How Best to spend 13 days in Italy

Old May 22nd, 2017, 09:20 AM
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How Best to spend 13 days in Italy

My wife and I are traveling to Italy for our 25th. We will be there from August 28 - September 10 (13 full days in country). I am roughing out the timing of the trip and would love some help allocating days.

Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Aug 28 - Sept 1: Rome - 4 full days (leave by train in afternoon to Cinque Terre)
Sept 1 - Sept 4 Cinque Terre - 2 full days (leave in the morning to Florence)
Sept 4 - Sept 7 Florence and day trip to Tuscany- 2 + full days (leave mid-day to Venice)
Sept 7 - Sept 9 Venice - approx. 2 days (leave late afternoon back to Rome
Sept 10 Return home

The question I have is whether we are devoting too much or little time to any of these places.

I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have

Steve
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 09:45 AM
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This doesn't really give you much time in any place. It's a lot of travelling around. You might, however, like that pace but do consider how much time you'll lose going from one place to another.

Can you fly home from Venice instead of backtracking to Rome?
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 09:58 AM
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kalnalcl,

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, the air is booked and can't be changed without paying more than the original tickets cost. We do prefer not to rush but were hoping to have a little time away from the hustle and bustle of the more heavily-traveled locales. On a previous trip we hit Positano, in addition to these other cities, and thought Cinque Terre would be a good alternative.

We do really want to see Rome and Florence with some detail and we enjoyed Venice but felt we didn't get to see if very well.

If we try to cut down to 3 destinations, would you forego Cinque Terre or Venice?

If we remove one of those, where would you add time? I'm thinking maybe we could spend more time in Florence and Tuscany.

Thanks again for your input.

Steve
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 10:08 AM
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The amount of time you distribute to those cities is the minimum that they deserve - 2+ full day is barely enough for Florence, let alone Tuscany region. And that's a big region. Similarly, 2 days for Venice is rush.

Only you can decide between Venice and Cinq Terre. If you cut out one of these two, add time to Tuscany.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 10:19 AM
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I'd cut Cinque Terre over Venice - CT will still be totally mobbed then and is a detour from your itinerary - anyway trains are great - book long-distance trains far in advance for sweet discounts- www.trenitalia.com is the official site of Italian railways- book your own but way in advance to get limited-in-number discounts - much cheaper than walk-up fares. For lots of info on Italian trains check www.seat61.com- expertise on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Cut CT add a day to Florence and Venice - in Venice do a boat ride across the lagoon to some farther out islands like Torcello and Burano.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 10:28 AM
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I wouldn't go to the Cinque Terre unless you go for the hiking. If you hike on the high trails, that would get you out of the tiny villages during the hours when they are totally overwhelmed by day trippers in high season. September is the very height of high season.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 12:47 PM
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Italy offers a very rich VARIETY of profound experiences. While it is true that seeing an ancient ruin of the Roman or Catholic empire is enlightening, it is also true that -- given what the world has become -- it is also a profound experience to see a fishing village that has kept its integrity, its food, its social bond in a world of cheap commercialism and the pursuit of individualism and private wealth.

When you don't have months to spend exploring Italy, it can help if you identify what you really, really, really want to learn or experience and take home with you by visiting Italy. If you most want to glimpse the extraordinaryy accomplishments and history of the Italian people, that is one kind of trip -- and you should take it. If what you most want to experience is how the Italians made the most of a gorgeous landscape to create & preserve centers of fabulous food & community against daunting odds, that is one other kind of trip.

Think about what sparks your interest, what you value, what you want to take home from Italy, even if only to relax and enjoy life as Italians do. Then it becomes easier to make a list of what is a very personal "must-do" (not what other people pressure you to do).
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 01:05 PM
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If going to Florence, go there straight away on arrival, so you do not have 2 hotel stays in Rome. So order of trip with suggested time. Keep in mind, you will use a couple of days for travel.

Florence (4 nights, 3 days)
Next place or more time Florence and Venice
Venice (3 nights, 2 days) would also add a day for
Rome (5 nights, 4 days)

Personal Rec would be more time around Florence, staying in Florence for a couple of days, plus somewhere outside Florence for a couple of days, and another day in Venice for a day trip.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 04:07 PM
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Ditto the other advice you've received. Cut Cinque Terre out of the tour. Why not go straight from Rome to Venice, visit Umbria (Assisi), then Florence, and finally back to Rome for your last night.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 06:39 PM
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You can't have back-to-back "full days" in two different destinations when you're going to be spending upwards of half a day traveling between them.

