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I have 10 days to spend in Italy! Advice needed!

I have 10 days to spend in Italy! Advice needed!

Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 11
I have 10 days to spend in Italy! Advice needed!

My husband and I are taking a three week trip to Europe in March 2017! We are planning this all on our own, so I am seeking advice now to get a headstart. Our first week will be spent in Ireland, we will then travel to London for four days and then to Italy for the remainder of our trip. Since my husband and I have never been anywhere in Europe, I have a few questions that will hopefully aid me in my planning process!

1)What cities are must see places? I already have my heart set on Rome but we would love to experience more of Italy if possible! Places like Florence or Venice...I would also love to see some of the coastal towns like Naples or Amalfi or even the Tuscan countryside of Montepulciano but I'm not sure the time of year we are traveling is the best to see some of these places. We will be in Italy sometime during the first week or so of April. I know we need to narrow it down but how do you choose?!

2)Would we be better off doing a few days here and then a few days someplace else and booking accommodations in different cities as we travel or would it be easier to make one city our main "hub" and then take the rail system or guided tours to other cities for day trips?

3)What is the best way to get around in Italy? I hear the rail system is one excellent way of doing it. Having said that, should we purchase unlimited rail passes while we are there (if there is such a thing) or just purchase tickets as we go along whenever we find something we'd like to do?

4)Are hotels the way to go for first time travelers, or are BnB's a better bargain? Do many hotels or BnB's offer airport shuttle services to and from the airport or would we have to pay for a taxi to get to our destination?

Any additional advice or suggestions are welcome! We would like to make our first time trip to Europe go smoothly and be enjoyable! Thanks!
mrs_riehl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I saw your other posts about London and Ireland. Before answering your questions,I would ask you- Why did you pick these three destinations out of all of the possible places in the world? For example, in Italy, what is the picture in your mind that you must see in person? The Colosseum? Michelangelo's David? A gondola? Then put that city at the top of your list. IMHO, you should limit yourself to two cities in 10 days, unless you want to just drive around and see a lot of roads...

You can't see it all. What really calls you?
eastenderusvi is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,655
Dash out to the library and get some Italy travel guides.

1. Must see places are very individual. Italy, it is often Rome, Florence and Venice. With 10 days I wouldn't add to that, except to perhaps take a day trip from one of these locations.

2. You don't need to take guided tours to other cities. If you stay in Rome, Florence and Venice you will, I think, enjoy each of these cities more than if you were to day trip to each of them individually. A 4-3-3 split works for a lot of people.

Are you coming from the US or Canada? If so, you can book air to Ireland, then home from Rome or Venice.

3. No need for any sort of rail passes. Point to point tickets go on sale 120 out, and are often deeply discounted. For day trips, you can use the bus (Florence to Siena, for example) or a local train bought on the day you're traveling (such as Rome to Ostia Antica).

4. I do tend to like hotels for first travelers to Italy. BnB are often cheaper, but come here for specific recommendations. In general, no hotels other than airport hotels offer airport shuttles. Rome, Florence and Venice all have public transportation options that I use regularly to and from airports. In Florence, since the airport is close, I'm more likely to take a taxi, but there is an airport bus that I've used.

The issue I have with some BnBs is that there aren't manned desks to help first time travelers.

Again, books will help you.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,795
Assuming you haven't booked flights yet, you should book into Ireland and home from Italy to avoid backtracking which wastes time (and money). Use the multi-city option (into Dublin and home from Rome), not the one-way. One way flights tend to be much more expensive. You can book a budget flight from London to Italy (perhaps Venice?). Check Easy Jet or Ryan Air, but pay attention to airports (Ryan sometimes uses out of the way airports) and add on extras such as luggage fees. The budget airlines probably don't have March listed yet.

Winter train schedules won't be listed yet either so you will need to wait in train purchases (winter schedule runs 2nd weekend of Dec through 2nd weekend June). Once winter schedules get loaded, you can book trains on Trenitalia (the fast trains can be booked 120 days in advance).

With only 10 days(does that include travel days from London and departure day?) I would limit to three location in Italy with a day trip or two. From somewhere like Florence, you can easily day trip to Pisa (local train under 10€), Siena (local bus under 10€) or book a day trip to San Gimignano, Chianti or Montepulciano. Caf offers some day trips that run year round.


>>>Do many hotels or BnB's offer airport shuttle services to and from the airport or would we have to pay for a taxi to get to our destination<<<

Often there is a train or bus service for a minimal fee. Depends on town/airport. Some cities have a set fee for taxis to the airport such as Rome (48€). Once you nail down your itinerary, post back here and people will help you with the transport.
kybourbon is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:50 AM
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very good advice there from easternderusvi and tuscanlifeedit. [which I still read as "tuscanfeedlit, despite knowing better!]

my suggestion would be to fly from London [flights from LHR and LGW on Easyjet] into Venice and out of Rome, then look at how you want to divide your time between those places, and whether you want to add Florence into the mix. once you are in Italy it is dead easy to get between those cities by train, and you wouldn't be using it enough to warrant getting a railcard.

personally I feel that there is so much to see in Venice and Rome that adding in Florence would be overkill, but that's just me. however, if you follow these suggestions, you don't need to decide that until nearer to your trip, so you've got time to read some guide books and decide what you want to see.

