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Revised Itinerary/Draft 2: Milan, Venice, Tuscany, Rome help

Revised Itinerary/Draft 2: Milan, Venice, Tuscany, Rome help

Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:45 AM
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Revised Itinerary/Draft 2: Milan, Venice, Tuscany, Rome help

After thinking more about my last post and doing airfare research, I am going to be booking a round trip, nonstop flight to/from Milan with Emirates for two weeks in October and have also added a few more days to our trip. Although I'm not too interested in Milan, the nonstop flight to Milan was $400 cheaper than other nonstop flights that would have gone to Venice or Rome, so the cost savings ($800 for both me and my fiance) is worth the hours we'll have to spend on the train getting from Milan to Venice, then Rome to Milan. Plus the flight is only 8 hours vs 15-20 hour flights. I would rather spend more time on a train than have a terribly long flight or layover/connection.

Since I will be flying into and out of Milan, can anyone offer any advice on the draft itinerary below? I would like to fly into Milan, then train to Venice for a few days, then rent a car for Tuscany (day trips to Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Florence, Orvieto etc), drop it off in either Orvieto, or Florence, then train to Rome ( or just drop off the car in Rome at the Rome Tiburtina station) for the remainder of the trip before taking a train to Milan on our departure day for our flight home. We both agree that we would prefer a rental car to have the freedom to explore Tuscany without adhering to any particular schedules.

*My question is, where should I pick up the rental car after Venice and before Tuscany? Also, are there any places we should stop or stay overnight to make the Milan/Venice, and Rome/Milan portions of the trip more bearable/fun? Milan/Venice and Rome/Milan seem so far from each other so I was wondering if there's anywhere we should stop in between those. Lastly, since I added a few days to our vacation, how many days would you put for each place?

Here is the current draft itinerary:

Day 1 Oct 5: Departure day flight 10:20 pm JFK to Milan
Day 2: Arrive Milan around 12 pm, immediately train to Venice to arrive around 4-5 pm
Day 3: Venice
Day 4: Venice
Day 5: Leave Venice, rent car somewhere then drive to agriturismo in Tuscany, not sure where yet (perhaps near Pienza, Siena, or Montepulciano?)
Day 6: Tuscany hilltowns
Day 7: Tuscany hilltowns, possible Florence or Orvieto day trip
Day 8: Tuscany hilltowns
Day 9: Leave Tuscany, drop car in either Orvieto or Florence, train to Rome, (or stay in Tuscany 1 more night)
Day 10: Rome
Day 11: Rome
Day 12: Rome
Day 13: Rome
Day 14: Rome
Day 15: Oct 19th Train to Milan in morning, 4 pm flight Milan to JFK

I'm torn between leaving Tuscany on Day 9 or Day 10.

Thanks in advance for your help!
kbmtravel is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:56 AM
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I would pickup the car in Venice. If you go to the Piazzale Roma - the end of the causeway to the mainland, there are car rental offices. Easier to do that than to first take a train and then coordinate with a rental office in some random place (which may not be open all day - often they aren;t in smaller towns).

I would not leave Rome the same day you are flying out. there are enough chances for a problem (strike, slow down, accident or whatever) that you would not get to milan in time for your flight (they will probably ask you to check in 3 hours in advance on a US flight). You would have to take a 10 am train from Rome at latest to allow for time to get from Milan central to the airport and then check in.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 11:07 AM
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Nytraveler, thanks for the advice! Wouldn't it be a really long drive from Venice to Tuscany?

So you would recommend taking the train on Sunday from Rome to Milan and spending the last night there? That's somewhat disappointing, we were thinking it would be a drag spending our last real day in Italy on the train.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 11:54 AM
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I would try not to visit Florence on a Sunday or Monday when many of the main sights might be closed. Check the specific things you wanted to see and buy entry tickets in advance where possible.

If you decide you want to drop the car in Orvieto, you'll probably have to book the rental directly with Hertz. Hertz is the only rental company in Orvieto, and AutoEurope and Kemwel currently are not representing Hertz at that location. If you're a AAA member, check to see if they are still offering discounts on Hertz in Italy if you book through them. We saved about $40 on a week's rental last fall.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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"So you would recommend taking the train on Sunday from Rome to Milan and spending the last night there? That's somewhat disappointing, we were thinking it would be a drag spending our last real day in Italy on the train."

I agree with nytraveler that you should train back to Milan before your departure day. Enjoy your last morning in Milan without the stress of worrying about possible delays in getting from Rome to Malpensa. If you want to see the Last Supper, you need to buy tickets as soon as it's possible for your date. It is closed on Mondays, but I believe there are special evening viewings until 9:30p on Sundays until October 31, 2015, because of the EXPO. And because of the EXPO, I think you should the Milan hotel reservation as soon as possible.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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Personally I would go to Venice first, then train to Rome second, pick up a car for rural Tuscany third and see Florence last.

That is subjective, but that is the way I would do it.

That Emirates flight leaves very late in the afternoon, but I am reluctant to tell somebody else to take the risk of leaving Florence the same morning as the flight.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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PS: And obviously, trying to leave from Rome in the morning is even less advisable.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 02:30 PM
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Sandralists's advice to go from Venice to Rome by train first, then Tuscany with Florence last is really, really good!

