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First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

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First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

This is first trip for both me and my boyfriend to Italy. We plan to go February 2014 (less than 2 months). We have a limited time a total of 6 nights/7days in Italy. I want to hit the major tourist spots to get a very cursory flavor of the cities and then return to the areas I liked on another trip. So I am super excited and really would appreciate any input/answers/suggestions to the following itinerary/questions.

We decided to do 2 nights Rome, 2 nights Florence, 2 nights Venice.

We will travel using fast trains between cities, fly into Rome, and out of Venice.

This is all changeable, so thought I would ask before booking this week.

Here is a sample itinerary:

Arrive FCO Sunday 8am. I will arrange for shuttle/taxi service to Hotel?

My choices of hotels are round the termini area (Hotel Andreotti, Hotell Piemonte, Taormina, Hotel Corona, Hotel Amalfi) or Hotel Alexandra on Via Veneto near Trevi Fountain.

After two nights, 8am fast train from Rome Tiburtina to Florence SMN Station arriving 9:30.

My Hotel options for Florence are Silla Hotel, De Rose Palace, Villa Carlotta, Hotel Annalena, Hotel Giglio, Hotel Caravaggio, and Domus Florentiae Hotel.

After two nights, 8am fast train from Florence SMN to Venice S Lucia arriving 10:30.

Hotel options are Hotel Canaletto, La Forcola, Antigo Trovatora, Vecellio, Residenza Ca San Marco.

We fly out after two nights from VCE at 6am.

Here are the things I would love help with the most:

1. Which hotels to stay in, in each of the three cities?

My preferences are areas we can eat later at night and walk around with more authentic food in the touristy areas. Also safe neighborhoods, clean bathrooms, and preferably if possible one English speaking person to ask travel questions. Finally, if possible walking distance to hop on hop off stop (more on this below).

2. What is best way to travel with luggage from hotel in Rome to train station Tiburtina?

3. Is it safe to walk with luggage at 6-7 am when it is still dark to Termini if staying near that location? What about near Barberini train same time with luggage?

4. Best way to get to and from train station SMN in Florence to advised hotel?

5. Best way to and from train station in Venice to advised hotel?

6. Best way to get from Venice hotel to airport VCE?

7. I would love to eat my heart's content, so any restaurants/cafes - not 5 star, just the best food possible that are not "tourist traps". Places for lunch and dinner, snacks/gelato/coffee/specialties/etc.

4. I was thinking of getting the hop on hop off bus pass in Rome and Florence.

I thought maybe to get my bearings and easiest way to see all major sights in two days with commentary. Does anyone know how late these buses run in Winter/February?

5. Best way to get to Pisa and back from Florence? If time permits, is there train to Sienna? Should we visit Sienna or Cinque Terra IF we have time?

6. I was going to leave Venice for just walking around, perhaps taking Vaperetto and stopping on and off?

Any suggestions/ideas/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

pittsburgh
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1. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

Two nights in a city is really only one full day and part of another. You're planning way too much in 6 short days. This is your trip but you'll spend the majority of your time changing hotels and riding trains.

To answer some of your questions....It doesn't matter which hotel you choose. If they're all in the same area and fit your needs then any will do. You won't be spending much time in them anyway since you're on a whirlwind trip. Just pick the one that fits your budget. You'll really only be sleeping and showering there so don't waste to much time thinking about it.

As for sites, don't use the HO/HO bus in Rome. It doesn't get close to most of the sites and you're better off walking between them. They don't get very good reviews and you can end up waiting a long time for the buses.

I would take a taxi from the hotel to the train station both in Rome and in Florence. A taxi won't be an option in Venice.

Rome is a very safe city. You won't be mugged or harmed. Just be aware of pick pockets at all times of the day or night.

For meals you'll find tourist traps around any of the sites. If you wish to eat at local restaurants you'll need to get away from the sites. You can still find great food in Rome but you'll also find other tourists.

With only 6 days you WONT have time to visit Pisa, Sienna and the CT. You don't really have enough time to visit Rome, Florence and Venice. You're trying to do too much and not considering the travel time. It's your first trip. You really don't need to add every single city and site to the trip. It will be there when you decide to go back. Trying to fit in as much as possible means you really aren't giving any site or area enough time to be enjoyed.

