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Italy - Honeymoon (18 nights) - Rough draft itinerary - sanity check?

Italy - Honeymoon (18 nights) - Rough draft itinerary - sanity check?

Aug 17th, 2013, 11:22 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Italy - Honeymoon (18 nights) - Rough draft itinerary - sanity check?

Hey all,

My fiance and I are planning a honeymoon trip to Italy (our first time there), tentatively from Sep 21st through Oct 10th. I've been reading and browsing on and off on this (and other) forums, and have been digging into a few guidebooks on Italy.

First, some background: we have been together for a long time already (over 10 years), so this isn't exactly a newlywed/romance focus... we're really just looking to do some mix of exploring, photographing, and taking in and enjoying the local food & culture. We are OK with some long days (i.e. leaving early and coming back late).

I spent a lot of time today just trying to figure out what places/sites we really wanted to see (man, there's sooo much to see in Italia!!)... This is a very early draft, and I haven't gotten too far into sanity checks around travel time between locations, etc... I'm really looking for some friendly advice (in case I'm way off!), before I start really digging into the nitty-gritty details. I haven't booked anything yet (I know, I know, HURRY UP!!), so this is still pretty flexible.

THE PLAN SO FAR:

Fly from Chicago into Venice, arrive @ 8:35am

Home Base #1: Venice (4 nights):
Day 1 Check into hotel and settle in to Venice
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 Train to Verona (Venezia S. Lucia to Verona Porta Nuova?)
Day 4 Explore outer islands (Torcello, Burano, Murano)

Home Base #2: Florence (5 nights):
Day 5 Check into hotel and settle in to Florence
Day 6 Florence
Day 7 Trip to Lucca in the morning, then Pisa in the afternoon, then back to Florence
Day 8 Early morning trip to Cinque Terre (all day)
Day 9 Tuscany day tour to see Chianti region, Siena, San Gimignano?

Home Base #3: Rome (4 nights):
Day 10 Check into hotel and settle in to Rome
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome (Vatican City)
Day 13 Rome

Home Base #4: Sorrento (5 nights)
Day 14 Check into hotel and settle in to Sorrento
Day 15 Ferry from Positano to Amalfi, bus to Ravello?
Day 16 Train to Pompeii (Ercolano?), Mt. Vesuvius, Arch. Museum in Naples?
Day 17 Rent a car and head to Paestum? Or bus/train to Salerno, then on to Paestum?
Day 18 Day trip to Capri
Day 19 Head to Naples airport, depart at 1:25pm back to Chicago
carusoa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 03:06 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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You've wisely only chosen a few bases and opted to take your day trips from there. However, I've always thought that Cinque Terre isd much ado about nothing special. There are many towns in Italy that are as nice and plenty of walking in other places too. Your day 16 is too crowded as you can't do all that in one go. Pompeii will take at least 4/5 hours on its own if you want to do it justice. You could go from Pompeii to Ercolano but that would be about it for one day.

Capri is again IMO not worth the effort. I'd want to be in Naples the day before the flight for safety's sake and you could use that time to explre. It's only an hour to Naples from Sorrento.
Rubicund is online now  
Aug 18th, 2013, 04:50 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 157
Great plan. In one place out the other. As the days get cooler you are moving south and should have great temps for all the trip.
The big 3 and Amalfi is, to me, best first visit to Italy.
Day trips are good idea. May want to cut back to see more of Florence and Sorrento.
Rent a car and drive the coast to Paestum. Beautiful drive and amazing Greek temples
SkipHudgins is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 05:10 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
You are going at the absolute best time of the year for Italy. I think your itinerary is a good start but a little crowded in places.

Since you are visiting the Amalfi Coast, I would eliminate Cinque Terre for all the reasons Rubicund mentions and because you need more time in Florence itself - to my thinking a great city worth at least 3 days. Capri is one of the most beautiful places in the world IMO but I wouldn't recommend a day trip. It is just too crowded during the day with cruise passengers and day trippers. Save it for a time when you can spend a few days.

Your day 16 is probably impossible. I'd skip the museum in Naples and instead travel to Naples on day 18 to be there the day before your flight and see the museum then. It is well worth it after you have seen Pompeii.

