Italy - 21 Day Itinerary for May, 2018

Old Aug 12th, 2017, 02:54 PM
  #1  
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Italy - 21 Day Itinerary for May, 2018

Hello! We are meeting friends for a week at a villa near Lucca to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We all stayed at the same villa for the wedding 10 years ago. We'll travel by ourselves a bit before and after that week. On previous trips to Italy we've been to Lake Como (twice), Lake Maggiore, the Cinque Terre, and further up the Ligurian Coast to Santa Margharita Ligure and Camogli. We've also stayed in Venice and we visited Florence for just a day trip.

This time we thought we'd start further south, flying into Rome (the flight to Naples just didn't work out - we'd get there too late in the evening after flying from the West Coast) and then taking the train to Naples and further on to Sorrento by either train, bus or driver. Here's our plan so far:

Sorrento: 4 nights - we want to recuperate from the flight, take a ferry to Positano or Capri, perhaps take a driver to the Amalfi Coast
Rome - 3 nights -
Arezzo - 1 night to break up the train trip to Florence
Florence - 2 nights
Lucca - villa for 7 nights - day trips from there (we've been to Viareggio, Pisa and Florence for day trips
Siena - 2 nights
Where to spend last two nights before flying out of Rome?

We'll have a car in Lucca and will takes trains otherwise.

Your critique/suggestions?
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 03:00 PM
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Book high-speed trains way in advance to garner discounted tickets - sold in limited numbers on each train - www.trainitalia.com or http://www.italotreno.it/en -competitors on main route -the latter always having cheap tickets but can sell out. For lots on Italian trains: www.seat61.com - erudite info on discounted tickets; for general info -www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Not into Pompeii - short train ride from Sorrento ride to entrance (Pompeii-Scavi station on CircumVesuviana rr).
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 03:07 PM
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Suggest you go to Florence straight from Sorrento & visit Arezzo & Siena as daytrips from Florence. After Lucca, go to Rome for the remainder of your trip.
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 10:05 PM
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I like Arezzo, but I dislike one-night stays. Why do you feel you need to "break up the train trip" Rome to Florence by staying in Arezzo for a night? The fast trains on the Rome-Florence route take only 90 minutes. But if it was my trip, I would train Sorrento-Naples-Florence, skip Arezzo, spend 3 nights in Florence (or add the night to Siena) and put all of the Rome days at the end.

Montecatini Terme is an easy day trip from Lucca. For a scenic drive, Lucca to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, then through the mountains to Pietrasanta and back to Lucca.
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 10:23 PM
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kja
 
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I must admit that this trip sounds very rushed to me -- are you sure you can see and do what you want on the Amalfi Coast and in Rome in these time frames?

If there's a way to put ALL of your time in Rome together in one block of time before your departure, that would, I think, be worth considering.

Happy anniversary!
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 01:08 AM
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I actually dislike daytrips in Italy more than switching hotels or roadtripping, but my advice to bunch your days in Florence together & do day trips to Siena & Arezzo was thinking you might be carrying more luggage for a 3 week stay & therefore struggle with so many train trips with train changes.

However, if your Lucca villa has a washing machine & you mean to pack light, then -- using your original itinerary-- go to Orvieto from Rome for 1 night, then continue with the rest of your planned itinerary. After Lucca, go to Siena for 2 nights then take the bus to Arezzo for 2 nights (& do a day trip to Perugia if you like) . Take the train to Rome.
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 01:14 AM
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Daytrips from Lucca would include Pistoia & Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, Carrara marble quarries, San Miniato & the Italian Riviera. I love the morning food market in Livorno.
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 12:45 PM
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All great suggestions - thanks very much for your replies! We will re-think some of our options. Yes, we travel light - just a wheeled carry-on each. The villa does have a washer/dryer, so that's a plus. It took a while to figure out, though - and we ended up hanging clothing to dry, which was fine. The stop in Arezzo was planned since we were already visiting large cities. I had just been looking at Orvieto as well.

Kja, thanks for the congratulations! Actually, I wasn't clear - it's our friend's 10th anniversary. That said, we'll be a few weeks short of our 38th anniversary on this trip so there is cause for celebration!
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 01:19 PM
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I think Arezzo is a good stop if there are things you want to see there and it makes sense with the rest of your itinerary. I spent three nights in Arezzo this summer, but I had some very specific things I wanted to see and do (in particular Piero della Francesca's frescoes in the basilica). I enjoyed it very much. But I also like Orvieto and numerous other places.

