Italy in thirty days and nights.

Old Aug 6th, 2016, 06:55 AM
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Italy in thirty days and nights.

Just retired and decided to see Italy from top to bottom. We would like to stay five nights in six different locations.
We would like to use the train as much as possible but are not against short term car rental.
We have never spent this much time on our past vacations and would appreciate all suggestions on where we should stay. Thanks.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 09:14 AM
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which month, I'd suggest May to Sept is good and avoid late July or early august

Puglia, Napoli, Rome, Tuscany, Venezia, The Po valley gives you 6
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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I am probably not one to ask but I suspect I might just skip Puglia and go to Sicily instead; Lombardy and the lakes could be a 6th location; and then there are the Dolomites.

Now, all that said, it would be helpful to someone like me if you were able to say something besides just wanting to see the country from top to bottom in terms of particular interests such as art (of a type, or types) architecture, ruins, that sort of thing.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 11:47 AM
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Venice, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Rome, Naples. That gives you six.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 02:25 PM
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Do you want to concentrate on cities or do you want some time in the countryside too?

you don't tell us what your interests are and it may be that 30 days of immersing yourself in art and architecture is right up your street but if you're like me, after a few days the Titian and the Tintorettos get mixed up and I neither know nor care what I saw where.

Some time by a lake or/or the coast [or in the mountains] might well help to break up the trip so that you have time to absorb what you've seen and also see a different aspect of Italy.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 02:40 PM
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All things and places are not equal. You might want to spend 10 days in one place and only 2 in another. Top to bottom is not equal either. You will see a lot in 30 days, but Italy is so rich in art, architecture, history, etc., at the end, you may feel you have barely seen anything of Italy.

Your personal interests are very important. Some people could spend weeks in Rome, but no more than three or four days looking at mountains, or whole days in art museums, but only a few minutes shopping. Some people can tolerate crowds. Some can't.
What is important is to you?
Food?
Hiking?
History tours?
Mountains and lakes?
Do you mind touristy areas or prefer seclusion?
Churches?

Some places are fine for a few days.
Rome, Amalfi Coast or Venice are all great for five or six days with day trips.

Some places are harder to see if you stay in one place and do day trips.
If you include Sicily, I would not go for fewer than 10 days, and would rent a car and stay in three or four places.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 02:59 PM
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Good points by Annhig. "After a few days, the Titian and Tintorettos get mixed up and I neither know or care what I saw there." LOL.
I have seen that happen many times, even to people with degrees in Art or Art History.
I used to try to cram everything in, until they all ran together and I remembered nothing. Now I research and pick only a few paintings or sculptures, etc. to really look at. Sure, I miss most, but can at least remember those I do see,
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 05:07 PM
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Be sure to spend at least 5 nights in Tuscany ( Val D'Orcia area) exploring the towns of Montelpulciano, Pienza and the others around it. You will need a car but it is well worth it. It is a remarkable area!
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 07:04 PM
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I simply do not GET why people are recommending certain areas, myself included, when all the OP apparently wants to do is laugh at all of us.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 09:38 PM
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dukey1 -- huh??
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Old Aug 7th, 2016, 01:12 AM
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There is an endless choice of 6 places to choose from and with such an open question I'd grab some guide books and photographic books. If you want to experience variety, then I would choose, for example, 2 city stays, 1 beach, 1 countryside, 2 smaller towns. But it does all depend on what you like to do.
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Old Aug 13th, 2016, 10:07 AM
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I am sorry it took so long to respond. We would like to see most of the famous sites of Italy. We would like to mix in some lake and mountain time as a rest time.
Short trips in the past have allowed us to see the Vatican and some other museums in the past.
We are all in good health and will be happy to spend time in touristy places. Thinking of doing Monday through Friday site seeing and the weekends relaxing. We have a lot of practice with that schedule.(site seeing should be a lot more fun then work)
We are planning to start our trip the last week of April.

I think I was a little early in requesting ideas for our trip. I will do some more research and post again after my I get a better idea of what we all want to do.

Thanks to all who responded.
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Old Aug 13th, 2016, 03:41 PM
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For lots of train info and ideas- www.trenitalia.com the official site of Italian Railways - book early for discounts on high-speed trains- but you are one of the few with all the trains perhaps to merit looking at the Italy Eurailpass which lets you chose which trains to take once there - you do need to make a seat reservation at 10 euros on top of the pass however and I've never had a problem making those the day before (I usually have a Eurailpass - same conditions).

and first class is of course more relaxed than 2nd class - lot fewer people riding there and fewer seats in same size train car - easier to stow luggage - even if going discounted ticket route check first class discounted ones as they can be onlya smidgen higher than the cheapest 2nd class tickets.

