Italy - 18 day trip

Feb 23rd, 2015, 06:39 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Italy - 18 day trip

Hi,

I'm hoping to get some suggestions for my trip to Italy. I arrive at Rome International Airport early morning on 8th May, 2015 and will leave on the night of 27th May, 2015 from Rome to Bombay, India. I'll be travelling ALONE and this is my first trip to Italy (Europe, as well!).

I definitely want to visit Naples, Rome (are 4 days enough?), Venice (I've read mixed reviews. Over-hyped, is it?), Siena, Florence, Pisa (worth spending an entire day?), Bologna (oldest university in the world!), and Milan. I realize the list sounds rather ambitious for an 18 day trip; but, there are some things I most definitely wouldn't want to miss.

Interest levels as far as historical sites are concerned - SUPER HIGH
Interest levels as far as food is concerned - SUPER HIGH
Interest levels as far as beaches are concerned - AVERAGE
Interest levels as far as shopping is concerned - MODERATE

Would prefer reasonable (yet safe and feasible) accommodation (hostels and B&Bs). Some of the reviews on Hostelworld are so confusing! I plan to walk around a lot and use public transport - metro, train and buses. Want to experience the "must try"/"must visit" dishes/restaurants.

I'd appreciate any suggestions with regards to an itinerary, accommodation, travel, food and any other tips that you see fit.
nicolf is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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ok - in 18 days the itinerary you have set yourself looks more or less doable, so long as you put it into a sensible order.

One tip I've picked up here is to go to the place that is furthest away from your exit point first, and work your way back, so if you decide to go to Venice, it would make sense to go there first. Having just come back from a week there [my 5th visit in 30 years, more return visits than to anywhere else outside the UK] I think that it is a most amazing place and not at all over-hyped, and IMO you should go and form your own opinion.

So I would send you there first, and then proceed something like this:

8 May - arrive Rome early am. Leonardo express train into central Rome then pick up train to Venice. arrive early/mid afternoon. check in. stay 4 nights. Gives time to recover from jet lag and travelling, exploring Venice, a trip to the islands of the lagoon, and poss a day trip to Verona, Padua or Vicenza

12 May - train to Florence. stay 6 nights, with 2-3 day trips [Siena & Fiesole by bus, Pisa/Lucca and/or Bologna by train]

18 May - Train to Naples. Stay 5 nights. Tour city and do day trip/s to Capri, Pompeii etc.

23 May - train to Rome - stay 4 nights. See Rome. [May not be enough, you may want to adjust the timings above]

27 May - Last day in Rome - pm fly home.

You'll see that I've omitted Milan as there are probably more exciting places for you to see, and I may not have given you long enough in Rome, though you will have at least 3 whole days.

Hope this helps!
annhig is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 09:15 AM
  #3  
 
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Overhyped, I don't think so, but there are issues, for me it is the crowds off the massive ships, so I like the early am and late pm. I think at minimum you need two nights here, probably 3.

Milan, has a big duomo and main square, a bunch of Leonardo stuff, an Opera, a football pitch, two great cemeteries, some very expensive shops, a wonderful railway station and... well that is about that. I've spent a week there as part of a conference (non working) and your other sites are more interesting.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 03:20 PM
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>>>Some of the reviews on Hostelworld are so confusing! <<<

What is your budget per night? Did you particularly want to stay in hostels? If not, you should consider convents and monasteries as they can be quite cheap and well located.

You could start in either Naples (did you really mean Naples or the Amalfi coast?) or Venice. I wouldn't leave Milan out of the itinerary unless you have something you really have to see there.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:50 PM
  #5  
 
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If you are intersted in the oldest universities and historical sights, then something you might like to do is visit Salerno, the Europe's first medical university, and Paestum, which has the best-preserved and utterly lovely Greek temples in Europe. It also has amazing food.

So if you land in Rome, you can catch a train to Salerno for a few nights, and see Paestum, and then on your way back to Naples, you can stop by Pompeii. You might like 3 nights in Naples, and then on to Rome for at least 4 nights. After than Florence, with day trips to Siena and Pisa, and then I would see Bologna on the way to Venice (if you keep Venice in the itinerary) or Milan.

So something like this -- just taking guesses at the days in each place and left out Milan because of your description of your priorities, but you might be able to squeeze it in.

1 Arrive Rome, train to Salerno
2 Salerno
3 Salerno visit Paestum
4 Train to Pompeii, night in Naples
5 Naples
6 Naples
7 Rome
8 Rome
9 Rome
10 Rome
11 Florence
12 Florence
13 Florence
14 Florence
15 See Bologna on way to Venice
16 Venice
17 Venice
18 fly home

If you are interested in the history of Venice, then it is not overhyped. If you are mainly interested in food, then food in Bologna and Milan is better. Also, regarding Milan, the description above from bilburger leaves out many of unusual, first rate museums that Milan has, and its wonderful Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, etc, but be sure to read up on the places that you want to visit rather than have people on the internet tell you "there's only 3 things there to see and they didn't interest me."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schola_Medica_Salernitana

http://www.localidautore.com/primopi...hool-1965.aspx

http://goeurope.about.com/cs/italy/p/paestum.htm
sandralist is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 01:05 AM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 52,689
Sandralist - i think that the OP is locked into flying into and out of Rome, so to adapt your itinerary, she could do Rome - Salerno - Naples - Florence - Venice - Rome, could she not?
annhig is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 08:33 AM
  #7  
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Thanks a ton, annhig, bilboburgler and sandralist. Your replies and suggestions were most helpful. I now have a fairly good idea about how I'm going to proceed and plan my trip.

Annhig, I love the tip about going "to the place that is furthest away from your exit point first, and work your way back". I'm definitely doing that!

Kybourbon, I was not aware that I could stay at convents and monasteries as well. I guess it'll be a good experience to try that. Do I have to make reservations in advance at these places or can I just show up, considering the month of May is a peak time for tourists?
nicolf is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 09:12 AM
  #8  
 
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Convents and monasteries often book up far in advance- so you would need to get reservations NOW. Also look carefully at the specifics of each - some have curfews (perhaps 11 pm?) so if you are planning on nightlife you will need to coordinate that.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:18 AM
  #9  
 
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nicolf - glad that we've been able to be of help.

do come back and tell us how you got on when you get back.
annhig is offline  
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