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Last minute Rome Trip Help Please! - Florence, Venice and Rome in 8 days

Last minute Rome Trip Help Please! - Florence, Venice and Rome in 8 days

Mar 15th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 150
Last minute Rome Trip Help Please! - Florence, Venice and Rome in 8 days

Hi everyone,
Long story short, my hubby and I booked a last minute spontaneous trip to Rome today for the end of next week! =) I usually plan for weeks for a trip but this all happened suddenly. I've also never been to Europe and so this is kinda crazy and I'm very overwhelmed with ALL of the information on the board. I just spent 2 days researching hotels, but now I have some questions about must see's and also advice on how to get around. Because we are there for such a short time, I would love to get your advice on what not to miss. I am continuously and will be continuously researching the board for the next 2 weeks but thought I would try to get some opinions first.

Should we get a Eurorail pass? Also, I booked my hotels through venere.com so I can cancel, if you guys think for any reason it might not be good. I did read lots of reviews though, but would be happy to hear any opinions you would have.

Please help!!
Our Schedule:
Florence - arrive Sunday afternoon 26th-28th (2 nights)
We arrive in Rome on Sunday at 11am. We are going straight to Florence - staying 2 nights at the Hotel Pierre. Thinking about going by train, can we buy this at the airport or best to buy it here? Because our stay is so short, what would recommend not to miss. I love architecture and museums.

28th morning leave for Venice - staying at the Saturnia for 2 nights - what would you recommend is the best way to go to Venice? Train or water taxi? Any favorite spots in Venice? (I will of course be researching more, but my time is limited).

Rome - Staying at the Albergo Del Senato - per board recs, thanks!
I would love to see the vatican, the coliseum, I guess most of the touristy stuff. We only have 3 days though so I know that's pretty limited.

Any advice you could possibly bestow upon me would be soo greatly appreciated. I will post back when I return too! =)

please help . . .
feeling a bit overwhelmed and so excited too and i would love to just read the boards all day, but i do need to work

thank you soo much in advance!


appletea is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Do NOT get a Eurail pass; for whatever trains you take in Italy, point-to-point will be MUCH cheaper.

There is no way to get from Florence to Venice by water taxi. You take a train, preferably a fast Eurostar. Then, once you are at the main train station in Venice itself, Venezia Santa Lucia, you can take a water taxi if you want to spend 50 or 60 Euro. Before you decide, check whether the Saturnia has a boat dock; if it doesn't, you might as well take the vaporetto to Valaresso for a heck of a lot less.

But three cities in eight days is madness. Decide whether you want to visit Venice or Florence. If you spend only two days in each city, I promise that you will HATE both of them.

Spend four days in Rome and four days in Venice OR Florence. Look at "Destinations" here at fodors.com to get an idea of what each city has to offer and decide which appeals to you more. Bear in mind that Rome to Florence is 1.5 hours; Rome to Venice is about 4.5 hours.
Eloise is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hello appletea, if you are arriving in Rome on Sunday and going onto Florence Sunday afternoon and plan on going further to Venice on Tuesday morning I do not think you will be happy regarding Florence as most of the museums in Florence are closed every Monday.

It sounds like you have already booked your airfare. I would suggest consequently you stay part of the time in Rome and than go onto Florence and since it sounds like you will be flying home from Rome that you make these two cities the places to stay this trip and leave Venice for the next trip. If you have not actually booked your airfare and want to see Venice than I would suggest you fly into Rome, spend some time there, train to Venice and fly home from Venice.

Or another thought, you arrive in Rome, train to Venice, spend time there, train back to Rome (if your flights have already been booked) spend time in Rome and then fly home from Rome.

LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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First I always use venere.com. I usually pick a ** and am perfectly happy. Read the reviews. I just don't too much attention to "the room was too small" if written by an American. We have been spoiled by large rooms, but I'd rather save the money. I'll trip over my suitcase and use the money to have a great dinner with that bottle of wine.

You obviously have to go to Rome and everyone should. Rome is not one of my favorite places, but...the Roman Forum is one of my favorite sights. Just to think of walking where the Caesars walked. Where the vestel virgins were sacrificed. The if you really concentrate on that, you will be there with them.

I agree with the others. Choose between Florence or Venice. For romance and uniqueness, Venice. For art, Florence. Me, I'm in love with David, so Florence IS romantic.
I don't have a favorite though because they are both so different you can't compare.
cchottel is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Just read what I wrote. Boy, I can't afford to skip "preview," can I? Hope what I wrote made sense.
cchottel is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:31 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 150
Hi everyone,
Thanks for responding. We have booked airfare through an internet site so we can't change the flights, we have to fly in and out of rome.

