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Need help on figuring out what to do with my time (how long in each place?)

Need help on figuring out what to do with my time (how long in each place?)

Old Jun 14, 19, 12:11 am
  #1  
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Need help on figuring out what to do with my time (how long in each place?)

Hello all! Hoping I can get some perspective on how much time is "enough" in some of the more touristy areas of Italy. I have never been, so I want to do as much of the "touristy" things as possible.

I land in Venice and depart from Rome.

I arrive on 8/29 and depart on 9/17.

I know I want to see Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terra (I think Amalfi Coast would be too far from where I will be), and Pompeii/Naples. Anything else, I am very willing to consider, but as I won't be driving around in a rental car (never driven in Europe, not familiar with ZTLs), I will be relying on the train/metro. After reading some posts, I am cutting Milan out as it appears to be mainly be a shopping destination (of course there is more, though, such as Lake Como that I'll probably have to miss out on).

I'm having a very difficult time figuring out accommodations because I don't know an appropriate amount of time to book at each location. I have IHG and Hilton points that I am willing to use, and I am probably going to try out a hostel for the first time in Rome.

Any ideas on how much time to spend (and anything I should add or cut) would be very helpful! It will also help me book tickets for activities that need to be booked in advance, like the Uffizi.

Note: I don't care for any wineries, so any time allotted for that can be cut. I know that's often mentioned w/Florence, for example.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 4:41 am
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Thee are a thousand factors that can change this (including your budget) but here you go:

4 nights in Venice (including 8/29)
4 nights in Bologna with day trips to Parma, Modena, Ravenna, Ferrara, San Marino (add or remove based on your interests)
4 nights in Florence with day trips to Pisa, Lucca
4 nights in Rome
2 nights in Naples (if you really want to go there)
last night in Rome

Or skip Naples and go to Cinque Terre after Florence. I don’t think that doing both is practical
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Old Jun 14, 19, 8:34 am
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I'd certainly not skip Naples for Cinque Terre. There are so many things to see in the city, plus Pompei and Ercolano, a tour of the costiera amalfitana, Capri and Ischia, and so many more that I wonder whether one should no do 4 days and less of Bologna plus the other cities mentioned (vertainly San Marino: other than the real-looking guns sold everywhere and the view from the top, really not worth spending much time there).
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Old Jun 14, 19, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I'd certainly not skip Naples for Cinque Terre. There are so many things to see in the city, plus Pompei and Ercolano, a tour of the costiera amalfitana, Capri and Ischia, and so many more that I wonder whether one should no do 4 days and less of Bologna plus the other cities mentioned (vertainly San Marino: other than the real-looking guns sold everywhere and the view from the top, really not worth spending much time there).
It is hard to know what the OP likes.. I agree with you about San Marino but will choose Emilia Romagna over the Naples area any day. It's a matter of taste and interests, I guess.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I'd certainly not skip Naples for Cinque Terre.
The principal reason that I would suggest skipping Napoli here is that it is more "out of the way" than Cinque Terre for a trip like this. I could see heading west out of Venezia to Cinque Terre and then picking one's way south to Roma. But I agree that skipping Napoli would be missing out on a lot.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post
Thee are a thousand factors that can change this (including your budget) but here you go:

4 nights in Venice (including 8/29)
4 nights in Bologna with day trips to Parma, Modena, Ravenna, Ferrara, San Marino (add or remove based on your interests)
4 nights in Florence with day trips to Pisa, Lucca
4 nights in Rome
2 nights in Naples (if you really want to go there)
last night in Rome

Or skip Naples and go to Cinque Terre after Florence. I don’t think that doing both is practical
Thank you! I'd like to be budget conscious, but also don't feel comfortable driving on my own there, so I'll have to rely on wherever public transpo (maybe Uber) can take me. This means I might have to give up some places, especially if getting there takes too long, etc.

I am surprised you gave 4 days in Venice. Lots of people are saying 3 maximum, if that, and many others are saying 2. I hadn't even considered Bologna, nor any of the other day trip locations you mentioned. Of the list, I'd only heard of Ravenna and San Merino, but I thought San Merino may be too similar to Cinque Terre, so I opted to skip that when I was looking at a rough itinerary order (Venice --> Florence --> Cinque Terre --> Rome --> Naples/Pompeii --> Rome (or go straight to Naples from Cinque Terre and then loop back to Rome so I am not going back and forth before my flight).

