Itinerary Suggestions/Ideas

Aug 17th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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Itinerary Suggestions/Ideas

I will start off with what I have (so far) for our 3 week trip:

Paris: 3 nights (with an overnight train to Milan for 4th night)
Milan: 2 nights - Duomo and possibly Lake Como day trip
Venice: 3 nights
Florence: 4 nights - Pisa day trip
Rome: 5 nights - Villa D'Este day trip
Sorrento: 3 nights - Pompeii

It is going to be my grandmother and myself on this trip. She isn't a huge art fan and has been no further from home than the Bahamas on a cruise I took her on. I promise, she is very active and her being my grandmother will not slow us down in the least. However, I still plan on us taking things slow - seeing a few major sights in each city and showing her the beauty of the world. Example being Paris - Notre Dame, the Tower, and at least a couple hours in the Louvre. I know we will get more done, but just in case she (or I) get tired, we wont be upset.

So - with that being said, should I add a day to one of the cities and take away from another? Flying in to Paris and out of Naples, trains for all the other transports. Any other questions I would be happy to answer. I've been to Rome and Naples before - the rest I have just been researching to death

Sorry for the rambling - and thanks in advance for any help/advice!
DwHpSn is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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Another option I had was taking out Milan and spreading those 2 night out - going to Lake Garda instead of Como - opinions on this are most welcome as well!
DwHpSn is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 05:23 PM
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A lot of grandmothers can beat all of us walking up hills and staircases, but in Italy it is important that your grandmother be able to get herself up onto a train car. Also, can she carry her own luggage up stairs in train stations? Or will you need to do that for her?

Many train platforms in Italy are low and require people boarding the train to take a very BIG step up to get on the train or off the train. There are handles to hold onto -- but people still need to have strength and flexibility to use the trains.

I would suggest you eliminate Milan from your itinerary -- but I will also say that you describe your grandmother as someone not interested in art, and yet you are focusing almost exclusively on art cities and art sights.

I would definitely scratch several hours in the Louvre for someone not interested in art.

(You know, the gardens of Paris are great artworks. Visit those instead of the Louvre. Take a boat down the Seine. That is the beauty of the world).

For Italy, are you old enough to drive a car and would you be comfortable doing so? You might have a lot more fun flying from Paris to Florence, renting a car, and seeing the beautiful hills and castle towns of Tuscany. (But skip Pisa).

As for Venice, can your grandmother handle all those staircases? Pompei is also an extremely difficult site for people who need flat smooth surfaces for walking.

Have you asked your grandmother what she would like to do? She might prefer fewer stops and more boat rides and cafes.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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This is a lot of moving around which gets tiring.

Add more time to Paris.

<< with an overnight train to Milan for 4th night >>

How does your grandmother feel about 10 hours on a train and arriving at 6am?

When are you going and how old is your grandmother? Pompeii is rough walking with little shade. It will be unbearably hot in summer.

There's a difference between being active and standing a long time and walking over rough ground and climbing steps. Please be sure your grandmother understands what is involved before you get some place and find she is unable to do the activity.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 06:05 PM
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You don't say what time of year you're taking this trip... If during the hot weather months and unless you're immune to heat and humidity, you may find conditions in the middle of the day slowing you down.

Also, depending on how long and involved your travel from home to Paris is, you may need to take it very easy on the first day. I agree with skipping Milan if your only reasons for going there are the Duomo and possibly Lake Como. I would add the Milan nights to Paris and Venice. With more time in Paris, you might enjoy going to Versailles.

As for art, I can understand not being terribly interested but also wanting to see things like the Mona Lisa, Venus di Milo, for example. (Winged Victory has been removed from the Louvre for restoration but could be back on display by the end of the year.) If you study websites, you can create a plan for seeing the few things you want to see in various museums. BTW, if you don't go to Versailles, in the Louvre you can see the royal apartments which aren't everyone's definition of 'art' but are beautiful and interesting. Buy entry tickets in advance wherever possible to minimize time wasted in lines.
Jean is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 09:09 AM
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Thanks for all the replies!!

I have been reconsidering Milan. Those two nights would be nice to add to Paris and Venice.

As for my Grandmother - she will be fine with the luggage on the train stations and she is okay with the overnight train. Ive explained that some of the reviews are less than satisfactory but we both want to avoid rechecking bags/security/etc on another train ride.

We are going in May and are used to heat (Florida) and we frequently spend all day walking the theme parks. I know its different - but at least we aren't couch potatoes!! I am aiming to do something outdoorsy in the morning, something low-key or indoors in the afternoon, and some nights another activity with other nights being relaxing with gelato people-watching.

As for art - you can't go to Europe and not see any - I know that. So, we are doing the Louvre but we will look at the art that interests us both and pre plan the trip. As for Pompeii - I have been there before and just want her to see a bit of it. And I plan to pick the cloudiest day of Sorrento that I can!

For example, in Florence one day is for the Boboli/Bardini Gardens, the other two days will be for shopping and wandering around to see the Ponte Vecchio, duomo, and just enjoying the beauty of Florence. All of the cities have itineraries like this so that we can sit at a cafe for hours if we feel like it.

As for driving - I am old enough but not comfortable to drive. Trains are one of the things she is most excited about Thanks for the info about having to step up on them, I will make sure to put the heavier things in my bag to ensure its easier on her.

As for her age- 71. But most people think she is in her 50s as she is extremely active and hates to sit still.
DwHpSn is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 12:30 PM
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Depending on time of your departure flight, you might want to spend your last night in Naples - less worry and travel to catch the flight.
Check opening and closing times of places and book tickets ahead.

I am your GM's age and have been to most of the places on your itinerary - more than once. I still handle the trains, etc. just fine, but stamina peaks quickly. I am into art, but am making a few suggestions based on it being GM's first trip and not into art.

