Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Help with Itinerary: Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, & Lake Garda & Venice:

Help with Itinerary: Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, & Lake Garda & Venice:

Mar 2nd, 2006, 10:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Help with Itinerary: Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, & Lake Garda & Venice:

I am trying to help my parents put together their first trip to Italy for this June, 2006. My parents are 58 & 60 years old, fit and well travelled throughout the U.S. We have 14 days to work with which really means 12 when you take two for the trip there and back. They can fly into Rome or Milan from Newark, NJ. My parents want to see the history Rome has to offer but in truth museums are not where they will want to spend most of their time. My dad is a semi professional photographer specifically architecture and landscapes. Based on the destinations I listed in the title, does 12 days seem like enough? A few things that may help, they will most likely rent a car especially for the countryside. Also, they do not drink wine which may be good to know to avoid getting feedback on visiting wineries, probably not their thing. Any advice on a basic itinerary would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Robyn
rbs1175 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:03 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,155
No, 12 days does not seem like enough. Consider that you've chosen 5 destinations. Every time you relocate you will use at least half a day checking in and out of hotels, getting from one city to the next, and just getting oriented. That takes away 2 days from the time you have. Therefore, you'll have two real days in each location--doesn't seem like enough for me, even if you're not using up time inside museums. Not much time for meandering in a car either. Add more time or delete destinations.
ellenem is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:06 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Okay will do...again this is just the beginning, thanks.

Robyn
rbs1175 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:08 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,203
In my opinion (and I've done it myself), people try to cram too much into their initial trip to Italy and end up being so harried that they don't really have a good experience. I would probably cut out the northern part of the trip (Garda and Venice) and spend the 12 days in no more than 3 bases and take day trips from there. You should also plan on no more than 2 towns a day for day trips.
buongiorno is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:13 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 73
What if I suggested to them to take out
Lake Garda & Umbria. Keeping Rome, Tuscany, Venice?????

Robyn
rbs1175 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:14 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,215
Oh, I'd hate to cut Venice. I think your photgrapher-Dad would really enjoy it. I would agree with cutting Lake Gharda and would probably skip Umbria as well.

The "big three" in terms of first trips to Italy are usually Rome, Florence and Venice.
KathrynT is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:14 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,717
Five places are too many for 12 days. I would reduce it to 3 days in four places or 4 days in three places (and I'd prefer the 4-days option).

If architecture and landscapes are your father's interests, then 4 days in Tuscany OR Umbria (the landscapes are somewhat similar but not exactly the same) and 4 days each in Rome and Venice would be a reasonable suggestion, I think.

In Tuscany, your father can choose between the Chianti region (Radda, Greve, etc.) or the more interesting - in my opinion - area south of Siena, including Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza. San Gimignano is very picturesque, if a little away from the other hill towns mentioned. And the Abbey of Sant'Antimo near Montalcino is a jewel set in a beautiful landscape.

Umbria has some lovely hill towns and landscapes as well. The first ones that I would consider would be Assisi, Spello (a tiny little jewel almost untouched by time), Bevagna and Montefalco.

Rome has predominantly early Christian and Baroque architecture in addition to the ancient ruins, while Venice has a wide range of architecture from the Byzantine through to the Baroque in addition, of course, to its unique setting.

And it would be best if they could fly open-jaw, into Rome and, if possible with a connection, out of Venice. Out of Milan would be the second option. Open-jaw only costs a few pennies more, if anything at all, and it saves a lot of backtracking.
Eloise is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:21 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 950
I agree with the other posters that your prelim itinerary is too much for 12 days.

I am a serious amateur photographer so I would suggest your parents stick with the Big three: Rome, Florence,Venice or Rome, Florence, Tuscany. No more than three locations otherwise they will be spending their traveling from one place to another without seeing anything.

I have not yet been to Florence but there is so much to photograph in Rome, Tuscany or Venice. The landscape photos will be in Tuscany while architecture will be found in Rome and Venice.
grosenb is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:22 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Thank you for your responses, I am going to forward this info to them tonight. I agree I think they are TOO excited meaning they want to see it all. I don't blame them really. I like the ideas you have given and think starting in Rome...moving towards Tuscany spending the bulk of their trip here visiting different towns/cities including Florence and then ending with a few days in Venice would be perfect. Thanks.
rbs1175 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:09 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 57
I suggest your parents take a day from their Venice stay to explore Palladio's villas. Anyone with an interest in architecture will find them fascinating. And the photo opportunities will be great!
rine1967 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:28 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
If your father wants to take pictures of architecture, I vote for Venice. I would definitely take out Lago di Garda, a place I really enjoy, but which really doesn't make sense on this trip, logistically or in terms of their interests.

I was unimpressed by the Umbrian landscape, so what I would suggest is that you divide the time between Venice and Rome, and from Rome, take one day trip to Orvieto or -- to be extremely daring -- Pitigliano. You can find pictures of it on the web.

There are a couple of Etruscan towns and ruins in Southern Tuscany, in the general area of Maremma, that would probably be wildly exciting for your camera-pointing Dad and would make for some original photographs. Every square inch of Venice has been photographed, but these places are fantastic and not well documented.

