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My turn :) - anyone want to critique my Italy Itenerary?

My turn :) - anyone want to critique my Italy Itenerary?

Old Feb 16th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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My turn :) - anyone want to critique my Italy Itenerary?

14/15 days intaly / Switzerland...this is our first time in Italy... March 8-23

Rome - 4 days, Florence - 3 days, Venice - 4 days, Luzern - 3 days. We are taking early trains each travel day to arrive by noon on Day 1 of each city.

Here it goes...

Rome:
Day 1:
- Lunch at the Piazza Navona and see the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
- Panthenon
- Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill

Day 2:
- Trevi Fountain and Palazaao del Quirinale
- Spanish Steps
- Villa Borghese (3pm reservations to the gallery)
- Dinner on Campo di Fiori

Day 3:
- Capitoline Hill
- Jewish Ghetto and Portico de Octavia
- Walk around Trastevere
- San Giovanni dei Fiorentini

Day 4:
- Vatican City (st. peters, piazza san pedro, sistine chapel, pope's tomb)
- relax a little

Florence:

Day 1:
- Lunch
- Museo del Duomo
- Borgello
- Ponte Vecchio
- Sunset at Plazza Michaelangelo

Day 2:
- Duomo (climb the dome this day)
- Campanille
- Piazza della Signora
- Accademia
- Santa Croce

Day 3:
- First time slot at the Uffizi
- Train to Pisa for the afternoon/evening

Venice:

Day 1:
- San Marco Square/Church
- Campinelle
- Doge's Palace
- dueling musicians in San Marco square

Day 2:
- Murano and Burano early
- aimless wandering
- Harry's Bar

Day 3:
- Spending a half day in nearby Udine, where my mother grew up
- aimless wandering in Venice upon return
- Gondola ride

Day 4:
- salute church
- accedemia
- Peggy Guggenheim collection
- aimless wandering

Luzern:

Day 1:
- Walking tour on our own to see the old and new town, bridges, Lion, etc
- Transportation Museum
- Wagner Museum

Day 2:
- earliest train to Heidelberg to visit my godparents
- day in Heidelberg
- late train back to Luzern

Day 3:
- Gondola ride up the mountain, coming down the other side
- Lake Cruise back to Luzern
- Wander the streets...

Day 4 - train to Zurich, leave from Zurich

Let me know your thoughts... too much, too little, missing something?

THANKS!
ltilley is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Looks great.

Get to Accadamia as soon as it opens, and you are likely to have David all to yourself.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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I agree with Stu. We were there at opening and did have David to ourselves. Half an hour later, you could not get near.

Sebina
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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It looks fine except I wouldn't eat lunch on the Piazza Navona. You can see the Fountains (I think the Four Rivers is undergoing renovation and may be covered in scaffolding) in a few minutes by walking around the Piazza. The restaurants there are mediocre at best and awful tourist traps at worst. A few steps away from Piazza Navona on Via Governo Vecchio is Da Tonio, Cul de Sac and Insalatta Ricca. All better bets for lunch. Campo di Fiore is similar. Ditirambo on Piazza Cancelleria is much better and just a block away from Campo di Fiore.
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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agreed about Navona, one palce NOT to eat at
 
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Ummm - didn't you want to "leave the islands for another trip", not quite understanding why you should do Murano/Burano just because every guidebook suggests doing them?
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Itilley,
Villa Borghese is wonderful and the audio tour is well worth the 5euro. After you stroll through the entire thing you can return to the first floor and have the statues all to yourself or do it in reverse: start with the portraits and then look at the statues.
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Yea! I was so looking forward to the fountain of 4 rivers! So you could imagine my disappointment.

If I may- your itinerary sounds solid enough. May I suggest Castello San Angelo in Rome? After your visit from the vatican? It has a really beautiful view from the top. Also, the place has a long history, and the fact that it's around 5 minutes walk away from the Vatican City, means you definitely should pay it a visit.

Try to visit the sisteen chapel first, spending a few hours in it, before visiting St. Peters square. While both will definitely be visited by hundreds, if not thousands of tourists, one of them is in an enclosed space (really claustrophobic after a while).

You meant the cogwheel train up Rigi on the 3rd day in Luzerne? If you have a swisspass or similiar passes (we had eurailpass), you only have to pay like... 21 francs? Which I thought was a real bargain. I assure you the trip on the lake, up the steep alpine cliffs... was just so great! Pack some things in your bag though, unless you are filthy rich, since the food and drink they sell up there are pretty expensive. Instead of leaving the boat and train ride to the last day, why not see how the weather turns out and go ahead with it on the day when the sun's-a-shining? Just in case it rains on the last day and then you could just visit something indoor, like the transportation museum.

For this trip that I took less than a month ago, I did list out things to do on the day- to the point where I have an order- do this first, get there next and so on and so forth. But as the actual day arrives, you'll see how some little sponteneity goes a long way. We didn't even bother to completely visiting all the items on our lists. At the end, it was more important we had fun the whole time.

Good luck with your trip! I hope you had as much fun as I did.

p/s: We were expecting the worst since we travelled in late Jan/early feb. But really, in Rome for example, temperature was 16 one afternoon, maybe 12 or 13 the next. Even in Luzerne, the weather was so pleasant!
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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I am only familiar with the Italian portion of your trip. If it were me I would cut one day in Venice and add it to Florence. Two full days in Venice and you can absorb a lot of the ambiance and see the significant sights. For me, 4 full days in Florence is the minimum since there are so very many special places to explore. Be sure to visit the Medici chapel and the art exhibit in the Pitti Palace as well as all the others you mentioned. I too second how important it is to get to the Accademia when it opens - I can't imagine sharing "David" with throngs of tourists. I think your plaln for Rome looks great. Enjoy!!
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Oh yes I also wanted to add that the official tour of the Doge Palace in Venice (audio version) is lengthy - schedule out a couple of hours for this unless you wish to cut out some of the areas. I was not prepared for it to be such a large area to explore. Much of it is very interesting though.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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I see that you wish to spend a day in Udine while you are in Venice.

