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Need an Italy itinerary without too much traveling!


Apr 16th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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Need an Italy itinerary without too much traveling!

Hi again everyone! Somehow my hubby was able to change our Italy flight! It is now a total of 17 nights. Whereas before I had to decide what not to do, now I can't decide what to do! I just don't want to move too much. We want to travel mostly by train within the country (we did that in Spain and it was very nice).

Here's what I have-

2 nights Milan (we arrive late the first night so that doesn't count).
2 nights in Venice (we want to see it but I'm scared already by all the stories of how expensive it is!) Verona sounds pretty.
3 nights Florence (is Pisa a good day trip?)
6 nights Rome

So we have 4 more days. I'm leaning toward having those days in sorrento. We could use it as a base to see the amalfi coast, Naples, Pompeii right?

Thoughts? Is this all accessible by train? Hotel recommendations?
layanluvstotravel is offline  
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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None of Italy is inexpensive. I think that if you shop for rooms and food carefully in Venice, you can do very well. If you want to see Verona, which is indeed pretty and has some excellent attractions, perhaps stay three nights in Venice and day trip to Verona. I would know a day off of Rome to add one to Venice.

Is Pisa a good day trip? It depends on how badly you want to see the Leaning Tower. There are other day trips that feature other things. I find Siena more interesting and attractive than I find Pisa. I also like Arrezzo better than Pisa. You could do a very long day that included Pisa and Lucca, which are close by one another.

6 nights in Rome is fine, but I do think you should take one and add it to Venice; that will slow you down too; you're moving pretty quickly.

Four more days for the South would be fine. Or you could tack them on up front and visit the lakes between Milan and Venice.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:51 PM
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Staying four days in Naples at the end of your trip will allow you to enjoy some of their beaches (Capri ) and relax.

I personally would not stay a full day visiting the leaning tower of Pisa. It was nice to see but I feel like it could be a quick place to visit. When I went, we visited the tower quickly in the morning and then drove off to Tuscany for some wine tasting. We even visited a small medieval town in Siena. Perhaps you can find a Tuscany day excursion from Florence. Tuscany was definitely a highlight.

Venice is absolutely beautiful but it is a small city so I believe that two days is fine unless you want to go to Verona, then I'd add another day. Like tuscanlifeedit said, you can always remove one day from Rome and add it there.

Rome is amazing. I keep going back. I always stay at Alta hotel villa pamphili. It's ~10-15 min further out from the city but it has a free shuttle service to bring u back and forth. The shuttle stop is at a piazza at the Vatican City . We stay there because we travel during the summer and it is one of the very few hotels that has air conditioning and a pool. The surroundings are so peaceful and tropical. The price was also the best. We booked with Expedia and paid 130$ per night (breakfast included). If you don't mind taking the shuttle service, thn I definitely recommend this hotel.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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I wouldn't consider Venice "small," and, in the case of Venice, it's not size that matters. Venice is absolutely packed with places and things to see, and you definitely need more time than you have allowed. You will lose time arriving from Milan and departing for Florence. I have been to Venice 3 times (so far), spending multiple days each time and have yet to see everything on my list. If you want to see any of the lagoon islands, or Verona you need to add at least one, but better, two days. I think you should take one or two days from Rome and add it to Venice.

I agree with tuscanlifedit about Pisa. Given the choice between Pisa and either San Gimignano or Siena, I would choose one of the latter. The Campo dei Miracoli (with the Duomo, Baptistery and Tower) is great, but everything around it -- not so much. Plus, getting to it, you have to run a virtual gauntlet of hawkers.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Just to add to what everyone else already put...which are great suggestions...
1. I LOVED Venice and it may not be "inexpensive" but nothing really is...
2. I do not think that Pisa is truly worth the trip unless you are dying to take the picture "holding up" the leaning tower. The town itself is a complete tourist trap and I am actually kind've upset that I wasted hours of my day to see it. We did a day tour of Tuscany. I would say that your time is MUCH better spent in Siena, San Gimignano or any tour of the wine country...it's beautiful!

3. For your extra 4 days...my favorite place that we went to while in Italy doing a version of the trip you are doing was Cinque Terre. We stayed in Monterosso, but you can stay in any of the towns and have an equally as enjoyable stay. Monterosso just happens to be closer to the train, has a great beach area and is at the beginning of the hike. It was very easy to get there by train from Florence and we went in between Florence and Rome. There is a phenomenal hike (referenced above) through the 5 towns and the scenery is like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Also, the food is phenomenal there! We stayed at Hotel Margherita and it was a little past town, but a perfect location, clean and the people there were so friendly!

With that, my husband and I are off to the Amalfi Coast in about a month and are going to Ravello. We have been told that this is pure relaxation and also incredibly beautiful. You might want to look into it! Good luck!
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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I recommend skipping Naples/Amalfi this time and spend 2-3 nights at Lake Como and add the other 1-2 nights to Venice.

You can decide on a day trip from Venice to Verona when you are there and know if that is what you want to do.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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I'd add two nites in Venice and two in Florence.

All of Italy is expensive--Venice not that much more than elsewhere--I find Rome to be the most expensive city. Once you get to Venice, you're going to want to stay for more than one day.

