Skip Navigation

Italy itinerary - this August

Travel Forums Europe Italy itinerary - this August

1. Posted by aprilsgal (Full Member, 161 posts) 17 Jun '10 06:29

hey guys,

I am planning for a vacation in Italy with 2 friends of mine in August. I know, i know, august will be crowded and over run - so we are hoping to find some smaller cities to visit too. Also, the idea isn't to do any one place in too much depth, hoping to get a flavor of some of the regions...

Plan is to fly into Venice and fly out of Rome.

- Venice (2 days)
- Rome (4-5 days)

Is 4-5 days too much in Rome? Or is there enough to see?

- Tuscany (3 days)
For Tuscany, I was thinking we will skip the bigger city of Florence and head to Siena or San Gimignano? Is Siena better or San Gimignano? the idea here is to spend a day hiking/biking and may be wine tasting? Or any other suggestions is also good

- Naples and around -
The idea is to base ourselves in Naples to see Pompeii and also Vesuvius - i read this is made into a state park, but is there any trail around?

Is Naples a good place to base our self? Or is a place like Sorrento? How many days for Naples and Pompeii - we don't really want to go to all tourist attractions in Naples, may be just get a feel of the city.

- Amalfi coast or Sardinia ?
Which is a better option. The idea is to spend a few days by the sea. Sardinia appeals as this is supposed to be different from Italy.

If Sardinia, which place is the best?

Other questions:
- Is this itinerary too packed ? Also - is there any place (in above) which we can trim on, and fit in may be one city in Sicily.
- Also, what is the best way to get between the places mentioned here. We still haven't researched on a Eurail pass - but at first glance, does this itinerary sound suitable for a pass?
- Also, how to budget for this trip per day per head? (roughly)

thanks a ton guys!!!
Neeraja

2. Posted by aprilsgal (Full Member, 161 posts) 21 Jun '10 04:07

hey guys!!! any one who can help ???

3. Posted by hallyally (Budding Member, 15 posts) 22 Jun '10 07:23

Hi Neeraja

Not sure how much help I can give, but I would say you definitely shouldn't miss Florence!
If you're at all interested in Art or History, this is the one place in Italy to go to (apart from Rome that is!)
I could write a whole book on Florence...
Take a look at the WIKI here for tips.

You should be able to do a fair bit in Rome over 4-5 days - beware of pick-pockets though. We were robbed twice there, despite taking precautions. Take special care on the metro and buses.

If choosing between San Giminiano and Siena - I'd say Siena!

Pompeii and Vesuvius are well worth the visit and journey. The Amamlfi coast is spectacular.

Further North, Bologna is a great place. Also Assisi.

We did our travels in a camper van, (I've published a book about it!) so can't advise on travel options.

Have great time :)

4. Posted by Medsummer (Budding Member, 18 posts) 26 Jun '10 17:03

"I am planning for a vacation in Italy with 2 friends of mine in August. I know, i know, august will be crowded and over run - so we are hoping to find some smaller cities to visit too. Also, the idea isn't to do any one place in too much depth, hoping to get a flavor of some of the regions...

Plan is to fly into Venice and fly out of Rome.
What is the total length of the time you have available for this trip?

- Venice (2 days)
- Rome (4-5 days)

Is 4-5 days too much in Rome? Or is there enough to see?
The thing about this question is "What are your interests?" 5 days for me would probably be too time for me and at the same time never enough time for me! (that is just me though)
The traditional sites-Coliseum and the Roman Forum can be done in one morning or a better part of a day if your slow, Vatican in a day maybe depending on how willing you are to wait in line to see the exhibits. Do not take my word on this one though as I have not been to the Vatican and do not have the personal experience. Do your research on what the Vatican has to see so you know better then me! (However, if you've got any photography interests, doing any place in one day is impossible as your a slave to the light.) There is more to Rome then what the old Romans built, the Renaissance Romans also built a good deal and that history is equally worth the time to look at. Get a map of the city showing the sites you want to see and then make sure you get a map showing the transportation systems-bus and subways because you can waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to get to the sites! The train station in all the cities have places where you can buy these maps if you cannot find them before you go.

