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Help with itinerary please

San Jose, California
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Help with itinerary please

Hello all,

We are planning a family trip to Italy this summer (kids ages 12,14 and 17). I just started to plan our itinerary and would appreciate any feedback. Since we are flying on mileage we will be landing in Geneva and driving to Italy. The plan is to rent a car in Geneva and return it in Rome. From what I have researched, even with the steep drop-off fee, it’s still cheaper than any other form of transportation for a family of five. Here’s the itinerary I have so far -

Day 1 – Driving from Lugano to Milan and spending the night around Lake Garda.

Day 2 – Verona and Venice. 1 night in Venice

Day 3- Venice to Pescare. 1 night in Pescara.

Day 4- Pescara to Lecce. 1 night in Lecce.

Day 5- Lecce to Basilicata. 1 night in Salerno.

Day 6 – Amalfi coast and Capri. 1 night in Sorrento.

Day 7 - Naples and Sienna. 1 night in San Gimignano.

Day 8 – Florence. 2 nights.

Day 10 – Bologna. 1 night in Asti.

Day 11 – Genoa. 2 nights in Levanto (visiting cinque terr)

Day 13 – Pisa and Rome. 3 days in Rome.

Thank you for your feedback.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Help with itinerary please

Wait - Naples and Siena in one day? I'm confused by your itinerary as it is really quite all over the place and the distances involved are significant for then just spending one night somewhere. You also can't drive into most of the cities you mention - have you already read up on the ZTLs in Italy and other driving rules/laws?

You are spending the night in 11 different places in just 13 days and I can't help but think you might not realize just how large Italy is and all that there is to see there - for example, one day in both Naples and Siena is not possible - at all.

Italy
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2. Re: Help with itinerary please

It's a nice trip if you want to explore Italian highways because that is all you can see.

Italy
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3. Re: Help with itinerary please

Also, check out http://m.viamichelin.com/ for time travel and costs and buy a good Italian map because you're doing lots of backtracking.

If my dad had planned such a trip I wouldn't have talked to him for a couple of years.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Help with itinerary please

Ha - my dad did haul me around Europe for three summers on driving trips like this and I wound up hating it to the point that I didn't return for years. We whizzed past everything I was interested in because for some reason, he had to keep moving. It's one thing if you are doing a driving trip in the midwest of the U.S. where small towns are just that: small towns for the most part.

But, in Italy, these areas/places/cities/towns are brimming over with exquisite sites, art, architecture, history, etc that to stay a few hours seems head scratching.

But - if there is intent to rent a car and do this - be sure to get an International Driver's Permit as it is legally required in Italy for each driver, together with regular driver's licenses - you get them at AAA offices. And, really do read up on the restrictions - people report back here all the time about the costly fines they receive.

Gas is approximately $9 per gallon (last I checked in early August anyway). Having a car for the countryside is definitely a good idea but that's really about the only place it will work for you.

Australia
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for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples
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5. Re: Help with itinerary please

Sorry to be blunt but this is a terrible plan - have you consulted your kids? They'll hate being cooped up in car and being rushed around. Have you also factored in the high price of gasoline and the huge autostrada tolls?

Slow it down - choose 2-3 places only, relax and enjoy Italy - not Italy's roads.

San Jose, California
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6. Re: Help with itinerary please

OK, this was a fun exercise...though I got tired after the Sorrento-->Naples-->Siena--->San Gimignano leg. I started mapping it out on www.viamichelin.com

From one San Josean to another, I just would not even consider this itinerary. Here are the estimated driving times (not including meal stops, sightseeing, bathroom breaks, refueling, etc). Let me also give you an idea of what your days will look like (and please excuse the slight sarcasm).

Day 1 – Driving from Lugano to Milan and spending the night around Lake Garda.

This is approximately 3-4 hours of driving. I am assuming the stop in Milan is to do some sightseeing. But now you are in a large city with ZTLs and you need to find your way around, avoid the ZTLs and get parking. The kids are starving and your first priority will now be lunch. Unless you just grab a panino or pizza slice, factor in about 2 hours for lunch. You now have just a few hours to whiz around Milano, "catch" the sites and hop back in the car to drive to Lake Garda for the night. Check in and find dinner.

