Venice or Florence in early May

Old Oct 21st, 2005, 11:45 PM
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Venice or Florence in early May

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Italy in early May. If you had 4 days to spend, would you rather spend it in Venice or Florence (or try to do both)? We are already spending 4 other days in Rome.

Our interests...well we are pretty active, love eating and drinking, beautiful scenery, and witnessing the culture and lifestyle of places we visit. We're not huge into museums and art but can appreciate it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

hermie is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 12:28 AM
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Hermie, Hi!

It is a loaded question which you are asking. We loved Venice and would choose it over Florence anytime. Venice is totally unique, gorgeous city and scenery, incredibly romantic atmosphere. Venice is also very expensive. But, we loved it and it stole our hearts like no other area in Italy which we visited, including Rome, Florence and Tuscan countryside.

But then, I am certain that there are plenty of people who would recommend that you stay in Florence for the four days or divide your time between the two cities. Florence has wonderful museums and monuments of Renaissance art. It also has some great shopping opportunities, but it is not as perfect as Venice. As for dividing your time, I think that you would merely tire yourselves out and would not have enough time to enjoy either city.

I certainly hope this is of some marginal help to you.

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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Hi H,

I would drop Rome and split the time between Venice and Florence.

ira is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 09:51 AM
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In Italy, I've only been to Venice, but visited twice now. I'd go back in a heart beat. It is completely unique and a treasure.

So to your question, I'd spend all 4 days there. Actually I'd book a hotel right now(!) is lovely and popular so reserve well in advance.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 11:23 AM
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I would say go to Florence if you are spending the other 4 days in Rome. Travel time between the two cities is really short so you won't waste a day there. Four days in Florence would allow you to enjoy it at a lesirely pace but never have you doubting what to do.

Venice is great too though. So different then anything you could even imagine, but a lot less to do there.

Oh, and the food is much better in Florence...
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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 03:18 PM
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>We're not huge into museums and art but can appreciate it. <

And so I'd say drop Florence and pick Venice. The other option is to base yourselves somewhere in Tuscany (maybe Siena) and visit the surrounding hill towns. You could even do a daytrip to Florence.

I've been to all 3 cities and love them all. From what I read on these boards, people who don't like museums much tend not to like Florence.
Eating - anywhere is great, drinking - chianti (tuscany), scenery - tuscany, witnessing culture and lifestyle - anywhere, but you'd get a taste of city life in Rome and you could do the small town thing in Tuscany.

If you are set on a city, I'd recommend Venice.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 03:52 PM
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I would suggest spending half of your time in one of the Tuscan towns/villages and the other half in Venice (although it can still be cool and rainy at the beginning of May). From your rented Tuscan villa you can take day trips to Florence, Sienna, Montepulciano, and medieval villages of San Gemiano and Volterra and enjoy all that Tuscany has to offer in the way of scenery, architecture, wines, food, and that lovely Tuscan atmosphere.

You can go from there to Venice and enjoy the beauty that is
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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 04:24 PM
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I would do two days in venice( incredible romantic city) and try to do the surrounding hilltop towns of Florence. Sienna, Lucca, and San Gimignano are close by and are mid-evilbeautiful cities! Florence is great but its all about the museums.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Our enjoyment during our daytrip to Florence this Sept was marred by the overwhelming presence of other tourists at the museums and historic sites. It's my opinion therefore that Florence is a place to go to in the off-season.

Venice can be crowded as well of course, but it's easier to enjoy getting "lost" in the beautiful city IMO.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 12:24 AM
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What a happy dilemma! I would not try to do both as you really can't do justice to both with only 2 days in each.

Also take a look at to get an idea of temperate and rainfall in each as this may help with the decision. You will still have a bit of coolish weather, esp in the evenings. Venice being on the water may be a bit cooler and vaperettos and gondola rides may be a bit chilly (have not been in May).

The one thing that would sway me toward Florence is that in early May it is most likely that the wisteria and other spring flowers and trees will be blooming, and the Tuscan countryside and even just the immediate environs of Florence will be glorious if that is the case. Just walking up to the Piazzle Michelangelo through the little streets should take you past homes in which this it is blooming along garden walls, and if you can rent a car or better yet a bicycle and get out into the countryside, you will be enchanted. I agree with the above that staying outside Florence may be the best for you if you don't want to concentrate on museums. With only 4 days you might not want to rent a house, but there are hotels in outlying areas, esp in the Fiesole area which have great views of Florence and you can get into town by public transport if you don't want to rent a car.

What is your hotel budget?

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Old Oct 24th, 2005, 03:41 AM
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I disagree with most of the people here. I wouldn't skip Florence - I think you can do both, actually. Since you aren't big museum goers, then you can skip out on a lot of lines and crowded places in Florence. However, the city itself is gorgeous and definitely worth a stop. The churches alone are spectacular and the shopping is great. The food, however, would be my greatest draw to this city. It's completely different from Roman or Venecian food and terrific. If you can manage it, a stop in the city would be well worth it.

Perhaps arrive late night from Rome, spend the night, spend the full day exploring Florence, then leave late-day for Venice the following day? So 2 nights, but only 1.5 full days. It would be worth the stop, if you're looking for great food, lots of walking, a beautiful city and romance.

Also, if you don't like museums all that much, perhaps you should cut off a day in Rome. I have done Rome in a day and only spent my time at the major sites - St Peters, Vatican Museum, Colloseum, Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps and Pantheon. If you don't like museums or art too much, then you can definitely get through the Vatican museum quickly to see the Sistine Chapel or skip it entirely (although I wouldn't recommend it). Lines in May will be long and most popular places will be crowded, so it's a tough call on what to skip or not.

3 nights in Rome, 2 in Florence, and 3 in Venice might be more appropriate for what you're looking to do. It gives you a sense of the culture and food for each of the three big cities, something you seem to enjoy. Just a thought...
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