Need help with 3 week Italy itinerary

Aug 16th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I would also heed Bob's advice about planning car travel vs. train.

Amalfi IMHO deserves at least 4 days. Even Pompeii for a day with a baby is not optimal with your scenario.

Reluctantly I would agree that the Lakes and the lovely Villa Cipressi are better saved for a warmer season.

There is no opera festival in Arena di Verona usually beyond mid-September. I would visit it on the way from Venice and have lunch at the Dodici Apostoli off Piazza Erbe. Come back to the Lakes and Verona in May-Sept.


enroute is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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I'm in the same boat as the others who said that 3 nights in Venice is too much. Unless you prefer to not do much of anything after the first day, you don't need 3 days there. I would do 2 nights considering you have a baby in tow. I would also do at least 4 nights in Rome. It's a huge city with lots to do. Florence also needs 3 days.
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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<<its are 1st time and we wanted to fit everything in!>>

Along with others, I'll say if you cover too much ground, you will see a lot of ground and not enough of what's above it - except at a fast pace.

Rome in particular is hard to enjoy quickly - it's too packed and busy to "get it" in a hurry. Two days in Rome can be plain tiring. Five or more can be pure pleasure.

Also want to echo the note about Italians' affection for children. Your son will open doors for you. Take him inside when you go for a coffee and the barrista will try to make him laugh; he will be flirted with, given little gifts and generally spoiled by the experience. And then there's gelato ...
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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You haven't told us what you like to do, or what you envision doing that takes your small child into account.

Some people don't like Venice; some don't like Rome. Both dislikes blow my mind, but then, that is me. I am going to Venice for a week and can't wait. I would and have done the same in Rome.

I think slow travel with a child is best, but I understand your desire to see a lot.

No one suggested ditching the Cinque Terre, but I always suggest knocking it off a brief hurried itinerary. Unless you like to hike, and are prepared to do steep streets and lots of steps (we're talking LOTS of steps) with the baby, I would skip it.

There is some great scenery, it's true, but it's not, IMO, a mid October place anymore than any other place the others have suggested you eliminate. Again, unless you really like to hike and take the baby along on strenuous walks.

Are you walkers? Do you like to take pictures? Churches, museums, antiquities? Or is scenery your favorite thing?

Keep in mind that day trips around Tuscany will require time in the car; sometimes, a lot of time in the car.

To maximize your time, why not tell us your priorities? What are the things you are dying to see?

By the way, are we talking about this coming October?

How about just 4 bases?

You could stay in Venice four nights, and day trip to Padua. Very easy by train. This would give you your first day as total relaxation time, which you might need.

Lake Garda for 3 nights with a day trip to Verona.

Or you could reverse the order with nights in Venice, 4 nights some place like Sirmione, which is charming and would be good in early October, with most tourists gone from the lake.

Maybe someplace like San Gimignano for a week, where you could have a house or apartment, wash clothes, etc., with day trips to Florence, Siena, Volterra, etc.

The rest of the time in Rome. If it seems like too much time in Rome, take a day trip to Ostia Antica or even Orvieto.

One of my favorite towns is Arezzo, which has good train connections from Rome.

But here'sthe deal: everyone will tell you what their favorites are, and most will differ. The real point is to slow way down, realize you can see a lot from various bases, and that you want to be comfortable with baby. Also, decide on your own priorities.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Aug 16th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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I just have to add this: how can anyone see Venice in a day or two? What about the islands? How do you visit Torcello, which is magnificent, if you only stay a day or two?

Venice has the most amazing collection of churches. Does a day or two not include anything but San Marco?

The Zattere (great place for a stroller) and Giudecca canal. Lovely little Burano. All the sestieri...

I keep going back because there is so much I haven't seen.

And if you are going this October, as we are, you might want some time for the Biennale, if you like contemporary art.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Aug 16th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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tuscanlifedit, I like both of those posts of yours a lot. Brava.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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Grazie, TomassoC. I always like your style, so a compliment from you means a lot!
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Aug 16th, 2007, 08:31 PM
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Thanks for all your replies! This is really helping me plan our itinerary. As far as what I would like to see - I love art but my husband doesn't have the patience that I do to see a lot of musuems (I have a feeling the baby won't either). So, sadly, I'll have to only see the "musts" this time. I'm a literature major, which is why I wanted to see Verona (although I have a feeling I might be disappointed). I haven't had the opportunity to research Italy that much, but instead am guided by my knowledge of the places I've read about in an Italian Literature class it took. I guess what I most want is to absorb the Italian atmosphere that I've read about.
Both my husband and I love nature and hiking(we spent 3 months trekking through New Zealand) but with the baby we probably will do easier trails. Which is why it hard for me to give up Cinque Terre - I would love to do at least a part of it (we will have our son in a backpack carrier). We both are not fans of big cities or overly touristy places so we want to get a bit off the beaten path and enjoy the authenticity of the hill towns even if it means missing some of the biiger ones.
As far as my baby he loves being outdoors especially in the countryside. He is a really good baby and only gets antsy when he's confined indoors for too long (which makes long musuem visits a problem). He is also a big flirt and thrives on attention from complete total strangers - so I am very happy to hear that the Italians love children. And I have yet to meet a person who can resist my little one's charms
In any event - I guess what I would like is to taste a little bit of everything. I won't know if I will love or hate Venice or Rome until I've been there.

