what to do with extra 5 days in Italy?

May 27th, 2012, 04:43 PM
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what to do with extra 5 days in Italy?

We have done the major tourist sights like Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome back in 2010. On our upcoming second trip to Italy, our itinerary is staying in Sorrento for 7 days to give us enough time to do Capri, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Naples. After that, we will stay another 4 days in Rome and then head home. What we can not decide on is where to go on the first 5 days when we arrive in Rome. We thought of Venice or Florence again but really not so keen since we have done the major sights. Can anyone please suggest what else we can do for this 5 days in either Florence or Venice after the obvious tourist sights? What else are there to see and do in both places? Genoa, Verona, Padua, Cremona, Bari also came up on our list. We are open for any suggestions. Another thought is maybe from Rome and go down south but not as far as Sicily before heading to Sorrento.
stephCA is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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Dearest Steph,

There is absolutely no such thing as 5 "extra" days in Italy!

Why limit yourself to staying in the major cities? Why not fly in, train to a smaller town, pick up a car and enjoy the countryside?

There are so many great towns to use as a base for a very nice 5 day visit to an area. What do you like? Scenery, food and wine, photography, cooking? Italy has so much of everything, there is no end of where you could go!

Since you are starting and ending in Rome it seems your flights are set. You could easily train to Chiusi or Orvieto (Umbria), get a car and explore southern Tuscany. You could also train to Foligno, get a car right at the station and explore parts of Umbria - Assisi, Spello, Montefalco, on and on.
Dayle is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:13 PM
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This trip report is all my vacation consisting of 8 days in Venice and 8 days in Florence--and I'd visited each them them at least a dozen times before. Therefore, full of ideas for a second (or third or fourth . . .) visit.

ellenem is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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Now that I've given some ideas for what to do if you revisit some favorites, consider another area not far from Rome that you haven't mentioned: Umbria. Head to Perugia, a lovely hilltown, and use it as a base for day trips to nearby towns such as Assisi and Gubbio.
ellenem is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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That was one of my favorite trips reports of all time!
Dayle is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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Drink alot of wine and watch the world go by ?
dutyfree is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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Dayle, Glad you liked it! It is a favorite vacation of mine as well.
ellenem is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:54 PM
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When is your trip?
Jean is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 06:29 PM
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Perugia is a good idea, or if you want something slightly smaller but with easy access (trains/buses) there is also Spoleto.
uhoh_busted is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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Oh wow, great suggestions and ideas. I am so thankful.

Sorry I left out important information like; we will have these 5 days from July 17 to July 21 excluding travel time to Sorrento, we have our 13 year old daughter who loves pizza, art, scenery, beach and looking forward to visiting Pompeii and oh, gelato everyday!; my husband and I love looking at the architecture, scenery, food, museums etc etc We would prefer to take trains and walk around. We like to take it easy since our everyday life is rush/rush/rush and driving everywhere.Hence, we never ever join any tour. Too stressful for us to get up so early in the morning. We like to go to few places, relax and really enjoy our sorroundings.

Thank you so much:

Dayle - for your suggestions. Will definitely look into it. Driving in places you suggested will be a lot less stressful than say, Sorrento, right? I am assuming since its more on small towns. Is it fairly easy to hire a car from the train stations, availability wise during the month of July?

Ellenem - Thank you for your report, ideas and suggestion. Perugia, chocolate I used to love when I was young and could only get it from Hong Kong during my summer vacations there. I remember it now again. Yaay...

For the rest...thank you also! Unfortunately, we don't drink wine ( yes, we are boring), but we can surely watch the world go by holding our diet cokes ...Spoleto...looks really interesting too.
stephCA is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 09:09 PM
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Yes, Perugia, another vote there, and for Umbria more generally, and of course for Orvieto. I also recommend Ravenna if you end up in Emiglia-Romangna. Then there's Lucca not far from Pisa if you didn't see it during that trip.

But then I'd spend days, and days, and days, in Venice.

We plan to head to Genoa on our next visit; it's getting wonderful write ups as an untouristy but interesting city. Cinque Terre are a wonderful second or third trip destination IMO.

