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Italy Honeymoon, July 2018. Please critique my itinerary.

Italy Honeymoon, July 2018. Please critique my itinerary.

Old Oct 8, 17, 2:17 pm
  #1  
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Italy Honeymoon, July 2018. Please critique my itinerary.

my fiancee and i are looking for a mix of history, food/wine and relaxation and as such have broken down our trip as such:

July 10 - 14: Florence

July 14 - 15: Siena

July 15 - 20:
Montepulciano or Pienza

July 20 - 26: Positano (split time with Ischia?)

July 26 - 29: Rome

a few concerns:

1. am i moving around too much? too many city/hotel changes?

2. is Siena worth 1 overnight - let alone 2?

3. thoughts on splitting the AC time with Ischia?

thank you!

Last edited by njfastlife; Oct 8, 17 at 5:27 pm
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Old Oct 8, 17, 4:54 pm
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for reference we are flying JFK - FCO

arriving in Rome the morning of July 10th and departing July 29th in the afternoon
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Old Oct 9, 17, 1:44 pm
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...anyone?
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Old Oct 9, 17, 1:54 pm
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It's hard to critique someone's choices - they are yours and assuming that you picked those places because they are of interest to you, you'd be fine.

To your question of too many places/hotels, etc. To my eye, your not doing the type of itinerary that draws quick comment in these parts. The ones that are 6 cities in 10 days types of trips. We could all quibble a little more time here or a little less time there but you are (with the exception of Siena) staying at each place enough time that you should be able to slow down and enjoy the place of things. Relative to Ischia, I'd be tempted to make a day trip of it over shifting over and splitting your time.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by JMN57 View Post
It's hard to critique someone's choices - they are yours and assuming that you picked those places because they are of interest to you, you'd be fine.

To your question of too many places/hotels, etc. To my eye, your not doing the type of itinerary that draws quick comment in these parts. The ones that are 6 cities in 10 days types of trips. We could all quibble a little more time here or a little less time there but you are (with the exception of Siena) staying at each place enough time that you should be able to slow down and enjoy the place of things. Relative to Ischia, I'd be tempted to make a day trip of it over shifting over and splitting your time.
this is very helpful.

i am concerned re: Siena and wonder if it's a case of "two nights or none at all".
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Old Oct 9, 17, 3:09 pm
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Well, to me, Siena is a matter of taste so it's a question of what about it interests you. There's good architecture and Piazza del Campo is an interesting and unique space. I've had some good meals there. I like Siena but there are other places in Tuscany that hit those marks as well (San Gimignano's architecture for example).

If you want to visit then staying at least one night probably makes more sense than going to Pienza and daytripping back (it's about an hour drive, I think).

BTW - I don't want to sound down on Siena - I actually like the town a lot. If you were there when a palio were being run I'd say flat out go. But you arrive in Italy after the first palio of the summer and leave before the last. Just look at what's there and decide what you want to see. That will give you an idea of how much time you need. Yes, you could use more time to wander around and explore but Siena is a city and you'll have just come from exploring Florence (albeit a larger city) so I wonder if, at that point (wedding, flight, travel to Florence, explore Florence) you might not be ready for some "La dolce far niente."
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Old Oct 9, 17, 3:34 pm
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Venice?

IMO, its not possible to spend 3 weeks in Italy and not visit Venice.

In Rome, plan.your time well (organized tours). Two days is sufficient. Or, add a side trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Ditto for Florence. Take a day to check out the Cinque Terra.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 3:38 pm
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Siena two nights and then 3 in Montepulciano or Pienza rather than just one night in Siena would be my suggestion. From Positano you can easily do a day trip to Capri.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by dh01 View Post
Siena two nights and then 3 in Montepulciano or Pienza rather than just one night in Siena would be my suggestion. From Positano you can easily do a day trip to Capri.
after reading about Capri it doesn't interest me much - hence the Ischia.

but thank you!
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Old Oct 9, 17, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
IMO, its not possible to spend 3 weeks in Italy and not visit Venice.

In Rome, plan.your time well (organized tours). Two days is sufficient. Or, add a side trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Ditto for Florence. Take a day to check out the Cinque Terra.
Venice seems cool due to the canals - outside of that it sounds fairly miserable in the middle of the summer. it's a place i imagine i'd be ready to leave within 24 hours and, to me, not worth it this time.

i'll be back.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
IMO, its not possible to spend 3 weeks in Italy and not visit Venice.

In Rome, plan.your time well (organized tours). Two days is sufficient. Or, add a side trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Ditto for Florence. Take a day to check out the Cinque Terra.
Positano is on the Amalfi coast, so what on earth do you suggest here?
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Old Oct 10, 17, 12:18 am
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Exclamation

You are already doing a great job planning this. What you need to resist is everyone adding more and more cities to your list, because they went there, and have warm moments of it. You don't need to add Cinque Terre, this, that, and the other thing. If you listen to all of that, you'll have 25 cities recommended that you visit in 21 days. Pretty soon, someone is going to recommend a day in Pisa.

