10 BUSY Days in Italy: Is it too much?

I am taking my 14 year old daughter to Italy (I've been before) and when I examine my itinerary, I think 'hey, it's all good' and then I stay awake at night worrying if it's too much. I've seen Pisa, but she hasn't, so I feel compelled to add it. And is a 'day-trip' from Rome to Naples (taking Rick's walking tour, perhaps with mace in hand), then to Pompeii for three hours, and Sorrento for dinner and back again to Rome too much? Any and all advice, input, anecdotal help is all greatly appreciated. Here is The Plan: 3/23 Fly to Rome 3/24 Arrive in Rome by 16:00: take "Heart of Rome" walking tour around city 3/25 Rome: Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, Le Domus Romane, Appian Way, "Dolce Vita Stroll" 3/26 Rome: Baths of Diocletian, National Museum, Borghese Gallery, Trajan's Column, Capitoline Museums 3/27 Day trip to Naples (9-12:45), Pompeii (13:30-16:30), Sorrento (17:00-20:00) 3/28 Day trip to Orvieto & Civita 3/29 Vatican City (8:00-11:30); leave Rome to Venice for late check-in & dinner 3/30 Venice: Grand Canal, St. Mark's, Doge's Palace, Correr Museum, Basilica, Rialto Bridge, Frasi Church 3/31 Leave Venice, pop in to Pisa (3hrs by train), settle in Florence by 13:00 to see Medici Chapels, Accademia Gallery, and Uffitzi Gallery (with Florence Card) 4/1 Florence: Mercato Centrale, Climb Duomo, Duomo Museum, Museum of Precious Stones, Bargello, Palazzo Vechio, Ponte Vecchio, Mercato Nuovo 4/2 Leave Florence, head to Siena for 4 hours, then to Rome by 18:00
4/3 Leave Rome for USA.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

I am a bit more of a laid-back traveler, so yes this schedule would make me crazy. I have taken three teenagers/ preteens to Europe...(all one at a time) and if I would have presented them with this they would have felt like they were going to school. I know there are so many things for them to experience and learn, but when it becomes grueling it will turn into a disaster instead of the memory of a lifetime. When is there time to just enjoy her and sit in a cafe and watch European life? I know the way I travel is not for everyone, but each of my grandkids loved their trips and had a lot of input into what we did, but it was all very relaxed, and if we missed something, so be it... we gained something else. Above all I would want to make the trip so special that she makes it a priority to travel the rest of her life.

Posted by Patty
Temecula, CA, USA
10 posts

Thank you for your replies. On my first (and only) visit, my son and I took EF Tours which looked something like this schedule, so I guess it is a bit much (although we didn't get to see many museumjust demonstrations so our tour group would buy things). I just don't know what to cut out. I'm an early riser & hoped to get out to sights by eight, break for lunch, see a bit more, and then call it a day by six most evenings. What should I leave out or remove from the list? Is Naples worth seeing? What about some of the museums? Siena? In my head, we can do it all! :D

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4866 posts

This seems like a forced march to see and do everything. I think you have your days so full, at the end of the trip it will all be a jumbled together blur. I would skip Naples, have less scheduled in Rome, and use that extra day to do what you couldn't fit into the other days. Only you can decide what to drop, based on your interests. Remember that Italy isn't going anywhere and you can always go back. In Florence you have a lot scheduled, especially considering you don't even arrive until the afternoon. I would either skip Pisa (does you daughter really care about it?), or cut things from Florence. Don't forget to take some time to just wander, people watch, enjoy sitting in a cafe and just soaking up your surroundings. I hope you have a wonderful time with your daughter. She will always remember this trip!

Posted by Tom
Farmingville, New York, USA
302 posts

Way too busy. You will never see anything get to see all the places you have listed so pick the ones you really want to see and leave the rest off. If I had to choose with the small amount of time you have I would focus on Rome, Florence and Venice and save the rest for the next trip. 10 days is not alot of time. The first and last day are wasted and travel time in between places has to be considered. Since it's costs so much to get there and back see if you can extend the trip by 4 days so you can see more or cut it back as suggested.

Posted by ekc
Portland, OR
282 posts

Skip the day trip to Naples/Pompeii and Siena. Even then you are MUCH too busy for my taste.

