Italy: Early May v. Early July

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Mar 14th, 2007, 06:37 AM
  #1
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Italy: Early May v. Early July

So my wife and I have finally been able to put aside some time to travel again. I want to surprise her by putting together a trip to Italy with stops in Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Looking over airfare and hotels it looks like well either be going the first two weeks of May or the first two weeks of July. July seems to have a better selection of hotels and the rates are very similar to early May. July would also give us more time to plan given the fact that our ability to travel came at short notice.
But its been a long time since I was over there and Im wondering if someone could give me an idea of how different it will be in these three cities between the first two weeks of May and the first two of July. Is the temperature difference that drastic? Mostly Im concerned about crowds. How much more crowded will it be in early July compared to early May? We dont mind waiting in lines now and thenbut we dont want to be herded through sites like cattle.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
heeney is offline  
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Mar 14th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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We were in Florence, although only for one day, last July.

It was, of course, hot and humid.

We made a point of getting to the places we wanted to see as early as possible and that seemed to work.

It didn't seem all that crowded although there were a lot of folks touring the Duomo by the time we got there.

Going in May would probably be better BUT your July "advantages" seem somewhat compelling.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Well I have never been to Italy in July but my husband and I were there in early to mid-May 2004 and the temperatures were lovely (very warm but not scorching hot) and the crowds manageable. However, if the crowds had been any more than that it might have been too much, especially with added heat that you'd get in July. I'd go in May...
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Mar 16th, 2007, 05:03 AM
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Thanks for the tips. Im leaning towards May due to the crowds rather than heat.
And update on the state of things:
If we went at the beginning of May we would probably spent 4 nts Rome, 3 nts Florence, 3 nights Venice. And during our stay in Rome we would certainly want to find time to take the train to Pompeii (via Naples). My wife is fascinated by Pompeii and has always said she wanted to see it.
If we went in July, wed be able to spend 5 nts Rome, 4 nts Florence, and 3 nts Venice for the same cost.

Is it worth going in July for the extra time? Or better to sacrifice the time to go in May?

Also, please let me know if my itinerary is too much. Here it is again:

4 (or 5) Nights Rome with day trip to Naples/Pompeii.
3 (or 4) Nights in Florence (would love to go see Siena for at least half a day)
3 Nights Venice
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Mar 16th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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Personally I would go in May. The crowds in Venice, especially, in July, combined with the heat, would make it unpleasant. I ws in the city in July once and it was truly unappealing. To me. Whenever yougo, try to avoid weekends in Venice, especially.

But your plan looks good and the idea of an extra day does make it a difficult choice. Is the extra day because of your scheduling? If it is because of cost, what is the reason why you can do it in July but not in May?

Be aware that you will likely end up spending more than half a day in Siena by the time you get to the bus stop in Florence, take the bus, tour the city, get the bus back, etc etc. So plan on Siena taking up most of that day allocated to Florence.
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Mar 16th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Hi Heeny,

I've visited in March, May and Sept. March was nice, May and Sept great. I would not go in July.

I would recommend going in May. Even if you have a couple days extra in July, you will loose those days once you factor in the heat and crowds (longer lines, less energy = not as much site seeing).

If you do go to Pompeii, I would take a day from Florence and add it to Rome.

Buon viaggio!
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Mar 16th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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I spent a month in Italy in May and it was lovely. Crowds definitely picked up as the end of the month neared. I've never been in July, but would imagine the heat and crowds would be worse.

My sister and I are taking a trip again this May, and I have to say it seems like the cities will be full. I had to try 4 or 5 hotels in Florence and Rome to find a hotel room. Granted I was looking at Rick Steves hotels, which I think always sell out fast.

Anyway, have a great trip! Pompeii is the neatest thing you will ever see!!!
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Mar 16th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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From what I am seeing, the 4/3/3 trip in May is about $250 more that the 5/4/3 trip in July. Im looking at the same hotels of course. The airfare in July is much more, but hotel rates are very reasonable in July (probably b/c its not as sold out yet as May).
We could probably do a 5/4/3 trip in May. But since hotels seem to be booked like crazy wed probably have to stay in decent-but-lesser accommodations father from the center of town.
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Mar 16th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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ekscrunchy,

You mentioned taking a bus to Siena. Do you recommend the bus over rail? Which is quicker?
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Mar 16th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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MaureenB
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We were in Rome, Florence and Venice in early May 2006. We were fortunate that the weather was perfect, in the 70s each day, with just one morning of rain in Rome. The flowers were blooming on the Spanish Steps, etc. I was glad we were there before the crowds and heat.
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Mar 16th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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If you would give an idea of your price range for hotels and what you are looking for I'll bet that the helpful folks on this forum will find places for May that will allow you to stay the extra days while keeping to your budget.

As far as bus vs. train Florence to Siena, IMO and in the opinion of many others, bus is far better. The bus station and train station in Florence are right near each other, but the bus station in Siena is in town just outside the wall while the train station requires, for most of us, a bus or taxi to get to the heart of town. The train also may not be direct, but require a change. The bus takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and I believe runs every hour.
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Mar 16th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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To answer your question about bus vs. train from Florence to Siena, the bus stops in the center of Siena. The train drops you off outside the walls, requiring a taxi to get in. The bus station in Florence is across the street from the main train station.

Florence can get very hot, humid and packed with tourists in the summer. If you've got an opportunity to go in May, grab it.
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