I guess I will leave the Amalfi coast for next time.
I will definately have a base in Tuscany and then do day trips to Florence. I was only thinking of doing Assisi in Umbria.
And the extra day I think I will add to Rome:

1. Venice - 3 nights (the first day we arrive in the late afternoon so we won't be doing much except for unpacking and maybe dinner in the city) if we get bored we can always do a day trip to Padua as suggested.
2. Dolomites /Lake Garda (with a drive through Verona to stop for lunch as suggested) - 3 nights
3. Cinque Terre (with a drive through Pisa to take a picture) - 2 nights
4. Florence/Tuscany/Umbria - 8 nights (with a base in Tuscany with probably 2-3 days commuting to Florence, 4 days in the Tuscany hill towns and a day in Assisi).
5. Rome (because I love history) - 5 nights (again, we can always take a daytrip to Arrezo if we get bored or overwhelmed by the busy city life and tourists)
Btw, is there any other places I can see an Opera in October? I took a class on Verdi and I will be really dissappointed if I don't get to see one of his Operas!

Thanks again! Sorry I haven't addressed each of you seperately - My son leaves me little time to plan let alone chat!
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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ps -sorry for all the spelling/grammer mistakes don't have time for that either!
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 08:53 PM
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For schedules and tickets to music/dance/opera events in Italy, try

Also check InRomeNow, a great website with lots of ideas. Generally they don't show schedules very far ahead.

This page at has links to ten top opera houses in Italy:

BUT if it's Verdi you want, you need to schedule Parma for the Verdi Festival, which happens to coincide with your trip. The festival seems to run almost the entire month of October. And you can visit Verdi's nearby home, I think.

One can do worse than Parma - go see where the ham and cheese are made (separately) and then have some (together).
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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Thanks, I am so excited! My travel book failed to mention the Verdi fesitval. Now I have to add Parma back into my itinerary.
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:51 PM
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I have older children with whom we've traveled several times to Europe. When they were toddlers, I probably would not have considered such an ambitious trip. How wonderful that you have three weeks!

Why not consider one week in each of just three different places? You could still see a lot of Italy that way. If all goes well, you could do some day trips from those three. Rome, Tuscany are obvious choices. Since you'll have a car you could rent a place out in a smaller town in Tuscany. If baby has a bad spell, you can stay put or take turns exploring while one of you stays in the room (or apartment). WIth one week stays, you could save a lot and enjoy a little more space (plus a kitchen for snacks and some meals). I hardly ever "cook" on vacation, but with a toddler, sometimes take-out is a good option and a less stressful one! Much nicer with a table/microwave/fridge. And though my children weren't prone to tantrums or illness, traveling up a twisty mountain road (backwards, in a child seat, did make one of them quite carsick.) So don't forget to "baby proof" your trip (think about what your baby's needs are at home and plan for naps and such). Will your traveling permit your child to have a routine similar to the one he has at home? If so, I'm sure you'll have a lovely time and have the pleasure of having your child with you!
victoria_reynolds is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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>>I wanted to see Verona (although I have a feeling I might be disappointed).<<

Verona is VERY much worth a lengthy visit (more than Padua IMO) and certainly worth more than "a drive through Verona to stop for lunch".
TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Maybe I can do a day trip to Verona from Garda?
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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>>Maybe I can do a day trip to Verona from Garda?<<

Yes. That's what I had in mind in my earlier post.

Suppose you were to be based on the east side of Lake Garda, say the Malcesine area. From there, you could reach Verona in little over an hour and the Dolomites (about 1 1/2 hours). And of course, Lake Garda itself.

TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Hi S,

Your plan keeps getting better! I'm glad you are doing the base in Tuscany with trips into Florence. This leaves you options for 3 days going into Florence, or spending more time relaxing in the countryside.

If you want to get off the beaten path, the Cinque Terre is not really the place, unless you do other hikes rather than the trail between the 5 towns.

I think a day trip to Arezzo from Rome might be a bit far. If you find you need to take a break from Roma, think about Tivoli - Hadrian's Villa is a relaxing, uncrowded park-like area, and Villa d'Este is a delight with all the fountains! Very relaxing!

Buon viaggio
Dayle is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Arezzo would probably be easier from the Tuscany base.
Nonconformist is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Dayle - "If you want to get off the beaten path, the Cinque Terre is not really the place, unless you do other hikes rather than the trail between the 5 towns."
Is it also crowded in October?
What would you suggest as an alternative?
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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With Garda as a base you might get over to Vicenza as well one day. Home of architect Andera Palladio, Vicenza and surrounding area are filled with his masterworks.

As to Parma and Verdi - perhaps stopping there for a night or two on your way south will get you an opera fix. Hope the performance schedule works for you.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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We've not been there in October but I don't think it'll be too crowded then. Not only that, there is no alternative (as attractive that is).
TuckH is offline  

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