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Our Italian Honeymoon (first timers)

Old Nov 15th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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Our Italian Honeymoon (first timers)

We need help! We will be experiencing Italy for the first time on our honeymoon in mid-March. While I am elated to get to explore this beautiful country, I'm also incredibly overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. We will be on an overnight flight, arriving in Venice around 11 am and we planned on staying 2 nights there. From there, we are planning on taking the train to Florence (3 nights), then a train to Rome (3 nights), next to the Amalfi Coast (2 nights), and taking our last night in Naples to grab a slice of pizza and catch a flight home the next day. I just don't know if I am splitting up our time adequately or if I need to spend more or less time in certain places.

In regards to staying in Venice: Should we try to stay on the canal or would we be better served staying off the water? Also, should we be staying in Florence or would it be better to try to stay in a smaller, hillside town in order to have a more "Tuscan" experience? Any recommendations on places to stay for first-timers? We would really like to see and do as much as possible, but at our own pace if that makes sense. I'm trying to get a general idea of the must see/must do things. We are in our late 20s so we are capable of doing lots of exploring, but with that being said, we also don't want to come home needing a vacation from our vacation. Any and all advice would be SO appreciated!
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 10:36 AM
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With just 3 days for Tuscany, I'd stay put in Florence and keep a day for a train trip to, say, Siena OR rent a car and do Siena and San Gimignano. If you rent a car - it's easy enough to drive - park at the Stadium (stadio) just on the outskirts of Siena.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 10:54 AM
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>>> Should we try to stay on the canal or would we be better served staying off the water?
I have stayed both on the canals several times. So far, one thing has been certain - a lot of noise. If that canal is a main thoroughfare as well as gondola ride route with according singers, you will hear noise from early morning to late evening. I have also stayed in a room with a view of Giudecca and San Giorgio Maggiore. While the view was nice, the noise coming from the promenade was very annoying.

If you are not heavily into renaissance, you might allocate more days in Venice/Amalfi Coast over Florence. Because Florence sits in the middle of main trunk path connecting Venice-Milan-Rome, you can hit Florence easily on any return trip to Italy. That is less so for Venice and even more for Amalfi Coast, which would always be an intended detour.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 11:59 AM
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Greg makes a good point. What you wish to see is a matter of personal preference, but I think that only one full day on the AC is not enough, nor is 1 day in Venice. Also I disagree with the idea of a one-day car rental from Florence, as the pickup and drop off are time-consuming..
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:08 PM
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It's difficult to tell people how many nights they should spend in each place. For some people, a month in Venice isn't enough. That said, and IMHO:

It appears your itinerary is way too packed. Five locales in 11 nights? Consider the time needed to get from place to place, and you've greatly limited the time available at each place. I understand the desire to see it all, but Italy isn't going anywhere, and skipping a place or two will give you a reason to go back. Which one(s) to skip? I dunno. Some of that depends on your interests and must-see priorities.

Venice canal-side? I've stayed in Venice many times, but only once along the Grand Canal -- great room at the Hotel Principe, with a nice balcony overlooking the canal. Wasn't bothered at all by the noise, hustle-bustle. Now, it's worth to you the extra money, I dunno that, either. You'll have plenty of opportunities to sit and have a drink or a meal along the canal. You'll have to decide if you also need that view from your room.

The "Tuscan" experience will probably require a car and a bit of planning to do on your own. You might consider staying in Florence and hiring a good guide for a one-day tour of Tuscany, or taking a bus to Siena on your own. I and some others here have used Luca at hillsandroads.com as a guide. He's great, knows Tuscany and speaks excellent English.

