More time in Rome, Florence or Siena?

Sep 19th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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More time in Rome, Florence or Siena?

We are planning a two week trip to Italy. It is the first time for both of us. We have the bare bones of a travel itinerary at this point: Rome 4 nights / Siena 2 nights / Florence 2 nights / Venice 4 nights. We are not planning on renting a car.
We are active and enjoying doing a great deal of walking when we travel. We are both interested in historical sights, so this promises to be a wonderful trip. I do sometimes get a little "peopled out" when we travel to places that are crowded with other tourists. That is part of the reason we have added a stop in Siena. From what I read in our guide books, it will be a bit less crowded than the other cities, and the old city sounds amazing. On the other hand, I wonder if we are allowing enough time for Florence? Maybe we should stay in Rome 3 nights and add another night to Florence? Round and round we go. I know this is all completely subjective, but I would love to hear some opinions.
AnaBelen is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:13 PM
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I'd suggest 4-2-3-3 unless there's something particular about Venice that warrants the greater amount of time for you.

Or 4-1-4-3 (but Sienna struck me as being dealt with sufficiently in a day trip [but that's just me])
knickerbocker is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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I sure wouldn't reduce Rome by any amount. The number of people to contend with really depends on what month you'll be traveling. Florence is MUCH less crowded from Nov through March, than May through Sept.

I love Siena, but you can pretty much see it all in 1 full day.

I would probably subtract a day in Sinea & add it to Florence, and leave Siena somewhat late the second day you're there.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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I just got back from Italy with 4 nights in Florence and 7 nights in Rome. Did a day trip to Orvieto from Rome and a day trip to Siena from Florence.

I came back enjoying Florence and Siena a bit more than Rome even though I generally love massively big cities. Don't get me wrong, I did like Rome. But it took me a few days to get used to it having gone from the very friendly, family owned, and casual, Hotel Casci in Florence to polite, but a little more standoffish, more formal, and in suits to the hotel I stayed at in Rome.

The people and crowds were quite different as well. I think I just clicked more with the Florence and again, I had to adjust to Rome. I eventually learned it was just different and did end up enjoying it in its own way. I'd love to return to Italy and even go back to Rome, but I think the second time around, I'd end up cutting my time in Rome shorter and stay longer in the Tuscany or Umbria area instead. I think the second time around, I'd be able to warm up quicker a lot quicker to Rome. But that's just me.

Also as a side note: My main reason for this trip was for the museums and historical sites with a little bit of trying out some of the regional food, but mainly for some history and art. If I do end up returning, my whole focus would be completely different.
bouradly is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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BTW as a side note, yes you can do Siena in a day trip, but I actually would have loved to have been there for one more day because I enjoyed it that much. A good friend of mine went 12 years ago and he and his wife loved Siena so much, they cancelled one of their nights in Florence and paid the cancellation fee so they could stay in Siena.
bouradly is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 05:09 PM
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I forgot to add that our trip will be the last week of April through the first week of May.

bouradly, just curious.....what would be the focus of your return trip?
AnaBelen is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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I love Florence more than Venice, so I'd give it more time. I also agree that Siena can be seen in a full day, and I'd visit it as a day trip from Florence.

Every time you change hotels, you lose at least a half day. The Florence-to-Venice day will be almost 5 hours from hotel door to hotel door unless the hotels are very near the train stations (which I don't recommend in either city).

As Stu mentioned, the crowds fluctuate with the seasons. But you're visiting the most popular cities in one of the most popular countries, so there will be crowds. If you think you will make future trips to Italy, you could drop Rome, concentrate on Northern Italy and spend some time in a less-visited town. Or rent a car and explore Tuscany or Umbria for a few days.
Jean is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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This may sound eccentric, but I'd spend either seven nights in Rome, one in Sienna, three in Florence, and three in Venice, or I'd add an extra night in Rome and spend one less in either Venice or Florence. Rome has so much to see that even two weeks hardly does it justice. I've been there three times and my wife four, and we'd both like to go back in a few years if our money and our health hold up. As for the other cities, we liked them but found all three to be overrun with tourists when we were there, particularly Florence and Venice.
sjj is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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Your plan seems decent to me. I would use one of my Venice days to visit one or several of the outer island. If one, Burano would be my choice. We spent four nights in Siena - DW was going to school there - and had no problem filling our days with interest. I kind of feel sorry for those who "do" Siena as a day trip, they do not know what they are missing. It would be nice if you could add another night to Florence though.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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You already have minimal time in rome - I would increase it - not reduce it.

And although Siena isn't a big city it's typically packed with tourists - so not sure it will give you the break you're looking for.