For lots about Italian trains check www.seat61.com- great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (check their free online European Rail & Planning Guide for suggested Italian rail itineraries) and www.ricksteves.com.

Start in the farthest sound in early April and work you way north with the increasingly better weather.

Fly into Sicily (a real gem with lots to do for a week or longer) and maybe fly out of Venice.
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Old Aug 14th, 2016, 09:11 AM
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PalenQ Thank you for your suggestions I will check the web sites and see what options make sense for our trip. Thanks again.
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Old Aug 14th, 2016, 12:38 PM
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thanks - keep in mind that regional trains for local trips are dirt cheap and it would be stupid to buy a day on a pass for them but long-distance fast trains if taking several may make the pass viable.

Discounted tickets - if they add up to not much less than the pass go for the pass - if you miss the train you reserve you will just be out the reservation fee not the whole ticket as the case with discounted tickets which are train specific, non-changeable and non-refundable I believe. If flexibility is key then the pass makes more sense.

Look for specials on the Italy Pass that often pop up.
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Old Aug 15th, 2016, 04:14 PM
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Italy has so much that even though 30 days sounds like a long time (and is compared to most people's 1 week trips) you will still really only get a sampling. But as long as you know that and don't expect to see "all" of Italy here's what I'd do. At that time of year I'd start in the south and end in the north.

Sicily OR Puglia (and for either you really need a car)

Amalfi Coast (base in Sorrento and do day trips to Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Pompeii, etc.)

Rome (with day trip to Orvieto)

Siena OR Florence (day drip to whichever you don't base in - do this day trip by bus not train). Can do day trips to smaller Tuscan towns, either by organized tour or rent a car for a day or two.

For those first four I'd split the time about evenly, you really need more than 5 days in any of them. So actually if you can live with less than 6 bases I'd drop Sicily/Puglia (both of which really need more than 5 days) and add the time to the others.

For the last two locations I'd do about 3 days in Venice, and about 7 in the small town of Malcesine on Lake Garda. With a car here you could day trips up into the Dolomites, and also to the cities of Bolzano and/or Trento and Verona. This would give you both the lake and mountain time you want as well as being a decent base for those cities so you could mix it up. Spend at least a couple days on the lake itself doing boat trips. There's a cable car right in Malcesine taking you up to a reasonably high mountain with numerous alpine hiking options.

This is my photo site and I have about 12 Italy galleries if you are interested. www.pbase.com/annforcier

Also if you click on my name I have numerous trip reports on Italy. Have fun planning.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 12:17 PM
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Sicily OR Puglia (and for either you really need a car)>

I did Sicily by trains and buses for two weeks and went easily everywhere I went - Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina, circle Mt Etna, Catania, Syracuse, Celafu, Segesta - can easily do without a car IMO

But a car would also be neat.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 03:40 PM
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1 week Venice
1 week Florence
1 week Rome
1 week some lake and mountain time
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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I agree Sicily can be done by trains and buses - but not so easy in only 5 or 6 days which is what the OP is looking for. In many cases trains are as fast (or faster) than traveling by car, but not in Sicily or Puglia. In both of those regions in order to get to places takes a lot more time by public transportation than by private car. So if only going for a short time car is better.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 04:47 PM
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We took a month long trip to Italy in 2012. Here's how we did it:

Fly into Venice, stay 4 nights
Train to Florence, stay 5 nights
Pick up rental car, drive to San Gimignano, stay 2 nights
Drive to Siena, stay 4 nights, using as a base to visit various hill towns
Drive to Orvieto, drop off rental car, stay 1 night
Train to Rome, stay 4 nights
Train to Naples, private driver pick up to drive to Positano, stay in Positano 7 nights (The Amalfi coast road is not for the faint of heart; we were very glad to have the driver!)
Private driver to Naples, train to Rome, stay 2 nights
Fly home

We could easily have skipped the nights in San Gimignano and Orvieto, but they are charming places and we enjoyed being there when the tourists had gone in the evenings. Having the full week at the end in Positano was a wonderfully relaxing way to end the trip. You could just as easily stay in Sorrento as others have suggested.

Welcome to retirement! Enjoy your trip!
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