Last Minute Italy Itinerary

Old Nov 15th, 2018, 12:04 AM
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Last Minute Italy Itinerary

Would love some tips/recommendations on this last minute trip to Italy one week away (already booked flights). Will be in Italy 13 days (including air travel dates) so we have 11 full days to explore. We thought about renting a car but now thinking rail is what we'd prefer. Specifically need recommendation on when/how to get to Cinque Terre, should we take train from Rome or Tuscany/Florence? Did I miss anything (Siena maybe or is it doable as day trip from Tuscany)? Also any excellent not to miss food spots?

Day 1 Rome Arrival (staying in Rome near the Termini Station)
Day 2 Rome
Day 3 Rome
Day 4 Day trip to Naples and Pompeii via HS train (any recommendation on tour or private tour of Pompeii from Naples? Trying to squeeze in Lunch at Da Michelle Pizza and maybe Dinner at Sorbillo)
Day 5 Travel to Cinque Terre
Day 6 Cinque Terre
Day 7 Travel to Tuscany
Day 8 Tuscany
Day 9 Day trip to Florence
Day 10 Tuscany
Day 11 Venice
Day 12 Venice
Day 13 Depart Venice for home
scubachick18 is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2018, 03:11 AM
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Cinque Terre at the end of November? Not a brilliant idea any time but particularly now, given the weather Europe's been experiencing recently.

Florence is the capital of Tuscany. Siena is IN Tuscany.

I suppose it's possible, but I can't imagine making Naples and Pompei a daytrip from Rome at any time of year, never mind when the sun sets at just past 5 pm. Trying to make it to specific places for a slice of pizza will complicate that plan even further.

You do realize you'll have to get up a 0 dark-thirty to catch a flight home from Venice, right? That can be a pain.

Frankly, it sounds like a very flimsy, hastily assembled plan, but I'm sure there will be some memorable moments.
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 03:43 AM
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Let's break this down:

Day 4 Day trip to Naples and Pompeii via HS train (any recommendation on tour or private tour of Pompeii from Naples? Trying to squeeze in Lunch at Da Michelle Pizza and maybe Dinner at Sorbillo)
No. Stay in Rome or perhaps take a day trip to Ostia Antica if you need a Pompeii-like experience.

Day 5 Travel to Cinque Terre
Day 6 Cinque Terre
No. Late November can offer terrible weather, along with numerous closures of lodging and restaurants. Plus, if the rain has been signifiant the trails will be closed.

Day 7 Travel to Tuscany
Day 8 Tuscany
Day 10 Tuscany
What does this mean? Tuscany is a region of Italy with many destinations.

Day 9 Day trip to Florence
A day trip to Florence would be short-changing this beautiful city.

You should really split your 11 days between Venice, Rome, and Florence; others might even reduce that to two destinations depending on your interests. You will find much more to see, do, eat, and drink than you think, without the need for transiting here, there, and everywhere.
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 03:49 AM
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I'm with the others, the winter and the weather makes CT a bit of a risk, note that rain often closes the paths and it has rained sheds in the last few weeks.

I'd step back and look at Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca as a core to my Tuscany visit.

Naples just for the day is tight and misses all the great things south of Naples.
Alternatively, take the time and go up to Milan or Turin.
The train system is great.
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 04:01 AM
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I agree completely that skipping Cinque Terre at this time of year is wise.

If it were my trip, I'd stick to Rome, Florence and Venice, too.
Some tips: check the weather before you go.....Europe has been experiencing some nasty weather of late. (Note the flooding in Venice) Dress accordingly. Bring a small, folding umbrella.

Check out Rome2Rio.com......for transportation options, timing, cost, etc. I find it easy to read, and used it to buy train tickets this spring from London to Brussels. Got free museum passes as a bonus.

Skip Pompeii this trip. As mentioned, Ostia Antica is wonderful, and a short train from Rome.

Don't get sidetracked by having to eat at a certain restaurant or cafe. Eat off the beaten path.

You will be overwhelmed with the number of historic sights, museums, wanderings that can easily occupy your days without having to race from city to city. I know it's tempting, I've done it.

Assume you will return to visit the places you missed this time.

Enjoy!
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 11:19 AM
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Yes to all above critiques - instead of Pompeii consider doing a day trip from Rome to nearby Ostia Antica - ancient Rome's ruined port city that to many rivals Pompeii in size and similar remains - just a short commuter train ride. If wanting to go to Pompeii figure about 3 hours each way by train - tour guides are available on sight. Now for trains - for high-speed trains book tickets NOW for potentially discounted fares if those still remain and have everything done and just have to show up for the train - at Acquista il biglietto con le nostre offerte - Trenitalia or www.italotreno.com - two competing rail systems using same stations and tracks - take whatever is cheapest. www.seat61.com has lots on doing that yourself online - general info trains www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.

