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Rome and Florence

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Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:21 AM
  #1
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Rome and Florence

We are planning a first time trip to Italy. We will be spending 4 nights in Rome and 4 nights in Florence. I have a preliminary itinerary. Please advise and give suggestions. I know that 8 nights isn't enough time to see Italy, but we hope to return one day!

Day 1: Arrive Rome noon. Check into apartment and tour Rome
Day 2 Tour Rome
Day 3: Day trip to either Almafi Coast, or Tivoli, or Pompeii (or skip day trip and stay in Rome)
Day 4: Tour Rome
Day 5:Early train to Florence, tour Florence
Day 6: Day trip tour Cinque Terre OR Day trip Venice
Day 7: Tour Florence
Day 8: Day trip tour Tuscany, Sienna, Pisa
Day 9: Tour Florence
Day 10: early train back to Rome, afternoon departure
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:33 AM
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You said 8 nights, but have 9 listed in your itinerary.
It would be much better to put your stay in Rome at the end rather than rush back from Florence.

You could, on arrival go straight to Florence
Florence, 4 nights
Rome, 4 nights

Most of the day trips mentioned are super long. You could take a night from Florence and do an overnight in one of the other places.

If you do have 9 nights rather than 8, it would be a bit rushed, but you could do an overnight or 2 in Venice or the CT or near Pompeii.

Are your flights already booked? If not, you could do multi-city tickets, into Venice, out of Rome.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Agree with everything Sassafrass said.

If you do stick with doing day trips from Florence, I would do Venice instead of the CT. It's easier to get to Venice, and with the CT, the half a day you'd have to actually sightsee is a) very dependent on weather and b) enough to either do a hike or see a couple of the villages, but probably not both. Plus the CT is amazing, but Venice is really like nothing else you'll experience.

There's so much to see in Rome, I'd be hesitant to plan on a day trip, but you can always keep the idea in your back pocket for the last day if you're satisfied with what you've seen.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 11:51 AM
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>>>Day 1: Arrive Rome noon. Check into apartment and tour Rome

Unless your flight arrives in the afternoon, this is usually not possible as outlined. Look at your arrival time and check-in policy of your apartment. If you have to land in Rome and is early, then travel directly to the first destination as mentioned above.

>>>Day 3: Day trip to either Almafi Coast, or Tivoli, or Pompeii (or skip day trip and stay in Rome)

From Rome, Tivoli (Villa d'Este) is trivial. Pompeii alone is doable as a long day, Amalfi is pushing. Amalfi alone is a full day trip even starting from Sorrento.

>>> Day 6: Day trip tour Cinque Terre OR Day trip Venice

They both mean long long days.

>>> Day 10: early train back to Rome, afternoon departure

This is risky. You are counting on trains to run on time. What are you going to do if Day 10 is a train worker strike day?
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 11:53 AM
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I would not try any of those day trips. Too long and involved and you just don't have much time.

If you want to see Venice, I would instead add 2 days at the end, and subtract 1 day each from the other two cities. I was crazy for Venice so I would definitely want to do at least that myself.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:02 PM
  #6
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Oops. I would have 4 nights in Florence. So would have two days to tour Florence if we do 2 day trips. Take out day 9.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:10 PM
  #7
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Thank you everyone. I know this is an aggressive itinerary. Maybe we will just stay put in Rome and do one day trip to Venice from Florence. There is a train at 7:38 from Florence that goes directly to the airport in Rome and arrives at 9:52. Our flight is at 2pm. Is this enough time, and do strikes really happen that frequently?? Just wondering. I guess we could switch the Rome and Florence itinerary around. Plane reservations are already made.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 02:05 PM
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Security procedures at the Rome airport are kind of complicated and lengthy, but that timetable should give you plenty of time to make your flight. As far as strikes go, you really can't plan or make your plans on that eventuality. IME, they're not common.

If you're set on doing a day trip to Venice (4 hours round trip), plan ahead and don't take the advice to "just wander." You won't have time for that. By planning, you can decide if a 1-day vaporetto pass is worth it or if you're better off buying tix for individual trips. I think a 1-day pass is 20 euros; single ride is 7 euros.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 02:08 PM
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I personally would want to sleep in the city my plane was departing from the next day. But everyone has different tolerance levels for that kind of "risk".
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 04:30 PM
  #10
 
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If you have an international flight I believe you will need to be at the airport 3 hours prior to your flight.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 04:59 AM
  #11
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I guess I can switch the cities around and do Florence first. The only reason I thought it would be good to see Rome first is that after traveling over night and all, it would be good to get in and drop off things, recharge a bit and get right into the city. We would at least have part of the day to see something. If we go to Florence, it will be a long day and t
he whole day will be shot. But maybe that is worth the security of being in Rome in the end and having a more stress free last day. It's a toss up.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 05:19 AM
  #12
 
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What time of year are you traveling? Sights and stores in Florence stay open until 7pm, and if you are traveling before October, you have daylight until nearly that hour as well. So if your flight to Rome lands on time, you can be in Florence by 3pm or so, have a shower, and go out and enjoy 3 hours of gawking, and it will be more pleasant for all the daytrippers having left. Dinner doesn't really start until 8pm -- although you might do better to go to a wine bar and have a light meal, and then crash, rather than endure a typically long restaurant meal.

You can doze on the train to Florence (sit on your most valuable stuff). Another plus of going to Florence first is that it is a smaller town. The sights are really dense, jammed together, and you will actually see a lot of what you came to see in your first 45 minutes of walking around. Rome is a little bit more sprawling and confusing, even when you are following a map.

