Italy and France in 20 Days

Apr 17th, 2014, 11:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Italy and France in 20 Days

Hello! My mom and I are traveling to Italy and France for the first time this June. We posted our original itinerary on here and got wonderful advice so now I am back with our revised itinerary and more questions

All advice is more than welcome!!

Day 2: Arrive in Rome at 10:35 am

Day 5: Afternoon/Evening Train to Florence (opinions on NTV vs. Trenitalia?)

Day 8: Day Trip to Siena (maybe renting a car to explore hill towns in this area)

Day 9: Other Hill Towns (San Gimignano, Pienza, etc - still figuring out top ones)

Day 10: Train to Cinque Terre

Day 12 : Train to Venice

Day 14 : Fly to Avignon

Day 18: TVG to Paris

Day 22: Depart Paris

We've been debating a lot between visiting Nice v. Cinque Terre - we feel like based on time we can visit one or the other. Which would you suggest between those two. We're interested in experiencing the culture of the countries, eating good food, and unique experiences.

We are also a little unsure about the Rome - Florence - Cinque Terre - Venice - Avignon order... suggestions on the best order to visit these cities using trains and wasting as little time as possible changing trains?

Thanks in advance for all of the help!
julieuffelman is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 12:05 PM
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I would bag the CT and head for Nice.

But I'm not into hiking cliff paths between small villages - I'm much more interested in history, culture and the opportunity to explore an ancient city and then visit some of the smaller towns up in the hills - plus museums, chapels and tons of great food.

But - I am a city person and do become bored in small towns - and I'm not hiking anywhere. (We often walk for many miles on vacation - but as soon as it requires hiking shoes and cliffside paths you have lost me.)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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I've never been in Nice, but the only culture you'll see in the Cinque Terre is the international tourism culture. The food is only OK, as all the restaurants know that only 1% of their clients will ever be back.

I agree that the only reason to go to the Cinque Terre is for the hiking, and almost all of the easier lower trails have been closed for several years because of the risk of landslides.
bvlenci is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 12:20 PM
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The Italo trains depart from Rome's Ostiense and Tiburtina stations, while the Trenitalia trains depart from Termini and Tiburtina stations. That might condition your choice of service. Termini station is closer to the center, so consider the ease of getting to the station from where you're staying. Other than that, I would choose the one that has a better price for the day you want to travel.
bvlenci is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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June is the height of tourist season in Tuscany, which is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Italy. On your day 9, I suggest you not look for the "top" towns. Look for the little gems that are not on anybody's top 10 list.

San Gimignano is always packed with tourists in high season. We drove there once in April, and were turned back on the road leading into town because there was no place to park further up. We parked the car on a country road and walked in. I've been there at other times of the year, and the town was always full of tourists, at least during the day; most are day trippers.
bvlenci is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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(We often walk for many miles on vacation - but as soon as it requires hiking shoes and cliffside paths you have lost me.)>

You need no special shoes other than athletic shoes - running or walking shoes you wear all the time to hike the CT 7-mile path linking all five towns and there are no cliff-side paths either IME of walking the whole way in one day - parts are strenuous, going up and down a lot - some segments are easy - the last one going down the coast - the Via delle Amour (sp?) is a veritable seaside esplanade that even baby prmas are seen on.

So it is not dangerous nor difficult that you'd need any hiking shoes - but do keep track of weather - if really wet and muddy it is no fun.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 03:46 PM
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I think it's getting a bit late to change from CT to Nice as you'd have to re-book your Venice hotel and find lodging in Nice. If you can manage this I would much rather stay in Nice. I would cut out Avignon and add a day to Venice and stay in Nice and take the train to Paris from there. Lots of options in the city and outside of it by train and bus.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 04:09 PM
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I suggest you visit cinque terre. The villages are beautiful from the water to see. Take a boat ride and stop at each village. You don't have to walk if you don't want to.
mandalay is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 06:24 AM
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CT is worth a day or two for most but the Nice area has so so many neat varied things to see and do - I'd take the French Riviera is a heart beat over the 5 Lands - and I did enjoy very much hiking there and the villages but it is also often seriously overcrowded - tiny villages overrun by tourists.

The French Riviera has crowds too but over a much larger area.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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I think you are cutting Rome short. I would add a day or two there.

From Rome, it makes more sense to take the train to Venice, spend a few days then take the train to Florence, spend a few days and then on to the CT. Train to Nice/Avignon from CT. I think you are wasting time going to the west side of Italy first and then to the east and crossing back west to France. Just not efficient.

Taking afternoon/evening trains departing a city means you have to arrange luggage storage. Either at your hotel (not all will do this) or the train station. Both involve backtracking (either back to the hotel or a trip to the station to put it in storage).
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 08:57 AM
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Train to Nice/Avignon from CT.>

But to get to Avignon by train from CT means an all day travail on trains with multiple changes - makes more sense time-wise to fly from Venice to Avignon/Nimes/Marseilles.

Too bad there are no high-speed trains on the Genoa to Nice route and no trains that continue thru the border, necessitating a change of trains always at Ventimgilia, the Italian border station - well there is one train from Moscow that goes thru each week but...
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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Yes a day more at least to Rome and yes Venice IMO should always be the tops on an Italian wish list if you have not been there - to me the world's most unique and exquisite city.
PalenQ is offline  

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