Considering the train duration is only about 1hr10m from Rome to Naples, perhaps a day trip would not be out of the question? That will allow me to keep my items and airbnb options in Rome, and just go back and forth for maybe 2 days in Naples (1 day in Naples, 1 day Pompeii)? Maybe too short, especially as I have to account for train rides back and forth? Alternatively, I can go straight to Naples from Cinque Terre (probably a train transfer at Rome) and stay there for a couple days and then make my way back to Rome. This should save me about 2hr20min in train commuting time per day.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I'd certainly not skip Naples for Cinque Terre. There are so many things to see in the city, plus Pompei and Ercolano, a tour of the costiera amalfitana, Capri and Ischia, and so many more that I wonder whether one should no do 4 days and less of Bologna plus the other cities mentioned (vertainly San Marino: other than the real-looking guns sold everywhere and the view from the top, really not worth spending much time there).
Yikes, so it looks like I'd need to cut out Bologna, possibly in its entirety if I wanted to do the Naples and surrounding area visits? Maybe I could do 2 days in Bologna instead of the recommended 4, and then 2 in Naples. I am certain I'll be missing out on quite a bit, but as I am limited on time, I don't have much of an option. I can certainly day trip from either Bologna or Naples, as I am sure those two cities will have more inexpensive airbnb options. Maybe even a hostel, but I don't know if I'm comfortable to do that without making sure they have adequate security for my belongings (laptop, etc).
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post
It is hard to know what the OP likes.. I agree with you about San Marino but will choose Emilia Romagna over the Naples area any day. It's a matter of taste and interests, I guess.
If it's any indication, one of my favorite things to see in France was Nice and the day trip to Monaco. I also enjoyed the major touristy sites in Paris, including the museums. But seeing the country was probably my favorite.

So if that can be transposed to Italy, that'd be great, LOL. I have a feeling for looks I would enjoy the coasts as I see pictures all the time on FB and insta, etc, and really enjoy those.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
The principal reason that I would suggest skipping Napoli here is that it is more "out of the way" than Cinque Terre for a trip like this. I could see heading west out of Venezia to Cinque Terre and then picking one's way south to Roma. But I agree that skipping Napoli would be missing out on a lot.
Worst case scenario, I can skip the south of Italy in its entirety, and make my way down there whenever I go back to Europe and check out Greece (maybe a Greece + south Italy trip) or something like that.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Thank you! I'd like to be budget conscious, but also don't feel comfortable driving on my own there, so I'll have to rely on wherever public transpo (maybe Uber) can take me. This means I might have to give up some places, especially if getting there takes too long, etc.

I am surprised you gave 4 days in Venice. Lots of people are saying 3 maximum, if that, and many others are saying 2. I hadn't even considered Bologna, nor any of the other day trip locations you mentioned. Of the list, I'd only heard of Ravenna and San Merino, but I thought San Merino may be too similar to Cinque Terre, so I opted to skip that when I was looking at a rough itinerary order (Venice --> Florence --> Cinque Terre --> Rome --> Naples/Pompeii --> Rome (or go straight to Naples from Cinque Terre and then loop back to Rome so I am not going back and forth before my flight).

Considering the train duration is only about 1hr10m from Rome to Naples, perhaps a day trip would not be out of the question? That will allow me to keep my items and airbnb options in Rome, and just go back and forth for maybe 2 days in Naples (1 day in Naples, 1 day Pompeii)? Maybe too short, especially as I have to account for train rides back and forth? Alternatively, I can go straight to Naples from Cinque Terre (probably a train transfer at Rome) and stay there for a couple days and then make my way back to Rome. This should save me about 2hr20min in train commuting time per day.
you can visit all the places you listed without driving.

Venice is amazing and you can spend weeks there with things to do and see. Yet there are people who claim they have seen everything in a day or two. Itís true of many places, I guess. It can also be extremely expensive, so you have to plan accordingly, especially in high season

Google the cities around Bologna and see what you like. Ravenna was the capital of the Byzantine governor of the West and has amazing architecture and mosaics. Parma and Modena have architecture and food that will make your head spin. Bologna is a student city with good food and lots of history. Itís also relatively inexpensive and a major railway hub.
A day trip to Naples wonít do it justice, plus itís cheaper to stay in Naples than Rome.
you should also avoid the mistake of trying to see too much in one trip. Sometimes itís nice to take it slow and enjoy life
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Old Jun 14, 19, 7:59 pm
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Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Worst case scenario, I can skip the south of Italy in its entirety, and make my way down there whenever I go back to Europe and check out Greece (maybe a Greece + south Italy trip) or something like that.
I hope I donít offend you by making a guess that you are still quite young. This means you have time, so donít rush it, enjoy one country or even one region at a time. Sicily alone is almost too big for one trip. Then there is Naples. Puglia and other provinces in the south. Greece is all together different story even if it shares some of its history with Italy
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Old Jun 15, 19, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post

you can visit all the places you listed without driving.

