We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

My friend and I are planning a trip to Italy the last week of July and into the first week of August. We do not have a set schedule yet, but will have about 10 days. We want to cover as much territory as realistically possible and keep our budget as low as we can.

We will be traveling on United Airlines and Lufthansa as well as the train. United flies into Rome, so that will probably be where we start out our trip (or we could also change it up and finish out our trip there). We're considering then taking the train to Florence and staying for about 2 nights. We would then leave early in the morning and spend a day in Pisa and then head to Milan for 2 nights. We could then take the train to Venice and stay for a couple of nights. We would be able to fly out of Venice and into Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and could then catch a flight on United back to the States.

My friend and I would really like to go to Pompeii, but I think it might be too out of the way. Also, I heard Naples was having some issues with garbage, to the point the food is not safe to eat!

This is a very rough draft of our plans for our stay in Italy. We are wondering if this is a good route to take. Are these too many cities to try and visit in such a short time? I would love any suggestions on how we can improve on this. Is Pompeii somewhere we should definitely try to include in our trip? I read on a post that Pisa would be nice for a day trip. Do you think it would be worth spending more time there? We also must decide how to split up our time between the cities. My friend and I have a lot of energy and we are very active, so we could really sightsee a lot in a day. We won’t be spending much time in restaurants so we can keep the cost of our trip down. Are there any cities that we did not name that we should add in or substitute for one that I listed?

Thanks for taking time to read my post and I appreciate any comments or suggestions on how we can improve our itinerary!

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

I just read a post about Viator, a bus tour that takes you from Rome to Pompeii. Post says it drops you off at 11:00 and takes you back at 3:30. We will look into this and can maybe squeeze in Pompeii without having to go through Naples.

Hagerstown, Maryland
Level Contributor
6,157 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

Just a thought after reading your post - why try to cover so much territory? Why spend so much time packing and unpacking your luggage, checking in and out of hotels, and taking so many trips on a train?

You won't see MORE by hitting so many destinations. In fact, you'll see LESS than you would if you were to just concentrate on 2-3 locations you are most interesting. Believe me, you can stay in Rome or Florence for much more than two days without becoming bored.

That's my $.02 anyway. Good luck.

Montreal
Level Contributor
17,790 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

Fly into Venice and out of Rome; if you're connecting in Germany, your flight out of Venice is likely to leave at an ungodly hour when public transport to the airport can be iffy.

I agree with jjkdc: With what seems to be a period of 7 to 10 days, you will get more out of it if you limit yourself to two (if 7) or three (if 10) destinations. Pisa can be seen on a day trip from Florence. Milan is primarily of interest if you want to do high-end designer shopping.

Search the forum for >Rome Pompeii<; there are dozens of posts on how to do it in a day *without* an expensive guided tour.

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

JJKDC,

Thanks for the input! Yeah it does seem like a lot to try and squeeze in for such a short period of time. I guess we want to try and do as much as possible, because who knows when we will be able to visit Italy again?! 2-3 destinations would definitely be more realistic and more rewarding. Maybe we should eliminate a couple of the places we want to go. It’s something to consider. The luggage won’t be an issue... Since we won’t be dining in nice restaurants or attending any events, we will only be packing the bare necessities in a small carry-on bag. I do understand what you mean about spending much of our time getting from one place to another. Perhaps we shouldn’t venture all the way up to Venice and Milan, and maybe stay closer to Rome... say, Florence, Pisa, and Pompeii? Your $.02 is worth a lot!

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

Zerlena,

High-end designer shopping is something we can do here in New York, so maybe we will eliminate Milan from our itinerary. We will have 10-11 days from the time we land until the time we take off. I should have been more clear. It looks like we will have to limit ourselves to three locations! Thanks for the info :)

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
Level Contributor
37,719 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

What are your main interests in Italy? Art museums? Historical sites? Religious sites? Architecture? Wine and fine dining? This would help to narrow down your itinerary. I would definitely eliminate Milan on a short first trip to Italy. With 10 days (is that 9 nights?), I would suggest 3 nights in Venice, 2 or 3 nights in Florence, depending on your interests, and 3 or 4 nights in Rome. If you want to see Pompeii, you should make it four nights.