My thoughts for going to florence on the first night was that we'd spend the last 3 days in rome and not have to feel like we're rushing from place to place.

Honestly, I would really liked to see all three, just have been there and seen it.

So you would recommend going to Venice from Rome on Sunday at 11am, and then staying there first and then maybe going to Florence on the way back and then end up in Rome?? Are things open in Venice on Sunday and Monday?

I know our time there is very short, we leave Sunday afternoon the following week, but would love to get as much in as we possibly can.

Please advise. The only thing that is positively set is the flight - but for sure i want to see rome, and really woudl like to see both florence and venice. How many hours from venice to rome? Thanks!
appletea is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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I understand your wanting to see all three, but I highly agree with everyone else. And three nights in not enough time in Rome. Trust me...I am going back, for the third time, on Saturday and still won't get to see everything.

One of the best things about Italy is just strolling around the cities, sitting in piazzas, eating gelato. With your whirlwind itinerary you won't have time for much of that, and that would be a shame.

I see that you have never been to Europe, so you probably don't understand jetlag. If you only spend two nights in Florence the first day will pretty much be wasted by jetlage. By the time you get from the airport to Florence you will be exhausted and probably won't be in the mood to do anything. This will leave you essentially one day to see Florence.

Also keep in mind that you waste about half a day every time you travel. By the time you check out of your hotel, walk to the train station, train to your next destination, find your hotel, check in and unpack half the day is gone.

I would recommend breaking the time up between Florence and Rome, since they are relatively close to each other. You will see a lot more and you will have some time to relax, stroll and take in the culture and atmosphere.

Good luck and best wishes,

tcreath is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi Appletea,

You will want to return to Italy regardless! So, I completely agree with the other posters. Visit 2 cities. If you choose Rome and Venice, you could do Florence and Tuscany/Umbria the next time!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,142

I just want to agree with everyone else who posted above.

You cannot see Florence, Rome, and Venice in 8 days. Well, you can physically touch down in all three, but you won't see much. You will be harried. You will spend a high percentage of your time getting between them. In a nutshell, you won't enjoy yourself remotely as much than if you just choose two cities.

A more realistic schedule for seeing the "big 3" is 2-3 weeks.

I am glad you came to Fodor's seeking advice - all of us here wish you the best and only want you to have the best time possible.
bardo1 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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I agree with the others - those 3 cities in the amount of time you have will make your stay a big blur. You WILL go back (keep telling yourself that). That 1/2-day-for-moving-to-a-new-location rule of thumb is pretty accurate. So your 8 days is much less than that. As as regarding jet lag, your first day can still be enjoyable, it will just be a bit foggy (depending on your general need for sleep, of course). The last time we went to Venice (flew directly there), I was fine most of the day, then had to keep taking a walk between courses of our dinner, because I started to doze off. Last year, when we went to London, I was fine all day, but my hubby needed to take a 1/2 hour nap right when we arrived. The big key that first day is to keep moving, and to stay outside as much as possible (bad idea: visit Musee d'Orsay on the first day; luckily I'd been there before, and I was able to take a short power nap in a corner of one of the rooms!)

Think about WHY you want to go to all three - are there particular sights that you've always wanted to see? Try to decide which you want to see the most. Also, go to your local library and check out books on those destinations - preferably books with lots of pictures. That should help you develop your thoughts, as well.

I have always bought our train tickets ahead of time, through RailEurope (as I recall, a travel agent has to book), as I'm paranoid I'll mess something up, or the train will be full, if I wait until I get there. It costs more to book from the U.S., but the peace of mind is worth it to me.

Have a wonderful trip!
Lexma90 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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I may be the only dissenter...I would have no problem seeing the three cities in eight days. If you are young (or think you are), and have a high energy level, go for it. The adrenaline is pumping. Plus, you aren't stressed out driving in a foreign country - you're relaxing on a train.

Use taxi's, water taxi's, the Eurostar (which runs between these cities). Yes, it will cost you more money, but you don't have time, and it will save your valuable energy.

It sounds like that's what you want to do. So do it. You don't have to put pressure on yourself to see everything in every city. Cherry pick.

It never takes us 1/2 a day to train from one location to another. Our hotels are usually 10 minutes from the train station using a taxi. Check-in at a hotel is a "hot" 5-10 minutes. I dump the suitcases in the room, and hit the bricks running.

Do what your gut tells you to do.

i_am_kane is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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Wow, hmmm I guess I'll have to rethink this then. I guess because I've never been to Europe, I just wanted to see as much of the 3 cities as I possibly could on this trip, because I'm not sure when I would have a chance to again. And I thought flying all the way there . . . but I guess maybe I should reconsider . . .