Sounds lovely. Have a wonderful time.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 05:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 242
take my thoughts with a grain of salt. but, in my opinion, you are taking on too much. seems you just settle into a town and your off on a day trip. I just like to relax more, maybe, but I'd skip Verona and have another leisure day in Venice. I'd only do one day trip (max) from Florence. Skip day 7's events would be my vote, or actually, skip Florence and stay in CT?? Day trip from there to FLorence (you can do alot in a day there) and enjoy a smaller town atmosphere? Rome looks fine, short, but fine. I'd skip Capri in the Naples segment. and as mentioned the day 16 is overkill.

just saying, you are going to want this to be a different type trip, I would think, than a sightseeing trip. Make time for outdoor restaurants and leisurely wandering. Spur of the moment stuff. You will be back, and THIS is a really great time in your life to enjoy each other...before the kids set in!!

Just my two cents!!
mmmooommm is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 05:56 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
Nice trip---you have done your homework too.
I feel you will be stretching to try and day trip to both the CT and especially Paestum---just too much hassle.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 08:57 AM
  #7  
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Re: feedback on Day 16 itinerary --
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Agreed, can't possibly do all of that in one day (or rather, wouldn't want to). I had some question marks there because I am planning on trying to do either Pompeii OR Ercolano, and then either Mt. Vesuvius OR the Arch. Museum in Naples... Can anyone who's been offer some advice on which would be the better options?

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Re: feedback on Cinque Terre --
-------------------------------------
A lot of people are saying that this is not worth squeezing in. I get that, especially since it sounds like a 2.5 - 3 hour trip from Florence to CT. I recently read that:

"On Sunday mornings in Summer there is usually a direct train to all the Cinque Terre villages, leaving Florence about 07.45."

Does anyone have any details around this, and whether this would apply at end of September? Looking briefly on Trenitalia, seems like I might be able to get an early train and be in CT by 08.00 or 09.00... and then catch a train back to Firenze as late as 20.00 or 21.00... so it seems like we could spend a nice day wandering around, no? Any feedback welcome.

-------------------------------------
Re: feedback on Capri --
-------------------------------------
This one is pretty much a must-do; the fiance is pretty excited to see the infamous Blue Grotto (and I am too, even though i'm sure it's touristy). I see everyone's point, and I'm sure Capri deserves a few days on a future trip, but is it worth it if we just go and see the touristy pieces? Would that fill a full day, or would we spend the morning/afternoon there and come back to Sorrento with time for something else?

-------------------------------------

Thanks for all the feedback so far! Very helpful!
carusoa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 09:09 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
We did a day trip to Capri with high expectations and hated it, in sept too. Packed to the gills with day trippers and there is no guarantee blue grotto will be accessible the day you go. We went and thought it was highly overrated...just a cave with really blue water with tonnes of tourists trying to get in and out. But later in sept the weather may make it inaccessible...

We spent 5 nights in Manarola and loved it..but I wouldn't take the time for a day trip. Especially if you are going to the Amalfi coast as well.

But everyone has their own opinions on these things so you may just plan as you go...if the weather is good and you feel like it then do it...if the weather isn't cooperating or you don't feel like the hassle for a few hours in either place then don't! Be flexible!
jamikins is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 09:18 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,451
We did both the CT and AC on a trip in 2005, having visited the CT before but the AC was new. It was redundant in the space of a two week trip. Not to say there aren't numerous differences between the two, but with such a short time window, I'd choose one or the other. With your itinerary, I'd choose the AC.

Re: what to see on your Day 16, the National Archaeology Museum in Napoli is world class. I wouldn't miss it on any account. Plus you would get at least a tiny glimpse of the great city of Naples and perhaps getto try the world famous pizza. Personally I'd cut Capri give that you'd have to make a day trip out of it plus the weather could prevent a Blue Grotto visit anyway. I'd use that extra day to see Pompei and Herculaeum on a day and use the other day to see Naples and the museum
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 09:21 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Paestum is amazing. We've found it so fantastic that we have seen it 3 times even though the public transport there is rather a mess. You could consider hiring a driver for that day. Francesco Marrapense is highly recommended on this board. We used him in 2008 and were quite pleased.
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 09:37 AM
  #11  
 
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One day in Venice and one day in Florence. Why bother basing yourself in those places if you aren't going to spend any time in them? You might as well stay somewhere a few hours away for less money and day trip in to Venice and Forence if that's all the time you are going to spend in them.