It's easy to see Pompeii on your own without taking a tour. The garbage crisis hasn't created a food safety problem, and doesn't really affect the center of Naples. You wouldn't have to leave the train station in Naples anyway. You just have to change trains there. I've heard that the package tours don't spend enough time at the site, and waste your time with stops at schlock cameo factories that give them kickbacks.

If you think the trip to Pompeii would take too much of your time, you could visit Ostia Antica instead, another ancient Roman city just a short distance from Rome. Here's a good web page about it:

http://www.ostia-antica.org/

north carolina
Level Contributor
6,548 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

Allow me to suggest this very personal point of view: there is a huge difference between sight-seeing and visiting Italy. IMHO one can perfectly well do the sightseeing via a rented video at home with some good Italian wine and food.

I would cringe from your schedule because it doesn't seem to allow time to get to know anything - you only get to look at.

I would like to see you reduce the number of stops and get into knowing the country and the people.

Just for an off-the cuff approach, and again just a very personal humble opinion:

One or two nights in Rome, so you can go home and say that you saw the ...

four nights in some small town in Umbria or Southern Tuscany so you can learn something about Italy and Italians

train to Florence, four nights there and see the glories of the Renaissance and the foundations of western civilation.

Go home, renewed and refreshed, and determined to lead a better life.

In any case, I hope that you enjoy your trip, whatever it may be.

But since you asked, there is my humbleness.

road

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

bvlenci,

Thanks for your suggestion about where to stay and for how many nights. We don’t have a definite schedule yet, but it will be for no less than 9 nights and no more than 11 nights. 9 is ideal to keep the cost down, but if we needed to we could stay a night or two more. Our main objective is to see the major tourist attractions for our first time visiting. We want to go through the museums, but we will only spend minimal time there taking in the most famous pieces...neither of us is very familiar with art. I mentioned in an earlier post that we won't be wining and dining very much, also to keep the cost down. I listed several major attractions below (many of which are museums we don’t necessarily have to go to).

-3 or 4 days-In Rome, the Vatican City (Vatican Museums, St. Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chapel), the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. We would also like to take a day trip to Pompeii.

-3 days-In Florence, Giotto’s bell tower, maybe the Uffizi Gallery, and the Bargello. We would also like to squeeze in a day trip to Pisa.

-3 days-In Venice, cruise Grand Canal (perhaps in a gondola), see Frari Church, St. Mark’s Basilica and Campanile, and Doge’s Palace.

Is there anything I didn’t list that is a must-see? Anything that we could pass on? I haven’t bought a guide book yet... guess I’m going to have to break down and get one ASAP!

New York, New York
Level Contributor
30 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

Roadgard,

Point well taken! I can only hope that this will not be my first and last trip to Italy. For this trip, I think we will try and do the touristy stuff. I know, I know. As a New Yorker, I only go into Times Square by sheer force! On a second trip to Italy, I would love to go to small towns and become familiar with the people and the culture. I do appreciate the suggestion.

New York City
Level Contributor
58 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: How can we improve our tour of Italy?!

I'll be the only one here to disagree and say that you CAN go to a lot of places and still enjoy each place (i.e. not rush) if you're organized (e.g. study a city's map before you go and "orient" yourself before you get there). My advice is to get the Rick Steves book and read the chapters on the areas you want to visit thoroughly. Best $20 I spent for the trip.

On our recent 2 week trip (12 days traveling then 4 days visiting family in Milan), we did:

2.5 days in Rome

3 days in Sorrento/Amalfi Coast/Pompeii (Pompeii is totally worth the trip, btw)

4 days in Florence/Siena & San Gimignano/Bike tour through the countryside/Pisa

2 days in Venice

4 days in Milan

And yes, we did have time to enjoy long meals, take gelato breaks, take evening walks around each city and even got to take a siesta on most days! Sure, it would have been nice to spend a night in Siena and more days in Rome, but I enjoyed every minute of it and seeing very different areas of Italy on one trip, and I wouldn't have done it any differently!

Everyone is gonna give you different advice, but it's up to you to decide how you want to tailor your trip to your own interests. One thing that I would agree on though -- I'd skip Milan on a first trip. Since you say you're on a tight budget, I doubt that you'll be shopping for a lot of designer goods!