Please critique our Italy trip!

Jul 20th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Please critique our Italy trip!

We are 3 couples & one single lady going to Italy 19 May to 6 June, 2008. The only definite thing we've done is to reserve a villa in Lucca for the week of May 24. Also we've made reservations at Anne's Place for the Rome part. Please help with the rest!
Here is what we are planning:
20 May: arrive in Milan. Go to Varenna for 2 nights
22 May: Venice for 2 nights. Where to stay?
24 May: One week in our Lucca villa. Rent car.
31 May: 2 nights in Sorrento for Pompeii. Where to stay?
June 2: 4 nights Rome
June 6: Depart from FCO
How does this sound so far? Any tips on best way to travel from city to city? Also, what to do for our week in Tuscany?
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
graytongirl is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Because of the number of people in your party, I'm assuming train travel between city destinations.

Do you realize your door-to-door journey from Varenna hotel to Venice hotel will take more than 10 hours? Venice to Lucca more than 6 hours?

If it were my trip, I'd skip Varenna and add the time to Venice. Otherwise, you're really only spending one full day in Venice. As an alternative to traveling directly to Venice on arrival, consider spending the first day and night in Milan and heading to Venice the next morning.

What to do in Tuscany for a week? Well, what made you decide to go there? Scenery? Food? Wine? Art? Your interests should be your guide.
Jean is online now  
Jul 21st, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Thank you for your response.
How does this sound?
Fly into Venice & stay for 3 nights. Then on to Florence to pick up rental car. Spend one night somewhere on way to Lucca.

graytongirl is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Hi G,

>How does this sound?
Fly into Venice & stay for 3 nights. Then on to Florence to pick up rental car. Spend one night somewhere on way to Lucca.

It is about 1 hr by car from Florence to Lucca; why would you want to stop?

How much time in Florence?

How important is Pompeii?

ira is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 11:37 AM
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"Door to door Varenna to Venice more than 10 hours"?

Looking at the Monday, July 23, 2007 schedule, there is a train leaving Varenna every 2 hours or so. If one took the 12:21 train from Varenna, arrive in Milano 13:30; ES train Milano departs 13:55, arrives in Venice S. Lucia 16:15 for total train travel time of 3:54. Allowing for leaving and arrival, time consumed is nothing like 10 hours.
lovisa is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 03:08 PM
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OK, lovisa. I'll revise my statement.

Although the train journey Varenna to Venice may take only(!) four hours city-to-city, you can't arrive in Venice before late afternoon. Add time to get from/to the hotels and check out/in, and you have lost a day.

It doesn't change my recommendation to drop Varenna from this trip.

Graytongirl, flying into Venice is a great improvement on your itinerary.
Jean is online now  
Jul 21st, 2007, 03:57 PM
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We did the opposite and went from Venice to Bellagio and as much as we both loved Bellagio, my husband and I agree we did waste a whole day in traveling. Granted with Bellagio we had to take the hydrofoil and all that. It is a tough call because it is an incredible area and I would receommend it to anyone for just a day, but it is tough to lose a whole day traveling. For us, it was a pleasant break after fighting the crowds and heat of Rome, Florence and Venice.
As for Venice, we stayed at the Foscari Palace and I can't recommend it enough. The location was perfect. Easy access to the vaporetto and a very nice area to be in during the evenings. It wasn't as crowded as right by St. Mark's. Plus, for as much as I heard about how few Italians actually live in Venice now, they must all live in this area because we saw a ton going to and from work, walking dogs, etc... it was very nice.
jcepk1 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 05:45 PM
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I am assuming that you are aware that Anne's Place is not in Rome. It is very far away. Well, relatively. Staying in Palestrina is not the same as staying in Rome. If you were to be chauffered, with no parking worries, it would take you about an hour to get to any central spot in Rome.

I am not sure about public transportation. I read the Anne's Place website, and I found the transportation options to be vaguely explained. Unless you are keeping your car, it won't be all that easy to get 7 people to Palestrina. You will have to get there by train, probably changing in Rome, then on to the B&B.
I would think twice about this. I suppose I would stay there if there were specific attractions in that area, but for Rome, no way.

Yes, it says it is 30 minutes by train to Termini, but how long to the train station in Zagarolo? And free transfer to Palestrina town would be the least they could do for me. Why see Palestrina if you haven't seen Rome? 70 Euro for the transfer to FCO seems ok, I guess, but will they take all seven of you?

I don't even like to stay in the lesser central tourist neighborhoods in Rome, and your choice is about an hour from Rome itself. I think if you are staying 4 nights, you would be very wise to switch to accomodations in Rome. You could get a large apartment, or a hotel on the Metro, bus or train lines right in the city.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 06:10 PM
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I forgot to add that the Foscari Palace, recommended above for Venice, is a relatively expensive hotel. I'm guessing from your choice of Anne's Place that it isn't in your budget. However, do a search here for budget hotels in Venice, and you will see many recommendations.

And if someone recommends that you stay in Mestre or on Lido, save those suggestions for your trip to Mestre or Lido. They aren't Venice.

I have seen some very good rates for hotels near the train station in Venice.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 06:11 PM
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It depends on what the seven of you enjoy. I'd give up either Verenna OR Venice....and probably Venice on this trip. It IS some "out of the way" and the logistics of getting 7 of you there, and around the city might not work as peacefully as: a relaxing trip to Varenna and the Bellagio/Lake Como area after arriving in Milan. THEN back down to your place in Lucca.
After that week you could then go on to wonderful/beautiful/interesting Sorrento. Lots to do there, Pompeii takes several hours, OR a short boat ride to visit Capri,; OR a tour of the Amalfi Coast, OR just walking the lovely streets of Sorrento. Lots of nice hotels, and it's fun to be close to the town.
Also there are some lovely hotels toward the edge with nice views over the water and a shuttle to the town center.
After Sorrento you could then go on down to Rome as planned.
If you go to a location for "2 nights", which you have several of,, that means you will only be in that place ONE DAY! (the day after arriving in Milan and going to Varenna/Bellagio you will be perhaps a little jet lagged (though I don't know where you are flying from.
mari5 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 06:30 PM
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You will have to rent more than one car because 7 people plus luggage won't even fit in a minivan. I would plan to arrive late as possible to Lucca for your first night there. It will give you more time elsewhere. I would also plan to leave Lucca very early on your last day since the bulk of your time is there and it's a small city. You might consider keeping your car(s) and driving to Sorrento before turning them in.

Have you paid a deposit at Anne's Place? Can you cancel that reservation without a big fee? You really don't want to stay anywhere but central Rome.
kybourbon is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2007, 04:20 AM
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Thank you all for your wonderful help!
Ira - Our villa has a Sat. checkin. So we're considering a night in Florence.
Tuscanlifeedit & kybourbon - We haven't put a deposit on Anne's Place. We didn't realize how far away from Rome it is. We will definitely do something about that!

You guys are great! Thanks so much!
graytongirl is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2007, 05:32 AM
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I know Lucca gets a fair amount of good press, and it is a lovely walled city, but after 1 night and day there, my husband and I felt we had pretty much "been there, done that". I can't imagine a week there. And even with a car to explore Tuscany, you're pretty far north of what is envisioned when you say "Tuscany" as in "Under the ....". Towns aren't that far apart but I think you'd be doing a lot of backtracking if you plan to visit San Gimignano, Montalcino, Siena, etc. from Lucca. What about choosing a place more central like Siena or one of the smaller villages in that general area?
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