>>we also don't want to come home needing a vacation from our vacation.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:16 PM
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Venice, Rome and the AC I would do it in reverse. Fly to Naples and a private transfer, 4 nights. Rome by shuttle or private transfer 3 or 4, Venice 3 or 4, Fly out of Venice.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:22 PM
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Congrats in advance on your wedding, Lauren! I agree with the others that this itinerary seems very, um, ambitious Assuming your airline tickets are already bought I would suggest either Venice-Florence-Naples or Venice-Rome-Naples. If you're more into antiquities I would lean towards Rome, if Renaissance art is more your thing or a day of wine tasting is Tuscany is a must have then go with Florence. Rome has a ton of Renaissance stuff as well of course, so if you don't have a great need to get off into the countryside then Rome has more than enough to keep you busy for as long as you want to stay there.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:40 PM
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I would drop the Amalfi Coast because you are going in March. I am not a fan of seaside places that are quite seasonal during off-season.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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If you haven't booked flights, I would fly home from Rome. Naples doesn't have any flights to the states without changing in Europe somewhere so you would probably have to get a very early departure flight. I would limit the places to three. Pick which ones you feel your trip won't be complete without.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 12:51 PM
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We are doing a similar trip doing Florence (4 night- 3 full days), Amalfi Coast (3 night- 2 full days)and flying home from Rome (4 nights- 3 full days). When we went to Florence last time we did a full day Tuscany tour with Walk About Florence, they off a bus tour to surrounding Tuscany towns, including Sienna and Pisa and supply lunch at an Organic Winery, that gave us a good taste of the Tuscany countryside and no car rental needed. We will also be hiring a private driver for a full day in Amalfi to get us to the various villages. Congrats on your wedding!!
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 01:05 PM
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My wife and I had a March honeymoon in Florence!

I would suggest you drop the Amalfi Coast from this trip unless you are itching to see Pompeii. There is a similar ruin near rome.

If you haven't booked your flight, check to see if you can get a cheap flight to Boston, preferably, otherwise Chicago, Washington,or New York. The flights are much cheaper out of these cities, Boston in particular. They have a lot of specials that are going on and off. I booked a trip to take my son and some of this friends to Europe this coming March and the cost was Nashville-Boston, $123 r/t on JetBlue, then Bos-Lon with open jaw return from Copenhagen for about $300 r/t. Anyway, just play around with Google Flights and see what is out there.

I am assuming you are going coach. If so, when picking your flights, use Seat Guru to checkout the seat sizes. Many airlines now use 10-across seating for the 777, 747, and 787. These are ultra-narrow seats with no seat "pairs," only three-or four-across, and extremely uncomfortable. If you can't find a nine-across 777, look for 767s and Airbus planes.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 05:45 PM
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I would add time to Venice and Rome and bag the AC. A seaside resort in off season, with many hotels and restaurants closed, ferries not running and if it rains not much to do but sit in a hotel room would not be my choice.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 07:43 PM
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I would drop the Amalfi Coast and Naples, too many places and too little time. I would add a night to Venice and a night in Rome.

In Venice, while there are hotels along the Grand Canal, there are of course many canals and with hotels where you do not hear lots of street noise. Your budget may well determine your hotel choice.

I would stay in Florence, and take a day trip. You really need a car to explore Tuscany and it doesn't pay for such a short visit.

Fly home from Rome, as there are many more flights to chose from, and better flight times.
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 08:24 PM
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I too would drop the AC and Naples with your time schedule and time of year. Add one of those three nights to Venice and the other 2 to Rome. Budget for Hotels?
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 08:29 PM
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I agree with the comments above, particularly re limiting the locations. And not planning on visiting the Amalfi coast area in March.

As for Venice, Florence, Rome and/or the rural Tuscan countryside, make that decision based on your interests. If you like museums, and love the Renaissance, then definitely include Florence. And if you like ancient Rome, then, well, spend more time in Rome.

In terms of where to stay in Venice. I like the parts of the Cannaregio neighborhood that border on the San Marco neighborhood, because it (to me) has a less touristy feel, and there are hotels on the canals in that neighborhood. The last couple of trips, we've stayed on or near Campo Santa Maria Formosa. It's very close to Piazza San Marco, but not totally in the middle of thousands of tourists; depending on where you stay, you can be on a canal, and the Campo has some nice people-watching cafes. One hotel we stayed at is now, I believe, Le Marie B&B. Another hotel is off the nearby Campo Santa Marina, the Ca Bragadin.

Enjoy planning your honeymoon!
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Old Nov 15th, 2016, 11:31 PM
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Won't go back and ref who said what, just that I agree with whoever said 1 day was not enough for Venice and 1 day not enough for the Amalfi Coast, and the weather in March is not the best.

If you are thinking in terms of spending most of your time in all the great museums and cathedrals, then weather is not so important. If, however, you picture yourselves sitting outside at cafes in Rome, Venice and Florence, and strolling along the cliffs of Positano, then, unless you are lucky, March Is not a good choice
Of course, it could be unusually warm and sunny, but more likely to be very cool (even cold), windy and rainy. You might consider delaying your trip until late April or May.
Given the potential for poor weather and your little time there, I suggest cutting the AC and adding time to Rome and Venice. Your current itinerary has a lot more travel time than you probably realize.

