Italy - 18 day itinerary

Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Italy - 18 day itinerary


Hoping to get some thoughts on my 18 day trip to Italy in the first three weeks of May.

- First trip to Italy/Europe
- Travelling as a couple (we're around 30 years old)
- Moderate interest in historical sites/museums/churches (estimate no more than a day's worth per location - assume spread out over multiple days when available)
- Primarily interested in searching out "best" restaurants.
- Staying in hotels, minimal shopping, unlikely to return to Italy for quite some time (other destinations on the list!)

Fly out evening of May 2
Rome - 3 days (1. 10am arrival/relax, 2. vatican city, 3. other sights)
Caserta - 2 days (1. train in/palace, 2. walk around or visit Naples/Amalfi)
Florence - 3 days (1. train in/casual sightseeing, 2. sights, 3. relax)
Cinque Terre - 2 days (1. train/walk, 2. visit one of the other towns - proper hiking unlikely)
Bologna - 3 days (1. train/walk, 2. sights, 3. relax)
Venice - 2 days (1. train/gondola, 2. walk)
Verona - 1 day (1. train/walk around - or just an afternoon en route to Milan)
Milan - 2 days (1. train/Duomo, 2. last day = relaxing)
Return home on Day 19 (May 21).

I was thinking of cutting the second day in the south, but I would really like to see the palace at Caserta, and possibly skipping Verona if it makes a significant difference to the pace of the trip. I am also trying to be mindful of Sundays and Mondays as various restaurants and sights may not be open.

Thanks for any input!
jaded is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:41 AM
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Can you fly into Naples? If so, flip Caserta and Rome on your itinerary. Saves you a bit of time.
joannyc is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:41 AM
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Just one opinion but you could make Caserta a day trip from Sorrento (and see Pompeii one of the days) or give Rome another day-there's so much to see there.

Verona could be a long day trip from Venice or Milan, either one. Hub and I based in Verona. Has that wonderful big arena and a smaller one with good museum. Great, old duomo. It's your call really, but you could add the day to Venice. So romantic.

We went to duomo, La Galleria, La Scala museum, "Last Supper" and another museum (whose name I'm having a senior moment about) all in one day in Milan so I think you might have some wiggle room there as well. Are you flying into Rome and out of Milan? A good idea.
TDudette is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:45 AM
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May 2: dep home; fly to Rome
May 3: arrive Rome
May 4: Rome
May 5: Rome
May 6: Travel to Caserta/Naples
May 7: Caserta/Naples
May 8: travel to Florence
May 9: Florence
May 10: Florence
May 11: travel to Cinque Terre
May 12: Cinque Terre
May 13: travel to Bologna
May 14: Bologna
May 15: Bologna
May 16: travel to Venice
May 17: Venice
May 18: travel to Verona
May 19: travel to Milan
May 20: Milan
May 21: fly home

I re-listed your excellent description because it helps me understand how your travel days fall within the itinerary. You are young, but I think even for you picking up and moving every day or two may become tiresome. I agree that Caserta is one difficulty in your itinerary. (I've been to Italy more than 20 times but have yet to visit Caserta . . . wondering at your strong interest.)

I agree that rather than change locations to visit Verona, you could add that day to Venice and stop in Verona on the way to Milan. By the end of this trip, you might enjoy the slower pace of Venice to relax a bit.

For foodies like you, Bologna is an excellent choice.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:45 AM
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I think you are moving around too much. You might consider staying in Florence longer and day tripping to Bologna or vice versa (they are only 35 minutes apart by fast train).

I don't think I would pick Milan for a relaxing day. I would put that day somewhere else (Amalfi coast area).
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:54 AM
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>>>but have yet to visit Caserta . . . wondering at your strong interest<<<

Star Wars?

It's possible to day trip to Caserta from Rome. There is an early fast train (8:45) from Rome to Caserta that only takes 1:15 minutes. Fast return trains at 17:05 or 22:15. There are also lots of trains that take longer (about 2 hours) if the hours didn't suit.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:54 AM
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"I don't think I would pick Milan for a relaxing day. I would put that day somewhere else (Amalfi coast area)."

That's why I was suggesting adding the day to Venice--a moment to relax at the end of the trip, ride around in a boat on the lagoon, sit by a quiet canal and drink wine . . .

Jaded, Have you booked your flights yet?
ellenem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:01 AM
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Good advice from Ellen !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:05 AM
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Not enough time for Rome or Venice. And too much moving around. Not knowing your reason for going to Caserta, I'd omit it and Naples from your itinerary. I assume you want to stay in Bologna for the food; that's understandable.