I would;t stay there - but would either use Florence for a base with day trips to a couple of smaller towns which might be less crowded. Or rent a car when you leave rome and do a couple of small hill towns (with one day to hit Florence highlights) and then drop the car in Venice - if you really want to get away from the worst of the crowds for a couple of days.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Siena is an easy day trip from Florence. We found it a sufficient amount of time.
There is so much more to see in Rome than Florence..
danon is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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That's kind of what I'm thinking too - instead of splitting time in Florence and Siena, maybe spend three days in one or the other (or some other Tuscany option) and giving that extra day to Rome.

I've only been to Florence once, but isn't it alwasy full of tourists too?
sheri_lp is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 09:41 PM
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Are all the different opinions making your choice even harder?

When I've been there, all four places were pretty crowded. However, there are many wonderful historic sites in Rome that are less touristy. In Venice, also, just getting a block or so away from San Marco and Rialto gets you away from the crowds and there are wonderful churches and museums everywhere. Venice really empties in the evening and it is fun to walk along dark canals and hear just footsteps and the sound of water lapping against gondolas and pilings.

I would keep the four days in Venice and try to really explore the Ghetto area, Dorsoduro, etc. and you can get away from crowds in Venice by going to Burano. If you didn't care for Venice (hard for me to imagine, but it does happen), you could also visit Padua, Vicinza or Verona.

One night in Siena would be lovely, but I would take one night from Siena and add it to either Rome or Florence. If you add a day to Florence, you could visit Fiesole. If you add a day to Rome, you could visit Orvieto. There are other options; these are some easy ones.
Sassafrass is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 09:41 PM
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I'm not sure I would look to Siena as a respite from tourists -- especially if you take the advice that the it can all be seen in a day, which pretty much guarantees that you will be on a tourist march. I don't care for Siena as much as others sometimes do, but it is stuffed to the gills with important art, and am surprised the consensus is that you can see it all in a day. But it is such an easy day trip from Firenze, you can find out for yourself on the spur of the moment if you are wishing to escape.

Why not consider Bologna with a day trip to Ravenna for your getaway from the tourists?
zeppole is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:11 PM
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I'll admit first that Rome is my favorite place on earth, so naturally I would not subtract any time there. I stayed in Siena for two nights and enjoyed it (and agree that it can't all be seen in one day), but even though I enjoyed it, it wasn't my favorite place in Italy.

I would do five nights in Rome, three in Florence with a daytrip to Siena (only if you feel like it, which, once you get to Florence, you probably won't) and four in Venice.

I'm sorry to say that others are correct, if you want to see all those great things in Italy, everybody else wants to see them as well, so don't expect no people around. (I've been in numerous churches in Rome where I was the only person there, but they probably aren't on a first-timer's list, even though they have gorgeous art and sculpture.)

Oh, and you will go back to Italy!
SusanP is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 01:55 AM
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Even though I'm totally in love with Firenze, I would suggest spending more time in Rome since Firenze and Siena are pretty compact. Rome is just so amazingly full of things to do/see that cutting it short would truly mean missing out.
Dobermina is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Lots of conflicting opinions here....... not a surprise since everyone has their own preferences. Still, this has been really helpful. We are not going to decrease our time in Rome. From what I have read here, four nights is not nearly enough. That will leave lots of sights for our next trip.
We have only to decide between Siena 2 nights / Florence 2 nights or Siena 1 night / Florence 3 nights. We do not normally stay only 1 night in a place, but it is something to consider. I am leaning against Siena as day trip as I think it would be nice to have a little more time than that to wander around.
Thanks for the great comments.
AnaBelen is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 07:20 AM
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Stay in Florence 4 nights. You can take a day trip to Pisa by train and a day trip to Siena and/or a day trip to San Gimignano plus there is much to see in Florence. We loved being in SG. (If you stay in one place you don't have to haul luggage around and you that is much easier.)

You could take a day trip to Ostica Antica from Rome. We really enjoyed seeing the old ruins.

So 4 or 5 nights in Rome, 4 or 5 nights in Florence with the day trips and 3 nights in Venice.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Having been to all three, the only of the three that my wife and I are in total agreement to return to visit would be Siena. Find a day to add to Siena, regardless of which other city it is that you take it from.
CapriAnniversary is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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I'm with Capri. Have been to all and can't get back soon enough, exc for Rome. But I know lots who love Rome and my opinion is influenced by the people we met. Were there in July/August and Siena during Il Palio, those were crowds! But loved being in Siena & SG the most. Stayed with a gracious lady, American student befriended my daughter, did local things. I want to go back just for Il Palio and celebrations. Had negative experience in Rome, cut our visit short to get back to Tuscany.
littleseeeester is offline  

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