Italy Itenerary Review

Old Dec 30th, 2004, 06:30 AM
  #21  
 
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StCirq gives excellent advice all the time, like any of us here she was expressing an opinion, in this case about spelling, and like any other comments it can be accepted or ignored without nastiness.

Please note that on Mondays the Uffizi and Accademia museums in Florence, possibly other museums in F, are closed.
Most nationally-run museums in Italy are closed on Mondays.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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MrGreen, I do agree that it's a great idea of breaking up all your city touring with some relaxation on the coast! On my first trip to Italy, I did the "big three" and relaxed in the Cinque Terre for a few days, and it was perfect!
As far as Procida goes, you might get some dissenting opinions, in fact I was first attracted to the place after reading one or two glowing reviews on ths board. But I think the attraction of the place is the novelty because it's out of the way and not many tourists go there. But it doesn't have redeeming qualities compared with the more beautiful, special places you can go. You said you don't want touristy, but I wouldn't let that stop you. Touristy is often touristy for a reason! Capri is breathtaking, worth dealing with the crowds IMHO. The town of Amalfi is small and lovely, not built up, and when I was there (off season, mind you), it wasn't so crowded/touristy in the evenings. I think you should consider it! : )
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 08:13 AM
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I will respectfully disagree with Cassandra on Venice (we all have different interests)--I'd eliminate Verona and Milan and add another day to Venice.

Overall, I don't see any problem with your schedule as you are an energetic couple that likes to keep on the move.

But I would save Verona and Milan for another trip--Nothing wrong with these two cities, but I think that Venice, Florence, and Rome have many more high quality sights that you don't want to shortchange yourself on.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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Hi MrGreen. Looks like you know what you like; a few more observations.

I think 3+ days in Venice is a good place to start any trip, with or without jet lag. A possibility for working in more Florence time would be to see Pisa as a quick train stop in or out of Florence rather than take a day trip from; that might give you an extra 1/2 day.

Not sure if it's too touristy for you, but Sorrento would make an excellent train hub for your Amalfi and Pompeii time. The Circumvesuviana is quite efficient for train travelers. After Sorrento, there is no train access on the Amalfi, you'll be on either a bus/taxi/boat. We love the Amalfi coast and Pompeii is well worth the effort, but adding more Amalfi coast highlights such as Poisitano and Capri, would be difficult to justify on such a tight schedule. Enjoy.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 08:57 AM
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Hi MG,

I suggest that you visit Bologna on your way from Verona to Florence, instead of Milan.

From Florence you could see Pisa on your way to Orvieto. Spend the night there and go on to Rome.

Or go to Sorrento from Orvieto and then go to Rome.

Train schedules and prices are at www.trenitalia.com/en (much better than raileurope).

Before you buy a railpass, enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com. It might not save you money.

>Day 13 (Sun)Relax< Excellent idea.






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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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Elaine: You have given some great advice, so I do not wish to offend you. I don't mean to seem "nasty", it is not my nature. However, had StCirq included some actual advice rather than just pointing out the fact that I made a typo, I might have been more accomodating. I'm past it. If StCirq still wants to offer her advice, I will gladly listen to anything constructive she has to say. Btw, what does one do in Italy on Mondays? I may have to rearrange the dates a little. Use Mondays for longer travel days or something. (Our dates are still hypothetical at this point.)

To Nutella: I'm not hooked on Procida by any means. Like you said, I just need a place to break up the more hectic portions of the trip for a couple of days and still be close to Pompeii. Amalfi seems like a logical choice. Can you recommend good budget-type accomodations?

To 39Steps: Great Pisa idea, thank you! I could do away with Pisa, personally, but my wife is set on seeing the tower. What I'd like is a quick in-out experience with Pisa. Take a couple pictures and leave.

We are considering any possibilities for the Pompeii base at the moment. Sorrento is a place we are considering. (Any suggestions here would be appreciated!) You are right, though once we get back from Pompeii, it's time to lay back and enjoy the hotel!

Ira: I must have been mistaken. I thought Trenitalia was part of Rail Europe. I accessed the train schedule through the Trenitalia Pass Saver website that links to RailEurope. I will check out the other website. It should be a good way to compare travelling options. Thanks for the tip!!!

