italy itinerary request

Old Jun 28th, 2016, 06:47 AM
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italy itinerary request

Planning a 2-week trip to Italy at end of October, beginning November.
Please share your itinerary advice...particularly want to see Venice, Florence, Tuscany.
Strongest interests are in art, architecture, food, and wine.
We like to linger...and don't want to over-schedule.
Did I mention food and wine?
Also, we'd like to travel by train as much as possible.
We are an older couple, but energetic.
Thanks for your help.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 07:25 AM
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You can't see much of Tuscany by train, but several towns are easy day trips from Florence using buses and trains. If you're willing to rent a car for rural Tuscany, your options expand.

What airport will you fly into and out of?
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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Thank Jean, yes, renting a car for the countryside probably makes sense. We dislike any type of group tours, but are wondering about a vineyard tour from Florence.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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I advise firstly to book multi city flights. Into one city and home from another, to save backtracking.
If coming from the States, maybe into Venice home from Florence as flights from Venice to North America leave very early in the morning. Then train from Venice to Florence.

There are some great wineries accessible from Florence.
If you give us your budget for hotels we can make recommendations. I was just in Florence in March and can give you restaurant recommendations if you want.

You are travelling at a good time, most of the crowds should have thinned out by then which makes it so much more enjoyable.

Do you think you'd like to stay in Florence plus the Tuscan countryside somewhere, or stay in Florence and make day trips to the countryside?
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 07:39 AM
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There are vineyard tours from Florence.

This might not be in your budget but in March I hired a driver for the day to take me to two wineries. You could rent a car and do it yourself or look at some of the tours, I think Context has one and also Walks of Italy I think.

I can highly recommend touring Castello di Ama which is near Siena, about an hour and 30 or 40 minutes drive from Florence. This was recommended to me by an Italian friend who is a sommelier.
Delicious wines and a fantastic on site restaurant where I had lunch.

Not only is this property beautiful and charming but every year they invite a different modern artist to come and create an art installation and part of the tour is going around to see all of them. (they are indoors and outdoors)
So you get art, wine and food all in one hit! Loved this place and the art was unique, quirky and thought provoking.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 08:17 AM
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Thanks! I'd like to stay in the moderate hotel price range, say $150-250US/night. I am thinking flight into Venice and out of Florence. But we were also thinking out of Rome,although I realize its more practical to see that big city on another trip.
Raincity, Thanks also for the driver tips...and the vineyard near Siena.
I was thinking that a few nights relaxing in Montepulciano or Siena might be nice after two city visits. Then returning to Florence to fly or continue to Rome if it seemed doable.
What do you think about:
3 nights Venice
5 nights Florence
3 nights Tuscan countryside
3 nights Rome
or,
if we drop Rome, do you have another suggestion of breaking up the time?
Thanks all.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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"moderate" at 150-250 (yikes) the people of Venice will welcome you with open arms.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 10:59 AM
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That seems like a good itinerary although some might say take a night away from Florence and give it to Rome. It is all dependant on your interests really.
So if you think of it as 3 nights gives you 2 days, 5 nights gives you 4 days etc.

Rome is a much bigger city than Venice or Florence and certainly has a lot to see, but there is a lot to see in those other places as well and you may well decide that having just 2 days in the beautiful Tuscan countryside is not enough. Maybe make a list of the things you'd like to see/do in each place first?

Anyway, I looked up rates of some hotels I have enjoyed so here are the ones I thought fit your budget:

Venice: Locanda Orseolo
www.locandaorseolo.com
They had some various rates but certainly the base rate double was in your range so have a look. And you might want to look soon as a couple of places looked like already there was limited space.

A really lovely hotel with delicious included breakfast and if you arrive by water taxi there is a water door that you enter through…one of the coolest things I thought!
The hotel is near San Marco square but tucked away so you don't feel the hubbub etc. There are lots of places in Venice to just wander, it really is unique.

Florence I can't really help you as the central hotels I like are above your price point. There is the Hotel David which I like very much but it is about a 20 minute walk from the centre, on the other side of the river and maybe not great for a first timer. There is a bus right outside the front door and it does offer awfully good value, it is in your budget so you may want to look anyway.

