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.

What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

Falls Church, VA
Level Contributor
12 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

I created a tentative plan for a lengthy Italy trip for the month of September but have decided it's too full and need to skip a place or two or three.

I will be traveling with my husband, we're in our late 30s and in average athletic shape, we've never been to Italy before, and we would like to travel all over the country and get a little taste of everything, especially focusing on food, scenery, hiking, and adventure. I'm taking Italian language classes and my husband speaks a little Francais. We don't mind a few tourist hotspots (definitely want to see the Amalfi coast) but when possible we prefer less crowded alternatives. Here's what's on my list right now, in chronological order:

A) Verona opera (on its final night)

(rent car and drive north)

B) Val di Gardena - hiking in the Dolomites

C) scenic drive - through Switzerland to Lake Como

D) Lake Como - hiking, ferry to towns, tour Villa Balbianello

E) Milan - Duomo, Bosco Verticale, gelaterias, wander around and explore the city

F) Torino province - Sacra di San Michele near Avigliana, Tibetan suspension bridge near Claviere, Fontanelle Fortress, original Eataly in Lingotto, wander around and explore Turin

(then turn in our car and switch to train travel)

G) Rome - guided tour of Colosseum/ancient Rome, food tour, cooking class, wander around and explore the ruins and the city

H) Naples - guided tour of Pompei (maybe Herculaneum too), Fontanelle Cemetery, pizzarias

I) Amalfi coast - go hiking, explore towns by ferry, relax on beaches, maybe go to an outdoor concert in Ravello

(then in Salerno rent a car and switch back to car travel)

J) Castelmezzano - Vollo dell'Angelo zipline!, go hiking, wander around and enjoy an authentic small town where there aren't tourists and the locals don't speak English

K) Matera - take guided tour of the Sassi di Matera

L) Sicily - Taormina, Mt. Etna, Catania, Noto

(fly home)

Places we're avoiding on purpose because they sound like they would be ruined by swarms of tourists:

1) Venice on Regato Storica weekend (instead: Verona with opera tickets)

2) Cinque Terre (instead: Castelmezzano in Basilicata)

3) Tuscany (instead: exploring Basilicata by car)

We love to cram a lot of adventure into our trips, but there are still too many hotel switches in this trip plan, so please help me decide which places to take out. Thanks!

Mentioned in this post
Verona
Verona
Province of Verona, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Turin
Turin
Province of Turin, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
Taormina
Taormina
Sicily, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Italian Riviera, Italy
Ortigia Flavour
Cooking Classes, Food Tours
Smile And Food
Cooking Classes, Food Tours
Cook and Eat Local
Lessons & Workshops, Cooking Classes
Italy
Level Contributor
6,187 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

How long are you planning to stay in Italy? Maybe 3 months? You have to cut your itinerary but we need to know how many days you have on ground.

Portland, OR
Destination Expert
for Positano
Level Contributor
6,538 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

If you are going for a month, I would skip Milan, Torino and Sicily. See Naples and Pompeii on your way to the AC. You need to start mapping out days/nights for each stop and figure out your driving times (www.viamichelin.com) and train travel (www.trenitalia.com).

Keep in min that each time you change cities/towns, you lose up to half day - pack, check out of hotel, get to train station, find train, train ride, get from train station to new hotel, check in, drop bags, now it's time for lunch.

Mentioned in this post
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
north carolina
Level Contributor
6,588 posts
143 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

I agree that this itinerary is way over-full. I do not believe that you can do this in any reasonable relaxing way.

Everything that you want to do is worth the time and cost, but you will be so tired that it will not be fun.

Only you can make the hard choices and you must study a couple of guide books to make the decisions. I suggest to work with a map in hand. Mark on a map of Italy all the places that you want to go, and then lay out a schedule and estimate the actual time in getting checked out of one place and into the next. That usually runs 5-7 hours for us. Plan to use trains whenever they are available (almost everywhere), and plan to spend, on average, four nights in each place that you take accommodations.

Italy is spelled r-e-l-a-x, not rushrushrush.

California
Level Contributor
11,923 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

hi: perhaps you said this but i don't see how many days you wish to stay in each of these places on your itinerary...even without knowing, i feel this is too much for a month of travel. As others have advised, you need to add a 1/2 day for each transport from A to B, especially for the long hauls and transfers by trains....I certainly wouldn't try to visit Sicily...I would go to Sicily on another trip and stay at least 2 weeks....so, not counting plane flights, how many days AND nights do you have in Italy?

