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Start in Rome, end in Venice, or vice versa or skip Venice all together?

Start in Rome, end in Venice, or vice versa or skip Venice all together?

Old Jan 28th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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Start in Rome, end in Venice, or vice versa or skip Venice all together?

I am planning a trip to Italy in September/October this year. The dates aren't firm until dh gets the shutdown schedule from his employer, probably not until April. Yes, that totally stinks, but that's the way it is. I want to be able to make reservations as soon as I get a date, so I am trying to do a lot of advance planning. We should have at least 12 days in Italy, not counting travel time.

I want to go to Rome and Florence for sure. Friends are telling me I have to see Venice. This may be our only trip to Italy. There's a whole lot of world I haven't seen yet.

Our interests include historic sites and ruins, museums,chuches, the Vatican, good food and generally just experiencing another country. I've been fascinated with Rome since Latin 101 and I'm also a bit enamored of Michelangelo. We are pretty active, mid 50's and our usual vacations include a lot of hiking/walking. We enjoy being outdoors and if I don't schedule in down time my dh will sight see himself and me into the ground.

I'm concerned if I add Venice to the trip that all we will have time to see is Cities, and I'd like to spend some time in the countryside, just about anywhere that the pace is slower and we can get away from crowds for a day or so. I'd appreciate any suggestions on this, I'm open to just about anywhere , but I'd prefer somewhere we can take public transportation, train or bus, rather then driving.

Do we have enough time to "see" Rome, the Vatican and Florence, not just run through them at a break neck pace, and also experience some of the countryside and still see some of Venice too?

And...flying open jaw is my plan, where should we start? Start in Rome, train to Florence, train to Venice, then fly home from Venice with some time somewhere in the countryside squeezed in there somewhere.....or vice versa? Is there a preferred way to go for any reason?

I've been lurking here for months, reading all that I can, so I have to Thank You all already for sharing so much of your time and experiences.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Would do 5 Rome - 3 Florence - 4 Venice. Open jaw into 1 and out of the other.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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Agree with nygvic: I would NOT leave out Venice if this may be your only trip to Italy.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:13 AM
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12 days is enough time for all the three cities plus "spend some time in the countryside, just about anywhere that the pace is slower and we can get away from crowds for a day or so.".

Keep in mind that there is 10X more to see in Rome as compared to Florence or Venice, so you should weight more time in Rome.

Maybe 6 days in Rome, 3 days in Florence (one of which you can spend in the surrounding countryside - ideally right in the middle of your 12 days), and 3 days in Venice. That's a starting point, adjust a day here or there depending on what is most important to you.

Open jaw is the only way to go here. As to Rome towards Venice or the reverse: the only thing you really need to look at is flight times. For instance, if the only departures that work to your home city from Venice leave at 7:00 am, then you might (though not mandatory) want to depart home from Rome instead.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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Oh, how can one leave out Venice? A rhetorical question here..
I agree with the above poster re flights leaving from Venice at some unG-dly hours in which case one is better off flying into Rome and out of Venice. But, if you can score a return flight at a later time in a day, then either direction is fine.

If you can add another two days on the ground in Italy, you could include a smidgen of a countryside, e.g. Tuscan countryside, which will be lovely in September/October. You would have to consider renting a car then.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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Venice is not like any other city. It should not be missed.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622914405643/
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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Thank you so much for the speedy responses. Ok, so Venice is in. The friends who insisted I go there spent their honeymoon there, and another group were on a tour, so I wanted so opinions that weren't weighted by those factors. I will definitely include Venice in my plans. Adding another 2 days into the trip would be ideal, won't know if that's possible for awhile, so I'm using 12 days as the length of stay, knowing that if we can eke out another day or so we will have no trouble filling the time.

I like the idea of alloting time right in the middle of the trip to relax in the country. Can I take a train or bus out of Florence to day trip to the countryside without spending most of the day on traveling or would I be better off staying outside of Florence for an overnight or two?

So, tentatively 5 days Rome, 4 days Florence allowing for at least one day in the countryside, and 3 days Venice is my thought.
I'll have to see about flight times in and out of Venice.

Do flight times tend to stay the same throughout the year or do they change seasonally?
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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A 30 (60 max) minute train or bus puts you into the countryside, so you'll spend very little time traveling when doing day trips from Florence into the surrounding rural areas.

