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Recommendations needed for a first time trip to Italy

Recommendations needed for a first time trip to Italy

Jan 11th, 2011, 06:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 180
Recommendations needed for a first time trip to Italy

DH and I are making our first trip to Italy this May. We're both in our early 30s, and pretty energetic. We love wine and food (of course), but also history and architecture.

I've been scouring these forums, and there's so much to do! I've got more bookmarks than I know what to do with I know we can't do everything, so I'd appreciate if you have any recommendations for tours, must do/must see places, restaurants, etc.

FYI, We've already booked hotels for each segment, and for the cities I think we did a pretty good job with choosing a central location. Hopefully this helps us to squeeze in as much as we can.

Here's our itinerary:

May 13th - 14th:
Fly - EWR>FRA>MXP (Land around 10:45am)
Stay 2 nights in Milan

May 16th:
Early train to Venice
Stay 2 nights

May 18th:
Early train to Florence
Stay 3 nights

May 21st:
Early train to Monterosso di Mare
Stay 2 nights

May 23rd:
Early train to PIsa
See tower
Pick up rental car and drive to Siena (Stay 3 nights)

May 24th:
Early drive to Greve (wine tour+tasting+lunch)
Stops in Panzano and Castellina on our drive back to Siena

May 25th:
Early drive to San Gimignano (explore am - lunch cooking class)
Return to Siena

May 26th:
Early drive to Orvieto
Drop off car
Train to Rome (Stay 5 nights)

May 27th or 28th:
Day trip to Naples and Pompeii

May 31st:
Fly Early afternoon

I think this is a realistic itinerary, but what do I know since I've never been to Italy! Any input will be greatly appreciated.
abenedek is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,170
Congratulations! You have made a lovely itinerary for an energetic couple.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,202
I would only stay in Milan one night (and I like Milan!) and add it to Venice because I think you need more than just 2 nights in Venice. Make a reservation to see the Last Supper ASAP.

It's too many hotel changes for me, but this is your trip.

Don't make the day trip to Naples/Pompeii on a rainy day.
Jean is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 28
I believe that an experienced traveler could not have done better.
The itinerary is well structured and devoid of possible complications.
Personally I would have deleted a night in Milan and added a night in Venice, but it is just a personal view.
the trip to Naples and Pompeii in one day made near the end of a long journey, perhaps a little tiring.
Moving from Rome with only a light luggage, spend a night in Sorrento or Positano could be a good idea.
romelimousineplus is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,899
I quite enjoy Milan, more so than Venice, and like the idea of 2 nights there since the first day will likely be a blur.

I like your itinerary just as it is and think you have created a very enjoyable and interesting itinerary with a nice mix of busy cities and quieter towns.

kfusto is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
I would agree with the above postings that you should stay only 1 night in Milan. I haven't been there, but my mom said 1 night was plenty. I have been to Venice, and would definitely put an extra night there instead.
Or, you could take the extra night and put it at the end of your trip near Rome. Instead of doing a day trip to Pompeii (skip Naples), you could go on the train to Pompeii, see the ruins, go a little further to Sorrento, stay the night there and head back the next day. I did the day trip to Pompeii and it was a LONG day. Have fun!
3llamamama is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,215
I also vote for another night in Venice. It is a magical city and you will want more time there than 2 days.
JillDavis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 180
Thank you all for you comments. I really do appreciate all of your feedback.

@ Jean - Last supper tickets for May 2011 go on sale February 9th, I already have a reminder in my calendar for the 8th

Our hotel in Milan is the only one we were able to book using points. Although I understand the comments about staying only one night, I also enjoy having an extra "free" night on such a pricey trip.

@romelimousineplus - I tried to work out spending a night in Sorrento, but I just couldn't seem to make it happen. Everything started to seem rushed at the end if we did. It may be a tiring day, but I really want to visit Pompeii, so I hope it's worth it. BTW, your comment made me quite proud of myself, thank you!!

@ kfusto - DH and I chose to have a longer layover in Frankfurt because we were able to use points to fly Lufthansa business class, which will give us access to the Welcome Lounge (showers, etc.) in Frankfurt. We're hoping to get some sleep on the 1st segment and freshen up during the layover to avoid losing the whole day on the 14th.

That being said, we plan to schedule the Last Supper for the 2nd day because we don't want that to be a blur. Do you have any recommendations on something we should do or see the first afternoon?
abenedek is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,899
Visit the beautiful Duomo and climb to the top for great views.

Stroll though the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuale and enjoy a coffee while people watching.

If you like to look at beautiful things, window shop in Via Montenapoleone.

Enjoy one of Milan's famous Happy Hours and mingle with the locals.

I have been to Milan a half dozen times and enjoyed every visit. We often fly into Milan for our trips to Italy as it is easier to get seats with FF miles as well as snag some good deals when we are buying tickets. Spending a couple of nights on either end of the trip is always a pleasure. Being in a city where the locals far outnumber the tourists is very enjoyable for us.

And staying on points would be even better - we did that last trip and stayed at the Park Hyatt, which was absolutely fabulous!
kfusto is offline  

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