If you want to spend 4 full days in Rome, you need to stay there for 5 nights.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 09:40 AM
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Thank you for the responses. Unfortunately, our flights are locked in so we do need to fly in and out of Rome. Sassafrass mentioned going straight to Florence and do Rome last to avoid 2 hotel stays in Rome but because we fly out at 9:30 am on the 10th, I thought it was a good idea to stay that night near the airport. Based on your comments, I'm now thinking about the following:

Aug 28 - Sept 2: Rome - 5 full days (we arrive at 7:30 .m. on the 28th)(leave in morning to Venice)

Sept 2 - Sept 5 Venice - 2 full days (leave in the morning to Florence)

Sept 5 - Sept 9 Florence and Tuscany- 4 + full days (leave after 8 in evening to Rome, close to airport)
Sept 10 Return home

The question I have is would this give us enough time to see (i) Florence and spend a day in Tuscany, and (ii) Venice. Would you recommend taking a day from Rome and devoting it to one of the other places?

Thank you again for your assistance!

Steve
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 11:19 AM
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Steve--I think the times in your last post are about right.

Although you could easily spend lots more time everywhere, your allocation gives the right emphasis, IMO.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 11:20 AM
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The question I have is would this give us enough time to see (i) Florence and spend a day in Tuscany, and (ii) Venice.>

To me yes - 2.5 days in Florence is enough to see the main sights - neatly clustered together in the compact town center mainly - though you may want to trek up to Fiesole for the view (short bus ride from town) and stellar Roman ruins and of course the Piazza Michelangelo for the view - just a bit out of town center.

Venice - 2 full days + half a day should be enough for the average person - oh one could spend days and weeks in each place but for me your schedule is fine.

I may do a day trip from Rome if find I've seen enough - like to nearby Ostia Antica (Rome's ancient port - ruins rivaling Pompeii to me and many - short metro ride out of town) or Tivoli for the villa d'Este's famous playing water fountains and Hadrian's Villa - again to me as enjoyable as Pompeii in its own way. Or to Viterbo - a classic hill town not that far be train or Orvieto much the same.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 03:07 PM
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Thank you to all of you! I'm going with this schedule and am pretty excited about it!
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Old May 25th, 2017, 07:42 AM
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Having an early departure time doesn't negate putting the Rome days at the end of your trip. You could spend your last full day in Rome, have a good dinner and take a taxi to the airport hotel. (Picking up en route your bags that you stashed at your hotel after checking out.)

I'd be inclined to go to Venice first, from Fiumicino, then work your way south. If you're arriving after a long, overnight flight, Venice is a good place to get over jet-lag: quieter, slower, no car/truck traffic. And taking the train to the far point of your itinerary is a good use of that first sleepy, jet-lagged day.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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I'd suggest dropping a day off Rome and adding one to Tuscany; the hill cities are drives apart and deserve exploring -- Lucca, Sienna, being two faves. Rome and Venice and walkable and compact; have not yet been to C.T.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 08:44 AM
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Your departure is not that early, so I would still put Rome at the end, and stay in Rome the last night, just not worth the hassle of changing hotels and what little time you would save in the morning, plus it is wonderful to have your last night walking around Rome.

I suggested Florence before Venice because after a long flight, it is a shorter train time to Florence and once in Florence, Santa Maria Station is basically so central that a taxi can be had right there, and to almost any hotel is only a five or ten minute ride. However, you will arrive early enough that arriving in Venice will be OK too, just a bit more effort to deal with taking a vaporetto than a taxi, but you can rest and nap on the train, so either Florence or Venice works fine to start.

There are so many other wonderful places to see in Tuscany that I would not take time to go up to Fiesole unless you have lots of extra time and the weather is so perfect you have an absolutely clear sky with no haze.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 10:18 AM
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I would not take time to go up to Fiesole unless you have lots of extra time and the weather is so perfect you have an absolutely clear sky with no haze.>

I agree with only two days in Florence you will have enough to see in the city itself.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 01:30 PM
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; the hill cities are drives apart and deserve exploring -- Lucca, Sienna, being two faves.>

Of course Lucca is totally flat -not your iconic hill town but a marvelous old walled town with an inordinate number of medieval towers where the rich once fled the rabble and plague raging down below.

Siena is a classic hill town though much larger than many - San Gimignano near it is a smaller hill town (also known for its many medeival towers).
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Old May 26th, 2017, 02:15 AM
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You have a plan firming up, I'd still end in Rome and go somewhere else on the first night, but hey.

Florence needs 3 nights in my opinion, Venice needs a min of 2 nights possibly 3, Rome needs 3 nights min. Use the other nights in Tuscany. I'd go to the hills. For instance St Gim is lovely first thing but packed when the coaches turn up.
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