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8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

San Francisco...
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8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

Hi,

I've been reading and gathering a lot of information from the forums and since we had while before our trip I did not really have a more concrete question to ask but I do now and wanted to get some help solidifying our itinerary.

Here is what I am thinking

We are starting our trip in Spain and plan to get to Italy on October 24th.

1. Flying into Rome from Barcelona on the 24th in the Morning. We plan to keep 3 days for Rome and possible use a 4th day for a day trip to the Amalfi Coast or Naples, preferably the Amalfi coast. Wanted to get an opinion on that? Is it feasible in a day. Is taking a high speed train is the best option and where do we get off if we want to see the Amalfi Coast. Seems like a drive on the coast is an exciting thing to do.

2. Take the early train to Florence from Rome on the 28th. Explore Florence that day, stay the night and do a day trip to Pisa the next day and spend the evening in Florence

3. Take the early train to Venice from Florence on the morning of the 30th. Spend the day and the night in Venice. Spend the morning of 31st in Venice and take an afternoon train leaving at 1pm or 2pm to Milan. Evening in Milan.

4. I've been reading how beautiful Lake Como is and was wondering if doing a day trip to Lake Como on Nov 1st is a good idea or should we just spend the day in Milan. We plan to fly to Paris next.

The Florence->Venice->Milan(& Lake Como) part feels rushed. Would adding another day to Florence make sense. May be a second day trip to Cinqie Terre from Florence and then take the train on the 31st to Venice and fly out to Paris the next day.

Also, i've been reading some guide books and mostly all of them suggest that late October, being slightly cooler is a great time to go but does that time work out for Venice.

Suggestions, comments and any guidance is greatly appreciated.

Hagerstown, Maryland
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1. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

In my opinion you are trying to cover too many cities in your 8-9 days. Why take a train to Venice, for example, only to leave it the very next day?

Too much time spent packing and unpacking of luggage. Too much time wasted at train stations. Too much time staring out the windows of trains. That's no way to experience Italy.

Just my .02 euros worth. Good luck.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

Thats definitely a good point and we would like to eliminate so many trips to the trains station. We could even go from Florence to Milan and do day trip from Milan to Venice, but thats again almost 6 hrs in the train.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

Hi j_k,

I would agree that it sounds too busy to me, for the reasons jjkdc mentioned. I know that every time we have been to Italy I start with a huge busy agenda because I want to go everywhere and see everything, and eventually we pare it down to something more enjoyable.

We went to Italy for our first time five years ago and have been back five times since. Each time we have chosen 1 or 2 spots as hubs and explored out from there. I would say to think about this as a *first* trip, and try not do see EVERYTHING at once, but to select a mix.

Currently your trip ideas are all cities. The cities are fine, but much of what I love about Italy is in the countryside and small towns. For all but one of our trips we rented a car for some part of the trip, which allowed us to get out of the city. Driving in Italy is not a problem.

So one mix to consider is city-countryside.

Some ideas might be

(1) Rome (3-4 days) + the Amalfi Coast (3-4 days, not a daytrip). Yes, driving there is beautiful, as well as hiking along the Pathway of the Gods (google image-search that),

(3) Rome (3-4 days) + Tuscan countryside (4-5 days with a daytrip to Florence, if you must), flying out of Milan. There is lots to enjoy in Tuscany outside of Florence...we especially enjoyed the Val d'Orcia (again google image-search), and visiting the wine country highlighted by Montalcino and Montepulciano. Many people on this forum LOVE Florence, and say it is a must-see. It is nice, but I prefer getting out of Florence into the other areas of Tuscany. Instead of staying in Florence and daytripping to the countryside think of doing the reverse. You could train up to Chiusi (on the Tuscany/Umbria border) and rent a car there, and find yourself a nice B&B in the Tuscan countryside to use as a base to explore for a few days before heading out.

(3) Rome (3 days) + Abruzzo (!) (4 days by car) + Venice (3 days), flying out of Venice. Drop the car off somewhere like Ancona (train to Venice 3h 40m), or Pescara (train to Venice 4h 50m).

Abruzzo is quite spectacular, and more off the beaten path. Some pictures of an earlier trip:

flickr.com/photos/…

Think longer stays in fewer places, saving some things for your next trips to explore. If you don't see Florence or Pisa this trip, then that's fine, go there next time. We visited Italy 3 times before seeing Venice, which (once we did) I think is the most beautiful city in the world!

One thing to rest assured about: you can't go wrong in Italy with WHERE you choose, it's all good. I think a common mistake is, however, not giving oneself a chance to relax a bit and enjoy any one place.

-Karl

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4. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

That looks like a great trip indeed...looking at your photos. Thats the kind of vacation I would enjoy. Thank you for the feedback. It definitely makes a lot of sense to slow things down. I think your second point really works for what we would like to accomplish on this trip. Touch a couple of big cities and venture out to the lovely smaller ones. I am going to explore your suggestions more.

-Krish

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

Hi Krish,

You mean my first (3)? (oops). Yes, we found that two places that have definitely lived up to the hype were the Tuscan countryside and Venice.

Our photos from a trip to Tuscany a few weeks ago are here:

flickr.com/photos/…

We were there for 4 days and it was not enough time. It just gave us a taste of what we want to go back and explore. The wines were AMAZING! We had a case shipped back home (free shipping) and they arrived this week...can't wait to have people over to share.

-K

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6. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

In my opinion, the Amalfi Coast is not really doable as a day trip.

I agree with what others here have said--pare down the number of places you want to go, and eliminate all the moving around. Remember, every time you change hotels/go to another city, you lose half a day.

Also keep in mind that the days are getting shorter in late October/November.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

:) wine and these great pictures....would be a superb combination....i'm definitely adding an extra day to my stay in Tuscany. BTW, i gotta say...i did not know an iphone 3GS can take such great pictures. That is the other question I had. Did you get a sim card from a local provider and which one was it, how much did it cost and where can you buy one...i have accumulated some information from other posts but you probably have the latest informaiton.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

@LauraRW....

Thats a good point about loosing half day when we travel...and we are already loosing time with the evenings being shorter.

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

>>>>i gotta say...i did not know an iphone 3GS can take such great pictures. That is the other question I had. Did you get a sim card from a local provider and which one was it, how much did it cost and where can you buy one.

:) My wife took the Canon SLR and I used my iphone so I could upload to facebook (though we would trade the SLR when I wanted to shoot something with the wide angle or telephoto).

We haven't tried purchasing a local sim card, though I've been curious about how to do that and if it was cheaper. We have ATT so I just bought an international data plan at the time we left and cancelled it when we got back. Buy enough Megs that you don't worry, and check you usage periodically. I got 300 for me and 120 for my wife's iphone. Then I was just careful to (1) use wifi when I could for end-of-day photo backups and trip planning and (2) keep everything turned off during the day following the Iphone travel settings...see the link I put here:

www.eskimo.com/~noir/italy/resources.html

…att.com/learn/…affordable-world-packages.jsp

If you don't have ATT then I think you would need to look into purchasing local sim cards.

-K

BTW, if you are going electronic for photos, do think about periodic backups. Last year while exploring Borneo I dropped my camera bag in the South China Sea....saltwater and electronics don't mix. They saved the card from the Canon, but the camera itself was fried, and all the photos on the iphone were lost.

Here is the last photo I took and uploaded to facebook before the wave hit me:

flickr.com/photos/…

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: 8-9 days in Italy in October, 2012

Krish, you ask...

>>>Did you get a sim card from a local provider and which one was it, how much did it cost and where can you buy one..

Did you see this recent thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187791-i22-k55217…

-K