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MarkE Jul 22nd, 2011 08:56 AM

Venice 10 day itinerary
Help! Our first trip to Italy!
We're flying in and out of Venice in May '12 for our 20th anniversary and we're beginning to attempt to work out an itinerary. We travel rather aggressively so we don't really have a problem attempting to see quite a bit. We really aren't museum types, but rather enjoy the architecture, scenery, wines, and food when we travel. At least for now, I'm leaning a bit toward a few days in Tuscany as part of the trip. We aren't planning to do any driving and were planning to use trains primarily although renting a car is certainly an option for some day trips if necessary. I've found from reading through this and other forums that you can go blind from trying to digest all the opinions about where to go and what to see. That being said, I guess I'll solicit a few more opinions from some of the more seasoned Italy visitors on this forum. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

CUFFLNX Jul 22nd, 2011 09:13 AM

Are the 10 days really 8 with 2 as travel?

If so 4 days in Venice and 4 in Florence will be a nice trip. Tuscany / Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra are great day trips. As are Lucca and Pisa. If Catholicity is a factor, Assisi is also doable from Florence.

tarquin Jul 22nd, 2011 09:15 AM

If you really are an architecture type, a daytrip to Vicenza is essential.

MarkE Jul 22nd, 2011 09:51 AM

We have an overnight flight on May 9 arriving on the 10th at around 5PM local time. Departure is 10AM Saturday 5/19. I guess it's 9 full days.

annhig Jul 22nd, 2011 10:05 AM

Hi Mark,

conventional wisdom is that you leave your stay in the city of departure until the end of the trip, so that you are in the right place for going home.

However, that wouldn't work terribly well when you are't arriving until 5pm.

if you want wine and food, how about heading for bologna after venice? you could use it as a base for trips to Modena, Parma, Ravenna, as well as Florence of course.

I would suggest the following:

3 nights venice, 4 nights Bologna, 2 nights Venice.

bobthenavigator Jul 22nd, 2011 10:17 AM

Are your flights booked?
I would do:
Rural Tuscany--3
Venice--last 3

MarkE Jul 22nd, 2011 10:32 AM

Flights are booked - fortunately my wife has a lot of FF miles so we got business class both ways. Even this far in advance we were lucky to get seats.

Would you suggest using Florence as a home base for seeing Tuscany, or spending nights elsewhere (i.e. Siena, Cortona,etc)?

bobthenavigator Jul 23rd, 2011 06:34 AM

You can day trip to Siena and Lucca easy enough from Florence, but to really see the best of the Tuscaan hill towns you need to get a car and drive the region. Of course, you can also hire a driver, but that gets expensive---about 300E/day. I am jealous about the FF seats.

ira Jul 23rd, 2011 09:28 AM

Ditto Bob

Jean Jul 23rd, 2011 10:34 AM

You either pick your second (and third?) base because of its proximity to the area you want to explore, or you pick and then decide what's close enough to see.

So, other than Venice, what's the wish list (in order of preference) for this trip? (PS, because this is not a test, there are no wrong answers, only too little time.)

jan47ete Jul 24th, 2011 08:57 AM

If you are interested in a trip outside of Venice, don't forget Murano (glass) and Burano (lace). Houses in Burano equal fabulous platte of color. LOVED it! jk

scrb11 Jul 24th, 2011 09:25 AM

I also got FF business class to FLR and have planned 3 days in Venice. Been to these places before but want to see again as well as visit some other towns.

One idea I was playing around with was day trip to the Dolomites but it seems a lot of places aren't open in May yet.

Haven't had much luck looking for car rentals. AE says it's not in their system yet and Kemwel is quoting much higher prices than when I previously rented in Florence.

Some UK agencies will show good prices for UK residents but if you are US resident, prices are 20-25% higher!

TDudette Jul 24th, 2011 10:55 AM

If you just stay in Venice, I believe you will find plenty to do but, should you run out of things after 3 or 4 days, you can do 6 day trips by train from there to Vicenza, Verona, Bologna, Burano, Murano, the Lido and a boat trip to see Palladio homes! Not to mention Padua and lakes! Even Milan is do-able.

Florence is only a couple of hours by train so you could even make that a long day trip. Or make Florence a base with day trips to Siena, Assisi, etc. It might make sense to get back to Venice the night before you leave since you'd need to be at the airport by 7:30-8:00, yes?

