Itinerary help, first time in Italy

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Jun 7th, 2018, 05:53 AM
  #1
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Itinerary help, first time in Italy

My husband and I are traveling to Italy for our first trip in mid-October. We'll have 12-13 days to visit the following cities. Please see my questions below. All suggestions are welcome!!!

1 - Arrive Florence mid-day
2- Florence
3 - Florence
4 - Pisa & Lucca ... Travel to Pisa by train to tour and then another train to Lucca for one night
5 - Cinque Terra... Leave Lucca for Cinque Terra. Stay in Manarola one night
6 - Siena... Leave Manarola for Siena.
7- Siena... Tour the Chianti wine region.
8 - Naples... Travel by train to Naples.
9 - Naples... Pompeii and Vesuvius tour
10 - Naples... Take a boat to Sorrento, then a bus to Salerno. To return - bus to Positano, then a boat to Sorrento and a late train to Naples.
11 - Rome...3 days
12 - Rome
13 - Rome
Leave very early on the 14th day.
We like art and cathedrals, but I think we'll have our fill of culture in Florence and Rome. We look forward to enjoying the food and villages and countryside views over the museums and art. Specifically, Cinque Terra and Chianti and Amalfi Coast.
My questions are...1) Does it make sense to go to Pisa and then sort of backtrack to Lucca? Should we skip Lucca altogether and stay in Pisa for the night? 2) On Day 10, would it make more sense to stay in Sorrento instead of Naples. 3) Do the boats run that late in the fall? We will be there on October 19th. 4) Is Day 10 a feasible round trip journey to get an overview of the area?
Thank you!!
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Jun 7th, 2018, 06:10 AM
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I realized I left out a major factor. With this Itinerary, we will be in Rome on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Will this affect seeing the major sites?
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Jun 7th, 2018, 06:13 AM
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1) Does it make sense to go to Pisa and then sort of backtrack to Lucca? Yes
Should we skip Lucca altogether and stay in Pisa for the night? you can do either, I've stayed in both and like both but for a first time maybe the internal map of Lucca is more interesting at night
2) On Day 10, would it make more sense to stay in Sorrento instead of Naples. Don't know, even Naples is not really one place, it is a bunch of little towns/districts all with their own culture and norms.
3) Do the boats run that late in the fall? We will be there on October 19th. High speed ferries and ferries Naples, Ischia Capri, Sorrento, Positano - Italy but of course it depends on the weather.
4) Is Day 10 a feasible round trip journey to get an overview of the area? Long day of moving, I'd be nackered but up to you. Why not just go to Capri or Ischia and go to the thermal baths?

Stuff closes on Monday, this might help http://www.activitaly.it/musei/ as it gives the opening times of a bunch but really you have to look out each one.
bilboburgler is online now  
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Jun 7th, 2018, 06:41 AM
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Honestly, for me this would be too fast a trip, and I've been to Italy a lot. If as I anticipate you re arriving from North America you will need to give yourselves time to adjust and to recover from jet lag. Also the weather in the CT may be dodgy in mid October and even from Lucca it's a long way to go for one night. The point of going there is to spend time travelling between the little towns and if you're only spending one night in one of them, you're probably not going to get the best out of your time there. Also you are giving yourselves 2 one night stands in a row which is a really tiring way to travel.

If you drop the CT, you could do this:

1 - Arrive Florence mid-day
2- Florence
3 - Florence
4 -Travel to Pisa by train to tour and then another train to Lucca for one night
5 - Lucca [or stay in Pisa and do a day trip to Lucca]
6 - Lucca/Pisa to Siena.
7- Siena... Tour the Chianti wine region.
8 - Naples... Travel by train to Naples.
9 - Naples... Pompeii and Vesuvius tour
10 - Naples... Take a boat to Sorrento, then a bus to Salerno. To return - bus to Positano, then a boat to Sorrento and a late train to Naples.[NB - if you don't return to Naples, what are you going to do with your luggage while you are touring round on this day?]
11 -Travel to Rome..2 days not 3
12 - Rome
13 - Rome
14 - Fly home

This is still very busy. You say that you want to see more of the countryside but really you are spending most of your time in cities or moving around.

So why not do this:

1 - Arrive Florence mid-day
2- Florence
3 - Day trip to Pisa/Lucca
4 - Florence
5 - train [bus may be better] to Siena. or use a car service [Hills and Roads for example] and tour Chianti en route
6 - Siena... Hire car to tour area
7- Ditto
8 - Travel by train to Naples.
9 - Naples... Pompeii and Vesuvius tour
10 - Naples... Take a boat to Sorrento, then a bus to Salerno. To return - bus to Positano, then a boat to Sorrento and a late train to Naples.[NB - if you don't return to Naples, what are you going to do with your luggage while you are touring round on this day?]
11 -Travel to Rome..2 days not 3
12 - Rome
13 - Rome
14 - Fly home

Hope this helps.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 07:25 AM
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Book trains as early as possible for neat discounted tickets - do it yourself online at Acquista il biglietto con le nostre offerte - Trenitalia or www.trenoitalo.com - two separate companies running trains over same tracks and to same stations - take whatever is cheapest. www.seat61.com has loads on that - general info trains also BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 07:51 AM
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Depending on your needs, you could simply base in Florence and train to Pisa, Lucca and then on to Siena.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 08:26 AM
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"Depending on your needs, you could simply base in Florence and train to Pisa, Lucca and then on to Siena."

