Italy -1 week

Jun 30th, 2010, 10:34 AM
  #1  
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Italy -1 week

We'll be flying into and out of Rome and have 7 days. We've never been to Europe and don't want to try to cram too much into a weeks time. Really appreciate suggestions. I'm considering: Rome 2 days, Florence-2 days & possibly 1/2 day in Pisa, then on to Cinque Terre for 2 days and back to Rome. (Wish we could fly out of another city and not backtrack but we're retired airline employees (USAirways) and need to fly Charlotte, NC to Rome round trip. Travel dates are July 27-August 4. Hate the thought of missing Venice but feel the downtime at the Italian coast sounds good. Venice might have to be another trip. Your thoughts? We're meeting our adult daughter there. Thanks so much; this is my first time on ANY forum!
Marsha0813 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 10:47 AM
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Rome and Florence so hot in your time frame you are simply going to wilt if you try to see the major sights of Rome and Florence in 2 days apiece. And heading all the way to jam-packed le Cinque Terre for some "down time" puts you on a train for literally one full day of your trip, since you say you must be back in Rome. Consider, too, that the shadeless clffis of le Cinque Terre mean hiking very early in the morning -- and that's it. By mid-morning, the place is broiling and the tiny rock beaches have almost no elbow room.

My suggestion to you is to rent a nice large apartment with air conditioning and a terrace in Rome for the entire week. Take a day trip to Florence if you feel like (it's 90 minutes away). Go to Sperlonga for a day trip, or even overnight there. (What you'll be saving on hotel bills will make it doable.)

http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/sperlonga.html

Take Rome at your leisure for the week, with plenty of time to stroll, nap, enjoy the city in the cool of the night. Have your own kitchen so you can have a few light dinner meals before heading out for a gelato by a fountain.

Go to Orvieto after lunch one day to see the cathedral, have a cocktail, and head back to Rome for dinner.

You get the picture. Since you are coming back to Italy anyway, you might as well simply enjoy Rome and its surroundings this time, and stay cool.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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I agree with zeppole on this one. It will be hot, the CT will be jammed.

You lose at least a half day when you change locations to the functions of checking out, travel and checking in. CT to Rome is about 4.5 to 5.5 hours on the train.

Rome has plenty of things to keep you busy. The daytrips suggested are easy and enjoyable as well.
notbob is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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Sounds good; we do at least want to get to Florence; hadn't heard of Sperlonga, thanks for the link; I'll check it out. From Rick Steves' Italy 2010, I'd read a bit about Civita. Do you recommend Orvieto over Civita? I do like the thought of getting out of the hustle of the cities for a bit; hence the rather naive thought of Cinque Terre.
Marsha0813 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 11:25 AM
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Orvieto is easier to reach from Rome than Civita di Bagnoreggio. For Orvieto, you take a train to Orvieto and then walk across the street and take the frequent funicular uphill to the town.

For Civita di Bagnoreggio, you also take a train to Orvieto. From there you catch a local bus and have to walk a bit (well described in Rick Steve's guides). The bus schedule is more of an issue than for a simple visit to Orvieto.
ellenem is online now  
Jun 30th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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I too agree with the comments on the heat. I'd also add that Pisa will not only be hot but inundated with ubiquitous hawkers of everything and their tents erected along the length of the Campo side. This is not to say that Pisa is not a sight to see, but with the travel time you could better use the time to see 'all' of Rome and Florence and leave Pisa for another trip. I had seen it before long ago, when you could climb to the top of the tower for free, and this time it was a disappointment.

As for CT, it will be hot. We hiked it in May 2008 and it was hot. And the hike, especially the section to Vernazza, is pretty strenuous so don't forget to take plenty of water. There's a small 'bar' at the halfway point from Riomaggiore to Vernazza that sells water, but you want to get there right at the time you take your last sip from your bottle.

But, I need to add, having never been to Europe before, no matter what you do you will be enthralled by whatever you see.

I agree on Orvieto, but again, with all that Rome and Florence have you could easily spend three days in each and still not see it all.

One last thought. Unless you are a beach is everything person I wouldn't treat Europe as a beach vacation. It's a waste of a chance to actually see history instead of lying on your back, eyes closed, slathered with Aloe Vera. Save that for your 5th trip to Europe.
AfricaTexas is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 01:20 PM
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There are cities and cities. Rome gives you loads to do but you could look at some smaller cities, say Lucca and Siena.

A roman apartment might well be the best idea
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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I vote for staying in Rome for the week. There is much to see and do. It's a beautiful city.

Cinque Terre would involve hours of travel for very little down time. The trails and beaches are crowded in the summer, most travelers advise against it in the peak summer months.

It's possible to reach Florence, Orvieto, Lucca, and Siena as well as many other "tempting" towns from Rome but you will devote a great deal of time to traveling when you could be experiencing and enjoying Rome. Orvieto is the closest of the suggestions thus far and worth a day trip if you feel the need to venture beyond Rome.

And, don't consider Venice - you can't truly visit Venice and Rome in one week.

Skip Pisa - it was the least rewarding of any of the sites we visited in Italy. A quick climb up the tower and an amazing number of crass souvenir stands. There are other sites to see in Pisa but they do not compare to Rome and the travel time makes it not worth the effort.

We visited Rome for a week, following stays in Venice, Tuscany, and Umbria.

A week barely allowed time to see the major historical and cultural sites.

I also agree that an apartment rental is preferable to a hotel. We rented an apartment in a residential neighborhood off the Piazza Navona. It was a great location and very comfortable. If you rent an apartment some research is required to be certain of it's location and convenience to the sites you wish to see.

My apologies for being so negative about venturing beyond Rome. Rome is so very beautiful and there is so much to be savoured.