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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:29 PM
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Florence on a Monday
(by the way, many shops are closed on Mon mornings, reopening in the pms)

Synagogue
Laurentian Library
Santa Maria Novella church
Santa Croce church and most other churches

Duomo
Campanile
Baptistery
Museum of the Works of the Duomo
Convent San Marco (I think)
Casa Buonarotti

etc
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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MrGreen,
Although I don't have anything constructive to offer to you, I do want to commend you for sticking with what you want from your trip. I am in the middle of planning a very similar trip, but was discouraged by people on this forum (although they are well-intentioned and have helped me tremendously in parts of my prior trip planning) to take a hectic trip.

I would like to see more encouragement on this forum from specialized/ seasoned travellers for other people who prefer high-energy, lower-budget travel and who have limited time but hope to see scores of beautiful countries - Italy being just one of them.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 10:58 PM
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MrGreen,
Your itinerary isn't all that overly ambitious for two weeks. I might suggest perhaps a night less in Venice and Rome and maybe add in Orvieto on the way from Florence to Rome. I'd skip Pisa, but thats me. Really you should just do what you want and the hell with what the rest of us tell you! Its your trip! You might want to consider just staying in Pompeii vs. Sorrento. Best of luck and happy travels.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 01:02 AM
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MrGreen: Go for it! I like a packed itinerary myself when traveling so I don't find it odd that you have something planned for everyday and you are going, going, going. So when is this 2-week trip going to happen? You never mentioned the month. It is to your advantage that you are 1) traveling light with backpacks and 2) taking the trains. The trains are very efficient and will indeed allow you that "down time" in-between the other places you are visiting.

Ok, my 2-cents:

Seems like too many days in Venice. While Venice is beautiful and unique, I think 2 days there should be ample time to see what you want to see. I would add another day onto Florence because not possible to see what Florence has to offer in 1 day PLUS get over to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower - all in the same day. Perhaps take the other 2 (Venice) days and add them both to your Florence section. That way you might be able to take some local day trips to see Siena or Lucca while based in Florence.

Pisa is entirely do-able as a quick run in/run out. In fact, if possible, you could do it during a stop-over waiting for another train. I have done that twice, enroute from Florence to Lucca or other Tuscan towns....the next train inevitably ends up being 1.5 hours later and that is enough time to buy a bus ticket out of the machine (outside of the train station, to the R), hop on the "A" bus and head straight over to the Leaning Tower. I always get back with ~ 20 minutes to spare even!

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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 05:26 AM
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To pg, Traveler863, Huitres:
Thank you for your supportive words! Nice to have someone who has sympathy for a small budget, limited time and a desire to "see everything"!
I have been leaning more and more towards Florence and making Pisa a stop-over trip to somewhere else, especially since we rented some travel videos and can finally see what everything looks like. (Pictures are nice, but not always accurate!) Its so hard to prioritze a trip when you don't know what its going to be like. We still haven't fully decided what to do about Milan. I'm pretty sure we're cutting out Verona, though. We are travelling, I think, in late October. No dates are set, yet and we are pretty flexible about when we can take the time. I was told on another thread that was the best time to see Italy. And from the research I've been doing, it seems like a good choice, although it still falls into the high season for most hotels.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Is there a reason you aren't flying into or out of Milan? I think it would make more sense if you really want to see Milan. I would also consider flying into Venice and then train south(overnight train?) to the Amalfi coast and then work my way north - Rome - Florence - Pisa - Verona - Milan and fly back home from Milan.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 10:13 AM
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From the research that I am doing for our early March trip (very similar to your route. but car-ing instead of train-ing), I would like to suggest that if you are not totally averse to renting a car (less expensive, more freedom to see out of the way places), then I would like to suggest that on Day 4 morning, you drive to Milan (less than 3 hrs as per Mapquest), check the things that, as per your schedule, should not take you more than that day.
Next day (Day 5) drive to Carrara (2.5 hr) for a mine tour of the world-famous marble (not quite the concrete that you love , but close). From my initial research, it is not much of a tourist hotspot (which I don't mind when the other places that I am visiting in Italy are mentioned in every travel guide), but some on Fodors who have visited Carrara say its of good geological interest.
From there, drive to Pisa (1 hr) for your photo-op, before you go for your overnight stay in San Giuliano or Lucca (Lots of Concrete again!)
On Day 6, see points of interest in either San Giuliano or Lucca (or both if both have only a single place of interest in each). On Day 7, drive to Florence (less than an hour) in the morning and you are back on to your original schedule.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 01:27 PM
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Hi again Mr. Green,