So I guess if you had to pick between florence and venice, which would you pick? And the hotels - Hotel Pierre and Saturnia - which one is better??

Hmmm, I will have to think about this some more. It's such a last minute trip, kinda hectic, so not much time to plan . . .

Thank you all for all your opinions, i really am thinking about it . . .
appletea is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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Lexma90, my comment about jetlag was just a general comment. It definitely affects people differently, and I didn't mean for it to sound as they the first day can be less than enjoyable.

For myself, I have a very hard time with jetlag. Or at least I used to before I started taking Ambien for the overnight flight. But before that I would feel the need to crash in the early afternoon and a 2-3 hour nap would have to be sufficient. Each person is different, but I didn't think much about jetlag for our first trip to Europe until I experienced it firsthand. For someone who isn't used to it, it could mean a blurry first day.

appletea, I'm glad you are rethinking your itinerary. I totally understand your wanting to make the most of your trip. I fell into a similar trap on our first trip to Europe, a few years ago, and planned 3 cities in nine nights (with an overnight train for one of them). It was exhausting, and we are in our twenties and physically fit. Most of us have been to Europe countless times and are basing our comments on our experiences. But trust me, you will still have a wonderful time, and Italy will still be there when you want to go back!

tcreath is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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I'd pick Venice over Florence -- unless you're a huge fan of Renaissance art. Venice has relatively few tourist must-dos, so you can wander around, soak up the ambience, enjoy getting lost. (I think it the perfect city for getting over jet lag.)

Besides see Venice now, before it sinks.
Mimar is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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hahaha see venice before it sinks, that's funny.

we're in our late 20's, working and just haven't travelled much, so i just wanted to try to see and do as much as possible, but it does sound more romantic to have time to stroll and wander and discover the city.

will have to talk it over with the hubby. any other recommendations and suggestions greatly appreciated. i did really want to see all 3 cities though . . . so this is a tough one. . .
appletea is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 179
Florence or Venice?

My pick(particularly if you like museums) is Florence.
Venice is OK but I would go back to Florence 5 times before I went to Venice the second time.

I'm taking two first time couples in September and we're not bothering with Venice.

By the way, the Vestal Virgins were not sacrificed. They were VERY privileged citizens of Rome who maintained the fire at the Temple of Vesta in the Forum. They were punished if they let it go out, and a virgin was entombed alive if she were discovered to have lost her virginity. (Several were!) They served for thirty years (age 10 to 40) after which they retired and were free to marry.

The Vestal Virgins were to only persons who could driver chariots all over Rome including in the Forum.
Fibonacci2358 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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<<And the hotels - Hotel Pierre and Saturnia - which one is better??>>

They both look great and both are in great locations - this shouldn't be a factor in your decision.

Perhaps a look through the Fodor's miniguides will help you:

http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/[email protected]

http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/[email protected]

http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/[email protected]

bardo1 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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You beat me to to it! I didn't want to sound like a "know-it-all," but since you set the record straight about the Vestal Virgins, I would like to add some more comments:

At first there were only 4 Vestals, then 6, and much later 7. They were considered sacred and above the common law; they enjoyed great privileges and wealth. The Chief Vestal had the right of audience with the Emperior at any time. She and her priestesses were preceded by a lictor when they went out, and if by chance they met anyone being led to execution, they had the privilege of pardoning him - no matter what his crime.

The Vestals had two vehicles: a high antique one and the other a light daily carriage. The Vestals were under the paternal care of the Chief Priest, the Pontifex Maximus, who was the only man who had any influence over them and the only one allowed to enter the Atrium Vestae.

The retired after 30 years of service, and they had to be physically perfect with no peculiarities or deformities.

If the perpetual fire went out, the Vestal Virgin on duty was given a severe punishment. Yes, if the Vestal was convited of incest she was buried alive in the neighborhood of the Porta Collina.

i_am_kane is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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hahah, you guys are entertaining, i definitely have some reading to do .. .thanks for all the input . . .and to the dissenter, i thank you too hehe. i'm still considering doing all 3 hehe, we are young and high spirited and i've been to asia so i know what jetlag is like hehe . . .
ahh decisions decisions . . . that's the part i'm bad at.
appletea is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 238
Thanks for the correction and the background on the vestal virgins. You see, I never take tours, and now I know why. I based my statements on what I overheard a tour guide telling his group.

Doesn't matter though. The Roman Forum is still a very moving experience. My favorite Roman sight along with Palentine Hill.
cchottel is offline  

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