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July 2018 Honeymoon Itinerary Review: Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Rome

July 2018 Honeymoon Itinerary Review: Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Rome

Old Oct 4th, 2017, 06:33 PM
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July 2018 Honeymoon Itinerary Review: Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Rome

hi all, i am in the midst and hopefully final planning stages for our 2018 honeymoon. through a mix of research and general desire we have decided on a July 9th - 29th trip. we will be flying in/out of Rome and have split the vacation into the following categories:

1. the art, food and wine (Florence & Tuscany)
2. the relaxation (Amalfi Coast)
3. the history (Rome)

that said, i would love a review of my general itinerary and any advice where i may have questions or doubts (marked by **). now is the time for me to iron this out to the best of my ability. thank you in advance for any help you generous folks are willing to lend.

July 9 - 10:
NYC --> Rome
Rome --> Florence

July 10 - 15:
Florence or Siena
**need help here, i am torn. the bigger city of Florence might be hot and overly crowded in July and Siena just seems to speak to me (through the internet)**

July 15 - 19:
Tuscany (Pienza or Montepulciano)
**seems to be a 6 in one, half dozen in the other deal, but open to advice**

July 19 - 25:
Amalfi Coast (Positano? Praiano? Vietri Sul Mare?)
**too much time? not enough? add/remove a day? Ischia worth an overnight?**

July 25 - 29:
Rome

July 29:
Rome --> NYC

thank you again. my ultimate goal is that i am trying to see enough while not making ourselves miserable and overtired on our honeymoon.
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Old Oct 4th, 2017, 06:49 PM
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First, congratulations and best wishes! I'm sure this trip will provide a memorable honeymoon.

Now for some specifics:

Please note that you are double-counting days. On any day when you relocate, you don't have a day in each place -- you have, at most, part of a day in one or both. Each time you propose to change locations, you need to count your actual transportation time and add some time on either side for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting lost/oriented, etc. So, for example, you don't have the 15th in both Florence/Siena AND Tuscany.

As a lover of art and architecture, I was in my own little bit of paradise when I spent 5 full days in Florence some years ago, BUT I’m fortunate to have visited that city before it became quite as crowded as I hear it now is. If you are enamored of Renaissance art and architecture and are willing to deal with a crowded, hot city, consider staying there; if you want a less intense exposure to these arts and a bit more space, staying in Siena with a day trip or two into Florence might make more sense. Your call, based on your priorities!

IMO, 5 days is not too much for the Amalfi Coast – but it depends on what YOU want to see and experience! 5 days could work well if you are interested in visiting Paestum and Salerno; Pompeii and/or Herculaneum; Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello; and maybe Capri and / or Naples (if going to Pompeii, do consider visiting the National Archeological Museum in Naples!) and / or Ischia…. BUT again, it depends on your interests, preferred pace of travel, etc. BTW, I didn’t visit Ischia, but was glad I spent overnight on Capri, which I thought far more delightful after daytrippers left.

If I’m following, you have only 3 days in Rome – not much, IMO, but maybe that will give you the taste you want. And Rome is one of the easiest of these places to revisit, since it has an international airport, so if you have to shortchange something, shortchanging Rome might make most sense.

Hope that helps!
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 12:29 AM
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The Renaissance art of Florence and the Renaissance art of Siena are really quite different, and what's available in Florence is so much more than what is available in Siena in every respect -- it would be no exaggeration to say there is 10 times more art of significant importance in Florence -- that it really depends on what your taste in art is & how much time you want to devote to seeing works by Fra Angelico, Michaelangelo, Ghiberti, etc etc. If you are not already a devotee of either Florentine or Sienese art, you might want to look at some pictures on the internet and see what draws you -- but only if the purpose of going to either Siena or Florence is primarily art.

So many people are disappointed in the food of both Florence and Siena that if food means a lot to you, you will need to do some research as to getting what you want, and it is more likely that you will find more options in Florence (including its two excellent food markets) that operate 7 days a week, as well as a number of historic food shops.

