Rome/Florence/Athens itinerary

Nov 13th, 2016, 09:51 PM
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Rome/Florence/Athens itinerary

I am just starting to begin even the thought of a trip to Italy and Greece next year. The initial thought would be some sort of Rome-Florence-Athens route. I will be coming from USA and planning for sometime between September and November. I'm thinking about 2 weeks, but my friend who I'll be traveling with is thinking more like 10 days.

Does anyone have any ideas on a good itinerary for this?
ksprague is offline  
Nov 13th, 2016, 09:58 PM
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Well -- your first issue -- you need to nail down if the trip is 10 days or 14 days. That makes a HUGE difference.

If the entire trip is 10 days you will only have 7.5 days on the ground (7 days actual sightseeing time after subtracting the travel between Rome and Florence) so just about enough time for Rome and a taste of Florence.

If the entire trip is 14 days you will have 11.5 days on the ground so you could squeeze in a couple of days in Athens. But you'd definitely want to fly open jaw into Italy and home from Athens or vice versa.
janisj is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 08:26 AM
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Realistically you will need 7 days just for the highlights of Rome and three for Florence. You will pretty much use up most of a day getting to Athens so that leaves a day and a half there. I think you simply should choose Either Italy or Greece but not both in such a short time frame.

We did three nights in Florence, and two in Venice just to get a taste of Italy this summer but then spent a month in Greece afterward, that kind of time frame allows one to do a couple of countries.
Here is what you are attempting to see in two weeks.
Three days in Florence
stanbr is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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Most of the people I know who make a first trip to Rome spend from two to four days there, not seven. I agree that you could easily spend a week there, or even more, but it's not essential. I would suggest spending at least five nights in Rome, which will give you four full days. Three or four nights would give you a good glimpse of Florence. If you're a big fan of Renaissance art, you might want to cut a night from Rome and add it to Florence. With eight or nine nights in Italy, you would have four or five nights left over for Athens, assuming you have two weeks rather than ten days. (One night will be spent on the plane getting to Europe.) If you have only ten days (nine nights in Europe), you should forget about Athens.

I agree with Janis that you should get a multi-city flight, flying into Rome and home from Athens. Furthermore, I suggest that when you arrive in Rome, you take a train straight to Florence. Spend three or four nights there, and then return to Rome for your next five nights. From Rome you can get more options for flights to Athens, and you won't have to split your time in Rome into two segments.
bvlenci is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 12:25 PM
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I spent a week in Rome and it was not enough. But this will always be the case. You can get away with 5 days in Rome. About Florence, I spent 5 days during my first trip and felt it gave me ample time to see the highlights. But 3 days could be enough if done without expectations of relaxation. Why not save Athens for another Greece-focused trip in the future? You could give more days to Rome and Florence, or possibly do a day trip from either of the cities. While I do not like to take package tours, a one day tour to major towns in Tuscany while in Florence could give you a brief glimpse into Tuscany and would motivate you to plan a dedicated trip to explore Tuscan countryside later. It would be a nice change from all the art scene in Florence, although you would find grand cathedrals and wonderful pieces of art everywhere in these Tuscan towns. Nonetheless, your highlights would be the rolling hills of green dotted by tall Cypress trees and gorgeous farmhouses restored in the middle of nowhere.
rtwin80days is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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"Does anyone have any ideas on a good itinerary for this?"

In 10-14 days, you can just visit these 3 cities plus the usual things outside the towns like Siena or Cape Sounion.
So the itinerary may be Rome - train - Florence - train Rome airport or Milan airport or Venice airport - plane - Athens. There are also a few weekly Bologna - Athens flights operated by ryanair.
neckervd is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 06:49 PM
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So it's looking more like 11 days, but maybe all in Italy.
ksprague is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 07:58 PM
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If you mean 11 day in total (home to home) then you are working with 8.5 days on the ground. So two or 3 places in Italy would be good. Venice/Florence/Rome would be a bit rushed but doable.
janisj is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 10:16 PM
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I'm really trying to extend the trip for a couple more days. To me, the cost of hotels/food/sightseeing for an extra few days would be well worth it.

Im really looking forward to The history/art part of Italy. And of course the food and culture...and wine, gotta have that.

I've heard Venice is a little dirty, so in not necessarily sold on there. I've heard Naples is a pickpocketers heaven.

So in kinda leaning towards some version of Rome, Florence, and some other places like Cinque Terre.

I've only been mildly researching for a couple days, so my mind is still open to anything.
ksprague is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 10:24 PM
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>>I've heard Venice is a little dirty, <<

And who told you that? And did that person think Rome was cleaner?
janisj is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 10:36 PM
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My friend went on a guided tour and said garbage was piled along the canal. That's all I have to go on. I really have heard nothing else about it. It sounds like the people on here really think it's a good place to go.
ksprague is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 12:51 AM
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The exact number of nights will give you how much time you actually have for touring after subtracting time from traveling to/from Europe and moving from one city to another. I would do Venice/Florence/Rome for a first trip like this within your time frame. I do not think Athens is a good match for your trip even if you have more time. I say this because IMHO the Greek islands are a major part of exploring Greece and it is more difficult to get to Greece and it's islands from the US than going to Italy. You generally have to go through Athens to get to the islands and non stop air from the US to Athens only happens from some Eastern cities and I believe only in the summer months. Thus, getting to the Greek islands often takes 2 or more stops which tends to be exhausting so a stop in Athens is not a bad idea. Also it may be less expensive to fly to/from Athens and book an budget airfare around the islands than to put all flights under one ticket.
I would therefore recommend you save Athens for another time when you can also visit one or more islands.
mjs is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 09:44 AM
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Just a comment on Venice being dirty. Your friend experienced garbage collection day. The garbage is put out on the side of the canals for pick by Garbage barges which come by and take it all away. There is no other way to get the garbage out of Venice.
We have garbage days here too. We put out the garbage and the municipality takes it away for disposal. Same for Venice.
stanbr is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 10:31 AM
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Truly not being snarky, but European cities are first of all, old. (Don't we go for the history and architecture?). Old buildings are stone and brick and plaster and mortar. Unless recently cleaned and redone, they can be dusty or crumbly, especially true in Venice because of water and sea damage. There may be a few exceptions, but wherever there are a lot of people living and working in real cities, the reality is, there will be dirt and garbage and some crime. They are not manicured make believe. They are real life.

