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1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

Auckland Central...
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1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

Hi everyone

I just learnt that we'll be going to Italy 27 April - 6 May. We're going to Venice, Florence and Rome (at the moment I'm planning to start from Venice and work my way down to Rome). So we will run into 1st May Public Holiday 2011, and found out that it's a huge holiday in Italy and plenty of businesses will close that day.

What is the better city to spend 1st May in out of the 3? Also, what is your suggestion of activities that day? I don't mind exploring the city aimlessly but it will be pretty sad if the entire city is shut and quiet and empty. I'd like to have a clearer idea of what to expect so we can plan better.

Cheers!

Montreal
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1. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

None of the cities will be shut and quiet and empty; many Italians travel over the May 1 holiday. But May 1 is one of the few days of the year when almost every or maybe even each and every museum and archeological site is closed.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that more things will be open in Venice than anywhere else, since its economy is almost entirely dependent on tourism.

Tallahassee, Florida
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2. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

I have been in Rome on May 1 (we actually arrived on that day a few years ago) and since we didn't have anything planned except for walking around I can't say what was closed but I can say the city was packed with Italians who had the day off. I have this incredible picture of the view from the top of the Spanish Steps with every inch of available space filled with people. I remember we walked through the Borghese Gardens and it was really nice because of the family atmosphere with lots of families out enjoying the holiday.

Auckland Central...
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3. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

Thanks all for your prompt replies.

My flights dictate that I would start off in Venice and work my way down to Florence, and then Rome.

We decided we could arrive in Venice a day earlier so at the moment, it looks like this:

Venice 26 April - 29 April (leave on an early morning train to Florence)

Florence 29 April - 1 May

Rome 1 May - 6 May

Considering that you cannot buy train tickets in advance for 1st May, do you think it is easier to just stay in Florence that day? And train to Rome on 2nd May?

I read a few of old posts regarding staying in Florence on 1st May, and quite happy that there are plenty of sites to see and visit still. But since shops are required to close that day, will cafes and restaurants be affected too in Florence? Will it be better in Rome?

Montreal
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4. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

Cafes and restaurants are not required to close on May 1, and "tourist shops" also have a special dispensation. But Sunday (particularly for dinner) and Monday are typically the days when many restaurants are closed for their weekly day of rest. But there are many in both cities that are open Sunday.

Monday is the day of the week when most museums in Italy are closed, but in Rome the Forum/Colosseum/Palatine complex is open Monday, as are the Vatican Museums.

Schedules and fares for May 1 will not be uploaded before late November or early December. Credit cards from New Zeakand may or may not be accepted on the Trenitalia Web site; Australian ones are not.

I'd probably travel on May 2 rather than May 1, but since all seats on fast trains are reserved, it's really six of one, half a dozen of the other. But I'd also buy the Florence-Rome ticket on arrival in Venice.

Edited: 17 September 2010, 08:15
Auckland Central...
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5. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

Many thanks Zerlina

Everyone's replies have been very helpful. Now, I just need to be decisive! Haha.

6. Re: 1st May Public Holiday: Venice, Florence or Rome?

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