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Touring cities of Italy

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Feb 12th, 2015, 10:01 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Touring cities of Italy

Hi Everyone,
This is my first time on the site after only joining you today. My question relates to planning a 14 day touring holiday to Italy in summer 2015. There will be two of us traveling and we would want to visit Florence, Siena and Venice. We would like to plan the whole tour ourselves from Flights to travelling between these cities. We are thinking about choosing one hotel (4 or 5 star) and journey out from there and back each day. During the tour with the number of days we are planning we would include rest days. I am thinking should we stay on the Tuscan coast or locate inland centrally to these cities. I would also value your advice on the best ways to travel between these cities and any other travel tips you may think useful for us. Many thanks for your help and advice. We are excited to be travelling to this beautiful country once again. Our last trip to Italy was only a day trip to Rome a number of years ago. This time we want to immerse ourselves more in the Italian way of life and culture.
Alfie54 is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2015, 10:08 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You certainly can use Siena or Florence as bases to visit each other. Venice is really too far to do it justice as a day trip.
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Feb 12th, 2015, 10:27 AM
  #3
 
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How many nights do you actually hae on the ground?

What are your major interests? Art? History? Churches? Fine dining? Wine tasting? Clog dancing? Archery?

Please give us a clue!

Unless your interest in Venice is very limited (see 1 or 2 major sights) a day trip won;t work. The city is mobbed with tourists during the day but when you stay there for several nights you get a completely different view of the city - as well as a chance to see many more sights.

For a sensible answer you must provide more info.

As for hotels - you need to provide a nightly budget to get recos. Do you want to spend 300 euros per night? 500? 700?
nytraveler is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2015, 12:32 PM
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I think, first, it helps to grasp the travel time between these cities.

If driving, http://www.viamichelin.com/ gives more realistic time estimate than google map although the google map is easier to use.

If by train, www.bahn.com is by far the easier to use. While it is a German site, it also shows Italian train schedules. Get the sense of travel times.

For Florence-Siena, bus is better. It offers city center to city center service. http://www.sienaitaly.com/pages/arrival.html
bus #1310 takes 95 minutes, bus #131 express service takes 80 minutes.

What is the reason for wanting to stay in just one hotel? If packing and unpacking large luggage, carrying large luggage also hinders using trains and buses. If packing/unpacking was the reason, solving the luggage size issue also simplifies moving around.

Florence-Venice is not a trivial day trip. If you feed the train schedule to www.bahn.com, you will find that the train trip on a high speed train is 2 hrs. Add .5hrs on both side to get to/from stations, you consume 3 hrs one way. This just might make sense if the destination were a tiny town. But Florence and Venice are not small towns. It takes several days staying at each place see major landmarks. If you do Florence-Venice-Florence, it would resemble a short excursion stop - just a few hours during the height of the busy time of the day.

Was it how you visited Rome before? If that kind of trip left you "wanting to immerse ourselves in an Italian way of life," visiting all these places the same way would end up leaving you "wanting to immerse ourselves in an Italian way of life" again.
greg is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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From Florence, a day trip to Venice would be possible, depending on what you want to see and do there. The fast trains take just a little over two hours to get there, so if you leave early and return late, you could easily spend more than 10 hours in Venice. I took a day trip to Venice once with my sister who was visiting from the US. From my home in Le Marche, it was a much longer day trip than from Florence, but she and her family certainly enjoyed the trip.

It would take a good deal longer to get to Venice from Siena, and it wouldn't be at all possible from the Tuscan coast.

Fourteen days would be enough to visit these three cities without getting
bvlenci is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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Sorry, I posted before finishing.

Fourteen days would be enough to visit these three cities without rushing around. I would really prefer to stay at least a few days in Venice. Then you could either stay in Siena and visit Florence as a day trip, or the reverse. Again, it really depends on what you want to see. If you're passionate about Renaissance art, a day trip to Florence wouldn't satisfy you. If you just want to "see" the city, and maybe go to one museum, you could do that in a day.

By the way, the bus between Florence and Siena takes only 45 minutes less than the train between Florence and Venice. Yet almost everyone agrees that Florence and Siena are within day trip range of each other, but Florence and Venice aren't.
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