Unless you are going business class, don't expect to really sleep well on the flight? You are young and will be running on adrenaline, but you will still probably have some jet lag. View from your room won't matter much if you are too tired to enjoy it. I have stayed on the Grand Canal and enjoyed waking up to the sounds of all the delivery boats, but friends complained and hated it.
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Old Nov 16th, 2016, 06:14 AM
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WOW! So much good info! I cannot thank you all enough.

I guess I should mention that our flights have already been booked so the dates and arrival/departure are set. Hope my marriage survives such an miserable honeymoon, FoodSnob. As far as this itinerary being insane or too packed... I mean, hey, that's why I'm here asking for advice. My mentality is "We're here. We don't know when/if we'll be back. Let's do it all." Whether or not that's the right mentality (esp. for a honeymoon) is debatable and that's why I'm depending on all of you to be my voice of reason.

We will be arriving in Venice early morning on March 20th and departing Naples early morning on March 31st. FHurdle: We got an insane deal on our open jaw flights. We are flying Delta Comfort which is an Airbus and it's a 2/4/2 seat plan. We are in one of the seat pairs towards the front of the plane so I'm hoping that the upgraded seats combined with an adult beverage and some type of sleep aid will provide me with at least some degree of rest. (A girl can dream, right?)

The weather does not deter me. I have done loads of research on what the weather is like that time of the year and from what I understand, the latter part of March does provide more Spring-like weather. It's almost like that is the turning point for the weather in Italy. Mid to late March. I am expecting the temps to be in the mid-50s which is perfectly fine with me. I'm from Texas, where we wear sandals on Christmas, so I am prepared to fully embrace the cooler weather.

I'm okay with scraping the AC. Seems like it's not worth the detour that time of the year and that will allow me to enjoy more time in the cities we are already planning on visiting. Maybe even take a nap or two? *Gasp* Would Cinque Terre be a good alternative or is that still too far out of the way and not a good time due to the season?

At this point, it's looking more likely to add nights to our other destinations and fit in a couple of day trips. We plan on indulging in as much Italian wine as possible so renting a car probably isn't going to happen for us, but it sounds like there are ways to see the countryside and go on day trips without renting a car. We will have to end up back in Naples but I think one day and night there will be fine. We can visit the museum or Herculaneum and enjoy some of their pizza.

Our hotel budget is just going to have to be a lump sum amount because the hotel prices range so much from place to place. We have budgeted $2000 for our lodging. Hopefully this will allow us to stay in some decent places and if I have enough to "splurge" on one of our stays, that would be ideal.

I probably overlooked some questions, but just ask again. I am SO appreciative of all of you and the time you are taking to provide input. It is so helpful. Thank you, truly.
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Old Nov 16th, 2016, 08:07 AM
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You need more time on Venice. You'll be jet lagged the day you arrive. Take the days from Amalfi Coadt add visit Tuscany too, stay there. Otherwise this trip is too rushed, too little time anywhere.
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Old Nov 16th, 2016, 11:24 AM
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We found premium economy worth the extra money. I think you'll be glad you popped for this.

I prefer fewer places, fewer hotel changes, so I'm happy to see you're willing to forego the Amalfi Coast on this trip. I would skip the Cinque Terre. It presents the same problems as the AC but is farther off your basic route.

There are several easy day trips out of Florence using public transportation. People often say Florence is all about Renaissance art, but nearby Montecatini is Belle Epoque in the lower, spa town and medieval in the upper village (connected by funicular). Siena and San Gimignano are also medieval towns. Arezzo is mostly medieval, and Bologna and Lucca are a mix of Renaissance and medieval.

Your hotel budget is tight but very doable. You'll probably find you need to spend a little more in Venice compared to Florence and Rome. A canal view room in Venice might blow the budget, but you can check. I like the booking.com website for research but often book directly with hotels. Not every hotel participates on sites like booking.com.

I can recommend the Tourist House Ghiberti in Florence where we've stayed a few times. They are showing availability for your dates at daily rates of less than 100 euros. In Rome, the Hotel Fontanella Borghese is offering classic double rooms for your week at about $135/night.

http://www.touristhouseghiberti.com/

http://www.fontanellaborghese.com/en/
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Old Nov 16th, 2016, 02:22 PM
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We have stayed on tne Grand Canal and on other small ones. We couldn't get much sleep overlooking the GC and a vaporetto stop. It is a magical city with many charming neighborhoods to explore.
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