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Italia! How's my driving?

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1. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

A friend and I are off to Italy in May for two weeks. She has been before and speaks pretty good Italian (everything in the present tense, mind), and we've got a base for our trip planned out already.

I've received an absolute ton of helpful info from various threads on Italy here, so I thought I'd run our itinerary by all of you. Any thoughts or suggestions are very welcome! We've tried to cover a few areas well, which meant we had to leave some parts (Cinque Terra, Sardinia, Capri, Sicily, amongst others) out.

Here's the plan:

May 12 - Land in Rome at 7 a.m. Stay 3 nights then rent car for the rest of the trip.
May 15 - Drive from Rome to Venice. Stay 2 nights.
May 17 - Drive to Tuscany, stay 4 nights and see surrounding sites (Pompeii, Chianti wine tour, Florence).
May 21 - Drive to Amalfitana. Stay 4 nights.
May 25 - Drive to back Rome. Stay 1 night.
May 26 - Catch plane back home.

What do you think?

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Dang! One of the hotels in Amalfitana originally quoted us "80 Euro for your whole stay" - which to me means 80 Euro altogether for 4 nights. Turns out they forgot to write "per night" and now they won't budge. Dang! So close!

3. Posted by amanecer (Respected Member 203 posts) 10y

your plan looks good.
Just a thing: Pompei it's not in Tuscany, neither in Tuscany surroundings, but in Naples surroundings.You can visit it when you reach Amalfi.
May is considered low season, so you can find many offers for hotels. (it's low season everywhere except in rome and maybe venice)
the 1st of may is national holiday.

4. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Quoting amanecer

Just a thing: Pompei it's not in Tuscany, neither in Tuscany surroundings, but in Naples surroundings.You can visit it when you reach Amalfi.

D'oh! I'm sure my friend has that down on the itinerary and I've completely muddled where everything is. Thank you for your comments!

5. Posted by nutsnbolts (Respected Member 155 posts) 10y

Interesting itinerary!

We are looking at something similar. I see that you incorporated the Amalfi coast as well. From my research, Rome to Venice takes about 4+ hours if I didn't read it correctly. Maybe Amenecer can confirm. Amanecer also (in one of the other posts) that Venice is better to travel to by train. I'm sure a shorter ride as well. I'm considering that as well. Spend a night or two there and then back to Rome and drive to Tuscany and then to Amalfi...if anything.

My wife does want to see the Amalfi coast and Pompeii so this should sound good.

Anything else in Northern Italy to see? Tuscany, Venice, Pisa???

6. Posted by nutsnbolts (Respected Member 155 posts) 10y

Oh another thing, cinque terre? That's another location we want to definately not miss. Where...I'm still finding out.

7. Posted by amanecer (Respected Member 203 posts) 10y

depending on the train, from rome to venice:
ES train 4hours and half
iC train from 5 to 5hours 30.
maybe you can take a train from rome to venice, then coming back to florence by train and rent a car there, starting from there to visit Tuscany.


As for northern of Italy, in Venice surroundings (30minutes/1 hour by train or buses):
Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, preserves a beautiful Arena (something like Roman Colisseum), the balcony of Juliet, some nices medieval churches (San Zeno);
Treviso is a nice city for a walk. Proceding to south
Bologna is a big city but preserves a interesting medieval historical centre, and is famous for its recipies ( filled pasta called tortellini..)
Ravenna is a nice city as well, with 2 churches dated V century and preserving amazing mosaics..but it's not on the main train route for coming back.


Tuscany, from north to south, is about 300 kms, and about 250 from the coast to the border with the region of Emilia Romagna.
So better to select what you prefer to see, especially if then you wish to arrive to Pompei (from florence to pompei 488 km).