For my money, you are trying to see/do far too much in too little time. You are going to spend as much time going to/from places as you are IN places.
Improviser is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 01:10 PM
  #12  
 
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Not enough no-travel days in Venice, Florence and Rome for me. If it were my trip, I'd do the Big 3 and spend a few nights/days in a small town with a car for exploring.

BTW, if you thought this would be a quieter time of year... uh, no.
Jean is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 01:38 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,552
I think it sounds like a wonderful trip.

I agree that there are a few things you could skip:

Maybe skip Verona. Now, this is coming from someone that's on her way to a stay in Verona, but Venice is so full of things to see and you want to visit the islands, so maybe slow down that day. Also, going to all three islands on one day can be rushed. I recommend a visit to Murano one day (doesn't take long) and another day to visit Burano and Torcello. I always plan day trips from Venice and once I'm there, I don't really want to spend a day away.

I agree that skipping the CT is a good idea. You have two days away from Florence (Pisa/Lucca and Siena/San Gimignano) and you could quite easily spend a nice morning or afternoon in Fiesole, which we enjoy.

I also think a day trip to Paestum is a hard day. I get that Capri is a must see for you, but can you cut Paestum? It's not easy to get to, but I have hired a driver Sorrento > Paestum for clients.

Here's a website for AC buses and ferry times

http://www.amalficoastweb.com/amalfi...s_ferries.html

I have been to both and would say that the Arch. Museum in Naples surpasses a visit to Vesuvio by a mile. In fact the ride up to me was tedious and much of the scenery was bleak. I would go back to the museum in a minute, but would not revisit Vesuvio.

Spending the last day and night in Naples is a great idea.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 06:00 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 242
Blue grotto was not accessible when I tried too. Just a warning, and there was no sweet talking to be done to get there.
mmmooommm is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 07:09 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 429
"On Sunday mornings in Summer there is usually a direct train to all the Cinque Terre villages, leaving Florence about 07.45."

Does anyone have any details around this, and whether this would apply at end of September? Looking briefly on Trenitalia, seems like I might be able to get an early train and be in CT by 08.00 or 09.00... and then catch a train back to Firenze as late as 20.00 or 21.00... so it seems like we could spend a nice day wandering around, no? Any feedback welcome.

The 7:45 direct train from Florence to La Spezia does not arrive until 10:04 (Riomaggiore at 10:29). To arrive La Spezia at 8:51 ( Riomaggiore at 9:58) you would have to take the 6:08 train Whether these would run in September I don't know.
Have a wonderful honeymoon!
drchris is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:05 PM
  #16  
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Thanks for all the feedback so far, I think you're all probably right and I need to remove Cinque Terre and Capri from the trip. I may still try for Capri and the Blue Grotto if the weather is good and it's accessible, and we've got nothing else going on... but it won't be a top priority anymore. I suppose this gives me an excuse to go back to Italy in the near future (not that I need one!).

But... I just had a concerning thought...

The "Home Base" changes in my itinerary are currently scheduled such that I would be sleeping the night in the city I'm coming FROM, and then heading to the next "Home Base" early the following morning to check in to the hotel and explore the new city... BUT... what are the typical check-in times for hotels in the area? Is it like in the US, where hotels assume you won't be checking in until around 15.00?

