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Venice & Florence: Which gets the Extra Night? And … Hotel Recommendations

Venice & Florence: Which gets the Extra Night? And … Hotel Recommendations

Oct 19th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Venice & Florence: Which gets the Extra Night? And … Hotel Recommendations

We'll have 9 nights in early March ’14 – which city do you think needs the extra night?

Re: hotels … In Venice we’d like to be in (or near) the San Marco area. But don’t know anything about the most convenient areas in Florence.

We prefer older hotels with “charm” and traditional furnishings. A nice view would be a plus. We’re thinking under $200/night – but would splurge a bit higher (i.e., $250) for someplace very special.

Any thoughts? Thanks so much!
Songdoc is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 11:17 AM
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I would vote for the extra night in Florence as there is so much to see there.
KTtravel is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Are you arriving after a long overnight flight? If so, you'll be sleepy and jet-lagged. I'd give more time to your first destination -- to allow for the odd nap.

Venice hotels are more expensive, so that's another consideration. (But Venice is worth it.) I avoid San Marco myself because it's so crowded -- but that might not be the case in March. Venice is a small city, easily walked, so almost any hotel in the city proper is convenient. Maybe not one on Giudecca. Another issue is acqua alta, when the low-lying parts of Venice -- including Piazza San Marco -- are flooded. This can still occur in early March.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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where are you flying into and where from?

if you're flying into Venice from the US, I would give the extra day to Venice - you will have to get from the airport to your hotel, you may be jetlagged, you will need to get your Italian bearings.

By the time you are ready to go to florence, you have only to get to the station [santa Lucia in Venice] and catch one of the many very fast trains to Florence. Even a hotel on the other side of Florence from the station [Santa Maria Novella or SMN] can be reached within 20 mins by taxi.

There are many recommendations for hotels in both cities on this board. in venice we stayed in an apartment which is not what i think you want; the last time I was in Florence i stayed here: http://www.residenzacasanuova.it/

charming, quiet, traditional with a view from the balcony over the roofs of Florence. Its location is both a pro and a con - it is not in the thick of tourist Florence and it is not really within walking distance of the station, but it's only 10-15 mins from the Duomo, and there are plenty of opportunities for exploring the less visited parts of Florence on your way to and from the major sights. and it's within your budget, I think.
annhig is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Thanks so much for the input. We'll be coming after working in Ireland. So jet lag won't be an issue. (But that was a good question.) We'll be flying into VCE from Belfast.

With it being such a short trip--and being off-season--I think we do want to stay right in the heart of things--or within a short walk. But otherwise, that Florence apartment looks great.
Songdoc is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Hi again Songdoc,

so far as Venice is concerned, you don't need to stay in San Marco to be close to the centre - Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce are all reasonable places to stay because you can use the vaporetti to get easily from one part to another.

as for Florence, there are pensione which should be within your budget nearer to the Duomo - some have even been mentioned here. a hotel which gets consistently good mentions is the Cavour


the rates for march are in the €140-150 range - so doable for you, i think.
annhig is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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for me venice is far more interesting as I don't like the art of Florence era but do like the squares and buildings..
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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I'd add it to Florence and use the extra time for a day trip for Siena.
cathies is online now  
Oct 19th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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In general, I would say Florence, but it really depends on your interests.
kja is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 04:23 PM
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I was going to say Venice, but if you add it to Florence and take the day trip by bus to Siena, that would be a really good idea.
socaltraveler is online now  
Oct 19th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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I also agree with cathies about the day trip to Siena.
joannyc is online now  
Oct 19th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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Venice- i would stay in any neighbood other than San Marco. Nothing is far and I wouldn't want to be in tourist central.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 08:51 PM
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We stayed at the Hotel Alessandra in Florence. It was very convenient, had a tiny elevator and wonderful breakfast every day.


I would vote for an extra night in Florence.

In Venice it doesn't matter too much where you stay as the whole island is quite tiny and easy to walk or take the vapporetto.