This is your trip but you're asking for advice. My advice is to pick one city and spend your time there. 6 days is a great amount of time to spend in any of the cities you mention. It gives you time to see the sites and explore the city. You're falling into the same trap that a lot of first timers fall into-trying to see and do too much in not enough time. The thought that with 6 days you could visit 3 major cities and also do day trips to 3 other cities (areas) is ridiculous. Pare down your itinerary and really see what Italy is about. Spending a few hours in one place won't allow you to see the wonders of any of these locations.

Donna

Brussels, Belgium
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2. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

I see you are also a new TA user: please in future separate out questions for specific forums - it really should be for the questioner to do this work and not the people who are responding for the city concerned! It also doesn't help other users if information about one city (which they could benefit from too, that's the whole principle of this type of forum!) is buried in that concerning a heap of others. So as far as your 2 nights in ROME are concerned:

- "Arrive FCO Sunday 8am. I will arrange for shuttle/taxi service to Hotel?"

If staying near Termini, I would just take the train (Leonardo express)

1. "Which hotels to stay in?"

I suggest you look at reviews under tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g187791-Rome_Lazio-Ho… for the hotels you mention in Termini area (Hotel Andreotti, Hotel Piemonte, Taormina, Hotel Corona, Hotel Amalfi) or Hotel Alexandra on Via Veneto near Trevi Fountain, to check whether they mention clean bathrooms and English-speaking staff (bearing in mind that staff members can change). All of them are in relatively safe areas (even if some people don't like Termini) and within walking distance to HoHo buses (likely to be closest near Termini - Trevi fountain is of course not accessible to traffic so it's a short walk from there to HoHo bus stop). If you really want a whole area where you can find "authentic food" where no tourists go, you would have to go a lot further outside the city centre than would be convenient for a 2-night stay - the whole city centre qualifies as "touristy", it's more a matter of selecting specific cafés and restaurants rather than others.

2. "What is best way to travel with luggage from hotel in Rome to train station Tiburtina?"

It depends on the hotel/starting point, obviously, but the easiest if you have a lot of luggage would be by taxi. Otherwise, see tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187791-i22-k64554…

3. "Is it safe to walk with luggage at 6-7 am when it is still dark to Termini if staying near that location? What about near Barberini train same time with luggage?"

Yes and yes

4., 5, 6. Not relevant to this forum

7. "I would love to eat my heart's content, so any restaurants/cafes - not 5 star, just the best food possible that are not "tourist traps". Places for lunch and dinner, snacks/gelato/coffee/specialties/etc."

See tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g187791-Rome_Laz… and previous questions on this subject e.g. there was a recent one specifically about "best gelato" in Rome.

4. "I was thinking of getting the hop on hop off bus pass in Rome .." "I thought maybe to get my bearings and easiest way to see all major sights in two days with commentary. Does anyone know how late these buses run in Winter/February?"

There are a lot of different companies, see rometoolkit.com/whattodo/rome_hop_on_tour_bu… and comments on tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g187791-i22-k64… - this one's last departure from Termini Station should be at 18:30 in Feb : getyourguide.com/rome-l33/…

5, 6. Not relevant to this forum

Edited: 23 December 2013, 12:22
St Paul, MN
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3. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

2 nights in each city is not enough. You wil spend most of your time traveling.

Since you already bought palne tickets, just visit Rome and Venice.

In the future it's better to fly into Venice and out of Rome. The water taxis in venice are expensive compared with land taxis in Rome. Many north american flights are early in the day. It's not that easy often to get to Venice's airport early in the morning without staying near Piazzelle Roma where the bus to the airport leaves from early in the morning.

Portland, OR
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4. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

I agree with lupaling - since you have already purchased your air tickets, just stay in Rome and Venice (split 4 and 2) and see Florence as a daytrip from Rome (very easy due to the fast train).

2 good apps for restaurant recommendations: Parla Food and Eat Rome (also Eat Florence and Eat Venice).

With your limited time, taxi from the train to your hotel and back.

See Top Questions About Rome at the top right of this page.

Australia
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5. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

I agree with the above comments. Ditch Florence and spend your very limited time in Rome and Venice.

You have just one full day in Rome - that's nowhere near enough. You haven't said what you want to see but if it involves what is always on everyone's list - the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum and a walk around the historic centre, you simply wont have time.

6. Re: First time in Italy!!! Please help with itinerary!

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