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our italian itinerary: would love feedback!

our italian itinerary: would love feedback!

Jan 5th, 2012, 01:22 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2
our italian itinerary: would love feedback!

For the past two weeks I have immersed myself in italian research and am loving it! This forum has been very helpful so far. I'd love to now throw out our preliminary itinerary for your professional opinions.

My husband and I are traveling from June 6-June 18 2012 (from California). The only thing set in stone are our flights into Venice and out of Rome. I've been to italy (rome, florence) before, but my husband has not. We love a mix of down time and sightseeing. My preference would be more time in fewer smaller towns, while my husband wants to see as much as possible! So, we need a balance. Here's what I have so far.

Day 1 arrive on flight into Venice (am)
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 midday train to Florence
Day 4 Florence
Day 5 Florence
Day 6 Train to the Amalfi Coast
Day 7 Amalfi Coast
Day 8 Amalfi Coast
Day 9 travel to Rome
Day 10 Rome
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome
Day 13 fly home

Here are the current questions:
-do we have enough time in Venice? I picture us wandering the streets/canals and eating good food there. Getting our italian feet under us.
-is there enough time for a day trip into Tuscany from florence? Maybe a rental car for one day? I would love to see tuscany (even just a taste of it) yet I know there is much to see and do.
-Lake Como is one of the main places we VERY reluctantly cut out of the itinerary. My husband still wants to squeeze it in, but I think it would require taking out florence or rome altogether. thoughts?
-The amalfi coast is a must. I can't wait to soak it in. Still trying to figure out what our days would look like there, what town to stay in, etc.
-While we appreciate history and art, we are not ones to sit and pour over every detail of a ruin or take a long museum tour. We would rather take a boat ride or hike over going to a museum. We were thinking of exploring Rome efficiently and may take a day from Rome to put elsewhere.
-With the above in mind, should we hit pompeii on our way from the AC to Rome?

Wow, I think that's enough for now.
Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
elizabethdiane is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
Not bad. You really do need more time in Venice--you really only have one day. Picking your location on the AC is always key. Do your homework in advance to make the right choice for you. You can only train as far as Sorrento.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:16 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 821
So many questions, so little time! Just as a preface fort my response when you get more answers, is we spent 2 months there (Venice 10 days, Florence 1 month, Siena and Perugia, a week each, and then Rome) in Sept-Nov 2009 when I retired after spending about 3 years planning the trip

Are you flying CA to Rome and then on to Venice? If so, then you could do the trip in reverse order going in one direction, Rome, coast, Florence, then Venice.

Even before I saw your plans, I thought: not enough time in Venice--at least that other 1/2 day.

Are you set on the coast? I might want to cut out one day and add it to Florence to get your Tuscan tour in. I'm not sure you need the hassle of renting a car to get to the countryside. Florence is HORRIBLE for driving and very famous for traffic camera issued tickets arriving in your mailbox 6-8 months after you arrive home.

After many trips to Rome, we finally did the Scavi tour under St. Peter's and would highly recommend. It does appear from what I've read that new sights open frequently around the city frequently after years of refurbishment. Ciao!
jan47ete is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:22 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
We love a mix of down time and sightseeing. My preference would be more time in fewer smaller towns, while my husband wants to see as much as possible! So, we need a balance>>

honestly, elizabeth, i think that you husband is going to be getting his wish - and you do know the old saying about being careful what you wish for, don't you? you have 4 destinations in 12 days - so an average of 3 nights each which works out at only two whole days. ok, you're giving Rome a decent amount of time, but you'll barely have recovered from jetlag when you arrive in Venice, before you're leaving it!

Really, i think that the trip would be less frantic [and therefore more enjoyable] if you dropped one place, and the obvious place to drop is florence, particularly as you say that you'd rather walk or hike than see a museum.

so i suggest the following:

Day 1 arrive on flight into Venice (am)
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 Venice [one extra night]
Day 4 Train to the Amalfi Coast
Day 5 amalfi
Day 6 amalfi
Day 7 Amalfi [two extra nights]
Day 8 Amalfi
Day 9 travel to Rome
Day 10 Rome
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome [same no of nights]
Day 13 fly home

you could always include a trip to tivoli or Orvieto in your itinerary in rome if you want to get out of the city for a day. you are gaining 2 nights on the amalfi but still only have 5 there [which is 4 whole days] which is barely enough to soak it all in, let alone to get to Pompeii as well!
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:26 PM
  #5  
 
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<<<<<-do we have enough time in Venice? I picture us wandering the streets/canals and eating good food there. Getting our italian feet under us.

