Italy itinerary-november


Jul 21st, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Italy itinerary-november

Hi all,
Going to Italy ( for the first time) in November and am pasting my itinerary below. Have a few questions and am hoping for some suggestions. You guys are such fonts of information and are so generous with your knowledge too. Thanks a ton.

Date Destination(s) Activities
30-Oct,Sat Venice - Arrive by noon. Grand Canal Cruise, St. Marks sq
31-Oct,Sun Venice - St.Marks sq, rialto bridge, Doges Palace, gondola ride, ...
1-Nov,Mon Venice - All Saints Day. Watch Parade. Look around the city, don't know what will be open.
2-Nov,Tue Venice - **
3-Nov,Wed Venice to Florence(train 1032-1321) - Walk around, shopping, laundry ?
4-Nov,Thu Florence - Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Oltrarno Walk, maybe Piaza di Michaelangelo.
5-Nov,Fri Florence - Bargello, Duomo Museum, Santa Croce church
6-Nov,Sat Florence - Accademia, Museum of San Marco, Medici chapels, Church of Santa Maria Novella,...
7-Nov, Sun ***
8-Nov-04,Mon Siena, Orvieto - Siena till noon-ish and off to Orvieto.
9-Nov-04,Tue Orvieto-Naples-Ercolano-Sorrento - Arrive in Naples around 12:30 get a pizza fix and off to Herculaneum and then Sorrento
10-Nov-04,Wed Sorrento**** - Spend the day in Sorrento. Maybe go to Capri.
11-Nov-04,Thu Sorrento-Pompeii-Naples-Rome - Visit Pompeii. Return to Rome via Naples, stopping at the Archeological museum in Naples.
12-Nov-04,Fri Rome - am-Vatican. pm-Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, "Rome at night" walk.
13-Nov-04,Sat Rome - am -Ancient Rome (Nero's House, Colloseum, Forum, Capitilone Hill, Pantheon). pm-Shopping?14-Nov-04,Sun Rome - am-Borghese Gallery/National Gallery.
15-Nov-04,Mon Leave from Rome Arrivederci Italia !

**Should we stay in Venice this day or take a trip to Murano, Burano, Torcello here?

***Florence-Pisa-Lucca -Siena renting a car in florence in the morning.
On to Pisa ( by car) to see the Leaning Tower, the adjoining Duomo, cemetry, etc. Spend a few hours looking around Lucca and then onto Siena.
Florence to Siena via the Chianti region, maybe even a stop at San Gimignano time permitting.
Which of these is better? I'm guessing that I'll be on art overload by now and may not want to do Pisa(its in the opposite direction anyway). However, though we'd love winery/olive grove tours, we are non-alcohol drinkers. Sacriligious I know, but I can't stand the taste of any alcohol, sigh... So given that, should we "do" Chianti, or go west to Pisa or should we pick other hill towns south of Florence on the way to Siena? The only constraint is that we begin in Florence and end in Orvieto, since I'm planning on picking up/returning the car there(though it is a cancellable Hertz reservation. autoeurope and others need a min 3 day rental to return in the smaller towns).

**** Also, am I doing the right thing here? We saw some pictures of Pompeii and Herculaneum posted by a Fodorite (sorry don't remember who) and absolutely want to see both, but should we stay in Sorrento? Or should we come back to Naples? Am a little apprehensive of Naples after all the posts I've read. And should I just take that extra day from Sorrento and add it to Rome?

BTW, these are the places we ( my parents and I) are staying at in Venice, Florence and Rome (nothing else is booked):
Venice Palazzetto - an apartment in the San Marco region, west of the piazza.
Olga's House B&B - a couple blocks north west of the uffizi
Apartment in Rome 2 blocks northwest of piazza navona. Its just called "Apartment 3", booked via
All of them cost 100 euros a night and seemed to have decent reviews.

