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16 days solo trip in Italy, itinerary and general advice

16 days solo trip in Italy, itinerary and general advice

Old Oct 5, 18, 10:10 pm
  #1  
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16 days solo trip in Italy, itinerary and general advice

Hi all,

I'm taking my first trip to Italy solo over late October to early November, around 16 days, with my flight leaving at 4pm on the 17th day. I've come up with an itinerary focusing on my main interests, photography and food.

3 days in Florence
3 days in Parma, with one spent in Reggio Emilia for a cheese tour
2 days in Venice, possibly half a day in Burano
2 days in Milan
4 days in Rome, with a half day before I need to get to the airport

Would this be too ambitious? I'm looking to come back again in a couple of years to experience the southern parts (Naples, Sicily, etc) so I'm hoping to cover the major cities in the north this trip. Not much need for shopping, so I've kept Milan to 2 days just for photographs and general walking around the city. Would have liked to spend an additional day in Venice, but I nixed that idea in favour for an additional day in Rome.

Also, I've gone through most of the advice here regarding safety in Italy (the string scam, staying away from doors on the trains, no wallets/phones in back pockets etc), but is there anything else a solo female traveller should take particular note of? I'm looking to avoid taking the metro in favour of walking, would it be feasible or too time-consuming/tiring?
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Old Oct 5, 18, 10:31 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk and the Italy Forum
I suggest looking at the following thread for suggestions: Itinerary for 14 days in Italy
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Old Oct 6, 18, 11:06 am
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It's a little aggressive. Assuming 13 nights b/c of travel days, I'd cut it back to 3 nights in Florence, 3 in Venice, 2 in/around Parma, 5 in Rome. You can skip Milan your first time through, and I'd limit the expectations on day trips from the other places as there's a lot to see, eat, drink, and do in the cities themselves.

I'd fly into Venice and out of Rome for efficiency, as nice trains cover the ground in between. Plus, it's sort of a unique experience to take a water taxi (if you can budget it) from VCE to your hotel. You need nights in Venice, because the middle of the day mostly sucks for a large portion of the year due to tourists and cruise ships. The day trippers arrive in the morning and leave in the evening, so you use the mornings to get to the museums and such, and the evenings to wander. Even tourist ground zero, Ponte Rialto, is a nice experience at night after dinner. That said, make every effort to get to the far reaches, it's a unique place.

I've posted way too much about Florence on these forums so I won't rehash, but feel free to search my post history for my opinions. Lots to do, especially if you like the regional food and wine. Plenty of history. Also plenty of tourist traps to avoid!

All of these places are full of bad food and tourist junk, but they also have lots of great places to visit. I mention that to say plan in advance, as particularly with Venice and Florence, if you're in the more central areas you're not just going to wander into something just like a "local" since there aren't many (any?) locals in those parts

Last, Rome really is worth a longer stay. It's big and sprawling, but the most functioning, working city of any on your list (except Milan, assuming you're willing to pass on it). There's a lot to do, and even a week isn't enough.
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Old Oct 14, 18, 7:25 pm
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Hi,
I'm excited for your trip and I just finished 8 days in Italy. As a younger female as well, I never once felt unsafe in Italy. I rode the train, bus and took the metro. I even put my luggage on the end rack! Yes, pickpocketing is a thing but no one in my group had any issue. Just donít be an easy target, thatís who theyíre after. Youíll notice walking at night at Rome in all the major spots thereís heavy police/milatry presence. Stayed by Trevi Fountain and they were there pretty much every night.
Yes, we turned into real Romans and had our dinners late. Meaning walking back about around 10pm -11pm most nights to the hotel.
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Last edited by PandaSoPink; Oct 15, 18 at 6:32 pm
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Old Oct 15, 18, 9:49 pm
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Standard advice, you are going to too many places. Any way to cut one? Milan?
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Old Oct 15, 18, 9:59 pm
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Can we assume that the OP will be using trains between the various cities? If there's a rental car, I would highly suggest going to some smaller towns or even rural castle type hotels. Also, if the OP plans to return to Italy, I would suggest focusing on a smaller region on this trip and for example including Pisa, Luca, and Sienna if there's interest in Tuscany, while a foodie should include Modena and someone interested in history might add Bologna.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk and the Italy Forum
I suggest looking at the following thread for suggestions: [redacted for insufficient posts]
Obscure2k
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Sorry for the late reply, got caught up with work and only just remembered to come back here a few days before my flight! Thank you for the link, plenty of good information there
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Old Oct 16, 18, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
It's a little aggressive. Assuming 13 nights b/c of travel days, I'd cut it back to 3 nights in Florence, 3 in Venice, 2 in/around Parma, 5 in Rome. You can skip Milan your first time through, and I'd limit the expectations on day trips from the other places as there's a lot to see, eat, drink, and do in the cities themselves.

I'd fly into Venice and out of Rome for efficiency, as nice trains cover the ground in between. Plus, it's sort of a unique experience to take a water taxi (if you can budget it) from VCE to your hotel. You need nights in Venice, because the middle of the day mostly sucks for a large portion of the year due to tourists and cruise ships. The day trippers arrive in the morning and leave in the evening, so you use the mornings to get to the museums and such, and the evenings to wander. Even tourist ground zero, Ponte Rialto, is a nice experience at night after dinner. That said, make every effort to get to the far reaches, it's a unique place.

I've posted way too much about Florence on these forums so I won't rehash, but feel free to search my post history for my opinions. Lots to do, especially if you like the regional food and wine. Plenty of history. Also plenty of tourist traps to avoid!

