Italy April 22-May 5 comments please

Mar 10th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 247
Italy April 22-May 5 comments please

After checking a jillion train schedules, museum schedules and rental car options, this is what I've come up with to minimize backtracking and work around the May 1 holiday closings. I know we pack a lot into our days. That's how we like to travel.

Sun, April,22: arrive Rome early AM. Visit the Forum, Colliseum and whatever else we have the energy to see.
Mon, April 23: St Peter's, Vatican Museum
Tue, April 24: AM train from Rome to Naples, visit Pompei and Mt Vesuvius then take the overnight train to Venice (leaves Naples ~8PM)
Wed, April 25: arrive Venice ~6:00AM overnight in Venice
Thu, April 26: Train to Florence around noon. Night in Florence.
Fri, April 27: Florence
Sat, April 28: AM pick up car rental in Florence. We'll have the car 4 days (Sat-Tue)
Wed, May 2: Drop off rental car in Pisa in AM. Tour Pisa and then take train to Cinque Terre. Overnight in Cinque Terre
Thu, May 3: Cinque Terre
Fri, May 4: AM train to Rome. Spend last evening in Rome.
Sat, May 5: 10 AM flight back home.

I'm pretty happy with this. We are morning people and like to hit things early to avoid crowds so traveling overnight and changing cities in the middle of the day will hopefully let us enjoy the sites before and after the crowds have come through.

I still need to figure out what to do in Central Italy for the first 3 days that we have the car (Sat, April 28-Mon, April 30). I'm pretty sure I want to go to Assisi but I'm open to other options. We may be up to our eyebrows in churches by then. We don't like wine, so no interest in wine tasting. We like scenery and hiking and gelato. Well, I actually hate the hiking part but the excercise is good, I love good views and I LOVE gelato. I hate shopping and my husband is cheap so he's good with that. Don't care about nightlife. We go pretty had during the day and need to recover at night. It would be great if we could find a base where we could stay all 3 nights. Any suggestions to complete my itinerary?

I was thinking about going to Siena in the morning and then spending the night at San Gimignano on our 4th day with the car. SG is supposed to be neat at night and it's relatively close to Pisa, where we will be turning in the car the next morning. However, that is May 1. Is that a bad day to be visiting Siena and SG?

mdod is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 04:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,126
You asked for comments:
Please reconsider the entire plan.
You start with 2 nights in Rome,one on a train,one night in Venice,one full day in Florence...I'll stop there. Honestly, if you are happy with this then go with it. I can't imagine anyone here who has been to Italy many times would be happy with this manic schedule.
You will have a good trip because it's Italy. You,however,could have a much better experience with a vastly different schedule.
jabez is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 04:58 AM
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Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that many people here would absolutely hate this schedule but I came up with it based on how we like to travel at this point in our lives. Some people travel half way around the world to stay in 5 star hotels and never leave their hotel other than to eat and shop. Some love to wander the halls of a museum for days on end or stay in a city for a week at a time and see everything it has to offer in depth. The joy of independent travel is that we can design the trip we want. So far I have returned from every vacation thrilled with my experience. I can't ask for more than that.

mdod is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 05:26 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,790
Mdod..I like your spirit. I would probably pass out somewhere around the slopes of Vesuvius on that itinerary but I am sure it will suit you fine, as you seem to know what your style is. I love the frankness about the hiking and the cheap husband!

I think given your interests I would skip Assisi and head for southern Montepulciano, Pienza, and the Sant Antimo abbey for the chanting. (I confess I did not make it to this last bit due to late rising and dawdling over breakfast, but it appears to be quite wonderful from all accounts).
then head up to San Gimignano and on to the coast. I think the area is so beautiful and there are so many interesting towns concentrated in a relatively small area that you may even get to take a breath or two before you hit Pisa.

You certainly picked a perfect time of year to travel to Italy! Have fun!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Mar 11th, 2007, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,147
Hi md,

I think that you have laid out an exhausting itinerary that has you on trains and in cars more than seeing and enjoying the sights of Italy.

If that is what you want to do, then that is what you want to do.

I would add one more night to Venice.

If you check your map, you can drive from Florence to Assisi to Siena to Pisa to La Spezia and drop the car in La Spezia rather than Pisa.

You can't do anything about the May 1 holiday. Find a small town and enjoy the festival.

If you enter <Tuscany> and <Chianti> in the "search this forum" box, you'll get lots of good ideas.

Looking forward to your trip report.

ira is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 247
eks: thanks for the support and the ideas in Southern Tuscany.

Ira: I hear you on another night in Venice but we will arrive early AM and have all day (and we'll put it to good use) and then the next morning. I figured the train trip to Florence would give us time to rest our weary bones. At this time of year, do you think we could wait until the evening of our first day in Venice to make reservations for the train to Florence the next day? If so, we could see how our time is going in Venice and then take a later train if we want to stay longer. With the 2 nights in Florence, if we end up wanting to spend more time there, we could spend the second day in Florence instead of going to Southern Tuscany in the morning.

I am turning the rental car in at Pisa, rather than La Spezia, because we'll need to turn it in in the morning to avoid another day's rental. I figured we could drive to Pisa early, drop off the car, see the sights in Pisa and then train to CT.

I've read 3 guidebooks now and looked at the Italy 1&2 threads but haven't had much chance to read trip reports yet. With only 6 weeks to go, I've been rushing to set an itinerary so I can find lodging. If I can find a good base in Southern Tuscany, the car will give us some flexibility to go with the flow there.

mdod is offline  

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