Italy Trip in November 2015

Old Sep 15th, 2015, 01:09 PM
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Italy Trip in November 2015

Just booked a trip to Italy in November with my boyfriend and wanted to see your thoughts suggestions, tips, etc. We're both first timers in Italy. It'll be his first time in EU, really and we're both really excited.

(11/26-12/5) 3 nights in Rome; 3 nights in Florence 2 nights Venice

Our airfare, hotels and train are booked but we're debating on whether to book sightseeing tours or just go explore on our own.

Rome and Florence pass... is it worth it?

What is the weather like in Italy in November/December? Is it wise to pack rain gear with us?

Also, our flight leaving Venice to Paris is at 6:40am. What's the best way to get to the airport this early in the morning?

Thanks in advance for all your inputs!

ap12iltravels is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2015, 01:24 PM
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working backwards, here is the timetable for the direct ATVO bus from Venice [Piazzale Roma] to the airport:

catch the 5am, you'll be fine - nothing will be moving at the airport at that time in the morning.

Italy in November/December can be wet, dress accordingly though you probably don't need to take an umbrella - the speed at which umbrella sellers appear in large italian cities immediately the first rain drop hits the pavement has to be seen to be believed. [the question is, where do they store them?]

The Roma pass can be worth it to bypass the queues at the colosseum. you get free entry to your first 2 sites, and a dedicated entry so if you use it there first, and then at the Castel San Agnelo for example, you will get your money's worth. Use of the buses, underground, and trams is pretty useful too.

The Firenze pass, OTOH looks like a rip off to me - you could never get round more than a fraction of the sites that your €72 buys you, you don't really need public transport in florence as it's quite small, and very few of them have queues aside from the Uffizi and the Academia, and you can sort that out by booking in advance.

in general I feel that tours are unnecessary; my only exception is the Forum in Rome which can be difficult to fathom without some help. IMO it's much more fun to explore, and get lost, and then find yourselves again. All you need is a guide book and a good map.
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Old Sep 15th, 2015, 02:03 PM
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As your time in each city is short, I'd make entry reservations where possible for things you really want to see. These wouldn't be tours, just a way of avoiding long lines to enter popular places. These might include Borghese Galleria and Vatican Museums in Rome, Uffizi Museum and Galleria Accademia in Florence.

I would book the Scavi tour in Rome. It's one of the most interesting things we've done.

If you have more than a passing interest in archeology, I'd also book a tour of Domus Aurea (Nero's Golden House). Access to the site is very limited, but I think there is a tour on November 28th.
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Old Sep 15th, 2015, 03:09 PM
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Thanks Annhig!

Do you know how long it takes for the shuttle to get to the airport from Venice? I'm worried I won't have enough time to get through airport security and miss my flight if I catch the 5am.
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Old Sep 15th, 2015, 04:50 PM
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Venice Airport is very small and it will be relatively deserted at that hour so security should be relatively quick.

The bus takes 20-30 minutes.
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Old Sep 16th, 2015, 02:52 AM
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ap - what ellenem said. at that time of day the airport will be as quiet as....a very quiet place. don't reckon on being able to get coffee or anything to eat there at that time of day - the cafes don't open till about 6am. the only people likely to be around will be the people catching your flight.
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Old Sep 16th, 2015, 03:05 AM
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Assume it will rain and that it might even be rainy/foggy in Venice the whole time you are there. Venice is unbelievably romantic in fog, so don't let this bother you. But you will need rain gear or can buy a throwaway umbrella on the street if you need one. It is likely to be drier away from the sea and further south.

My experience with early departures from Venice is as described. Checkin desks often open late so there are long, anxious lines. The staff know you will get on, but you gotta believe. One of you should stand in line while the other makes a coffee run. Get two each. They are small. I would try to bring some kind of protein or fruit snack to eat with my coffee. Offerings at the airport were pretty poor.

I think this is so great time to go to Italy, by the way.
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Old Sep 16th, 2015, 03:32 AM
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The price of the Roma Pass has gone up to €36 in two steps over the past several years. It's valid for three calendar days. It's now much more difficult to get your money's worth from it. The Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill site costs €12 and Castel Sant'Angelo costs €10.50, so that combination won't come anywhere near the cost of the pass. You can also use the pass for public transportation, or get discounts on other museum entrances, but it would be hard for to make it add up to another €14 given the short time in Rome (two full days). Public transportation in Rome is very cheap, and I rarely spend even €5 a day.

There is now a 48-hour pass (not two calendar days), which seems as though it would be more suitable in this case, but I think that may be even harder to justify. This pass costs €28, but gives only one free entrance, plus discounts for others, and 48 hours of public transporation. If you take the above example, you'd save €12 on the Colosseum entrance, and save €3.50 by getting the discounted entry to Castel San'Angelo. It's still a long way from €28. You'd still have to use €12.50 in transportation and other museum entrances to justify the pass.

Here is a website that has up-to-date full prices and discounted prices so that you can check how much money you'd save with either of the Roma Passes.

To estimate the savings on public transportation, count €1.50 for a complete trip from one destination to the next, because transfers are included in the cost of a single ticket, which is good for 100 minutes. (I've sometimes used a single ticket to get to two destinations.) Keep in mind that the metro doesn't go near very many of the famous sights and that many people find the buses impossible to figure out. Also many destinations are quicker to get to on foot than by bus, and sometimes you might want to use a taxi. I think that an estimate of €5 for a full day is probably high. Many people would save €3 per day or less with a pass.

There shouldn't be any long queues at the Colosseum in November, and if there is a queue, you can walk a few meters to buy your tickets at the Roman Forum entrance, which almost never has a queue even in high summer. I wouldn't bother paying the €2 reservation fee for buyimg the ticket online unless you're going in July or August, and even then it's sometimes not worth it, because at busy times everyone, reservation or not, has to wait in a queue to get in.

You have only two full days in Rome and two full days in Florence. I would urge you not to fill them up with museums, or you risk missing the charm of these cities. The Borghese Gallery has very rigid entrance times and is not centrally located, so it tends to wreak havoc with a busy schedule. The Uffizi Gallery is huge, and very specialized, so unless you're passionate about Italian Renaissance religious art, there would be other places that would give you a taste of this art and not require such an investment of time. Specifically, there are churches in Florence (and Rome) that have on display many great masterpieces.

The churches in Rome are all free to enter, while those in Florence usually charge for touristic visits. In both cities, you can see a lot of great art, in its original setting, and in a fairly short time. In addition, while strolling from church to church, you'll see more of the city.
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Old Sep 16th, 2015, 06:41 AM
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Thanks everyone! . Very helpful!

Just curious, other than the shuttle to the airport, what's my alternative in getting there that early in the morning?
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Old Sep 16th, 2015, 06:43 AM
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Upon arrival in Venice, double-check with your hotel desk that your departure plan looks good to them. Sometimes in Venice in November/December there are high tides or other obstacles to the boats and buses keeping to their schedules. So since you don't have a lot of margin for error, it is good to have up-to-the-minute local advice to confirm your plan for reaching the airport in time is going to work out just fine. Probably will, but doesn't hurt to ask.
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