From my experience of both places, they are both very crowded in peak tourist seasons (especially if next year is a year when the Palio is being held in Siena).

Finally, most people I know would not spend 5 days in Siena without a car.

I am not trying to put a penny on the scale, and if Siena speaks to you, that is important. To put this in perspective, I don't enough fingers on both hands to count how many "must see" cities in Eureop I have avoided in favor of staying in a nearby town due to crowds or the attractions of the smaller place. It really does matter what your priorities are for your honeymoon. If you are excited to see some art and beauty in an historic Tuscan city without making a project of going to lots of museums and churches, then it truly is a toss up between Florence and Siena. But if the colorful golden world of the Florentine Renaissance is something you want to understand, a day trip to Florence is not going to cut it.

By contrast, if what you really want is the atmospheric streets of a medieval fortress town, pedetranized Siena at night is that in more ways than Florence.

If you want to lessen the impact of experiencing Florence as a crowded city, then book lodgings in the Oltrarno.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 01:20 AM
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Just a thought but: Have you considered taking Florence/Siena out of the mix entirely -- and then spreading those days out over the other destinations, to give you a bit more time in each? Or apply some of the days to a 2-nigh stay on an island off the Amalfi coast?

That only works if your interest in art can be satisfied in Rome and some day trips in southern Tuscany (and Flroence is too far from MontepulcianPienza to include it, although Siena isn't).

For a honeymoon, I might consider the splurge of getting a car transfer from the airport directly to Montepulciano. When you've reseted up, go to Chiusi to rent a car. The cost of a car transfer from FCO is not cheap, but if you've eliminated the cost of two train fares to Florence, plus the lower cost of sleeping & eating in rural Tuscany as opposed to Siena or Florence, it begins to even out.

Again, please don't think of this as "advice" about "what's best to do". Florence happens to be my favorite city in Europe, so if you really want to go there or Siena, I understand and you should go. But sometimes people really want to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, with their pretty castles and amazing churches with art dotted thrrogh the small towns, and enjoy some peace & quiet, esp for a honeymoon -- but they feel they "ought" to see Florence. If the second sounds like you, heading straight for the Tuscan countryside might be the ticket.

I meant to add before that people generally find Praiano an inconveniet place to stay on the Amalfi coast.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 02:54 AM
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wow, already everyone has been more than helpful.

@massimop i have certainly considered that. in fact, the itinerary before this one had Tuscany a day shorter, the AC a day shorter and 2 nights in Ischia on it. but i have wavered on that a bit.

additionally, we do think of Florence as a *must-see*, from the stand point that it's Florence, not necessarily because we are huge art aficionados.

that said, would it be crazy to stay in Florence 2 nights, Siena 2 nights and then off to Tuscany (Montepulciano or Pienza)? is that too much hectic moving around? i am unsure.

lastly, thank you for the advice on Praiano. i agree that it seems more out of the way, but i almost wonder if that is a good thing during the ultra-busy summer months. once we're in AC are we going to want to explore all that much or stay put? again, unsure. but Positano might just be too crazy.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 03:22 AM
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The last time I was there, Siena was quite crowded, and it was in April. Florence is getting to be crowded all year long. It's been quite a while since I've been there in the summer; my most recent visit was in lare October.

By the way, the Palio is held every year in Siena, on two different dates: July 2nd and August 16th. It shouldn't affect your dates.

Five days in Siena seems a bit much also to me. If you're passionate about Renaissance art, Florence could keep you busy for that long, and even longer.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 03:30 AM
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Whether or not 2 separate stops for Florence & Siena is too hectic is a personality thing for both of you, plus maybe also whether your honeymoon is coming immediately after your wedding. in which case you might really want a few nights in a row in just one spot to get over jet lag & not feel obliged to do a thing.

