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Two Week Trip from Southern France to Northern Italy

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Hello, I am planning a two week trip with a friend. We are interested in starting in Nice and finishing in Italy. We are planning on taking trains, but I am open to suggestions. Places we are interested in visiting are Nice, ligurian coast , Lago Como, Venice and Tuscany. Not all these places are required for our trip, just ideas. If someone could help me construct a rough itinerary, that would be wonderful. Thanks!

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    It is hard to help with an itinerary covering that much geogrphy in 2 weeks without knowing which destinations you'd be willing to omit, what time of year you are going, and whether you are willing to rent a car at some point.

    Three of your possible destinations are primarily scenic, and they are not easy to reach or link together logistically, but two of them (Nice and Venice) are art cities with a lot of sights of interest to most people who visit them . If you are spending most of your time getting to and from your scenic destinations, you won't have much time to explore those cities, and vice versa.

    By including the Rivieras and Venice in the same itinerary you are trying to traverse Italy at its widest point (and then some). The transportation infrastructure doesn't make it easy or quick.

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    This sounds like a wonderful trip, although with two weeks, I might suggest forgoing one or two areas to give you more time to explore. Tuscany is a big region: are you interested in Florence, other Tuscan cities like Siena or the Tuscan countryside or all of the above?

    Do you have a time of year in mind? It might be easier to recommend places if we know when you’re going, so if this is a winter trip, cutting Lake Como would be advisable and spending more time in the major cities would be desirable.

    Not sure what your most important activities/things to experience are, so if you could clarify your interests, that can help narrow down your itinerary as well.

    I’d recommend concluding your trip in a city for easy access back out to your home destination.

    With more info we can get more specific, but here are some ideas which are very customizable to help you get started in terms of logistics. There could be some places where a car could be more useful than the train, but I stuck to the train since that’s what you specified. Research the places more to decide where exactly you want to spend your time.

    I sketched them out as 12 night stays, so if you have 13 nights total (14 days), you can add one night to the location you’d like to stay longest:

    The Mediterranean Coast, Como and Venice:
    -Nice – 3 nights
    Take Thello train to Genoa (about 3 ½ hrs), spend time in Genoa and/or train to La Spezia (about 1 hr 30)
    -Genoa/Cinque Terre – 3 nights
    Take train from Genoa to Milan (about 1 hr 45 min), train Milan to Lake Como (about 33 min)
    -Lake Como – 3 nights
    Take train to Milan (about 33 min), train to Venice (about 2 hr 25 min)
    -Venice – 3 nights

    Following the Mediterranean to Tuscany:
    -Nice – 3 nights
    Take Thello train to Genoa, spend time in Genoa and/or train to La Spezia (about 1 hr 30)
    -Genoa/Cinque Terre – 3 nights
    Take train from La Spezia to Florence (about 3 hrs), rent car/take bus/train to Tuscan countryside destination (duration depends on location)
    -countryside Tuscany – 3 nights
    rent car/take bus/train back to Florence
    -Florence – 3 nights

    Italy only with Ligurian coast
    -start in Milan, immediately to Lake Como
    -Lake Como – 3 nights
    Take train to Milan, train to Venice
    -Venice – 3 nights
    Take train to Florence (About 2 hrs)
    -Florence – 3 nights
    Train to La Spezia
    -Cinque Terre – 3 nights
    Train to Milan – either stay night in Milan and fly out next day, or ensure flight is later in day and add night to another location

    Italy only with Tuscan countryside
    -start in Milan, immediately to Lake Como
    -Lake Como – 3 nights
    Take train to Milan, train to Venice
    -Venice – 3 nights
    Take train from Venice to Florence, rent car/take bus/train to Tuscan countryside destination
    -countryside Tuscany – 3 nights
    rent car/take bus/train back to Florence
    -Florence – 3 nights

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    Thank you so much. Inspiredexplorer- your itineraries were super helpful. I've done a little more research and hopefully this will help narrow it down. We plan on starting in Nice and ending in Venice. Our goal is to go during May, specifically around May 12-25th. I would love to visit Cinque Terrer. During our time in Nice, I was thinking about doing a day trip to St. Jean Cap Ferrat and another day trip to Eze. Would that make sense to do? Some of our interests would be doing a few wine tours, but not all day type of tours. Also, i would love to hike and swim. We would also be interested in shopping and visiting museums. Hopefully this narrows it down a little. I think i can cut out Tuscany. We've both been to Florence before. And while beautiful, we're looking to explore new places. Sorry I was so broad with my initial post! Thanks again!

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    If you are now thinking of Nice, le Cinque Terre, Lago di Como and Venice, and you want to use the train, you actually need to budget a full travel day between leaving your hotel in Nice and arriving at your hotel in le Cinque Terre, and anther full travel day between leaving your hotel in le Cinque Terre and arriving at your hotel in Lago di Como.

    Of course it depends on where you stay in Lago di Como, but most people taking the train will want to stay in Varenna, whic is the only scenic part of the lake where there is a train station. Most hotels are a good 15 minutes from the train station, and the train ride to Milan, where you need to go to get to Venice, is itself is one hour. If you choose to stay on a different part of the lake, then the trip to Milan is even longer because you first need to take a ferry ride to get to the train station.

    I point out all these details so you don't underestimate how long you will be in transit between all these points, and I am not really counting how long you will be waiting on train platforms between train changes.

    So you might want to make up a day by day to see how much time you really have in each place, plus include the time you need for day trips, and then figure out if you have enough time in Nice and Venice to do what you want to do there.

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