Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Rethinking a busy schedule - suggestions?

Rethinking a busy schedule - suggestions?

Jun 19th, 2012, 01:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
Rethinking a busy schedule - suggestions?

I asked last week for some advice and have rethought our itenerary thanks to so much good advice. I'd like some insight as to if this is a realistic trip. My desire is to have a rental car for most of the trip, probably excluding only Venice.

Day 1-2 - Fly into Naples ... Naples to Amalfi Coast
Day 2-6 - Amalfi Coast
Day 6-8 - Tuscany Region (Agrotourismo?)
Day 8-10 - Venice
Day 10-11 - Dolomites
Day 11-14 - Lake Como
Day 14-15 - Milan
Day 15 - Fly out of Milan

I know depending on flight times, etc. this will need to be tweaked, but it's a pretty good starting point for what I (in my mind) think would be a fabulous vacation. We are hoping to do sometime late September to mid-October, although I realize we are late getting started planning for those times and might run into some booking issues.

Thanks again for any input!
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 02:07 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 193
Craig, IMO this is too much, too quick. You are planning on seeing 4/5 different provinces in 2 weeks - 3/4 days per province. Given the regional variety in Italy (food, people, sights, culture etc), IMO this is too much moving around and hopping between places.

If you are restricted on the flights in and out, then at least cut Venice and Lake Como. After Tuscany, then why not spend a few nights in Cinque Terre before going up to Milan.

With what you propose you are a bit all over the map and may find the travel a bit much and that it takes up an undue proportion of your trip.
pgriffin is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 02:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
If you look at your schedule you have yourself in two different places on the same day (days 6, 8, 10, etc.) For instance, on day 8 you can't be both in Tuscany and in Venice. Well...I guess you could but it would not be a full day in each place.

I don't think agritourismos rent for only 1 night.

Too much time on the AC as the weather can get damp and rainy in late September. What are you going to do there for 5 days?

Do you have alternate plans in case it rains? You've booked mostly an outdoor vacation late in the season. Many towns on Lake Como begin to shut down October 1.

I just looked at your other thread and see that you are planning a romantic trip. Does your other half believe this is romantic? Have you consulted her/him? Other than Venice I don't see any romance to this trip.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 04:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,169
I prefer to show itineraries as adrienne implies--in such a way that you can see how many full days you really have in a place. After a leisurely say on the Amalfi Coast, your plan includes a lot of driving and changing locations. Have you estimated drive times between the various locations?

Day 1- Fly into Naples ... Naples to Amalfi Coast
Day 2 - Amalfi Coast
Day 3 - Amalfi Coast
Day 4 - Amalfi Coast
Day 5 - Amalfi Coast
Day 6 - travel to Tuscany Region (Agrotourismo?)
Day 7 - Tuscany Region (Agrotourismo?)
Day 8 - travel to Venice
Day 9 - Venice
Day 10 - travel to Dolomites
Day 11 - travel to Lake Como
Day 12 -Lake Como
Day 13 - Lake Como
Day 14 - travel to Milan
Day 15 - Fly out of Milan
ellenem is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 04:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,184
You've got Amalfi town (4) Tuscany (1) Venice (1) Lake Como (2) and no full days anywhere else. It's possible but sounds rushed. It sounds as though you are just driving through the Dolomites to get to Lake Como but not stopping enroute. What will you do with the car while you're in Venice?

Is it possible to fly home from Venice? In which case you could visit Amalfi (day 1-6) Tuscany (day 6-9) Lake Como (day 9-12) Venice (day 12-15)? That would give you full days in Amalfi (4) Tuscany (2) Lake Como (2) Venice (2). Consider carefully whether you need a car.

We've been in that part of the world in September/October a few of times and found the weather to be beautiful, although of course there are no guarantees - better than when it's too hot.
dreamon is online now  
Jun 19th, 2012, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,169
"After a leisurely sTay on the Amalfi Coast . . ."
ellenem is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,945
Too much.

It looks like your "day one" is really the day you leave for Italy, and if day 15 is the day you leave for home you really only have 13 days time on the ground.

Save the Dolomites for another time. One less day on the Amalfi Coast. Staying in Milan the night before you head to the airport isn't bringing you much closer to the airport than if you had just stayed on Lake Como. There is no comparison Milan/Lake Como (especially with only part of one day), so stay on Lake Como. If you must, the last night in Cernobbio which at least means 30+ minutes less travel time to the airport from mid-lake.


Day 1- Fly into Naples ... Naples to Amalfi Coast
Day 2 - Amalfi Coast
Day 3 - Amalfi Coast
Day 4 - Amalfi Coast
Day 5 - travel to Tuscany Region (Agrotourismo?)
Day 6 - Tuscany Region
Day 7 - Tuscany Region
Day 8 - Tuscany Region
Day 9 - travel to Venice
Day 9 - Venice
Day 10 - Venice
Day 11 - travel to Lake Como
Day 12 -Lake Como
Day 13 - Lake Como
Day 14 - Fly out of Milan

The above is still somewhat rushed so consider dumping yet one other region and spreading those days among the time remaining.
flygirl is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 05:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,883
I think the latest itinerary suggestion is a bit more reasonable but I disagree with all this "rushed" complaint stuff.

