Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Italy itinerary - Are we crazy not to include Rome?

Italy itinerary - Are we crazy not to include Rome?

Old Oct 14th, 2014, 07:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Italy itinerary - Are we crazy not to include Rome?

My husband and I are thinking about a trip to Italy next Spring- mid to late-April to early May. When I was in HS almost 40 years ago, I went on a 5 week multi-city European trip. The Italian part of the trip, was Venice for two nights, Florence for two nights, and Rome for a week with a day-trip to Capri. The city that I loved the most, in all the places we visited, was Florence. So, that being said, am I crazy to plan a trip with an itinerary that would be 2 nights in Venice and then a week in Florence, leaving out Rome entirely? I was thinking we could plan day trips from Florence: a day to Cinque Terre, a day to Sienna, etc.
Although I feel that everyone should see Saint Peter's if they get the chance,my husband is more interested in Art than history and doesn't seem to care that he would miss it. We also really enjoy hiking and my husband is a (leisure, not hardcore) cyclist.
So questions: Is a week in Florence overkill? Is the weather in April/early May going to be too chilly to enjoy hiking or biking? Although I enjoyed Rome, I didn't love it--but maybe that could have just been that I was only 16 at the time! I know there is a lot of art in Rome too. But my husband was the one who suggested Venice/Florence rather than Rome/Florence as I was thinking.
Thoughts?
Trixie59 is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2014, 08:11 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,804
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To make you feel better: our first trip to Italy did not any farther south than Florence, and it took another 25 years for us to get to Rome for the first time.
Michael is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2014, 08:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 35,449
Likes: 0
Received 14 Likes on 11 Posts
You can always do a day trip to Rome if you want. It's only 90 minutes by train.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Oct 14th, 2014, 09:43 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Which city are you flying home from? If Rome, then whether you like or not, you visit there.

While it is up to you, you realize that 40 years have gone by since your last visit? All three cities are very touristy now. Venice, now being a major cruise port and covering smaller area, feels most suffocating with flag waving tour groups during the day followed by Florence.

The Bernini and Canova sculpture collections at Borghese Gallery in Rome is sui generis.
greg is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2014, 11:58 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 55,205
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
if, as it looks from your OP, you only have 9 nights, then something is going to have to give somewhere. Either you spread yourselves thinly over the three places or concentrate on 2. That said, I do think that 2 nights in Venice is very little [it amounts only to one full day] and if your DH hasn't been, he may feel short-changed. One day to do the major sights such as the duomo, the Frari and the Scuola di San Rocco, and another to see the islands would be a minimum for me.

as for whether you should go to Rome or not, there are no "shoulds" in travel. like Michael I did not go to Rome the first time I went to Italy, in fact I'd been at least half a dozen times before I actually got to Rome. That said, I can't get enough of it now but perhaps i was "ready" for it.

if your interests are Art history, it's difficult to see how you could run out of things to do and see in Florence, and as you say, you can add in day trips, which you can decide on as you go.
annhig is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 12:34 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nothing crazy at all about it. People who go to Rome because they think it is a "must" and then advise others to follow those instructions I have discovered actually know very little about Italy or Europe and worse, because they went to Rome, they think they know it all! (Also, a huge number of people who push Rome as a "must" for every tourist trip, even if it means only spending 4 rushed hours there. are Catholics who don't tell you that.)

You won't get a relief from tourist crowds heading to Rome instead of Florence and Venice, and In terms of learning and enjoyment, it really doesn't matter where you come into Italy and where you stay during a short visit to Italy as long as what you are seeing engages YOU. It is better to follow your interests. (I learned that from reading John Ruskin on Venice, and he was right).

All roads lead to Rome so eventually you'll end up there -- when you feel like it, and then you will be happy to be there rather than kicking yourself you didn't listen to your inner traveler.
sandralist is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 12:35 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Late April/early May will generally be lovely for hiking and biking, unless it rains (which can be accompanied by chill) or if you get an early heat wave.
sandralist is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 03:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Most people here advocate doing less, not more, so leaving out Rome is not going to be viewed as the end of the world, and it isn't. It'll give you a reason to go back.

A day trip to Cinque Terre in mid-April? I assume you're going to go by train, which means transferring in Pisa and then to a local in La Spezia. That's a long day to see very little, and a gamble on the weather.

I think I'd agree with adding a day in Venice.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 03:49 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,310
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rome is one of my favorite places in the world, but it's not everyone's favorite place. It sounds to me as though you should skip it this time around. However, I would add a night to Venice.

