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Two Weeks in Italy in November

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Aug 14th, 2014, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Two Weeks in Italy in November

We'll be spending two weeks (counting travel from east coast USA & back, so effectively 12 days in country). The plan currently is to visit Venice, Florence & Rome. We're not big fans of packing too much in, so this seems like plenty to me. We will be relying on trains for transport.

This will be both of our first visit to Italy. We're trying to do it inexpensively, relying on miles & points as much as possible, as it's our third vacation - and second Europe trip - this year. We are in our 40s, with nterests more in the off the beaten path experiences. We both enjoy food & wine, but again, trying to do this inexpensively, so looking for more economical experiences.

My questions are:

1) How to divide the days? Equal time in each, less in Venice & more in Rome, etc.?

2) Would you add in any other cities as day trips?

Thoughts are greatly appreciated!
happy_one is offline  
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:11 AM
  #2
 
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Definitely more time in Rome than Venice or Florence, it is bigger and there is so much to see. I am not a fan of Italian Renaissance art so I was happy with just two days to "taste" Florence. We were just in Venice in the spring for four days and I could have stayed longer. You WILL get lost several times even with a map and the live map app on your phone. While I discovered that I am not a fan of Italian Renaissance painting I absolutely loved the sculptures. How you spend your time depends on how you feel about museums, so you want to go in all of them or only some? The food in all three was great. This time in Rome we ate mostly in restaurants in Trastavere (sp?). The food was wonderful AND lower cost.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Fly into Venice and home from Rome so you don't need to spend time and money backtracking to your arrival airport.

- 2 full days Venice (not counting arrival day which would make it 2+ days in Venice)
- 3 days Florence (including travel from Venice)
- 6 days Rome (you could do some day trips - Tivoli, Ostia Antica, etc.)

Adding in other cities? It depends on what you're looking for. Each of the 3 cities has more than enough to occupy you for the time there and to give you some down time each day so you're not rushing from sight to sight.

In Florence you can take a short bus ride to Fiesole, in the hills above Florence.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:47 AM
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Buy your train tickets ahead of time to save a lot on train fares. And do try for open jaws tickets (say into Venice out of Rome) even if you're using FF miles. I do it with British Air miles.

What time of year are you traveling? Especially in the summer, you're treading a well beaten path in Rome, Florence and Venice. Hard to find too many untouristed sights. But there's a reason why those are such popular places to visit.

Some good suggestions above. I'd look at the Appian Way, a well-preserved Roman road with catacombs, on the outskirts of Rome. As well as Ostia Antica. In Venice, wandering around the edges avoids the crowds. And take a waterbus, a vaporetto, to the other islands in the Venetian lagoon. Torcello is the least visited of the main 3, but Murano (glass-blowing) and Burano (picturesque, lace-making) are interesting also.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:53 AM
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Beware of the "Acqua Alta" (high water) in Venice at that time of year. Although I was there the first week of November, water was not a problem. The second week, when I was not there, was different. It usually is not a problem for tourist as board walks are placed over the water so you can still walk.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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Oops, just read your title. You're going in November. Not so many people then. However there's the chance of acqua alta in Venice. That's when high tides flood the lowest lying parts of Venice, like the central square, Piazza San Marco. Maybe check for high tides in November and try to avoid those days.