There is no way anybody can know if you are "rushing" because you have not said what you are planning to DO.

For example, the days on Lake Como. If you want to get on every ferry and visit every possible place then yes, i'd say it is a bit rished. OTOH if you simply want to do what a lot of people do at the lake, take it easy, veg out a bit, perhaps take a couple of shorter day trips, then no, it is not "rushed."

Venice: you can see the major sites in Venice in two days but the problem is there are a lot of "major" sites in Venice depending on your interests.

I agree with skipping Milan and I also agree with not even trying to get into the Dolomites between Venice and Lake Como.

Is there some reason you feel you have to have a car for all these segments? I suppose some might say you need maximum flexibility but if there's anything that PROMOTES a rushed itinerary it's having a car.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
Flygirl has the best answer.
That is a fabulous itinerary. Any more would be too much.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 08:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
Thank you so much for all the replies and suggestions, there is so much good advice. I agree that Flygirl's itinerary sounds very attractive. The major sights in Venice are not a deal breaker for us, we probably can leave happy with 'just a taste'. We both would rather the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany regions. Thanks for the suggestion about not staying a night in Milan. We had no other reason to stay there except for flying out, so it does give us that extra night for Como.

Here is my tweak to throw in a couple items high on my list:

Day 1- Fly into Naples ... Naples to Amalfi Coast
Day 2 - Amalfi Coast
Day 3 - Amalfi Coast
Day 4 - Amalfi Coast
Day 5 - travel to Tuscany Region (Agrotourismo?)
Day 6 - Tuscany Region
Day 7 - Tuscany Region
Day 8 - travel to Venice
Day 9 - Venice
Day 9 - Venice
Day 10 - travel to Ortisei (via Cortina)
Day 11 - travel to Lake Como (via Stelvio Pass)
Day 12 - Lake Como
Day 13 -Lake Como
Day 14 - Lake Como
Day 15 - Fly out of Milan

I know the travel seems to take up much of our time, which we are a little torn on ... but we both very much enjoy driving and seeing out of the way places and backroads.

adrienne: Romance is in the eye of the beholder and my wife and I very much enjoy the same things and will find 'romance' in many places throughout this vacation. I know there is a wide variety of locations & culture but that is part of the plan. With 3 young children I don't think we'll be back anytime soon, so we want to experience as much as possible.

Thanks again to everyone taking the time to give us advice, it is much appreciated.
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 08:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
I can see where a rental car in Amalfi & Venice would not be needed. Would it make sense to just rent a car & return it in Tuscany, then rent another when leaving Venice?
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,523
I would reverse this trip since you plan to travel in Oct. You will find the weather in the north starting to get quite cool and rainy. I would put the north first for that reason and end on the Amalfi coast.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 09:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
Our hope is to Leave around Sept. 21 and return Oct. 6 but it may have to be adjusted if we run into issues getting places we like on those dates. Reversing it is certainly an option although I have seen many reviews that early October can be quite lovely in the north ... but with weather you never know.
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,570
...but we both very much enjoy driving and backroads...

Having just returned from a 4000k 3 wk Italian driving trip
I would like to point out that a lot of autostrada driving
is most certainly NOT enjoyable - the trucks, the trucks!

Also, taking the 'blue' roads certainly takes you to small
out of the way towns but it does take a lot more time to
negotiate all the round-abouts and heavy local traffic.

Road trips take a lot more time than the maps would indicate.

JMHO after many an asphalt adventure...
immimi is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Firstly, I do not think you would have booking issues (I would not know about flights from your country) as the season you are going is not the peak tourist season.

I would recommend that you start off and take flight to Venice, as you would not need a car in that city for sure, waste of money, plus as another reviewer said, leave the warmest region till end of holiday. Plus I often read on Fodors that flights from Venice back to the US leave really early in the morning, another reason to start off your holiday from Venice, and depart back to USA from Naples.

You might also find driving near Naples and Positano and around Amalfi coast also a bit challenging. So I would drop off car when reaching Naples before starting your visit at Amalfi Coast.

Como is only about an hour's drive from Milan, so if you really want to visit the city (not at all a favourite of mine) you can do a day trip from Como - so skip Milan.

So, keeping in mind your preferred places of interest and inclinations, I would plan stops as follows (I prefer to use nights because of accomodation) - I am assuming that since you have 15 days available, then it is 14 nights at your disposal:

Fly to Venice

2 nights Venice

Hire car and head to Ortisei (about 3 and a half hours' drive)

2 nights Ortisei (no point staying just one night after a such along travel and also considering that you cannot be sure what the weather would be like, plus the majestic dolomites are breathtaking in that area)

3 nights Lake Como

3 nights Tuscany -(check Agriturismo Nicolai Palagetto di Sotto - lovely agriturismo just outide the city walls of San Gimignano, yet still in the surrounding beautiful countryside, they also produce their own wines and olive oil)

Drive (without stopping to visit any towns on the way) to Amalfi Coast and drop off hired car, maybe in Naples and take train to Sorrento.

