Italy in a week

Old Jul 26th, 2017, 03:08 PM
  #1  
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Italy in a week

Hi,
We are planning a week's trip to Italy in october and wanted to get some feedback on an itinerary. Trying to see if we can do Rome, Florence and Venice - we have 7 days in Italy, not including travel time to get there and back.

Day 0: Land in Italy in the aft - settle in
Day 1: Rome (Colosseum, Pantheon, Fountain Trevi, Spanish Steps, Forum)
Day 2: Rome (Vatican City)
Day 3: Rome (Open) and take evening train to Florence
Day 4: Florence (Duomo, Uffizi)
Day 5: Florence (Open - should we explore Florence or do a 1/2 day trip to Pisa or a day trip to Siena?)
Day 6: First train to Venice, explore Venice
Day 7: Venice, evening train back to Rome
Day 8: Leave Italy

Suggestions, alternate ideas, changes to itinerary to get the best experience would be much appreciated. Other areas of interest would be Pompeii, Cinque de Terre.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 03:19 PM
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Most people will tell you a week isn't enough time for all three cities. You could do it, but you'll spend half of your time on trains. Up to you.

Have you already booked the plane tickets? If not, seriously consider saving yourself half a day and flying open jaw into Venice out of Rome or vice versa. Could be the same price, maybe less vs. round trip into/out of Rome. Even if it costs a tad more, probably worth it assuming you absolutely cannot afford another day in Italy to make your trip more enjoyable and not have to rush around quite so much.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:14 PM
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Unfortunately flight tickets are booked and didnt get a good deal flying out of Venice, so had to go in and out of Rome.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:21 PM
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My one suggestion then is to go straight to Florence upon arrival at the airport in Rome. Don't split your nights in Rome between beginning and end - that's on more hotel check-in to deal with. There are a very few direct trains per day from FCO airport to Florence; otherwise you will have to change in Rome perhaps at Termini to get to Florence.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:31 PM
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This is a very ambitions trip in such a short amount of time. I would suggest heading directly to Florence and eliminating Venice on this trip. Stay in Florence and forget any 1/2 day trips. Return to Rome from Florence, that way you won't be backtracking. You might want to consider getting 'skip the line' tickets before you leave so you don't waste time standing in line. You're going to be seeing a lot of countryside taking the train everywhere if you include Venice. You don't have time to include either Pompeii or CT on this trip.

The Colosseum and Forum are next to each other and could easily take the entire day to visit both, while the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are relatively close to one another and you can easily walk from one to the other.

Hopefully you already have your hotel reservations.

Italy is beautiful - take the time to enjoy it!
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:33 PM
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>>My one suggestion then is to go straight to Florence upon arrival at the airport in Rome.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:44 PM
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was posting the same time as Debs; I agree -- Just Rome and Florence (or Rome and Venice) would be a better fit for your week. But no matter if you try to squeeze in all three cities or just two - Florence/Venice first -- you definitely don't have time for an extra check out/move/check in in this short time frame. So lump all the Rome days together.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. Makes sense - we would like to do Venice if possible, so I guess going straight to Venice and coming down from there works better? We are traveling with kids, so dont want to overdo on museums in Florence. Planning the Duomo and Accademia and maybe skipping Uffizi, other places to see in Florence?
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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I would limit your time in Florence, personally, if you aren't going to do many museums. Maybe two nights, three nights in Venice (assuming that's your arrival city now), the rest in Rome.

Be prepared to buy your train tickets to Venice upon arrival. You'll be paying full fare though, which is one downside of going right to Venice. Those train tickets for four might be pricey. You could buy them in advance and guess how long of a layover you'd need upon flying in to avoid missing the train in case of flight delays, but that's risky. That is kind of one benefit of going to Florence the first day: last-minute tickets might be a tad cheaper. You could pre-buy the other train tickets early since you'll not have to get from a plane to the train.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:29 PM
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Look at the Trenitalia website or perhaps www.Trainline.eu (might show Italia trains too) to check train ticket prices. Look at the fare details to see what the prices might be at the last minute upon flying into Rome and buying tickets then.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:49 PM
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I am also get out of Rome on landing camp. So many people on tight schedule insist on throwing away 1/2 day from already a short stay by staying in Rome twice.

