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Venice - Florence - Rome

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Mar 17th, 2015, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Venice - Florence - Rome

I'm sure there have already been a few posts about this in the past, but I haven't been able to find exactly what I want. My husband and I are in the preliminary stages of planning our trip to Italy in October and would love some advice. We're 28 and 29 and pretty active (run half marathons regularly so we're both in pretty good shape) so we're not too worried about walking/getting around, but maybe we should be???

Our tentative plan is to leave the east coast on a Friday and arrive in Venice Saturday morning. Stay in Venice Saturday and Sunday, go to Florence Monday morning, stay in Florence Monday-Wednesday, and then Rome Wednesday night-Saturday morning.

All of the blogs say not to travel around too much, so we're trying to keep the cities to a minimum, but I would love to take a day trip to Naples if possible from Rome (my family has roots in Naples). Is this enough time in each city? Should we cut out Florence? We're pretty big foodies and not as much into art if that helps at all...

Any advice and insight would be greatly appreciated!
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Mar 17th, 2015, 09:01 AM
  #2
 
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"so we're not too worried about walking/getting around, but maybe we should be"

What have you read that would make you say that?

I think going to two places rather than three would be more enjoyable since you are only there 7 days.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 09:13 AM
  #3
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A few of our friends have been before and said it's much more tiring than they thought it was going to be. I'd like to think we'd be okay walking around and traveling back and forth, but I have no idea and don't want to overplay. What if we were in Italy for 8 days? Would 3 places be more manageable?

Also, when should we be booking hotels? I read to book flights about 4-5 months out, but haven't heard anything about hotels.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 09:38 AM
  #4
 
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It seems that you have only two days in Rome, although that's the largest of the three cities, with the most to see. I don't think you should take a day trip to Naples, leaving you with only one day in Rome.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 09:48 AM
  #5
 
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Traveling is just a whole different set of "muscles." You can be in a good shape, but if you're not used to walking a lot during the day every day, it'll still be different from your norm. Plus it's mentally challenging - you're always making decisions about what to do, where to eat, how to get places, that kind of thing. My guess is that that's what your friends were talking about. All that to say: you definitely don't need to worry about it, but you'll probably be a good kind of tired at the end!

If Naples is a higher priority than art, I'd skip Florence and add the time to Rome - even the two full days you have planned for Rome is only enough time to see the Vatican (one day) and Colosseum/Forum (another day), fitting in other landmarks around those. Another full day would make things easier, yep. And personally, I'd book hotels now (or once you figure out your itinerary). No need to wait!
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Mar 17th, 2015, 10:06 AM
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One, you will have no trouble walking and getting around. I am more than twice your age, in poor shape and not great health, and I get around all over Venice and Florence, though did use a taxi last time in Rome. So, knock that worry off.

At that time of year, you should have no trouble booking hotels even a few days out.

As to Naples. I like the city, but would go only if I also wanted to see other places in the area; like Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, etc. You are tight on time in the places you are going already. So, as things are in your itinerary, you do not have time for Naples.

You certainly can't take a day from Rome, and Florence is so lovely, even if you do not go to any museums, it is great for at least a day. Are you planning a day trip from Florence? I asked because since you are not into art, then a day of sightseeing might be enough and you could go to a Tuscan hill town or hire a driver for a day tour of several places. If you gave all that up, then you could visit Naples.

Much as I like Naples, I would not give up Florence and Tuscany for it, but you have personal reasons for wanting to go and that is also valid.

Major museums in Florence are closed on Monday, so you could just as well stay later and see more of Venice and take a mid-afternoon train to Florence. Any time added to Venice wonderful, both for Venice and to get over jet lag.

If you have no interest in Museums, then which day doesn't matter. There is plenty to enjoy in Florence besides museums.

OTOH, you could gain a bit of sightseeing time by getting sandwiches and drinks for the train and leaving Venice late Sunday afternoon or early evening, say 6:00pm, get to Florence and to your hotel in time for a decent night's sleep and do the day trip on Monday, Florence on Tuesday and train to Rome very first thing Wednesday morning.

Most people feel you need several days to see much in Rome, and I agree. However, if after spending Wed afternoon and Thursday in Rome, you feel you have seen everything you want and have the energy, you could hop down to Naples early Friday for the day.

Have you looked at flying out of Naples? If flights work for you and are not too costly, it is a really easy airport to get to, right at the edge of the city and small, so easy to navigate.

Add any days that you possibly can. You are spending a lot just to get there. You won't regret any extra time in Italy.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 10:11 AM
  #7
DRJ
 
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One week? Go to Rome. Do the rest next time, because once you taste Italy, trust me, you will return.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 10:48 AM
  #8
 
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Many people who go to Italy find that visiting the place where they have family roots and a personal connection is a lot more engaging that sightseeing. Depends on their core interests, but if you think it would mean something to you to visit Naples, don't give it up in favor of a standard sightseeing tour. Naples is only one hour south of Rome by train.

Your trip isn't until October and if you are planning a short trip, I highly recommend sitting down with pen and paper and making a list of your priorities for Italy. That can either be invidual sights (like, must see Colosseum or Michaelangelo's David) if certain sights would mean a lot to you, or it could be experiences (like, must sample great wine, or must have time for people-watching).

I think if you can make your own Top 5 or Top 10 list, then it will be easier for you plan an 8 day trip that gets you what you want, rather than one that tries to be Italy-Lite.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 11:19 AM
  #9
 
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In your late 20s? My spouse and I have little trouble in our late sixties (although my spouse has bad knees).