Posted by Jenny
Salem, Oregon, USA
209 posts

This does look very busy, but most of it won't be set in stone. Consider this: Rome: Four nights three full one half and one quarter days: 3-24 through 3-27 Only a trip to Naples and possibly the Vatican Museums needs to arranged in advance. I would substitute a day trip to Ostia Antica for Naples and Pompeii as its only about 30 minutes from Rome and just as cool. Consider your list of other things to do as menu of possibilities. Decide each evening what to do the next day. Front load the things you most want to do. Enjoy what you see and don't worry if you get through the whole list. Don't do two day trips in a row. Venice: Two nights and one full day 3-28 through 3-29 Skip Pisa Florence: Three nights and two and one half days 3-30 through 4-1
(Do the Acadamia and the Uffitzi the first afternoon. Consider the rest of your plans items on the menu. Put a day trip to Lucca or Siena on the menu. Don't do both.) Rome: One night and 3/4 day 4-2 through 4-3

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2392 posts

You have way too much planned for 12 days. I would suggest cutting out all of your day trips and splitting your time evenly between Venice, Florence and Rome. You have so much listed for each city that you'll need at least 4 days in each to see them. For your day trips you have not taken into account the amount of time to get from one place to another. You'll need to be at the Rome train station no later than 7am if you wish to make it to Naples by 9. You have 3 hours listed to see Pompeii but that site alone takes the whole day. You won't be able to see more than a street or two. Then going to Sorrento for a few hours before heading back to Rome, which you won't get to before 11pm or so. Just stick with the 3 main cities and enjoy the sites you have listed. You can always come back to visit other cities. One thing you might look at is either flying into Venice and out of Rome or going straight to Venice on your first day and working your way to Rome. Donna

Posted by Patty
Temecula, CA, USA
10 posts

Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions! I like them so much that I've printed your comments to guide my revision of my itinerary. I think Naples is out for sure, and I'll look into Ostia Antica. Siena might be out, too. You're right, of course: none of it is set in stone and we'll see how we feel as we go (making reservations just for the ones that require it). The flight is already booked (even though it isn't until next springI'm enthusiastic like that) as well as the stay in Venice for two nights, so we're fairly locked in to where we have to be (and can't add days due to end of school holiday). Again, thank you so very much!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4866 posts

If you still plan to go to the Borghese Gallery you will need to get your tickets in advance. Just not this far in advance! :-)

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2172 posts

I'm tired just by reading your itinerary. One thing you did well: ing just 3 different lodges. But you totally overdo it on day-trips. Believe me, with such limited time there is already much to see without filling your day with more and more rides in trains and else. First, I'd invert the other of cities you ed. I'd head for Venezia by train the day I arrived, or even try to arrive there first place by a connecting flight. So it would be like this: 3/23 Fly to Rome 3/24 travel to Venezia by train, settle down and unwind 3/25 Venezia (cut some sites of your list and save some time to walk on off-the-beaten path neighborhoods) 3/26 travel early to Pisa, backtrack to Firenze, go for external activities 3/27 Firenze 3/28 Firenze 3/29 travel to Orvieto (leave Civita out), then arrive in Roma and enjoy some passegiata in the evening 3/30 Roma 3/31 day-trip to Napoli and Pompeii (consider including Ercolano, but going to Sorrento is too much for a day-trip) 4/1 Roma 4/2 Roma
4/3 depart for USA With this route, you avoid some pitfalls and optimize your schedule. You use your first day (jet-lag) to travel to Venezia instead of a scheduled walk tour. You use your last day to the fullest before flying back, without worries about packing for a one-night stay in Roma (thus reducing the overall hotel check-in counts from 4 to 3). Sorrento and Citiva will have to wait for another trip.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5736 posts

Dial it back. Dial it WAAAAAAAY back. You're getting good advice above.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

Good to see you are only layng your heads down in three places. Smart. Andre has a good idea about reversing the order, but with a 16:00 arrival, I'd say it's too late in the day to make that transfer. My two cents, in addition to excellent advice above: - Skip Siena - Skip Pompeii/Naples, etc. - Skip Pisa. As it is you will never get to all the places you have listed for Florence on the two days you have there - Subtract one night from Rome and add it to either Florence or Venice. By dropping the day trip to Naples, etc., you can easily "afford" to do this. You said you had your nights booked in Venice, but surely it's not too late to adjust that res to either arrive a day early or add a night. - On March 25 you have way too busy a day. Skip Appian Way/save for "next time." It's 5-6 hour deal to do it right and you have plenty already in that day. Le Domus Romane is fabulous. Glad you are planning on it. Last I knew, English tours only at 1:30 each day, reserve in advance. - March 25 - 3 museums is an awful lot even for museum junkies. They will all be a blur. I try not to do more than one per day. Unless it is pouring rain and there's nothing else to do. - Do the Vatican on a day you are not transferring to another place. Leave yourself some time and don't block yourself in
- Go to Venice first thing in the morning on the 29th so you have a little more time there. It is marvelous. Finally, don't be so wedded to this itinerary that you can't ditch something and just enjoy being in Italy. Plans are made to be changed. And Italy may throw you are curve or two that will force some moderation. :-) Go with the flow.

