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Revised Itinerary for Venice, Bologna, Tuscany, Rome - input requested

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Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:34 AM
  #1
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Revised Itinerary for Venice, Bologna, Tuscany, Rome - input requested

Thanks to all of you, I have revised my itinerary in a way that I hope makes more sense and I know requires less moving around. It also provides a little bit of flexibility for people who have different interests to take day trips on their own. This is especially important as there is now a chance that my parents might be joining us! I would love for this turn of events to materialize, but it would require some scrambling for childcare since my parents were previously the plan!

To recap, my husband and I are in our 30s, seasoned travelers for our age, but not in Italy. My husband has never been, and I only hit the highlights during college. My mom has been to Italy once years ago, but my father has never been. I am hoping to hit the major highlights for a first-timer, but also focus a bit more on food than some others might. Less interested in art museums (brief look at the biggies is all I need), more interested in outdoor sites like the Colosseum and more active things like cooking classes. And generally just hoping to do lots of wandering in the streets, sipping coffee in an outdoor cafe, taking it all in. Looking for a mix of city and country.

With that in mind, here is the revised plan. 14 nights on the ground, planning for April 2013. 2 nights Venice, 4 nights Bologna, 3 nights Tuscany, 5 nights Rome

Day 0 - Depart USA
Day 1 - Arrive Venice early AM, Fight jet leg, Try to Sightsee, Sleep Venice
Day 2 - Sightsee Venice, Sleep Venice
Day 3 - Sightsee Venice (Murano?), Train to Bologna in time for late dinner, Sleep Bologna
Day 4 - Cooking Class, Sleep Bologna
Day 5 - Day trip, if desired, Choice of Florence, Modena, Ravenna, Parma, etc (this allows those with varying interests to do what they want - my husband and father can get to Florence and see the David so they don't feel like they missed out, but I can relax in Bologna or take a day trip to Ravenna or Parma - this also gives my husband the option to go to one of the darn car museums, without dragging the rest of us along - forces him to prioritize!!), Sleep Bologna
Day 6 - Food Factory Tour, Sleep Bologna
Day 7 - Sightsee Bologna, Rent car, Drive to Tuscany, Sleep Tuscany (Pienza?)
Day 8 - Explore Southern Tuscany, Sleep Tuscany
Day 9 - Explore Southern Tuscany, Sleep Tuscany
Day 10 - Explore Southern Tuscany, Drop car in Orvieto, Train to Rome, Sleep Rome
Day 11 - Sightsee Rome, Sleep Rome
Day 12 - Sightsee Rome, Sleep Rome
Day 13 - Optional day trip (Pompeii, etc) for those interested, others relax in Rome
Day 14 - Sightsee Rome, Sleep Rome
Day 15 - Depart Rome, Arrive USA

Thoughts?

We are not worried about seeing all of Tuscany or any other place that we are going. I'm hoping that this itinerary (with the optional day trips) allows those in my group who really need to get in certain things the option to do so, without cramping the more relaxing style of the others. It is definitely an overview trip that tries to fit in a lot, but I'm hoping that we've built in enough time to not just be running from one museum or monument to the next (though I know we will be doing that on a few days!). What do you think? Does this itinerary seem to accomplish our goals?

Thanks again to everyone who gave input! I welcome more ideas or suggestions.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:28 PM
  #2
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I forgot to ask...does anyone know about how long the drive from Bologna to southern Tuscany will take? For now, assume we are staying in Pienza, but that's still TBD. Thanks!
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 10:47 PM
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Google maps says its 229 Kms. the most direct route. It gives traveling time as 2 hrs 35 minutes, but add to that time to pick up rental car ( it seems there is usually a line- up), getting out of the city, traffic, and stops.

I think you have done a wonderful job revising your plan. It looks well spaced, and you've chosen bases that have a variety of interests.

Just one thing, I think you will find you hate to leave Venice after only two nights, but the only place you could steal a day is from Rome. So, I guess it's a matter of what's most important to you.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:55 PM
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don't know what cooking class you're taking in bologna -- but if you want to take a second class, we absolutely loved the class we took in rome. cookingclassesinrome.com . fun, super informative, 10 people and a fantastic meal. however-- it did bite into the better part of a day.

we love bologna!! see my recent trip report if interested in more on bologna.
have a great trip!!
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:54 AM
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I like it---you have done your homework---have fun !
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:51 AM
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Great. Thanks! Yes, I had originally planned for 3 nights in Venice and it is torture trying to decide how to trim. I think that I might appreciate ending the trip with a longer stay in one place, but when it comes down to it, I might just have my companions vote on which destination gets the night!

And another cooking class in Rome is definitely not out of the question. I could easily see my mom and I doing that. Thanks for the tip!

Now that I feel pretty good about the overall itinerary, I'm sure I'll be posting more specific questions about various things. Thanks to all of you for being so generous with your advice and experience!
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:06 AM
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I like how you planned it as well.

Just maybe you can drop off car at Rome airport in Fiumicino and take train directly to Termini station in Rome. Would be a shorter train ride than Orvieto, and it is a very easy drive to Fiumicino.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:20 AM
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The only problem with dropping the car in Orvieto is if the rental car office is closed when you want to leave the car. Otherwise, the Orvieto drop-off/train into Rome is more straight forward then detouring by the airport. Although perhaps a bit more expensive.

I too think you've done a great job editing your trip itinerary into something everyone will enjoy.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:34 AM
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Re Venice, we submitted to a high pressure sales guy by St Mark's Square, and ended up on a water taxi to Murano. It wasn't worth it ... very touristy, and pressure to buy throughout. We really enjoyed wandering in the quieter districts of Venice, e.g. Cannaregio (very historic) and Dorsoduro ... far fewer tourists.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Forgot to mention: Venice Pass provides unlimited vaparetto rides ... like taking the bus, and they run very regularly so it's a convenient and economical way to get around the city. In Rome, we bought a Roma pass, which let us walk right past the massive line-up at the Colliseum and other popular spots.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 03:26 PM
  #11
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Thanks for the tips! I'll research our rental car dropoff location a little more once we have our Tuscany itinerary more detailed. Assuming I don't switch to Umbria...the decisions never end!
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Jun 24th, 2012, 09:53 PM
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traveler08 has good advice on Murano. We went on a tour offered by our hotel, and when we declined to buy any of the glass in the factory store, they were very insistent. And did not give us a ride back to Venice! We had to go find the public boat by ourselves. So beware.
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