Italian Itinerary - Need some advice.

Old May 7th, 2010, 10:23 PM
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Italian Itinerary - Need some advice.

I'm making my 4th trip to Italy this summer (Sept), but this time it is a bit different. I have a friend that is joining me this time and it is her first trip to Italy. She will be meeting me in Bologna on the 4th of September. (That night we are going to the I-Festival Concert with Blink-182 in Bologna).

My problem is that since it is her first trip to Italy, I want to be sure she sees as much as she can, without feeling like we rushed around all over the place. She has to leave on the 15th ( I am staying an extra 7 days after) and she is flying out of Rome.

I've tried to see if there was anything specific that she wanted to do or see, but she's happy to just be along for the ride. There are places I haven't seen yet, and want to, but I feel like I should wait and do that after she is gone.

So with that said, I want to set up the trip so we end back up in Rome for the last 4 days, because I think that would give us some time to see the highlights of Rome. Here is my proposed Itinerary:

4th - Bologna
5th - Depart in the AM via train to Venice - arrive at 10am. Visit Venice
6th - Venice/ Murano
7th - Depart in the AM via Train to Florence/Siena - walk around Siena
8th - Siena - Market tour and private Cooking Class
9th - Siena - day trip to Florence
10th - Siena - touring wineries - depart in the evening for Rome
11th - Rome - Colleseum, Forum, Pantheon, Palatine Hill, Capitloine Hill etc
12th - Rome - Walk around - open day
13th - Rome - Borghese -Trevi Fountain - Spanish Steps etc
14th - Rome - Vatican and Castel St Angelo
15th - She departs Rome at 1pm - my travel continues.

I'm not too thrilled about the day of the 7th as a train from Venice to Florence is 3 hours (an extra 20 E for a 2 hour) and then 1 1/2 hours to Siena from Florence. That wastes half a day on a train, but I dont think that is too bad.

Or since Venice is a bit out of the way, would we be better served doing something like this:

4th - Bologna
5th - Bologna
6th - Siena - Tour country side and wineries
7th - Siena - Day trip to Florence
8th - Siena - cooking Class and Market tour
9th - Positano - depart (8am) arriving Naples at 1pm - private driver to Positano
10th- Positano
11th - Rome (leave in the morning from Salerno or Naples) - Walk around -
12th - Rome - Open
13th - Rome - Colleseum, Forum, Pantheon etc
14th - Rome - Vatican, Castel St. Angelo, etc
15th - Depart

With this Itinerary we avoid going to Venice and then back down towards Tuscany, but I feel like this trip wastes a full day travelling just to basically have a day+ in Positano. It is somewhere I haven't been yet though.

I could adjust this one by eliminating the day in Bologna, but that would not allow for the Market tour and cooking class, as the main market is on Wed in Siena (we can still do the cooking class though on another day w/o the market tour). This would add a day in at Positano and could allow a trip to Capri as a day tour.

Does anyone have any suggestions? If I skip Positano/Amalfi Coast with my friend, I would most likely do that part on my own after she leaves starting on the 15th. I have the extra 7 days as I depart on the 23rd. If I do Positano with her, I could go up to Milan/Como area or Cinque Terre and could fly back home out of Milan.

Any advice??
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Old May 8th, 2010, 12:40 AM
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If it was me I would skip Positano for this trip (or go on your own after your friend has gone home). There is so much to see in that part of Italy that I think you will be kicking yourself for not having more time there.

I would pay the extra euros for the fast train and then look into the timetable for a bus into Siena. We caught a train which is fine, but other posters have pointed out that the bus from Florence - Siena (it leaves near the train station) takes you right into Siena. The train station is outside Siena and then you have to drag your bags to a nearby bus station and catch a bus into town. I think you may be younger and more energetic than me, but to be honest, we regarded the travelling days as an enforced rest day and just kicked back and enjoyed the scenery.

Ok, so the Venice leg is rushed, but it will give you a taste of Venice. By the way, unless you really want to see the glass places, consider Burano as an option - it is very, very pretty. The Vaporetto travel in Venice is expensive compared to other public transport tickets. So, buy a 24 hour pass and that will cover the fair to Burano as well as your trips up and down the Grand Canal.

I think the market/cooking class day sounds like fun - don't drop that.

