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

Amanecer/all:

Ok, I am getting information overload in planning this trip. Sources from the forum, sources from friends, sources in and out of everyone, everywhere. I cross reference it with guidebooks, maps and the internet to see what is possible to do and/or if it will interest me and my wife.

Easy to please, my wife and I will enjoy all! Unfortunately, we only have 2 weeks to accomplish this. I hate to go this route but now I'm at my wits end and need solid guidance from anyone, especially Amanecer in all this.

To start off, we are arriving in Rome on the 16th of April and have till the 30th till we depart. We have planned on staying in Rome for 3 days (19th) and then will be venturing elsewhere. Yes, Easter weekend. We couldn't have picked a much better time. I know. Regardless, we are going to try and make the best of it in Rome despite closings of shops and what not? It will definately be an experience. Amanecer already suggest to try and attend the traditional Easter lunch/dinner. This is something we will most likely do. This will also obviously cut time for our Roma stay, however, we will try to make it up at the end of the trip on our return.

Between the 19th and the 30th, that is where we are stuck. So much things to see with so little time. What I would like to find out Amanecer is given the least bit of time, what are your suggestions for us? Pretty much I'm asking almost an itinerary from you. Obviously, Italy has so much to offer but if you were going to give us a tour to see "as much of what Italy has to offer" and given this time constraint, I'm sure you would be able to choose what's best to ensure that we see "most of Italy".

A couple criteria's that we came up with are the following. My wife would like to see the Amalfi Coast. Ok, south of Rome, out of the way from Venice, Pisa, Tuscany and the north. We want to focus on the North obviously for the time being but would like to fit in the Amalfi coast at some point in our trip.

I have looked at even tour packages itineraries and it's a see and go go go go. Seems hectic and you're just tasting a bit of each locations. We would like to maybe stay 2+ nights at Tuscany, 1 night or so in Venice, etc. We still haven't determined what is best or how many nights we should stay at certain locations but I don't want to be on the road 24/7. So with that said....what would you do? You know Italy, maybe not the entire Italy but can make good judgements as to what places I should not miss and what I should not worry about.

Let's start with this. I hope this post will assist future travellers as well. I know I'm on an Italy overload with information.

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

I think you've already read through my upcoming itinerery, but just in case, here it is again.

Like you, I've only got a little over 2 weeks in Italy. Fortunately, I'm going with a friend who's done this route before (she had 3 weeks and added Sicily the last time). We knocked off a lot of additional places to fully enjoy each city and not spend half our trip on the road. I think it comes down to your own pesonal preferrence at this point - there's just so much to choose from!

Plus - you're going to Italy!! No choice is a bad choice!

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

Quoting tway

I think you've already read through my upcoming itinerery, but just in case, here it is again.

Like you, I've only got a little over 2 weeks in Italy. Fortunately, I'm going with a friend who's done this route before (she had 3 weeks and added Sicily the last time). We knocked off a lot of additional places to fully enjoy each city and not spend half our trip on the road. I think it comes down to your own pesonal preferrence at this point - there's just so much to choose from!

Plus - you're going to Italy!! No choice is a bad choice!

Yes, your post was very helpful. Your partner as well will be helpful in your travels! Unfortunately, I don't have that hehehe... Regardless, I will be digesting your itinerary. Thank you very much.

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

I suppose that your itinerary has to be a round trip from Rome.

16th -19th April: Rome: (shops will be open on 18th and 19th .)

1st day, morning: St. Peter and the Vatican area, easily reachable by subway A (stop:Ottaviano-S. Pietro).As I told you during Easter , and probably the following Monday (not sure) there will be the Mass celebrated by the Pope from a window of Vatican, and attended by a lot of people. I still haven't been, but I heard about the amazing view from the top of St Peter dome.(I suppose there will be a long queue everywhere..)

1st day,afternoon:

-you can [b]eat outside Rome (fraschette ), and in that case you'll need at least half day.(better to reserve)

or

you can take the underground A from Ottaviano, and get off at Flaminio (walking through piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso, or relaxing in Villa Borghese Park) or Spagna (piazza di Spagna, steps of Trinità dei Monti, Via Condotti and the heart of -Rome) .

2nd day: you can visit Colosseum and Fori Area, don't miss the view over this area from Vittoriano monument. (subway B, stop Colosseo, or a lot of buses leaving from Termini station, to Piazza Venezia, where Vittoriano is located, and walking from there).You can also proceed to Circo Massimo, Bocca della Verità (it is attached to the beautiful church of S. Maria in Cosmedin) and jewish quarter (the synagogue has been recently restored).

