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Planning to travel to Italy April/May 2020

Planning to travel to Italy April/May 2020

Old Jan 15th, 2020, 07:51 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
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Planning to travel to Italy April/May 2020

Hello Fodor's!

I have been reading along here and this site is such a great resource! ...especially for someone like me who is planning their first international trip. (My husband and I have gone to a few other countries, but each on our own, and not having to plan it for ourselves--family trips, college course trips, work trips, etc.)

So we have 2 questions to start with:

1) Are we off course to think we can feasibly plan a 10-14 trip to Italy for late April (after Easter) / early May 2020?? I think we have time to book hotels and tours/activities, but I'm inexperienced... Any insight would be appreciated.

2) We have gone back and forth on which cities/regions to visit. We definitely want to do Florence (my husband's pick) and Sicily (my pick based on my family heritage). We thought we might do fly to Florence -> Naples by train (since Naples would be 'on the way') and then Naples -> Sicily and then fly home (Northern CA, USA) from Sicily. BUT the flights out of Sicily were really expensive, really inconvenient, or both. So then we figured we might fly from Florence to Sicily then fly back to ??? city in the mainland. Seems like a better bet as far as flying back home, but it opens it up as to which other city to visit! We're not sure what to pick / how to pick. Any suggestions (on the third city or just the transportation plan in general)? From my reading here so far it seems like 3 cities/regions would be good for our intended trip length (see a few different areas but not be rushed and on the road all the time).

I'm sure we'll have more questions as we go, but it's so excited to get started on a plan!
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 08:12 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I love both Florence and Sicily, but I'm not sure it makes sense to combine them in the same 10 to 14 day trip. Seeing just the highlights of Sicily can easily take 2.5 to 3 weeks, even at a hard pace. One can see a few things in less time, of course, but one would really need to be extremely selective. You might find it useful to (a) good a really good guidebook to Sicily (perhaps the Rough Guide) and (b) read some of the planning threads on this forum -- I think you'll find a wealth of information that would prove useful to you.

Good luck with your planning!
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 08:42 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2017
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The only issue with booking now is there are two national holidays in that period (April 25th and May 1st) The second is virtually an EU wide holiday. The holidays mean it'll be high season in Florence. In general everywhere really. People will have been picking over hotels for months now.

In fourteen days you can do three stops easily enough but understand the size of Sicily means one city in Sicily not seeing all of the island.

For your flight home usually you'll find the most choice out of Rome or Milan.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 12:46 AM
  #4  
 
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Agree with kja on all points. A short trip, Sicily simply does not work well combined with the mainland, especially if you must return for a flight home. So, this time, do Sicily, or Italy, not both. For a first trip, I recommend just Italy. It is easier to see a lot in a little time. Also, you will find Italy so beautiful, you will not mind saving Sicily for a trip by itself.
Now, you must know exactly how many days you will actually have on the ground, knowing that arrival day will be too jet lagged to be useful, and departure day not really count either. You can’t plan anything without knowing that. Besides Florence, what are your interests? Art, history, architecture, food, etc.?
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 01:38 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I think you can make it happen! In my opinion you have time for both Florence and a city in Sicily.

From LAX, we fly to Milan or Rome, then take the train to Florence.

From Florence, you can fly to Catania Airport and then bus to Siracusa OR to Palermo for a few days. Then back to Rome to fly home.

We are doing something similar in September.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 01:46 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 208
Originally Posted by kja View Post
I love both Florence and Sicily, but I'm not sure it makes sense to combine them in the same 10 to 14 day trip. Seeing just the highlights of Sicily can easily take 2.5 to 3 weeks, even at a hard pace. One can see a few things in less time, of course, but one would really need to be extremely selective. You might find it useful to (a) good a really good guidebook to Sicily (perhaps the Rough Guide) and (b) read some of the planning threads on this forum -- I think you'll find a wealth of information that would prove useful to you.

Good luck with your planning!
same here.
We spent 3 weeks in Sicily and didn't see half of it.
I would do Firenze 4-5 days and Venice or Rome or ...
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 01:54 AM
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It's an impractical plan, based on emotion rather than logistics, and that's fine in theory, but I wouldn't follow through with it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 03:12 AM
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I think you answered your own question when you said flights to Sicily were inconvenient and expensive.

As someone who has to fly from a medium size air travel market, and who doesnt get to go frequently, I try get the most for my dollar and time. I look at how much time and money it takes to get to a destination vs how long I will be able to BE there. Will I be able to see and do what I want?

That is why when I went to Sicily I went for 3.5 weeks. It took two connections each way. I was able to see all of my first priorities, but on!y a couple of my secondary list. Of course, I wished I could have had another week or two!

You can have a great trip booking at this point, but flights may be full and more expensive at this point. Check a few different combos of open jaw flights and see. Lucky for you, you can probably fly out of a major hub and get a non stop. Look for the multi city option in your search.

As said above, you can see a lot of Italy if you concentrate geographically. Rome, Florence, Tuscan countryside in between would make a lovely two week trip. If you decided on this combination of destinations, you would not have to fly open jaw due to reasonable travel distances. That might help you planning somewhat.
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Last edited by Dayle; Jan 16th, 2020 at 03:16 AM.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 03:14 AM
  #9  
 
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Define your family related place to visit in Sicily and check which places worth to see you find around it.
According to the area you choose, you will fly from Milan/Rome/Pisa to Palermo, Trapani, Comiso, Catania.or Reggio Calabria.
There is also a very comfortable Grimaldi ferry between Livorno (port of Florence) and Palermo and a GNV overnight ferry between Civitavecchia (port of Rome) and Palermo.
Florence - Messina by overnight train takes 10 hrs (3 1/2 hrs more up to Siracusa or Palermo).
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 07:56 AM
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I combined Sicily with Rome once and it worked well. The trip was two weeks. We flew into Palermo, stayed a couple days in the city, picked up a car, drove down to Agrigento stopping at Segesta, o/n in the countryside outside of Agrigento, then on to Modica for a few days with a day trip from there to Villa Romana del Casale, then on to Siracusa/Ortigia for several days. Flew to Rome from CTA and spent five days in Rome before heading home.

We had all been to Rome several times before, so had no agenda, no list of must-see sites there, and it was the relaxing part of the holiday. Sicily was very fast-paced, lots of driving. I loved it, but I (the sole driver) was pretty tired by the time we got to Rome.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 10:02 PM
  #11  
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Thank you all for your feedback! We will consider it and revise our plan some. I should mention that while it sounds wonderful to take a longer trip as some folks mentioned, this is what fits into our lives right now as young(ish) professionals.
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Old Jan 17th, 2020, 04:34 AM
  #12  
 
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Celeste, if you can, I suggest staying on the mainland this trip and saving a trip to Sicily for later. Do some research on your family's history and see if you can pinpoint the towns where they came from.

I took a trip to my grandparents' hometown and saw the house where my grandfather was born and where my great uncle lived until his death. In the meals I had, I recognized the same flavors and dishes that my Abruzzese grandmother cooked. I sometimes was able to catch the characteristic dialect, which drops the vowel endings (so that's why my grandmother said prosciutt-, cavetell-, caggionett-).

It would make for a very meaningful trip for you and not just the usual tourist check offs.
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