I just had another read of your post. The other thing you could do is Venice - Florence (stay one night) then head to Siena. Otherwise you are doubling back to Florence for the day trip. I wouldn't normally suggest a one night stay, but as it's virtually half way between Venice - Siena, then it might be a good idea. Find a hotel reasonably close to the train station, so that you can just drop your bags off and head out to explore Florence. If you are interested in food - obviously, then don't miss Mercato Centrale in Florence, it's a great indoor food market.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 02:17 AM
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Yeah originally I had planned on spending a night in Florence first, but the thought of unpacking, packing, checking in for 1 night just bothers me. The place I would be staying at in Siena has always picked me up at the train station - I've stayed there several times now and all I have to do is call and tell them when I will be arriving. So that is kind of nice.

I know that Venice is a bit rushed, but I've been there several times, and figured it would be nice for her to see the city, St. Marks, Rialto Bridge and shop for some venitian glass. I agree with taking the faster train - an hour's time is worth 20E!

I am leaning towards holding off on Positano/Amalfi coast area till after she leaves. I figure that when she looks back on this trip, she'll be able to say she went to Venice, Rome and Tuscany, which really are the big 3 areas. Sure would be a shorter trip, but it would give her a taste.

So this brings up another question, as a single guy, 32, will 7 days be too long in the Amalfi Coast area?

A little background is that I am wanting to relax a bit, as I have been living and working in the Middle East for almost 4 years now (and by the time I get to Italy, it will have been 5 months in Iraq and Afghanistan). I speak enough Italian to get me by, and I definitely can understand more than I speak (might just be I'm not so confident in my conjugating of verbs and tenses). I like to just go out, wander around, talk to some locals, and just do whatever the mood strikes. My feeling is that the Amalfi Coast/Capri would be a good place to do just that, see some amazing views and just get away from things. Milan/Como was my other thought and wasn't sure which I would enjoy more. I plan on going skiing next year at Zermatt and thought I could sneak in 4/5 days in Milan on that trip.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 02:27 AM
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'... as a single guy, 32, will 7 days be too long in the Amalfi Coast area?'

Hi Chazzarelli - I can easily spend 7 days on the Amalfi Coast. Definitely not a place to be rushed ...

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Old May 8th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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Yes, lots of things to see around the Amalfi Coast: Capri, Pompeii/Herculaneum, Paestum (well-preserved Greek temples), Naples (especially the Archeological Museum with finds from Pompeii). And the end of September would be a good time on the Coast.

Per your original question, I'd leave in Venice. After all, it's Venice, unique in the world.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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I also think your first itinerary is better. The second day in Venice, I wouldn't go to Murano. There is too much to see right in Venice. I'm another one who isn't normally a fan of one-night stays, but it really does make sense to have a night in Florence and one less in Siena to avoid that backtracking.

If you have seven days after she leaves to go to Amalfi, no, that is not too long in that area. With that many days, and seeing as how you want relaxation, you might want to spend two nights on Capri and the rest in Positano or Amalfi.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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You can take the Sena Bus from Siena to Rome (5€ advance purchase). If you time it right, you could take the Marozzi bus from Rome to Sorrento.

Marozzi has a 3pm departure in summer along with their 7 am departure. Cost is about 17€.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions.

I've been to Naples and Pompeii, so it's really the Almafi coast and south that I'll be doing.

As for the bus, I think I'd rather do a train, I would guess that should be quicker and better than a bus. Right?
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Old May 9th, 2010, 03:14 AM
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Just about everyone thinks I should stay 1 night in Florence instead of staying in Siena and then taking a train up that way. I see one fallback to that idea. If I stay on the 7th in Florence, that means I have to wake up early in the morning, check out of the hotel, travel with my luggage down to Siena, check into a hotel and then scurry on to the Market Tour and cooking class. The tour starts at 930 am. Will this be possible for me to do in the morning? Will I have to wake up super early to accomplish that. I wont be able to check into the hotel, but I know the place I will be staying will gladly let me store my bags and stuff till I check in during the afternoon. The cooking course as I said starts at 930 in Siena, then we go to the course which is about 15-20 mins outside the city walls. I was told the course would finish up between 4-5. As you can tell, it's a busy day, and I think that bypassing a nights stay in Florence on the 7th would be better.

Am I wrong in my thought process?
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