Italy--Ten weeks in the autumn

Oct 26th, 2014, 04:14 PM
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Italy--Ten weeks in the autumn

My wife and I would welcome advice in developing an itinerary for ten weeks in Italy. We want to see as much as possible. However, we prefer to operate out of a base and not move more frequently than every two weeks. We have already visited Venice and Rome so they are not in our plans this trip. Since the trip would begin in mid-September, we think

Phase I would be two weeks in the Lake Como region; Phase II is two weeks in Florence (to include Cinque Terra); Phase III is Tuscany (or Umbria?); Phase IV is the Amalfi Coast; Phase V is with two weeks furthest south (we are thinking Sicily, Brendizi, or
Generally, our lodging preference is something nice with character, centrally located, walkable to town, services, etc., includes at least a small kitchen (except in Tuscany/Umbria where we want to rent a villa). We want good value, not over-the-top, but we are willing to go 4 out of 5 stars.

All advice is appreciated, particularly with respect to lodging, car rental, sites to see, restaurants too good to miss, anything involving water, romance, cooking classes, hikes, wine tasting and logistics. We will be flying from east coast U.S.
Rebeckon is offline  
Oct 26th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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I would prefer those 10 weeks in the spring--April, May, June---than in the fall. The biggest difference are the hours of daylight. Another factor are the spring flowers, which are spectacular in the lakes region.

But, any 10 weeks in Italy is time well spent. We have done 17 trips to Italy now and also did an 8 week trip one time, but that included other countries.

Read some good guide books first, then set a more firm itinerary, and then come back for the details once you have some specifics. YOur current request is just too broad for us to get our hands around. I suggest the Michelin Green book for Italy as a start.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 26th, 2014, 04:50 PM
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I think you will be getting to the Amalfi Coast too late in the year. Many hotels and restaurant will be closed and ferries will either not be running or will be on a much reduced winter schedule. Also, it can be difficult to get to Capri (and impossible to see the various grottoes) due to rough seas that time of year. If you really want to do Amalfi Coast I would change the order and do it second after the lakes.

However, I agree that the spring is a much better time to do this - based on better weather, longer days and longer opening hours for many sights.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 26th, 2014, 06:30 PM
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We have been to Italy about a dozen times -- as early as April and as late at October and I would recommend, given your 10 week time frame, beginning in April. I also would recommend eliminating August, as parts of Italy are too crowded. I admit that we have avoided August ourselves, but have read too many posts about Florence in August to ever tempt me to be there then.

PS, listen to bobthenavigator. He knows of what he speaks!
pctraveler is offline  
Oct 26th, 2014, 06:39 PM
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I think you could start in the lakes area, fly to Sicily from Milan, overnight ferry to Amalfi, then Tuscany and end in Florence.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 27th, 2014, 05:20 AM
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Thanks for the above advice. It is helpful.
Rebeckon is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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I understand your desire to not move too often, but I think you may be making a mistake by trying to stay in each place two weeks. For example, you have two weeks in Florence with a day trip to the CT. If it were me I'd split that and do a week or so (or a bit less) on the coast to see CT and also the other towns in that area (Rapallo, Portovenere, Portofino, Camogli, etc. - all of which, including Genoa, can be done from one base) and the other week in Florence. Also, while two weeks is not too long for Sicily, you can't see all of it from one base. You also mention Brindizi - by that do you mean Puglia (the city of Brindizi itself is not a great base for that region). Again, You can see most of Puglia from one base, but you'll be doing a lot of backtracking - unless you only want to see a few highlights.

I certainly don't suggest you move every few days on a trip that length, especially is you like 'slow' travel. But maybe a few of the areas would be best done in some one week segments, interspersed with some two week segments.
isabel is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 12:12 PM
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I agree, one week segments make more sense in some locations. The exeption is Sicily where 2 weeks is better, but still 2 locations.

Here are my week long segments---give or take.

Lago Como
The Ligurian coast/CT
Rural Tuscany
Rural UMbria
The Amalfi coast
Sicily East
Sicily west

I would consider the French buy-back lease plan with pick up in MIlan and drop in Rome. I would park in or near Florence that week.

Holler if you want some details on this itinerary. I have been to all of these destinations--most multiple times.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 01:27 PM
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Planning a long trip is far more difficult than a short one, IMO -you've just got too much choice. And there's a danger that it's all going to merge into one if you don't mix it up enough - I would think about doing something creative or active at one or other part of the trip eg a week cooking, or cycling, or mosaic making or a course in italian - there are people here who have done all that and more.

That will help to give a real focus to the trip, even if you only do it for a week or so.
annhig is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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I agree with some of the other comments, I would start early to make sure to get to the Amalfi Coast for the last week of October. If it were me, I would spend a week in the lake Como area with car rental. Return the car in Florence and spend the entire week in the city. Then transfer to Cinque Terre where you wont need a car for the week either. Trains and ferries can take you where yuo want to go along the coast.

From there rent a car in La Spezia and drive to Siena for two weeks in Tuscany. I spent three weeks in Tuscany and still didn't see everything I wanted to. We stayed in a charming small apartment outside the walls of San Gimignano and walked into the town every morning before heading out to see the rest of Tuscany each day. Siena is close to the highways for easy access each day. Do two weeks in Umbria the same way.

Return the car in Sorrento and spend the week seeing the Amalfi Coast with car and driver and/or by water taxi. Unless you have driven on the coast in the past, I wouldnt recommend it. I travel by car all over Italy, but I just don't do it on the Amalfi Coast.

Take the train to Messina cross the Strait of Messina by ferry and stay a week in Taormina visiting the east side of the island and a week on the west side of the island staying in Marsala.
The_Way_To_Italy2015 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 12:35 AM
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I am sorry but as much as I have enjoyed doing little or nothing on the shores of Lago di Como as well as running around and trying to see "everything" IMO there just isn't that much to see around the lake area that would take two weeks to do.

I am not including Milan and certainly not Turin in this just so you understand.

Yes, you can lie around the place forever and there aren't many better ways to die but please re-think this part of things.
Dukey1 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 04:05 AM
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Spring is the better time. You want to finish before July or mid July at the latest.

I'd drop Turin and add Marche. For Puglia I'd base in Lecce or Ostuni. If you follow my name I spent time in Puglia last year and we had a guide who arranged a bunch of things which could well include cooking, wineries etc and she was very entertaining and very reasonable.

Lease back makes good sense for 10 days
bilboburgler is online now  
Oct 28th, 2014, 04:07 AM
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You also don't seem to have Bologna/Parma/Ravenna/Ferrara/Padua/Modena etc in here, maybe you did them on your Venice trip?
bilboburgler is online now  

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