3rd day:You have many different options:

- you can decide to visit a museum (Vatican museums, Villa Borghese-for Villa Borghese you need to reserve in advance-Galleria Doria Pamphili, Capitolini Museums... or an exhibition,

-you can walk up to Aventino hill, were are located some famous medieval churches, like S. Saba, S. Sabina..and from the square Cavalieri di Malta you can see St Peter’s dome from the hole of a lock.

-Another option, more central, is walking through Rione Monti, Parione and Regola (rione Monti starts approximately from the underground B stop: Cavour.)These quarters still preserve the atmosphere of the old Rome in their little street, square and corners, hand and craft shops, bookshops...

-you can visit these quarters for half a day and Trastevere, other fascinating quarter-for the rest of the day.

-or you can decide to take the boat on the river Tevere...

-or to eat outside Rome

20th -25th Tuscany:

20th :[i]Valdorcia (from Rome, motorway exit at Chiusi Chianciano terme, -lenght of journey approx 2 hours-then follows direction to Chianciano-Montepulciano). This is one of the best period to visit this area rich of hills. In this period will be green,(other nice period are June, when field are fully of poppies, and September, when the blue of the sky contrasts with the colour of harvest).In this area the itinerary is the following:
Montepulciano, Pienza, Monticchiello (diversion from principal road), Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino, S. Antimo. Find a rural farm on the area.[to have an idea of the hills, I've to pictures on my gallery taken from Montalcino; but they were taken in winter]

21th : go to Siena through cassia road,(1 hour by car) 1 day for visiting the city, the hotel are quite expensive in city, better a bed and breakfast or rural farm in the countryside, where you can also appreciate more the landscape.

22 th -25th Florence,(1 hour far from Siena by car) and half day visit to Pisa if you want (1 hour by car)

26th -27th Venice :3/4 hours far from florence by car(sleep in Mestre, the industrial area, or in Venice surroundings, Venice is too expensive)

27th after lunch-29th : coming back to south, Pompei, Ercolano, Amalfi (it’s quite a long way, at least 7/8 hours driving in motorway)

29th or 30th coming back to Rome, depending on the schedule of your flight. (approx 2 hours and half from Pompei..)

The itinerary it would be easier if you cut down the extreme in the north or in the south, so maybe if your wife would like to see Amalfi, maybe not to see Venice..

In my opinion that itinerary is feasible in 2 weeks, but not really relaxing.

Remember the national holidays: 16th -17th April, 25th April, 1st may: consider that many people leave for all w end.
THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE TRAFFIC:17th eve, 21st/22nd apr, eve and morning, 25th apr eve, 28th apr eve. and 1st of may (eve) there will be a lot of traffic on the roads.
When you plan your movements don’t forget this advise.

As for accommodations, I'm sorry, I can't suggest any in particular, but as for Tuscany you could find useful the links I posted in tway's itinerary.

5. Posted by Chia1123 (Budding Member 20 posts) 10y

Quoting Tway:
"Plus - you're going to Italy!! No choice is a bad choice!"

I totally agree!!! If two weeks is all you have, then try to enjoy it as much as you can - regardless how many places you've been to and how many chiese you have visited :)

Last year I was in Italy alone for 12 days and I stayed in 4 cities,

- Milan: I flew in to Milan in the early morning and spent 4 days/3 nights; this can be easily cut down to 2 days. Check out the Duomo, Castello Sforzesco, La Scala. If you are into art, suggest Pinacoteca di Brera. And shopping for your wife, if she's interested, at Gallerai Vittorio Emanuele and its neighboring area.

- Venice: IMHO one day/one night stay is enough. I did not like this city too much. Take a gondola ride (or ferry which cost a lot less) from Ferrovia S. Lucia (just outside the train station) up to Piazza San Marco. Check out Basilica di San Marco, and a few museum if you want. Walk by the canal from San Marco back to the station is a short distance. 2 hours.

- Rome: 2 days. I wish I could have stayed longer in this city. Colosseo, Vatican city (The museum - Sistine Chapel must see, amazing, even for a non-religious person like me, Basilica di San Pietro), Spanish steps, Fontana di Trevi... just too many to name all. Did you say that you'll drive around? It's easy to take advantage of the metro. Even if you don't, the scenic spots are close enough for you, just to take a stroll between one another.

- Florence: I spent 5 days/4 nights in this city for a one week language program. Of course you've gather enough information for the places to visit in this city already. I think a 3 day visit alone in this city is fairly tight. Other than Firenze, take a train eastwards to Pisa (1 hour), and then add either Siena or Lucca into your itinerary (on your way back to the city). You will easily add another 1 day in this area.

