you can arrive easily mid morning in Florence, spend all that afternoon and night, and all morning the next day and do some "justice" to the art that is the main reason for going to Florence. That is a nice bonus "break" between three nights each in Rome and Venice, or even four in Rome and two in Venice. I don't think this is rushing too much at all!
Patrick is offline  
Feb 19th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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I am with Patrick on this one. The big three of Italy are the big three for a reason. Would open jaw it and spend 3 to 4 days in Rome, a day in Florence (not monday and not staying over) on the way to Venice, and the rest in Venice.
mjs is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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I took a week trip with 2 girlfriends and we did Rome and Venice. I absolutely love Venice and would suggest it. Rome was good too, but it reminded me alot of NYC. It is weird to be standing at the Spanish Steps and seeing MacDonalds. Rome is great for this history and the Vatican, but to Venice was by far prettier. We rent an appartment from which was great. I can not wait to go back and Venice and Florence this time.
xosharonox is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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The best way to see and enjoy as many sights as possible in one week is without a doubt with a small organized tour company. Stay in one central location and visit the surrounding towns with an "expert". Enjoy and relax your one week vacation!
frostycp is offline  
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