Might be worthwhile to give some thought to what makes Florence a "must-see" for you. If it is a handful of specific world-famous art/archiecture "wows", some careful planning will make a successful day trip. If it's a "must-see" because everybody talks about it, you want to see for yourself this little city with art screaming from every corner, walk and gawk, you can also make a successful day trip out of that with a minimum of planning.

However if it's a must see because this is the birth of the Renaissance, even though Florence is physically tiny, if you want to appreciate the wonder of how such a tiny place could explode with such world-changing creativity, day trip is just confusing. Like I said, there is a huge amount of Renaissance art & architecture in Rome. You will also bump into it daytripping around southern Tuscany, visiting churches and piazze and palaces.

But I think the most important thing is for you and your spouse to figure out what you want your first few days in Italy to be, and what you want your art experience (and experience of Florence) to be. Something else you could consider is landing in Rome and going straight to the Amalfi. After than, go to southern Tuscany, and then you could finish up your Tuscany stay in Florence for 2 nights (with maybe 2 nights in Siena before that) -- and then you go to Rome for the finale. Sandwiching in some short stops after a long idyll on the Amafli coast for your start might make the hopping about less "hectic" --- or, your personality might be that you want to keep the last part of your honeymoon as tranquil and slow as possible.

Don't worry too much about making a "mistake". Even people who have gone to Italy for the 14th time come home saying they'd probably done one or two things differently. But if you and your spouse have some strong feelings about sleeping in or being on the go, don't try to bend yourselves into being people you're not.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 04:52 AM
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This is just a personal preference of mine, and I offer it as just a little more information for your decision making.

I would no want two vertical towns in the same trip. I'm referring to Montepulciano and Positano. Positano is steep but the views from every corner and staircase are enchanting. Montepulciano is steep and a lot of what one sees from stairways is the stairway. I would pick Positano for my vertical town over and over Montepulciano. For me, the food is better in Positano and the beauty is unbeatable.

One more thought about Siena: Siena is kind of a meh place for me. Eating in Florence is much more varied.

And since the crowds and heat of Florence are an issue, I suggest searching for a place to stay in Fiesole. There are quick and frequent buses down the hill to Florence, and if you get hot or the crowds seem to much, I would hop a bus or a taxi and retreat to the lovely hilltop. More breezes, less people.

I cetainly don't think you should miss Florence, which I love.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 05:00 AM
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Haven't read the other posts, so may be repeating. General observations:

Crowds: It's summer. It's going to be crowded and hot. So be it. I have no problem with your visiting Siena, but I wouldn't assume you're going escape crowds by going there. For me, Siena would be a day trip from Florence, but that's just me -- plus I wouldn't want to add more travel time by staying in both places (see below).

Number of days in each place: Without quibbling, looks OK to me. Just be aware that there's travel time going from Point A to Point B, and deduct it from your time in each place. Plus, it adds to the hectic factor of the trip.

The Amalfi Coast: Try to decide what you want to do at the AC. Explore? Just sit on a beach or at a pool? Then make your decision about where to go.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 07:29 AM
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By the way, given the way the tracks are laid in Italy, you could decide to do your trip in just about any order you wanted. Lots of good reasons to make your Rome your last stop, but with a little romantic imagination it's possible to put Rome someplace else, then pack your next to last day and then return to Rome for a final day with a romantic lunch and a special way to finish before flying home. Some would be charmed by that others would go batty not having Rome last, so it's a personal choice. But logistically, lots of options.
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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 03:35 PM
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I hope you saw my post! I know I've missed some on occasion....
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 03:58 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. If you are looking for hotel, restaurant and other Italy travel info, check out my travel blog posts at https://wordpress.com/view/travelfam.wordpress.com

There is good trip advice Rome, Venice, Florence and the Amalfi Coast.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:13 AM
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so i updated my itinerary just a bit...

July 10 - 13: Florence

July 13 - 15: Siena

July 15 - 19: Montepulciano or Pienza

July 19 - 26: Positano (split time with Ischia?)