As for Venice, it is a city to visit in the off-season. The question has been posed, "What is the most beautiful work of art ever created by humans." Nobel Prize in Literature winner Brodsky responded, "The most beautiful work of art every created is the city of Venice."

I'm not touting Venice. Brodsky even said that he would never go to Venice during the summer, even at gunpoint. I swore off Venice during the summer, but still found myself there this past July.

You could say the same thing about Florence. Only at gunpoint should you visit it in July. Sweltering heat. Super crowded museums where all you will be seeing if you can get within 25 feet of a famous piece of art will be 500 hands in front of you taking photos of it, or selfies.

Even though I avoid Italy in the summer as much as possible, i had to pretty half of the first six months of this year there, including Lecce, Matera, Naples, Rome, and Venice.

It is completely possible to enjoy Venice in July. You just have to remember two things; you have to stay as far as possible from San Marco Square; you have to stay as far as possible from the Rialto Bridge. Venice is called, La Serenissima, or most serene. Below are four pictures. The first two of them are what Venice looks like if you are on the tourist route, when cruise ships land. The second two were taken around the same time, about a ten minute walk from San Marco.

Venice isn't that much bigger than Central Park In NYC, but for some reason, everyone thinks that they have to congregate around Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. A couple of blocks away is empty. Just moms pushing strollers, the most quaint little shops to get a snack or a coffee.

Others may differ and I respect there opinions, but for Venice, the further you get away from the, "historic centers" of San Marco and Rialto, the better it gets. I had zero problems with the crowds depicted below when I was there this July.

Florence kinds of irks me because it has it's historic center, but unlike Venice, where the further you get from the center the better it gets, Florence's historic center is just as packed as the center of Venice will be in July, but if you wander off to try to stay outside, it doesn't get bette. It gets worse. Once you leave the historic center, which is quite small as in Venice, you will be in a neighborhood with one auto repair shop after another, for blocks and blocks. Used tire sale care lots. Stuff like that.

In Venice, if you happen to be dumped into San Marco, just get out of there. When you get far enough away, which might be a ten minute walk, stop into a church. You are likely to see a painting by Caravaggio, or Tiziano (Titan), or a Tintorello. 99% or the tourists going to Venice never see that aspect of the city. Florence has the same immensely crowded downtown that Venice has, but once you get away from it, you are more or less in a slum. In Venice, the further you walk away from San Marco the prettier it gets, the better the food gets, the more romantic it gets, and the more drop dead gorgeous it gets.

And it's way safer than walking outside of the historic center of Florence, which is basically a slum. Not so Venice, not only the most beautiful, but also one of the safest cities to visit. As long as you stay away from San Marco and Rialto, if you walk around the back streets, it will be the most romantic thing you have ever seen.

Putting that aside, you did a superb, fantastic job. One of the top 1%. Most feedback you get is going to be adding more and more cities. I suggest you don't go there, like adding a side trip to the Amalfi Coast from Positano

For specifics:
July 10 - 14: Florence

That would be a long time for me, because unlike Venice where there are normal parts of the city where you can escape to by walking 10 minutes, if you walk outside of the historic center, you are just walking to slums, and the historic center will be super crowded. Think about it as being at a major league baseball game type crowded, except the lines for anything you want to do in Florence will take you longer than it would take to get into Yankee Stadium.

July 14 - 15: Siena
Day trip from Florence. Take a day out of Florence time, take the train there, and take the train back in the evening. Not enough for two days, if you are both good on your feet as far as walking. And there is almost no place you should go to where you check in at 3PM, check out the next day at 11 AM. That's not vacationing. Even in Siena. It's just sightseeing and taking picture. Siena would be a nice day trip to break up your stay in Florence. And if super-crowded Florence gets to be too much for you, Siena would be a nice break, as would San Gemignano, the City of Towers, but between the two, I'd take Siena. Then get back to Florence. There's no reason to be moving around the much.

July 15 - 20: Montepulciano or Pienza

Montepulciano, but cut two days off it it, to add it to Rome. Or perhaps not. Spending 5 days in a small town, or better yet, stay in its outskirts, is the type of thing you should be doing on a honeymoon

July 20 - 26: Positano (split time with Ischia?)

That is a lot of time in Positano, unless you are staying at a luxury resort that will protect you from the immense crowds. There are 3 islands off of the Amalfi Coast; Capri, Ischia, and Procida. I'm 100% with you in blowing off Capri, or doing it as a day trip. Ischia is a little more normal. Procida, however, is normal. It's not set up as a tourist trinket shop sales place at all. You are spending a lot of time on the Amalfi Coast, and you can't spend 3 days of it in Ischia.

