request feedback on plans

Old Aug 7th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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tog
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request feedback on plans

Hello! I am planning my first trip to Italy for Oct., & would appreciate input from those of you who have already been. I already have air & hotels. After 3 days in Venice, we are taking train to Cinque Terre.
We only have 2 nights in Cinque Terre, so I am debating whether to stop in Verona for 2 hours on the way. After C.T., we are renting a car in LaSpezia for our 3 days in Tuscany. So far prices are looking better to book car with AutoEurope, separate from RailPass, it seems cheaper than the Rail N'Drive Pass. We will return car to Siena,then train to Rome for last 3 nights.
Also still researching 1 day tours for Rome, Florence, Venice. Since we will have a car in Tuscany (staying in SanGimignano),
I'm wondering if it will be easy to find a winery tour on our own after we get there, or should I book ahead with a tour guide?If I am sounding "all over the place" it is because I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment with all the choices. Appreciate your thoughts. Tog
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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My thoughts are that you are far too ambitious in your planning.

You will be spending all of your time travelling and none enjoying should you stick with your current schedule.

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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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I'm not sure how you're planning to do Rome, Florence and Venice in "day trips". Just getting from one to the other takes a few hours by train, not to mention packing, getting to/from train stations etc. Plus, Rome is huge (4-5 days easily), Florence is pretty big too (2-3 days easily), and Venice needs a minimum of a full day - and that is with seeing only the very main things. I also recommend rethinking your trip a bit. How much time do you have in total? Also, passes don't necessarily make sense. Check the individual fares on train Italia website and compare prices.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Actually if I have this right your trip doesn't sound so rushed, it is just everything else you are trying to squeeze in. Is this what you have planned in terms of nights away?

Venice 3 nights
CT - 2 nights
San Gim - 3 nights
Rome 3 nights

If this is it then I suggest that you forget trying to stop in Verona, you won't get to see anything much. If you want to see Florence in one day it is possible to do (you will only scratch the surface of course but you can get there). However you will have to know that you will lose one day doing your Tuscan countryside thing. Leave that up in the air and decide when you get there.

Whilst 3 days in Rome is not enough to see it all (33 days is not enough!) you will get a good taste of it then.

Book the car separate from trains and don't et a rail pass - it is not worth it for the number of trips you are doing.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Pretty much what AussieFive said. I myself would not suggest CT, but just about no one agrees with me.

Skip Verona: two hours will only make you tired.

I would go Florence instead of the CT, but that's me. Or I might just skip that portion of the trip, and do Venice, San Gimignano, and Rome. Still a lot to cover, but geographically it makes more sense. And you would have enough time to not be rushed from place to place.

I hear so many people say how much they loved the Cique Terre. I think it's pretty but so are a million other places in Italy. Are you big hikers?
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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I have to agree with tuscanlifeedit. I would drop Cinque Terre and add a night to San Gim and Rome. CT is beautiful and we enjoyed it, but you frankly don't have enough days to really enjoy all you want to see.

By the way, I do not believe there is a train directly from Siena to Rome. You would need to take the bus from Siena to Florence and then train from there. I would suggest dropping off car in Florence or Orvieto and training from there. We actually drove from Tuscany straight into Rome and dropped our car off at the Borghese Garden rental car return. Really wasn't that difficult.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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We just got back from our first trip to Italy (and Europe).

We stayed three nights and two full days in CT. I would keep it in your schedule if you love the water and want some time to rejuvenate in the middle of your trip.

In between two weeks of sightseeing it was nice to swim, read, do a bit of laundry and not have any reservations to do anything.

Our hotel washed, dried and folder all our laundry for 26euro. It was the best deal of the vacation. I saw signs for self serve laundramats, but didn't use them myself.

My husband read, I enjoyed the sun and our son enjoyed the swimming.

It's your vacation!

We were in Rome 5 days and barely scratched the surface. October should be cooler than our trip in July when the sun melted us. I would do The Vatican Museums (scavi if possible), The Coliseum/Forum each on separate days, then walk around to see the Pantheon/Trevi and Spanish Steps.
Enjoy the evenings in a different neighborhood depending on your taste.