Since your mother grew up there, I can understand your wishing to visit. However, if it is the Udine I am thinking of (the city northeast of Venice), it is just under a 2 hour train trip each way. So, it will be a fairly big day.

I mention this since on our last trip to Venice, we wished we'd left more time for that all-important 'aimless wandering.' So for this reason, I would suggest you reconsider going to Burano/Murano. On this trip, I think that unless you really, really want to see the islands, you have enough to do.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 03:53 AM
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Hi, Itilley

You've already had some good advice from OPs, but here's my two-penn'oth.

Unless you are very keen on art, I would keep your current balance of days in each place. By the time you've got to Venice, you will be longing for a bit of a rest from art galleries and museums, and Venice is great for mouching about, sitting and drinking in the atmosphere, and trying to make sense of what you've already seen. THe boat rides out to the islands are very relaxing, and if you do need another dose of culture, there's loads of choice.

In Rome, once you have negotiated the teeming hords in the Vatican museums, [which you cannot by-pass to get to the Sistine chapel, whatever the numerous signs to the chapel within the museum might imply] and got to the Chapel itself, there is a door at the back on the right hand corner marked "groups only" - sneak out through there, wander down a couple of staircases, and you will find yourselves at the entrance to st. Peter's without having to walk all the way back round the walls of the Vatican, and go through the security again. However, you will not be able to do this if you have borrowed an audio guide - so take a good guide book instead.

In Florence, you can ensure that you get to see David without the rest of the world being there, by booking in advance on the phone [see a thread of IRA's, last year]. You ask for the english operator, then go through a number of options, many of them repeated in Italian, curiously, and eventually get to talk to the ticket seller who wil lask what days and times you want. You can book the Uffizi at the same time.

When you get to the Accademia, you more or less walk straight in [though we had to queue for a little while, presumably so they don't exceed the numbers allowed in at any one time].

At the Uffizi, although we had a very early time slot, we still had to queue for about 15 minutes til we were allowed in. The tickets are collected from the badly signed office across the courtyard from the entrance. we managed to do the Uffizi in the morning, have lunch, then see David in the early pm, but I think it would be better to go early on two consecutive mornnigs.

The accademia won't take you long, and then you are at the right end of town to get the bus up to Fiesole. Do visit the monastery at the top of the hill and go into the museum [Chinese, Indian and even Egyptian artifacts collected by the hmonks on their travels], then descend via the path through the park which will bring you out by the Roman amphitheatre. The restaurant on the "wrong" side of the square is very nice.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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I think you have a pretty good plan. Just don't be surprised if you don't get to everything on your list because something else catches your eye. No problem, just a good reason to go back!

On Day 2 in Florence, try to fit in the Baptistry. It's right by the Duomo, and the huge dome inside covered with Byzantine mosaics is fantastic. Get the audio guide, it wasn't much, maybe 2-3 Euro.

I would also think about skipping the islands in Venice. There's so much to see there.
Have a great trip!
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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I agree with caroltis about cutting Venice by one day and adding that day to Florence. IMO, there is more to see and enjoy and also easily accessible options in near cities like Siena or San G.

When I plan a trip like this, I generally plan only my mornings and let the afternoon evolve as it pleases. I prefer not to have the need to see too much, rather just absorbing where I happen to be.

I agree also that with just a couple of days in Venice, I would stay there and not leave for a daytrip.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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You have received good advise so far. You should consider travel time betwen cities no matter how early you start by the time you get to your hotel the day is gone. Probably you should drop Luzern and and have time to "smell the flowers "in Italy.
I will be going to Europe about the same time, we like it, you do not have to fight all the tourists
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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Wow - thanks all for the great feedback.

Franco - I know, I know... and we still may leave out Murano/Burano - we're going to more play it by ear... and if we don't go that day, it'll be a "get lost in Venice" day. Trouble is, I've done 90% of the planning and when I mentioned to my husband that I was scratching the trip to the Islands off, he was really disappointed. So... I'm leaving it up to him, and maybe by the time the day comes I can explain the benefits of skipping it.

As for the Rome suggestions, great ideas on the lunches, etc... I'm taking notes... thanks again!

Lisa
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 06:54 PM
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ah, also Florence... we did take your advice and we are taking the 8:15 am slot for the Accedemia.... and we'll try and add the Baptistry as well...

thanks again!
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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Hello itilley, you have received lots of advice..but the only one I want to mention is about Udine. You said your mother grew up in Udine. IMO you should go to Udine to see the place where your mother was from. If you leave early in the morning you can arrive there, wander around and enjoy the architecture, have lunch etc. and still get back to Venice to enjoy the rest of the late afternoon and evening. I know I would be sorry if I was so close to where my mother grew up without visiting the location. Just my two cents worth. Wishes to you two for a beautiful time in Italy.
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Old Jan 11th, 2009, 12:57 AM
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bm
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Old Jan 11th, 2009, 02:09 AM
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Agree about eating at Piazza Navonna but it's still a fun people-watching place.

I wouldn't change the number of days you allot for each city either but that's a personal thing. There's a big debate about how many days to stay in Venice-maybe you can find it.

We've skipped the last 2 years but March has been a nice time to visit for about 15 years. Not quite as crowded. We have taken long underwear but only wanted it once (the time we didn't take it BTW!). Weather in 60s and nice for walking..

Yes, early to Vatican museum and straight to Sistine. Seems to me that the tours got first crack in line. Have an excellent time.
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