- Tuscany (3 days)
For Tuscany, I was thinking we will skip the bigger city of Florence and head to Siena or San Gimignano? Is Siena better or San Gimignano? the idea here is to spend a day hiking/biking and may be wine tasting? Or any other suggestions is also good.
3 days...blasphemy! If you or one of your friends is over 25 then maybe renting a car is a better idea. One agency that I have used is www.novacarhire.com/car-hire/italy/ I've had good rates from them, but the agencies are pretty much the same-they are all going to charge money!
My thoughts are that there is a lot to see in Florence/Firenze as far as the buildings/museums go-but if you are not part of an "Organized Tour" from a travel agency waiting in line to get into them is a bad idea. If your not the 1st person in line don't get in line! It is as you say too many tourists in August. So really skipping Florence is a good idea!

The good thing about Florence is the train station since you can get to there from Venice easy enough. Now you can take a train to Siena or San Gimignano and on to Rome...if you can rent a car for 3 or 4 or 5 days then you could get to Florence at the end of a day and stay the night, walk around and see the outside of the Duomo and the city area around it or between the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio bridge and have dinner in one of the restaurants or where ever you want to eat. This is the old city and there is so much to see down most every street you could just do this and never bother to find the Duomo and consider it a few hours well spent in Florence. Everything from the train station to the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio is walking distance even though it does not look as if it is on Google maps. (the Piazzale Michelangelo is where you can stand in the sunset and look down on beautiful Florence and see the bridges - that is an uphill walk!)
The reason to get into Florence in the afternoon is that the check in time for hotels is in the afternoon and not in the morning so you check in and drop off your luggage and be free to walk around without the luggage! Then the next morning, pickup a rental car. You book a hotel nearest the rental car place!

A word of warning here - looking at the map the places in Tuscany look like they are a short drive. Actually there are, but driving on the roads will take twice as long in the Chianti Hills. Plan on taking longer then you think it will take. Also, be in a large town for lunch. Between 1pm and 4pm the countryside is closed for business and that includes your lunch!

1st day - The other thing you can do is travel overnight by train, get into Florence in the morning and pick up a rental car and get out of Florence fast.
Go to Greve-in-Chianti, walk around the small square/piazza in town then head off toward Figline to spend the night in wonderful B&B called La Ghiandai (www.laghiandaia.net) It is a most excellent place on a hillside overlooking the Valdarno valley. Say hi to Sylvia, Luca and Luna for me. As well as Maria-Teresa and Hermeti! They have a nice pool for a swim and this is good in the middle of a trip to take a night to relax, because it is always too much rushing around trying to see everything at once and it helps to enjoy your vacation!
Ask Luca where to go hiking. (He used to be a hiking guide going all through Tuscany- he knows where to go!) Go down to Dudda and have dinner in the small family run restaurant-it is not expensive and the food is good! Wake up early and see the deer in the field or the morning mist over the Valdarno valley
2nd Day - The next day leave and drive to Siena for lunch and seeing it's places. That night stay in Seina or another B&B in the countryside on your way to Montalcino. The next day go on to see Montalcino or Pienza. Stay there overnight.
3rd-4th Day) Drive to Montepulciano for the morning to buy a bottle or two of "Vin Nobile de Montelpulciano", the best in Italy...! After lunch drive on down to the main highway-the "A1" and drive down to the Rome Airport, "Fiumicino", to return the car. Be aware of the time because you are a good way from Rome! Then you take the train called the "Leonardo Da Vinci" back into Rome for your hotel near the train station. The reason is that it is much, much easier to return the car to the airport then it is to drive in Rome and try to find the car rental place. The airport has only two things to find-airplanes and rental car returns and they are all obvious where they are! This is so much easier and it will save you time then driving into Rome to find a street address-trust me on this one! There are the car rental agencies at the train station too and that is not too bad to find. You have to Google Map everything before you leave India. Stop and get gas/diesel on the ring road around Rome-there is no gas stations on the road from Rome to the airport.

