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Suggested itinerary for two weeks in Italy

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Feb 13th, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #1
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Suggested itinerary for two weeks in Italy

Hello,

We are planning our honeymoon for the beginning of October 2014. This will be the first time visiting Italy for both of us. The idea that I have is to fly into Bologna from Atlanta and go south from there. So….Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. I'm not sure if we should start from South to North or North to South or if it even matters. We will probably just take the train from city to city but I feel like once we get to Naples, we have to take a bus to get to the Amalfi Coast. Is this right?

Are there things that we shouldn't miss? We are in our mid 30's. He is very into the history of things and I could just sit and talk food all day.

I spent 6 hours researching yesterday and my plans keep changing as I read other posts. Please help me out!

Thanks!
Julie
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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Why the coast? It will be getting cool and won't be beach weather, if that's what you're looking for (Rome is about the same latitude as NYC, Naples is north of Atlanta).
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:20 PM
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And how long? That will help in the planning.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Bloody heck - sorry about response #2. Overlooked the title.

Don't overdue it with destinations - it's a honeymoon so it should be fun and Rome is one of the world's great cities so it deserves some significant time.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:36 PM
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Hi and thank you for your reply. I really just wanted to see the countryside of Tuscany, the city of Rome and the ocean. I guess I was trying to get in as much as possible in two weeks but can definitely leave the coast off and be ok.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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There is coast not far from Tuscany.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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A2B
 
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Hi. We were just in Italy. We went to Milan, Florence and Rome. We did day trips from these places. 5 nights in Milan, 3 nights in Florence and 3 nights in Rome. But I would increase the time in Florence and Rome and stay less in Milan. I did find awesome food in Milan but there is good food in Florence and Rome as well. All different since they have there own regional foods that they cook.

I used Viator to find tours to do. You just can't get the information they give during the tours on your own. And then you don't need to worry about where to go, how to get tickets, etc.

From Milan we did a day trip to Lake Como. And you could do a day trip to Venice from Milan. We also went to see "The Last Supper" and La Scala Opera. We even attended an opera at La Scala. It was really amazing and brings much appreciation to opera. My husband was into the art and history. I'm the foodie. But I thought the tour and art was amazing and really had a different appreciation.

From Florence I booked a tour to see the countryside of Tuscany . We went to several towns and had lunch at an organic farm with wine tasting. Just amazing to be out there and see the rolling hills like you see in the movies.

Book the Florence for Foodie tour while in Florence. . at the beginning of your stay so you know where to go eat. It was awesome and my husband really enjoyed it more than I thought he would. The guide was awesome!

I also booked a city tour within Florence to see the art. They take you to the acadamia to see the statue of David and then the Uffizi where there is lots of art.

In Rome we stayed right by the Pantheon and it was amazing. I read a trip report and everyone really loved the hotel that was recommended : Albergo del Senato

Great restaurants, coffee shop, gelato, pastry (bakery) - all in walking distance from this hotel.

We did a day trip to Amalfi Coast with a tour group. They can only take a small group so they can drive through the narrow roads. They take you to Pompeii and see the old city ruins. Lots of driving.. .some stops for pictures. and lunch on the beach.

I also found a local market near the vatician city. We had time before our tour so we got to go walk around and got coffee and pastry.

Good Luck!

Use the tour to figure out how many days you need to be in each city. see what you want to see. Book the tours. You will be exhausted from walking so much but the tours helps you keep going.

Also, We rode trains for our trip and some taxi. Don't prebook any trains. You can buy them as you go. And there are strikes sometimes with trains in Italy. . .so you need to be aware of that. With Taxi, make sure you know how much the ride will cost before getting in. Ask the hotel how much the ride should cost. We got raked on our ride from train to hotel in Rome. The meter was running on 3 vs 1. So they put it on the fastest setting. We rode the taxi couple more times and we made sure we knew how much the ride should be and we did ok.

Airport ride: make sure you know exactly where you need to be dropped off. We got dropped off in the domestic area and had to ride a bus to the right place.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 02:08 PM
  #8
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I just read a reply on my other comment that the airport ride to the Rome Airport is standard fee on taxi and they can only drop you off at the domestic area and you have to catch the bus to the international side.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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Hi jeuli,

from Atlanta can you ONLY fly into Bologna? or are there other airports you can get to easily?

the ideal would be to fly "open jaw" into one airport and out of another - often called "multi-city" by airlines; to do this should not cost must more than the cost of a round trip. you might fly into bologna and out of Rome, for example.

and what sort of coastal experience do you have in mind? beautiful coastal scenery? [the Amalfi has that in spades] beaches? [not the Amalfi then, probably the Tuscan coast would be better]

then you need to work out how many places you want to stay in - remember that every time you move you lose at least 1/2 day so in 2 weeks, you probably want a maximum of 3 bases. pull all this together, and you begin to have a trip!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:17 PM
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For the Amalfi Coast – Once you get to Naples, you can transfer to the Circumvesuviana, commuter light rail, right in one of the main Naples train stations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumvesuviana . The light rail ends at Sorrento – Herculaneum and Pompeii are on the rail line between Naples and Sorrento. From Sorrento you would need to use bus or ferry to get further down the coast. As I recall the ferries will run through October, but may not run every day depending on rough weather. I traveled around Amalfi for a week during October and found the weather great, so while it might not be beach weather, that area does offer a lot for history with Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri. Positano is a wonderful beachside town cut into the cliffs and would probably be a great “honeymoon” type option. On my trip I decided to stay in Sorrento for the convenience of getting around to a variety of places, and while it’s a pretty enough town, it’s really touristy. The buses that travel from there down the stunning cliffside highway can get really crowded and aren’t the most fun for getting around – but the views are spectacular. So weigh your priorities of convenience vs. what you want to see. I am also into food, and wouldn’t say this is a fabulous food region from my personal experience. Another option - you could consider staying in Salerno at the southern end of Amalfi, which will have a more local feel and can take the train up to visit Amalfi towns & archaeological sites. My research showed that the travel time was fairly comparable to Amalfi sites as from Sorrento – and then you can also visit Paestum. I’ve heard positive things about Salerno – but haven’t been there and you should check travel logistics.