With eight days, I'd go to Rome and the Naples area (by Naples area I mean somewhere near Sorrento or Pozzuoli. We've stayed in both and enjoyed both. Pozzuoli (where we stayed twice on the same trip) had a family atmosphere. Split it in half, as both places offer a lot to see. Just be sure you are fairly near a train connection.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 11:27 AM
  #10
 
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Are your flights already booked? if you could fly into Venice and out of Naples that would be ideal, otherwise you could fly to Naples from Venice, spend a couple of nights there and then head to Rome.

if you could squeeze in a couple more nights, Venice - Florence - Naples - Rome would be a good plan.

at your age and level of fitness, you don't need to worry about getting about! just leave the Jimmi Choos at home.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 01:14 PM
  #11
 
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Walking: You'll be fine, especially in Oct, when there's no heat.

Hotels: You can book fairly close to your departure time, maybe a couple of weeks ahead (maybe less).

Itinerary: It's difficult to tell people where they should go. Everyone has different priorities. But let me say about three cities in eight days, plus a day trip: Every time you travel between places, consider that a "day" of travel. By the time you get your things together, get to the train station, get to your arrival hotel, get settled, and get your bearings, you've killed the better part of a day.

For instance, when you say "Florence Mon-Wed" and "Rome Wed night to Sat morning," what you really mean is "Florence Mon-Tue, Wed travel, Rome Thur-Fri."
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Mar 17th, 2015, 01:54 PM
  #12
 
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Your feet and legs will be able to hold your body up and your excitement will hold your mind captive, so at your age you should be fine! The cobblestones can be hard to walk on, so use good sense with your shoes. No one is evaluating your character through your shoes (said the 54 yo woman with the bad feet).

I love, love, love Rome! Give yourself plenty of time to see your highlights. You can always return and give other cities their due.

The train from Rome to Florence is only 2.5 hours, so you can travel there and see plenty the same travel day. We went to F for the art, so you may be able to pass it up, but the church and the dome there are spectacular! It is very cool to see famous art in person, such as the David or the "Birth of Venus", if you are not particularly artsy. I found Florence very walkable and easy to navigate the city center and old areas.

Have fun on your first (it may not be the last) trip to Italy!
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Mar 17th, 2015, 01:57 PM
  #13
 
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Addendum--The metro in Rome was easy to use and saved our feet and legs a few times. Plus you can see how some real Romans travel to and fro. We found taxis easy and cheap in Rome and used them as last resorts when we needed a break. Try to avoid rush hour for taxis as it will eat up time you could use eating gelato!
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Mar 17th, 2015, 02:41 PM
  #14
 
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The train between Rome and Florence is only 90 minutes, not 2.5 hours.

Someone else wrote:

When you say "Florence Mon-Wed" and "Rome Wed night to Sat morning," what you really mean is "Florence Mon-Tue, Wed travel, Rome Thur-Fri."

It certainly does not take most people an entire day to get from Florence to Rome!

When I am in Florence (or Bologna), I get up in the morning, check out, ask the desk to hold my luggage, and eat breakfast. Then I go out sightseeing, have lunch around 1.30, and then go back to the hotel around 3pm to collect my stuff and get a taxi to the station if it is too far to walk. I am in Rome around 5pm/6pm, take a taxi to my hotel, freshen up, go out for cocktails at some place historic and interesting, have dinner around 8.30pm. After dinner, I take a walk and do some more sightseeing.

So when I plan "Florence Mon-Wed" and "Rome Wed night to Sat morning," I really mean just that and I do that. I don't need a whole day to check out of and into hotels. Not everybody travels as I do, but I am hardly alone in not needing to set aside a whole day to travel between Florence and Rome. I spend hours sightseeing in the morning in Florence, and spend part of my evening sightseeing in Rome (it's a very outdoorsy place, even at night).
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Mar 17th, 2015, 02:55 PM
  #15
 
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Florence is my favorite food city in Italy, if that makes a difference.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 03:27 PM
  #16
 
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Sandralist is correct about times. It is a bit long for me personally, but people do day trips to Florence from Rome and visa versa. Sometimes you do lose a good bit of time changing places, but between Florence and Rome, hotel to hotel probably won't be more than 2&1/2 to 3 hours.

Venice to Florence, hotel to hotel will be 3&1/2 to 5 hours, depending on train and hotel locations, especially in Venice.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 07:04 PM
  #17
 
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>>It certainly does not take most people an entire day to get from Florence to Rome!<<

I explained that. But carry on.
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Mar 17th, 2015, 08:20 PM
  #18
 
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I differ from other folks here and would try to book fully refundable hotel reservations once you have your itinerary set. Some of the particularly nice or relatively reasonable hotels book quickly. If your reservations are refundable, you can always change your mind as your trip details get finalized.
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Mar 18th, 2015, 07:19 AM
  #19
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Wow! Thank you everyone for your help! I feel much better about getting around now

After reviewing your emails, I think it probably makes the most sense just going to Venice and Rome since those are the two we really want to visit and then maybe doing a day trip or two from either of those cities. I'm hoping this won't be our last trip to Italy so we don't need to jam it all in now!

Any suggestions on day trips from Venice or Rome that would be good for food/wine people? We don't mind renting a car or using any form of public transportation. Are there any good beaches close by?
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Mar 18th, 2015, 07:45 AM
  #20
 
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Naples is a great day trip from Rome for food -- less so for wine, but that the nature of the southern climate. But Naples is one of the great food destinations of Italy, and not just for pizza, but for pasta, pastries, seafoods and coffee.

From Venice, wine is great around Verona and you can track down good eats for October to go with it -- duck dishes, hearty soups, gnocchi. Padova has one of Italy's most legendary food markets, many people like Treviso as a food destination (I have not been). Ferrara has a totally unique cuisine with many startling dishes found nowhere else in the world (including nowhere else in Italy). Wine is shoulder-shrugger in Ferrara.
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