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Trip Itinerary Milan, Genoa, La Spezia, Pisa, Florence, Padua & Venice

Trip Itinerary Milan, Genoa, La Spezia, Pisa, Florence, Padua & Venice

Sep 25th, 2012, 09:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 8
Trip Itinerary Milan, Genoa, La Spezia, Pisa, Florence, Padua & Venice


I am planning a trip to Northern Europe in late April. I have the schedule listed below and would like to know if I am over-staying at any particular city. This is our second time visiting Milan and Florence but the first time was a day-trip to each city. We will have a rental car from day one. I am counting the arrival day as a whole day since we arrive at 8 am but we will probably will not be 100% as we will be tired from the trip.
Please advise if you think we are off.

Milan 2 days
Lake Coomo area 1 day
Genoa & La Spezia 1 day
Pisa & Florence 2.5 days
Bologna 1.5 days
Padua 1 day
Venice 3 days

We are considering staying another day. If possible, where should we spend another day?

Thanks for your help.
Baja is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Sorry, IMHO you are alrdy bouncing around like ping pong balls. Adding more destinations makes no sense at all.

Also - it makes no sens to have a car in either Milan or Venice (I assume you are flying out of Venice). Wait until you leave Milan to get the car and drop it when you get to Venice (obviuosly).

What I don't see is where you are allowng time to get from one place to another. Do you travel from Milan to Como on day 2 or day 3? If it's day 3, then you have half a day in come and the next am have to head for Genoa and the next am for florence. If you have a car there be sure your hotel has arranged for you to take it into the center (unless you are staying in the outskirts and will take public transit in).

I know some people like to move quickly - but to me you're sepnding the majority of this trip just driving from one place to another - with a couple of hours for sightseing here and there (except for Venice - and that may include arrival day and departure day).
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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You are right, and that is one of our concerns. All I have is google maps to give me driving times from one place to another. According to google I can get from one place to another in about 1/2 hour to 2 hrs max...depending on the trip obviously. If those are close to real driving times, it should not be a problem, but I DO NOT want to spend most of my trip driving with barely enough time to take a pic here and there while rushing around. The idea of not picking up the car when we arrive in Milan is a good one. We can save in rental fees and the stress of driving or finding a place to park. I guess something that I did not make clear was that we are driving from Milan to Como and back to Milan for the night on day 3.
We are driving from Milan to La Spezia (via Genoa) on day 4. (2.5 hrs total)
From La Spezia to Florence via Pisa on day 5. (2.5 total hrs)
From Florence to Bologna on day 7...afternoon (1 hr)
Bologna to Padua day 9 (2 hrs)
Padua to Venice day 10 (1hr)
Venice to Phoenix AZ day 13

We are seriously considering skippin Bologna. We have been there, we loved it but that would open up some time for us to add...not another destination...more time in one of the cities we are visiting.
Sorry for the winded explanations.
Baja is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
Crazy itinerary.
I suggest 4 destinations:
Lago Como---3
Liguriran coast--3
Venice ---4
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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I'm with Bob the Navigator. You seriously underestimate the time to travel from place to place. With his itinerary you have time to actually visit your destinations rather than just arriving and departing. You won't need a car for Florence or Venice so you can turn it in after the Ligurian Coast and train from there to Florence and then to Venice.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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We have encountered a lot of truck and car traffic on the autostradas in the areas where you plan to drive. I would not count on the time you think it will take to get to your various destinations.
You can always do a day trip to Padua from Venice, a short train ride, half hour or so. However, with only four days in Venice, it would be very hard for me to leave that beautiful city. Use bobthenavigator's plan for this trip and you'll have wonderful memories rather than a blur of travel.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Posts: 59
Every place you are going is more quickly reached using trains. That is because you will need to park your car far from the city centers and walk to the areas of sightseeing -- and it will take time to find parking for your car.

