Which itinerary is best?

Jan 10th, 2014, 08:35 PM
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Which itinerary is best?

It looks like I'll be going to Italy for 2 weeks in early May We haven't bought any tickets yet, as it's still early and we need to book our vacation with the job, etc. But it's happening So far we might be around 5 people...

We are interested in sightseeing, visiting italy, seeing its beauty, relaxing and just enjoying the country. Assuming we have 14 nights, what would be a better itinerary:

3 nights in Venice
3 nights in Florence
4 nights in Sorrento
4 nights in Rome


4 nights in Venice
4 nights in Florence
6 nights in Rome

For me, the must-see things are Venice and Rome, I think it would be a shame to go all the way to Italy (from Canada) and not see those 2 iconic cities. As for Sorrento, based on my research it might be a good base to explore the Amalfi Coast and one or two of its towns (like Positano) which look really nice.

And Florence, well it's conveniently between Venice and Rome, and it's a beautiful tourist attraction full of great art. Also from Florence, there seem to be a few nice little towns and maybe we can visit one of them on a day trip to get another taste of Tuscany (like Siena.or San Gimignano).

If I have to eliminate one of the two, should I favor Sorrento/Amalfi coast or Florence/Tuscany? The goal is simply sightseeing and creating a different taste from Venice & Rome.

It would be nice that the trip is a mixture of everything (history, big cities, a little bit of nature like the mountains, seeing the sea, etc.). I know that 2 weeks isn't a lot, and 2 of the travellers are a (fit) couple in their late 60's so I don't want the trip to be to hectic with a lot of packing and unpacking and moving from one hotel/b&b to another, so if anyone has better itineraries for me I'd be very thankful.

The goal would be to get a taste of some variety, to include at least Venice & Rome, and also to have the less "bases" possible. Ideally it would have been great to have 1 base city for the 2 weeks and see everything else in day trips but I know that's impossible. lol

Thanks for reading and I can't wait to read your suggestions and advice.
user_3939 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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I would opt for #2. Siena and Cortona are two easy daytips from Florence, the latter to include lunch at La Buccacia.
RonZ is offline  
Jan 10th, 2014, 09:15 PM
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From what you say of your interests, I agree that #2 sounds better, especially because you need to take jet lag (assume you'll lose 1/2 day upon arrive) and travel time (assume you'll lose at least 1/2 day each time you change cities) into consideration. Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Jan 10th, 2014, 09:46 PM
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If you want relaxation, nature and seaside, I'd do

4 nights Venice
5 nights Amalfi Coast
5 nights Rome
artsnletters is offline  
Jan 10th, 2014, 10:40 PM
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4 nights in Venice
3 nights in Florence
3 nights in Napoli (not Sorrento)
4 nights in Rome

My advice is to replace Sorrento with Napoli. I have been 3 times in both Napoli and Sorrento. Napoli is the real Italy, an original city with no tourists, just locals as opposed to the other 3 super touristy (yet gorgeous) cities. Everything in Napoli is made for the locals, its a tourist's heaven, and it has a lot of character as a city. You can use it as a base for the Amalfi coast, as I did.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2014, 11:03 PM
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Wow thanks guys.

PetrosB3, concerning Napoli I've read so many things about safety, the garbage issue, the mafia, so I got a little discouraged. That's why I was picking Sorrento as a base for the Amalfi Coast. Would everyone agree that Napoli would be a better base instead of Sorrento?

Artsnletters, thanks to your post I'm starting to think that maybe skipping Florence might be a wise decision since we would get our big city fix with architecture, museums and art with Rome and Venice. So maybe favoring the Amalfi Coast over Florence would make our trip more interesting and varied.
user_3939 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 04:53 AM
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I think Option 1 would give you a more varied trip with some time spent away from cities. I would choose Sorrento, not Naples, for this reason. Another option is to choose option 2 and spend 5 nights in Florence so you can take a couple of day trips to the Tuscan countryside.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 05:52 AM
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I like option one but would sub rural Tuscany for Sorrento. Much easier travel logistics and I love Tuscany in May.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 06:20 AM
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I'd go for this (and I know I'll be the minority)

Assuming you can fly into Venice and out of Rome
3 n Venice
2 n Florence
2 n Siena
1 n Rome (if going by train, this makes your connection Tuscany to Sorrento less stressful. Bus to Siena, change to Eurostar to Rome. This is the route we did back in 2000. We visited St. Peter's just after arrival in Rome, toured the Vatican museum the next morning, then took train to Sorrento via Naples. Quite easy to do.)
2 n Sorrento (day trip Pompeii, then relaxed in Sorrento)
2 n Rome (did a self-guided stroll on arrival from Sorrento; next days saw 'old rome' i.e. Colosseum and Forum, etc.)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 06:27 AM
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oops, that should have been, bus to Florence, then change to Eurostar to Rome.

I notice I've given you but 12 nights and you have 14 to 'spend.' I'd spend the extra 2 nights thus:
Make it 3 n in Rome before flying home; so that uses up 1 night;
And then I'd choose to add the other night to either Siena (allowing you a daytrip to San Gimignano) or to Sorrento (allowing you a daytrip to Positano.)

But you'd get a bit of seaside (Sorrento) and Tuscany either way.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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Bookmarking . Thanks
Sberg is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 08:23 AM
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I would do itinerary #1. But rather than stay in Florence, I would stay in the Tuscan countryside for a true country experience. Doing day trips just isn't the same. Agree with Bob, the Italian countryside in May is gorgeous!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Chiming in to vote with Dayle. We've been to all the destinations mentioned and of course it's subjective but we like to have a balance of high energy cities with smaller places as a nice change of pace.

