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 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.