Pisa is 1 hour far from florence. Parkings in general are quite expensive in the center and near the leaning Tower.There's a parking just outside the city but close to the Wall (Parking Via del Brennero) which is free and served by a bus,but on wednesdays and saturdays mornings is occupied by the open market of the city. The city is nice, and you need no more than 3 hours to see really everything.The entrance to leaning tower is expensive (15 euros, 17 if you reserve on line).

From Pisa it worth a visit Lucca, which is only 20 minutes far from Pisa, by train or by car. The medieval city is surrounded by big walls where you can have a walk or ride a bike; it was founded by romans, and still preserves a round square, memory of the ancient roman amphiteatrum that was there.

Cinque Terre are northern, in another region called Liguria. They're 1 hour and half far from Pisa, but in any case is not advisable to reach them by car. Better to reach La Spezia (by motorway) and taking from there the local train which stops in each little town.
It is basically impossible to park there, towns are really little, with narrow streets and squares...and the road which goes from a town to another is full of twistes..

Going south, in the middle between Pisa and Siena, Volterra appears to you on the top of a hill. It’s an old Etruscan town. Roads to reach that town are slow, (because of the curves) but the landscape is beautiful. Volterra is about 1 hour far from Pisa (by car) , from there you can reach Siena in another 1 hour, or maybe something more, passing through very famous and touristic San Gimignano, or the less known Colle Val d'Elsa,(I had 2 pictures of this town in my picture gallery).
You need 1 day to visit Siena.

In the south part of Siena Province I can suggest you this itinerary:

Montepulciano,( taste the wine "nobile", most of the wineries have free tasting, among that I suggest you Gattavecchi winery and Contucci winery; if you choose a restaurant ask for "pici", a home made pasta tipical of that town)
Pienza,( really small town, well preserved, beautiful view and famous cheese "pecorino"). Give a look to an old church, located just outside the town (Pieve di Corsignano).
diversion to Monticchiello(10kms)very little medieval town, amazing view)
San quirico (there's a picture on the travellers photos)
Bagno Vignoni (old thermal baths),
Montalcino an amazing view of Valdorcia from the castle (taste the Brunello wine, very famous and a little bit expensive: you can't find any bottle that costs less than 15 euros)
Sant'antimo abbey, 10km far from Montalcino: an abbey built in the XIth century, really impressive.
From Siena to Montepulciano: 65 kms; from Montepulciano to Montalcino:35/40kms

along the road between Pienza and San Quirico, you can also take a diversion and visit little towns of Petroio, Castelmuzio, San Giovanni d'Asso, Montisi, absolutely unknown by tourism and really nice and well preserved medieval towns. You can also reach Monte Oliveto Maggiore abbey, still inhabited by monks, founded in XVth century. (the diversion: about 20kms)

Proceding to south, you meet UMBRIA REGION. There’re few nice towns around Trasimeno lake (castiglione del lago), but I really like Perugia, a medieval city, Assisi, Spello (in my opinion the nicest town of the Region), Bevagna.. In the area are also located Le Marmore waterfalls.
from Montepulciano to Le Marmore waterfalls about 120kms

Landscape of Tuscany and Umbria, rich of hills, are quite similar and both picturesque.

In Rome surroundings: Tivoli and Anagni.

8. Posted by amanecer (Respected Member 203 posts) 10y

i found some web site where you can read informations and see pictures of Tuscany:

south part of Siena Province:
(not everything is traslated)

Entire Siena Province
(official web site of Senese Tourist office)

about agriturism, wine trails.. in Tuscany; the web site has a map that lists many towns and all the Provinces in which the region is divided.

to end with the official web site of Tuscanian tourist office

9. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Grazie, Laura! Your tips and directions are fantastic!I'm printing them up to take along... I wish I had more than 2 weeks to go. There's so much to see. But - I'm very, very happy to have the opportunity to visit la balla Italia!

10. Posted by nutsnbolts (Respected Member 155 posts) 10y


You are a wealth of ideas and information!

I'll ask questions once I digest what you have just gave me. I can't thank you enough!