Hi my fiance and I are planning our 10-day/9-night honeymoon to Italy in mid October. We'll most likely fly in and out of Venice, and would also like to see Florence and the Cinque Terre area. If time permits, we also have an interest in getting out to see some other parts of Tuscany. I've been to Rome and Naples before... fiance has never been to Italy. We are very excited but need help allocating our days and choosing cities/locations to visit. If you had 10 days, how & where would you spend them? Thoughts also welcome on the train vs. car question. Thanks in advance!
I would do 2 nights in Venice, and rent a car drive to Lucca 2 nights and spend just the day in Pisa. Continue to Cinque Terre for 3 nights and Florence for 3 nights. Leave the car in Florence don't need a car there and fly home from there. However in CQ you don't want a car. Perhaps you can leave it in CQ and train to Florence. Lorie
You won't need a car at all for this trip. Just take the train from Venice to Florence and then to the CT. It's all very easy. With only 10 days I would pick two cities and spend the time there. If you add more you lose a lot of time with changing locations and hotels. Venice, Florence and the CT have so much to offer that you won't be bored. Save some cities for the next trip, Donna
If you're flying into and out of Venice, presumably you'd be staying in Venice your last night before flying out the next day. So, I'd suggest you'd need three of your nine nights in Venicethe first two nights and the last. That leaves six nights. I'd suggest three in Florence (with a day trip by bus to/from Sienayou get to see the countryside both ways) and three in Cinque Terre. I'd take the train and not bother with a car.
Arrive VCE 3 Nights in Venice train to Florence 6 Nights in Florence (use as base to visit Tuscany and the Cinque Terre)
Fly back from Florence October is an unpredictable month in terms of weather. It tends to be rainy, especially the latter half. For the Cinque Terre you should plan to do it as a day trip from Florence on a day when the weather happens to be good. You should leave as early as possible in the morning (6:08 train will get you to La Spezia at 8:51). In October days are shorter, therefore you can head back to Florence in early evening. Alternatively, you could borrow 2 nights from Florence and spend it there. You should not fly back from VCE if you can. If your last part of your trip you are in Florence, you should depart from Florence. If you are at the Cinque Terre, you should choose to depart from Pisa or Genoa or Florence or Milan (in order of distance from the Cinque Terre). In any case the night before the flight back you cannot sleep at the Cinque Terre, you need to be closer to the airport (whichever city you decide to depart from).
Thanks for the replies everyone! The question of which airport to fly in and out of is still very much in flux right now. We have enough frequent flier miles on American to cover one of our tickets; if we were to do this, the other person would need a fare ticket on the same flights. Unfortunately, this limits our options and open-jaw itineraries (say, into Venice and out of Florence) become prohibitively expensive. But if getting back to Venice for the sake of using our miles becomes too much of a hassle or uses up too much vacation time, we're willing to forgo the frequent flier mile thing and just buy two tickets ourselves. What do you think, are the frequent flier miles worth it or not? Also, can you describe the weather to me in greater detail? I'm interested to know what to expect -- we'd be looking at Oct 13th-23rd or so.
American does not fly to either VCE or FLR. It is a partner with British Airways, however assuming AA can accommodate you on a BA flight via LHR using your miles, the choices with BA from LHR to VCE are limited (only one daily flight to VCE and none from/to FLR). BA does fly to Bologna BLQ with 3 daily pairs. Bologna is half way between VCE and FLR (about 1 hr south of VCE and 40 min north of FLR, via fast train). AA is also partner with Iberia (which is part of the same parent company that owns BA). So maybe you might have a chance via MAD. Air Nostrum, part of Iberia flies to both VCE and BLQ (not FLR). However if you are in Davis, CA, IB does not fly to SFO (BA does, 2 daily pairs to LHR), therefore you'd be forced to 2 stops along the way to Italy. SFO-LHR-BLQ (or VCE) with BA would be your fastest choice. In my experience with AA miles, you might be stuck with a flight in and out of Milan Malpensa (MXP) via JFK. In that case your itinerary would be SFO-JFK-MXP (and viceversa on the way back). If you decide not to use AA miles, the best option from SFO for an open jaw to VCE from FLR is with Lufthansa (or partner United) or AirFrance (via FRA or CDG respectively) Look at the prices for that period. I don't know how many miles AA require, but if you can equal 1mile=2cents you'll be doing great (in other words if they ask for 50,000 miles and the price is at least $1000, it's a good deal). The weather in October is really unpredictable. Temperatures are still warm generally, or at least mild, but it might be rainy at times. Not a big deal in Venice or Florence, but a bummer if it rains while at the Cinque Terre.
For the "open jaws" option, be sure you're selekting "Multiple Cities" on the airline's website and not two one-way tickets. The price difference is enormous.
Thanks Roberto! We would indeed be using BA to get there, I'm pretty sure American allows trips on partner airlines using miles. By your 1 mile=2 cents rule, we're doing well by using the miles. We'll just need to figure out whether it's worth it to try and use American or not, based on how much of a hassle the fare ticket turns out to be. Michael -- thanks for the reply -- yep, definitely been checking flights using multi-city, not one-way. Open jaw is still insane. American's website prices IAD-->LHR-->VCE, then home by way of BLQ-->LHR-->BWI (diff. DC-area airports not an issue for us) at ~$5,000. For one person. Unreal!
Libby, I just booked my family from IAD to ROM and from VCE to IAD on United for $1700 per person round trip. We are traveling in July (high season) and have a non-stop to Rome and back thru Germany on the return. I noticed traveling in/out of Bologna was a bit cheaper too. We are spending the 1st day/night in Rome and then taking the train to Lucca and using Lucca as our home base for a week before taking the train to Venice. Last 2 days/nights will be in Venice. We plan on visiting Pisa, CT, San Gimignano, Florence, etc all as 'day trips' using the trains/bus out of Lucca. Good travels!