July 26 - 29: Rome

Rome is a big city. I spent most of this past July there, as I spent February there, and at least a few months of every year. It doesn't really notice that there are tourists. Like NYC, it's big enough to just absorb them. But 3 days in Rome doesn't really get you much. This is a city that has some of the best things to do in the world. Shorting it so that you are spending more time in Florence, Montepulciano, and Ischia, may be something worth reconsidering.

You are doing a great job. Just don't let anyone tell you to add more cities, and do the typical whirlwind tour. Your itinerary is find as it is. The above are just some feedback point. "Is Siena worth 1 overnight?" No place is worth one overnight. If it's that worth it then it demands more than one overnight, or it's just a day trip.

Splitting AC time between Positano and Ischia is a tough call. Positano is going to be super crowded, like Venice if you don't get away from San Marco. My choice of the three islands off the coast of Naples, in order, would be Procida, Ischia, and then way down the list for a July trip would be Capri.

a few concerns:

1. am i moving around too much? too many city/hotel changes?

2. is Siena worth 1 overnight - let alone 2?

3. thoughts on splitting the AC time with Ischia?
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Old Oct 10, 17, 4:41 am
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Question pics?

Originally Posted by Perche View Post
Below are four pictures. The first two of them are what Venice looks like if you are on the tourist route, when cruise ships land. The second two were taken around the same time, about a ten minute walk from San Marco.
I could not see any pics? Can you post them?
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Old Oct 10, 17, 5:35 am
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I personally would be moving around more. Your trip seems relaxing. I, personally, would have a longer list of things to visit, if I were spending 18 days in Italy. I would be hitting up more hilltop towns, the Cinque Terre maybe, or Amalfi Coast. I've always loved to find less talked about, but amazing locations, like Civita Di Bagnoregio. And I would be looking to try and find ways to replicate those experiences.

I absolutely love the scenery in Italy. For instance, the Renaissance Il Ciocco Resort, has amazing views from their rooms/pool deck, and all around the property.

I agree with the remark that the trip is hard to critique on the surface. I've never been to some of the locations you mention. Rome is great for that amount of time. I've never spent more than 1 day in Florence, and unless you appreciate renaissance art and museums, or have some particular tours planned; I would probably be bored of Florence by day 2 or 3. However, if you are using Florence as a base for Cinque Terre/Barga/Lucca/etc - then it would be no problem.
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Old Oct 10, 17, 5:55 am
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
You are already doing a great job planning this. What you need to resist is everyone adding more and more cities to your list, because they went there, and have warm moments of it. You don't need to add Cinque Terre, this, that, and the other thing. If you listen to all of that, you'll have 25 cities recommended that you visit in 21 days. Pretty soon, someone is going to recommend a day in Pisa.

As for Venice, it is a city to visit in the off-season. The question has been posed, "What is the most beautiful work of art ever created by humans." Nobel Prize in Literature winner Brodsky responded, "The most beautiful work of art every created is the city of Venice."

I'm not touting Venice. Brodsky even said that he would never go to Venice during the summer, even at gunpoint. I swore off Venice during the summer, but still found myself there this past July.

You could say the same thing about Florence. Only at gunpoint should you visit it in July. Sweltering heat. Super crowded museums where all you will be seeing if you can get within 25 feet of a famous piece of art will be 500 hands in front of you taking photos of it, or selfies.

Even though I avoid Italy in the summer as much as possible, i had to pretty half of the first six months of this year there, including Lecce, Matera, Naples, Rome, and Venice.

It is completely possible to enjoy Venice in July. You just have to remember two things; you have to stay as far as possible from San Marco Square; you have to stay as far as possible from the Rialto Bridge. Venice is called, La Serenissima, or most serene. Below are four pictures. The first two of them are what Venice looks like if you are on the tourist route, when cruise ships land. The second two were taken around the same time, about a ten minute walk from San Marco.

Venice isn't that much bigger than Central Park In NYC, but for some reason, everyone thinks that they have to congregate around Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. A couple of blocks away is empty. Just moms pushing strollers, the most quaint little shops to get a snack or a coffee.

Others may differ and I respect there opinions, but for Venice, the further you get away from the, "historic centers" of San Marco and Rialto, the better it gets. I had zero problems with the crowds depicted below when I was there this July.

Florence kinds of irks me because it has it's historic center, but unlike Venice, where the further you get from the center the better it gets, Florence's historic center is just as packed as the center of Venice will be in July, but if you wander off to try to stay outside, it doesn't get bette. It gets worse. Once you leave the historic center, which is quite small as in Venice, you will be in a neighborhood with one auto repair shop after another, for blocks and blocks. Used tire sale care lots. Stuff like that.