You may want to substitute staying at say Sorrento instead of Cinque Terre - and take day trips to Capri, nearby Pompeii and to Naples (or stay in Naples - a really nice city). Sorrento is on the sea and a great watering hole with many hotels and restaurants, etc.
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 02:46 PM
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Are you concerned about the weather at all? I was in Venice late November once at it was frigid; Tuscany had sleet earlier than that. Our son went swimming today in Sicily. That is probably not on your radar, but you might want to focus on Rome/south for much of your time there. It sounds like your flights are booked, but I think Rome/Amalfi coast/Naples would be our focus before heading to Venice for the final chapter. But then, we have Florida blood these days. Cinque Terre can be difficult in bad weather, but our first visit was just before Thanksgiving 10 years ago, and we went to Vernazza and had a lovely day, and we always dreamed of returning. We went back in late September this year and absolutely hated the place (because of the crowds).
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Old Nov 15th, 2018, 04:38 PM
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I agree that you would do well to consider limiting your trip to Rome (with a day trip to Ostia Antica if you want a Pompeii-like experience), Florence / Tuscany, and Venice.

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2022, 01:35 AM
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Haven't been on here in a very long while and realized I never reported back or replied on our spur of the moment Italy trip and reminiscing about how life used to be! We have traveled all over the world, usually scuba diving trips in tropics like Fiji, Philippines, Maldives etc... but hadn't been back to Europe in a long time and it was our first trip to Italy. It ended up being one of the best trips we have ever taken and yes, while hastily assembled there were many memorable moments. I look forward to going back someday and hitting some of the other places we missed out on seeing. Our itinerary ended up being:

5 Nights Rome with a day trip to Pompeii (High speed rail to Pompeii and regular rail on return). Absolutely loved Pompeii, the tour itself that we booked could have been better as we had an Italian guide with a very thick accent speaking English but still enjoyed the day. If I had that to do over I would have spent all day there instead of a few hours and probably didn't need a guide at all (or would have looked into a private tour guide). Loved Rome, very into history and architecture. The Vatican, Colosseum, etc did not disappoint. Also loved less crowds due to our time of year here and the holiday lights were nice.

Took the train to Cinque Terre for 2 nights stay despite the comments above as I really wanted to photograph it and wasn't sure if/when we would be back. Was it the best time to travel there late Nov/Dec? No, not in terms of food choices as there wasn't much open anywhere BUT the benefit was there were no hoards of tourists so that was nice. Also we used to live in Colorado and quite accustomed to snow/very cold weather so traveling to Italy this time of year was a non issue as these parts were sweater weather and a scarf for us. Actually the weather was really not bad when we were there, esp in Cinque Terre. But I was bummed I didn't get to try the Fritto Misto.

3 Nights in Siena where we lucked out again due to time of year with a completely private day tour to 3 wineries through Tuscan Escapes tour services (highly recommend) which was a highlight of our trip with a private pasta meal prepared in a wine makers personal home. We also lucked out on timing and got to enjoy the Medieval Market in the Piazza Del Campo which was amazing. The Val d' Orcia area where we did our wine tour was spectacular and really want to spend more time exploring around Tuscany. That was the one area I wished we had a car and more time.

Train to Venice for 2 nights was the end of our trip. I'm glad I can say I saw Venice but wouldn't go back there. It was beautiful, splurged for a 5 star hotel but didn't love the food we experienced or the general feeling there. Our flight was 7AM and not far to the airport so that was really a non issue. Overall I would not discourage anyone to go to any of these parts of Italy during Nov/early December. To experience less crowds, a little chilly weather but nothing frigid and to see the holiday lights and festivities it was well worth it. We entirely got around via train, very few car rides and walked a lot! The rail system was fantastic.

Rome

Rome

Rome

Pompeii

Pompeii

Pompeii

Siena

Siena

Medieval Market - Piazza Del Campo

Medieval Market - Piazza Del Campo

Medieval Market - Piazza Del Campo

Siena

Tuscan Escapes Wine Tour

Tuscan Escapes Wine Tour

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

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Old Jan 22nd, 2022, 03:07 AM
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Fantastic photos! Looks like you had an amazing trip! You certainly covered a lot of territory! Thanks for posting this.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2022, 04:21 AM
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Italy is worth visiting anytime of the year. Thanks for coming back and posting your review.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2022, 05:48 AM
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Thanks for the update and the stunning photos. Glad you had tolerable weather plus the fewer crowds. We prefer warmth, even the early September type. One of the only benefits of Covid was the many nearly empty streets of Rome and other tourist spots we found at the end of last summer.
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