Venice is amazing and you can spend weeks there with things to do and see. Yet there are people who claim they have seen everything in a day or two. Itís true of many places, I guess. It can also be extremely expensive, so you have to plan accordingly, especially in high season

Google the cities around Bologna and see what you like. Ravenna was the capital of the Byzantine governor of the West and has amazing architecture and mosaics. Parma and Modena have architecture and food that will make your head spin. Bologna is a student city with good food and lots of history. Itís also relatively inexpensive and a major railway hub.
A day trip to Naples wonít do it justice, plus itís cheaper to stay in Naples than Rome.
you should also avoid the mistake of trying to see too much in one trip. Sometimes itís nice to take it slow and enjoy life
Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post


I hope I donít offend you by making a guess that you are still quite young. This means you have time, so donít rush it, enjoy one country or even one region at a time. Sicily alone is almost too big for one trip. Then there is Naples. Puglia and other provinces in the south. Greece is all together different story even if it shares some of its history with Italy
Great, I'll do that! Hopefully day trips from the major hub cities to the smaller ones are doable so I don't need to keep moving my luggage around.

Early 30s, so young, but not so young!
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Old Jun 15, 19, 10:47 pm
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Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Thank you! I'd like to be budget conscious, but also don't feel comfortable driving on my own there, so I'll have to rely on wherever public transpo (maybe Uber) can take me
Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Yikes, so it looks like I'd need to cut out Bologna, possibly in its entirety if I wanted to do the Naples and surrounding area visits? Maybe I could do 2 days in Bologna instead of the recommended 4, and then 2 in Naples. I am certain I'll be missing out on quite a bit, but as I am limited on time, I don't have much of an option
Forget about Uber in Italy. It is practically non-existent, and is more expensive than a taxi, private car, or train.

Yes, you will be missing out on quite a bit because you are not going anywhere, just flitting about from one town to the next. There are many thousands of great things to see in Italy, but you just can't see them all at once. It's like, "If it's Tuesday, this must be Ravenna." Why Ravenna, San Marino, Cinque Terre? Choose a place or two, and go there. Every time you add a place, you have lost the possibility to know the place where you are at. At such a pace, you might as well just stay on a plane and fly over it, because you aren't going to experience anything about the nature of the place you are going to visit in a day or two, much less a couple of hours.

You have to go to one or two places and stay there. I've been to Naples maybe 7-8 times. Usually for periods of at least a few weeks. I think it was in either 2013 or 2014 I went to Summer School there. Although my apartment was air conditioned and in the most interesting neighborhood, the landlord was a nut, so after class I would just walk, and walk, up and down every hill, or along the Lungamare, or seashore. I never saw so many restaurants, bars, churches, museums, stores that weren't fascinating, so that having stayed there collectively I'd say for almost a year, I can't say I, "got in Naples."

Of course, Naples stands for pizza. You have never eaten pizza until you have it in Naples. The pizza scene starts around 7 at night, when the good places in the old part of the city, Via dei Tribunale, start to open, during which time there are already crowds waiting to get in. You give your name, and if they like you, they'll get you in; in about two hours. They don't take reservations. Some do, but the major places don't. You stand outside for a few hours, but you don't actually have to do that. You don't want to ruin your appetite by eating, but you can go to a bar and have a drink, go for a walk and see a site, if there is a soccer game there will be an outside screen and you can join the crowd and have a drink and enjoy the zest. Just keep checking back, and see when the estimate is that you will get in.

Since the artwork and museums of Naples, if they were in Rome or Florence, would be among the most famous in the world, you can go to them and instead of spending hours standing in a crowd to look at the tiny Mona Lisa in the Louvre, you can sit with similar masterpieces in a room by yourself, and contemplate them.

But it is OLD. I think it is the second or third oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world. Old means dark, unfamiliar, and gives a dangerous feel. It's not like walking down Fifth Avenue in NYC. However, the crime rate in Naples is lower than the crime rate in Milan in the North. Milan, by a long, long way, is the city with the highest crime rate in Italy, followed by Bologna, then Florence.

