1 week in italy itinerary help!

I have one week (actually more like 5.5 days) in Italy at the beginning of May with my SO. Last May we did one week in Rome and the Amalfi and loved it.

We are flying into Venice (9pm Sunday) and out of Pisa (3pm Saturday) and these flights are pretty fixed. Right now we are considering the following itinerary.

Fly into Venice, stay there Sunday night > Explore Venice Monday morning > Take the train/rent a car and drive to Bologna Mon afternoon > Stay in Bologna Mon and Tues nights > Transit to Modena/Parma Wed morning and stay in one of the towns. Would like to do a ham/cheese tour > Transit to Cinque Terre Thurs morning > Stay in Cinque Terre Thurs and Fri nights, do the hike > Transit to Lucca Sat morning for breakfast/lunch > Transit to Pisa and go directly to the airport (not interested in exploring Pisa).

We are both in our mid-twenties and quite adventurous and the main purpose of our trip is EATING. First of all, is this way too much to pack into one week? I am also wondering whether we should rent a car and drive or take the train (could also train partway, say Venice to Bologna and then drive the rest of the way). We like the idea of having a car to be able to stop along the way but also realize we have limited time. We did drive on the amalfi coast last year (around Positano) and found it alright.

Alternatively, we could do Venice, Bologna, Florence, Lucca and fly out of Pisa but the SO really wants to see Cinque Terre.

Much thanks in advance.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

Though Venice is not a great town for eating, I would spend more time there than just 1/2 day. I seems that you like to cover a lot of places in a short span of time -- but I prefer seeing less and seeing it better -- particularly Venice.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

For a first time visit to Venice, I'm guessing that, after it's all over, you're going to wish you had given yourself more time in Venice than just one jet-lagged night plus the next morning.The other thing that got my attention is your Saturday schedule: Waking up Saturday, checking out of your hotel in one of the CT villages, getting to the train station, getting to Lucca, getting from the train station to a place to eat in Lucca, getting back to the train station, and getting from Lucca to the Pisa Airport in time to process in and catch a 3pm flight home. It's not clear that having a car really increases your chances of pulling off that Saturday schedule: the CT is one of the more useless places in Italy to have a car (I once made that mistake) and so is Lucca (no cars within the walls, which is where you'd want to go). Having a car would mean you'd have to burn up the time to turn in the car at the airport.Unlike your other days, if things on Saturday don't go perfectly (and getting from point A to B in Italy has a way of not going exactly as planned), you risk missing your flight. I'd see Lucca on your next trip.

Posted by Gio
Chicago, Illinois, USA
584 posts

Hey, Alexa,

I think it's a decent itinerary for such a short visit, BUT strongly recommend you consider, with just six nights, sacrificing at least a little breadth for some additional depth. Perhaps Sunday and Monday night in Venice (2 nights); 2 nights in EITHER Bologna or Parma; and then 2 nights in Cinque Terre, traveling to Pisa directly from there on the day of your departure. Or skip Bologna and Parma, and plan a night or two in Lucca before you depart via Pisa. It's not that you couldn't do your trip as planned, being young and adventurous, it's just that the quality of your experience (of Venice, for instance) simply could not be the same with just one night and no full day there. Buon viaggio!

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
332 posts

The Old Town part of Lucca is restricted, no cars unless you have a special permit.

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

What draws you to Bologna? I would skip this day and a half and add it onto the CT to Lucca to Pisa marathon.

Posted by Alexa
Toronto, ON, Canada
2 posts

Thanks for all the help!

Ok, I think you guys are absolutely right and we've decided to focus a bit more on depth:

Venice Sunday and Monday night > Parma Tuesday and Wednesday night (maybe a day trip to Modena) > Cinque Terre Thursday and Friday night > Drive directly to Pisa on Sat morn for an afternoon flight out.

Now we have to decide whether to drive or take the train. If we took the train would we be able to rent a scooter/car in Parma to take a day trip to Modena or a culinary tour?