We stayed here: http://www.alpontemocenigo.com/
LOVED the cappuccinos every morning and they baked their own croissants. Loved waking up to that scent every day.
halfapair is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 09:00 PM
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San Marco is mobbed with tourists during the day and a bit at night. So is the Rialto Bridge area. I agree - I wouldn't want to stay near either one. (Less crowded in March? Maybe.) I stayed a few years ago at an apartment between the train station and Rialto just off Strada Nuova (I can't recommend the place because it's since been sold.). This wasn't quite Cannaregio - closer to Rialto - but it was not that crowded yet still convenient to lots of things.

How about throwing the extra night into a quick stop in Bologna? If you're taking the train, it will stop there anyway. Stop for a night and have a meal, perhaps the best of your trip, and do a quick walk-around tour of the center of Bologna.
Andrew is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 09:20 PM
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Thanks SO much for the great suggestions.

Question: do you recommend a guided tour from Florence to Siena -- or would it be easy to do by public transportation?

I appreciate the suggestion, but will likely skip Bologna ... because I'm vegetarian. hehe (Kidding!) Actually, I prefer settling in a bit and having a base, from which I can do day trips. Don't think we want to add another city. I'm having enough trouble deciding on hotels in Venice & Florence!
Songdoc is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 09:32 PM
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I would vote for adding the day to Florence although we loved Venice too. I still think Florence has so much to see and do that you would really appreciate the extra time there. We loved the Oltrarno area with the artisan shops and great food. We had such a wonderful afternoon and evening there. You could take half a day exploring there.
In Florence we stayed near the Duomo and in Venice in Dorsoduro near Santa maria della Salute. It was quite easy to take the vaporetto to whatever area we were exploring and St Marks was only one stop away. We thought the area perfect.
Cjar is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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I did a day trip to Siena from Florence by Sita bus back in 2007. (Bus better than the train in this case; the train station is further from the center of Siena.) I assume the bus is about the same today. You pick it up in Florence across the street from the main train station, Santa Maria Novella (SMN).

You can still stop in Bologna for a few hours off the train, if you want; pretty sure there are lockers at the station in Bologna. But if the food doesn't sound appealing to you, maybe it's not worth the effort.
Andrew is offline  
Oct 19th, 2013, 09:38 PM
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I'm on board with others who have suggested extra night in Florence. Tons to do and see there. (Santa Croce, home to the final resting places of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, Rossini, etc; the Duomo and the Baptistry; San Lorenzo and the Medici chapel; the Central Market; the Ponte Vecchio; The Uffizi and Galleria Accademia museums; etc.)

Don't miss sunset from the Piazzale Michelango. My favorite hotel is 2 minutes from the Duomo, 10 from the train station: Hotel Casci. http://www.hotelcasci.com/ (see its excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and why it rates so high on so many travelers lists. )

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2013, 05:46 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly with sarge56 especially on the suggestion of Hotel Casci. We have been there no less than 5 times already over the years and it just cannot be beat in my opinion.

It is not fancy and elegant. It IS superclean, in the city center but quiet and comfy because of large double windows, has THE most friendly and accomodating staff I have ever met, serves a lovely and large breakfast which is not common everywhere in Italy, and is just all around super. Depending on when you travel also, price can be very good.

I liked Venezia but it would not be a place where I would either add an extra day to if the other choice would be Firenze, nor even travel to visit again, have been enough times now. But again it depends on what you like and what your interests are.

Good luck and have a great time !!
Flame123 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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Venice is far far better, but it is a small place and 4 days is enough unless you want to day trip the Veneto.

Florence isn't all that interesting a place, but it has 2 advantages. One is art museums. If you are into that, you can easily fill up time. The other is location. It's a very central point for daytrips to Siena and Pisa and Tuscan small towns. Siena is the obvious first choice but Pisa is vastly underrated. Avoid Lucca.

Florence is also somewhat cheaper, but $250/night won't get you too far in either place. Traveling in March might be more reasonable. In Venice, Pensione Guerrato is next to the Rialto and fish market and is a very popular and well-reviewed cheaper place to stay. Not fancy, but we found it adequate. However, I would consider staying a bit farther away for the center of action. Venice is so small, that no matter where you stay, it is convenient. La Calcina is on the water along the Zattare and a nice, simple, lower cost place.
popov is offline  

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