Mentioned in this post
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

I agree your proposed itinerary is over-loaded Sicily is a step too far and is better left for another trip and Torino is a bit of a diversion from your main route. It certainly makes sense to use a car for the Dolomites section and then to Lake Como via Switzerland. Suggest you could limit your stay in Milan as a one night stop over on the way to Rome.

Train from Rome , Naples and Amalfi and then pick up car in Salerno is certainly the best option. Going south from there a car is desirable since railway is rather limited. You can now allocate the days you have available for each of these sectors, planning on 3/4 days for each base. Best of luck with your planning.

Mentioned in this post
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Falls Church, VA
Level Contributor
12 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

Here's the rough draft of my itinerary with times included:

fly into Verona in the afternoon + taxi + check-in = 8 hours of that day used for travel time

Verona = 2 nights / 1.3 days

(shortest stay of the trip because we're not planning on being very active in Verona, we just want to recover from jetlag and see an opera in the arena)

rent car + drive to Ortesei + check-in = 6 hours

Dolomites = 4 nights / 3.5 days

scenic drive through Switzerland to Lake Como + check-in = 8 hours

Lake Como = 3 nights / 2.3 days

drive to Turin (day trip to Milan on the way) + check-in = 12 hours

Turin = 3 nights / 2 days

fast train from Turin to Rome + taxi/check-in = 8 hours

Rome = 4 nights / 3.3 days

train to Naples + private full-day one-way car tour of Naples->Pompeii-->Amalfi = 12 hours

Amalfi = 4 nights / 3.3 days

ferry or bus to Salerno + rent car + drive to Basilicata base town = 6 hours

Castelmezzano or Matera = 3 nights / 2.5 days

drive to Villa San Giovanni + ferry + drive to Taormina + check-in = 12 hours

Taormina = 3 nights / 3 days (we'd have a 3rd day here because our flight home wouldn't leave until 10PM)

fly out of Catania

Total # of nights = 26

Total # of locations = 8

Also, we can't take out Sicily because that's the original reason for our trip - we've been invited to attend a wedding in Taormina.

Mentioned in this post
Verona
Verona
Province of Verona, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Turin
Turin
Province of Turin, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Taormina
Taormina
Sicily, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
107,960 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

It would be possible to skip Verona and take a transfer directly to Ortisei.

Cut Milan and Turin, and especially don't drive in Milan, but if you leave Piemonte in your itinerary, base in the countryside.

See Matera, then fly from Bari to Catania. You wouldn't require a car in Sicily.

Vagabonda

Mentioned in this post
Verona
Verona
Province of Verona, Italy
Turin
Turin
Province of Turin, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
London, Canada
Level Contributor
2,363 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

I was 'amused' by your comment on Castelmezzano..am I right..a small town with no tourists and everyone speaking only Italian? Not true...it's very touristy, and everyone dealing with the public speaks English well. In fact, on our visit, many were quite proud of the fact that they spoke English well, and did their very best to impress us.

,

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
107,960 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

You can enjoy fantastic trekking in the Val Gardena, around Lake Como, and even Etna in Sicily.

Vagabonda

Edited: 06 February 2014, 23:52
Mentioned in this post
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy
Falls Church, VA
Level Contributor
12 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: What should I remove from my over-full Italy itinerary?

Regarding Torino, one of our favorite parts of traveling is getting to try food from different regions. We don't look for Michelin stars, we look for where the locals eat. Since Torino province is the slow food capital of the world, the home of the original Eataly, etc, and a mixture of Italian and French influence, I thought it sounded like a place we'd like. And then I discovered Fenestrelle Fortress to the west, which added another reason to go. But I agree that it's out of the way compared to the rest of the route. If I eliminate it, we could switch to train travel in Milan. So what does everybody think? Is the food in the Piedmont region reason enough to go to Torino?

As another alternative, my husband suggested skipping Basilicata and the second car and instead taking a ferry from Salerno to Sicily. If we did that, we wouldn't get to see Matera, we be exchanging a beautiful mountain drive for a boring 8 hour ferry, and then we wouldn't have a car in Sicily, but maybe it would be worth it in order to slow down the overall pace of the trip. Does this sound like a good idea?

Mentioned in this post
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Sicily
Sicily
Italy