Verona is only about an hour or so from Venice; you could do it as a day trip. Or stop en route. But I don't know if the station has luggage storage.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Verona Porta Nuova, the main train station, does indeed have luggage storage.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Thanks so much for the quick replies!

- Locked in on the in Rome/out Milan flights

- Was giving Milan a second day just because it will be our last in Italy, so I thought it would be better not to plan anything and just enjoy ourselves.

- Perhaps I will have to rethink Caserta, it just looked so beautiful and had a bit of a different tone compared to the other locations we'll be seeing. I was also thinking since the South is supposed to be so different from the North, it might be nice to at least get a sample of Naples.

- Not sure about day-trips between Florence and Bologna, if either city is a good bet, why not split it? You're right though, I am concerned we're moving too much, but I think we are inclined towards being busy over say, leisurely strolls - not that that's what you were saying exactly, I just know the boyfriend has trouble walking somewhere without a purpose, even on vaction.

- good info on Verona as a day trip, thank you
jaded is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 11:05 AM
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kybourbon, because the OP is only mildly interested in museums and historic sights, buy really into good food, staying in Bologna makes sense. In fact, maybe not staying in Florence at all, but taking the train in for a day from Bologna.

As for avoiding Sundays and Mondays because of restaurant closings, in Italy, they close on all kinds of different days, so you can't maximize your chances as you planned.

I suggest you invest in "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler" by Fred Plotkin. He has lived and eaten good regional food there for many years. In fact Bologna has been a primary interest of his. He discusses the different regions, their typical food, and chooses a few cities to exemplify it. Then he lists restaurants and food shops that are the best. These are not always big expensive places, but places that have excellent, delicious typical food of the region. He also lists when they are closed. it's a big fat book but maybe you can get an e-book, or tear out the parts you want for your trip as we do.

But for now, I'll mention Trattoria Meloncello, which has the best gnocchi I have ever had!! Like a cloud! Do NOT miss this one! via Saragozza240a, Bologna, tel. 051 614 3947.
charnees is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Oh please go to Caserta if possible. I too have been trying and it looks magnificent! Bet you can get a tour there out of Sorrento.

I do agree that you've packed it in but you are young and can do it. Go for it! And write a trip report when you come back.
TDudette is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Agree this is too much bouncing around - and you have too few days in major places. Just the idea of putting "other sights in Rome" for all of rome except the Vatican - indicates that you haven;t really looked to see what is there - or else really aren;t interested in history, art, culture or religion. It's certainly possible to do a lot of other things in Italy - but I'm not sure Italy is the best place.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:36 PM
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Hi jaded,

As I was reading your interests and planned destinations, the thing that popped out to me (besides moving so much) is that you are planning a lot of "relaxing" time in the major cities where there is SO much to see and do. I would only be able to relax in Rome if I was there for my 3rd trip and staying a minimum of a week! (Which is exactly my plan for the next trip.)

Among many other places in Italy, I have visted Rome, Florence and Milan. I would never consider a day in Florence or Milan as a very good place to use time for relaxing. I would instead add days for relaxing to either Venice, Rome, Bologna, or even the Tuscan/Umbrian countryside (with some awesome restaurant recommendations on hand for where ever you choose).

Really if all you want to see in Milan is the duomo, just spend your last night there, see the duomo and head for the airport. There are other worthy sights, etc. in Milan, but I wouldn't spend 1.5 days there just for the duomo.

Also, I have long wanted to visit Caserta too! Just couldn't fit it in on the last trip. I have heard from several different sources that the town of Caserta isn't very great (aside from the palace) and not really a good place to stay. If you do go - I would see Caserta on the way to Naples. Spend 2 nights in Naples and also see Pompeii or Herculaneum.

Just some thoughts on maybe re-prioritizing your time.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:38 AM
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Great advice, thanks everyone. I especially appreciate tips on places worth less time/effort, because of course everything you read only extols the wonderous virtues of any given location.

I guess "relaxing" was not the appropriate word to use!

I meant to indicate that we are not so ambitious as to attempt to see a half dozen major historical sites or museums in any given place, we'll just select a couple that we find the most intriguing and plan our 2 or 3 days around those, exploring whatever we come across along the way - isn't that a big part of enjoying Italy?

I certainly did not mean to imply we want to sit around taking in the view by a pool, or any such thing. We want to make the most of our limited time!

Sorry if it offends, but I am the sort who will appreciate a painting because it is beautiful or interesting, with virtually no interest in who painted it and when, although I acknowledge that context enhances understanding and value. Similar feelings apply to history, culture and religion. A whole day of artwork and artifacts is just too much, no matter how extraordinary.

As for Rome, I've researched itineraries that would give us a good introduction to Rome in 2 or 3 days, if we hustle. I think it will be more than sufficient given our interests.
jaded is offline  

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