Enjoy!
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Old Aug 8th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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Hi tog,

Not a bad plan, as aussie notes.

If yu drop the car in Siena, there is a bus to Rome, www.senabus.it, much better than going via Florence.

You could also drop the car in Orvieto and take the train to Rome - 1:05 hr

Don't buy a railpass. You can purchase all of your tickets online at www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html or in Venice.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Aug 8th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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tog
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Thanks, everyone for your thoughts.
Smartcookie: I think you may have mis-
understood. I will have 3 days in Venice,2 in C.T., 3 in Tuscany, & 3 in Rome. I was thinking of booking day tours for 1 of the days in each of the 3 major cities(Ven.,Flor.,Rome), & exploring on my own the other days. I know there is no way to see it all, I'm just wanting to see the highlights on this trip. Then I can plan future trips to the areas I liked best. My husband & I love hiking, that's why we are excited about C.T. My husband is into the history more than I. I want to see some of that, but I am much happier being outside & soaking up the scenery than browsing through every church & museum. We would like a balance of both.Aussiefive, my husband agrees with you, we will skip Verona & train straight to C.T. from Venice in 6 hours.In Tuscany I am MOST interested in driving around the countryside, so I thought 2 days of that(including short stops in a few towns like Lucca & Sienna) and 1 day in Florence would be a good balance for us.I will check more on individual ticket prices instead of RailPass, as you all advise. Thanks!
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Old Aug 8th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Sorry, but I still don't understand your plans. For instance, you say you will have "3 days in Tuscany". But doesn't the first day include renting car, driving La Spezia to San Gim, and moving hotels? So that leaves a 1/2 day. And it sounds like another day will involve a 1-day tour of Florence (presuming you're doing this from Tuscany). That leaves you 1 1/2 days total for "Tuscany"...and that's presuming everything goes as planned.

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Old Aug 8th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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I don't know what you mean when you say things "Including short stops in Lucca and Siena."

You can't park inside Lucca and Siena. You have to park outside the walls. Then you have to walk to the things you want to see. Presuming you are going to get lost several times, both driving and walking, and given that your husband is actually interested in history, you go to a place like Siena with idea of spending -- at a minimum -- the entire day. Lucca is less compelling, but it's still at least 3 hours entry to exit, and that's not including eating.

Getting in and out of San Gimignano means traversing very hilly roads that are time consuming to drive. I wouldn't recommend staying there if you want to do a lot of day trips, but if you do stay there, then re-think your daytrip agenda.

I suggest you split the differnce with your history loving husband. In Tuscany, seek out some small but history rich towns near San Gimignano. Otherwise, stay in Firenze or stay in Siena and skip the idea of driving in the countryside. You are trying to cram in too much.
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Old Aug 9th, 2007, 06:50 PM
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Hmm. Guess I will have to rethink some of this. I appreciate everyone's input. thanks again!
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Old Aug 9th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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I agree with the others -- too much moving and not enough "experiencing", but I'll focus on a single question --
"I am debating whether to stop in Verona for 2 hours on the way. "

No way. 2 hours is not worth the time it takes to get off the highway, park, and try to figure out what you're going to see.
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Old Aug 9th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Hi Tog - glad you are dropping Verona - just not enough time for you to do that as well.

On the Tuscany part - I am not sure if I would select San G and Lucca as my first choice to see Tuscany. I think it depends on what you want. The area north of Siena in the Chianti wine country is very beautiful but you should also consider seeing the area south of Siena - the Val D'Orcia (San Quirco, Montalcino, Pienza, etc) That is the quintessential Tuscany in my opinion. I prefer this area over Sienna and Lucca.

I think overall its a little rushed because of adding in the CT piece - but if you have your heart set on it - do it by all means. It can get "touristy' but despite that, I love it there.

I have been to Italy twice. Once for 16 days where we did Tuscany/Florence, CT, and Amalfi. It was heaven.

Second time - last year - we did Venice, CT, Lake Como. We have yet to do Rome - saving that when we can go off season and spend enough time there. I am just not "up" to Rome yet ...

Anyways - you have your hotels and airfare so that is huge!


Keep us posted
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