Flight times generally stay the same throughout the year.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Skip Rome and use the five days for Venice. In my opinion, Rome is a waste of time.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 11:35 AM
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I just saw this thread. So glad to see you are including Venice! I hoe you have a wonderful trip!
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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Flying into Venice and then departing from Rome might be a better choice. Check out the flight times for each. Sometimes flying out of Venice requires a rather early flight if you are connecting in Europe for your overseas flight. Not impossible to get to the airport early, but getting up at 3:30 or 4 am isn't vacation IMHO.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 11:45 AM
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IMO, your 5, 4, 3 allocation is fine, taking a day or two from Florence for a rustic retreat is perfect. Don't ever omit Venice.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Rome a waste of time--well, each to their own I guess. IMHO Rome is not to be missed and neither is Venice. Personally I'm not a big Florence fan (which probably has more to do with some unfortunate events that happened to me there).
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 01:27 PM
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You have time to see Venice, Florence and Rome in 12 days although it will be rushed. From Florence you can do a day trip by bus to Siena which will also give you a little taste of the countryside. If you are a Michelangelo fan then you must go to the Accademia in Florence to see the statue of David. The queues can be very long, but just wait until about 5pm and then the tour groups have all gone and you will only have to wait for about 10 minutes to get in.

Florence in the evenings is lovely, the daytrippers have all gone and it feels like a different place.

Train travel in Italy is easy and although you won't have much down time, the train trips give your feet a bit of a break! Make sure you have some level of fitness before you go as it can be a shock to your body if you go from no exercise at all to suddenly walking for 4 hours every day!
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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You want to follow the warm weather at that time of year, starting north and moving south. Fly into Venice, train to Florence, train to and fly out of Rome.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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I think you have lots of time for your plan. Break days between places depending on your interests.I don't think it matters where you start but if you are getting round trip to Rome I would start from Venice. Since you'll be already in FCO just buy o/w Alitalia ticket to VCE. Alitalia flights are frequent and can be bought in advance for about 50 euros. Doing it the other way around you may be risking missing your flight home due to delays.

Opinions differ but I would spend in Venice 2 nights and leave on day 3. It's small enough to be seen in 2 days both on foot and from water. Plus the place is usually very crowded.

There are other interesting places in Tuscany other than Florence so may be you'll spend more time there. Siena, Pisa, Lucca, St.Gimiliano are all worth visiting.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Hi Cpelk,

My husband and I are doing a similar trip this May (open-jaw Rome/Venice)and even though we spent a week in Rome in '07, we are still going back because we both found it had so much to offer - all the things you said you are interested in. Besides you'll want to go to St. Peter's and see Michaelangelo's Pieta.

Also spent several days in Florence but don't care to go back. So there you go - everyone has their opinion.

If you like the countryside, may I suggest staying in an agriturismo and renting a car. It's not hard to drive there if you don't go near a city center, and you'll be able to get out and go for nice walks whenever you like, and visit the smaller towns. I did that on a "girls" trip in '05 (we stayed in an agriturismo outside Siena) and it was fun.

Have a wonderful time planning your trip!
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 02:53 PM
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"In my opinion, Rome is a waste of time."

I was going to say "there's one in every crowd" but in this case there may be only one in total. What a sad and strange opinion. Like other things, I suppose, everybody's got one.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Cpelk,

there is a way you can have all three and a decent stay in the countryside.

fly into Venice - stay 3 nights. Train to Pisa, pick up car, drive to agritorismo in Tuscany - stay 4 nights.

drive to [place with train station and car hire return, proably Pisa] - train to Florence. stay 2 nights.

train to Rome. finish trip.

if you are really brave, you could drop Florence altogether save for a day trip while you are staying at the agritorismo. IMHO Venice and Rome are unmissable, stay in Florence as well and there is a chance that you will be overwhelmed. a stay in the country will enable you to take stok and absorb what you are seeing.

less, after all, can be more.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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Cpelk,

It is such a pity, in my view, that the Venice dogmatists and the standard-package-tour thinkers on this board have talked you into rushing through Rome and Florence and omitting the Italian countryside to include Venice, given the way you described your own interests. If you imagine what you've gotten is "objective" advice from five or six people to counter the arm-twisting of your friends, that really isn't the case.

You may be tired of thinking and re-thinking this option, so you may not want to re-open it in your mind, and this is your trip and you should do what you want. And Fodor's posters are heartily sick of my constantly mocking their package tour ideas of Italy, and will accuse me of trying to rob you of the "must-see" experience of Venice because it doesn't mean as much to me as it does to them.

But I live in Italy and you don't have time to satisfy your fascination with Rome and its antiquities, see the Vatican without killing yourselves, track down even half the wealth of Michaelangelo's work that is in Rome (most people posting here have no idea how Michaelangelo there is to be seen in Rome) nor do you have time to do the same in Florence and include days in the countryside if you also go to Venice.

There are beautiful things that you could see in the Italian countryside that would further your understanding of Rome and its history, of Michaelangelo (care to walk in the hills above Florence where he did?) plus you would get away from the crowds like you want to. Venice is tourist-crowd central. You say you want hiking and downtime. You are now in the process of planning a 12-day rushed trip through mega-tourist cities that is pretty much exactly what you said you wanted to avoid for you and your husband.

If you'd rather not think about this anymore and just settle the issue and move on to booking Rome/Florence/Venice, I can understand that. But I suggest you cast your net wider and post the exact same text you posted here on Frommer's and Tripadvisor and get a wider demographic and wider experience of response.
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