Sorry this is sooo long..
ssachida is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2004, 01:26 PM
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ttt. sry don't want it to get lost.
ssachida is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2004, 01:43 PM
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I would take a day off Venice or Florence and add to Sorrento as I think it will be too much to try to see Pompeii and the museum in Naples on one day and still travel to Rome. I would also consider keeping the car and driving to Ercolano(3 hours)/Sorrento to turn in the car since you already have it and would be turning it in on the same day. Skip the pizza fix in Naples on the way but stop in Ercolano. You can get the pizza fix on the way back to Rome when you stop at the museum in Naples. You really don't want to be drving in Naples.
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Thanks kybourbon. I will definitely look into driving straight to Naples or Sorrento. I was afraid of not having enough time for the museum too, I'll prbably just have to wing that bit.

Any other suggestions folks?
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Unless you have a passionate interest in the art of glass blowing -- dont sacrifice anything for a trip to Murano. It simply isnt worth it. :You spend 5 minutes watching the craft and the next 2 hours saying no to a salesman trying to sell you overpriced glass art objects. Sounds like you are going to be busy. You are going to have a ball.
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 01:43 PM
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Wow--that is longer than most of my trip reports. I am not sure where to start--or end.
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:58 PM
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k, apologies again. Should have just asked one question at a time but wanted to give the background as well.

I have 2 days and 2 nights that begin in Florence and end in Orvieto. What should my itinerary be?

or should I drive staright on to Sorrento (next destination), instead of training it from Orvieto ?
ssachida is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:21 PM
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I'm exhausted just reading this...and I must be reading something wrong because I thought you had four days in Florence. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts:

-- Be sure to check on opening and closing times of sights you wish to visit
-- Double-check the days that sights and restaurants are closed, especially your "must sees"
-- Keep in mind that many shops, churches, etc. close for lunch, so plan your days accordingly
-- If you see something you want to buy, buy it when you see it
-- Make an effort to have gelato every day
-- Can't believe I'm saying this, but I would take one day from Venice and add it to Tuscany.
-- Also, it always seems to take a little longer to get from point A to point B than you would expect. So keep that in mind when planning traveling days.

-- Nov. 2: You will know by Tuesday if you have the time and want to go to Murano, Burano or Torcello. We missed them on our last trip because of lack of time, but that was our choice.

-- Nov. 4: For me, too much for one day. Maybe you can switch the Oltramo walk to Nov. 3
-- Try to go to Piazza Michaelangelo on a sunny/clear day, if possible. The view is amazing. While you are up there, San Minato is worth a visit as well.

-- Nov 4, 5 and 6: You will have to judge for yourself how much time you think you will need in each of these spots. We spent easily four hours alone in the Uffizi and never made it to SM Novella before closing on several occasions.

-- Nov. 7: When leaving Florence, our choice was to rent a car and drive through Tuscany on the S222...for us, an excellent decision. Then we stayed overnight in Siena which we enjoyed tremendously. You could make this a leisurely drive through the countryside and enjoy whatever towns appeal to you, possibly San Gimignano and then spend two nights in Siena.

-- Nov. 8: Spend the day exploring just Siena or a surrounding town or two. You could drop off the car in Siena and take the train south from there, eliminating the drive to Orvieto...although Orvieto is a lovely town.

-- Nov , 9, 10, 11: Take early train to either Naples or Sorrento. If you are fearful of Naples, then stay in Sorrento. From either, you can do day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum and/or Capri. Capri and Pompeii will each take the better part of a day. We have been to both Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the time you have, I would just do Pompeii. Also, check the boat schedules to Capri. Although I adore Capri, for this trip, I would skip it and add the time to Rome.

-- Nov 12: Take early train to Rome and enjoy.

Hope this helps and doesn?t add to your confusion!
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:28 PM
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What a wonderful trip you have planned. My observation would be that on Nov 4 your itinery looks a bit ambitious. If you are an art lover, the Ufizzi will take several hours to just have a pretty good look around. There are great masterworks here and I find it difficult to tear myself away.Your plans for Thursday would be well spent entirely on the Oltarno. You might find adding Ufizzi to your Friday itinery a better fit. Bargello and Santa Croce can be seen (well) in a couple of hours and are close to the Ufizzi. Enjoy!
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:53 PM
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What Carol said--she knows her stuff.
Skip the Pisa loop and do the San Gimignano route, but I would add Volterra to that and then on to Siena.
Do not miss the Borghese. And, gelato is mandatory daily--it is the law.
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 08:45 PM
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Judging from your Florence plans, you seem to be very interested in art, so I'm wondering a little why you have not included the Accademia in Venice in your plans. It's one of the great Italian collections and is for Venetian painting what the Uffizi is for the Florentine school. If you do go, be careful not to miss the small room with two Giorgiones (including "La Tempesta") and a number of Giovanni Bellinis.

