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italy itinerary for comments

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Jun 17th, 2013, 08:44 PM
  #1
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italy itinerary for comments

hi fodorites -
i have 2 weeks (14-15 days) in italy in last week of aug + first week of sep and would like to get your opinion on the itinerary as it stands so far:
rome (with possible day trip to pompeii) - 4 nights
florence (with possible day trip to siena) - 4 nights
venice - 2 nights
lake como (with possible day trip to lugano) - 4 nights

what do you think about the number of nights in each place and the day trips?
what town in como area do you recommend? we are in our mid-30s, low maintenance, enjoy scenery, relaxing, not into partying.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:13 PM
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You're presumably flying into Rome, but where are you departing from? Milan? How early is your flight?

Unless you have little interest in Venice, I would take away one night from Lake Como and add a night to Venice.

Most first-time visitors to Lake Como prefer to stay in the mid-lake area. Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, Cadenabbia.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 06:39 AM
  #3
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thanks for your reply, jean. we will be flying into rome and out of venice. trying to avoid milan because we are not interested in big, modern cities but if it makes sense to fly out of there since we are going to lake como, then we'll fly out from milan. do you think the day trip to lugano is a good idea? any other side trips from these places that you recommend?

why do you suggest adding a night to venice? is there a lot of stuff to see/do there or is it because it is a magical, unique city and so we should maximize our time there?
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Jun 18th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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I think your timeline sounds just right. We just returned from Lake Como and we thoroughly enjoyed staying in Bellagio. It was beautiful and it had many restaurants and many unique shops. We stayed 3 nights there on our way to Switzerland and we were wishing we had more time there.

The only place I haven't visited on your list is Venice, but it's on my short list. Everything I've read and heard about it tells me that 2 nights are sufficient.

Have fun!
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Jun 18th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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>>why do you suggest adding a night to venice? is there a lot of stuff to see/do there or is it because it is a magical, unique city and so we should maximize our time there?<<

All of the above. BTW, your timeline shows you ending in Como, but flying out of Venice. Is there a reason you're not ending in Venice (or is your timeline out of order)?

You are going to find hordes of people who tell you 2 nts in Venice is not enough. The simple fact is that there's nowhere else like it.

How much time you spend in each place depends on you. For me, I'd cut a day from Florence and add it to Venice, unless you're really into art and jewelry shopping. Florence is nice, but 3 days would do it for me, especially since the city is so compact.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 08:01 AM
  #6
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judyjayp, i would love to hear more about your experience in bellagio e.g. where did you stay & eat? also, where did you go in switzerland? ideally, i would see a bit of switzerland on this trip too but wasn't sure if 14-15 days is enough. we are in our 30s and we don't need to see every single museum or church but we do like to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy some cafe time.

vincenzo32951, thanks for your advice. i will reorder my trip so that we end in venice. makes more sense. it's a tough call between more days in florence or in venice. i've heard such a mix of comments.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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I'd take a Florence day and add it to Venice, but I'm not a huge Florence fan (based on one trip). Two nights in Venice is really just one full day, so you'll only have time to hit the tourist highlights. With an extra day you could see an island or two and just wander around, which is part of Venice's charm. If you spend all your time at the Rialto and Piazza San Marco, you miss a lot.

We stayed in Bellagio and it worked well for us - took the train from Venice to Milano Centrale, changed to a regional train to Varenna, then took the ferry to Bellagio. We did fly out of Milan, and spent about half a day there before our flight (caught the noon train from Varenna, saw the Duomo and ate a great dinner - we tried for Last Supper tickets, but they sold out very fast). Three nights in the Lake Como area was good for us, but we did not try to go to Lugano. Personally, I'd spend an extra day in Rome instead, especially if you really want to go to Pompeii. You'll arrive jet lagged, and for me, Rome took a couple of days to get used to - but then I loved it!
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Jun 18th, 2013, 08:46 AM
  #8
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jent103, thanks for your comments. bellagio sounds great from what i've read so far. all in all, would you say your italy trip was a budget breaker or did you manage expenses pretty well? if so, can you share some money saving tips for us?
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Jun 18th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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Well, it depends on your definition of "budget breaker" - my luxury is someone else's two-star. We were there for about two weeks and I spent about $3000 altogether. I say all the time that if someone gave me free plane tickets and a budget, I could plan a trip to Italy for twice as long as I could to New York or San Francisco!

