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Itinerary for 13 days in Italy (first time visit)

Itinerary for 13 days in Italy (first time visit)

Old Mar 17th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Itinerary for 13 days in Italy (first time visit)

I'm headed to Italy to celebrate my 40th birthday. I'll be flying solo (female) and would appreciate advice on my itinerary. I've traveled Europe, Asia, Africa, etc., but have never been to Italy.

My likes: cafes, water views, people watching, leisurely strolls, cobblestone "step back in time" type places

I am not into pubs/nightlife, though I will sip a drink while watching the world go by. I don't plan on visiting museums on this trip. I want to be outside (weather permitting), in the fresh air, just making it up as I go.

Tentative "loose" itinerary. I keep thinking that I'm not spending enough time in Lake Como and have toyed with dropping Rome from the list, but I almost feel obligated to go.

Day 1: Early arrival into Milan, train to Lake Como
Day 2: Full day Lake Como
Day 3: Early train to Venice, arrive around lunch/early afternoon.
Day 4: Venice
Day 5: Venice, take evening train to Rome
Day 6: Rome
Day 7: Rome
Day 8: Train to Naples. Stay in Sorrento or somewhere near there
Day 9: Explore city I stay in (Sorrento?)
Day 10: Day trip (Amalfi coast somewhere)
Day 11: Day trip (Capris or similar)
Day 12-13 are reserved for travel

Thanks for any help you can offer!
joym25 is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2014, 12:55 PM
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Capris are pants. Capri is the island.

Day 9 won't be too full - it's pleasant but there's not a lot of there there in Sorrento. Though you're close to Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano in Italian).
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 12:57 PM
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I'd take Day 9 out of Sorrento - nothing to explore in that nice watering hole and put one more day in Rome - the rest to me looks perfect - Rome takes a lot of time - the Vatican a whole day; Colosseo and Forum one day.

www.trenitalia.com has all the train schedules and fares - early birds get worms as cheap as 9 euros regardless of distance on high-speed trains but those tickets are hard to change or refund at that price so you set yourself in stone weeks ahead of time.

You can just show up and always get on trains but for that flexibility you'll pay a lot more but to some flexibility is priceless.

For lots on Italian trains and trenitalia.com check out www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets); www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. and there are some real Trenitalia.com experts here on Fodor's who will help novices get that often fickle site to work for Americans.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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You've given info about your preferences, but you didn't indicate what time of year you'd be going or whether the flights have been booked (which would lock you into arriving and departing cities).

Just speaking for me, the proposed itinerary wouldn't be enough time anywhere even without museum visits. There are 4 destinations but only 10 full days not impacted by travel and changing hotels. Depending on the time of year, I might skip Lake Como or Naples/Amalfi, but I see you've set aside more time in Naples/Amalfi than anywhere else, so perhaps this area is more (if not most) important to you.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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From where do you fly home?

If Milan, why?
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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If returning from Rome, then if you move Rome to the end of the trip, you night free up almost a day to add to somewhere else such as Venice. Then instead of the evening train, take late afternoon train the next day, go straight to Napoli. In case you did not know, Rome to Napoli is only 70 minutes.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for all the comments and help.

The pointers on the train were helpful. I've been fighting the urge to pre-book because I want flexibility, but I do like saving money when I can. But I don't want to feel locked that tightly into a schedule.

This was a last minute trip. I booked the flights already; I leave this weekend. Into Milan, out of Naples.

Thanks for the comments on Sorrento. I'm toying with an extra day in the Lake Como area and one less on the coast. That, or an extra day in Venice, but I think Lake Como (exploring multiple lakeside towns) is more my speed than Venice, though I feel Venice is a must see... and since I've never been, who knows, I may wish I'd spent more time there instead.

The goal for this trip is just meandering and relaxing with no schedule and no agenda. No "have to see this" lists...
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 05:26 PM
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'have toyed with dropping Rome from the list, but I almost feel obligated to go'

Don't go just because other people like Rome. If you prefer to be in smaller places, choose somewhere else. There are few 'musts' when planning an itinerary other than considering your own preferences ahead of others.

Regionale trains in Italy are not pre-booked but are not available on all routes.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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"I think Lake Como (exploring multiple lakeside towns) is more my speed than Venice, though I feel Venice is a must see"

I would skip Lake Como on this trip. March is not the month to visit Lake Como. Lake Como is a spring/summer/early fall kind of place. It's a vacation destination. Nobody takes vacation on Lake Como in March.

If you get some sun in Venice, March can be quiet and wonderful in Venice. There's much more to see and do in Venice.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 07:58 PM
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I also would skip Lake Como in March. I'd think twice about the Amalfi Coast and Capri too, but since you've already booked your flight home out of Naples I guess you're committed to that area. You'll find the transportation schedules limiting your exploring options.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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Another vote to skip Como this time of year. I would add days to other places, especially Rome. Have you thought of stopping in Florence on your way between venice and Rome? Definitely worth seeing on anyone's first trip to italy.
Another choice is to spend a day in Milan, which is a lovely city for a short visit.
Unless you get really lucky with weather you may want to spend some time in Naples rather than all your time on the coast. We particularly liked Hotel Piazza Bellini there.
I did love sorrento when I was there in summer. And day excursions to Capri and Ischia can be fun if the weather cooperates. Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis are other excursion options.
If you are enjoying the cities you could really enjoy venice, Florence, Rome and get a train south to Naples at the end. The airport is very close to the city.
You will fall in love with italy and can go back to hit resort areas at a better time of year.
I also suggest posing questions about these locales on specific tripadvisor forums. The experts there may have additional advice.
But if bobthenavigator responds on this forum, listen to him. He really knows Italy and is very wise.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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If you are going now or soon I would eschew Lake Como where the weather may still be kind of funky and cool and as everyone seems to say add days into Rome or other places. One less base = one less hassle of packing up and relocating.
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