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Mar 8th, 2013, 11:15 PM
  #1
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Venice, Florence Rome Itinerary Help

Hello!
I have changed my itinerary a few times and I am hoping this is working out. Would love your feedback. Too much, or can I do more in the day? Would like time to eat peacefully and not run around too much. I greatly appreciate it!

March 24. Arrive Venice at 9:30am. Ride vaporetto #1 to accademia stop. Check into hotel. Go to St Mark's Basilica. Climb bell tower, visit Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Walk around or take it slow today. Bed early.

March 25. Start at St Mark's Square. Booked a Secret Itinerary Tour at Doge's Palace, Correr Museum, Rialto Bridge, Rialto Market, Frair Church. It's my daughter's 15th birthday today. Want to do something special. Thought of evening Gondola Ride.
Can they sing Happy Birthday for her? Any suggestions as to how to save on this?

March 26- Galleria Del Accademia, explore Dorsoduro. Take the train to Florence which departs at 3:55pm. Check into hotel. Go to bed

March 27- Bargello, Duomo Museum, Church of Santa Maria Novella, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Oltrarno Walk and Dinner there.
Or is it better to start with the Uffizi Gallery?

March 28- Accademia, Medici Chapels, Baptistery, Climb the Campanile, Duomo, dinner near Piazza della Signoria

March 29- I was thinking of a tour Viator offers "Tuscany in One Day"- Siena, San Gimignano and Leaning Tower of Pisa

March 30- Take the Bus (or train?) to Assisi for the Day

March 31 (Easter)- 8:30am Train to Rome. Check into Hotel (Hotel Residenza in Farnese, Campo di Fiori), Borghese Gallery for 3pm entrance), Piazza del Popolo to Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. (would want to attend mass somewhere this day)

April 1- Walks of Italy has a tour of Colleseum, and Ancient Rome at 12:30pm. See San Marco, Piazza Navona and Pantheon. Should I do the tour at 8:30am instead? I am just afraid I will need some time to rest a little more in the morning by this day.

April 2- Would like to visit Castel Sant' Angelo. There is a tour from Walks of Italy of the Catacombs of Santa Priscilla, Capuchin Crypt and ends at church of St Clement. 2:15-5:45pm.

April 3- 3 hr Tour (Walks of Italy) of Appian Way at 9:20am includes Baths of Caracalla. Or I can go to Baths of Diocletian and National Museum of Rome. Would like to visit Appian Way regardless of tour or not.

April 4- I have the Scavi Tour scheduled at 11:30am. Would really like a tour of St Peter's, Sistine and Vatican M. I am debating either to take a 3.5 hour tour that starts at 8am, or take the Viator tour that starts at 2:30pm. Is it too close? I wish it wouldn't have been in the middle of the day. All day at Vatican.

April 5- Viator has a Tuscany One Day Tour from Rome of Montepulciano, Monteciano and Pienza.

April 6- Leave at noon back home.

THANK YOU ALL!
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Mar 9th, 2013, 12:07 AM
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whew, marcast, that's quite an itinerary - you've clearly done your research.

my major suggestion would be to look at grouping sites a bit more to prevent having to criss-cross too much - which you will find very tiring. Also, you could give yourselves a bit more time just to sit and think about what you're seeing - it's easy to suffer from art overload!

that said - can we look at it in sections:

Venice - can i suggest the following changes:

March 24 - as you're staying near the Accademia, once you've arrived, if the sun's shining why not wonder down onto the Zattere and have a cappuccino in the sunshine? then, as you are planning to go to the isola di san giorgio anyway, get the boat there [i hope that you are going to get vaporetto passes!] and climb its tower instead of the one in St. Marks - it's cheaper, there are no queues and the view is just as good. Then make your way to St. Mark's, and wander around until the jetlag really hits. [you could even have a look at the Frari and the nearby Scuola di San Rocco if you've got the energy - no need to book for these].