- Naples and around -
The idea is to base ourselves in Naples to see Pompeii and also Vesuvius - i read this is made into a state park, but is there any trail around?

Is Naples a good place to base our self?
Naples is my opinion, not the best advertisement for Italy. I myself have never had a problem there, but it is one place where you realize you need "street smarts" especially around the train station during the day or night."
The people are like people everywhere though, both good and bad. So trying not to make Naples sound really bad, but there is a different atmosphere in this city.

Or is a place like Sorrento? How many days for Naples and Pompeii - we don't really want to go to all tourist attractions in Naples, may be just get a feel of the city.
Pompeii is a day trip from Naples. It is not close to the city and you have to take a train to Pompeii and back. It is worth it to go.

- Amalfi coast or Sardinia ?
Which is a better option. The idea is to spend a few days by the sea. Sardinia appeals as this is supposed to be different from Italy.
"Sardinia is a ferry trip away. A day there and a day back when you take into account the boarding and leaving.
To go, a ferry to Olbia on Sardinia from Livorno, (near Florence) or Civitavecchia, (north of Fiumincino) or from Fiumincino itself to get there and a return to Naples might work for you though. Also from Cagliari, Sardinia to Palermo, Sicily or to the Salerno, (south of Pompei) might save you time. There is one high speed ferry to and from Sardinia, but I forget it's route.

The Amalfi coast is right near Pompei, (south of it.) so how much time do you have?

If Sardinia, which place is the best? [/b] It is an island where the towns are far apart and it is not a little island!

Other questions:
- Is this itinerary too packed ? Also - is there any place (in above) which we can trim on, and fit in may be one city in Sicily.
[b]Leave out Sardinia if you want to get to Sicily and see Pompei!

- Also, what is the best way to get between the places mentioned here. We still haven't researched on a Eurail pass - but at first glance, does this itinerary sound suitable for a pass?
The train will get you to everywhere you mentioned, except seeing the countryside of Tuscany and that you really need a car. The area down by Montalcino is what you mostly see in a lot of the calendars! Seina you can reach by train easy enough.

- Also, how to budget for this trip per day per head? (roughly)"
god...haven't a clue except I just rented a car for 25 daze for 865euro this June. ouch!!! Dinner in that small family run restaurant in Dudda was less then 30 euro's. Dinner in some hotels and restaurants can be as high as 90 euro+ per person if you really like to eat!

Do not bring a lot of clothes, take the minimum and buy clothes when you get here. That way you luggage is light and your souvenier clothes you'll have more room for. Watch out for overweight baggage fees on the way back!

Have a great time!

5. Posted by aprilsgal (Full Member, 161 posts) 29 Jun '10 02:41

@ hally ally - thanks! i will dig bit deeper into florence.

@Medsummer - Thanks a lot for such a detailed itinerary. Our trip is for roughly 17-18 days.

I loved Ur suggestion for Tuscany. Although, we may prefer to stay at one place for 2 nights than drive from one place to the other. Do you have other suggestions in this region similar to La Ghiandaia? Also, are there wineyards close by for us to visit may be?

Also - wondering what the general take on venice is ? Some people find it over hyped, but some love it. so i cant make up my mind.

Also, can we exchange Sardinia for some coastal town in south of france - any suggestions would be very very helpful!

6. Posted by hallyally (Budding Member, 15 posts) 29 Jun '10 08:13

Hi again

We loved Venice - like you we had heard things to put us off, but you really should go as it's an amazing place.
It may be really crowded in August - not to mention hot!
However, if you can get there fairly early in the morning, or later in the afternoon and evening, the coach parties will not be there.
The orchestras in Piazza San Marco play in the evenings, and there's a great atmosphere.

The Traghetto is cheap and easy, so make good use of it!

re exchanging Sardinia for south of France:
It may be too far for you, but Avignon is well worth visiting.

Take care
Alison

Post 7 was removed by a moderator