I'm planning a trip to Italy during the first two weeks of September. I have so far planned my trip as follows:
4 days in Rome: Will try my best to see the best and most of Rome during this time. I have booked a Classic Cruise that lasts for few hours and the Roman Countryside day tour. I'm not sure if they're worth it but they sound good.
4 days in Florence: Having Florence as my base I will take day trips to Siena, Chainti and Pisa. However, I am not sure if day trips are good enough to explore these cities.
3 days in: Verona, Bologna and Venice (1 days each). I thought I'd just touch upon each and get a feel of these cities.
Please note that I wiwll be going solo. Any suggestions or comments are welcome. In fact I need them badly:-)
Thanks for all your help!
its not much for these cities but try anyway...theres plenty of nic etowns in Tuscany - Arezzo is great and less tourists and plent of small medieval villages to see. have fun!
My onlt advice would be that you really dont need a whole day in verona, is spent a couple of hours there and saw the major sights. Also, Bologna isnt that attractive of a town in my view. I had a friend live there for a year and i visited and was most disappointed. You would bu much better off spending 2 days in venice - 1 is def not enough. Pisa, you can do in a morning or an afternoon, a couple of very famous sights that are well worth seeing, but not a lot else.
I agree with adding a day to Venice. I was there two and could easily have stayed another. It's like something out of this world. We also saw Siena in an afternoon - so I think a full day is more than enough. I'd also recommend the Amalfi coast, if you have the time. It's simply breathtaking - one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
If you have any questions, ask away! I just got back and I'm still in babbling-away mode.
your plan sounds good. you'll need at least 2 days to visit florence, 5/6 hours to visit siena (+ florence - siena 1 hour by bus), 3 hours to visit pisa ).[+ pisa - florence 1 hour by train].If you want to climb the tower is better to reserve.
for visiting chianti you 've to to rent a car:litlle towns are not well connected. so maybe you could need to spend one day more in florence, in this case cut off bologna.
Even 4 days in Rome is a short time to see the basic highlights, pick a few key things you want to see and stick to it. If you are in Rome on a Sunday I would recommend taking either a walk, ride or bus tour down the Via Appia Antica, it is only 5k from the centre of town and it is beautiful countryside with one of the worlds oldest roads, and also countless tombs etc. Caracellas baths are also on the way so you could combine a trip here as well.
Florence, Siena, Chianti and Pisa - Unless you are a art fanatic you could get a good impression of Florence in one full day, just walk around the city visit the Duomo, and take in the view from piazza Michelangelo.
I stayed in Siena (a beautiful city with a great university atmosphere) and did day trips to Pisa and Chianti. I would say this is much more enjoyable than doing it from Florence. Pisa is an easy day trip and a great way to see a overly tourist city, the only real highlights here are the leaning tower, baptistery etc.
Chianti is easily accessible by car from Siena, there is also the option to take a day trip by mini bus (the tourist office in the main piazza can help you here) I took the more strenuous option and hired a bike and rode a 45k round trip through one of the tourist routes, they tend not to get to much traffic out there.
3 days would be really pushing it to see Verona, Bologna and Venice. You really need at least 2 nights in Venice there is just to much to see and explore. So you would really need to choose between Verona or Bologna - Personally I much preferred Verona, it had a great atmosphere and the arena is beautiful, the archaeology museum in the old convent on the north eastern side of the city is very impressive, well setout with great English details and it has a fantastic view from the top. But Bologna is also an amazing city!
The places every tourist must see in Italy are :-
1. Venice- You can do it in one day if you are not an avid fan of museums but to enjoy Venice, you must give 2 days.
Staying in Venice proper is costly and not too comfortable hotels/ hostels. You are better staying at Venezia Mestre which is the mainland suburb of Venice. I'd recommend Villa Graziella in Merghera. Decent prices tho small rooms.
2. Florence- Again you can finish it in 1 day but beware, the long queue at Uffizi gallery can eat 2-3 hrs of your day. It is a must see and try to go there early in the morning. Duomo, although the star of Florence does not have much line if you skip the dome tour. Rest of the sites can be managed in a day. So safe to keep 2 days for Florence + Pisa. Pisa can be done as a 4-5 hrs tour from Florence. You can stay at Locarda Daniel near station. Nice place and cheap.
3. Rome- At leaast 2 days for seeing major attractions only. Avoid hop on-off tour and use city-buses if you can. It would be cheaper. Staying in Rome is very problematic and try to resolve this as early as you can even though by spending a little above your budget.
4. Rest of the places depend on your time and budget. Capri- blue grotto although nice is horribly expensive. Pompeii too. Naples, Sorrento are OK but a little off the route (You have to come back to Rome again). Milan with its Duomo is worth seeing but to see "The Last Supper" you have to book much in advance. Genova, Cinq Terre, Bologna, Sienna, etc are other choices if time permits.
Thanks to everyone for their input. You've been immensely helpful in making me plan my trip in a better way.
I am adding one more day to Venice as advised.
I am considering Via Appia Antica as suggested by Rish_n_Ben. Also loved the idea of biking all the way to Chainti from Siena!
Great ideas guys. Now I can't wait till I go to Italy!!
Thanks once again!
biking in chianti is a good option, secondary road are not so much trafficated, and with a bike you can stop everywhere, take pictures...but consider also that going up and down hills could be hard, if you are not used to.
Personally Rome is my favorite city in the world, but that aside...go to Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Positano is absolutely beautiful. 2 weeks isn't much, but i would consider a day or two to get it in there with Naples.
Naples is a side of Italy that i love and that doesn't get enough credit. Florence is nice but it's all postcard stuff.