However it's still possible to visit Venice during acqua alta. But you'll need to adjust. They put up boardwalks in Piazza San Marco.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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We did a similar trip a few years ago. A little more info on your interests would be helpful. For example, a poster said that two days were plenty in Florence and they weren't into renaissance art. I spent 3 nights in Florence and it was no where near enough time. I also had the best meal of my life in Florence. I do agree with other forum members that Rome requires more days. We only had 3 nights in Rome and that wasn't enough time either. (Probably would've had those extra two days if we hadn't spent a couple of nights in Aviano visiting family) FYI: We started in Venice and then flew out of Rome and that seemed to work out wonderfully. But in the end, know that you won't see everything, everwhere, and that's okay. Just enjoy what you do get to experience.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:37 AM
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This is where you buy train tickets up to 120 days in advance, using italian city names:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...005817f90aRCRD
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Aug 14th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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You really do yourself a disservice turning to other tourists to ask how to divide your time between these cities, especially if you are trying to travel inexpensively. You may not "need" 4 days in Rome or 3 days in Venice or Florence to see the things you want to see there. All 3 cities are among Italy's most expensive tourist destinations, so you it pays -- literally -- to look at a guidebook, see what is contained in these cities, and make your own calculations about how long it would take you in each place to be satisfied. Some people are upset that many people go to Venice or Florence or even Rome for a day or two and see exactly what they came to see and spend longer time in other places enjoying wine in Siena or taking a day trip to Pompei. But if that is what makes you happy, you are under no obligation to have shoved down your throat what other people consider to be the obligatory "spinach" of a first time trip to Italy.

You can borrow lots of useful guidebooks from the library. The old ones are often better than the newer ones. Just be sure to check an up-to-date guide for opening times of sights and the latest info on discount cards and train deals. Some of this info is available on message boards and various blogs.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 05:19 PM
  #10
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Odd - I replied earlier, but now I'm looking at the thread, and it says "Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators." Anyone know why?

@sandralist - I've read and am still reading guidebooks. I'm always open to others' suggestions, so like to ask around.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 05:56 PM
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All three cities are so full of amazing things to see that you can fill any number of days in each of them. I do think that you have to let your own tastes and interests be your guide.

I like Roman ruins and Catholic churches, so there are never enough days in Rome for me. I also like Baroque art and big art galleries, so Rome knocks me out.

I like Renaissance art and architecture and window shopping, so I could certainly pass any number of days in Florence. And extra day gives you time to visit Fiesole, where there are interesting ruins and a great Etruscan museum.

Venice has so much art, and so many palaces, and endless churches...

However, these are the things that I like. I guess I agree that Rome should get a little more time based on it's size. Maybe 3, 4 and 5?

I think you can eat very well in Florence and Rome on something less than an extravagant budget. Venice is a little harder, but it's still possible to find nice meals for reasonable prices. Of course, you might want to name a figure to get specific recommendations.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 08:07 PM
  #12
 
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happy_one, there are lots of ways to keep your budget in check.

One way would be to see if you can rent an apartment in any city where you are spending at least 3 nights. (So, possibly, Florence and Rome this trip?) Not only do they tend to be less expensive than hotels (in off-season, not as much, probably), but the benefit is that you have somewhere to prepare your own meals. Eating out can really cut into ones' budget.

I love Venice. In November, the weather can be cool and rainy, so make sure you pack some light rain gear.

I concur that 3 nights Florence and 6 in Rome is a good start. Stay city center in Florence if you can. Pretty much everything is walkable from there.

In Rome, there are many budget choices for apartments or hotels a little further out of city center. Trastavere is a great area. The key is to find a place close to public transit. Saving $50/night by paying $1.50/day to catch a bus to city center is certainly worth it.

I also highly concur that buying your train tickets in advance (120 days out) will save you the most money. Crazy, really, how much you can save by buying train tickets early!

For "out of the way", you could certainly go out to Orvieto for a day (just an hour by train from Rome) or Ostia Antica (again, via regional train from Rome). These are both good choices, as you can get there via train and won't need a car to get there.

Re Venice, I wouldn't bother, with only 2 days, to travel to any of the outlying islands. There is more than enough to see in Venice proper. (Do take a vaporetto across the canal to San Giorgio Maggiore. The view from the belltower is unequaled!)

Buon viaggio! You will get a wonderful taste of Italy, three amazingly different cities, and you'll be planning your return trip before you leave...trust me!
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Aug 14th, 2014, 09:44 PM
  #13
 
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Lots of travel info. Replace "Italy" with any city or region:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Italy
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