Two week Italy itinerary

Aug 7th, 2010, 10:27 AM
  #1  
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Two week Italy itinerary

My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip to Italy in early May 2011. I'm a planner, so I've already been working on our itinerary. We are in our 40s, very active, no kids. Enjoy walking the city, biking, wine tasting, etc. We've been to Europe (mostly Spain) a few times, but this is our first trip to Italy. I'm looking for feedback on our overall itinerary, and I'd also welcome suggestions on affordable hotels (i.e., nothing fancy, just proximity and overall cleanliness/safety). I thought we'd start with Rome (more stressful) and end with Florence and Sienna (more relaxed).

Fri/Sat: Fly from Colorado to Rome; walk around Rome.
Sun: Colosseum, Forum, etc.
Mon: Day trip to Pompeii
Tues: Vatican City
Wed: Day trip to Oriveto
Thurs: Train (4.5 hrs) to Venice; walk around Venice
Fri: Tour Venice
Sat: Early train to Cinque Terre
Sun: Hike Cinque Terre
Mon: Train to Florence
Tues: Tour Florence (Uffizi, Academia, etc)
Wed: Join a bike tour in the Tuscany area (suggestions?)
Thurs: Take bus to Sienna; tour Sienna
Fri: Depart Sienna for Rome. (Enjoy a last day in Rome)
Sat: Morning flight home.

Whew! Any thoughts?

M
Mlgriffi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 10:35 AM
  #2  
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Me again -- Just to clarify, this includes 5 nights in Rome, 2 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Cinque Terre, 3 nights in Florence, 1 night in Sienna, and the last night in Rome. - M
Mlgriffi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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Why don't you look at an open jaw ticket so you can fly into Rome and out of another city (maybe Florence, Venice or elsewhere depending on your itinerary). This will save you time and $ once you are in Italy.

As for your itinerary, I'd add more time in Rome and Venice.
Based on your 'whew', comment I'm sure you realise you'll be on the go alot and only you can determine if you're up for that. However, I would not want to travel intercity every day or every other day like you have set up your itinerary.

Regardless of what your final itinerary is, consider prebooking some tourist sights (like the Uffizi, Academia, Vatican, etc) to avoid standing in long entrance lines.
justshootme is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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The centers of Rome and Florence are very safe, as is all of Venice, and in many trips to Italy I have never experienced a hotel that was not clean. In Rome, the most central area is around the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori. www.venere.com lets you choose by area and budget. Guest ratings are more important than star ratings, and many three-star hotels are better than many four-star hotels (rated higher because they have a (mediocre) on-site restaurant). Central Florence and Venice are so compact that location hardly matters.

The fastest trains from Rome to Venice now take less than four hours, but Venice to Cinque Terre is time-consuming: over five hours, no matter how you slice it. The bus from Siena to Rome is more convenient (no change required), takes less time than most train connections and costs about the same.
Zerlina is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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You need to start in Venice and end in Rome, or vice versa.
No need to stay in Rome twice--just a waste of time.

You really have 13 nites in Italy and 4 destinations---I think. Given that, I would fix the dates and itinerary first.

Arrive venice--3 nites
Train to Florence--4 nites--with day trips
Train to CT---2 nites
Train to Rome--last 4 nites

Or, reverse. Fix the itinerary first and then fill in the daily activities.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Wow, this is helpful. I assumed that open-jaw would be really expensive, but now I've checked the rates, and there's not much difference! We will fly into Rome and out of Venice.

Now two more questions... 1) With the time I've saved, should I spend another whole day in Rome or change my "day-trip" to Pompeii into a trip from Rome to Pompeii with an overnight in Sorrento, followed by a train straight to Florence, and on from there. 2) I see that bobthenavigator eliminated Sienna. Is Sienna really only worth a day trip from Florence?

