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Please critique my Itinerary

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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:16 AM
  #1
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Please critique my Itinerary

Below is my itinerary, from 2 to 18 October. I have 15 days excluding arrival and departure days.

Arrive in Paris 2 October
Paris 3-4-5-6
Early flight to Barcelona 7
Barcelona 7-8-9-10
Evening flight to Venice 10
Venice 11-12-13
Train to Siena
Siena 14-15-16-17
(2 full days in Siena + day trips to Pienza and Montepulciano)
Fly out of Rome 18

Do you think this is a good itinerary?
Should I avoid any of these places in October?
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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:22 AM
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"Should I avoid any of these places in October?"
All of those places are very firmly on the tourist trail and are busy with tourists 12 months of the year. The only thing I would say is that if you do not like crowds, go somewhere else.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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Your itinerary is fine. You will find tourists in all of these places but fewer than in the summer months. And the weather in early October is usually great. Is this your first trip to Italy? If so, I would substitute Rome for Siena. A day in Siena is plenty. In any case, you should stay in or near Rome the night prior to your departure.

Have a great trip.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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I don't mind crowds. I was talking about the weather. I tried to search for weather history in but I couldn't find data for Montepulciano or Pienza.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:36 AM
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mamcalice, thanks for your reply.
No, it's not my first trip to Italy .I spent a week in Rome last year. But I would love to explore Southen Tuscany this time. I won't be driving, which is why I based myself in Siena.
You say the itinerary is fine. How can I make it "excellent"?
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Jul 15th, 2012, 06:24 AM
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"I was talking about the weather."
Well, you didn´t actually specify that.

However, by October the autumn/fall will have started so you may very well have rain to contend with anywhere in Europe, including Southern Europe.

How much rain? Unfortunately all we can give you are historical records. Nobody can tell you what the weather will be like in October 2012.
http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/Paris-Orly/71490.htm
http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/B...erto/81810.htm
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Jul 15th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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We were in Montalcino in May and found that it wasn't crowded at all...I would imagine by October the crowds have subsided. In contrast, we got to Rome and it was very busy.

Venice is pretty much alway busy.

We liked Siena but found it very busy compared to the area around Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano and prefer the Val d'Orcia as a base for the amazing beauty. Are you renting a car? It will give you so much more freedom to visit the countryside which is part of the attraction of the region.

It's an interesting choice of destinations. I prefer to fly into one destination and out of another...taking train in between or driving...keeping it to a smaller geographical area. I personally would leave Barcelona for another trip.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 07:11 AM
  #8
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Thank you crazyfortevel. No, I'm not going to rent a car on this first trip to Tuscany. Maybe next year. I am planning to stay in Siena and take the bus to the Val D'Orcia hill towns. Do you think I should base myself in Pienza, instead?
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Jul 15th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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You plan to stay in Siena the night of the 17th, then fly out of Rome the next day? Using the train to get to the airport? Or bus?

I don't recommend this. In fact, in Italy I make it a rule to be in or very near my town of departure the night before. Too much can go wrong: strikes, breakdowns, traffic jams. If you miss your flight home, what happens? Is your ticket invalidated? Will you have to pay full fare for a new ticket? Fortunately flights are not so full in October, so you could probably catch a flight the next day or so.

Venice is always busy but also always worth seeing. Find a hotel in Venice proper but away from the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto. Those are crowded, busy places. And, for getting from the airport into Venice, check out the Alilaguna: http://alilaguna.it/en. It's cheaper than a private taxi but still an exciting way to arrive.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 07:44 AM
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OP didn't specify an aversion to tourists either, Tony, but that didn't stop you from instructing against travel to Paris, Spain, or Italy, ever, if crowds were disliked.

A link to yearly averages on average temperature, days of rain, and wind speed also isn't going to help with the question of what October might be like. OP didn't even mention rain, much less ask "how much rain", either.