IMO the hardest job in trip planning is deciding what to leave out. it gets easier once you've taken on board that you can't see everything, which frees you up to decide what to concentrate on. less is more, in other words.
annhig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Posts: 14,655
Just adding that I've flown easyjet.com London <> Rome and it was fine.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,488
We just spent 11 nights in Italy in May, flying in and out of Milan. We spent a full day in Milan, then went to Rome, Siena (with a stop in Orvieto), an agriturismo in Tuscany, and finished in Florence before returning to Milan.

Here's a link to our trip report. As you'll see, we took trains everywhere except in Tuscany. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...y-may-2015.cfm

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 11
I understand that I'm asking a lot of broad questions especially for someone who doesn't even have an itinerary locked down. But I do have almost 18 months to plan all this out, hence the reason I'm asking for helpful advice now. I want to be able to book everything with confidence next year and be able to enjoy our trip without worrying what we will do once we get there. As I mentioned in my original post, Rome is one city I have my heart set on visiting and will not negotiate on. I have always loved ancient history and to be able to see and touch things that have been around for thousands of years fascinates me! The Colosseum and Roman Forum are on my bucket list! I guess the other thing I think of when I think of Italy is the Tuscan countryside. Seeing the beautiful rolling hills and visiting small villages or touring a winery would be heaven for me. Honestly though, I'm not sure what regions make up Tuscany or where I should focus my search. Naples or Amalfi was just a thought because I've heard the coastal towns are breathtaking to see but I don't know if it's doable which is why I was inquiring. I know I have to narrow it down and that we can't do it all. I am picking up a travel guide from the library so in hoping that will give me some more ideas as to what we really want to see and what's important to us. Maybe once we decide, I can come back and ask more specific questions. Until then, I'll take all the advice I can get!
mrs_riehl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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tuscanlifeedit: >>Dash out to the library and get some Italy travel guides. <<

Careful -- on one of the OP's other threads I was slapped around (NOT by the OP - by one of the usual suspects) for suggesting they get some guidebooks w/o specifically saying which ones . . . But you're probably safe
janisj is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:52 PM
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I think you will want to limit trying travel all over Italy to see it all. We spent 9 nights in Rome and feel like we didn't scratch the surface! We loved Tivoli and Villa d'Este so much; villa Borghese was also incredible as was the Colisseum. We also spent a lovely day in Orvieto.

This year it's the Amalfi Coast but we don't have the drive to go and see/do so much--we want to relax and admire the views.

Venice is gorgeous and romantic but it's been so long since I was there, I remember very little. Tuscany is still on my list.

I agree with the question regarding what draws you to Italy and go from there.
denisea is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 03:34 PM
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>>> As I mentioned in my original post, Rome is one city I have my heart set on visiting and will not negotiate on. I have always loved ancient history and to be able to see and touch things that have been around for thousands of years fascinates me! The Colosseum and Roman Forum are on my bucket list! <<<<

I love Rome (my favorite city) and feel none of my trips to Italy are complete without spending a few days in Rome each time (three minimum usually). Having said that, you will run into ancient history almost everywhere you go in Italy. You can't really avoid it.

Since Rome and Tuscany seem to be your "must sees", I would do five days each. You really need a car for Tuscany though. I prefer the area between Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino and Siena. You can reach these places by bus, but not efficiently usually (and often no service on Sunday except between Siena and Florence).
kybourbon is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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At the time you are going none of the beach places will be at their best - very early in the season, too cool, hotel pools will not be open. And with your limited time I would stick to 2 or 3 places.

Since you say Rome is a must see - and I agree - do some in-depth reading to determine if Venice or Florence - or both are also must sees. Both cities have small historic centers and are easily walkable. Florence has a huge mass of art and architecture - from middle ages to the renaissance - and if this is an interest should not be missed. Venice has a couple of great museums but is more about the unique setting, the beauty of the canals, exploring the tiny street and alleys of the city, understanding the unique culture, dropping in on a church every time you are tried or too warm and want to rest in the cool.

Venice tends to be more expensive and both are crowded during the day but many tourists go only for the day - but this won't be so bad in April.

Since there is so much to se/do in Rome (you can;t begin to see it in a week - even the most major sights) you might want to stick to that and Venice - or Rome and Florence if you must see the Duomo, Uffiizi (the venus on the half shel is incredible), Pitti Palace and the statue of David.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 816
I now vote for a split between Rome and in or near Florence, with day trips around Florence...;-)
eastenderusvi is offline  
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