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Where to go in Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome

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Oct 17th, 2007, 12:03 AM
  #1
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Where to go in Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome

We will be spending:
1 day in Venice
3 days in Florence
1 day in Pisa
5 days in Rome

Any suggestions as to where we can go in those places? What are the must-see sites?Please take note of the corresponding days each destination has Any help will be greatly appreciated Thanks!
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Oct 17th, 2007, 12:13 AM
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also 2 days in Milan

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Oct 17th, 2007, 12:24 AM
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Hello wanderingthree, I can't resist advising you to skip Pisa and add an extra day to Venice. 2 nights will give you the freedom to wander all about Venice as the light changes at different times of day. With only 1 night in Venice you might be stuck with mostly seeing the touristy San Marco square. Venice is one of the most unique cities I have been to.

Fodors guidebook is good for choosing what to see.

In my opinion, Venice is a site in itself and it's not so important what you see...wander all around, and get a vaporetto pass for the number of days you are there, giving you on and off privileges.

Rome: you have 5 nights or 5 days in Rome? (5 nights would give you 3 full days, not counting travel time.)
Anyway I would allow 1 full day for seeing the Vatican Museums & St. Peters Basilica.
1 full day for exploring Ancient Rome including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, etc...if you want to book a private half-day tour, Ancient Rome would be the area that is best understood with a private guide. We hired Francesca Caruso and she charged a very reasonable price in 2004...she was (and still may be) in Rick Steves guidebook.

1/2 day for wandering around the atmospheric piazzas near the Trevi fountain, which is a must-see.

Don't book up every moment of your time in Rome. Allow some "free time" on your last day in Rome, because by then you will know exactly what you want to return to have another look at. We were really glad we planned Rome this way.

Florence: Sigh...our days in Florence were so crowded I was relieved when we left! Michelangelo's David was my favorite sight in Florence. Unfortunately Florence was bursting with special festivities and festivals while we were there...and that brings crowds...Florence is compact so when it's crowded, it really is too much for me.

Buon viaggio!

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Oct 17th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Get one day away from Rome to counryside Orvieto & Assisi. You'll be charmed
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Oct 17th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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Thank you Melissa5 and Mario06 for the quick and helpful replies!

How about Milan? Can anybody give us some suggestions as to where we can go? What are the places to visit or things to try?

Any additional suggestions on the other destinations are most welcome
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Oct 17th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Thanks euro12345
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Oct 17th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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I would also pass on Pisa - We went for a day trip over the summer and I am glad we took the girls (10/14) but would not go back...
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Oct 17th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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I enjoyed myself in pisa but all we needed was a half day to see the leaning tower and church, and browse the little shopping kiosks that line the path to the tower. There really isn't much else to do there. We were however, staying within a short drive so it was possible to just go for a few hours.

Venice is very unique and interesting just to wander around and take everything in. I agree with Melissa - 1 day is cutting it too short for your first visit there.

If you plan to see the Uffizi gallery or David in Florence, plan on that taking pretty much one whole day. The lines, unless you have advance tickets, are hours long (we waited nearly 3 hours to see David).

Sorry, I don't have any recs for Milan, as I've only ever seen the inside of the airport!
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Oct 17th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Unless you have a specific reason to go to Milan, I would skip it. I'm not a fan of Venice, but I would add a day there. I always try to keep away from doing a single day in any such city. Pisa is a very easy hour train ride from Florence. If you climb the tower it's certainly worth the trip. Reservations only so you need to make them online before you go.
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Oct 17th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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Ditto on suggesting you pass on a night in Pisa, do it as a day trip from Florence (1 hour each way, lots of trains every day). I did it on Sunday (I'm still in Italy, at the Cinque Terre). I wasn't impressed with Pisa at all - it's doesn't feel clean or welcoming. The only thing you will likely find interesting is the Field of Miracles (which has the tower etc.) To think that if this tower had been built CORRECTLY in the first place, no one would ever come to Pisa!

If you can't push that day in Pisa back into Venice (I agree, Venice is the best place to put it), put it in Florence, day trip that day to Pisa, and come back in time for another evening in Florence.

I also did Siena as a day trip from Florence (by bus) and it was magical, certainly one of the highlights of my Italy trip so far.
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Oct 19th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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I agree about Pisa. Not really worth it. We did go to Lucca however, which is a wonderful charming city. Went there on a Sunday and then came back the next week to shop. Great restaurant for lunch - something de Leo - off Piazza San Michel. Need at least two days for Venice.
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Oct 19th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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My best advice is to buy the Michelin Green book for Italy and spend about 2 hours reading the sections about these destinations. Then come back and ask a specific question.
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Oct 19th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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I liked Pisa a lot; not just Piazza di Miracoli but the town of Pisa. It is amazingly not touristy once you get away from all the hubbub around the Tower. But given your limited time, I would add a day to Florence and take a day trip to Pisa and Lucca. Alternatively, take the day trip for Siena and San Gimignano.

The Duomo in Milan is definitely worth seeing. I'm also a fan of Milan as a place where Italians live and work and not just a tourist destination.
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Oct 19th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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I took a similar trip in Sept 05, but I spent 4 days in Venice, 4 days in Florence and 5 Days in Rome. I loved Venice and my first reaction to your post was to suggest foregoing Milan and adding the extra time to Venice.

I used one of my days in Florence (it was raining that day) to take the train to Pisa as a day trip. A few others don't seem to think that Pisa is worth it, but my feeling is, would you go to London without seeing Big Ben, or would you to to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower?

Mario06 hit all the high points for Florence. I didn't see all the sights he cited, preferring to wander around. After spending a day at the Uffizi, I was overwhelmed and had enough of museums (although I had visited the Accademia and the Piti the day before). I had my hotel make reservations for the museums for me and didn't experience more than 10 or 15 minutes in line. I guess it depends on what time of year you go.

Melissa5's take on Rome is pretty good. I would add Villa Borghese to the list and possibly the Scavi tour offered by the Vatican. I hear they're both very good, but I can't speak from experience.

I used Angel tours to tour St Peter's and the Vatican Museum, otherwise I wandered around on my own.

You didn't say when or how many people will be travelling with you, so I don't know your accommodation requirements. I stayed at Hotel do Pozzi near St. Mark's in Venice, the Hotel Casci near the Duomo in Florence, and the Hotel Alimandi near the Vatican in Rome. I would easily go back to any of the hotels. The Hotel Alimandi is about a block away from the entrance to the Vatican Museum, but otherwise is a little distant from most other tourist sites. However, they provide a free shuttle to the airport, which I found to be a great convenience.
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Oct 19th, 2007, 07:37 PM
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Be prepared to go to Mass. If you are willing to go to Mass you can get into a church that might otherwise be closed to you. I went to evening Mass at the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence because we hadn't been able to get there otherwise. It was a wonderful cool, quiet, restful and spiritual experience with four Florentine senior citizens and a priest. It was a memory that I will treasure.
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Oct 21st, 2007, 01:50 AM
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Hi

That's a hectic program you have I have posted trip reports from Rome and Florence on my homepage and maybe you can find some useful info there to start with. You can find the Florence trip report on http://gardkarlsen.com/florence_italy_travelogue.htm and the Rome trip report on http://gardkarlsen.com/rome_italy.htm . Maybe you can find some useful info there to start with

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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