Help with Italy Itinerary

Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Help with Italy Itinerary

I'm new...and need serious help!

My husband and I along with another couple are going to Italy July 5-15. We want to see some memorable sites while also enjoying relaxing adult time, as in life before children.

We arrive in Rome the morning of the 6th and have a hotel for that night. We plan to see as many sites in Rome/Vatacin City as we can on the 6th and 7th and then head north the night of the 7th. From here we're wide open!!! We need a place to stay on the night of the 7th and beyond!!! We know we want to do Florence, Venice, Milan, Tuscany and spend the last couple days relaxing on a beach somewhere on the Italian Riviera. We'd love suggestions for ANYTHING! Hotels, restaurants, where to go first, how to fit it all in, etc. We know to use the railway and we're thinking daytrips would be best, but that's about it. We obviously are not on the ball, as most people on this site are planning 6 months in advance. Unfortunately, it just did'nt work out that way and now I seek your advice. I'm hoping experienced "fodorites" can guide me to quaint & unique spots that wouldn't already be overrun.

Thanks so much. I've learned so much just from reading all the posts over the past couple of days from currency conversion rates and fees on credit cards to tipping etiqutte.

This is FABULOUS
walkerml is offline  
Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 09:16 PM
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Waalkerml, if you will go to all these places in 10 days, you will see nothing, but you will speend the time by trains and to pack / unpack. Italy is beautiful and has A LOT to visit in each city.
Rachel is right 100 %. First time when we were in Italy, we spent 7 days in Rome (including 1 day tour to Capri) and 7 to Florence (including 1/2 day to Pisa and 1 day to Venice).
We felt that it would be great to add at least one more day for Rome.

So, I suggest you, for a short visit, Rome, Florence and Venice. Nothing more.

Have a beautiful time!
valtor is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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ira
 
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Hi W,

What you have described is an expedition, not a vacation.

If you already have RT tickets for Rome,
I suggest that you immediately train to Venice for 3 days, Train to Florence for 3 days and then return to Rome.

ira is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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With 10 days -- here's a do-able itinerary, and one where you won't be running around so much it'll feel like a whirlwind.

Arrive Rome July 6, stay there the nights of 6, 7, 8, 9. One full day should be dedicated to seeing the Vatican City, 3 others is my minimum for seeing Rome -- there is much to see and do, from the Pantheon, walking among the ruins of the Forum and Palatine Hill, the Colisseum, Trevi Foutain, St. Peter in Chains church, Capitol Hill museum...much to see!

Leave for Florence on the 10th -- 1.5 hour train ride north. Stay there 2 nights minimum -- you can leave on the 10th in the afternoon (for more Rome sightseeing time), or leave earlier and see a little bit more of Florence in the afternoon. See The Duomo (climb it, it's well worth it), the bridge, the Accademia, Uffizi galleries for Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo specialties, including the statue of David, and Bottacelli's Birth of Venus.

On the 12th, take the train to Venice. Spend 2 nights there. See St. Marks, etc. the canals, get lost, doges palace, all that. It's a love/hate thing about Venice, particularly in July when it will be hot and crowded.

On the 14th or 15th, depending on where you want to fly out, either get yourself back to Rome or fly out.

I strongly suggest you get a copy of Rick Steves Italy 2005 book at your local bookstore or Amazon.com, he has lovely itineraries based on the # of days available, and can really help you and your friends pinpoint what you want to do.

Happy Travels.

Jules
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Trying to cram Rome, Florence/Tuscany, Venice, and the Riviera into 10 days will cause you to see everything and nothing simultaneously. You'll see everything -- at least for a few seconds here and a few seconds there -- because you will have gone everywhere. But because you will have gone everywhere, there will be little time to delve into the places you visit, causing you to see nothing.

Pick two of the Big Three (Rome, Florence, Venice). With 8 days [travel days of 7/5, 7/6, and 7/15], you'll only have time to do two of the Three. Visit the third of the Three on your next trip to Italy.

I'm assuming that you've already made plane reservations and are flying roundtrip to Rome, given that you're leaving only a month from now. I would do Rome 4 nights, Florence/Tuscany OR Venice 3 nights, Rome for 1 night more for your plane home. If you haven't made reservations yet or aren't flying roundtrip from Rome, this schedule can be much more flexible.
tdyls is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Did somebody say relaxing? People say I try to pack too much in, but I got tired just looking at your schedule.

Slow down and enjoy fewer places for longer periods of time.
degas is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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I agree that you can't fit it all in. Talk amongst yourselves and decide WHY you want to "do" Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Tuscany AND the Italian Riviera. It sound like you're sure you want some relaxing time, so figure out what else are the "musts." For example, it may turn out that you love people-watching but most of you aren't into art; then you can go light on places like the Uffizi, and make sure you have plenty of time - in any city - for sitting in cafes. Or you may decide you really love Italian wine, and want to visit Italian vineyards. In that case, you may drop a couple of cities, and instead fit in time in rural Tuscany.

Re the Italian Riviera, the only part I've visited is the Cinque Terre, which I love, but it might not be the kind of experience you have in mind (i.e., it's not like the beaches in Florida). And it's quite far from your other destinations. Are you sure you want to devote more than 1/2 day to get to the Italian Riviera? Depending on the kind of relaxing your group likes to do, you may find that sitting on the edge of a vineyard in Tuscany, glass of wine in hand, is the kind of relaxation that will work for you on this trip.

