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10 days in Italy- how many cities?

We're planning a trip to Italy in March. We will be flying in and out of Rome. I am debating whether we should try to fit in 3 cities, or just stick to 2. I have been to Italy, but this is my husband's first time... Not sure if we should hit the 3 "popular" choices (Rome, Venice, Florence), or if we should venture down to Naples and the Almafi Coast..... I have no idea what to expect as far as weather goes that time of year. Any suggestions would be great!

Posted by
8542 posts

Do you have ten days, not including travel days? Its easier to plan on how many nights. Are you committed to in and out from Rome?

Posted by
1059 posts

I agree with Jim. Do not miss Venice. It is an amazing city, like no other.

Posted by
7365 posts

Daylight hours in March are 8:00am - 4:30pm, so try to plan indoor events, museums, etc. in the evening.

I would hit the big 3 and also try to stop on the way at one of the smaller villages or route through Verona on the way to Venice. If you haven't booked your flight, yet, you could gain half a day by flying back home from Venice or the opposite route.

Posted by
14 posts

We will have 9 full days (and 9 nights). While I am not completely decided on flying in and out of Rome, it is the most affordable way to do it (by far).
I was thinking of doing 4 nights in Rome, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Florence. My husband thinks that we would be trying to crowd in too much by doing more than 2 cities.... His big interest is Rome, but he does not care very much about museums or churches, so I think that the full 9 days in Rome would be a bit much (not to mention the fact that I personally prefer Florence and Venice)...

Posted by
792 posts

every ticket I have researched has shown Milan to be the cheapest. And that is where I entered

Posted by
14098 posts

It depends on where your home airport is but if you have to back track to Rome to get your departure flight you might come out the same when you figure in train tickets back to your starting point. Many find it easier to fly IN to Venice rather than departing from Venice. Flying from the Western part of the US it was easier to fly Seattle to Venice via Amsterdam than trying to get in to Milan.

Also, you may be used to booking open jaw tickets but if not, make sure you are looking at your airfares using the multi-city or multi-destination tab on your airline website and not looking at one way flights to and from.

Posted by
7051 posts

If your husband is not interested in museums and churches, what's his big interest in Rome? If it's the ancient ruins you can cover that in 3 full days. I would do as you suggested - 4 nights Rome, 2 nights Venice, 3 nights Florence. But I agree that you should look into open jaw - either to Rome and from Venice or to Venice and from Rome. If it's a bit more expensive, compare the cost ($ and time) of getting back to Rome to fly out of there. If you decide to just do 2 cities such as Florence and Rome then the round trip to Rome makes more sense. If your husband really doesn't like museums and churches maybe Rome/Naples/Amalfi would be more to his liking.

Posted by
14 posts

Milan has shown up as close to the same price as Rome, but I really have no interest in going there.- Been there, done that, and can name a ton of Italian cities that I prefer.

Do any of you know good sites to look at open jaw flights? The only ones that I have found are Expedia and Skyscanner. I do agree that even if it is a little more expensive, that would make things easier!

Posted by
15897 posts

You don't have to STAY in Milan: just fly into it and go directly to Venice if prices are favorable. Fly out of Rome. You'll save a lot of time not backtracking to the same city you flew into.

But it would be nice to know what your husband's interests are if not museums and churches? Florence is loaded with both and are the primary reason most travelers go there. It's a nice base for day trips to some smaller towns but your time is limited so if not interested in the city itself, you might want a different choice.

The Amafli is nice but most of the ferries do not run in March although you can get around by bus or to some locations by train. It would be a nice time of year for Pompeii and Herculaneum if antiquities are your Other Half's interests.

Posted by
3610 posts

For open jaw flights, just use the airlines' sites. We almost always do open jaw, and rarely , if ever, have found it more expensive than rt. Don't forget that transportation back to your starting point isn't free, and the time it takes to get there is wasted. With just 10 days, you need to make every one count.

Posted by
2455 posts

Travel gal, where do you live? That would give people better information concerning multi-city air travel. And what are your and your husband's major interests -- history, scenery, outdoor activities, art and architecture, food and wine, religion, or other things?

Posted by
8183 posts

If you can get a non-stop into and out of Rome, take it. If not, go open jaw, into Venice and out of Rome.
I agree with you: "I was thinking of doing 4 nights in Rome, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Florence."

But don't go for any 6:00 am flight out of Rome as you'll just end up flying to another gateway European city and sitting around until midday.

Posted by
8183 posts

If you can get a non-stop into and out of Rome, take it. If not, go open jaw, into Venice and out of Rome.
I agree with you: "I was thinking of doing 4 nights in Rome, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Florence."

But don't go for any 6:00 am flight out of Rome as you'll just end up flying to another gateway European city and sitting around until midday.

Posted by
14 posts

My home is Denver. The flight to Rome goes from Denver to JFK to Rome.

It's not that my husband doesn't want to see any museums or churches. He is just more interested in the culture of a place, the food, people watching, architecture, antiquities, etc.... He's a photographer, so he's really looking forward to getting some good "shots".