All of these places are full of bad food and tourist junk, but they also have lots of great places to visit. I mention that to say plan in advance, as particularly with Venice and Florence, if you're in the more central areas you're not just going to wander into something just like a "local" since there aren't many (any?) locals in those parts

Last, Rome really is worth a longer stay. It's big and sprawling, but the most functioning, working city of any on your list (except Milan, assuming you're willing to pass on it). There's a lot to do, and even a week isn't enough.
Thank you for taking the time to type out your thoughts! I was actually just planning on staying within the cities themselves to give myself time to explore and walk around. Unfortunately my flights are fixed because I booked them early thanks to a sale, so stuck with flying in and out of Rome. I'll definitely consider this for my next trip.

I'll definitely be returning to Italy, I can easily see another 4 or 5 fortnight trips here within the next 10 years, so I'm not too worried about missing out on stuff my first time around since I'll be back with family/friends. But thanks for your thoughts on Rome, I do concur, and will plan for a longer stay there in one of the future trips
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Old Oct 16, 18, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by PandaSoPink View Post
Hi,
I'm excited for your trip and I just finished 8 days in Italy. As a younger female as well, I never once felt unsafe in Italy. I rode the train, bus and took the metro. I even put my luggage on the end rack! Yes, pickpocketing is a thing but no one in my group had any issue. Just donít be an easy target, thatís who theyíre after. Youíll notice walking at night at Rome in all the major spots thereís heavy police/milatry presence. Stayed by Trevi Fountain and they were there pretty much every night.
Yes, we turned into real Romans and had our dinners late. Meaning walking back about around 10pm -11pm most nights to the hotel.
I'm so glad your trip went well! This will be the furthest I've travelled alone, so I guess I'm worrying just a bit more than normal. Thank you for the reassurance, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear
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Old Oct 16, 18, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
Standard advice, you are going to too many places. Any way to cut one? Milan?
I was considering that as well, but I didn't want to give up the chance to walk around the city and possibly snag an item or two if it catches my eye. I'll definitely pack less places in future trips, thank you!
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Old Oct 16, 18, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Can we assume that the OP will be using trains between the various cities? If there's a rental car, I would highly suggest going to some smaller towns or even rural castle type hotels. Also, if the OP plans to return to Italy, I would suggest focusing on a smaller region on this trip and for example including Pisa, Luca, and Sienna if there's interest in Tuscany, while a foodie should include Modena and someone interested in history might add Bologna.
You're absolutely right. I'm travelling alone this time, and I don't have a driver's licence so unfortunately, I'm pretty much stuck to the bigger/easier to get to cities. I'll definitely be returning with my family, so that's when we'll go for the smaller towns, especially in the Tuscany region since my entire family loves food. Modena was on the original itinerary, but I was unable to get a reservation at Osteria Francescana (no surprise there), so I decided to forego that in exchange for a cheese tour in Reggio Emilia. Bologna looks absolutely gorgeous, I'll have to add that for a future trip as well. Thank you so much for the recommendations!
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Old Oct 16, 18, 12:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Nyehhh View Post
Hi all,
I'm looking to avoid taking the metro in favor of walking, would it be feasible or too time-consuming/tiring?
Also, note I found Florence to be very walk able if staying in a central location or near duomo. No issue. You'll be able to walk to all the major sites. Rome is a very walk able city. However, you wouldn't want to walk to the Vatican, take the metro if you plan to visit and the bus if you want to go to the Colosseum. It's only 1.50 euro per ride (bus or metro). Besides those two times I didn't take any more public transit while staying in Rome and walked everywhere. Cant speak for the other cities.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 3:33 pm
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Iíve never had any trouble walking to and from the Vatican from central historic Rome, including with female friends. Itís a nice walk. It depends on the person, their age, and if they are wearing appropriate shoes. Itís only a flat one mile walk, and you can make it even prettier by doing some of the walk along the Tiber, then crossing the Tiber back over San Angelo, after resting and having a coffee or a wine in Vatican City.

If youíre not up to walking a mile to the Vatican, just be aware that by far, the bus to the Vatican from historic Rome Center is the most likely place for a person to get pickpocketed in Rome.

Its packed with distracted, star-gazing tourists mesmerized at going to the Vatican. Pickpocketing 100% preventable, so just beware.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by PandaSoPink View Post
Also, note I found Florence to be very walk able if staying in a central location or near duomo. No issue. You'll be able to walk to all the major sites. Rome is a very walk able city. However, you wouldn't want to walk to the Vatican, take the metro if you plan to visit and the bus if you want to go to the Colosseum. It's only 1.50 euro per ride (bus or metro). Besides those two times I didn't take any more public transit while staying in Rome and walked everywhere. Cant speak for the other cities.
All my accomodations are within walking distance of the main train station for convenience, should be good to walk around then! I was planning to take the metro to the Vatican, but walk to the Colosseum. Google maps says it's an hour or so of walking, so I thought it would be doable. Is it not advisable?
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Old Oct 17, 18, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
Iíve never had any trouble walking to and from the Vatican from central historic Rome, including with female friends. Itís a nice walk. It depends on the person, their age, and if they are wearing appropriate shoes. Itís only a flat one mile walk, and you can make it even prettier by doing some of the walk along the Tiber, then crossing the Tiber back over San Angelo, after resting and having a coffee or a wine in Vatican City.

If youíre not up to walking a mile to the Vatican, just be aware that by far, the bus to the Vatican from historic Rome Center is the most likely place for a person to get pickpocketed in Rome.

Its packed with distracted, star-gazing tourists mesmerized at going to the Vatican. Pickpocketing 100% preventable, so just beware.
I probably will avoid buses, the metro would be the most likely option. Would you say walking from the Vatican to the Colosseum is doable? I was thinking along the same lines of walking along the Tiber for photographs before finding a place for lunch/crossing over.
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