I'm thinking I should probably change my itinerary so that I'm travelling to the next Home Base at night to check in, and then I'd have the full next day to explore the new city... for example:

THE PLAN SO FAR (version 2):

Fly from Chicago into Venice, arrive @ 8:35am and check in to hotel

Home Base #1: Venice (3 nights)
Day 1 (Arrival), Venice
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 Train to Verona (Venezia S. Lucia to Verona Porta Nuova?)
Day 4 Explore outer islands (Torcello, Burano, Murano), head to Florence and check in

Home Base #2: Florence (5 nights):
Day 5 Florence
Day 6 Florence
Day 7 Trip to Lucca in the morning, then Pisa in the afternoon, then back to Florence
Day 8 Tuscany day tour to see Chianti region - Siena, San Gimignano
Day 9 Florence, head to Rome and check in

Home Base #3: Rome (4 nights):
Day 10 Rome
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome (Vatican City)
Day 13 Rome, head to Sorrento and check in

Home Base #4: Sorrento (6 nights)
Day 14 Sorrento
Day 15 Ferry from Positano to Amalfi, bus to Ravello
Day 16 Rent a car and head to Paestum? Or bus/train to Salerno, then on to Paestum?
Day 17 Pompeii, Ercolano
Day 18 Naples, Arch. Museum in Naples
Day 19 Head to Naples airport, depart at 1:25pm back to Chicago


Which is the better way to do this? I'm concerned that if I go early in the morning, I might not be able to check in when I get to the new city... however, if I want to travel at night, am I losing too much time (because I'd have to make sure I left early enough to catch a train to the next city)?

Is there some time after which hotels will NOT allow check-ins until the next day?
carusoa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:25 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Check in is usually around 3pm but you can usually drop you bags and head off site seeing until your room is ready. I prefer to move in the morning but it's up to you. You waste about 1/2 a day changing locations so it depends where you want to give up the time.
jamikins is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:25 PM
  #18  
 
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You may want to stay in naples the night before your flight just in case...
jamikins is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:27 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sorry meant to add...we prefer to move in the morning because otherwise you need to head back to your accommodations to collect your luggage then head back to the train station...it just feels like you are hanging around waiting to leave that day, worrying about getting to the train on time etc. I prefer to just head there in the morning and be done with it.
jamikins is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 11:08 PM
  #20  
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Ah, you have some pretty good arguments for moving in the mornings... I think I'm going to go back to that approach.

THE PLAN SO FAR (version 3):

Fly from Chicago into Venice, arrive @ 8:35am and check in to hotel

Home Base #1: Venice (4 nights)
Day 1 (Arrival), Venice
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 Train to Verona (Venezia S. Lucia to Verona Porta Nuova?)
Day 4 Tour the outer islands (Torcello, Burano, Murano)

Home Base #2: Florence (5 nights):
Day 5 Head from Venice to Florence and check in, Florence
Day 6 Florence
Day 7 Trip to Lucca in the morning, then Pisa in the afternoon, then back to Florence
Day 8 Tuscany day tour to see Chianti region - Siena, San Gimignano
Day 9 Florence

Home Base #3: Rome (4 nights):
Day 10 Head from Florence to Rome and check in, Rome
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome (Vatican City)
Day 13 Rome

Home Base #4: Sorrento (4 or 5 nights, see options below)
Day 14 Head from Rome to Sorrento and check in, Sorrento
Day 15 Positano, Ferry to Amalfi, bus to Ravello
Day 16 Rent a car and head to Paestum (or bus/train to Salerno, then on to Paestum)?
Day 17 Pompeii, Ercolano

(Option 1 - 5 nights in Sorrento):
Day 18 Naples, Arch. Museum in Naples
Day 19 Head to Naples airport, depart at 1:25pm back to Chicago

(Option 2 - 4 nights in Sorrento, 1 in Naples):
Day 18 Head from Sorrento to Naples and check in, Naples, Arch. Museum in Naples
Day 19 Head to Naples airport, depart at 1:25pm back to Chicago


Is there a big risk with spending my last night in Sorrento instead of Naples? Couldn't I just get an early train out of Sorrento on Day 19 to make it with ample time for the flight? Just wondering why I'd want to lug my luggage from one hotel to the other, just to lug it to the airport the next day... hopefully we're packing light, but it's hard to say with my fiance...

Also - I'm still gathering up costs and figuring out how the budget looks... but, if we can afford to add an additional day to the trip, any suggestions on where it should be and what we should be doing? Maybe another night at the end in Sorrento to just relax and enjoy the area? Or something else?
carusoa is offline  

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