I've found tickets for our family from Rome to Venice for around $100, so the expense is not huge. The time, though, is definitely something to consider..

Posted by
2455 posts

I don't know what airline you are planning to use. I looked on the United website, and for the dates I looked at, there were virtually identical fares for (1) round-trip Denver to Rome, the best schedule happened to go through Toronto on Air Canada, and (2) open jaws, going Denver-Frankfurt-Venice on Lufthansa, returning Rome-Toronto-Denver on Air Canada. All the flights had very reasonable departure and arrival times, during the day. I realize maybe you are consulting an airline with a better fare to Rome.

Posted by
11406 posts

FYI, sunrise/sunet in March is far earlier and later than stated above. For example, on 3/15 sunrise is 6:22 and sunset is 18:17. Good daylight hours.

I personally think two nights in Venezia is too short. If your husband is not tha into museums, maybe Firenze should be your two night stop, so 3 Venezia, 2 Firenze and 4 Roma. Or you could do 3-3-3.

Posted by
15620 posts

Are you going to be there over Easter? If so, expect huge crowds in Rome and on trains in and out of Rome.

Posted by
32231 posts

travelgal,

Especially as this is your husband's first trip to Italy, I'd suggest limiting your trip to Venice, Florence and Rome (with perhaps a few day trips). Use open jaw flights inbound to Venice and outbound from Rome. Each of those cities is unique and that will provide a good blend of sights. IMO you don't have time to visit Naples and the Amalfi Coast, unless you drop one of the other locations. Does the 10-days include your flight days?

"I've found tickets for our family from Rome to Venice for around $100"

Could you elaborate on this? What tickets are you referring to?

As you're located in Denver, you may find it helpful to attend the next meeting of the Denver RS group, which meets at 10 AM at Panera Bread in Aspen Grove, on Santa Fe near the Mineral station, south end of the SW light rail line. I'm sure the helpful group there will be able to help you work out all the fine details of your trip.

Posted by
15897 posts

travelgal81, for those who haven't seen your other post, it's worth mentioning here that you're traveling with two children ages 2 and 6 as it may make a difference in what people advise? For instance, I see that a poster on that thread (who had traveled Italy with little ones) expressed some concerns about navigating Venice with a stroller. Not, of course, that you couldn't use a back carrier instead.

Posted by
14 posts

We will be heading back home the day before Easter, so we won't have to worry about too many crowds (although, I am sure we will see some, as people begin to travel to the city).

When I mentioned the $100 to Venice, that was on the train. I believe that particular one takes about 3 1/2hours...

Yes...I apologize....I did fail to mention that we will be traveling with our two children (ages 2 and 6). They are pretty seasoned travelers and used to changes in their daily routines, so I believe that they will do just fine with whatever we decide to do. I'm sure that having them with us will probably bring on challenges I am not even considering, though..

Posted by
1589 posts

You mentioned in your other post that you are taking a 2 yo & 6 yo child- better to go with only 2 cities for this trip.

Posted by
1949 posts

Agree with the above poster to limit to 2 cities, especially with two young children--even if they are seasoned travelers, they are still subject to meltdowns at any time. Your job is to limit them! Here's how I would do it:

Fly JFK into Milan, arriving mid-to-late morning, immediately take the train an hour-and-a-half to Florence. Base nearby the Santa Maria Novella station either in a hotel or, preferably for a family of four, an apartment. It would be so much easier for you, and probably cheaper besides. Spend four nights there, maybe daytripping (walk to the station) to Lucca or Siena or even Venice, or not, grooving in Florence's great markets, groceries, neighborhoods. Everything is walkable. We rented an apartment in this area this last March and did nothing except wander. Weather was cool, occasionally windy, a little rain, but when the sun's out it's glorious, temps in the 40's & 50's. Rome may be about 5 degrees warmer but not that much different.

Then, take the Fresciarossa train to Rome, no more than 90 minutes. I am partial to two neighborhoods--Campo de' Fiori and Trastevere. Both are great for families, walking around, people watching, snapping pictures. And we really enjoyed seeing the sights of Rome by utilizing the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses. In 2010 it was about 20 Euro apiece, I think for 48 hours worth.

After 4-5 days there, fly out of Rome Fiumicino. This itinerary--while not seeing that much of Italy, is far less stressful on your family from the standpoint of only changing hotels once during your trip. And you're still seeing a lot, believe me. One tip--both cities are known for their phenomenal gelato, so use that in any way you need to extract good behavior out of your children!

Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
15315 posts

Count nights not days.

Below are the absolute bare minimum for 3 cities (7 nights on the ground minimum). It's rushed but doable.

Venice: 2 nights
Florence: 2 nights (add more here if you intend to take day trips to the rest of Tuscany)
Rome: 3 nights

if you have more than 7 nights on the ground use the above as your base, and add to the above according to your preference.