Here's my 2 cents: Go to Venice and see how you are feeling after 3 or 4 days. If Tuscany really calls out to you, train to Florence and take some guided tours or train trips from there then return to Venice for the last night. If you stay in a hotel chain, I bet they'd work with you for moving back and forth.

MarkE Jul 25th, 2011 12:40 PM

Regarding the FF miles, she's spent a lot of work weeks away over several years to accumulate them, so they came with something of a cost.

I'm leaning toward a couple of nights in Venice on the front end (maybe try to incorporate Verona somehow), then on to Tuscany. From the research I've done so far, it seems that driving the area might be the way to go. Maybe something like this (very rough):

Venice - 2 days, then train to Florence

Pick up car there, hit ???? in Tuscany for 3-4 nights (this is the wildcard - not sure of what can be seen in this amount of time, best places to stay, etc.)

Return car in Florence, train back to Venice - maybe incorporate a day trip to Verona before our flight back.

I figure we'll lose the equivalent of most of a day going to/from Florence by train. Help on filling in the Tuscany part would be of great assistance - we don't mind a new hotel/B&B each night either.

bobthenavigator Jul 25th, 2011 02:26 PM

Here are Tuscany options:

A. RURAL LOCATIONS: All have parking and good food options nearby

1. Relais La Saracina 230 to 300E
Fabulous country home near Montepulciano—helpful owners

2. Cretaiole Agriturismo Good value for families
Isabella also has 2 apts. in Castelmuzio for rent—wonderful—see her site.

3. Terre di Nano 100 to 155
Both rooms and apartments at rural Agriturismo near Monticchiello

4. Casanova di Pescille 100E
Rural B&B 3 KM from famed San Gimignano—we loved the views of San Gim.

5. Fattoria Tregole 110E to 180E
Has both B&B and apartment accommodations. Near Castellina in Chianti

6. Agriturismo apts. near San Quirico— About 110E

7. New historic B&B north of Pienza.
Site of filming for THE ENGLISH PATIENT About 90E for double

8. A special rural B&B in Chianti.
The lovely owner, Elena, will make you feel like family. 170E for double

B. IN-TOWN LOCATIONS: For walking convenience to shops & ristorantes.

1. Palazzo del Capitano 170 to 210E
Very nice small hotel in center of San Quirico—perfect location to explore.

2. Vecchia Oliviera 150 to 200E
Nice 4 star hotel at the gate into lovely Montalcino---has pool.

3. Palazzina Cesari 80 to 110E
Lovely small B&B in heart of Montalcino—great value—2 night stay minimum.

4. Locanda di San Francesco 180 to 200E
New boutique B&B in a lovely location in Montepulciano—great reviews !

5. Politian apartments Good value apts. with
minimum stay of 3 nights in Montepulciano---helpful host---85E

6. Palazzo Ravizza 170 to 250E
Very nice & popular hotel in Siena with parking.

7. Fattoria Vignale Four star hotel in Radda in the heart of Chianti. About 230E for double

MarkE Jul 25th, 2011 05:40 PM

Wow Bob - fantastic! I have some research to do, but you've done a lot of it for me already. Thanks!

MarkE Aug 25th, 2011 12:36 PM

I think we finally settled on an itinerary, albeit aggressive:
5/9 - overnight travel
5/10 - arrive Venice - Hotel al Piave
5/11 - Venice - Hotel al Piave
5/12 - train to Vernazza (hotel TBD)
5/13 - Vernazza (hotel TBD)
5/14 - train to Florence, get car, drive to San Giamgiano
5/15 - San Giamignano, day trip of Tuscany - Casale del Cotone
5/16 - San Giamignano, day trip of Tuscany - Casale del Cotone
5/17 - drive to Florene, (hotel TBD)
5/18 - Train to Venice, (hotel TBD)
5/19 - depart Venice

jan47ete Aug 25th, 2011 02:06 PM

Please check out Burano online. It is like a Crayola box of houses and a wonderful ferry ride out of Venice.

bobthenavigator Aug 25th, 2011 02:10 PM

Get your car in La Spezia or Pisa as you leave the CT.
Drive to San Gim. via Volterra--that will save you some time.

Saraho Aug 25th, 2011 02:56 PM

You may want another night in Venice.

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