Day one: Arrive Malpensa, take train to Como, ferry to Bellagio. (Or have a car take you there.)
Day two: Lago di Como
Day 3: Lago di Como
Day four: Ferry to Varenna, train to Milan. See the sights for a day, sleep there.
Day five: Train to Genoa, stow luggage in train station. See Genoa, take train to le Cinque Terre to sleep there
Day six: Le Cinque Terre
Day seven: Train to Pisa, store luggage in station, see Pisa, train to Florence
Day eight: Florence
Day nine: Florence
Day 10: Venice
Day 11: Venice, day trip to Padova
Day 12 Venice
Fly home
Spend the rest of the time in Venice, with a day trip to Padova
pporter is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Wow! Great advise. I will take your suggestions and reduce the number of cities. I get very excited when I look at pictures of other cities and since it is not cheap to get there, I want to take advantage of being there and see more and more. But I do not want to rush anything. My "normal" style of travel is more relaxed and exploratory than just going for a record number of cities in a short number of days, your advise has reminded me of that, so I will spend more days in each city and really enjoy them.

Baja is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 05:15 PM
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Posts: 10,155
Also keep in mind when you change cities/hotel that it takes time to change hotels. For example, thinking about the trip between Florence and Bologna being 1 hour, you also have to consider how long it will take you to pack and check out of a hotel, walk to and load the car or get to a train station and find your platform, drive/ride the route, find your way through the new city to parking or from the station to the hotel, and check into the hotel. So for this "1 hour" trip, you will actually spend 3 hours or more making all these connections. Most here would say you lose about half a day whenever you change hotels/cities because of all these hidden time-wasters.
ellenem is offline  
Sep 27th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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You are 100% correct ellenem. That is something else I did not think about. "Actual" time spent changing cities will be much greater than just the drive time...assuming google maps/direction is correct, which seems to be in the low numbers already. I will re-evaluate the itinerary to maximize the time spent in each city. I am taking my 3 yr old son & wife so the public transit idea gets complicated, that is why we are renting a vehicle, but no need to be driving for too long. The baby will appreciate it also if we are spending less time moving around and long drives.

Thanks again!
Baja is offline  
Sep 27th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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knowing there is a 3 year old involved makes everything even more complicated. I understand the reason for a car - since you will have a stroller (I assume - no 3 year old legs could cover all that territory) and a bunch of kid stuff as well as your own luggage. but that will also making get form one place to another even more time-consuming.

Throwing 2 carry-ons in the trunk of a car is a lot faster than packing in all of the kid stuff as well as luggage for 2 adults. I would assume at least 3 hours door to door for any of the transfers (unless you have driven in these cities numerous times and know all the one-way streets and exactly how to get where).

We have done many road trips in europe and really enjoy them. but we are typically just an adult couple and we schedule drives of no more than 4 hours in a day. And we stay in larger cities 4 or 5 nights and smaller ones usually 3 nights. but we do give ourselves time to visit a village or church or whatever between the staring and stopping points on the way we drive. So - leave by 10 am, 4 hours driving, an hour lunch and 2/3 hours sightseeing to get to the next stop by 5 to 6 pm.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 28th, 2012, 12:53 PM
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I'd add the other day to Lake Como--it's so beautiful. I haven't been to La Spezia so can't suggest skipping it with a totally good conscience but I would and add that day to Florence area.
TDudette is offline  
Sep 28th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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Thanks again, we are in the process of re-evaluating our itinerary. We will drop one or two cities and add more time to the others. We will spend more time in lake Como and its surroundings for starters, will probably drop Bologna and Genoa and may be La Spezia to add to Como, Florence and Venice. Small cafe spots, little shops, tiny restaurants, museums, etc would be missed if we do not remove cities/add days.
Baja is offline  
Sep 28th, 2012, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
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With a 3 year old, I would pick Lucca over Florence. You can drive over to see Pisa from Lucca, and you can take a train from Lucca to see Florence (bring the stroller). But the center of Lucca is absolutely car free and flat. You can sit in a piazza in the evening with your 3 year old, in a small cafe, and your 3 year old can run around safely. You can go for walks or strolls, with or without the stroller, and enjoy the pretty city without worrying about car exhaust in your child's face. If you like bicycling, you can rent one with a child-seat and bicycle around the walls of Lucca, under the trees, and stop for ice cream and look at the mountains. It is a very pleasant experience of Italian life.

You can even visit the seaside from Lucca. If it is a pretty day, drive to Lerici, which is much prettier town than La Spezia, with a castle (which has a dinosaur museum inside).
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