You would need a car for visiting many of the hilltowns in Tuscany but not in Sorrento. I would opt for Sorrento over Naples for first time visitors. While I enjoyed Naples for a day trip, my husband thought it had an atmosphere rather "gritty" that made it hard for him to relax while walking around. Have a wonderful trip. Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 09:26 AM
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The problem is that if you stay in the Italian countryside, you really will need a car (suitable for five people) for that part of the trip. It's not really easy planning car trips for five people, with each having slightly different ideas about what they should see. Let's just say, I would hate to be the driver.

I would vote for itinerary number 1 considering user_3939's interests and priorities. Some of the other suggestions are just the preferences of the people responding. Naples is a great city, but certainly not relaxing. I think Sorrento is the closest this trip will get to a little relaxation.
bvlenci is online now  
Jan 11th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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Thanks again. Another thought, would it make more sense to do Cinq Terre instead of Sorrento/Amalfi Coast in terms of easy transportation? Is Cinq Terre relaxing too, and which town would you choose? The thing is we don't want to drive a car so we are relying on public transportation. Since Rome and Venice are a must for us, from what I'm reading it's better to have a car for either the Amalfi area or the Tuscany countryside towns. So maybe Cinq Terre would be easier and worth it? Or is it not? I really don't want to make it too complicated for the couple in the late 60's with lots of train/bus transfers and it seems that both Tuscany countryside towns and Amalfi Coast would preferably need a car. Is Cinq Terre a good alternative as an interesting taste of italy away from big cities Venice and Rome? And would it be easier from a transportation point of view in between Rome/Venice? Thanks again.
user_3939 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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I thought the Cinque Terre quite lovely and if any of you are hikers, it offers some trails with spectacular scenery, so it could be a good option for you for 2 or 3 nights.

Although I have been to Florence, I haven't been elsewhere in Tuscany. When you proposed your plan, I thought it could be a very good choice for a group because it offers options that a variety of people might enjoy. So, for example, some people could spend time in Florence while others were exploring other parts of the area. It would probably help to have a car just for the time you are in that area; whether you need one that could hold all of you is a separate question.

I think the Amalfi Coast deserves more time than you could give it on this trip, and it would take longer to get there.

Just my take on it.
kja is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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A car is not needed for the Amalfi Coast; public transportation by bus and ferry is excellent in the area. If you stay in Sorrento, you also have the Circumvesuviana commuter train that runs between Sorrento and Naples, past Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius.

It's hard to get to the most delicious parts of Tuscany efficiently by public transportation, so for there it's best to have a car. However, you can day-trip to Siena, San Gimignano, and some of the Chianti towns from Florence. I would definitely not rent a car if you will be staying in Florence, as parking is difficult and expensive and you have to worry about wandering into one of the limited traffic zones (very easy to do) and incurring a steep fine.

The Cinque Terre doesn't have the dramatic scenery of the Amalfi coast, and the villages can suffer from an overflow of tourists during the day, but it is a lovely place and would fit more easily into the rest of your itinerary.
artsnletters is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Thanks again... I'm reading a lot about Italy and I'm thankful for you guys for answering my questions and giving me great tips.

Out of curiosity I started checking for day trips from Venice and Rome that way maybe we could have our change of pace and different tastes, but with only these 2 bases since they are our two must see cities.

For example from Rome, I found a day trip to Orvieto. From the pictures it looks nice. Even though it's in Umbria, would it still give us a similar getaway as some of the medieval towns in Tuscany? And is it an easy day trip from Rome by public transportation and doesn't need an overnight? Maybe the Orvieto day trip could give us the fix for medieval towns on a cliff instead of having a 3rd base in Tuscany. Also we could use our Rome base for a day trip to Florence and see the highlights there.

What about day trips from Venice that are easy and can allow us yet another different taste? Anything around Venice that could maybe give us a "coast vibe" similar to Sorrento/Amalfi/Cinq Terre? Or maybe something totally different like some other unique town...

Thanks guys, I know I'm running in circles with so many options, but you guys have such an amazing country lol I'm trying to have a relaxed trip with as less bases as possible but that could allow me variety and different tastes of Italy.
user_3939 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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"What about day trips from Venice that are easy and can allow us yet another different taste? Anything around Venice that could maybe give us a "coast vibe" similar to Sorrento/Amalfi/Cinq Terre?"

The area around Venice is pretty flat. A day trip to Murano and/or Burano is worth considering, but is certainly not the same "vibe" as either the Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast.

My sense is that you are overthinking the 'different pace" issue. Venice is a city and has some major artistic and cultural sites, but it is also a great place for just roaming and getting lost. Rome is definitely urban and filled with things to see and do -- but any visitor can decide at what pace to do so, and there are lovely cafe-filled squares in which to relax. The architecture and atmosphere is completely different in Rome than in Venice (or, for that matter, in Florence), so it should seem and feel different.

Florence is different in yet other ways -- a small gem-filled center from which you can visit Tuscany if that is what you (or some of you) choose to do and plan accordingly.

The Cinque Terre is completely different than these areas -- it is a coast area with dramatic scenery, tiny villages, and some great hiking trails.
kja is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 05:32 PM
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I have only just started to plan. We are going end of March/early May. We are doing 5 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Naples and 5 nights in Rome. We will take a day trip or 2 from Florence. A trip to Pompeii and a bus ride along the Amalfi Coast. Nothing but accommodations set as of now, but planning is so much fun!
DebitNM is offline  

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