Thanks again!!
M
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Aug 7th, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Sorry--bobthenavigator eliminated "a night" in Sienna. Again.. only worth a day trip?
Mlgriffi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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Be very careful with flight schedules for Venice. Don't choose a flight that leaves VCE too early because your only option for getting to the airport for an early morning flight maybe an extremely expensive water taxi ride. Once you find fights that are suitable, check the Aliguna (water bus to the airport) and ATVO (fly bus to the airport) schedules before you purchase your flights if you are flying out of VCE. One way to avoid this is to fly into VCE and out from FCO.
justshootme is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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justshootme: admittedly it has been a few years ago, but the earliest flight out of Venice was easily arrived at by taking Vap to taxi stand and taxiing or bussing to the airport. One doesn't need to spend $100 unless they want to. Other posters, am I incorrect?
TDudette is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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Yes, those early flights out of Venice can be really tough.
Hence, my suggestion to start in Venice. Use Kayak.com and select the multi-city option.

I love Siena but I hate one niters and changing hotels. And, the train to Rome changes in Chiusi. The Florence to Rome line takes 1:35 and runs often.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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I see that Delta has a good routing with one stop in Atlanta each way--total travel time about 17 hours each way--not bad.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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I would keep Pompeii as a long day trip from Rome rather than relocating to Sorrento for one night. Checking in and out of hotels and finding your way in a new place can take more time than you think. Also, once you're in Rome you can decide whether or not you want to make the trip all the way to Pompeii—you may be too tired to go, or be enjoying Rome too much to leave for the day, or you might decide to settle for the easier trip to Ostia Antica near Rome.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 02:19 PM
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Regarding the Delta flight.. I think I see that one (flying into Venice and out of Rome, not vice versa). If I try to leave Venice later in the day, it seems to make for an overall longer trip home. And it sounds like a morning flight out of Venice might be more hassle than it's worth. Bottom line is that I think this thread has persuaded me to visit Venice first and Rome last. This is also consistent with a lot of other Italy advice I see on the web. (Something about getting the chaos of Rome overwith first seemed appealing, but hey -- I can commit to "making time" to relax and sip vino in Rome.)

Thanks for the feeback on Pompeii. My husband says that's the one thing we must do... but I think a day trip makes sense for the reasons you provided.

Now I'll fill-in the activities and figure out what reservations to make ahead of time. -Thank you again!
Mlgriffi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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I also agree with ellenem for a daytrip to Pompeii. The train service there is easy and you'll be much happier to be in Rome that night.
sheri_lp is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Another suggestion on the flights, as you mentioned you're from Colorado; that's where we live, too. Most trips we've made to Europe, including all of those to Italy, we fly Lufthansa. It's a partner with United, so sometimes we can use FF miles. Lufthansa flies direct, nonstop from Denver to Frankfurt; from there, you can easily connect anywhere you want. We like having the long segment of the flight done with first, and then the connecting flight on the European side. And as you've already decided, flying into Venice and out of Rome is much better - we've done that route several times.

Siena is charming, as are many other areas of Tuscany, but as you already have Rome, Florence and Venice ("the big 3") AND the Cinque Terre in your itinerary, you could leave Siena and Florence for your next trip to Italy...

Another reason that Venice at the beginning and Rome at the end is good, to me, is that Venice is easy to get around in, because there are no cars. You will get lost, but you'll be in Venice! So you can get used to being in Italy without the noise and busyness of cars before you move on to the other locations.
Lexma90 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 04:43 PM
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Good--you are learning.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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We have been to Italy many times and love it. But our best times have been in Tuscany. I think you have too many big cities. I would skip Venice and stay longer in Tuscany or Umbria.

I would save Venice for a northern Italy trip next time.

Do Rome, Florence, Siena and smaller Tuscan towns like Montepulciano, Pienza, Cortona or some of the Umbrian towns like Assisi, Todi, Spoleto. We stayed in Lucca for a week and took the train to Cinque Terre.
winnick is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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I have been to Italy many times and I think your itinerary sounds fine, especially if this is your first trip to Italy. It seems as if you've carefully considered what you ant this trip to be for you.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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what you WANT this trip to be . . .
ellenem is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 06:41 PM
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I appreciate the advice to slow down and do less, but this is our first trip to Italy and we want to see a lot. We have lots of energy, so the big cities seem doable for us. The advice to do things "the other way around" is great advice. Sounds like you are all seasoned travelers and those tips will make the whole trip run more smoothly. (I also hope our little day-long bike tour will give us a sense of the Tuscan wine country.)

Any thoughts on the Venice boat tours to Murano, Burano, or Torcello? Glass and lace aren't exactly compelling to us.. an Torcello seems kind of quiet. Should we just stay lost in Venice for another day?
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