July 26 - 29: Rome
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:29 AM
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Looks nice. Really haven't got an opinion about Ischia except to say that looking at car rental office hours, train skeds, bus skeds and the ferry schedules, and figuring out the order and logistics of including it as part of the overall package. coming from Montepuliciano and ending in Rome. might be the biggest part of the deciding.

Have a great trip!
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:32 AM
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I would probably opt for day tripping to Siena from Florence if you really want to see it, rather than staying there. Siena was unexciting for me and my husband. We were ready to go after a few hours visit plus lunch. I think you could easily add those days to either Florence or Rome. Of course it's your trip, and your decision!
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 02:37 PM
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You are still double counting your days. Are you sure you can see / do what you want in the time you have?
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 02:04 AM
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Maybe like a lot of other people, the OP is writing down where she is waking up and where she is sleeping as part of keeping track of her itinerary day by day. I wouldn't turn it into an accusation of "double counting the days".

Besides, given the structure of Italian summer days and when things are open, it's a very pleasurable & efficient way to travel to plan to do some sightseeing in the morning on a day when you'll be leaving one town to move on to the next destination, and then start sightseeing in the afternoon/evening after you arrive at the next destination.

So if somebody gets up in the morning of July 13 in Florence, checks out but leaves luggage with the hotel, visits a site like Michaelangelo's David at the Accademia, or the museum of the Duomo, has some lunch near hotel, gets luggage, takes the bus to Siena, checks in, freshens up -- you still have a couple of hours to sightsee in Siena the cooler part of the day, when crowds have left, when Italians are out enjoying their passeggiata.

I would even use that strategy moving from Montepulciano to the Amalfi coast. I'd linger over breakfast and do a little shopping for a picnic lunch, because until about 4pm, the Amalfi drive between Sorrento & Positano is jammed with traffic in July. If you time your arrival to be closer to 5pm, all the traffic is moving the other way and you have enough time to freshen up before sunset cocktails and a late dinner overlooking the twinkling lights -- it's a great introduction to the Amalfi coast.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 06:04 AM
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as massimop alludes to, i am just keeping track of where we wake up each day - not double counting.

thank you all for the insight.

@massimop and others, two questions:

1. is my schedule too hectic, mainly focused on the Siena hotel change?

1. a) does it make sense to maybe only do 1-night Siena (like you said, arriving in later afternoon, exploring, staying the night and then some more exploring in the AM) or is 2 good? this would allow us to add a day to either Florence or Rome - or even the AC.

2. what are some of the better neighborhoods in Rome for a mix of as much quiet as possible, good food and proximity to sights? i've been recommended the Trastevere area.

hoping to book some hotels today!
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 06:34 AM
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Hi

I have been following your post, but have been extremely busy and couldnt answer until now.

I have stayed in Praiano twice and loved it because it is more of a local residents town and not resorty, which doesnt appeal to me. However, there is no public boat service for Praiano so you do not want to stay there during a peak season visit. Positano has boat service so be sure to use it! The SITA buses in season are a nightmare. Dont even try them.

6 days on the Amalfi Coast is a nice visit and will give you enough time to do what you want especially it that includes Pompeii, Paestum, hiking. If you plan a more relaxing visit, then two nights on Ischia sounds great. I did two nights on Capri and I would not return. I did a couple of things I enjoyed but overall the hoards of visitors and designer shops were not my thing. Ischia would be a future possibility.

I think your plan sounds fairly balanced. Personally I would want a lot more time in the Tuscan countryside and in Rome, but you have what you have and will probably return to your favorites.

Congratulations and buon viaggio!
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 11:22 AM
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My statement of concern about the way you presented your plan was not intended as an accusation – it was, quite honestly, a concern that you might not have as much time as you thought, particularly because your interests let me to suspect that you might want more time. I’m glad to know that you were not actually double-counting your days.
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