Have you been to any of the big cities of the US? NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, LA, etc? They have as much, if not more dirt that any city I have been in, in Europe, and pickpocketing is certainly not unknown in the US.

Now, I will be snarky. Your friend might be happier with Disney World.
Sassafrass is online now  
Nov 15th, 2016, 11:17 AM
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I sure hope you don't expect pristine anywhere in 'Classic' Europe. Parts of Switzerland and Scandinavia would qualify but you are headed to the wrong places if that is what you want.

>>Your friend might be happier with Disney World<<

And there is always DisneyLand Paris (sorry - a bit more snark )
janisj is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 01:30 PM
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Just to clarify, my friend who went to Venice was on a cruise that popped in and out of cities, so he probably did happen upon it on the wrong day. I'm well aware of how sanitation works, but for some reason the image emblazoned in my head was of bags and bags of garbage stacked up and down the canal.

I'm not looking for anything pristine, and I only mention pickpocketing in Naples because I've read it in Frommer's and Rick Steve's.

Anyway, it looks like the trip will be 10 nights. That's much less than I was hoping for. I presume that narrows me into Rome/Florence with maybe a side trip.
ksprague is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 03:10 PM
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I love Venice and would choose it over Florence. I think most people would enjoy Venice more unless they're huge fans of Renaissance art and architecture.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 03:48 PM
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10 nights on the ground in Europe? That would mean you would have 9 full days. That is short, but two or three places in Italy could be done in that amount of time. Again, make it an open-jaw flight, into the first city you visit, out of the last.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 16th, 2016, 08:06 AM
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My wife and I just returned from Rome/Florence/Venice with a one day side trip to Cinque Terre. We did three days in Rome and 3 in Florence and 2 in Venice. All three cities were fantastic and the day trip to Cinque Terre was well worth the $99 each we paid WalkAbout tours. We are high energy people, so we walked most places, but for Rome, the Big Bus tour (double decker tour bus) was a good deal. Hop on hop off, and you get close to the best sites. Their brochure listed 36 euros for 24 hours, but I thought that was high. I think I saw on-line prices for less. The guy at the bus immediately dropped the price as I kept declining. We stopped at 20 euros each for a 24 hour pass. We did the Vatican museums, St Peters (look right when entering, or you could miss Michelangelo's we did. Grrrr), walked bridges over the Tiger, at night too, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, endless numbers of churches, the Borghesi Museum (must see), Forum, Coliseum, Palatine Hill. Rick Steve’s Rome map has a nice walking tour that gets you to some great places. In between endless walking, we had numerous relaxed lunches and dinners and stayed up until midnight every night. Definitely get out at night. The city is alive, lit up and very safe. We missed a lot of things, but saw so much in three days. Florence is also great to walk around. The Duomo was crowded at the bell tower and dome climb, but easy to get into the sanctuary. Must see the Accademia Gallery with David and the Uffizzi Gallery (Birth of Venus....sigh). Get advance tickets on line, but as always, go to the actual website and not a re-seller for the best deal. We did a day hiking trip to Cinque Terre through WalkAbout tours. For the $99, we jumped on a bus from the Florence Train station to the town 2nd from the south of the five towns. Train to the next town North, lunch there and hiked to the 4th town up. Train to the northernmost town and then a ferry back past all of the towns to the Southernmost. Train south for a bit and met the bus for the ride back. It’s all day and requires hiking, but was our best day in Italy. Just an amazing place. Venice too was amazing and I would discount the negative feedback you got on Venice. It is a cool and unique city. The best deal going for getting around is walking, but the Vaporetto is terrific. It’s like a hop-on hop-off metro or bus, but it’s a boat. If you get a 1 or 2 day pass (easily bought on board, but tell the rope guy when you board....a little cheaper at a tobacco shop). Once you have your pass, you’ve got Venice and the nearby islands at your fingertips. As you ride around, and the boat stops at virtually every stop, you just hop off wherever. It’s a great system. We got the hotel sponsored free taxi to Murano (which comes with a high pressure sales pitch to buy glass) and walked much of Murano. Jumped on the Vaporetto to get back. Gondola rides are up to a whopping 80 euros. Fun but pricey. I loved navigating Venice with my Fodors map, and never once got lost. I know that’s not the norm, but it’s one of my few talents. Either way, just walk! It’s an island, how lost can you get? And you’ll see so much of the nooks and crannies. Fabulous city with so much to see. If you love shopping, all three cities are full of unique little shops selling all kinds of great stuff. The open market in Florence has great leather products. All three cities are chock full of high end shopping too. Always ask “Is this the best you can do?” as it seems all prices are negotiable there. The trains between cities put the US to shame (Italotreno). Inexpensive and crazy fast, clean and for us, on time. Have fun, you’ll love Italy!
hoodmeister is offline  
Nov 16th, 2016, 08:25 AM
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hoodmeister: Just a helpful hint. Your post is VERY difficult/almost impossible to read. There may be some good advice buried in there - dunno. In future it would be better if you used paragraph breaks . . .

. . . like this.

To get a paragraph you have to double return.
janisj is offline  

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