Day 2 – Verona and Venice. 1 night in Venice

Morning! Wasn't Lake Garda splendid kids? Breakfast, check out of the hotel and let's get back in the car to head off to Verona, spend only a few hours, kids are starving, grab some lunch and then drive onto Venice. Total estimated driving time 3 hours. Since you can not drive into Venice you must park outside in one of the parking garages or lots. Tronchetto garage = $21 euros/24 hours. Piazzale Roma is a bit more. Grab your luggage kids and let's haul it town to the Vaporetto stop. Vaporetto to hotel. Hopefully easily accessible and locatable. Nothing worse than having to drag your luggage through the alleyways of Venice, up and down countless bridges with tired children. Found your hotel, check in, drop luggage, whisk your way through Venice and then grab some dinner. Hit the sack as everybody is pooped! Wasn't Venice interesting?

Day 3- Venice to Pescare. 1 night in Pescara.

Big day ahead of us! Out of bed early, breakfast, haul luggage to vaporetto, vaporetto to parking, get car and begin 6-7 hour drive to Pescara. Stop for gas, bathroom breaks and lunch. Arrive in Pescara, check into hotel, and ....

Day 4- Pescara to Lecce. 1 night in Lecce.

Estimated driving time 5 hours today. Not sure what we will get a chance to see

Day 5- Lecce to Basilicata. 1 night in Salerno.

Where in Basilicata? Just Salerno? Estimated driving time today 4-5 hours to reach Salerno.

Day 6 – Amalfi coast and Capri. 1 night in Sorrento.

Shortest driving time so far from somewhere in Basilicata to the AC. However, the road is winding and there is so much to see and do.....BUT it's summer so that means there is a lot of traffic along the road, so it is mostly bumper to bumper with vespas and buses to navigate. Parking is a nightmare so you don't get a chance to stop anywhere and see anything. Oh, but we were supposed to park and catch the ferry to Capri...

Day 7 - Naples and Sienna. 1 night in San Gimignano.

Here is where I had to stop. I was exhausted for you! This is at a minimum, a 7 hour driving day. That does not include your stop in Naples or Siena.

The next day is a nightmare because you want to drive into Florence and there are numerous ZTLs. You would need to make sure you had a hotel with parking. I can't even imagine what you will have paid in gas and tolls by now!

Quite frankly, as others have mentioned, pick 3 locations and work from there. You can NOT logistically, logically, and realistically see all of Italy in one 13 day trip. Slow down and enjoy the leisurely pace of Italy and all it has to offer.

San Jose, California
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7. Re: Help with itinerary please

I appreciate all the feedback so far. We have 18 days in Italy so we have days to add in some places.

We, include the kids, don't mind long drives. We actually had much longer drives just recently when we visited Alaska and drove all over. We are used to spending one night at a place and continue driving. I appreciate your concerns about the kids hating us, but we had a blast when we did it in Alaska and other places. It's just the way we travel and explore places. We don't intend to carry all the luggage with us but leave it in the car and take just what necessary for that night/morning. Food is not an issue either because we plan to buy food at supermarkets and take with us. We'd rather spend our money on activities than food.

So now that you know a bit more about us as travelers, I would appreciate any feedback you can give us as to where you think we should add some days or change/skip route.

Thank you again!!!

San Jose, California
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8. Re: Help with itinerary please

I don't know where you would have time to stop at a supermarket or have time for activities...you will see nothing of Italy. I would not add a single location to your route. Think of driving the Autostradas like driving I-5 - through endless nothingness. You really have absolutely no time factored into your current schedule to actually "See" or "Do" anything. You also need to consider that often times things (not attractions necessarily - but some) but shops, etc will often be closed from 1-4pm. I can see the point in traveling all the way to Italy to not actually "see" Italy. Additionally, you still have not factored in having a car and driving into cities. You can not. You will be fined. So the car really is a huge issue with many of your locations.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Help with itinerary please

Driving through Alaska and Italy are like going to two different planets. Do you want to see some of the amazing things Italy is known for? The art, the Medieval cities, Renaissance cities, Ancient ruins, - or, is it just a driving trip to go from one place to another? If so, I wouldn't go to a place like Italy for such a holiday.

I mean - no offense to Alaska - but does it have the Colosseo, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, Pompei, the art of the masters, etc? There is simply no comparison as to how one would spend time in Alaska to Italy.

Maybe if you could say what it is you plan to see while you are there, people could offer some suggestions to you - but, just knowing how you like to get around doesn't really tell us much.

San Jose, California
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10. Re: Help with itinerary please

Thank you Cat! I checked the route and the estimated drive from Lugano to Milan to Garda to Venice to Pescara to Lecce is 16.5 hours. We plan to to this route in 4-5 days. We don't want to overload the kids with cathedrals and museums and castles so we really pick and choose what to do in every city.

Napoli to Siena is only 4.5 hours which for us is very short drive. Should I add an hour or more to some destinations because of traffic?

I appreciate your feedback because working with google and michelin the distances are relatively short.

Thanks