You could visit Verona--which is very interesting-- by stopping between Milano and Venice and checking your bags at the train station.

Use Tripadvisor.com to find lodging in Venice and elswhere, then, when you've found a hotel you're interested in, use the popups to book. I find that Booking.com works best for me.

So only four destinations.

Buo Viaggio
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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I would add the days to Venice and Florence. You can easily train or bus from Florence to Pisa, Siena, Cinque Terre and San Gim. From Venice, you can take a train to Verona, Padua or others.

You can get a bus day trip to Pompeii from Rome as well. Others will suggest Ostio Antica as a similar experience. I preferred Pompeii--strictly personal.

Also personal is Pisa which I loved. We made an appointment to climb the tower and it was neat. The Duomo is filled with art. Husband and I made Pisa a base--we found the rest of this university city to be very untouristy. For eating, we walked a block or two away from the Tower and it wasn't any worse than any place else based on this visit.

Add a minimum of 1/2 day for every hotel change you make. Are you flying into Milan and out of Rome? I have been told that the Amalfi Coast is crammed with traffic in the summer. If you do go there, see if you can get a driver with a little sports car to weave in and out of traffic! LOL. You would have to change train lines in Naples to go on to Sorrento. It's not difficult, just time-consuming and you'd have to return to Rome.

Others can give you better/different "takes" on things.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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I would add 2 days each to Venice and Florence. With only 2 nights in Venice, you really only have 1.5 days. Adding the days to Venice and Florence will give you time to take the day trips you would like (Verona and Pisa). It will also give you time to relax and really experience the cities you are visiting.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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I would add the days to Venice. It doesn't have to be any more expensive than other places in Italy. Just eat casual and keep your daily expenses minimal (use the vaporetto, take a free walking tour, etc.).
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Everyone has places they think need more (or less) time, but remember that these are their personal preferences. My own preference is more time in Florence than Venice. So there ya go.

So, before randomly adding/subtracting days anywhere, you should read some guidebooks, decide what you want to see everywhere and then figure out how much time that will take. Rather than thinking only in terms of training between cities, also consider whether you'd enjoy driving around Umbria or Tuscany for a few days (easy) or riding the ferries around, say, beautiful Lake Como (even easier).

I do think after you read a bit on Naples, Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast (and the time needed to see everything), you'll agree that it would be better to include this area in a future trip.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Tell us what "expensive" means to you in euros (or whatever currency). I'm sure you'll get lodging recommendations that will fit your budget.

Also, although I myself prefer to stay in hotels/B&Bs, apartments can be a cheaper alternative.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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Thanks Everyone for your wonderful suggestions! You've really helped me fine tune my itinerary which is now like this:

1 night Milan and next day we travel to Venice,
3 nights Venice (day trip to Verona), train to Florence
4 nights Florence (day trip to Sienna, Pisa- yes, my kids want to do that corny picture, Cinque Terre),- depending on lodging options we'll either take the train straight to Sorrento or Rome
4 nights Sorrento,
5 nights Rome (fly out of Rome)

I can't believe I'm asking but we have 1 extra night (we have 18 nights, not 17 as I originally thought). Where should we put that night?
layanluvstotravel is offline  
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Apr 19th, 2013, 01:15 PM
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Venice. And Venice is NOT expensive
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
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Apr 19th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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I would not do a "day trip" to Verona with only 3 nights in Venice myself. Put the "extra night" in Venice. You don't have enough time there.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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I think that itinerary sounds good. Remember that you will lose the first and last days to travel. You'll never get us to all agree about where to add that last night but I'm leaning toward Florence. You can add San Gim if you want to see a hill town, and/or Lucca from there. Check with your travel book and see if there are some places you'd love to see that you didn't think you had time for previously. You might find good tours out of Florence as well.

Pompeii from Sorrento is a breeze on the train.

See if your Florence hotel folks can get a reservation for you to climb the leaning Tower. I never tried to get one online because we were never sure of our itinerary so don't know if you can. There's a lot of interesting history around Pisa--it was a powerful city-state in its day. They are finding once submerged boats in the area and I believe there's a new museum about it/them.

This is exciting!
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Apr 19th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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I don't have any phobias... but I started to climb the tower at Pisa and had to turn back.
Has anyone else ever had such a reaction? My husband continued to the top. I'd have been
really annoyed if I'd spent a lot of time getting reservations , etc. Fortunately, it was awhile
ago when life was simpler.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 02:41 PM
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I would recommend Positano as a base on the Amalfi coast instead of Sorrento.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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jmkay: the OP is traveling with kids. Me, I would opt to stay as an adult in Positano, but Sorrento is a good place for day trips, especially by ferry, boat and train.

I'm not sure that I'd load my kids on to the AC buses, but if need be, the Sorrento connections are good.

Sorrento is great for Pompeii, Naples, the AC towns are easy enough to visit, and then there are the islands.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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We took a day trip from Florence ( booked through Viator ) that covered Pisa, Sienna and San Gimignano. It was a long day... (maybe too long for your kids?) but we really enjoyed it and saw a lot more than we would have on our own.
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