I would leave the Amalfi coast for another trip. March may be a bit too early in the year to fully enjoy the place, and frankly there is so much to see there that anything less than 4 nights would be a rush.

Posted by
1234 posts

Use Kayak to quickly check various flight and date combinations of different airlines all at the same time. Use the multi-city option to look for an open jaw option. I just did a quick search on Kayak and found the following:

United USD$1358 pp
Mar 13 DEN-FCO 16.0 hr 2 stops
Mar 23 VCE-DEN 18.5 hr 2 stops

My 2 cents. 3 cities in 9 nights will be very tight but doable. I would suggest Rome 4, Florence 3 and Venice 2.

If you fly in and out of the same city, you will waste about one day/night travelling back to the same city to fly out. Doubling back is always a waste of very valuable time. Save the train money and put $ into the flight to save the time time. Open jaw is the way to go. (According to kayak, the above open jaw is the same price as a round trip to Rome)

It seems obvious to spend a bit more time in Rome because of so many things to see. And it makes sense in your case to start there to give you a good stretch of nights in one place to deal with the jet lag at the beginning of your trip. If you start in VCE, you will still be jet lagged when you have to pack and move in 2 days. And you really cannot afford more time in Venice to recover if you want to do the other cities.

If it were me with two young kids, i probably would just set up camp for nine nights just in Rome and just take the time to really enjoy and relax. There will always a lot to do and see. Even with 9 days , you will not see all that Rome can offer. Putting in alot of miles in a car, train or bus has never been very enjoyable to me, especially when my kids were very young.

Posted by
32231 posts

travelgal,

With ten days you should have enough time to see three cities, even with two small children. The trip from Venice to Rome via high speed train is 3H:45M. If you decide to spend a few days in Florence, the trip from Venice to Florence will be 2H:05M and from Florence to Rome about 90M. For the routes you're travelling, you can also use Italo Treno, which is the competing high speed rail operator in Italy.

If you're willing to commit to specific trains and departure times, you can purchase tickets up to 120 days in advance, and often achieve significant savings. If you want to purchase online, I'd suggest www.capitainetrain.com as they sell tickets for both Trenitalia and Italo.

Posted by
7175 posts

I am going to go against the grain and say 3 nights in Venice, and just 2 in Florence.
However,give yourself extra hours in Florence by travelling Venice to Florence in the morning, and Florence to Rome in the late afternoon.
Day 1 - Arrive in Rome, train to Venice (3 nights)
Day 4 (am) - Train to Florence (2 nights)
Day 6 (pm) - Train to Rome (4 nights)
Day 10 - Depart from Rome

Posted by
32231 posts

I'll also go against the grain and suggest 2 nights in Venice and 3 nights in Florence. This is of course a matter of personal preference, but I'm somewhat ambivalent towards Venice and much prefer Florence. I also find Venice to be somewhat more expensive than other cities in Italy.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm also traveling to Italy in March and will be flying in and out of Rome. We are doing 4 nights in Rome then 2 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence and then back to Rome where we'll stay over for the night before flying out the next morning.

Posted by
1994 posts

You mention that you don't anticipate crowds because you will be flying home the day before Easter. The liturgies start on Thursday, and I would anticipate that Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Rome will be very busy and crowded. This is the most important period in the liturgical year. Consequently, I suggest that you start your trip in Rome and end it in another city. Also, if there any churches you absolutely want to see, I would suggest scheduling the visits before Holy Thursday. Open hours are likely to be restricted on Thursday and Friday.

Posted by
524 posts

We are not big museum and church people either. There is so much to do, that you don't have to be. We like what your Hubbie likes. We did the Vatican, went into about 4 churches and that was enough for us in our 10 day vacation. I would definitely do the big 3, and if possible do open jaw...in Venice out Rome.

Posted by
3217 posts

I'll shake things up a bit. Your husband will soak in a lot of culture in Rome and anywhere in Italy, really. You might want to consider not doing Florence and Venice (shocker from this art history person). I would suggest 5 nights in Rome, museums or no museums. The city is a museum! Then consider, from the photographer's perspective, Naples for street photography only 2 hours from Rome. You could then move on to Sorrento if you are not into the gritty city built on Roman roads, for a base and do Pompeii and/or Herculaneum, the Amalfi coast, head over to Paestum for some Greek temples (and photos), and back up to Rome. You can vary your nights. I'd pick 4 nights Rome, 1 night Naples (street and mediterranean photography), 2 nights Sorrento (mediterranean coastline) or other Amalfi location, and then hit travel over to Paestum and back to Rome for the last night. This circle lessens your travel IMO. Wray

PS. I just read your post again, if your husband's draw is Rome and he doesn't want to move about a lot, but you want a brief change, I'd suggest leaving out Paestum and just adding in Naples or Sorrento for 2 or 3 nights. As a photographer, he might have more fun in Naples (I'd have more fun in Naples regardless). I find Sorrento touristy pretty even in March when there are far fewer people, etc... Sorrento is nice but didn't feel real to me.