Also, unless you're flying out of Milan, I'd skip it for this trip (unless you all, as a group, end up having it on your must-see list); while there's much to see there, the city isn't in the same class as the others, for most people.

Lastly, assuming you're flying from the U.S., your first day (the 6th) in Rome will be somewhat jetlagged, so your memories of whatever you do that day will be a bit foggy. And don't plan anything sedentary for that day!
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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I just got back from Rome and it was packed. You're going in July, so it's going to be even more crowded. I would avoid Rome.

Get off the plane and go right to Tuscany. You will get the best of both worlds. You will be able to spend a lot of time in Florence, see amazing drives and other cities like Sienna, and if you want to spend time relaxing, how abuot relaxing somewhere in Tuscany? It's beautiful.

You don't want to be going to all the places you have designated because of the entire days you will give up to traveling.

And I'm a guy who likes to keep going going going when I travel, but I like to see things and cities, not sit on a train.

Myles
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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As far as I can see, or decipher, CLUSO's comments were not in the least helpful. You are not going at the worst time of year, you are going when you are going, there are pros and cons to every time of year. Yes, some of the countryside and beaches will be very crowded. The advice above that I hope you DO take is to concentrate on at most 3 locations (two would be better), you haven't time for more than that and all you will remember is the traveling, packing, and unpacking. Getting from one city to another, even those that are pretty close to one another, takes up at least half a day.

If you must have beach, spend half your time in Rome and the other half somewhere on the Amalfi Coast or Capri, since it sounds like you have to get back to Rome to fly home.
One one of the days in Rome, you can daytrip to Florence if you like.

Alternatively, pick two among Rome, Florence, or Venice, but that won't include any beach time.

Even if you are young and full of energy, you just won't see that much in Rome on your first day (or you won't remember it) and allowing just two days for Rome I think is a mistake.
Rome is a large demanding city, it takes a few days to calm down and appreciate it.

On my first trip to Italy I went to Florence and Venice only; in fact, I didn't get to Rome until my third visit to Italy, and then I devoted 5+ days to it and didn't see everything I wanted to see. Even if you only want a taste of Rome, working in more than 2 other destinations is just not worth it imo.
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Old Jun 5th, 2005, 03:03 AM
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We just got back from Italy a few days ago. We had 10 nights, plus travel days--it was our last big trip before kiddos as well. An additional similarity is that we planned this trip in about 5 weeks! It can be done
We spent 3 nights in Florence, 4 in rural Tuscany, and 3 in Rome in that order flying in and out of Rome. I thought it was a great itinerary giving a taste of different types of Italy--keeping busy without running around crazy. I could not imagine trying to cram in more sights in less days. Additionally every time you travel to a new destination it will take at least 1/2 a day.

Most people choose Venice instead of Tuscany, but we wanted a non-urban experience. You guys should think about what you want...What's "best"
is totally relative.

I haven't quite finished up my trip report, but you might want to check it out as well as reading others on this board.
Don't worry about restaurants yet...or maybe not at all. For cities you want to visit do a search on this board for hotels and the city name, you will get lots of ideas. You can also check hotel reviews and look for ideas on tripadvisor.com
Good luck.

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Old Jun 5th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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With 10 nites pick 3 destinations. I like Marci's approach for a first visit. It takes 6 weeks to see Italy--you will return.
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Old Jun 5th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Topping the good advice of others. I agree 3 cities, and 2 regions, is hardly possible in 10 days time!

Remember your 1st & last day are given over to airport arrival/departure. Don't forget to allow for jet lag (if you're coming from US or Canada). And as already mentioned 1/2 day each time you check out of hotel, travel to new city, check into hotel.

I am not a big "planner" so I don't see that as a problem. You can play it by ear. But I would suggest you cut your ideal itinerary back right now, and pick 2 to 3 places max.
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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you can do Rome in a few days, train to Florence and then on to Venice esp if you travel at night. you can tough it out the first day (my son fell asleep in his lasagna after he ate it). we did Rome - Venice and could have stopped off in Florence. there's time in 10 days. u will enjoy what u see. plan efficient walking tours of Rome (it doesnt take a day to do the Vatican unless you want to). you can see St Peters and the Sistine Chapel in a day, as well as Castle Sant Angelo, and even Piazza Navona and the Pantheon or Piazza Di Spagna if you go that way. u can go through the Coliseum, forum, museums, and back to Piazza Navona all in a day. recommend a nice restaurant on a barge in the Tiber due west of St Peter's. amazing and fun. recommend Hotel Florida in Venice (very inexp and near train station). leave something to come back to Italy for -- like Florence. 3 days in Rome is plenty for your first visit. Use Fodor's pocket guide (the ones with the maps) and you'll have a ball. enjoy the food. stay away from the tourist areas - go a few blocks away from any major tourist attraction then eat. the food and wine are amazing. the best pizza was in an alley near the Trevi fountain and the BEST meal was on the train to Venice. dont forget to reserve seats on the train or you might stand all the way -- unless you get into the dining car ahead of the rush or take a sleeper overnight. ciao and bon voyage
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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make that due East of St. Peter's (worked too long today). the restaurant is on a barge. mentioned in several guidebooks like Let's Go Rome. down the steps from street level. enjoy.
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Old Jun 12th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the great advice. We have decided to narrow it down to three cities (Rome, Florence, Rapallo). We really wanted some "beach/sun" time and we got the best rates in Rapallo. You guys are right, we will be back, so we're not going to pack in Venice & Tuscany this time around. I'll be sure to write about our adventures.
THANKS!!!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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Enjoy your visit, W.
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