I envy you "extra" days in Italy!
annw is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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I'll top my now-very-old-trip report for you. Skip to the last week spent:

3 nts Montalcino
1 nt Gubbio
1 nt Assisi
2 nts Spello

I've driven in the French and Italian countryside on 3 different trips. Once with a friend who sort of navigated (not much) and the other two times solo. Driving in the countryside is easy, enjoyable and relaxing.

Some rental offices are nearby train stations. In the smaller towns (Orvieto, Siena, Foligno, Chuisi) you need to check their hours carefully. It's not hard to plan around their hours.

For what you describe, I think you would love having the freedom of a car to explore for this part of your trip.

Read Tuscany/Umbria trip reports to get lots of great ideas.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 08:50 AM
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For my suggestion of Perugia and the towns mentioned, no car is needed. A friend and I stayed in Perugia for 4 nights, spending two days seeing the town itself. One day we took the bus to Gubbio, a pleasant ride through the countryside over rolling green hills, I think about an hour away. Another day we took a train (about 20 minutes each way) to Assisi and visited the town for the day. Neither my friend nor I drive so Perugia was our choice for its scenic location, interesting sights, and ease of public transport to these other towns.
ellenem is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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diet coke is bad for you! espresso in the morning, gelato in the afternoon, cappucino in the evening with some San Marino sparkling water in between, then! Have you been to Milano or like a wise one says, thought of renting a car and driving - maybe from Milano toward the French border? Just fer the heckuvit?
windscape is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Have you ever seen this:

It's a list of 200 things to do in Venice. You could make a small dent in it in 5 days.
jangita is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Rent a car from the Rome airport. From there you have the opportunity to go to Umbria, with Orvieto on the way. Staying in Assisi gives you the advantage of unpacking since all of the towns mentioned by other posters are not more than an hours drive from Assisi. (Note: Nothing beats Assisi in the morning or early evening when all of the church bells chime and echo through the valley).

Another option is to visit parts of southern Tuscany. The highway (A!) from the airport goes right by this area. There is Sienna, San Gimignano, Montepulciano (originally an Etruscan village) and Cortona (Frances Mayes). Also, Perugia is not far away. Buon viaggio.
Madelon is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Thanks everyone for the input, ideas and comments. I really appreciate it. Finally decided to spend the 5 days we have in Florence. A complete turn-around! Daughter reminded that we only got to spend 1 day in Florence and 1 day in Pisa back in 2010. She absolutely wants to go back to Florence.

I will defintely keep all my notes for all the suggestions. Planning to return in a couple of years.

Now, we have 5 days in Florence...what to do and where to go? Any suggestions?

Thank you so much everyone!!!!
stephCA is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 12:19 PM
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windscape-- no, no... they will throw you out if you order cappuccino (or any milk) after noon!! bad for the liver, don't you know?? (i'm quoting my italian teacher here...
kawh is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Luhimari is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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Suggestions for Florence? The list is nearly endless... Do you enjoy art and museums? Or do you prefer less art-oriented activities?

Many museums and other sights have a ticket reservation system. For some things, the reservation is essential to insure you'll get in and to avoid incredibly long lines. For others, it's more of a simple convenience. So, the first thing you need to do is decide what you want to see/do in Florence and find out if reservations are required/possible.

Below is a link to a thread about something we did last October that was unique and very interesting, but I'm not sure the tours will still be offered in July 2012. I strongly recommend you make an inquiry ASAP.



In the Fodor's thread (linked above) you'll see my mention of Palazzo Davanzati. Not often mentioned, this merchant's house has been well-restored and gives a glimpse into 'living above the store' in Renaissance Florence.

The Florence museum and art list is long and everyone has their favorites, so let us know if that's up your alley. The list of possible day trips is also long. Fiesole, Lucca, Pisa, Montecatini Terme, Bologna (although you should follow the earthquake damage reports), Certaldo, Siena, San Gimignano, Arezzo... Do keep in mind it could be hot and humid, so you might not be up for too much in the middle/heat of the day.
Jean is offline  

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