A link to my trip report might be helpful - all our hotel details, restaurants, etc are there. It helps that we like to eat, but are not really foodies.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-to-italy.cfm

In general, I'd say book early (like, now) to get the best hotel value for your money; sharing primi or dessert at restaurants is fine; and buying long-haul train tickets ahead of time *might* save you some money. (Some trains are regional, like the one from Milan to Varenna, and you can't book those more than 7 days out, I think - I'd just buy those tickets at the station. But for something like Venice-Milan, you may be able to get an advance fare that will save you some cash.)
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Jun 18th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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ali: The only comment here so far that suggested limiting your time in Venice was from someone who has never been to Venice.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 03:12 PM
  #11
 
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Hi Alifafa,

We stayed at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio. It was truly one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever stayed in. This was our 30th anniversary trip, so it was a bit of a splurge. We ate at Ristorante Bilacus and Terrazza Barchetta, which are right in town. Both served traditional and delicious Italian cuisine. For our anniversary dinner we ate at Mistral, a Michelin starred restaurant right in our hotel. It was magical. If you go, and even if you don't stay at the hotel, they have a nice cocktail bar with a classical trio playing beautiful music in the evenings.

We then boarded a train in Milan for Switzerland. We stayed in the town of Lauterbrunnen because we are hikers and we loved every minute of it. Views like I have never seen before. We also discovered we really like Swiss beer!

We then moved on to Luzern, which we both loved. A beautiful city right on the lake with many restaurants, shopping and an historic Old Town which we explored on foot. We stayed at the Art Deco Hotel Montana and we had a view of the entire Lake and a panoramic view of the alps in the background. We could see the 14th century Chapel Bridge from our balcony.

I don't think I would add Switzerland to your itinerary unless you decide to skip something else. I think it would be too tight--but I definitely would visit that country one day if you can. We did it all by train and it was a great way to travel. You honestly can set your watch to their arrival and departure times.

Let me know if you have any other questions, I can give you more detail if you are interested. Happy planning!
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Jun 20th, 2013, 02:26 PM
  #12
 
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Another vote to cutting a day from Florence and adding it to Venice.
I spent 4 days in Florence last Fall, with one day spent in Siena and San Gimignano and could have cut a day.
Don't get me wrong, Florence is gorgeous, but easily walked/seen in a day and another for museums. The third day is perfect for a day trip.
Remember that you'll lose 1/2 day traveling to Venice so with your current schedule you really only have 1 1/2 days in Venice. It's so magical. Give yourself a bit more time.
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Jun 20th, 2013, 02:37 PM
  #13
 
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unless your flight out of venice is very late, giving you the day to get back there, I would put Venice at the end of your itinerary - that way you are in the right place for going home.

on arrival, you could get the train straight to Rome [or do an internal flight] then the train to florence, the train to lake como, and then the train to Venice.
how you divide your time is another question, but with so little time in each place, you will have little opportunity for day trips.

This is how your trip would pan out, day by day:

Day 1 - Arrive Venice. Train/plane to Rome.
Day 2 - Rome
day 3 - Rome
Day 4 - Rome
Day 5 - train to Florence
Day 6 - Florence
Day 7 - Florence
Day 8 - train to Como.
Day 9 - como
Day 10 - como
Day 11 - train to Venice
Day 12 - Venice
Day 13 - Venice
Day 14 - fly home.

that's 13 nights. if you can stretch it a bit more, I suggest giving longer to Rome. soooo much to do, especially if you want to go to Pompeii as well.

if you could fly into Rome direct, it would be much better, but you might as well use your first jet-lagged day to get there if there's no choice.

have a great trip!
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Jun 21st, 2013, 07:51 AM
  #14
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thanks for your tips & recommendations, my faithful fodorites! so here is an adjusted itinerary. i've been reading more about cinque terre and i really would like to remove the possible day trip to lugano and add some time for cinque terre instead. let me throw this revised itinerary out there & get your thoughts:

Day 1 - Arrive Rome.
Day 2 - Rome
day 3 - Rome
Day 4 - Rome (ideally, a day trip to pompeii)
Day 5 - train to Florence
Day 6 - Florence
Day 7 - Florence
Day 8 - Florence (ideally, a trip to Siena or another small, rustic Tuscan town that you recommend)
Day 9 - Train to cinque terre (stay in manarola or vernazza)
Day 10 - manarola or vernazza
Day 11 - train to Venice
Day 12 - Venice
Day 13 - Venice
Day 14 - fly home from venice.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 08:26 AM
  #15
 
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I'd still take a Florence day and put it with Rome or the CT, because in Rome a) you'll be jet lagged, b) there's so much to see and c) you want to go to Pompeii. And one full day in the CT seems pretty short to me, but I haven't been there. BUT that's partially just my taste, and I think this is workable as is if you really want to stick with it.

From what I've read, Pompeii is a very long day trip from Rome, but the nice thing is that you can wait and see how you feel when you get there to decide whether you want to do it.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 03:03 PM
  #16
 
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alifafa, if you are determined on the CT, I think that it's a bit daft [sorry] to be only spending 1 full day there.

therefore if you're going to the CT, i would suggest adding an extra day to it. Where to trim elsewhere though, that's the question!
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