Italy Itinerary

Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Italy Itinerary

Ok, DH and I leave for Italy in 10 days. (Couple in early thirties, first trip to Italy) We are trying to strike a balance of having some structure to our days since there is so much to see and do in Italy, but at the same time, a forced march won't be much fun either. We are trying to leave plenty of time for gelato, glasses of wine, people watching and wow we are really here moments.
Ideally we will have our "must do" list which we have mapped out and our list of places it would be nice to see if we feel like at the time. So much of Italy's art is in its churches so we will probably have a map of notable churches to stop by. (I can already see us wandering aimlessly going "there has to be art around here somewhere, now which door is it") Here is the rough itinerary. Please feel free to comment. (We really can't change flights and hotels at this point)

10/3: Evening flight ATL-VCE

10/4: Land in Venice around 11 am, it's Sunday so no real plans, just relax and wander (Hotel Becher)

10/5: Morning tour of Doge's Palace- Secret Itineraries tour booked
Afternoon: St. Mark's, ??

10/6: Leisure Morning in Venice, perhaps go to fish market early a.m.;
Afternoon train to Florence (Hotel Orto de Medici)

10/7-10/8: Morning tickets to Accademie, morning tickets to Uffizi, Duomo, Basptistry. Shopping and see some churches? Should we do Accademie and Uffizi on the same day (one am, one pm)?

10/9: Rent car for day trip to Tuscany, destination TBD. Open to suggestions.

10/10: Morning Train to Rome. (Rome Hotel Albergo Cesari).
Afternoon: either catacombs tour or ancient sites, evening: trevi, spanish steps

10/11: Morning: sunday markets
Afternoon: catacombs or ancient sites (whichever wasn't done on Sat,), Pantheon

10/12: Vatican/St Peters Tour with Through Eternity, 10-3.

10/13: Free day in Rome

10/14: Morning flight FCO-ATL

Many thanks to all the Fodorites who have gone before and offered so many great suggestions on these boards.
mascot is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:38 AM
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The Accademia is a small museum and you probably won't spend more than an hour there. You could visit the Uffizi in the morning, have a nice lunch somewhere, shop/wander, visit the Accademia late afternoon.

I don't see the Colosseum/Forum on your Rome list.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 08:02 AM
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Sorry, ancient sites= Colosseum/Forum
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 08:14 AM
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We took a day trip from Florence to San Gimignano. It was a tour that left around 2 pm and returned at 9 pm. It was a very small tour of about 12 people. The tour guide was very informative. This also included a stop at a winery for snacks and wine tasting. It was an enjoyable day and very inexpensive. We booked through our hotel.

San Gimignano is the town with the towers. If you saw the movie "Tea with Mussolini" it was about the towers being saved during the war by a group of women who chained themselves to the towers.

We were going to go to SG by train or bus but this turned out to be much easier.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Driving out of and back into Florence can be difficult and time consuming.

Why don't you rent a car on the 9th in Florence and turn it in on the 10th in Orvieto. You can explore all day on the 9th, stay in Pienza that night and the drive to Orvieto is just over an hour. The train into Rome will take 1 to 2 hours depending on what train you catch.

Your drive would be on S2 and great villages are Siena, Pienza, Montalcino. If you want to go into the hills then Greve, Panzano, Radda are great OR there are a couple of other great drives as well.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 06:31 PM
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I have the same thoughts as jnjfraz. I wouldn't want to drive in and out of Florence for a day trip! Staying overnight somewhere in the countryside is a wonderful idea. Orvieto would also be a nice option.

Re Venice - I think you may not realize how much there is to see in Venice! Some incredible art and other sights. Even if you don't want to do a museum, think about stopping in to the wonderful church, Il Frari, near the Accademia (Venice), and also La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, also nearby. Two places you can see some amazing art, but can spend just as long as you choose. Small and easy, but Il Frari does have short visiting hours so check ahead and plan to be there at the right time.

On my second visit to Venice I did some research and found that even 4 days for a second visit wasn't enough.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 04:33 AM
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Oooh, a night in Tuscany would be great. I am looking right now in Pienza, Montalcino and Orvieto for places to stay. Quite a few have openings so we should be able to find something.
Revised plan: Get out of Florence by 10 on Friday, spend some time in Siena. Head to whatever town we have a hotel in and spend the night.
Drop car in Orvieto and off to Rome on Saturday.

Originally one of our goals was to minimize having to change hotels and destinations all the time, but I like having more time in Tuscany with this new destination. Also avoids backtracking! Thanks for the fresh set of eyes on this
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 06:10 AM
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For Pienza look at

If you decide to day trip from Florence, the Florence tourist office has been offering a guided tour to Chianti for 15€ (Thursday only).
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 06:26 AM
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Nice hotel choices!

We also like to stop and taste the gelato when in Italy and not rush place to place. Kudos for no cramming an unreasonable amount of "must do's" into your days.

One of my favorite places in Rome is the Gallery Borghese. We visit every trip. It is small, they control the number of folks who can be in there at one time (rare in Italy) so you can actually meander and enjoy. I also fell in love with the Colosseum when I was 16 and in Rome for the first time and always go back.

When at the Pantheon, take a few minutes to visit Santa Maria Sopra Minerve, a lovely Gothic church very nearby. Enjoy a glass of wine on the rooftop at Grand Hotel de la Minerva, right next to the church.

Since you expressed an interest in markets, check out Mercate Centrale in Florence. We also always visit the market at San Ambrosino, less touristy and always fun and the walk there and back through the narrow streets is a pleasure.

Driving in and out of Florence is a nightmare. We hire a driver for the day and head to the wineries, the big splurge on our visits to Florence.

Buon Viaggio!
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