March 25 - what time is your Secret Itinerary's tour? ideally you should go to the Rialto Market first, [why not do it the next day?] but so long as you get there by 12 noon there should still be plenty to see. afterwards, if it's a nice day i suggest getting a boat to Burano - the journey across the lagoon is nice, and you can have lunch in the sunshine amongst the brightly painted houses. This is the season for "moelche" - tiny little crabs that are deep-fried and served as an appetiser - delicious! that would have been my 15 year old's present! [oh, and a scarf from one of the lovely shops - the Coin department store in the Campo San Bartolomeo will probably have some nice ones, or something else she'll like]. if you have the energy, the Accademia when you get back [all the crowds, if there are any, will be gone by then] if the weather is inclement, then do more galleries and museums in the hope of better tomorrow.

March 26 - Rialto Market first, then, if you haven't already seen them, the Frari church and the Scuola di San Rocco. The Accademia if you haven't already seen it. long lunch.

__________________________________________________ __

Florence:

March 26- Take the train to Florence which departs at 3:55pm. Check into hotel. Go to bed

March 27- personally, i would see the Uffizi later in the week, so i would start with the Accademia, and then cross the square to the Monasterio di san Marco [only open in the mornings] to see the wonderful works of Fra angelico. then walk down Via Cavour [lovely cafe on the corner of the square and via cavour] to the Medici chapels, and lunch in san Lorenzo market [if you can get your DD away from the jewelery and scarf stalls!] Then the Bargello, climb the Campanile, see the Duomo, etc. dinner in central Florence.


March 28- start with the Uffizi, then [if you've got te energy] the palazzo vecchio, and wander over to the market on san Ambrogio for lunch. [typical florentine food, very cheap] then look at Santa Croce, and cross over into Oltrarno, walk up to San Miniato for the views and the mosaics [don't forget to have some change for the machines that turn on the lights to illuminate the mosaics here and in Rome].

March 29- <>

This sounds like hell to me - a lot of sitting in a coach and not much actually seeing anything, as they are all in different directions. they are all accessible by bus from the bus station next to the main train station in Florence.

Whichever you choose, I would consider swapping days with March 28th - so that you mix days in Florence with days trips.

March 30- ,,Take the Bus (or train?) to Assisi for the Day.>>

really? the day before you go to Rome? i would spend another day in/around Florence - a half day trip to Pisa on the train, or get the bus up to Fiesole [30 mins from the piazza di san Marco] for the view over florence, the walk up to the Monastery di san Francisco, the ancient basilica, the roman amphitheatre, lunch in the square [you'll see that lunch and coffee stops feature high on my list of priorities, and if your DD is anything like mine was at that age, on hers too!] and shopping! you're in florence!

<>

- I need a rest before i tackle Rome. I bet you will too!
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Mar 9th, 2013, 08:50 PM
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wow annhig! amazing feedback! my husband is going to love what you advise because it's what he envisions as a trip to Italy, especially in Venice. Thank you so much! I am going to change things some more.
The secret itinerary I believe is at 10:45am - (Data Evento   - Event date: 2013-03-25 10.45) Should I get the vaporetto pass for just the day I get there or for 2days?

I think I chose museums one after another to take advantage of the firenze card in Florence since it expires after 72 hrs.

So if we want to do some hilltowns or Tuscany, it's better on our own? What do you think about the tour from Rome of Tuscany?

On the day of the Vatican, I wanted to do the scavi tour and do a sistine chapel tour, is this too much? maybe do 2 seperate days?

Italy has been hard to plan! I keep having to delete in order to enjoy, but so much I want to see.
In regards to Borghese Gallery, is it better to go in the morning or evening? I think I should start reserving that.

I apologize it took me a bit to answer back.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 04:25 AM
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ok, marcast, now I understand your timings for Florence a bit better. in that case, of course you should put your day/s out at the end-but doesn't the Firenze card give you 3 days? [if I remember rightly there are some things that it doesn't cover, like Santa croce, so you could put those on day 4].

if you want to do a tour of Tuscany which caters for what you want to see, you might try these people:

http://www.hillsandroads.com/

I've not been on a trip with them, but everyone on fodors who has speaks very highly of them, and they get good reviews on TA too. there are other people on TA who offer similar things if you prefer to do that rather than just getting the train.

alternatively [and your DD might prefer this,] why not do a day or 1/2 day cookery class - again, everyone who has done these seems to have a great time.