Skip Milan

Add time to Paris and go to Versailles - tour in the morning, have lunch and walk the lovely gardens.

Forget the night train (you can use trains while in Italy, so have that experience then)

Fly to Venice.
Add a day to Venice, take a boat to Burano for a few hours - really pretty and colorful.
Do go up in San Marco - lovely and nice views.
See the Santa Maria dei Miracoli church - the marble is gorgeous.
A tour of the Jewish Ghetto is very interesting and gets you a bit off the beaten path.
If lines are long for the Campanile, but you want tower views of Venice, take a vaporetto across to San Giorgio Maggiore and go up the tower there for the view.
Forget museums. Go to Frari church which has great masterpieces hanging where they were meant to be.
Go to an evening concert in one of the churches. Some are free, some not. Find which interests you most.
Get your GM a couple of Donna Leon books, mysteries featuring the wonderful Commissario Guido Brunetti, all set in Venice.
If Venice is too much, day trip to Vicenza or Verona.

See Santa Croce and do try to see the Accademia. Friends say they finally "got" sculpture when they saw David.
When you go to Pisa, make it a trip to Pisa and Lucca. It is easy and Lucca is lovely.
If you have time, visit Siena another day.
Get a book or pull info up on line about Brunelleschi and Ghiberti so your GM enjoys an understanding of the personalities and competition involved when viewing the Duomo and the Baptistery.

Besides your major must sees. . .
Consider one museum - the Borghese. It is a museum, but so much more, and even non-art people seem to enjoy it.
Read something about the construction of the Pantheon.
If you tire of Rome, day trip to Orvieto.

Take a ferry down the AC from Sorrento to Amalfi. Being on the water is nicer than being on a bus.Visit Amalfi and have lunch. See Positano from the water - just as pretty from there and too many steps to climb for a visit.
Herculaneum is pretty and easier to do than Pompeii. I prefer it, but of course, everybody knows about Pompeii.
Sassafrass is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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I must admit that your itinerary is more rushed than I would like. I'm not sure that you have taken adequate consideration into the time it will take to relocate from place to place -- you need some time on either side of the transportation time itself for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc. You might do well to consider dropping a destination or two. For example, there is so much to see in Naples and the Amalfi Coast that it might make sense to drop it from this itinerary -- and if you have already booked your flights, then drop something (Milan and/or more) to make time to actually see this part of Italy. And only 3 nights in Paris? You'll see some wonderful things, but I think you will have a much more pleasant trip if you cut at least one if not two destinations from your plan.
kja is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 03:16 PM
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<< we both want to avoid rechecking bags/security/etc on another train ride. >>

What does this mean? Recheck bags? Security? You're going on a train. I hope you don't think you check your bags some place. They stay with you. What security?
adrienne is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 04:33 PM
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I would definitely do less moving around. You lose too much time.

As far as art....the Louvre is massive and hard to negotiate, if you love art. Maybe consider art in a different way and see things like L'Orangerie in Paris....massive Monet canvases in a much smaller museum than the Louvre. Borghese Gallery in Rome - can only stay 2 hours max but the detail in the Bernini sculptures is impressive and fascinating.

You are dead on with Villa d'Este....gorgeous. Maybe Rodin in Paris, a stroll on the Promenade Plantee, Luxembourg Gardens for a picnic. Giverny would be a good day trip from Paris....Vaux le Vicomte is another thought for a day trip from Paris.
denisea is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 08:00 PM
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I think some travelers feel it is cheaper to train from Paris to Italy. But that is hardly the case, in my experience. You can get very inexpensive tickets from Paris to Venice, especially if you are not traveling until May next year.

Check out For instance, I looked a few months out and easily found a fare on Easy Jet for $90, Paris to Venice.

I agree with the other posters who encourage to a) drop Milan and b) spend more time in fewer cities.

I think there is plenty to see/do in Venice for 3 nights and Florence for 3 nights, without taking any day trips. But if I had to pick one, I'd take the one-hour express bus from Florence to Siena for the day and then back again.

I'd also highly encourage you both to spend some time practicing to pack a carry-on only. Dragging a large piece of luggage all over Europe is not fun. I go for two weeks with a carry-on only. You can, too! Plenty of videos online, if you're not sure how.

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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adrienne - that was a typo. I meant avoiding those things on another plane, not a train

Thanks again for all of the advice. Our flight arrives early to Paris so we should be able to wander around our hotel's area at least for the evening. Nothing firmly planned in case of jet lag.

I will take all advice into consideration and discuss options with her. It does look like we will be dropping Milan and adding a day to Paris. Maybe even both days - second day is in limbo at the moment. As for the AC - I know its not enough time to see all of it, but when I went with my school we were there for three days and it was adequate. Instead of seeing what I saw last time, we will focus on new areas (We saw Capri, Paestum, and Pompeii). Pompeii we are repeating as she has expressed interest in it.
DwHpSn is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 06:22 AM
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Glad you're adding more time to Paris - you will fall in love with it.

At Versailles, there is a little train to take you around the gardens. They are quite extensive so you might want to consider this. Also try to take a tour of the King's chambers as it's so interesting.

In Paris, do a Seine cruise, especially at night to see the lights. There are several period houses that are interesting. I'd recommend the Nissim de Camondo or the Jacquemart-Andre. Several churches give evening concerts.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 04:32 PM
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On Capri, don't miss the Villa San Michele in Anacapri.

When in Paestum, do consider stopping at the small, but excellent, museum. It has some unique items. Also, stop at one of the cafes/restaurants by the site to taste the delicious locally produced buffalo mozzarella.

While at Pompeii, don't miss the Villa dei Misteri.
kja is offline  

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