Help us plan Italy 3 weeks!


May 11th, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Help us plan Italy 3 weeks!

My husband and I are going in September to celebrate our birthdays. So far, we fly to Venice arriving Sept 6 in the afternoon, leave from Rome Sept 28th. We travel light with carry-on bags only and are easily able to change hotels and locations, having done so recently in Thailand and Greece. We're hoping to see the main sights, of course. And... we are outdoorsy and active - want to hike and bike and spend time near water. Here's a tentative plan and would so appreciate feedback and hints on transportation...

Venice 2-3 nights, train to Cinque Terra
CT - 2-3 nights, train to Florence
Florence 3 nights, rent a car on day 3, drive to Tuscany
Tuscany, 5-7 nights, return car, train to Rome
Rome 3-4 nights, train to Amalfi (or... Sardinia has been recommended vs Amalfi???)
Amalfi coast 3-4 nights
last night Rome for 6am flight back.

That is 6 hotel changes, 1 less than we did in Thailand.
Please send any ideas, critiques, helpful hints, hotel recommendations for low to mid budget.
This is hubby's 6-0 birthday so want it to be memorable for him. By the way, neither of us have been to Italy...
thank you! changemaven
changemaven is offline  
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May 11th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthdays, changemaven.
One thought, when you leave Tuscany and take the train to Rome you might consider continuing on to the Amalfi Coast and than go back to Rome for the last days before you fly home. Sardinia is wonderful but with 3 or 4 nights personally I would be inclined to visit the Amalfi Coast.
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May 11th, 2010, 08:24 AM
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That's probably a good idea... we thought it might be more relaxing to end near the water vs the city. We're open to either... thanks for taking the time to reply.
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May 11th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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"we thought it might be more relaxing to end near the water vs the city"

Except then on your next-to-the-last day you will have to pick up and relocate to Rome for a brief one-night stay. For me this would be less relaxing than having an extended stay in Rome of 4-5 nights when you put them all together at the end of your trip. This gives plenty of time for touring, but also plenty of time to slow down and relax, even as you visit a vibrant city. For me, fewer hotel changes = more relaxing.

You decide what would be more relaxing for you.
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May 11th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Start from north-east.
Cortina d'Ampezzo (Dolomites) 2 nights
Venice : 3 nights
Florence 3 nighs
Siena and Chianti region (Pitigliano or Capalbio) : 2 nights
Umbria region (Assisi, Todi, Spoleto) 2 nights
Rome : 3 nights
Sorrento and Capri : 3 nights
Salento (Lecce and Gallipoli) : 3 nights OR Eolie islands : 3 nights OR Sardinia shores (Costa Smeralda or else)
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May 11th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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I like your original plan but agree that ending in Rome makes sense as the flights home leave early and you'd have to spend your last day there in any case.
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May 11th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Do Rome last.
Drive to Sorrento to drop the car.
Train Venice to Florence, then the CT, and get your car as you leave the CT.
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May 11th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Were it me, I would want at least ONE destination to be a beautiful place that isn't dominated by foreign tourists, but Italians instead. Some ways to fit that into your existing itinerary:

You could consider hiking in the Portofino Promontory instead of le Cinque Terre, which would mean staying in either Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure. Both are lovely towns, and you can visit le Cinque Terre in a day trip from them.

During your 5-7 days in Tuscany, you could deliberately spend one or two of the days not following a guidebook or internet suggestions and just striking out on your own.

Although the coastal resorts of Sardinia are developed for international tourism, you can rent a car and head into the interior and find something unique.

Every region of Italy has incredibly beautiful things to see. Only 15 percent of it is famous and the stomping grounds of mass tourism. Don't be afraid to leave big blanks in your itinerary. But if you want to see the guidebook tour, don't let me stop you!

PS: Beware on the internet that some people who tell you go one place over an another have never been to the place they are telling you not to go to!
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May 11th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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what about Sicily? I lived there for 2 months and I think it's the best place in Italy you can ever visit. Sicily is totally different from other European parts! It's something like Mexico or Peru in Europe

More about european places here:
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May 12th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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These are great suggestions! Thank you everyone for chiming in.
I'll look into hiking Promontory... where would you suggest we stay if we hiked there? Probably wise to skip Sardinia this time. Down time is something we usually forget to do but need it! Thanks for hitting me over the head and remind me to plan for some!

Can someone clarify best connections for train travel - from maps it looked easier to go Venice to Milan to Cinque Terre. bobthenavigator suggested Venice to Florence, then Cinque Terre... is that a better route?

Thanks everyone...
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May 13th, 2010, 08:31 PM
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One more question... it was suggested we go Venice to Florence/Tuscany, then travel to Cinque Terre. Instead of Venice to CQ, then Florence/Tuscany. I'm wondering why that suggestion was made? Are the trains easier? From there we'd go to southern/Sorrento so wouldn't it me longer on that route from CT to Amalfi area?

I hope someone can clarify what the differences are re travel. I've been trying to figure out the train schedules either way with no luck. I see one train a day Venice to Milan and one to Florence. That doesn't seem right.

If anyone has some insights... would appreciate your wisdom.
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May 13th, 2010, 09:40 PM
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The schedules are not loaded yet for September. Just use dates for next week to see a good representations of what the schedule will be in September.

Since Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast will be similar experiences, I would put Florence/Tuscany between the two.
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May 28th, 2010, 09:54 PM
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Sounds great. Just returned 5/25 from 3 weeks in Italy (Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre). Flew out of Milan.
Rented a car for 5 days in Tuscany and dropped it off in Rapallo.
My only suggestion is rent the car at the the Florence airport and get their GPS. It was worth the cab drive from our hotel to airport. I would have hated driving in Florence or Rome unless u had nerves of steel!! The regular drivers drive like NYC taxi drivers and the taxi drivers drive like NASCAR racers.

Driving in Tuscany is a breeze. We stayed in Volterra and did day trips to SIena, Assisi and San Gimignano.
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