Posted by Patty
Temecula, CA, USA
10 posts

OOOhhhhhh! What fabulous people you are! Thank you for your wisdom, your shared experiences, and your guidance. I have already rearranged my schedule to one similar to Andre's suggestion (brilliant, I might add). I understand it will be a heck of jaunt to Venice following a lengthy flight, but I will try. I will toss some of the items for Venice. Siena and Sorrento are gone (still checking into Pompeii vs. Ostia Antica) as well as Appian Way (maybe we'll just ride bikes and pull over here and there). With five nights and six days in Rome sandwiched together now, I have a FREE day with no plans in the Eternal City! Wow! Now I can spread out all those museums visits (and you're quite rightI teach World History and can tolerate hours upon hours of bits of pottery and frescoes, but my teen daughter will probably huff away from me in a snit after the first few). I am so thankful, my fellow travelers. May all your journeys bring you happiness and joy.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17733 posts

Patty, As someone else mentioned, I was exhausted just reading your proposed Itinerary. Yes, it's FAR too busy and some parts may not even be possible. Don't underestimate the effects of jet lag. You may not get as much touring done as you've planned for the first few days. I'd suggest skipping Pisa, as it's not worth the effort just for a quick look at the Tower. Keep in mind that you'll be hauling luggage so would have to store that while you're at the Tower. While your Itinerary may be feasible under ideal conditions, it's important to remember this is Italy, and transportation doesn't always operate with the same precision as in other countries. IMO, the trip would be far more enjoyable for both of you if it was structured at a slower pace. Happy travels!

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

Patty,
I was dubious about Ostia Antica until I moved here. We went to Pompeii last December while traveling (Ercolano too) and loved it, but Ostia also offered excellent insight into Roman cities. Only missing is the volcano. What Vesuvius did to Pompeii, the river and a shifting economy did to Ostia (but not as destructive). It is accessible and easy. You can wake up one morning without plans or reservations, seize the day to go to Ostia and be back in Rome for lunch. You might also consider letting your daughter do some wandering on her own while you feed your museum habit. Especially in Venice. The worst thing that can happen is she'll get a little lost. :-)

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Patty... Andre's solution looks much better... but I would still try to leave one smaller place to visit (possibly Pisa) otherwise she will have the experience of only big cities, which is not an overview of the whole country of Italy. I would give up on one of the days in a city for a wonderful day in a village to find 'la dolce vita'!
I see now that you teach World History so you schedule makes a bit more sense to me, but history may not be her passion.

Posted by Cathy
Baltimore
49 posts

Hi Patty, We were in Italy about a month ago with a 15 year old and a 13 year old, both of whom really like history and are good troopers. And we found that one major site per day was plenty, combined with some walking around to see other things on the way, and a gelato stop, and an evening ramble. Taking some time just to soak up the atmosphere was great for both kids. Their favorites were Rome and Pompeii, because they had studied both in school, so had the thrill of seeing them come to life. They liked the hill towns of Tuscany for a while, but we went to 4 over the course of a week, and that was too much for them; they said they all started blending together. Of the ones we visited, their favorites were Volterra for the Roman ruins, and Siena. Our approach in Rome was to get out around 9:00 and see something, head back after lunch to our apartment around 3:00, take a break, and then head out for dinner and evening ramble. In Tuscany we would spend a full day out and get back to the villa around 4:00 or so for a swim. It was hot and that helped us slow down too! In Venice, just wandering around was the highlight, not the museums. We really pared down the museum visiting to 4 or 5 for the whole two weeks. You'll have an amazing time with your daughter!

Posted by Cathy
Baltimore
49 posts

Forgot to say that one of their very favorite things we did was a one day bike trip in the Tuscan countryside. We were staying in the country, but most people came from Florence, where there was van transportation. Beautiful ride, fun people, a nice break from history and art for the kids (and us!)

Posted by Jeff
Richmond, Ky, USA
226 posts

Great advice from everyone. It is a long trip from Rome to Venice, so why not think about flying into Rome, and out of Venice? Jeff