________________________________________________

Venice - with the Secret itineraries tour at 10.45, you should have time to see the Rialto market first, or the Basilica - but not both. and I would get the vaporetto pass for 2 days; with single tickets at €7 each, [more for the islands] it'll soon pay for itself. the tour takes about an hour and a half, and then you can spend as much time as you like in the Doge's palace after that. that will definitely take you up to lunchtime.

you probably won't have time for the islands after that - instead have a nice long lunch then go for a wander in Dorsoduro and Santa Croce - there are some lovely little calle and shops to explore, Ca' Rezzonico is very interesting -

http://www.venice-museum.com/rezzonico1.html

and your DD might want to do some shopping of course!

________________________________

Rome:

before my most recent visit to Rome about 3 weeks ago, I'd have said that you couldn't do the Scavi tour and the Vatican museums all in one day - now I would disagree with myself. That is because they have re-organised the museums since my last visit so that it is possible to see a reasonable selection of the museums AND the sistine chapel [which you can only visit by going through the museums] in a couple of hours. this is the more so now as i understand from another thread that the Borgia rooms in the museums are closed because of the papal conclave so the 30-45 mins or so that they take aren't an option anyway.

if you want to do a scavi tour, you should book that asap, preferably in the morning to give yourselves the afternoon in the vatican museums and St. Peters'. you should also book your vatican museum tickets through the vatican website [cash only on arrival as the banks have stopped the Vatican bank taking credit cards!] so as to avoid the queue to get in.

Ditto the Borghese gallery - I like to make just one reservation early in the day to leave the rest of the day free, but at this late stage, you may not have the choice!

buon viaggio!

PS - click on my screen name and you can see my recent Rome trip report -or at least the beginning of it, which does cover our visit to the Vatican and St. Peter's, which might interest you.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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It seems like you are taking a lot of pre-booked tours. The drawback to that is that you have no flexibility of the weather is especially bad or good, or if you simply change your mind about what you want to do on a given day. Most of the time, we get plenty of useful info from guidebooks (primarily the Blue Guide to the relevant city, which is a somewhat dense and dryto book, but then I'm into history).
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Mar 10th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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I had the same thought as Lexma. Most places a guided tour is not needed. The Scavi and Doges Place are the exception. But you don't need tours for Coliseum, forum, Vatican museums, St. Peter's, etc. You may, however, want to book advance tickets to avoid waiting in line. Annhig also gives some great advice. Sounds like your going to have a great trip. Buon viaggio!
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Mar 10th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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Ann has given you splendid advice. I have little to add but would like to second a few points. Visit the Rialto Market early. The later you arrive in the morning, the more the stalls have been picked over.

In Florence, Visit Santa Croce, IME even more interesting than the Duomo (but save plenty of time for the Duomo). Try to find time to fit in the Museo del Opera del Duomo to see the original Ghiberti doors, a beautiful Michelangelo pieta and an incredible Donatello Mary Magdelane among other exquisite works.

Take the bus to Fiesole in the morning and, if the weather permits, have lunch on a terrace overlooking Florence - a beautiful view.

I think if you follow Ann's guidance, you will have a wonderful visit.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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I should have added, too, that when we were in the Borghese a few weeks ago, it did seem that the afternoon was less crowded than the morning. However, I think you can avoid any potential crowding by going all the way to the top floor first ( most visitors start on the first floor), and also by getting there plenty early. Since no bags, umbrellas, etc are allowed in the museum, the bag check line can get long.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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March 24 & 25 are Sunday and Monday so there is no point in visiting the Rialto market as it will be closed. Better to do that bright and early on the morning of the 26th. You could even pick up a few items to enjoy on your train ride.

I think your first day is kind of neat because I always have to go to the Piazza San Marco the first day. It is such an amazing experience the first time you see it. I like the idea of catching the vaporetto out there and going to the top of the campanile (though there are sometimes queues). Then take the vaporetto across to the Piazza. Visit the basilica and if you have the energy, the Doge's Palace.

The second day - I wouldn't really bother with the Correr museum. Its a cool museum but you are missing out on a lot with your current plan. Instead, after your tour, I would head up to Cannaregio and check out the area around the ghetto, the Miracoli church, SS Giovanni & Paolo, the Ghetto, and all the quiet and colorful streets around them. Then go over to the other side of the Grand Canal and go to the Frari, and explore San Polo (not the market part) and Dorsoduro.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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PS I screwed up in my post - when I said "out there" I meant to go to San Giorgio Maggiore to go to the top of the campanile - THEN go to Piazza San Marco. DOH! Sorry about that, hope it is clear now.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Nice advice from annhig.

