Italy itinerary help....

Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Italy itinerary help....

My friends and I (2 females and 2 males total) are spending a week in Italy. Our basic plan looks like this:

Saturday-Fly out of US
Sunday-Layover in Dublin, fly to Milan, stay night in Milan
Monday- Train to Cinque Terre
Tuesday- Cinque Terre
Wednesday- Train from Cinque Terre to Florence
Thrusday- Florence
Friday- Florence
Saturday- Train from Florence to Milan, stay in Milan
Sunday- Fly from Milan to Dublin to US

Some of my friends are wanting to spend a day/night in Venice. Would it be too much to take a train fom Florence to Venice on Friday, stay in Venice Friday night, and then head back to Milan from Venice?

My friends may not have another opportunity to go to Italy for a VERY long time (we are all in college and planning on going to Dental, Medical, Physical Therapy, or Optometry School) however I will be living in Europe (Germany) from August to December and will have the chance to travel a lot.

Please help me advise them on the best thing to do. I want them to get to go where they want to go, however I don't want us to get to Italy and be miserable because we try to fit to much in!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:27 PM
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Try to book a flight home from Venice instead of Milan.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:36 PM
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We already have our tickets booked, and the flight from Venice wouldn't get us to Dublin in time to make our connecting flight, so unfortunately that isn't an option.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Any reason why you need to stay in Milan on your arrival day? (Is your flight late in the day or something?) I'd land in Milan and head straight to Cinque Terre if possible. You'll gain a day to add somewhere else in your itinerary.

For me, you already have a lot of moving around--adding Venice to the mix means even more time on trains and in train stations. Every time you change hotels/towns you'll eat up at least half a day dealing with travel and checking out and in. And/or how important are the other locations (Cinque Terre and Florence)? Can Venice replace one of them?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:46 PM
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IMO you are already trying to fit too much in. From what I can see you have a total of 9 days, including the flights to/from the U.S., but you are only spending three of those days staying put in one location (two days in Florence and one day in Cinque Terre. All that moving around can be very exhausting and might make all of you miserable.

What is your U.S. departure city? Can you fly into Florence and out of Venice or vice versa? That might allow you 3-4 days in Florence and the surrounding area and 3 days in Venice.

We flew from California to Florence last November and flew back from Venice. Left CA on a Friday morning and landed in Florence at noon on Saturday (9 hour time difference) and were enjoying Tuscany and a glass of wine by 3pm.

Hope you can work it out! Italy is awesome!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:17 PM
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I'd skip Milan, too. Go straight to CT and add a day there -- it's heaven on earth.

I confess to being not a Milan fan --- I've visited the city at least 8 times over the past 3 decades, each time hoping I'll fall in love with something about the place. No luck so far!

I don't think you're trying to do too much. Florence is undeniably great, but I wouldn't spend a week there on my first trip to Italy, especially if I thought I may not be returning to Italy for many years.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
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Our flights are already booked, so we can't change arrival or departure cities. We are arriving in Milan at 20:20 on Sunday and were advised by Fodorites to stay there until morning.

Our plane doesn't leave Milan/Linate until 11:25, and none of us have any real interest in Milan, but were worried that if we waited until the morning of our departure we might run into a strike or something.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:40 PM
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Milan will be dead on Sunday - most shops will be closed, but museums should be open.

If you're young, active, and like to get an early start and sightsee late in the afternoon or evening - I think you could fit in Venice. Here is what I might be able to do when I was your age:

Sunday. Get to the Milan train station, and take one of the hourly trains to Venice - 2 1/2 hr trip & no train changes.

Monday. Venice

Tuesday - spend the morning in Venice, then take one of the hourly trains to Florence - 2 3/4 hrs, no train changes

Wednesday Florence.

Thursday - Decide whether you want to leave Florence in the morn, noon, of afternoon - Several trains to La Spezia - 2+ hrs, with 1 train change and a noon no-train change. Then catch a train to your CT base. OR several trains to Riomaggiore (probably stops at all the CT towns) with 1 train change - 2 1/2 hrs.

Friday - CT

Saturday - Several 1 train-change schedules to Milan.

Do not stay 1 night in either Venice, CT or Florence. I would get to Milan as late as possible - unless you have an urge to spend time there (I've never visited Milan).

If you could fly from Dublin to Venice, that would certainly save some time.

If your flight from Dublin lands you in Milan too late in the day, there is a 6:35am & 7:35am train to the Venice St Lucia station.

I research train schedules here:

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 08:32 PM
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Isn't this trip in August? At that time of the year, the crowds in all of these places will impact to some degree what you're able to see in a compressed itinerary.

You mentioned that you're concerned about being miserable trying to fit too much in. I agree with your concern. With only six full days, I'd pick two places. CT and Florence, or CT and Venice, or Florence and CT. If all of you are not much interested in art (Renaissance in particular), Florence might be the third choice, but I'll add that of the three places, I think Florence is best for food and wine. If budget is an issue, Venice is the most expensive by far.

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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 05:28 AM
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I'd like to thank everyone again for all the suggestions and comments.

I think we have decided that Venice would be too much. Only one of my friends REALLY want to go to Venice, and one REALLY doesn't, the other is indifferent. Hopefully they get to go back soon and see more of Italy!
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