ITALY

Feb 13th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #1  
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ITALY

After much help from members here in other forums we have narrowed our journey. the last 4-5 days will be in Italy. The initial plan was to fly in to Rome. Are we better to fly in to and stay in Florence and do a side trip to perhaps Venice and Rome? Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:09 AM
  #2  
A2B
 
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I think it is too far to do a side trip to Rome from Florence. We were just there and we did 4 days in Florence and 4 days in Rome. You can do a side trip to Venice from Florence I think. Venice isn't that big.

We still didn't see it all in both cities with that time.

We loved the Florence Foodie tour in Florence. The guide was able to help with the local information. Where to go, where to eat and taught us the etiquette.

Our train ride from Florence to rome was late about 30 minutes then when we departed out of the station we had an hour delay on arrival time. And be advised that the trains have monthly strikes (as it seems to have it monthly). Trains didn't run for a day while we were in Milan.

I think you need to pick a city. . Rome or Florence to explore. We did excursions from each city. With Rome we went to Pompeii for the day. It was a 12 hour day. When in Florence we went to the countryside. Stopped in different cities including the Pisa with the leaning tower. Wine tasting with lunch on a organic farm. I think from Florence you can do a day trip to Venice on a sunday with a tour group.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:30 AM
  #3  
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thanks. Am looking at the Eurail map and there is a high speed train from Florence to Rome - 1 1/2 hours. That's what made me think of staying central in Florence because we would like to see both Rome and Venice!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:33 AM
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I don't agree with everything A2B says but I do agree that with 4-5 days, picking one of the "big 3" is the way to go.

Where i don't agree is that it is worthwhile doing a day trip to Venice from Florence - IMO all you can do in a day is to get a vague impression of Venice and the crowds it attracts; you really need to spend at least a few days there to understand why some people love it so. 4-5 days would not IMO be too long to spend there.

If you picked Florence as your base, there is plenty to see and do, more than enough to fill 4-5 days, and there are certainly other places that you can visit from Florence that work better as a day trips than Venice does - San Gimignano, Siena, Lucca, & Pisa to name but 4.

As for Rome, 4-5 days will give you a good overview; if you felt the need for a day trip, Orvieto is very popular as is Pompeii, though as A2B says, it's a long day.

pick one, and enjoy.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:33 AM
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I did a side trip to Rome from Florence with a family of four; it's a fast train (and a lot quicker than going to Venice from Florence!); we arrived around 10am, meandered down to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon; then over to the Vatican; rushed through most of the Vatican museum and saw the Sistine Chapel; then a walk through Piazza Navona to the Forum and past the Colissuem (didn't go inside) and could a train back to Florence around 530pm, getting back in time for dinner.

I've also gone into Rome as a daytrip (actually more like half a day) from a vacation on Lago Bracciano. Took the train in getting off near the Vatican, saw the Pope doing a practice run for the upcoming Easter service; Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi, lunch, then home (kind of leisurely, no big ambitions).

This past October I rented a bike for a day (roughly 10am till 5pm) and that was a great way to see a lot - - pix here, along with the other day, which was a trip to Tarquinia: http://www.flickr.com/photos/douglas...7637640291643/
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:34 AM
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With 4 or 5 days, you might be in 3 cities but you will see none. Pick just one.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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Rome - Florence is just 1 hr 20 min by train. If your Rome hotel is close to the Tiburtina railway station, you may leave Rome by train at 6.29 and come back at 23.24. But be aware that a somewhat decent visit of Florence would need 2 to 3 days.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:40 AM
  #8  
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This all continues to be very helpful thanks! And great pics dfourh - thanks for sharing! Then to narrow it down to one question - if we pick just one, which is the best choice? I would say we would like bars, restaurants, historical sights....the bike rental sounds awesome too! Last year my husband and I went to Nantucket and rented a bike. Rode clear across the island. He is still cursing me for that tho! lol
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Feb 13th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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In a city like Venice you need to spend at least the evening when the crowds (day trippers and tour boats) are gone and having drinks on the square and sucking it all in is what travel is about. Of course more days is better in any place.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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3amigos - any one of the three would be great, though bike riding might be a bit difficult in Venice. all of them have bars, cafes, restaurants, and more historical sights than you can shake a stick at. In fact Venice can be regarded as one big historical sight all by itself.

I'm not sure why it would matter but what time of year are we talking about?
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Feb 13th, 2014, 09:58 AM
  #11  
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August
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:10 PM
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ok, do you come from a warm climate?

anywhere in Italy is likely to be very hot, and possibly humid -a/c is essential, and I'd personally like a pool as well, which limits your choices rather. The Molino Stucky in Venice has a pool and a shuttle boat over to Venice proper [it's on the Guidecca]. The lido [which has a beach] is also a possibility.

I'm sure that there are hotels in Florence and Rome that have pools but i've never stayed in one.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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3amigos: In order to more fully enjoy Italy, why not change your Fodor's name to 3amici?
(Sorry, that's all I've got.)
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Dave - lol

Annhig - yes we'll be coming from a warm climate and agreed a/c and beach or pool is wise to think about thanks! Now I'm leaning toward Venice or Cinque Terre to spend time near the water! When I read about Rome the reviews are extreme - ranging from awesome to big gray concrete city.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:36 PM
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3amigos, IMO Rome IS "awesome" but not necessarily where I would want to be in August. ditto Florence which can get terribly hot that time of year.

Venice can be hot too, but the proximity of the water helps; I was going to recommend Venice anyway as frankly, with the rising water who knows how long we'll be able to go there?

good luck with your researches!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Good point! Any thoughts in Conque Terre?
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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*Cinque Terre
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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thoughts about the cinque Terre?

I've never been to the CT, 3amigos, but from what I read, one of the main points of going there is to walk between the 5 villages, which is not necessarily what I'd want to be doing in August in Italy. A better choice might be the Dolomites - fly into Venice and take for the hills. [actually mountains, but I'm sure you get what I mean]. or the Lakes. we spent a week on Lake Garda in August a few years ago, and though it was very hot, the lake and being able to take boat trips made it bearable.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Fast trains between Florence and Rome are not cheap, but they are so fast that a day trip between them is well possible. Several times I have left Florence early in the morning, I have had business meetings in Rome, not even in the centre, and have been back to Florence in time for a slightly late lunch. - A real concern is that a few hours in Rome you cannot even scratch the surface, you can only choose a few sights.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 05:07 PM
  #20  
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