Kodak: Try this site for a summary of weather conditions over any date range specified, as well as detailed daily records for the same date range going back 15 years. You are probably safe to load Florence for Montepulciano and Pienza. They might be a couple of degrees cooler because of their situation in the hills. The site seems to want to throw in the island of Elba's station when you select Siena, so I think one should stick to Florence.

http://tinyurl.com/82boall
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Jul 15th, 2012, 08:04 AM
  #11
ira
 
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Hi KM,

Not bad at all.

Why so long in Siena instead of in Florence?

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Jul 15th, 2012, 08:13 AM
  #12
 
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I think you itinerary looks good. You could make it excellent by renting a car for the time you are in Tuscany. It is easy and inexpensive IF you can drive a manual transmission. It opens up your options for exploring as well as options for staying. However, you can still have a good trip as you have outlined, basing yourself in Siena and depending on buses, or taking a local tour or two to get around.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Since KodakMoment did not even acknowledge my last reply posted at 3:24pm, I will keep my counsel.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 08:30 AM
  #14
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ira, my main objective is to see the hill towns around Siena, so I figured it would make a better base than Florence.

I would love to see Florence, but not sure how. Doesn't Florence warrant 3 days on its own? I only have 4 days in Tuscany.

Mimar, I will make sure to be in Rome on my departure day. The Alilaguna sounds like a great idea. I didn't know about it.

Aramis, thanks for the link!
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Jul 15th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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I think your itinerary works fine.

Not sure which day you are taking the train from Venice to Sienna, 13 or 14? I would definitely stay in Rome the night before a flight out.

Now, it is just me, so only a personal pref, but I would not include Barcelona on this trip - more travel time (and money) eating up time that could be on the ground. I would visit Florence instead and add time to Venice to see nearby towns/cities (Vicenza, Padova, Verona). You will already be in Italy. Why not use the time to more thoroughly explore this beautiful country?

You said you want to see hill towns in Tuscany. Skipping Barcelona would give you time to include Luca (easy by train from Florence) and San Gimignano.

You could even add a day to Paris for a day trip there.

At any rate, fewer bases - more actual sight seeing. Again, only my opinion.

OTOH, Barcelona does have Gaudi's architecture!
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Jul 15th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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I think Florence makes more sense in this trip than Barcelona, since you are so near and want to go there.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 02:41 PM
  #17
 
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I agree with Sassafrass and Jubilada that if you haven't already purchased your airline tickets that adding Florence may make sense over Barcelona for logistics alone.

I'm not sure Pienza or Montepulciano would make a better base without a vehicle. I just know that most of the enjoyment of our trip came from roaming the Tuscan backroads. A car rental enhanced our experience. Perhaps there are others that have travelled the area by bus that can chime in with their thoughts. If I'm not mistaken, Bobthenavigator travels this area quite frequently by train and bus.

Siena is lovely and without a car may make a good base. We loved Orvieto and wished we had more time to explore. It's on the way to Rome and may an interesting destination to add to the mix. Lucca, San Gimignano and Florence have all been mentioned and all worthy of consideration.

If you click on my name, you should get my trip report of Tuscany and Umbria. Unfortunately, my Kodak photos are inaccessible until they're converted to Shutterfly. The Val d'Orcia is dreamy...just like walking into a water colour.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 02:52 PM
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Sorry, I changed my log in details somewhere along the way as I had originally had an email address that changes and had complications getting my account changed.

The link to my trip report is under this thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...--may-2006.cfm
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Jul 15th, 2012, 04:08 PM
  #19
 
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Folks;

The OP knows where Florence is, and can easily figure out that dropping Barcelona would give them the time to See Florence in addition to the hill towns around Siena. But they don't want to do that. I guess they just want to see Barcelona on this trip even if most of you wouldn't.

They are going back to Tuscany next year.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 05:05 PM
  #20
 
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Aramis...the OP asked:

Do you think this is a good itinerary?

We are entitled to given our opinions...for what it is worth and the OP can disregard our advice or opinions if they so choose.
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