One final note, don't overlook the time three meals will take out of your touring day. We found some lunches and most of our dinners to be events of their own and certainly not to be rushed. They were part of the experience.

Whatever you decide, enjoy your travels!
portiaperu is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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All such great information & I really appreciate the tips. So I think we'll spend most of our time in and around Rome, definitely skipping Pisa,Venice and Cirque Terre but still considering Florence or Orvieto. With the flexibility of employee passes on the airline, we could possibly extend our trip a couple of days. So, what about 4-5 days in Rome, 2 in Florence and a day in possily Orvieto or Sperlonga? With the travel involved, does this still seem rushy?
Marsha0813 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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You'd have to crunch the numbers, but it might be the case that if you booked a week's apartment rental in Rome and spent a night in Florence even though you had an apartment in Rome, it would be the same cost as relocating for 2 night to Florence. If the cost is roughly the same, consider the ease of walking out of your Rome apartment with just a toothbrush and change of clothes and heading up to Florence on an early train, spending all day and night, and then heading back to Rome the next night on a late train.

One of the reasons I advocate not locking yourselves into splitting your nights is that you might change your minds on the ground. If you've only booked one night in a Florence hotel with a 24-hour cancellation policy, you can cancel for bad weather (hot or rain) and stay "home." But if you commit yourselves to relocating, given up your Roman digs -- see what I mean?

Possibly I'm guessing wrong and it's wildly extravagant and out of your budget but compare the costs and see if a marginal uptick in cost is worth the convenience of not having to haul your luggage around. You can get some Rome apartments for less than a full week's stay, but usually at a slightly higher cost than a full week's stay.

Also, just as an aside, if you return to Italy and you love beautiful architecture, I hope you won't be deterred by people's negative reports of Pisa. The tourist kitsch is most certainly there, and if architecture is not a big draw for you, Pisa should stay off the list. But it is perhaps the most beautiful complex of Renaissance architecture is Italy, a real showcase, and many people cherish it and their visits there, overlooking the hokey and crass tourist vendors.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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It becomes less rushy if you treat Sperlonga and Orvieto as day trips from Rome. Then you don't have to decide until you are there if and when you want to leave Rome to visit these other places.
ellenem is online now  
Jun 30th, 2010, 04:48 PM
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PS: Siena and Lucca are not realistic or enjoyable day trips from Rome. A good guidebook to Rome will give you many options for nearby places, with a huge amount of variety. Orvieto in the Etruscan hills and Sperlonga by the sea are easy and impressive, but they are not the only easy and impressive sights within an hour of Rome. If you find yourself most fascinated by the antiquity of Rome, consider a day trip to Ostia, also near the sea, and with a very large and beautiful excavation site shaded by umbrella pines, where you can walk and get a quite vivid sense of how life and traffic flowed in ancient times.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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Tivoli is also a fabulous day trip from Rome. It's about an hour to get there by metro/bus.
huntersmom is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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I'm getting excited by all these great suggestions. An apartment in Rome definitely has moved way up in priority. Suggestions on good ones...mid price range & convenient location?
Marsha0813 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 07:14 PM
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You should specificially post your budget since people's ideas about "mid-range" vary.

You can very often use Tripadvisor now to look for Rome apartments. Since you are traveling with your adult daughter, you might want one with two bedrooms and you certainly want one with AC. And personally, if it's in the budget, a terrace can be very nice. Even if you find someplace else with ordinary google searches, you can sometimes find reviews on Tripadvisor.

It is easier to locate 2 bedroom apartments if you search for ones that sleep four to six people. Also be aware that most Roman apartments do not have elevators, and that what we call the second floor, Romans call the first floor. (They don't count the ground floor.) Check to see how high up apartment is -- a terrace often means an upper floor -- and think about hauling luggage up. (Many large Roman apts have washing machines, so you can pack light.)

In the hot summer I would go for a place in the dead center to minimize walking to the sights. You might like the areas of Navona, Pantheon and Campo dei Fiore. These tend to be the most expensive areas, but in general all Roman apartments come in under Roman hotels for 3 adults.

There are also lots of trip reports on Fodor's by people who stayed a week in rome in a rental.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 05:09 AM
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sorry, i was not clear I meant stay for 3 or 4 days in.


Lucca and Siena.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:14 AM
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Add me to the "stay in Rome" list. A long day trip/tour to Pompeii is also do-able if that is of interest. Tivoli is lovely and the duomo in Orvieto is a stunning don't miss.

We once stayed in a chain hotel (Mercure) in Paris and "sandwiched" a stay at a sister chain in Aix before returning to the original hotel to finish our trip. It worked out fine-we booked it through American Express.
TDudette is online now  
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:57 AM
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I am a huge fan of Pompeii but think that in summer, the heat at the excavation site approaches faint-levels. Ostia Antica is so much shadier, I prefer it to even the Forum in Rome for the pleasure of walking around an ancient place.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Since I've not check apartment prices, I will say that I was looking at Rick Steve's $$ hotel & BB choices in the center of the city until we decided on the apartments. Those were in the E130-150 range for a triple.
Marsha0813 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 07:40 AM
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Marsha,

Here is a slew of reviews of various Rome apt. rentals.

The ones with positive reviews have a "Yes" under the * column.

After that, look at the "description" for apartments near "Campo dei Fiori", "Piazza Navonna", or "Pantheon" (the best of the Center City locals, IMO) and that have the requistite number of beds for you.

Whether you do an overnight stay in Florence and leave the apt. empty one night is up to you. Florence is certainly close enough by train to do as a day trip (1 hour 40 minutes one-way) though it's a FULL day. Plan to arrive in Florence between 9am and 10 am and getting back to Rome hotel around 10pm.

http://www.slowtrav.com/Italy/vr/list.asp?r=Rome

Happy hunting!
bardo1 is offline  

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