Also, I see a recurring theme about "evening":
Day 3: Rome (Open) and take evening train to Florence
Day 7: Venice, evening train back to Rome

What is your definition of evening? Evening walks before/after dinner is the time I feel mostly about being in Italy. Tourists don't do this, but the locals do this in a big way. All the cities mentioned are lit up beautifully at night.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 06:08 PM
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Flexible on going to Florence first and then Venice, returning to Rome last, if that'll work better. Nothing tying us to evening trains, but based on our first itinerary, seemed like a good option to spend the day before heading out. Evening so we didnt get off at an insane hour in a new place.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 06:18 PM
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If you want to go to Venice first, understand first of all what time you're likely to get into Venice (guess base on flight arrival time then whichever train you'd be most likely to make). Also, as I said above, check out the last-minute train fares from Rome to Venice, which is what you're likely to pay. If you are OK with those last-minute fares and OK with your likely arrival time into Venice, there's no good reason not to start in Venice, really.

It's not a horrible choice to start in Florence instead. Six of one, half a dozen of another. It does mean you have a few hours less on a train your first day in Italy, but then you are putting off the longer train day from Venice to Rome for another day. First day after an overnight exhausting flight is a groggy day anyway - I'd probably prefer to use it for my longer train day, but some people wouldn't. Kids might be pretty cranky by the time you finally get to Venice. But I don't think it's a mistake to choose one over the other (Venice or Florence) as a starting point. Sometime hotel availability is better too in one city or another on certain days...

Taking evening trains means you check out of the hotel in the morning and leave your stuff there, go out for the rest of the day, then come back to the hotel, get your stuff, get the train, and maybe get into your destination late. I prefer to check out of my hotel, get to my next destination, and check in there. I guess one advantage of evening trains might be more daytime time for museums etc. but that's about it. I'd prefer to be at my destination long before dinner if I can.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 06:42 PM
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Another consideration is the crowd at the mentioned cities. The worst time is perhaps the mid-afternoon. I make an itinerary to get out of the oppressive tourist centers at these times. This also includes a quick move to the next city during the period I can't stand being in the tourist center. You might think letting go with an afternoon slot is wasting a valuable time, but you might think differently after being surrounded by selfie-toting-flag-waving tour groups everywhere you go.

I do not do evening walks in U.S. cities. They are not pleasant at many destinations and can also be outright dangerous. That is not the case for the stated Italian cities.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 03:47 AM
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Something to be aware of planning this trip with kids is that Italian meal times for restaurants -- if you want to sit down and eat hot food -- are strictly limited. Kitchens in restaurants serve lunch from 12.30-2.30pm. Then they close. Kitchens open for dinner at 7.30, but food doesn't really start arriving on tables until 8pm. Italian meals are multi-course, served in sequence, not all on one plate. Bring something for the kids to do -- like playing cards or writing in journals!

There are of course places to get street food and sandwiches at "off-hours" n all the cities you are going. As I'm sure you know, a lot of food vendors aiming solely for the tourist trade serve poor quality food, much of it reheated in microwaves or pre-packaged. There are food "apps" that can help you avoid the worst of this. Very little food is available on trains, so if you pass fruit vendors grabbing pears is a good idea in October or if you can tuck some energy bars into your travel bags they can come in handy.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Anyway -train tickets can be really cheap compared to just buying once there if you book far ahead of time at www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.com - two competing companies with high-speed trains between those cities. Check www.seat61.com for sage insights on booking discounted tickets yourself online - for general info also www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Discounted tickets are train-specific and can't be changed so if doing one to Florence from Rome upon arrival at airport leave lots of extra time in case of delays.

You can't get an add-on ticket to fly into Venice? Would save a day of travel.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 10:39 AM
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Thank you all for the input - very helpful. Would something like this work?

Land in Rome, train to Florence
1/2 day to Pisa, night in Florence
Florence -> Venice and spend the day in Venice
Spend the day in Venice
Venice-> Rome
Spend the next 3 days in Rome

With the kids, we dont mind skipping the museums, Pisa might be more interesting for them and just exploring Florence in general for the remaining few hours. Any suggestions on better times of the day to travel between Florence and Venice and Venice to Rome?
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 10:51 AM
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Mostly because of check-in/check-out times at hotels, I like to travel by train mid-day, and pick up food for lunch on the train at the station.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 11:44 AM
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I agree that skipping some of the more famous and crowded museums, especially when traveling with kids, is a good idea. On a short trip, if you try to see every famous tourist spot in Italy, you'll spend your entire vacation shuffling along in a crowd. Even if it means skipping some so-called "must-sees", I think you should try to spend a good deal of your time in less well-known places, neighborhoods, and museums.

One problem with taking afternoon or evening trains is that you usually have to check out of your hotel by 10 AM or so, so you have to leave your bags somewhere and then go back to pick them up before going to the station. Most hotels are willing to hold the bags for you, but it still takes time to go back to the hotel and pick them up. There are also left-luggage facilities in the station, but there are sometimes long lines to pick up bags.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 11:50 AM
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gelato gelato gelato - great breaks for kids forced to travel in places like.
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