Itinerary input

Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 02:43 PM
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Itinerary input

Hello,

I have booked a last minute trip to Italy for the end of August and would appreciate input on the first draft of my itinerary. I will be traveling with my 15 year old daughter (who thankfully, is a great travel companion!).

Tuesday, August 23rd we fly from Boston to Rome and arrive (of course!) on 8/24

Day 1 Arrive in Rome, travel on to Venice

Day 2 Venice

Day 3 Venice

Day 4 Travel to Florence

Day 5 Florence

Day 6 Florence

Day 7 Florence

Day 8 Travel to Rome (early morning train)

Day 9 Rome

Day 10 Rome

Day 11 2:30 flight to Boston

I would like to take a day trip to Cinque Terre on one of our Florence days. I know it will be long. I have looked at other configurations to stay one night in Cinque Terre but the trains seem to be quicker from the bigger cities.

I am wondering about train travel between the major cities. For past trips to other countries, I have pre-booked all our train travel as there was quite a savings in doing so. For this trip, as I've explored postings and train sites, it seems that the suggestion is to purchase day of travel as there won't be a savings to pre-purchase. Is this true?

I am open to any and all suggestions! Thanks so much!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 02:59 PM
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J62
 
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First question - if your destination is Venice, why not book a flight to Venice then out of Rome? You'd be in Venice by mid day on day 1 without the hassle of getting from Rome airport, train into Rome, then from Rome on to Venice.

If you've already booked your flights, then consider flying from Rome to Venice, not train.

As for purchasing train tickets ahead of time, can you tell us which sites say there are no savings? That does not sound correct. Have you compared prices for next week vs August to see the difference?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 04:06 PM
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My questions/suggestions of course reflect my own biases. Do you have particular reasons for spending so much time in Florence? Some people do, Renaissance art, for instances. If you don't, I think you're seriously short-changing Rome and I'd subtract from Florence (or skip it) and replace it with a smaller town.

Regarding the Cinque Terre, many people go there and that's why I suggest you don't. The crowds. There are so many small cities/towns in Italy that are pretty, by the sea or otherwise picturesque, I see no point in clinging to crowded cliffs just because everyone else seems to be doing it too. If you'll consider an alternate location to visit, you'll get a number of recommendations here. Just say the word.

My idea of a great trip to Italy, especially if it's your first, with 10 nights (9 full days), might be 3 or 4 nights in Venice, 4 or 5 nights in Rome and a couple in a yet-to-be-determined small town in between. That seems a good balance to me.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 04:09 PM
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There are loads of savings if you pre purchase train tickets. You can get Super-Economy fares for as little as 19 euro if you buy in advance.

I think your trip is too crowded with the well worn path. Can't you fly into Venice and out of Rome? Half of your first day will be rail travel to Venice if you stick to your plan.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 05:07 PM
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Thanks so much for all your comments! I booked on a special summer sale and open jaw Rome/Venice was too much additional cost (I know I am making it up in time now).

I am absolutely open to suggestions for other towns! I chose Rome and Venice as they are cities we want to visit and added Florence based on trip reports. I appreciate the offers to make suggestions.

The train comments were on here and perhaps I misunderstood.

Thanks again!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 05:38 PM
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Good for you!! I love a sale. Open jaw tickets bos-vce, fco-bos for late August are running between $800 to $825 right now, so glad you were able to save $$$.

What you may have seen here on Fodors is the value of rail pass vs point-to-point tickets. That's a subject that comes up frequently, and people often have the misconception that a rail pass is best way to go.

As for Florence, there are good reasons it's so crowded - it's a beautiful, compact, fun city. I've been there when it's been dead quiet, and when it's been wall to wall tour groups swarming like herds of buffalo. When it's quiet - I love it. When it's packed (and hot) I would rather stay away.
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 03:42 AM
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Thanks J62 - my tickets were $600! Couldn't resist!

In reading over some of the train information/comments I did misunderstand. They were mostly referencing tickets after flying in and it "not being worth buying ahead" but the reason was if the pane was late!!

Looking forward to more recommendations and wondering if I should just set my sites on Rome and Venice?
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 04:08 AM
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About the train tickets, check yourself here:

http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

It is right that the cheap tickets sell out quickly, so buying them in advance makes sense if you are sure that you will be travelling on a certain day at a certain time. If not (like on the day of your arrival at the airport) better buy a flexible ticket (some of them are discounted too).

I second not to go to Cinque Terre. It has become a tourist trap for the cruise ships that dock in La Spezia. Sometimes, they close Cinque Terre when it is overcrowded.

http://www.thiswaytoparadise.com/cin...st-place-ever/

Instead, rent a car for one day when you are in Florence and drive a bit the backroads through lovely Tuscany and see the sleeply villages there. With so many days walking through burning hot cities, you will appreciate a day in an air-conditioned vehicle with occasional stops!

A car for a day would also give you the chance to have a look at Pisa. I know, Pisa is crowded too, but the ensemble of the campanile (leaning tower), cathedral and baptisterium is so beautiful, you must have seen it! (It does not take more than half an hour to see it.)

You may even drive from Florence to Rome in order to see some landscape and small villages en route.
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 07:11 AM
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I can think of nothing worse than driving in an unfamiliar country, seeing nothing while trying to find the way. I realize some feel they aren't traveling if they aren't behind a wheel, but in a place with good public transport, why?? I consider not driving one of life's great pleasures.
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 07:14 AM
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traveller1959 Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate the train link. Based on recommendations I will nix Cinque Terre. I hadn't thought of renting a car. I have driven in Germany and it was lovely to drive through the small towns and stop for unexpected churches and markets. I will look into this!

Does anyone have an opinion of Milan. I am not looking to add to this trip but just curious. My daughter is studying to be a fashion photographer and I am thinking that on our next trip it may be a stop for her. I have read it is a big, modern city!
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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I agree with Mmeperdu. I think you should add more nights to both Venice, 3 nights perhaps, and 4-5 nights in Rome. Don't try to see everything in Italy in such a short time. It's going to August and hot and crowded with lines everywhere.
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Old Jun 4th, 2016, 09:19 AM
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MmePerdu and mjs thank you for your honest input. Driving in a foreign country certainly is stressful I agree. I also agree about reallocating the days would be better. It would be a shame to short change our time there and feel rushed and tired. I will plan on 5 nights in Rome which will give us four full days there.

I so appreciate the suggestions!
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