There's a possibility you might not really get a good impression of Venice in two nights if you factor in jet lag and that Venice has the worst price/quality FOOD ratio in all of Italy (that said, it might not get any better if you drag it out). If you expect an exotic trippy experience, you could really enjoy it. But tourist Venice is actually very surreal. You can do it as planned, but it's best to have an idea planted in the back of your mind that you are really just there for an explosive bit of fun, and vivid impressions (and not, by any stretch, to get grounded in Italy). Still, this could be a really fantastic way to start out this really nice trip you have planned.

<<<<<<-is there enough time for a day trip into Tuscany from florence? Maybe a rental car for one day? I would love to see tuscany (even just a taste of it) yet I know there is much to see and do.

Just play it by ear. Get to Florence, see how you feel, know in advance what a car might cost and how you might rent one if you feel like it (exorbitant for one day, but maybe worth it), and consider more low-key alternatives for a daytrip like express bus to Siena or train to Pisa.


<<<<<<<-We would rather take a boat ride or hike over going to a museum. We were thinking of exploring Rome efficiently and may take a day from Rome to put elsewhere.

Opinions and experiences vary widely. I don't really enjoy Rome, and though I go to Italy at least twice a year I don't go there - - but others LIVE for the experience. If you really prefer sensual delights, simple delicious pleasures, movement, and more fluid beauty then you could actually easily drop a day from Rome. Or two.


>>>>>-With the above in mind, should we hit pompeii on our way from the AC to Rome?

Pompeii is a world class, and it portrays a world that is very much like ours, with the similarities in human experience vivified, and the differences just as jaw-dropping. But consider also Herculaneum, closer to Naples. I'm really glad I saw Pompeii - - do it if you can - - though Herculaneum has richer memories, for me. Want to read a great, great book before you go? My favorite book of all time is this one - - it will describe to you in detail what Rome and ancient Italy is all about:

http://www.amazon.com/Day-Life-Ancie.../dp/1933372710
dfourh is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 03:18 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9
I would never drop Florence. It is a beautiful city and very romantic. Two days in Venice is plenty and add more days to Rome. When you arrive in the Amalfi Coast you won't want to leave. Positano is incredible. In Capri make sure you go all the way to the top and have lunch in the restaurant at the top of the hill. Amazing! Enjoy your trip.
jaxgirl5858 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 03:26 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
jazgirl - where is the op going to get those extra days for Rome from? she's already only got 1 day in Venice in her itinerary so nothing to cut back there, florence is essential according to you, and she "won't want to leave the amalfi".

sorry, you can't get a quart into a pint pot!
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 04:34 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 105
Just returned from a 15 day, 13 on the ground trip;
arrived Rome, train to Venice
4 nights in Venice, train to Florence
4 nights in Florence, train to Rome,
5 nights in Rome

We did two day trips from Florence;
one to Assisi, essentially a full day, back to Florence for dinner
one to Siena & San Gimignano

Save anything south of Rome for your next trip, there is plenty more to see
CUFFLNX is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 05:32 PM
  #9  
 
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Posts: 2,343
elizabeth;

Straight to your questions;

"-do we have enough time in Venice? I picture us wandering the streets/canals and eating good food there. Getting our italian feet under us."

I don't think many people would say that 1.5 days, one of them jet lagged, is "enough" for Venice, but if you want to see these four destinations something has to give and you have selected Venice. That's fine, just accept that one place gets short shrift decide which one and live with the result.

A second vote for Venetian food not being anything to write home about. Relatively speaking, it does not inspire.

You will be getting your feet under you - walking and walking and walking...

"-is there enough time for a day trip into Tuscany from florence? Maybe a rental car for one day? I would love to see tuscany (even just a taste of it) yet I know there is much to see and do."

Less than 2.5 days in Florence leaves very very little time for a day trip out of the city. You do say you would rather hike or take a boat ride rather than visit museums, so it may be a time squeeze you want to make to get into the Tuscan hills. Just make sure you plan that day trip very efficiently.

"Lake Como is one of the main places we VERY reluctantly cut out of the itinerary. My husband still wants to squeeze it in, but I think it would require taking out Florence or Rome altogether. thoughts?"

If you are sacrificing Venice to get in 4 stops, Lake Como would mean what else? If you take the day from Rome you are willing to give up still have bit of a logistical problem getting to Como from Venice in time to do anything significant before you are in bed needing to get up and move on to Florence the next day. Yes, I think if Como goes in something else has to be dropped.


"-The amalfi coast is a must. I can't wait to soak it in. Still trying to figure out what our days would look like there, what town to stay in, etc."

Okay, musts are musts. Your time here will still be limited after coming from Florence, so pick some place you can get to, and from, easily, like Sorrento. You would probably like to go farther south and stay in something quainter - you might have to take that day from Rome and add it here to accomplish that. The AC offers more of the active touring possibilities that you expressed a preference for than any of the other places, it might be worth a thought.