In the countryside, we had a week long stay at the Villa Bordoni in Greve in Chianti, one of the best hotel stays of my life. Still the best breakfast at any Italian hotel I have been at. It is a truly gorgeous property and I just checked and there is some availability and in your $ range.
www.villabordoni.com/en
Check out their website if only to drool.

Rome: I really liked the Hotel Raphael, nice and central just off Piazza Navona, may be just a tad over your budget but take a look.
www.raphaelhotel.com/

For something a bit less money, we did really like Hotel Relais Le Clarisse in Trastevere which is on the other side of the river from the centro storico but totally walkable and there is a tram you can catch very near to the hotel.
This hotel had a lovely inner courtyard to sit in and despite being in a lively area was quiet at night.

All hotels I've recommended include breakfast.

If you want the name of the driver I used and was very happy with just ask.
I will check in later, feel free to ask me questions and I'm sure others will have great suggestions.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 01:15 PM
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3 nights Venice
5 nights Florence
3 nights Tuscan countryside
3 nights Rome
or,

Or 5 nights Rome
3 nights Florence - a much smaller more compact city

For trains book well in advance to get discounted tickets and save lots over full-fare walk-up tickets - www.trenitalia.com is the official site of the Italian Railways for booking your own tickets. Great info on Italian trains check www.seat61.com- great info on discounted ticketing; www.rickstves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Rent a car for Tuscany perhaps - drive from Florence via rural Tuscany to Orvieto, return car and head by train for Rome.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 01:19 PM
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"What do you think about:
3 nights Venice
5 nights Florence
3 nights Tuscan countryside
3 nights Rome..."

Unless you've been to these places before, I think you're short-changing all but Florence. I'm not the biggest fan of Venice, but even I don't think 2 days (3 nights) is enough time there. And IMO, the logistics of renting and returning the car, the size of Tuscany and the early sunset after October 30th all argue for more than 2+ days of exploring the countryside. Art was listed first in your interests, so I wouldn't reduce your time in Florence. Even with 4+ days, you'll have to pick and choose sights. If you're there over a Sunday/Monday, some things will not be open. I'd leave Rome for another trip and give those days/nights to Venice and Tuscany.

In Florence, look at the Tourist House Ghiberti and the Hotel Casci.

When you figure out where you would stay in Tuscany, come back for more lodging recommendations.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Good idea Jean and more along with what I would do personally but everyone likes a different pace. My recent trip to Florence was 11 nights and I could have stayed longer!

If the OP really wants Rome this time then her idea was okay but if she can do Rome another time then this would make for a really nice, more relaxed trip.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 02:41 PM
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We loved Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo in Venice 2 years ago. Very close to San Stae vaporetto stop, away from the chaos of Piazza San Marco (but that's easy to reach by vaporetto; I highly recommend buying a vaporetto pass so you can just hop on and off at will), and in a real (non-touristy) neighborhood. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Personally, I'd reduce my time in Florence since you are also allocating time to the countryside and add it to Rome, which is both a wonderful city and also offers daytrip possibilities. You really can't go wrong IMO anywhere you go in Italy!
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 02:49 PM
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Since Architecture is one of your big interests, stay in Venice another night and do a day trip to see Palladio's architecture in Vicenza. Vicenza is only a 30 minute train ride from Venice. The town is filled with Palladian buildings. Different buildings are open at different times and days, so check hours and days ahead of time. Do not miss Teatro Olimpico! It is one of the most perfect spaces you can imagine.
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Old Jun 28th, 2016, 04:38 PM
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Hi All, thanks so much for your valuable information. Thinking we'll drop Rome for this trip to focus on the other locales.
I'm excited as an artist to have a little more time to visit my first choices. I'd like to get in a day trip or two from Florence as well as a stay to the countryside.
I really want to plan out this itinerary. I agree it is not too soon, I notice some hotels are booking up.
Thanks for your ideas. I'll work on a more detailed plan and ask for your insights.
Then, I will also appreciate restaurant recommendations...
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