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Italy, mid May, 10 days, Rome + another city?

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Dec 18th, 2014, 02:19 PM
  #1
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Italy, mid May, 10 days, Rome + another city?

Hello,

It will be me as a solo female traveller in mid May for maximum 10 days. Never been to Rome so will definitely want to see that city. The second city is really optional. I am open to suggestions. Venice has been recommended but I am flexible. The closer to Rome the better...

Thanks much,
S
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Dec 18th, 2014, 02:36 PM
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Venice is not very close to Rome. Florence is considerably closer. What sorts of things do you enjoy? History? Architecture? Art? Fine cuisine? Countryside?

There are some small cities and towns near Rome that might appeal to you, but it would help to know your interests.
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Dec 18th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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I like Art, Architecture, Fine Cuisine , not doing countryside this time.

5- 6 days in Rome and then the rest in the second city.

Thanks
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Dec 18th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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Florence is a good choice for art and architecture, but it's not where I would go for fine cuisine, although I'm sure there are some excellent restaurants there.
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Dec 18th, 2014, 05:53 PM
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I would go to Venice. It is one of the most unique and enchanting places in the world. As a solo traveler, you could spend hours just walking around the island and soaking in the ambiance. If you have never been there, I would not pass up the opportunity. It is not the closest place to go, but what is another couple of hours on a train on a travel day? My second choice would be Florence. Spend more than half of the time in Rome because there is so much more to do and see there.
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Dec 18th, 2014, 06:58 PM
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Do you have a full 10 days on the ground, or do your 10 days include your travel days getting there and back home, arrival day, departure day?
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Dec 18th, 2014, 11:53 PM
  #7
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Hello,

I have 10 days including travel days. Example: departing May 13 and returning May 23.

If I ultimately choose Venice the I will look into flying in between cities.

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Dec 19th, 2014, 01:54 AM
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Flying between cities will take a lot longer, and cost more, than going by train. You have to consider getting to and from the airport, and the great delays with security and baggage claim. The train takes 3 1/2 hours, center city to center city. If you buy discounted (nonrefundable) tickets well in advance, you can take the train for as little as €29, and you'll save the cost of the airport transfers. At the full (flexible) price, the train costs €80.

It's not easy to find fine dining in Venice, which is full of overpriced tourist traps, though, as always there are some exccellent restaurants as well. There are plenty of tourist traps in Florence, but my impression is that they're not as overpriced.

Given your interest in art, I have a feeling Florence might suit you better. There is some great art in Venice, but it's not as concentrated as it is in Florence. Both cities have great architecture.

There are also some smaller cities near Rome that you might like: Orvieto and Assisi are two with great architecture, and Assisi also has the breathtaking Giotto frescoes in the upper Basilica of San Francesco. However, if you've never seen Florence and Venice, and don't think you'll be back in Italy any time soon, you probably would want to choose one of those.
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Dec 19th, 2014, 03:58 AM
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While I agree you should take a train from Rome if you head to Venice, rather than fly, I am mystified by the assessment of Venice that its great art is not as "concentrated" as it is in Florence, especially considering that you will have a generous amount of time wherever you go. Both cities are completely walkable and rich in great art. Based on the 4 words you offered as a description of your interests, I don't think there is much indication that you would prefer Florence to Venice after having been in Rome for 5 days.

Just so you know, I personally much prefer Florence to Venice. I rarely enjoy being in Venice, where I have been several times, even though I prefer to eat seafood (the main focus of fine dining in Venice) and even though I spend all my time in art museums and churches because it is so rewarding to do so. Those are my personal preferences.

I am not sure what you mean by "fine dining" for a solo traveler. If you could elaborate on that, you might get helpful suggestions.

Based on your very brief description of what you like as a solo traveler, the only reason I can see for recommending Florence and Venice over dozens and dozens of other possibilities is that Venice and Florence are sufficiently rich in sights of interest that can easily fill 5 days or more without feeling the urge to take a day trip. But otherwise, it is actually difficult to find towns in Italy that don't have wonderful art and architecture and delicious food -- not all of it packaged as "fine dining", but destination worthy nonetheless.
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Dec 19th, 2014, 04:49 AM
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Have you purchased your airline tickets yet? If not, a suggestion would be to fly open jaw, multi-city, into Venice and home from Roma. This would maximize your time in-country. You could spend a few days in Venice and then take a late afternoon train to Roma for the remainder of your time.

You really only have 7-8 days to tour and the above will provide a method to see two places. If you stay in Roma the whole time you will have more time to see the city and maybe take a day trip to Ostia Antica, Orvieto, or Hadrian's Villa with nearby Ville di Este.

Whatever you decide go and have fun.

Buon viaggio,
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Dec 19th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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Ya, I agree. As a solo traveller fine dining is not really my priority. When I went to Paris alone I only ate out twice in 6 days and spent the majority of my time sightseeing or just walking.

And I do prefer seafood to other types of food...

Do those trains have wifi? Do they come in different classes?

