As the title says I am planning our next trip to Europe. The last one was fantastic but a bit ambitious, Paris, Dordogne, Provence, Florence and Rome in two weeks. For the next trip we want to go back to Paris for 3 or 4 nights, Rome (get an apartment) for 4 or 5 nights and maybe Tuscany or Chianti in between to see the smaller towns and eat the local food. I am thinking a little over two weeks and looking for some other stops along the way that will be logistically sound. Possibly a train through Switzerland on the way to Italy? Fly Paris to Milan and then drive South? I'm open to suggestions for 2 or 3 nights along the way, what say you?
It sounds to me like you are possibly being too ambitious again. For two weeks I would do something like Paris 4-5 nights, Rome 4-5 nights and spend the rest of the time in Tuscany 4-5 nights. Those are the locations you originally mentioned. Remember that 2 nights in a location is equal to one full day there, so 4 nights gives you 3 days, etc. You can do a day trip from Paris and/or Rome if you like. I would fly into Paris and then fly from Paris to Pisa or Florence and rent a car for Tuscany. Return the car in Tuscany or Orvieto (Umbria) and train to Rome. Fly home from Rome. If you have extra time you could fly from Paris to Venice and then go to Tuscany from there. You could easily reverse the order. If you start adding other countries you will be more rushed again. The more time you spend in transit the less you have to actually do things.
When are you going? Time of year makes a difference. Of all the places I've been in Italy, Milan was the least interesting. Maybe fly to Venice/Verona, then train to Rome. Or take a car, visiting Ravenna, Assisi, Orvieto - not sure where you'd fly into Italy. Milan is too far away.
I love Venice and Verona is one of my favorite towns, but maybe not in the summer.
For Chani's suggestion for Ravenna, etc., you can fly into Bologna or Venice. If you do fly into Milan, you can either go to the lakes or over to Venice via Verona and Padova, or drive south to Florence. In Tuscany, Montalcino is a great little town for food and wine. If you fly into Zurich, the train to Milan goes through beautiful country in southern Switzerland/northern Italy, takes about 4 hours, makes a stop in Como (among other places).
I appreciate the replies so far...
Andrea I'm trying to avoid being overly ambitious by making logistics a little better than last time. I've learned that just because things seem close on the map it's not always easy to get from one area to another so I'm looking for some easier connections. Channi, We are planning for late May which I think gives us a lot of options without the summer heat and crowds. We don't mind the travel days since it is part of the overall experience and do plan on settling in Rome and Paris to enjoy a slower pace without having to fill every second with sightseeing. I am looking forward to sitting at a cafe and people watching for several hours at a time and exploring better restaurants. We'll nap in the middle of the day to stay out later at night while in the big cities. This time I think I'll leave a few nights open and wing it for accommodations to be more flexible. I just don't want to end up with an all day train ride or multiple modes of transport in a single day if I can avoid it.
Late May in Italy is probably quite warm and crowded with tourists (based on my experience in October). If you rent a car in Italy, you can probably wing it. Most people prefer to book ahead. While it does mean no flexibility, it also means that you don't spend a lot of time looking for lodgings, especially for one-night stays. To a great extent it depends on how flexible you are with rooms - both amenities and prices.