That's probably BUS to Siena - IIRC the buses are swifter and more direct on that route, but you can check.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 09:50 AM
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Hi!,Italy has so much to offer and I think this itinerary is doable but a little rushed. From my experiences the best way to reach the small villages is by car. Keep your itinerary as is but as you head down to Rome keep in mind the cities become more difficult to navigate on your own in a vehicle.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 10:03 AM
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knollw - I should think that virtually all this itinerary could and should be done by train [save that the bus to Siena is easier than the train as BigRuss points out] but hiring a car for a couple of days would make touring Tuscany easier if that's what the OP decides to do.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 10:28 AM
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I agree with Annhig. Public transportation is a great option and honestly can save on cost of hiring a car. Also using the public transportation system provides a more "local-like" experience imo. I usually find myself more comfortable going essentially door to door from each of my destinations and the car lets you travel the beautiful two-lane roads. Whatever OP does, I do not think there's a wrong answer.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 10:30 AM
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easy to day rip Florence to Pisa's Leaning Tower and Lucca both same day if you do not want to bop around Pisa itself (nice but not as neat as Lucca IMO) - take train to Pisa S Rossore station (change in Pisa Centrale) - then a short walk to Leaning Tower (book timed entries to ascend or face long line) and then waltz back to S Rossore train station and get direct trains to Lucca - just a few minutes away by train - and then direct train to Florence. Those are all regional trains so best just buy tickets on day of travel Florence SMN-Pisa S Rossore - Lucca in Florence.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 10:32 AM
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And to get to CT by train from Lucca again go back to Pisa S Rossore station and catch trains to La Spezia Centrale and change there to trains to each CT village. Again regional trains mainly so just buy ticket in Lucca.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 01:54 PM
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I have received a PM from the OP [others may have as well] who wants to post here to thank us for all our help but can't.

She keeps getting a message saying that she can only post 2x in 24 hours. Is that right? It rings a bell with me but I didn't think that it applied to ordinary posts.

Anyone able to help?

[and if this posts, I will have posted 3x in 24 hours on this thread].
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Jun 7th, 2018, 01:54 PM
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As you can see, I had no problems.

weird.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 02:04 PM
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A new poster is limited to the number of posts he/she can make in the first few days of signing up, as I understand it. I don't know the particulars, but it's been a fairly common topic here since the new format was introduced.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 02:12 PM
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I realized I left out a major factor. With this Itinerary, we will be in Rome on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Will this affect seeing the major sites?
It would help to know which sights you want to see. There are dozens that are considered "major". A few considerations:

The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, and tend to be very crowded on Saturdays and Mondays for that reason, and also because many other museums are closed on Mondays. In October, if you will arrive on the Friday, you could take advantage of the Friday evening opening of the Museums. They are much less crowded on these evening visits, which have to be reserved in advance.

Night Openings: Open tour of the Museums and Sistine Chapel - Vatican Museums

The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are open every day, as well as some other museums and archaeological sites.

Many museums and archaeological sites are closed on Mondays. If you tell use which things you want to see or do, it would help.

Other observations: I don't see any point in going to Lucca for one night, then Manarola for one night. That would wear me out. Keep in mind that the weather Cinque Terre in October can be rather iffy. It takes about two hours and three different trains to get to Manarola, and then it takes about four hours and four different trains to get from there to Siena. Counting getting two and from the train stations, you're looking about about eight hours of travel spread over two days. I myself would probably be too exhausted to enjoy much sightseeing. In addition, you'd better make sure your luggage is minimal if you'll be hopping on and off trains every hour or so.

If you really have your heart set on the Cinque Terre, why not spend two nights in Lucca and decide at the last minute if the weather is conducive to a day trip to the Cinque Terre? That has the further advantage of making the trip without luggage. I usually advise against day trips to the Cinque Terre, but in late October, there shouldn't, one would hope, be outrageous hordes of tourists there. Anyway, a one night visit isn't much better than a day trip. If you decide against the visit to the Cinque Terre, you could spend a day lazing around Lucca, a town in which I always enjoy spending a little time.

Also, I don't understand why you would want to take a boat to Sorrento and then a bus to Salerno, just to backtrack to Sorrento. The boasts should be running until the end of October, but there isn't any advantage that I can see over taking the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. If your goal is to get to Salerno, just take a train from Naples to Salerno. There are high-speed trains from Naples to Salerno that take as little as 30 minutes, whereas the boat/bus route you describe would take at least four hours. Then you could take a boat from Salerno to Positano, and after seeing Positano, another back to Sorrento, where you could get the train to Naples.

As someone else said, everything you plan to do in the Campania region could easily be done from a base in Sorrento. You could even visit Pompeii en route from Naples to Sorrento, leaving your bags at the deposit at the entrance.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 02:48 PM
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Yes day 10 sounds impossible but possible - taking bus along coast takes forever. Plus much the same - just take train to maybe Salerno and boat or bus to Positano - still a very long day - best to stay in Positano or Sorrento, which is also a great base for Pompeii and Vesuvius. Day trip maybe to Naples.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 03:10 PM
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The first thing I would do is dump le Cinque Terre, especially given your time of year.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 03:28 PM
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"Also, I don't understand why you would want to take a boat to Sorrento and then a bus to Salerno, just to backtrack to Sorrento."

I think the OP is trying to create a tour of the Amalfi Coast via boat and bus--Salerno is just the end of the line, not a real desitination.

I, too, would be concerned about a one-nighter in Cinque Terre. What if your one day there was bad weather? I like bvlenci's idea of two nights in Lucca or Pisa and then hopping to Cinque Terre for the day if the weather is good on one of those days.
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Jun 7th, 2018, 04:49 PM
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I've done day trips to CT from places like Lucca and was happy with it - yes something to consider.
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