All that said, unless the Amalfi is a “must” for your first trip, I would consider not doing the Amalfi, which can involve time consuming travel logistics, and adding on Venice (3 days) – romantic, history, and there is no place else like it. You could fly into there and then move south to Bologna (2 days). I liked Bologna and great for a foodie (walking around the market with all the fresh tortellini shops will make you wish you’d rented an apartment to cook!). You can really see Bologna in a couple of days, but it is definitely more of a northern bustling city – I don’t know if I would do Bologna on a first trip, unless it is a must for you. I personally have always found the best food in Tuscany – and Florence is definitely a great food and wine town (and shopping!) and of course tons of history and architecture (3 days minimum, consider switching out Bologna for a side trip to Tuscany – it’s lovely to drive around the wine regions, like Chianti). You could rent a car and drop it somewhere outside of Rome, like Orvieto and then take the train the rest of the way. Or skip countryside and just train from Florence to Rome. I wouldn’t do less than 5 days in Rome and consider more if you’re really into history – it is dense with stuff to see and do. I have spent weeks in Rome and still have not seen everything. Highly recommend Context tours for history tours – they are small and academic. I did the 4 hour tour of Palatine Hill, Forum, and the Coliseum and it really was worth the better appreciation of understanding the remnants. In addition to all the history, Rome is an interesting food and wine city that will keep you busy for several days. Fly out of Rome.

A couple more ideas I’ll throw into the mix: If you want to base in Rome and still see the archeological sites in Amalfi, you could do a long day trip via the Eurostar to Naples (believe there is now a train that will get you there in an hour. From the train station using the Circumvesuviana, I believe Pompeii is about 30 mins away and Herculaneum is even closer. And there is of course Ostia Antica in Rome region, which is a well-preserved ancient town. On a different note, I would throw Perugia in for consideration, instead of Bologna – something a little off-beat and a beautifully preserved medieval, walled city with great history and interesting museum. It is quite stunning architecturally.

The Rick Steves books are really a worthwhile investment for first time travelers to a region in providing logistics – especially for someplace with complex logistics, like Amalfi.

This Rail Europe site is useful for playing with destinations to determine routes, cost, and time: http://www.raileurope.com/en/index.html

Hope that is helpful – it is tough to narrow for a country like Italy with so many great options!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:21 PM
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In October, it won't be beach weather anywhere. The scenery of the Amalfi Coast is still there, and it could be fairly warm and sunny, but there's also a fair chance of rain and wind.

Everyone is different, but I wouldn't want to do anywhere near as many tours as A2B did. I would only take a tour to a place that I couldn't conveniently get to on my own, or that is too complicated to understand with a decent guidebook and a little research.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:23 PM
  #12
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Thank you so much for all of the information, A2B! I will definitely inquire about the tours. Believe it or not, this trip started out as a Spain trip and then I thought we could shoot over to Italy but it started to be too much for the little time we have.

I hadn't even thought of Milan! I may look into flights there and leave out of Rome.

annhig, yes, we would definitely do an open jaw. The only reason I picked Bologna was because it sounds like such a cute town although I am sure they are a dime a dozen.

The itinerary that I originally thought of was this:
Leave Atlanta on Wednesday, arrive in Bologna Thursday morning, stay 2 nights
Saturday, leave for Florence, stay 4 nights
Wednesday, leave for Rome, stay for 4 nights
Sunday, leave for the Amalfi Coast, stay for 2 nights
Leave out of Naples on Tuesday

I'm really thinking of cutting out the Amalfi Coast. I just read that it is not to be missed so I felt like I must see it! Err! So much to see in so little time.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:31 PM
  #13
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What is your budget and how many days (total, incl. travel days) do you have for this trip? That may help you pare down your itinerary.

And although I love the Amalfi Coast, I would skip it for this trip. It could be risky weather-wise in October, and doesn't make sense logistically.

Consider an open-jaw ticket, into Rome and out of Venice. Spend a few days in Rome, then take the Eurostar to Florence (1.5 hours) spend a day or two in Florence (or not) then make your way to Tuscany.

Go back to Florence and take a train to Venice,(2.5 hours) spend a few days there, then home.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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There are no non-stop flights to Bologna from the states so I'm surprised you picked it. Only Milan, Venice, Pisa and Rome have non-stops from the US (Pisa is seasonal and Venice might be also). You will either have to change flights somewhere in the US or somewhere in Europe. Usually flights departing Italy from airports without non-stop, depart very early. It can be better to arrive at one of those airports and depart from one that offers non-stop.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 04:06 PM
  #15
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venturegirl,

Thank you! Yeah, I think I am just going to cut the Amalfi Coast out. I would rather spend more time in the other cities. I looked into flights arriving in Rome and leaving out of Venice and there are plenty with just one layover in the US for each leg.

WWK, we haven't set a budget yet. Ideally, no more than $6,000 for everything, including flights, trains, food & lodging. It's around $1300 per person for our flight. We are thinking of using Airbnb for accommodations. Still in the early process of planning though.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 04:38 PM
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Jeuli79- I know this is an old post but I'd love to know what your final itinerary is. I'm currently planning an AC-Rome-Bologna trip myself. We're starting south & going north.
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