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Please Help! 12 Days In Italy mid-October

Please Help! 12 Days In Italy mid-October

Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Please Help! 12 Days In Italy mid-October

I'm planning a two week trip to Italy in October 2012. This will be my 1st trip to Europe. With travel days, we will have 12 days to tour Italy. I'd love to visit the following destinations: Venice, Piedmont Wine Region, Pisa, Florence, Rome and whatever else we can squeeze in. I do not speak Italian nor do I wish to rent a car. Is it possible to visit all or most of these areas in the time period without actually renting a vehicle? I'd prefer to use trains and/or buses. I would love to visit a winery and take a one-day cooking class plus visit some historical sites. I'm planning on flying into Venice and departing from Rome (or vice versa). Any assistance is greatly appreciated
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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If you're planning to visit Piedmont (you would really need a car for the wine region), I would fly into Milan first. You don't have as much time as it seems unless your 12 days doesn't include flight days.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:25 AM
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With 12 days on the ground (I assume you mean you have 14 days, but 2 are travel days to and from Canada?) I would pick 3 places. As Venice and Piedmonte are on opposite sides of Northern Italy I would pick 1 - probably Venice as you dont want to rent a car, which is really required for Piedmonte countryside.

I would fly into Venice spend 3 nights, train to Florence spend 4 nights with a day trip to Pisa and potentially a private tour to wineries for a day, then train to Rome and spend the remainder there flying home from Rome.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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Thanks for the response kybourbon. My trip is 14 days total with two days set aside for travel to and from Italy - so 12 days to travel around Italy. I'm wondering if it's possible to book a day tour from of one of the major cities (maybe Milan or Turin) to Piedmont that would include a driver?
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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I think Jamikins nailed it for you. It is an excellent time of year to be there. You will love Italy.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Thanks Jamikins. Your suggestion sounds more doable. I'm also curious about trains/buses. What type of transport pass is best to purchase?
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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Generally its better to book your trains directly with Trenitalia - you can see schedules and pricing here:
www.trenitalia.it
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Thanks again Jamikins. I just looked at the site. Should I book before I go or just book when I arrive?
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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CT100,

I think most who contribute to this site would agree the Trenitalia site can sometimes be "temperamental". If you have some flexibility in your schedule, meaning the time of day you could leave one destination to get to another, in my experience you can by tickets the day you travel or a day or two before. For example, using Jamikins suggested itinerary starting in Venice. Before you start your site seeing swing by the train station and purchase tickets to Florence to leave at your chosen time and day. When you get to the Florence train station, you can do the same for your next stage to Rome. Venice to Florence and Florence to Rome are popular routes with many time options so I do not think it will be an issue to wait and buy "in country"

My wife and I made our first trip to Italy 4 years ago with a similar itinerary and bought tickets after we got there with no problem.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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While I certainly agree that you should not try to see everything on your list, I don't think you necessarily have to rule out Piedmont. After all, you would not drive to a wine tasting would you? I only weigh 115 lbs, so even driving after two-three glasses of wine at dinner is out of the question. Of course you will not see every nook and cranny of Piedmont, but it would still be quite enjoyable and you could likely book drivers or tours for winery visits.
I just wanted to add that 2cents, especially considering fall is so perfect for Piedmont, but regardless I strongly advise you to pick three (4 max) places for your trip.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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I'm with jamikins. You might be able to find a wine trip from Venice to the Piedmont area. Other Fodorites??? If so, take a day from Florence. Otherwise, you should have no trouble finding a Tuscany wine/food tour out of Flo.

Since you listed Rome last, one other possibility is to fly into Venice and out of Milan and skip Rome. For me, missing Rome would be terrible but it IS a big city.
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 11:19 PM
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CT100, you have received good advice about sticking to 3 places. You really don't want to spend all your time packing/unpacking/traveling. You are only in Italy for 12 days... trust me, they move really fast. You want to "experience" it and then remember the experience after you are home.

I agree that flying into Venice and spending 3 days, then on to Florence for 4 (you can most definitely book a wine tour to Chianti or elsewhere in Tuscany for a day from Florence). Then train to Rome and depart Rome for home.

I've done this 3 times and it works well, imho.

Buon viaggio! You will LOVE Itay!
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:25 AM
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Thanks everyone for the info. I booked my flights. I'll be in Italy a little longer than originally planned. 14 day to enjoy Italy plus two travel days. Here's what I'm thinking for an itinerary:
fly into Venice - stay 2 nights - rooms are booked
take a train to Cinque Terre - stay 2 nights (any suggestions of where to stay here?)
take a train to Florence - stay 7 nights at a B&B
take a train to Rome - stay 3 nights
fly home from Rome
All input is appreciated. Thanks
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Your flights are sensible, but I would do more nights in Venice and Rome, fewer in Florence which has wonderful things to see but can get tiring with the hustle and bustle of too many tourists. Two nights is plenty for the CT.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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Yes, considering you'll be jetlagged for a day or so when you arrive in Venice, you're cheating yourselves there. Two nights is one day, in Venice and in the Cinque Terre. And, unless you're huge fans of Renaissance art and architecture, why so many days in Florence?

The Cinque Terre is an outlier on this trip. Did you know part of the trail between the towns in closed due to a horrendous mudslide last fall? And the weather gets iffy again in October. There's no point going to the CT if it rains.

So I'd drop the CT, add those days to Venice, take a day or 2 off Florence and add to Rome. If it were my trip.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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If you want to visit wineries, you can always hire a car and driver. DH and I did this one time when we were staying in Florence. I don't recall the exact cost but for a full day out it was somewhere around 200 euro. Well worth the money, IMHO. We arranged it through our hotel.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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I agree with tarquin and Mimar. Skip the CT this trip and/or cut some days off Florence to stay longer in Venice and Rome.

I love Florence, but 3 days would be good.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Are you driven to choose a destination because of history...art & museums...food & wine...or fantastic scenery?

You will find amazing views, art and history in Venice. I agreee that you may want 3 nights there. Train it to Florence for art and archetecture for 3 nights. This is where you might want to try a cooking course in a food/wine/fantastically scenic location in Tuscany or Umbria...or ? .assume 2 or 3 nights in that location...then finish up in Rome.

Here is one site to look for potential cooking class experiences. http://www.italycookingschools.com/
Here is another http://www.cookinumbria.it/. I seriously considered these while planning our trip last year, but then we just decided to spend 2 weeks in Umbria with a car, and never got around to a cooking course ( although boy, did we cook up a storm!)
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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I do agree that 7 nights is a long time to stay in Florence. Maybe you intend to use it as a base to also visit surrounding cities like Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra or Pisa, and maybe a visit to wine-tasting agriturismo in the countryside of Tuscany? - then maybe that would be fine.

If you decide to omit Cinque Terre, then I would stop instead for three days on your way to Rome (lessening one day in Florence) in Umbria, where you can visit Gubbio, or Assisi, or any other beautiful place in Umbria. In my opinion, the scenary in Umbria is as beautiful as Tuscany, if not even more.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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CT100,

Stick with the original advice from Jamikins of narrowing your stops to 3 destinations. THe last few posts of suggesting Umbria, Assisi etc are nice suggestions but add additional logistics and could dilute your time even further. As unbiased as I can be, (I am planning my 3rd Italy trip in 4 years) I like the Venice, Florence, Rome itinerary. I further support Mimars idae of a day or two more in Venice and Rome. Florence is (for me) a wonderful place. I have been twice and will go back; however, it can wear on one becasue of its popularity.
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