Another vote here for seeing Pisa in/out. We had to change trains there enroute from Orvieto to the Cinque Terre. There was an option that gave us a 3 hour stop-over which was more than enough time. We walked all the way to the Piazza dei Miricoli (SP?), saw the Tower (not open to climb at the time) and the Duomo (much more beautiful than expected), stopped for a soda and back to the station. We checked our bags at the station.

Our opinion: worth seeing, but definitely the MOST TOURISTY place in Italy we've ever been. the tacky souvenier shops and herds of tour groups -- YIKES!!!!

Buon viaggio!
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 03:14 PM
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to kybourbon:
Its funny you should mention flying into Milan. We were just looking into that possibility today. Your version does remove the need to book a flight into one city (Venice) and out of another, (Rome)which is something I am finding difficult to research due to the way internet airline searches are set-up. Is there a better way?

To pg: That sounds fascinating, visiting a marble mine. I may have to look into that.

Verona is now out. Milan is merely a stop-over (not an overnight stay) to see the couple of things we are interested in. (Same with Pisa, thanks, Dayle!!) Venice may be cut down to two nights from three to make even more room for Florence/Tuscany. From there, we go to the Amalfi coast (Sorrento, perhaps?) Day-trip to Pompeii. Finally we end in Rome.
Not too bad???
Thanks, again everyone for your wonderful advice!!!
I will post a more thorough itinerary later after some tinkering, and report on the trip in November!
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 06:41 PM
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A few comments: too much time in Venice - on a trip this busy, it should be 2 days max. Add time in Florence. Also, Siena, Assisi, perhaps Orvieto are all more interesting that Pisa. Add some time in Tuscany (Siena being the best). I would skip Pompeii - if it is your last time in Italy, make sure you see Tuscany at least a bit.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Hi MG,

If you go to the discount sites, Expedia, Orbitz, http://airtravelcenter.com/onetrav.htm
and click on options, you will get "multi-city", which allows you to search open-jaw flights.

They are usually almost the same cost as RT.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:13 PM
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MrGreen: October will be a nice month to travel and at least the summer crowds will be gone! Sounds like your plans are coming together, good luck with everything.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 03:13 AM
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McGreen,
You sound like my kind of people. I too can't spend a lot of time lounging about and just love cities. Milan is worth a stop just for the duomo if you haven't seen it. Florence is crowded but what big city isn't? I'm not much of a museum person as I think the churches have much more art to see. I think you are going to have a great time and am sure you will discover places to return to if you want to see more.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 04:28 AM
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You're certainly getting lots of advice so I'll toss in my two cents. The open jaw ticket option is a winner - poke around on the various web sites, I think they all have the capacity to arrange flights in that way and it will keep you from having to backtrack. I think your overall plan is good for a first time Italy visit - you will hit the highlights. I would keep in the Amalfi coast - it is wonderful, tho in late Oct. it will be quiet. Sorrento is a good base - fairly easy to get to and good for sightseeing from. Not sure I would stay there the last nite before a flight out of Rome tho - that might be tight since you have to check in so early and trains in Italy are not always timely! (usually tho) To me, Florence is all about the art - as someone else mentioned you can make internet reservations so you don't have to stand in line. If you don't want to see the museums, I'd skip Florence. I've trained thru Italy several times, I love riding the trains, have little desire to rent a car, it would be very stressful to me. We drove in Spain - the cities are not fun, even the small towns can be stressful between the small streets and where to park the car. To cover alot of ground, the train works best IMO. Good luck on your planning and bon viaggio! SueC1
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