"-While we appreciate history and art, we are not ones to sit and pour over every detail of a ruin or take a long museum tour. We would rather take a boat ride or hike over going to a museum. We were thinking of exploring Rome efficiently and may take a day from Rome to put elsewhere. -With the above in mind, should we hit pompeii on our way from the AC to Rome?"

Tough call - why don't you see what the logistics will be like in getting to Rome, from your AC base and then decide if Pompeii makes a viable stopover?

The bittersweet sorrow trying to wedge all of "you" into some of "there". Travel is certainly a demanding mistress.
Aramis is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 08:49 PM
  #10  
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bobthenavigator- sorrento may be an option, but my AC research has just begun! thanks.

jan47ete- we are flying directly into venice and out of rome, so the reverse isn't possible. thanks for the tips on driving (we are ticket prone folks) and the scavi tour. I will definitely look into it. Someday maybe we'll take a 2 month trip to italy too!

annhig- I'm intrigued by your idea of leaving out florence and adding more time to the coast. How might you spend four full days there? What is your favorite spot to stay?

dfourh- I appreciate you answering my questions! you have a beautiful writing style, btw. It's funny, with all the research and planning, it's still tempting to play things by ear a bit (like you mentioned in florence). I will also be looking into Herculaneum and your book recommendation. Oh, and thanks for saying we have a nice trip planned too

jaxgirl5858- are you talking about the chairlift up monte solaro?

cufflnx- your trip sounds wonderful. did you write a review here I can read??

aramis-- thank you for answering each of my questions! that's pretty much how I felt about venice. something had to give and there wasn't a lot on my list to do there besides see the amazing canals you dream about Your thoughts on Como were mine exactly. 4 hours each way equals a day of travel. My hubbie is going to have to choose. I think everyone is correct in saying we are doing a bit TOO much and can't squeeze more in. As for the amalfi coast, do you have a favorite smaller city? You had me at "quaint"...

This forum is fabulous. keep the ideas coming!
elizabethdiane is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 02:37 AM
  #11  
 
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annhig- I'm intrigued by your idea of leaving out florence and adding more time to the coast. How might you spend four full days there? What is your favorite spot to stay?>>

i am tempted to say Elizabeth that with your enthusiasm to see Amalfi you might have had some ideas of your own, but off the top of my head, Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, Capri, mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Naples, Amalfi itself...but anything resembling a snarky comment is now [unofficially] banned, so i will forbear. suffice to say that anywhere you stay will give you plenty to see in that area. there are plenty of trip reports from fodorites who have stayed there, and as many favourite places to stay as there are trip reports.

time to get out that guide book I think!
annhig is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 04:28 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 81
If you don't mind moving quickly through monuments and museums (which it sounds like you don't) you could probably cut out a day of Rome and add an extra day in Florence for a day trip. Or even spend a night somewhere in Tuscany and train from there to Amalfi if there is a train that does that. When we went to Italy we only had an afternoon in Rome (came in from Tuscany, flew out next morning) and were able to see the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Forum just by walking around all afternoon and staying out pretty late. Rome is really not that big if you like walking.
Tubulus is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 09:04 AM
  #13  
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I agree that you don't have enough days in Venice, especially considering the jet lag you will be dealing with coming from California (I like in Oregon, so I know it all too well). So here is my suggested itinerary:

Day 1 arrive on flight into Venice (am)
Day 2 Venice
Day 3 Venice
Day 4 morning train to Florence
Day 5 Florence
Day 6 Florence
Day 7 morning train Salerno, then ferry to Positano or Amalfi
Day 8 Amalfi Coast
Day 9 Amalfi Coast
Day 10 ferry to Salerno, train to Pompeii, visit Pompeii, then train to Rome (or driver to Pompeii, then train to Rome)
Day 11 Rome
Day 12 Rome
Day 13 fly home

For the A/C, I would suggest either Positano or Amalfi as your base, due to the transportation options and activities in either town. Personally, I chose Positano for our June trip, but do a little research and see which sounds better to you.

I respectfully disagree with the comment about Venetian food not being that great. We have had some fantastic meals in Venice, whether eating cicchetti in a bar or dinner at a wonderful little restaurant. You just need to do your research. Chowhound is a wonderful resource for restaurant planning. I have posted a couple of trip reports on slowtrav and I might have posted them here also - can't remember.

No matter what your plans, you will have a wonderful trip!


For the A/C
ekc is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 05:44 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 105
Look for - Venice, Florence, Rome 13 days
CUFFLNX is offline  

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