I don't know where your husband intends to bike, but I hope it's not in Florence. It would be ideal to spend three or four nights in a rural area so he can explore some country roads, but you don't have time for that on this trip. There are bike tours, but what I've read of them makes me think that most of them do very little actual cycling.

[[ The Bernini and Canova sculpture collections at Borghese Gallery in Rome is sui generis. ]]

That's certainly true, but Bernini is not my preferred generis.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 03:52 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,668
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I went to Florence on a day trip and hated it but returned for a longer stay and loved it. With a longer stay, the crowds don't seem as overwhelming because you can explore later into the evening as the day trippers head out. You will have time to find treasures that many tourists don't get to when they limit themselves to the Uffizi-Accademia: Santa Croce, San Marco, San Miniato, the Carmine, Bargello, etc.

Florence can easily keep you busy for a week and the day trips by train (Arezzo, Pisa, Lucca, Pistoia, Montecatini, Bologna) or bus (Siena)make it an ideal base.

Rome is my personal favorite but it sounds like Florence is yours. Sounds like a super trip.
mama_mia is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 03:58 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18,510
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent 3 days in Rome at age 20 and wasn't especially charmed. Since then with longer trips I have come to love the city.

For your trip I think Venice/Florence would make sense for you for the time you are planning. Another night in Venice would make sense. I wouldn't try to do a day trip to Rome from Florence.
Vttraveler is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 04:42 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While Rome is wonderful and should be visited at some point, your trip is not very long and Venice and Florence will make a wonderful vacation. I suggest foregoing Cinque Terre at this time of year and because a day trip from Florence will not provide sufficient time to enjoy it or to hike which is the principal attraction.

Add at least one day to Venice and do a couple of day trips while in Florence. There is so much to see and do in Florence that you could spend the whole 9 days there and just scratch the surface.

Have a wonderful trip!
mamcalice is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for all the responses. I do realize that 40 years is a very long time, so much will have changed. Hopefully not all of the charm of Florence is lost.
As to Cinque Terre, I saw a service that offered day trips from Florence, which is why I thought it might be doable; less time lost if we were getting door-to-door service. However, adding a night to Venice, and leaving the option for day trips from Florence open, probably makes more sense.
Trixie59 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 08:57 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would never skip Rome and would take probably 3 days from Florence to do it. But we're much more interested in antiquity than in Renaissance/pre-renaissance art. Yes, we enjoy it - but it's nothing like the grandeur of ancient Rome which IMHO is one of the top 2 or 3 sights in all of europe. There is no way I would go to Italy and miss the colosseum, Forum, Capitoline Museum and Pantheon - for a start.

But - to each his own based on specific interests - as long as you've looked at all the options.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:09 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>As to Cinque Terre, I saw a service that offered day trips from Florence, which is why I thought it might be doable; less time lost if we were getting door-to-door service.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:12 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 8,669
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
"(Also, a huge number of people who push Rome as a "must" for every tourist trip, even if it means only spending 4 rushed hours there. are Catholics who don't tell you that.)"

I think they prefer to be called "Papists" these days.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:12 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 55,205
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
trixie, I think that you should prepare yourself for there being a great deal more traffic than there was 40 years ago. We first went to Florence over 30 years ago - we drove into the centre, found a hotel [this was July] and parked in the road outside the hotel for all the three days we were there without, so far as I recall, any charge.

When we returned about 7 years ago we were astonished by the level of traffic and the [to us] appalling driving. Leaving aside the restricted traffic zones, there seemed to be nowhere to park, anywhere, and I certainly wouldn't try turning up in July without a firm hotel reservation.

That said, I was in Florence in April about 4 years ago, and though it was busy, so long as you stayed away from the tourist hot spots it was fine.
annhig is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:16 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 8,669
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
"(Also, a huge number of people who push Rome as a "must" for every tourist trip, even if it means only spending 4 rushed hours there. are Catholics who don't tell you that.)"

I think they prefer to be called "Papists" these days.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 11:02 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 251
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you don't really want to go to Rome, then don't go to Rome. You should see and do what you like.
sanderskn is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2014, 12:38 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The CT tour was through Viator and it was $116pp and included RT coach, lunch, boat ride (12.5 hours total). My husband and I are not generally group tour people, but sometimes the convenience is worth it even at a premium, less stressful! Another option might be to hire a driver- has anyone done that? I will also look into a Tuscany tour as suggested above.

We would probably rent an apartment for the week so we could save some money on breakfast and snacks and could do laundry if needed. Any suggestions as to the area of the city to stay in? I am thinking of city center for convenience, but hear it can be quite noisy. And if the traffic volume has greatly increased, I guess that wouldn't be surprising.
Trixie59 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:22 PM.