Northern Italy things to do/see

May 16th, 2017, 11:28 AM
  #1  
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Northern Italy things to do/see

We are traveling to Northern Italy next May. We are doing our wedding ceremony there in Tuscany, but are wondering what else is worth seeing and doing and what does not live up to the hype.

Rome:
We are flying into Rome where we plan to stay for a minimum of three nights. I love history and really would like to see the the Colosseum and the Vatican. What other exciting things are there to do for a newlywed couple? Looking for some fun activities.

Florence:
We are having our wedding ceremony here (symbolic ceremony) but that is just one day. What is worth seeing if we only have 2 other days to devote to this area? Is it worth taking a trip to Pisa?

Cinque Terre:
How much time should be designated here? A friend of mine said one day was plenty for her, but others say a minimum of 2.

Venice:
We want to just lay low and relax in Venice. Is just 2 nights good for this?

Is it worth flying down to the Amalfi Coast and spend 3-4 nights there; or should we stay North and do Lake Como; or other suggestions are welcome. I was thinking of going to Milan, but my other half wasn't too interested in Milan He is not too much into History or art like I am. He is more low key, we'll figure it out as we go along type of person.
rmd912 is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 11:42 AM
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You are visiting one of the most central ancient city in Europe (Rome), the cradle of the reformation (Florence) and the one unique (excuse my English) city in Europe (venice) and you want to know where else to go!

If I were you, I'd stay to the three

Rome 3 nights, the bare minimum. The Pantheon is fantastic.
Florence 1 night... you need 3 nights (don't go to Pisa, go to Siena)
Venice 2 night is an absolute minimum, stretch to 3 if you can

If you can get more time push it into the places you have already have.
bilboburgler is online now  
May 16th, 2017, 11:47 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the tips! I had heard Pisa wasn't worth it, but wanted more opinions. If we nix going south at the end we can add a day or two to each destination.
rmd912 is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 12:08 PM
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Rather than accumulate opinions about which places are "worth it" and/or how much time someone thinks you should spend anywhere, I suggest you read some guides (paper books, magazines, online, YouTube) and decide what interests you enough to visit a place and how much time you think you need there. Knowing the logistics and time needed to get from place to place also helps. For example, it takes about 3 hours to get to the CT from Florence and at least 5 hours from the CT to Venice. Traveling from Venice to somewhere on the Amalfi Coast would take at least 5 hours by plane + train and/or ferry.

How many days do you have overall?
Jean is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 12:17 PM
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Is the Leaning Tower overhyped? Well it certainly has a bit of Disneyesque crowds to it but it is The Leaning Tower! Schedule a time slot on their web site to climb the tower if going..

About trains -long-distance trains if booked in stone far enough in advance- up to three months possible - can be astoundingly cheap compared to regular walk-up fare -www.trenitalia.com and www.thetrainline.eu are two sites to nab low fares -non-changeable from a specific train however.

Regional trains like Florence to Pisa or Cinque Terre should not be booked ahead of time as they have a flat-fare that is dirt-cheap with no seat reservations even possible (mandated on faster trains) and no advantage to advance booking (and reasons not to!).

But Rome-Florence and Florence-Venice S Lucia can save a ton.

For lots on trains check www.seat61.com - great advice on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 12:23 PM
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I concur with the advice above to either go to the library or borrow/purchase some guidebooks so you can decide what your sightseeing priorities are. If you only have two days to devote to Florence, I would stay in Florence.
KTtravel is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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I agree with all the above, save that IMO Pisa is well worth seeing, especially if you can organise yourselves to see it at night when it is illuminated and all the hawkers and bus tourists have gone home. Then it is truly the "Field of Miracles".
annhig is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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Sienna Piazza al Campo is beautiful at night, as is Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.

BTW, only Venice would be considered Northern Italy. Well Cinque Terre as well but I agree that it's too far to go compared to the other places, which are clustered together more closely.

The big 3 cities are a good start. You can save other places to visit on return trips. You just have to get your other half to fall in love with Italy.

Or get another other half.
scrb11 is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 02:53 PM
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For me to always have to think -is it Siena or Sienn?
Lucca is a wonderful old flat town-known for its many towers where the wealthy could rise above the rabble and plagues raging at times down below. Intact walls -makes a great walk around. There is a Roman amphitheatre whose remains are now part built into facades of more modern buildings.

Train to Pisa S Rossore - smack dab right by the Leaning Tower area - change at Pisa Centrale (or do a walk thru a somewhat nice old Pisa about a mile to the Tower)- when done hop back to S Rossore station and head to nearby Lucca - train from there back to Florence or wherever. All regional trains - just buy tickets - flat-fare dirt-cheap - as you go or buy them all at once at any station - be sure to validate your own ticket before boarding- stick it in validating machines in stations and by platforms.

Now that is a really sweet day out.
PalenQ is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 02:56 PM
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For me to always have to think -is it Siena or Sienna? forgot the a in previous post. I also love Siena - larger than most iconic Tuscan hill town just a short bus ride from Florence or San Gimignano - great views over bucolic Tuscan countryside from top - and yes awesome main square with typical zebra-stripped cathedral (or church?).
PalenQ is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 04:17 PM
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And to prove my point, I don't find Lucca "wonderful." But I know others will agree with PalenQ.
Jean is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 05:54 PM
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To the OP, consider flying into Venice and out of Rome. (Or do you already have tickets a year ahead?) If not, open jaws or multi-city tickets should cost about the same as round-trip but save you the time and money spent backtracking.

Venice is a good place to get over jet lag and get acquainted with Italy. And you'll minimize the crowds. (Also it's better not to fly out of Venice because the flights are very early.)

Florence can also get very crowded so do it second.

I'm not sure when your wedding will fit into this.
Mimar is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 07:18 PM
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"worth it," exciting, fun, are all subjective concepts. What kinds of activities on other trips that you've taken have you found to be worth it, fun and/or exciting, to provide some comparison?

How many days you devote to each destination depends on how much time you have. I could easily spend a week (or more) in Rome or Venice and find my time there worth it; Florence, a little less time. Keep in mind that when you say you might spend two nights in a location, that's really only one day.

For Florence, with your two extra days, you could visit the Uffizi, the Accademia, the Pitti Palace (very poorly organized but with some very nice paintings!), Medici Chapel, the market, a couple of other churches I can't remember the names of off the top of my head. Plus, in all places, you need to leave time for cafe-sitting, wine-drinking, etc.

My DH and I like history and art; I LOVE art, primarily paintings. Each of those cities has days' worth of historical sites and buildings and tons of art, both in situ in churches and other locations, and in museums. So that's where my perspective is coming from.

I didn't really love Pisa when we went; I did like Lucca, because I like the smaller size and it felt less touristy.

And I agree with Mimar re flying into Venice and out of Rome, if you can, for the reasons stated.
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