I disagree with msteacher. The forum in Rome is the one place I most needed somebody explaining what I was seeing. Otherwise it's just a jumble of broken columns and pieces of marble.

You probably won't be able to check into your hotel on your morning arrival in Venice, but you can leave your bags.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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TTT
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Mar 10th, 2013, 10:38 AM
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I'm with mimar on the forum - three visits and I still need someone to explain it to me.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Here's where I run into a bit of problems in my opinion:
March 24- Frari Church, Rialto Market is closed today. This was a bummer for me when I found out.
March 26- I don't think I have time to see Rialto Market, Frari Church and Scuola di San Rocco and then the Accademia to then take a train that departs at 3:55pm. Would you agree?
March 27- love this plan Annhig, but I noticed the Bargello closes at 1:50. What would you do?

I wanted to do Florence, tour, Florence again... but I have to be cautious that my Firenze card doesn't expire if I do a tour in between.
I already bought the Firenze card to skip lines, but do I still have to make a reservation to Uffizi, and Accademia?

I believe that a tour of Roman Forum is important. At least I learned a lot when I visited Greece.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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P.S. In Rome at the Borghese Gallery, it doesn't allow me to click on the calendar for April2, but for other days it will. Could it be it's closed or already full?
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Mar 10th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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saving for me
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Mar 10th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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March 26- I don't think I have time to see Rialto Market, Frari Church and Scuola di San Rocco and then the Accademia to then take a train that departs at 3:55pm. Would you agree?>>

depends how long you take to see things, marcast! [and what time you get up!]

the market will be open from 8am, the Accademia from 8.15 am, and the Frari and the scuola from 9am, and the latter two are VERY close together.

I could do all 4 of them easily in a long morning, [I've never spent longer than an hour in the Accademia,] but perhaps that's me. where are you staying? presumably you can leave your luggage at the hotel to collect on your way to the station?

I think that i would aim to see the Accademia earlier in the week [it would be the last on this list if it were me in any eveny] and if you missed it, well, you missed it.

____________________________________

Florence - the firenze card is supposed to let you into the Uffizi and Accademia without queuing, but as with those who have specific reservations, you might have to stand around for a few minutes. and with only 4 days, if you want to get maximum value out of the Firenze card, you will have to put your touring day at the end.

____________________________________

Rome - Borghese gallery.

I looked at both the english and italian versions of the website, and you're right - April 2nd is off. not clear whether it's already full [unlikely as they have slots for all tour times on April 1st and 3rd] or closed, but it's not available on that day.

definitely go for a tour of the Forum if you can. then you can come back here and explain it to me! [and mimar].
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Mar 10th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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I stand corrected on the Forum! But my general thought is just to think carefully about how much time your family will enjoy listening to someone talk about history/art, versus how much time you'll enjoy exploring independently. Personally, I can only tolerate one or two guided tours per trip, but I suppose others may enjoy more than I do.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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lol, ms, I've never done more than one guided tour per trip, and rarely that. i much prefer to wander round my myself, guide book in hand [or less often] listening to an audio guide.

i wish I'd made an exception for the Forum though.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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Must add my two cents in support of Annhig's advice, even in regard to the Accademia in Venice. I have a minor in art history and love museums, but after 7 trips to Venice, I still haven't made it to the Accademia. There is only so much you can see with enjoyment in one trip, and sometimes sitting in a piazza with a gellato lets you absorb more of the culture. Also agree, the view from San Giorgio is lovely. Burano is interesting, but I doubt you have time.

Would not do Pisa, Siena and San G as one day trip by bus. Two out of three, but not all three. Might do Siena as one trip or Pisa and Lucca together as one trip by train.

Personally, I love Assisi, but probably would not do it as a day trip from Florence. Might do Orvieto on the way from Florence to Rome or as a day trip from Rome.

Agree about choosing guided tours carefully. They can be very informative, but fun things happen when you are kind of on your own and people help you, or you relax and end up in conversation with someone interesting.

Italy holds such incredible treasures, there will always be art museums, churches and beautiful towns you miss. Try to soak in what you do see because it is all beautiful and wonderful. You want to remember it.
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