And while you're on that side of the Grand Canal, drop into the church of the Frari: two splendid Titians and a lovely Giovanni Bellini in the sacristy.

If you know and love Tintoretto, do not miss the Scuola di San Rocco (right next to the Frari): two floors of wall-to-wall Tintoretto paintings.

When you're near the Rialto, try to go into the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, it's a small jewel.

As for Murano, Burano and Torcello: I agree that you can give Murano a miss, but the Byzantine church on Torcello (formerly a cathedral, when Torcello was the first inhabited settlement in the lagoon) is exquisite; the apse mosaic of the Madonna is very moving. You have to go through Burano to get to Torcello, so on your way back from Torcello (the church closes at noon, as I recall), stop off in Burano and have a wonderful risotto alla crema di scampi ("risotto with shrimp cream" doesn't sound quite as appetizing, but it is very good) at Da Romano.
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 03:45 AM
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Hi ss,

I think I would reduce Venice by a day and add it to Sorrento.

You could also stay in Naples and visit the same places.

Naples is not as bad as some people say.

You might find the Naples part of my trip report helpful.
ira is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Thanks a ton everyone.
I will skip Pisa and Lucca and do the chianti, hill towns circuit instead. I will look at Volterra as bob suggested. And definitely the gelato , I'm not missing that.

I know my days look packed but its only a list of the places I want to see, as opposed to, everything I will absolutely do. I grew up in India and we are even worse than the Italians with time , so I do understand that not everything may work out as intended...

Eloise, I will visit the Accademia, Chiesa Frari and the Scuola di San Rocco. Am adding all the other places you mention to my notes.
Guess I'll skip Murano this time(hoping there will be another time, please god...), and go to Torcello if I can fit it in. Am a little hesitant to plan too much as this falls during the All Saints day week and I have heard that festivals generally throw the schedule off.

Lorac, Margaret, I will move the Uffizi to Friday.

Bob, I'll make sure I go to the Bhorghese.

I need to either add a day to Sorrento, like Ira suggests, or remove the one day I do have and allot it to Rome, as Lorac advises. Hmmm, if only all life's decisions were as much fun...

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Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:05 AM
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Bob, that is such a sweet compliment, especially from you! Grazie!

ssachida, make your lists, read them carefully and take them with you. Having done all that research prepares you well so that when you arrive at each destination you will have the information necessary to have a memorable vacation. Do the work now and you will be free to enjoy later.
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 12:24 PM
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By the way ssachida, if you plan to do all those day trips in the South, you will need an extra day in Sorrento (or Naples). Otherwise, the day could be added to Rome...which would be my preference for a first trip.
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Also, if you're interested in art,(especially modern art) I highly recommend adding Peggy Guggenheim to your list in Venice. The setting is great too.

And good luck parking in Pisa...we actually "followed" a Mercedes into the plaza, not knowing it was an official car, and the police had a fit while I jumped out of the car and snapped a picture. But we couldn't find a safe place to park the car (and our luggage was exposed--a no-no for leaving the car unattended.)
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 12:55 PM
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..i think you have been given some good suggestions..BUT i would like to give you a bit of advice (and i must admit i am anything but a type a personality). remember your itinerary is not carved in stone. dont have a list that you check off after completed...rather do a lot of reading (and dreaming) before and have a tentative itinerary that is made to be modified. Change things a bit if the weather warrants it..if you find a small gallery/church/street festival which enchants you stay and enjoy and never think about what you have missed but rather what you saw or discovered. if you have done your homework (ie know that the one thing that you have your heart set on seeing is open m-th closed f ect), you will be free to truly enjoy and be captivated by the locale. i always bring a green guide with me as i find they are great in having correct times for openings and good info about somethoing i may have stumbled upon...have fun!
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