4 nights Amalfi Coast (I suggest 4 nights here, as it would take a whole day to drive to Naples and then train to Sorrento, so at least you would have 3 full days to visit this area.

Fly back home from Naples

I tried to stick to your desired itinerary, and tried to give you a bit of rest in between travels, but bear in mind that you would be covering five regions of Italy, and would be travelling from north to south. But at least apart from Venice to Treviso to Como, where you would be travelling towards west, your other travels will all be in the southern direction. Again, if you do not mind the driving, go ahead, but be prepared to do lots of it. Having said that, driving in northern Italy (given that it would be nice weather) is such a unique experience, so very beautiful, you would not see the time passing and be wishing that the drive never ends.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 20th, 2012, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,945
Another reason to consider north first is that you want to cover some passes. The Stelvio will probably be open, but, it will be a lot colder at the top and any precipitation would make it a not-fun ride. Will almost two weeks earlier make a difference, temperature-wise? I don't know, but it makes sense that it may.
flygirl is offline  
Jun 24th, 2012, 12:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
First of all, thank you to everyone for the tips & suggestions ... it is really helping us to start to piece together our trip.

My dates have changed due to a work conflict for my wife, so unfotunately I can't follow Anna's itinerary in the order she suggested (thank you Anna, it sounded really good to me) due to the flights that we now have booked.

We will be starting our vacation on Friday, September 28th flying out of Oklahoma City via Dallas/London arriving on Sat. the 29th in Rome. Our flight home will be leaving from Venice on Sunday, October 14th via Madrid/Chicago to OKC. That will give us 15 nights in Italy.

Day 1 - Sat. Arrive & stay in Rome
Day 2 - Sun. Rome to Amalfi Coast with stop to see Pompei
Day 3 - Mon. Amalfi Coast
Day 4 - Tues. Amalfi Coast (Capri)
Day 5 - Wed. Amalfi Coast
Day 6 - Thurs. Travel to & stay in Tuscany Region (Car rental)
Day 7 - Fri. Tuscany Region
Day 8 - Sat. Tuscany Region
Day 9 - Sun. Travel from Tuscany to Lake Como
Day 10 - Mon. Lake Como
Day 11 - Tues. Lake Como
Day 12 - Wed. Travel from Lake Como to Ortisei
Day 13 - Thurs. Travel from Ortisei to Venice (Return rental car)
Day 14 - Fri. Venice
Day 15 - Sat. Venice
Day 16 - Sun. Fly Home

I will say that the Lake Como part of the trip is the part most unsure for me. After reading replies it seems like I should consider dropping this region. We don't have a huge draw to Venice so we might split the days saved from that between an extra night in Rome & maybe an overnight trip from Venice to the Dolomites(?).

I feel like I am getting close ...
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 24th, 2012, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,408
My very first thought on your last itinerary is that stopping to see Pompeii on your arrival day might be exhausting. It's a BIG site. However, if you keep up with 3 little ones, maybe you can do it!

On my last trip, I traveled down to Praiano on arrival day and was really beat by the end of the day. I also have spent about 7 hours total at Pompeii over two different trips as it was a major priority for me.

I would just say you should consider a few variables before planning to visit Pompeii on day 1 in Italy - such as are you able to sleep well on long flights? How much does jet lag affect you? How much interest do you have in seeing Pompeii? Would a 2 hour visit seeing the highlights be "enough", or would you want to spend more time?

The Dolomites are spectacular! I like your itinerary above. You might consider skipping Capri. Personally, I like the Amalfi Coast just as much and thought Capri a little overrated.

Hope you have good weather to enjoy all these gorgeous places.
Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jun 24th, 2012, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,184
I think your trip now sounds much better. It's a personal choice as to whether or not you drop Lake Como so I'd go to your local library and get some photographic books or look at photos online to see whether you prefer that or the Dolomites.

If you are only overnighting in Rome to rest, then I recommend you stay near the main Rome train station (Termini). It's not Rome's best area but it's not too bad either and it won't be worth lugging your stuff further afield. Rome central area is actually very walkable and you have easy access to the metro and buses from Termini as well.

I wouldn't overly worry about being tired the day after you arrive as you'll be excited and looking forward to your holiday. I travel 25-30 hours to get to Europe and I'm always ready to get going the day after arrival (I crash when I get home!).
dreamon is online now  
Jun 24th, 2012, 04:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 31
Craig, you have a packed schedule. I would advise you not to go to all of the places that you have on your list. Don't bring a lot of luggage. One cannot rush through Italy. You need to take in everything that you see. Italy is to be savored. Promise yourself that one day you will return. I have been in may and October. October was the best for me. I hope you have a wonderful time and bring back many happy memories.
sylviathomas is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:34 PM.