I believe that the trains that go directly from Florence to FCO airport will run even if there is a strike (and they don't happen all that often). However, it is still better to end your trip in Rome. If your flight doesn't leave until 2pm, you can either have a great late last night in Rome, or if you were prepared to get up 6am to catch a train in Florence, then get up early in Rome and enjoy the city a bit more before you leave.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 08:11 AM
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If you're arriving in Rome after a long overnight flight, you'll be jet lagged and sleepy the first day for a day or so. Best use of that time is to get to the furthest point in your itinerary, then work back.

Depending on when you will be traveling, Venice is not a good place to day trip to. It's very full of other day trippers. It's better to stay overnight and see Venice in the morning and evening, taking your own day trips out of Venice during the day time.

It would be hard to see Pisa AND southern Tuscany-Siena in one day. You can combine Pisa with Lucca for a full day trip by train. To Siena, take the bus from Florence rather than a train. (The bus leaves from a station across the street from Florence's main train station.) It stops in the center of town whereas the train stops outside the walls and you must get yourself into town either by bus or taxi.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 08:31 AM
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I would also flip Florence and Rome so that you end in Rome. I was just in Italy in May, and did just that (though our trip was different in between). Our flight landed around 10am or so, and we were able to catch the direct train from FCO to Florence. (Otherwise, we would have changed at Termini or Tiburtina in Rome; I believe there are only a couple of direct trains from FCO-Florence a day, although the schedule may have changed.) We were able to check in early to our b&b in Florence, probably around 1:00 or 1:30 (I had let them know ahead of time what our plan was, if our flights were on time).

That afternoon, we settled in a bit, grabbed a quick lunch, went to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see the David, and wandered around town seeing a lot of things. Not a waste at all, and I'd rather be jet lagged and tired on a train than trying to see things.

Four years ago, we landed in Rome, and had to try to find our way around jet lagged. As sandralist described, it is confusing, and that was totally exacerbated by the jet lag. Florence is pretty easy to find your way around by comparison.

As someone mentioned upthread, if you're staying in an apartment in Rome, your plan to settle in and recharge may not be feasible anyway depending on when your landlord is available to check you in. And the process at the Rome airport was the longest I've experienced in awhile - not because of long lines, but there were just lots of steps and moving parts. Everyone is different, of course, but if we'd started that day in Florence, I would have been very stressed about train delays, finding the right terminal, etc.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 08:42 AM
  #15
 
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I'm definitely in the "do Florence first" camp.

you will be far better able to cope with Rome if you've managed Florence first.

The classic day trip from Florence is Siena by bus - buses leave from the bus station next to the SMN railway station and deposit you in central Siena. Half a day or so in Fiesole in the hills above Florence [again by bus] is also nice.

The great thing about these day trips by bus or train is that you don't need to book in advance - just decide the night before.

Venice is also possible but personally, I'd leave that for a different trip. if you are determined to go, I would go there first, spend at least 2 nights there, and then work my way back to Rome via Florence. But you would need to sacrifice a night in each of Florence and Rome and that wasn't the trip you first thought of, is it?
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 09:22 AM
  #16
 
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>>> I thought it would be good to see Rome first is that after traveling over night and all, it would be good to get in and drop off things, recharge a bit and get right into the city. ... It's a toss up.

What time are you landing in Rome?
Have you actually looked at the compatibility of your flight arrival time with the apartment check-in time?

Here is an example of this type of issue:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-bellagio.cfm
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 03:50 PM
  #17
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Thanks for all the valuable input. We have decided to go directly to Florence for the first part of our trip and maybe do a day trip to Sienna and a winery for lunch. Then we will head to Rome for our last 4 days. I feel relieved to know that this is the best course of action! By the way, we are going the first week of October.
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Jul 24th, 2015, 02:28 AM
  #18
 
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good plan, kdistler.

It'll probably still be quite warm in October but hopefully not too crowded.

hope you have a great trip!
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Jul 24th, 2015, 01:42 PM
  #19
 
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We are also doing Rome and Florence the first part of October for 9 nights. I REALLY wanted to go to Cinque Terre and was considering a day trip from Florence, but after all my reseach this is what we decided as our final itinerary:

Day 1- Arrive Rome from LAX- settle into apt and walk around
Day 2-Rome-walking tour
Day 3-Rome-vatican
Day 4-Rome-
Day 5-Train Rome to Cinque terre
Day 6- Cinque Terre
Day 7-Train Cinque Terre to Florence
Day 8-Tuscany Day trip
Day 9-Tour Florence
Day 10- fly to Paris

No day trips from Rome, Cinque Terre became its own destination and one day trip from Florence to Tuscany. I had to shave a day off of Rome and a day off of Florence to make Cinque Terre happen. I am very happy with my final plan.
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Jul 24th, 2015, 01:53 PM
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CallGurl, your plan makes sense to me but I would give the same advice to you I did above: If you are unlucky and it is pouring rain in Le Cinque Terre for several days running, just get off the train in Pisa and either stay there or move on to Florence or even a small Tuscan town like San Miniato in between Pisa and Florence (which will have truffles and can be gotten to by train + short taxi). Good chances are that early October weather will be very pretty and the ground still dry for hiking, so your plan is likely to work out wonderfully. But in case of a real spate of rain, which alas can happen, there is so little to see and do in le Cinque Terre, you might want to enjoy some other venue. Last minute booking will be fine.
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