See what others think, but depending on the location of your agriturismo in Tuscany, you might rent the car in/near Florence and return it to Florence.

Your time allotment is good.

I usually like being in the city of departure the night before, but since it is only about 2&1/2 hours from Florence to Milan, and your flight departs really late, you could do it your last day if you are in Florence. I would not do it from Rome, but I would probably take the risk from Florence.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Don't short change Milan - we just spent a few lovely days there. We also flew via Emirates. Try to get the 2 seats in row 48 or 49 for the flight from JFK to MXP. Nice to be just 2 and it was quiet. We did the same seats on the trip home and I wasn't feeling well and wanted to sleep. Not a good idea, the back galley seems to be a popular hang out spot. I'd do seats in the smaller section of economy [its the first section of economy seats.]
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 03:37 PM
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Count me as another vote for one night in Milan - it would make me too nervous to try to get there in the morning, plus that's not a very relaxing last day of vacation, with an early train and connection to the airport! Even if you don't get to see the Last Supper, the Duomo there is really amazing and we spent a nice half day walking around that area.

Do either of you drive a manual transmission? I found last month that, because neither my friend nor I drive a stick, our options for car rental pickup were limited, because in the smaller towns they don't guarantee an automatic. So we had to go to Pisa to pick up a car rather than taking the train to a smaller town (which would have been our preference). But if you do Venice-Rome-Tuscany and aren't afraid to pick up a car in Rome, that might be a non-issue.

I'd take a day from Rome and add it to Venice or Tuscany (or Milan or Florence, depending on your final plans), but that's just me - being in such a crowded city for too long wears on me. There's certainly plenty to see!
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 04:10 PM
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The main reason that people find Rome to be very crowded is that they allow too little time there and then insist on not skipping any of the super-popular tourist hot-spots.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 04:49 PM
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I'm currently writing my trip report, but we spent the first night and the next day in Milan. It wouldn't have been fun for us taking a train to Rome right away since we were pretty tired and jetlagged.

We spent our three nights in Florence, and took the 10:30 am. Italo train to Milan Rogoredo station. From there we rode the subway to Milano Centrale, where we caught the Malpensa shuttle to the airport. We got to the airport around 1:30, plenty of time to have lunch, navigate security, and catch our flight to JFK.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:06 PM
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I find Rome crowded because -- it is!
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:08 PM
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(I should add that the last time I was in Rome -- my fifth visit -- I spent 8 days there. It is really not always the travelers fault if they find some place in Italy uncongenial for an obvious reason. Maybe you just like Rome, crowds and all.)
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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Population Rome: 2.637 million people

Population Milan: 1.316 million people

My Italian village: 233 people


But seriously, the retort that the main reasons travelers have negative reactions to X or Y beloved-by-others destinations is because they didn't visit it the correct way is presumptuous. Not everybody likes the same things, and many people are very sensitive to place.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:18 PM
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Or put another way, your travel reactions don't invalidate another's. They are just as fully human as a reaction as yours.
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Old Jun 5th, 2015, 08:13 AM
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Have a nice trip....we are also flying Into Milan and out 16 days later. We saved $1100 for 2 tickets.....train ride to Venice is worth it! Especially when we land at 8:40am and cannot check in until 2:00pm. With our last day in Lake Como, it is an easy train to Milan for the last night. We booked the Hotel Berna great location and near the train. Enjoy!
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Old Jun 5th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Agreed. Some of us just aren't big-city people. It sounds like the OP lives in or around New York, so my suggestion may very well not apply, which I think I was clear about.

Rome obviously has plenty to do and see, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to be there multiple times; I enjoy the history and vibe. With some exceptions, I can only handle four days or so in a big, unfamiliar, stimulating city without getting a little mentally discombobulated. But that's my own experience.

One of the great things about traveling - learning what floats your own personal boat!
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I think I like the idea of flying into Milan, taking a train to Venice for a few days, then train to Rome (thanks Sandralist!), pick up a car (Rome? Orvieto? I'm still not sure...), see Tuscany, then drop off in Florence, stay the night and take the train back on my departure day. I think I'll take the risk of taking the train from Florence to Milan on my departure day.

But will everything be closed when I'm in Florence on a Sunday? Or is it Monday that everything's closed?

Sandralist: That’s a good idea, I hadn’t considered going to Rome after Venice. Thanks!
I
DebitNM: If I wanted to sleep, would seats 48 and 49 not be a good idea then? I’ll probably try to sleep both trips. Also, when can you book your seats? When I booked my flight, it jst asked me for my preference of window/aisle,m not the actual number.

Mels: What does your itinerary look like? Lake Como might be a relaxing last night! Where are you going before Lake Como?

Elendalpickle: I am going to check out your report now, thanks!
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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"But will everything be closed when I'm in Florence on a Sunday? Or is it Monday that everything's closed?"

Well, not everything. Many things are open on alternate Sundays/Mondays. Being in Florence for only one day, and it being a Sunday, can just make it difficult to fit all of your sightseeing plans into a few hours.

Here are a couple of websites where you can check open/closed days and times. The first one is an official website; the second is not an official website but I've found it to be very accurate.

https://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/index.php

http://www.museumsinflorence.com/lan..._firenze.html#
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