In Venice, if you happen to be dumped into San Marco, just get out of there. When you get far enough away, which might be a ten minute walk, stop into a church. You are likely to see a painting by Caravaggio, or Tiziano (Titan), or a Tintorello. 99% or the tourists going to Venice never see that aspect of the city. Florence has the same immensely crowded downtown that Venice has, but once you get away from it, you are more or less in a slum. In Venice, the further you walk away from San Marco the prettier it gets, the better the food gets, the more romantic it gets, and the more drop dead gorgeous it gets.

And it's way safer than walking outside of the historic center of Florence, which is basically a slum. Not so Venice, not only the most beautiful, but also one of the safest cities to visit. As long as you stay away from San Marco and Rialto, if you walk around the back streets, it will be the most romantic thing you have ever seen.

Putting that aside, you did a superb, fantastic job. One of the top 1%. Most feedback you get is going to be adding more and more cities. I suggest you don't go there, like adding a side trip to the Amalfi Coast from Positano

For specifics:
July 10 - 14: Florence

That would be a long time for me, because unlike Venice where there are normal parts of the city where you can escape to by walking 10 minutes, if you walk outside of the historic center, you are just walking to slums, and the historic center will be super crowded. Think about it as being at a major league baseball game type crowded, except the lines for anything you want to do in Florence will take you longer than it would take to get into Yankee Stadium.

July 14 - 15: Siena
Day trip from Florence. Take a day out of Florence time, take the train there, and take the train back in the evening. Not enough for two days, if you are both good on your feet as far as walking. And there is almost no place you should go to where you check in at 3PM, check out the next day at 11 AM. That's not vacationing. Even in Siena. It's just sightseeing and taking picture. Siena would be a nice day trip to break up your stay in Florence. And if super-crowded Florence gets to be too much for you, Siena would be a nice break, as would San Gemignano, the City of Towers, but between the two, I'd take Siena. Then get back to Florence. There's no reason to be moving around the much.

July 15 - 20: Montepulciano or Pienza

Montepulciano, but cut two days off it it, to add it to Rome. Or perhaps not. Spending 5 days in a small town, or better yet, stay in its outskirts, is the type of thing you should be doing on a honeymoon

July 20 - 26: Positano (split time with Ischia?)

That is a lot of time in Positano, unless you are staying at a luxury resort that will protect you from the immense crowds. There are 3 islands off of the Amalfi Coast; Capri, Ischia, and Procida. I'm 100% with you in blowing off Capri, or doing it as a day trip. Ischia is a little more normal. Procida, however, is normal. It's not set up as a tourist trinket shop sales place at all. You are spending a lot of time on the Amalfi Coast, and you can't spend 3 days of it in Ischia.

July 26 - 29: Rome

Rome is a big city. I spent most of this past July there, as I spent February there, and at least a few months of every year. It doesn't really notice that there are tourists. Like NYC, it's big enough to just absorb them. But 3 days in Rome doesn't really get you much. This is a city that has some of the best things to do in the world. Shorting it so that you are spending more time in Florence, Montepulciano, and Ischia, may be something worth reconsidering.

You are doing a great job. Just don't let anyone tell you to add more cities, and do the typical whirlwind tour. Your itinerary is find as it is. The above are just some feedback point. "Is Siena worth 1 overnight?" No place is worth one overnight. If it's that worth it then it demands more than one overnight, or it's just a day trip.

Splitting AC time between Positano and Ischia is a tough call. Positano is going to be super crowded, like Venice if you don't get away from San Marco. My choice of the three islands off the coast of Naples, in order, would be Procida, Ischia, and then way down the list for a July trip would be Capri.

a few concerns:

1. am i moving around too much? too many city/hotel changes?

2. is Siena worth 1 overnight - let alone 2?

3. thoughts on splitting the AC time with Ischia?
thank you! i was hoping you would reply.

interesting you think Florence = too many days considering i won't arrive until after noon on the first. but i have heard it is just insanely crowded so i certainly can't argue.

regarding Siena, thank you. we may limit it to a day-trip but may still do a night at the Palazzo Ravizza as it is apparently quite a nice place to see in the evening after the tourists have mostly left.

Montepulciano - thank you. i think we may cut down to 4-nights, adding one to Rome.

Amalfi Coast - we are nixing the Ischia idea and most likely staying in Praiano, here https://hotelmargherita.info/en/#/

Initially we were going to stay in Positano at the Punta Regina, but it is close to double the price at ~EUR $450/night - a bit rich for our newly-wedded blood.

Lastly, Rome, the place i have heard the most contradictory advice regarding; some say "can't miss", others say "meh". but i do think it deserves an extra night.
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