Thank you
S
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Dec 19th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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How about:

May 14 - morning arrival Rome - jet lag day - walk around
May 15-18 - Rome & Vatican
May 18 evening - train to Florence
May 19 - Florence...a single day...not a lot but, worth a stop
May 20 morning train to Venice - half-day there
May 21-22 - Venice

...or some minor variation of this.

(I just figured, your Rome-Venice train stops in Florence, so you might as well check it out...especially if you like art.)

SS
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Dec 19th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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august77,

The fast trains between Rome and other big city destinations like Florence or Venice (or Torino or Napoli, Milan, etc) do have wi-fi access:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...008916f90aRCRD

There are several classes of service on the fast trains, including quiet cars. You can browse around the same link I just gave you to see what is offered. Another good resource is the website Man in Seat 61, which will also walk you through how to purchase tickets and how to get discounted fares. It is excellent for an overview of the Italian train system.
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Dec 19th, 2014, 05:33 PM
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If you go to Venice and want a good seafood dinner, I would suggest Al Covo. They specialize in fresh local seafood, much, but not all of which is on the exotic side. I consider it fine dining, but it is small and family owned. It is purely Italian, but the owner's wife is from Texas. I think a solo traveler would feel comfortable there. We always schedule a grand finale dinner on our last night of vacation and the last time we were in Venice this was the place. It is a few minute walk away from the entrance to the Grand Canal from St. Mark's Square.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 12:59 AM
  #15
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Given your stated preferences (art, architecture, near Rome), Rome and Florence sound like a great combination to me. And IME, one can dine quite nicely in Florence! That said, you won't go wrong if you choose Venice instead.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 02:47 AM
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The highspeed trains in Italy do have wifi, but I haven't had much success with it. It's not an open network; you have to get an access code. You open a web page in your browser, and they give you two choices for getting the code: you can either give them your Italian cell phone number and they'll send you an SMS with the code; or you can pay a nominal €0.01 for the code using your credit card.

One time that I tried to use the wifi, I still hadn't got access to the wifi when we were nearly at our destination, so I gave up. Another time, I got connected, but the service was painfully slow. Since then, I just use the 3G network on my phone, either directly or for tethering, but even that isn't perfect, because you keep losing the connection as you pass through dead zones.

I once read a review of the wifi service on the Freccia trains, which said that it works reasonably well only on the tract from Milan to Bologna. That was a while ago, so maybe things have changed. I haven't tried it in a few years.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 05:06 AM
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I think Florence has a more concentrated collection of art than any city in the world, not just in Italy. By that I mean that it has many museums, at least five of which are major repositories of art, in addition to marvelous works of art in numerous churches and monasteries, all in a very small area.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 05:57 AM
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I've never had a problem using the wifi on the Freccia trains. I follow the instructions. Wasn't any slower than what I typically encounter in New York City hotels.

It almost doesn't matter if you are spending 5 day in Florence or 5 days in Venice if Florence has 1,000 fabulous works of art and Venice "only" has 700. In 5 days you are only likely to see 30 in either place -- and both places have their artworks concentrated into a very small area. No one has ever experience difficulty getting around either city on foot if they are fit.

Needless to say, what would make a difference is if you very much wanted to see particular art works or study a particular period of art or architecture. Then it might make a lot more sense to go to Venice if it has more of the artworks that interest you personally than Florence does, or vice a versa. "Biggest" is not "better" when it comes to assessing an art collection. If you end up going to Venice, you might want to read John Ruskin's classic works about the city, which included severe criticisms of the kind of Renaissance artwork of which Florence has an overload.

I would just caution you from oversimplified ideas and allowing yourself to be steered, even though I am sure people are trying to help you.

If you want to sit down and eat, there are many restaurants in both Florence and Venice serving fine food in a lovely setting where solo diners are quite welcome.

But why not go to NAPOLI? It has art, architecture and fine dining (truly -- often with views of Vesuvius!) And if you're looking for "closer to Rome the better", it's just an hour away.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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I like the open jaw idea flying into Venice and out of Rome. In the first place, Venice is a much easier city, a more quiet and better place to get rid of jet lag than Rome. Flying into Venice and taking the expensive water taxi through the lagoon and into the city is an unforgettable experience (reminds me of helicopter ride we once took in Hawaii). In Venice, the crowds run from Piazza San Marco to the Rialto bridge---but there are many many parts of the city that are uncrowded, where you can walk on small side canals, enjoy the lack of cars, and the play of light on water.There is the wonderful new Museo della Dogana, and the whole city is full of Carpaccios in different places.
May is a wonderful time to be there. We think Venice is an underrated art city and also an underrated food city. We also know of a moderately priced trattoria where we eat at least twice each time we go. We prefer the Dorsoduro area (pensione academia).

I love Florence, but we will only go there between November and March. It is just too crowded and seeing Florence off season is magical. Rome, being a larger city, more gracefully holds its crowds.
Let us know what you decide.
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Dec 20th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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There's a wonderful book on women traveling on their own called A Journey of One's Own.
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