I am planning to get back to southern italy later. Add Napoli, Amalfi Coast, Pompei, and maybe Ishia (or Capri). One day bus tour at Amalfi, one day at Pompei and one day on the island.

So I did Milan - Venice - Rome - Florence - Milan then home. If I were in your situation, I would have done, Rome - Amalfi/Pompei/Napoli - Tuscany(Florence/Pisa/Siena) - Venice - (Milan) - Rome.

My suggestion is for you to add a bit of flexibilities into your schedule. And bring with you a peaceful mind --- ready for a nice vacation. Trips are never perfect anyway - but no trip is pleasant without a relaxing body and mind.

Buon viaggio-

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

You both provided a very detail insight. I thank and appreciate it. Your suggestions pretty much match my 2 week time period. I hate myself for asking you guys because I'm usually good at planning, researching these things but with so many things to see, I met my match...so to speak.

Chia:
You mentioned that from Rome I should head to Pompeii area first. Why?

I know that from Amanecer's post, it will take an 8 hour drive from Venice.

I am also considering to cut out Amalfi altogether due to the skewness of the locations. I can see how this is going to be difficult to fit in. Doable but tight.

Otherwise, if anyone has any objections let me know.

7. Posted by Chia1123 (Budding Member 20 posts) 10y

I did not think much when I posted it. For me it's just straightforward,

- Your wife wants to see Amalfi/Pompei... so why not please your woman and yourself in the beginning of the trip? :)

- Getting down to Amalfi/Pompei first, you get to avoid the long drive from Venice down to the south. And also, if you really think you miss something in Rome, you can go back there when you head northbound from the south.

- In case you feel that you can't squeeze Venice or other part of northern Italy into your schedule, you can always get back there by rail from countries like Austria or Switzerland. While you have no choice, but to fly in southern Italy again just to visit that area.

Though I could be wrong

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

Ok guys, here we go.

Finally had a long discussion with the wifey and decided to hit the following.

-Rome
-Venice
-Florence
-Cinque Terre

We are going to exclude Amalfi and the south, in general, for another trip.

Any opinions in itinerary for this one. This time, could you guys include, whether to take a train, or take a rental car, of course, taking into consideration travelling time and above all, not missing out on anything, such as if we took the train.

It seems like the easiest answer is to just rent a car the entire time once we leave Rome. Either way, let me know....4 more days!

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

Oh one more thing, the only thing we have booked so far is Rome for 3 nights. The rest we are thinking of "winging" it considering it's not high season. For instance, book venice or florence or cinque terre (depending on itinerary) the night or 2 days before we leave.

What are your thoughts in this? Obviously if it was high season, it's best to book ahead of time.

When we were in Portugal, we did manage to do this and worked quite well considering we caught all the last minute hotel, B&B, deals.

Could we repeat the same manner? I don't know...

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

Usually april is not high season, BUT, this year, we will have easter and a lot of vacation during this month, so I would not be sure that it would be not considered high season..
you can reach 5 terre from pisa, 1hour and half journey, both by train or by car. 5 terre are really small and expensive villages, that means slight and very expensive accomodations.
but you can find an accomodation in La spezia, which is definetely not the best city in the world, but you can have a stroll in its center and its harbour, and from there you can take a train to 5 terre.
train in this case is the best option: in 5 terre is almost impossible to park, and the road to reach the villages are full of twistes.
in the route between pisa and la spezia I suggest you to visit Sarzana. (there is a train stop)

as for car renting:if you choose train, that in Italy is not so expensive (excluding Eurostars), you can reach rome, florence, pisa, 5 terre and venice without any problem, but you've obviously to be more organized, because your shift will depend from the timetable of public transports.
You have also to consider that many people are going to leave during vacations period: trains could be very crowded and probably often delayed.
If you want to visit Valdorcia, or Chianti, or in general other areas in the countryside, outside from big cities and beaten tracks, you need a car.
I think that a good option would be renting a car just for a few days, and using the train/bus for the rest.
for example, you could leave rome and going directly to siena by bus (http://www.sena.it/index_e.htm); this bus company offers discounts if you buy ticket online in advance.
you can stay 3 days in siena, visiting the city, rent a car and visit 1 day valdorcia, and the other day going to florence through chianti area.
[or you can proceed directly from siena to florence, by bus (for this route bus better and faster than train).]
If you have rented a car, you can leave it in Florence, and continue your itinerary by train: going to pisa by train, to 5 terre by train, finally to venice.