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finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

San Francisco...
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finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

Hi, this is a first time trip to Italy in early October 2013 for my husband and I. I'm trying to finalize the itinerary, and know the general order but am thinking of giving up a day in one place and adding to another. Mostly thinking of cutting Venice down to only 1 night and adding to another place. I know if I were being more practical I'd cut out Venice altogether as it's farthest out of the way, but I really want to just see it if only for a day. I could also take a night off Rome and add it to Tuscany or Florence, but I understand that most sources say Rome needs the most time of all these places.

I just want to get opinions on time spent in each place. I know this will be subjective and that's okay, I can use others' opinions to make a final decision. This may seem to some like over-doing it, but I want to see a lot as it may be our only trip to Italy. So while I want to build in time to relax and hang out in cafes and general downtime, I also do want to see lots of great art and historical sites. Important to us are: 1 day hike/ferry in Cinque Terre, gondola or boat ride in Venice, art in Florence/Rome, historical sites in Rome (or everywhere), wine taste and just wander in Tuscany.

So far we have, for 15 days total trip, not including first and last day on airplane:

France, final night will be on S. coast near Monaco- 4 days

Italy- 11 days total, as follows:

train to Cinque Terre- 1 night

train thru Pisa/Florence to Venice- 2 nights (but I think I want to change to only 1 night in Venice, which other town should I add it to?)

Florence- 2 nights

rent car, stop in Siena for couple hours, and to Tuscan countryside/small village TBD- stay 2 nights

return car in Rome

Rome- 4 nights

Edited: 1:59 am, June 10, 2013
Milano
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1. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

Altough I consider Venice the most beautiful town of the world, if you cut a night in Venice I would add it to Florence or better to a landscape place of Tuscany.

If you are particularly interested in Tuscany countryside-small towns you may consider to find a place outside Florence for the all period and visit the town on a daily basis.

pittsburgh
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2. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

On this trip Venice is way out of the way and I would drop it. One night won't give you time to see the city so why waste the time when you can add it to the Tuscany part of your trip. I would leave Venice for another trip and not short change the rest of the itinerary. I would add the two nights to Florence or spend the entire 6 nights in a smaller town making day trips to Florence, Pisa and Siena. This way you won't be changing hotels as often and can wander at your leisure.

Donna

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3. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

If we were to stay in a smaller town or village in Tuscany and go into Florence from there, do you have a suggestion? how much traffic would there be in the morning in early October driving into Florence or taking public transport (if there's a bus?)?

My vision is staying in an agriculturismo type place in the quiet countryside, with easy drives to vineyards, and I had one scoped out but it's down near Montepulciano, so would be too far to go into Florence.

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4. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

I agree; there really is not much point in going to Venice for those brief hours. I too agree - save it for another trip when you can do the city justice.

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5. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

If I do cut Venice down to one night, I'd leave late in the afternoon if we can to have the previous late afternoon/evening and all that morning and afternoon, so it would essentially be 24 hours. I'm looking into this since a friend of mine, who has travelled all over Italy, said there's so much more in Florence than Venice, and I understand that Venice is very small. I will be satisfied with a couple of main sites and a gondola/boat ride and a bit of wandering, forgoing all the touristy trinkets and outlying islands,etc. But I know how much a lot of people adore Venice and this opinion will be blasphemy to them. I value everyone's view, so thank you for the feedback!

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6. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

Frankly, the only people who could even imagine that they can see Venice in one day are likely just going to tourist Central, San Marco square. There is just so much more to explore in that beautiful city than that one main, popular site but nearly everyone I have ever talked to who said one day is enough ended up spending their time right around the square. Such a shame.

I think it depends on what you want to see in each city. If you have already read up on Venice and figured out that all you want to see can be done in such a short time, then that works for you; same with Florence - I am guessing you have already figured what your priority visits are there as well in order to decide how long to spend there.

Just don't underestimate the amount of time involved in all this traveling - it takes far more time than you think it will - but, if you are okay with the amount of time it will take to get to Venice and don't mind, then it is a good choice for you.

Maryland
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7. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

My first time in Italy many years ago I wanted to see so many places so I did Venice and Florence as day trips from Milan. I loved both cities and have since then been back several times. I am of the school that if all you have to spare is one day to see Venice and you can work it into your itinerary in such a way that you can handle it, do it. A full day visit especially including a night is worth it for me. Yes we did the touristy things during those day trips but if you are a tourist then those tourist sites are part of the reason you are there.

You do not say where you are flying into and out of this Europe trip. Depending on how you plan your flights Venice will not be too far off. If you fly into France and are spending time in the South of France closer to Monaco, you are closer to Cinque Terre by train. From Cinque Terre you can travel by train to Tuscany and see some Tuscan cities including Florence. From Tuscany you can travel by train to Venice and from Venice by train to Rome. Fly home from Rome.

One night Cinque Terre

Four nights Tuscany

One night Venice

Four nights Rome

Mine is just another solicited opinion.

Enjoy your planning!

San Francisco...
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8. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

It's great to get the differing opinions to help me decide. The truth is, I really want to go to Venice, but have been getting down on it due to my friends/family telling me it's too far out of the way, don't give it more than a day, or they wouldn't waste their time there. When I reflect on what I want to do myself, yes, I want to spend time in Venice. I agree with Momcat, the travel time has to be considered, and I don't want to feel like I spent my whole trip on a train. But... is it worth it to go out of my way for a special city on the water? Probably is. And a 2 hour train trip from Florence is not that far in the grander scheme of things.

Mothergirl, we're flying into Paris, seeing Provence and Cote d'Azur, train to Cinque Terre (that part is all set). We have 11 nights total in Italy, so one more than the plan you laid out.

Seems that what I need to decide now is how much time is satisfying in Florence/Tuscany. Maybe 4 nights for that part is sufficient, and I can keep 2 nights in Venice. That's what I'll have to research next. I have the beginning of the trip (France, 5 Terre) and the end (Rome) all set, and I'm just figuring out if I need to rearrange the middle before it's set in stone. Thanks so much for the help (and any more to come)!

Maryland
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9. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

world_travel_dreamer I laid out a 10 night plan because I thought you had mentioned you had 11 days total to spend in Italy and 11 days of travel usually translates into 10 nights of travel. If you have another day to spare then add it to Venice and you will have another day to enjoy Venice's art and historical sites.

Michigan
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10. Re: finalizing the itinerary for Italy in October

Agee with mother girl! If you have time to go for one day even - then go! You will get a taste of the city and maybe return some day!

I am sure you could probably spend the entire trip in just Rome, but you wouldn't get a flavor of any other city!

We are returning to Italy I'm October as well . It will be my 2 son's first time! We have 9 days total and are spending time both in Venice and down south with a flight in between lamezia and Venice:

3 days 2 nights Rome

2 days nights Salerno Capr

1 day Calabria

3 nights 2 full days Venice!

Can't wait! Hope you have fun!

Edited: 5:49 pm, June 10, 2013