ITALY 17NOV- 2ND DEC ITINERARY CRITIQUE

Old Nov 1st, 2017, 12:58 AM
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ITALY 17NOV- 2ND DEC ITINERARY CRITIQUE

My Mother (55yrs) and I (33yrs) , are visiting Italy for the first time from 17th Nov to 2nd Dec. Here is the itinerary i have chalked out, please suggest on any recommendations/changes if needed.

Interests :- Natural scenic Landscapes, Photography, not much into history or art, though would like to see the architecture of towns of Italy and couple of good museums, we are not art or history buffs by long shot.

17th Nov- Land in Rome late afternoon and leave for PISA by train- overnight in Pisa

18th Non- Pisa early in morning, and then visit Lucca (or we can skip this and go to CT) , come back to Pisa and train to Cinque terra- Overnight in Cinque terra - Which of the 5 cities should we stay in??

19th Nov- explore CT/possibly do the hikes - overnight CT
20th Nov- More time in CT/hiking - late afternoon train to Florence - overnight in Florence

21st Nov- Florence
22nd Nov- Florence

23rd Nov- Venice
24th Nov- Venice
25th Nov- Murano/Burano islands/ any other day trip?

26th Nov- Early morning car from Venice to Cortina D'Ampezzo
27th Nov- Drive the great Dolomite road - stay in Dolomite region - please suggest
28th Nov- Drive the great Dolomite road - stay in Dolomite region - please suggest
29th Nov- Drive back to Venice and then Venice to Rome by afternoon

30th Nov-Rome
1st Dec - Rome
2nd Dec- Afternoon flight from Rome

Where would be the best area to stay in Dolomite region?? Will the drive be safe/road conditions etc?

Kindly suggest if we should extend or cut down our time in certain places.

Your inputs would be highly appreciated.

Thank you.
Deepanjali is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2017, 02:22 AM
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You are visiting Northern Italy at a time when daylight hours are much shorter, the weather is unreliable and snow in the mountains is a big possibility. Road conditions may be anywhere between good and impassable up there and unless you are used to driving in snow and ice, don't use this trip to practice.

Equally this is not a good time to visit the Cinque Terre, as the weather again has a large bearing on whether the trails between villages are open and quite a lot of places will be closed for the winter.

You maybe need a plan A and a plan B depending on the weather and sticking to larger cities like Rome, Venice (look out for the high water times (Acqua Alta), Florence and Pisa (not much other than the Tower area) if it's bad. Add in Bologna for good food.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 03:08 AM
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You could get lucky, of course, but generally speaking, this is about the worst time of year to visit Cinque Terre, which unfortunately seems to be a focus of your trip.

As for driving, if you don't have experience driving in snow, sleet, ice, and rainy/windy conditions, you'll want to avoid doing so.

Florence, Rome, Pisa, and Venice will be fine, though acqua alta in Venice can put a damper on a visit there at that time of year.

I would stick as much as possible to big cities, or head south.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 03:13 AM
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You need to come up with a new plan that doesn't include the Dolomites or CT.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 03:34 AM
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Thank you @vincenzo32951 @StCirq @Rubicund for your feedback.. where would you rather suggest we go then?? which area of Italy?? Kindly suggest.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 04:21 AM
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Bologna is a great choice - yummy warming food and the historic centre has porticos to shield you from the inclement weather.

Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome are all good options (check for high water in Venice).
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 04:43 AM
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If you are not interested in art I would skip Florence, maybe go to Naples instead. I have visited Venice in November. One time the weather was grey but dry and chilly, the second time it rained. A lot. With high winds. You might check what the weather in Sicily will be like.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 05:15 AM
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Hmmmmmm.... I'm torn... I would usually suggest the big 3 (Rome - Florence - Venice) but this time of year, may suggest you stay in Rome and go south. However - even though you're not an art lover - I would still encourage Florence. It's not far from Rome (1.5 hours by high speed train), you can spend 2 nights there, get a feel for it, then head south to Rome and Sicily. I think that's what I would do.

I'm not an art lover, either. I can appreciate it but I don't love spending hours in museums. History - same - I love seeing the sights, and having a good tour guide to really flesh out the highlights is key- but again, not for hours in museums. But even I was just floored by Florence. Rome too, in a different way. I think a couple of days in Florence and then 4 days or so in Rome will be just enough to scratch that itch. Then I would head south (Sicily?) since the weather is more agreeable. I haven't been to Sicily but there are lots of great reviews and trip reports on here!

I'm not sure how much of your trip is still open (it is Nov 1 now and you're traveling Nov 17) but I do a variation on this:

Nov 17- arrive in Florence (or Rome and take train immediately to Florence) - 2 or 3 nights in Florence. 3 nights for sure if you do a day trip to Pisa.