You might ask this specific question on the Slow Travel website: "What are some highly photogenic places that are a day trip from Rome?" because they have one or two regular posters who live in Southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, some of whom are artists.

What does your mom want to do?

(By the way, my husband and I are only a few years younger than your parents and we travel exactly as we did when we were in our 20s -- actually, maybe even a little faster.


nessundorma is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:18 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
Your Dad sounds like me seeking photo ops. You may want to direct him to my Bella Italia photo gallery at slowtrav.com. I would pick one of these itinerires:
Rome--Tuscany--Venice
Lago Como--Tuscany--Venice
Venice---Lago Garda/Dolomites--Tuscany

Good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:58 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
Bob,

I tried finding pictures of Garda and the Dolomites on your site but didn't find anyway. Can you link specifically to those? I'm interested in specific areas for photo ops?

I also have to say that looking at your site reminded me how very photogenic Liguria is?

And why not Southern Tuscany, especially with a car (someplace like Massa Maritima?)

cheers
nessundorma is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:22 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Generally spoken, I agree with nessundorma: divide their time between Rome and Venice, and allow for a few escapes to the countryside. I strongly disagree, however, about the Umbrian landscape. IMO, it has no equal in the Italian inland. The bigger part of it is very similar to Tuscany, so who has remained unimpressed with Umbria's landscape, will remain unimpressed as well with Tuscany's. Umbria is just slightly more alpine and less man-made than the Tuscan landscape. But to the east of Umbria, the landscape is rising to what cannot be described other than great. High mountains there, but softly shaped, not rugged; and three plateaus in between that are unique in Europe - you're almost feeling in Anatolia there: the Piano Grande (as the most beautiful and important), Piano Piccolo and (just across the border to the Marche region) Piano Perduto, all of them boasting luscious green of weeds and - lentils! Europe's most famous and most delicious lentils are being grown there. Apart from the lentils, the plateaus are EMPTY. No house, no hut (strictly forbidden to build anything there!), no tree. On the one and only steep rock around, in the middle between the three plateaus, there is Castelluccio, a tiny mountain village haunted by the cold winds, a weather-beaten place somehow out of earth, a bit like on the moon. For a photographer with a car, this is certainly one of the most exciting experiences in Italy. And by the way, Castelluccio's "first restaurant", the Taverna Castelluccio (an extremely basic and simple rustic inn) has one of the best cuisines all over Italy. Some of Italy's most famous cooks could well be apprentice boys there...
franco is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:51 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
Ah well -- if we are talking the Piano Grande, no problema! I totally agree. It is glorious, as is a trip down from Castellucio to a place like Vissa, through the forests.

I was referring to the vast plain basically ringed by Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, etc. You may be very right that he or she who is unimpressed by the landcapes of Umbria is unimpressed by those of Tuscany. Apart from visiting Firenze, Pisa and Siena and a very wild, undeveloped and hilly part of Maremma (near Marciano/Grosetto), I've never "done" Tuscany, especially not the "under the Tuscan sun" part of it. I have nothing against it. Just haven't gotten around to it. But telling me it looks like Umbria doesn't help! (Unless of course, we are talking the Piano Grande, which is as magnificent as sight as the Grand Canyon or the Alps).

But we agree that the best of Umbria doesn't quite fit into rbs's needs.

nessundorma is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:59 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Yes... unless they go from Rome to Venice by car, then the Piano Grande would be quite fitting - it's not the worst thing to spend one night or so in Castelluccio on your way from Rome to Venice. Ah yes, Robyn, should you really be planning Castelluccio, book accomodations early - or more precisely, book it now! Accomodation is scarce there, and as it is an important place for passionate hang-gliders (of all people in the world), the few rooms are going to be booked soon.
franco is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 10:05 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
How would you do that trip? The leg from Rome to the Piano Grande is how many hours?

And from Castelluchio to Venice is --- ?

I wouldn't want to try it all in one day, so maybe an overnight in the countryside around Spoleto?

Then a night in Castellucio?

Then what?

Once you get into the mountains it can be very slow driving, although if the plan is 4 days Rome, 4 days Venice, that leaves 4 days to travel, which should be plenty.


nessundorma is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
For people who have never seen the Piano Grande, here are some photos (not mine):

http://dptpch.slide.com/c/Piano+Grande

As beautiful as it is, I still think it is way too far out of the way in a remote area, and that hovering around Southernmost Tuscany is rich in photo ops and more relaxing than trying to fit in another destination remote from either Venice or Rome.
nessundorma is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 10:19 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
No - from Rome to Castelluccio, you should easily make it in four hours! No intermediate overnight needed at all. It's only 180 or 200 kilometres, depending on the route you choose - just have a look on www.mappy.com. (I admit that I'm quite certain to make it in three hours, but I know most of the route quite well.) But allow one hour to leave Rome, which is not too much; then I'd not do Rieti, though it maybe slightly faster, but not as beautiful - so allow one more hour to reach Terni and one and a half or two to reach Castelluccio, which is all abundant!
Castelluccio to Venice is 526 kilometres, one and a half hours of which on smaller, partly mountainous streets, the rest is about highways... so allow five and a half hours. Not that terrible, is it?
franco is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:43 AM.