But it does look scary. The Global Safety Index ranks Iceland as the safest country, followed by New Zealand, Austria, and Canada. The USA is 59th, and it is important to consider that many of the places ranked lower than the USA are plagued by civil war or famine.

Why are people afraid of Naples, when there are only two countries in the industrialized world that have a worse safety record than the USA; Russia and the Ukraine. The USA ranks below Panama, Uruguay, Ghana, etc, for safety, so why worry about Naples, that has less crime than London or Paris? If you look at the World Criminality Index, Naples is safer than Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, and 11 other US cities, and it has so much to offer, and is only a one hour train ride from Rome. As one of the oldest cities in the world its crumbling streets have their own beauty that may not match the elegance of Rome or Milan, but Naples has by far, less crime than places like Florence.'

Don't believe me? You are way more likely to be physically assaulted in Milan or Torino, more likely to get raped or sexually assaulted in Bologna or Florence, than in Naples:

https://www.corriere.it/datablog/l'i...?refresh_ce-cp

Just don't look at Italy as a place to flit around from city to city to take pictures in front of monuments. Go there to experience what it is like to live there, so when you come back you can appreciate what you have at home, and adopt some of the better things in life that you do not have at home.

Naples over Cinque Terre is a no-brainer.
KLouis and rebelx like this.

Last edited by Perche; Jun 15, 19 at 11:09 pm
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Old Jun 16, 19, 8:25 am
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My first trip to Italy was 5 weeks and I only scratched the surface of some of the major tourist sites. I sounds like you would enjoy tourist centres so stick with some of the major ones.

Venezia - a couple of days is enough
Firenze - is an amazing city with fantastic art and major sites. From Firenze you can visit the major tourist sites of Tuscany. Take a bus day tour to San Gimignano, Sienna and Pisa. Your Instagram will love you.
Roma - is a busy city with a lot to see and day trips to Orvieto, Frascati or even Amalfi Coast will give you many great memories.

I would stick with these major cities and regions. You can include Amalfi Coast which is spectacular and easily accessible with a 2 or 3 day bus tour from Roma.

Trains are excellent (there is no need to drive) and many of the sites I mention are accessible by tourist bus tours which are not as bad as they sound.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by sydunipete View Post
My first trip to Italy was 5 weeks and I only scratched the surface of some of the major tourist sites. I sounds like you would enjoy tourist centres so stick with some of the major ones.

Venezia - a couple of days is enough
Firenze - is an amazing city with fantastic art and major sites. From Firenze you can visit the major tourist sites of Tuscany. Take a bus day tour to San Gimignano, Sienna and Pisa. Your Instagram will love you.
Roma - is a busy city with a lot to see and day trips to Orvieto, Frascati or even Amalfi Coast will give you many great memories.

I would stick with these major cities and regions. You can include Amalfi Coast which is spectacular and easily accessible with a 2 or 3 day bus tour from Roma.

Trains are excellent (there is no need to drive) and many of the sites I mention are accessible by tourist bus tours which are not as bad as they sound.
Thanks!

This is what I have so far:


aug 29 - (arrive in morning) venice
aug 30 - venice
aug 31 - venice/florence [meaning, this is a travel day to florence, but undecided on which time of day to make the journey to florence]
sept 1 - florence (pisa day trip) (this could also be the 13hr tour I saw of pisa + cinque terra in one day--if I do this, I get an extra full day in florence)
sept 2 - florence (cinque terre day trip)
sept 3 - florence
sept 4 - ? (bologna?) (this could also be another day in Florence, especially if I have to take day trips on two separate days)
sept 5 - ? (bologna? + day trip)
sept 6 - ? (bologna?
sept 7 - ? (bologna?)
sept 8 - ? [partial travel day to naples, OR travel day to naples very early in the morning on the 8th]
sept 9 - naples
sept 10 - naples (mt vesuvious/pompeii day trip)
sept 11 - positano
sept 12 - positano/rome [travel to rome day probably in the afternoon, so i can get one more morning in positano] (is this too short in positano? maybe I can add a day and do a day trip water tour thing to amalfi?)
sept 13 - rome
sept 14 - rome [vatican]
sept 15 - rome
sept 16 - rome
sept 17 - rome fly out [flying out is in the early morning, no exploration on this day]

Definitely agree with your comments about instagram, lol. I like taking pictures!
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