Nov 20 - 24 Rome
Nov 25 - Dec 2 Sicily and beyond? this part I don't have any input as haven't been

Dec 2 travel back to Rome and fly home OR fly from Sicily?
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 05:51 AM
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Dee:
I'm OK with the Rome-Venice part of your plan. I like the Bologna suggestion. Also suggest Vicenza, Verona and Padua as possibilities that are easily accessible when you leave Venice. I especially like Vicenza -- nice, small city with interesting architecture, accessible by train.

You asked, with 3 days in Venice, whether you should take another day trip in addition to Murano/Burano. I wouldn't. I think you can fill two days exploring the city.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 08:29 AM
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I'm a huge fan of Bologna but it doesn't sound that is what you are looking for from Italy. I suggest you extend your time in Pisa and do day trips to le Cinque Terre and Lucca. Take a train + a taxi from Pisa to the beautiful small town of San Miniato and eat truffles.

It's not a great time to visit the Dolomiti, but if you spend a few days in Verona, you can visit Trento as a day trip, also Sirmione on Lago di Garda on a nice day, and Vicenza.

Skip Florence but give yourself a little more time in Rome so you can visit Orvieto as a day trip on a sunny day.

So basically am suggesting you use Rome-Pisa-Verona- Venice as bases from which to explore picturesaque places on sunny days. There are lovely b&bs in the heart of old Pisa that are away from the tourist scene near the tower but convenient to the train station, and Pisa is actually a lovely place to be at night.

Ditto Verona.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 08:39 AM
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@massimop dear you seem to get the pulse of what we really want to experience in Italy. I understand its not a great time to visit Dolomiti specially driving across it. What is your opinion on going to Bolzano/Alta Badia/ San Candido and just explore any of these places, i mean base out in any of these places and then explore the nearby area of dolomiti via local transport??

We really want to be amidst nature if possible.

Also can u suggest some nice B&B in Pisa for the stay. I seem to be searching on Booking.com but didnt get many good options.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 08:41 AM
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Also given the option of visiting the islands of Burano or Murano, should i rather spend more time in verona, which of them would be better bet?
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 11:17 AM
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Don't know if they have availability, but check out Cuore di Pisa

http://www.bedbreakfastcuoredipisa.com/

See what you think about this

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...a_Tuscany.html

Here is the problem with the Dolomiti: What you go there to see is the tall spires of rock reaching up into the sky from the mountaintops.. If it is foggy, low clouds, or rain, you can't see them. The chances of getting rain in November are pretty high, and very often in the mountains it stays that way for many days in a row.

If you go to Bolzano, there are some things to enjoy even if it rains, and you can take a short train trip to Trento, which is a pretty little town with nice wine and food. If you rent a car in Bolzano you can also drive to visit some lakes in the Trentino area even if it is raining. But you are taking a big risk going that high up in the mountains in November about everything being mostly gray and gloomy for most of the days you are there (and most of the restaurants and shops wll be closed too).

Generally speaking southern Italy has more sunshine or landscapes you can enjoy even if it is a cloudy day. Something else you could consider is to go to Rome, go to Pisa (with possibility of day trips to le Cinque Terre & Lucca & San Miniato), then rent a car and head to southern Tuscany, the area of the val d'Orcia. If you still have time left over, leave the car in southern Tuscany and take a train to Sorrento so maybe you can see the Amalfi coast & Capri if the weather is nice.

If you rent a car anywhere you MUST really look at weather forecasts and not go driving if the forecast is for very heavy rain. In Italy in November, if you get downpours they can create very unsafe driving conditions.

But I have traveled in Italy in the last half of November when the weather was very beautiful, all golden light. If you take care not to do silly things, and try not to go places where all the scenery disappears into a grey fog in a bad weather, you don't have to be in cities all the time.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 11:23 AM
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If you want to visit the islands of the Venetian lagoon, spend more time in Venice and visit them while there. Murano is very close to the center of Venice and you don't need all day to visit. Burano is a longer boat ride (and you might want to see mysterious Torcello island near there too).

It only makes sense to stay in Verona if you want to use it as a base to see smaller towns by train. If you just think you might like to see Verona, you can visit as a day trip from Venice.
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Old Nov 1st, 2017, 11:24 AM
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Book long-distance train tickets as early as possible at www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.com - two competing rail systems operating similar trains over same tracks and using same stations - nice discounts available but limited in number so early bird gets the worm. For lots on Italian trains check www.seat61.com- especially for booking your own tickets online; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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