I've just finished my grad degree and heading off for a solo 2 week tour of Italy in early April. I must have changed my itinerary at least 6 times already, trying to cut out/add in extra stops, keeping in mind the weather (too rainy and grey for the Amalfi coast) and my short-ish stay. I've finally narrowed it down to:
Rome 3 days
Florence 3 days including daytrip to Sienna
Venice 4 days including daytrips to Padua and island hopping
then finally back to Rome for 2 days (didn't buy an open-jaw ticket)
but I've still got 3 days free between Florence and Venice, and would like to add some more substance to my itinerary which is starting to look a little flat even with the daytrips (tried to go for more time, less stops). Does anyone have any suggestions for places to visit between Florence and Venice that is doable in 3 days? I was thinking Milan or Bologna, maybe? Or maybe even the Lake country, if it isn't too rainy in April?
Am open to suggestions, comments, itinerary critiques...
You must get to Verona (You're not the first person I've said this to lol). It's very walkable and you've got one of the greatest amphitheaters in the world in Arena di Verona (3rd largest in Italia!) as well as touristy sites like Juliet's house (Romeo & Juliet which is a fictional tale) which although may be tacky to a few, is a must. It's just so beautiful there (UNESCO World heritage site) and it's a shame if anyone with time in Italy passes Verona by. Personally I believe it's main square is the best of all them all and I've been to all reaches of Italy. From here you can then head to Bologna which is considered the culinary capital of Italy and a university city chocked full of young people (If that's your thing). It has some pretty amazing arcades lining the main shopping street. You can spend 2 days here and take a day trip to nearby Modena to visit it's cathedral and communal palace situated in the Piazza Grande which is a nice one too. I would recommend Ravenna but that may be out of reach for having 3 free days. You can always spend an extra day in Florence and take more trips to other tuscan towns (San Gimignano, Lucca, etc...)
thanks for the suggestions Nantes- I've heard about the infamous "juliet's house", but I didn't realize the town was a UNESCO heritage site.
Why not just look at a map and point a finger randomly? Wherever you go, you simply cannot go wrong. Everywhere is fantastic. Bologna or Perugia would be obvious recommendations if you're heading north from Rome. Verona is pretty cool, of course (especially the Arena) but I don't think it's any better than other places and the Juliet balcony (which is actually a sarcophagus) is a complete waste of time. I thought Brescia, just by way of an example, was just as nice: a nice central square (in which at least one of the buildings - now a bank - is built from Roman stones with inscriptions), two cathedrals, a Roman forum, a castle on the hill above - but every northern Italian town has comparable delights.
BTW Venice is a fairly long way from Rome. Personally, if I had two weeks I would just pick three places to minimise travel, and spend longer in Rome than you have pencilled in.
Although if you haven't seen Naples, you haven't seen Italy...
...Juliet balcony (which is actually a sarcophagus)...
HUH? Looked like a balcony to me.... definitely not a coffin, especially when an actress in Juliet costume recites from it.
At any rate, I don't think Verona makes an entire day.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 26, 2008, at 8:50 PM by laurim ]