For what it's worth, Orvieto feels more "small hill town" to me than Arezzo. Both are beautiful, in my opinion.

Sounds like it will be a great trip.
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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>>>Sorrento: 4 nights - we want to recuperate from the flight, take a ferry to Positano or Capri, perhaps take a driver to the Amalfi Coast
Rome - 3 nights -
Arezzo - 1 night to break up the train trip to Florence
Florence - 2 nights
Lucca - villa for 7 nights - day trips from there (we've been to Viareggio, Pisa and Florence for day trips
Siena - 2 nights
Where to spend last two nights before flying out of Rome?
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 02:40 PM
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Originally this was planned as an open jaw - arriving in Naples (albeit late) going to Sorrento, then on to Rome, Florence and Lucca with a flight home out of Pisa or Florence. Then, a super business class fare appeared, round trip to Rome. That makes our flight from California much more comfortable for my 6'2" husband, so we jumped on it. We'd still prefer starting in the south going north. I clarified my mention of "breaking up" the train ride to Florence with a stop in Arezzo. Actually, I was looking to stay in a smaller town between two larger ones - Rome and Florence, to give us a bit of a break from the cities, not the length of the train trip.

We arrive in Naples just after 14:00. I gave my husband the option of 1) taking the train from airport to Rome, then another to Naples, and then the Curreri bus, Circumvesuviana train or a driver to Sorrento, or 2) hiring a driver from Rome to Sorrento - and yes, I know how expensive it is!.
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 02:53 PM
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If you do end up going to Arezzo I had several good meals there, can dig up resto names at some point.
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 02:56 PM
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Leely2 I would appreciate your restaurant suggestions!
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 03:49 PM
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Torre di Gnicche - this is a Slow Food restaurant serving mostly traditional Tuscan dishes with high-quality local ingredients. Simple fare. Liked it a lot, so I ate here twice.

http://www.latorredignicche.it/

I Tre Bicchieri - more upscale, some creative twists, seafood focus. Other dishes are good too. Really cute chef, lol.

https://www.facebook.com/i3bicchieri/

O Scugnizzo
Naples-style pizza, very casual, extremely busy. Good beer selection. I was in Naples last year and had many good pizzas, so couldn't resist trying this place.

http://www.lo-scugnizzo.it/it/index.php
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Old Aug 13th, 2017, 06:05 PM
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Fantastic, Leely2! A great meal makes the trip memorable. I love personal recommendations. Much appreciated.
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Old Aug 15th, 2017, 11:09 PM
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We go to Italy at least once a year, so we have been to all the places you are planning to visit. I agree w/sorrento for the 4nights, then the 3 nights in Rome. Then to Florence for 3 nights. That puts you into Lucca for your villa stay. I would choose to spend the rest of my nights in Rome, as several have mentioned.

I am not a fan of 1 night stays as you lose too much time moving out of & into hotels.

Also Rome is such a magical place with so much history; for 10 years, I insisted on spending all our time in Florence w/day trips to Siena, Lucca, Volterra, etc. Finally decided to devote some time in Rome & this has become my "go to" Italian city. The layers of history are mind boggling. I suspect that your appetites for Rome will be enlarged to the point that even after 3nights there before Florence, you will find much to do on your second visit.
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Old Aug 16th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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If a Pinocchio fan Collodi a hill village just outside of Lucca is home of Pinocchio and has marketed itself to the wooden puppet's legacy - his creator was from Collodi:

https://www.google.com/search?q=coll...w=1745&bih=864
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Old Aug 20th, 2017, 11:27 AM
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Thanks, PCTraveler - your points are well taken! I'm very much looking forward to Rome.

PalenQ - Collodi is on the radar for a day trip - thanks for reminding me! We had considered it on our last trip and elected to drive to Bagni di Lucca to see the Devil's Bridge and beyond.
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Old Aug 20th, 2017, 03:16 PM
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I've not been to Collodi but would like to -when I was in Lucca didn't know about it - most folks here say it isn't that great a 'hill' town and the trading on Pinocchio is rather kitschy -which I love!

I'd be interested in what you thought of it!
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