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11 nights between Rome Florence Venice

Hi all. My wife and I will be first time visitors to Italy. Was originally planning to do a group trip, but the more I read the more daring and braver I am getting at just planning our own trip. So at this point ready to commit to first getting my airfare secured.

We plan on arriving in Rome on the morning of Mon Aug 31 and then eventually flying out of Venice on Fri Sep 11. This gives us 11 nights. Now I need to fill in the middle with some plans. First thing I would like to do is nail down how many nights in each city. Since I envision train travel with luggage to be a bit of an unpleasant experience was planning to do hotel stays in Rome -> Florence -> Venice.

I've been reading about people doing daytrips venturing out of these cities to nearby locations and maybe spending a day and then returning to the "base city".

Given the fact that I have a number of nights that can't be evenly distributed among the 3 cities (looking to break it up 4, 4 and 3). I was hoping to get some recommendations on which cities should get the 4 nights given a day trip from a particular city or 2. For example one possibility would be to spend a day in Pisa going from Florence.

Would it be safe for me to assume that I would want to spend a full 3 days in each of these cities? Assuming so that would give me 2 day trips to other cities. What would be some recommended day trips. My preference would be for something with a little breathing room. Since we are going to be in crowded cities for the majority of the time, I think it'd be nice to have a change of pace. We aren't the type to go hiking or anything like that. Just a scenic place small town beautiful scenery etc.

Also worth noting, I know that this is definitely a place to visit if you like wine, I however happen to much prefer beer. I have seen a few craft beer places in Rome (such as Eternal City Brewing). Are there any good craft beer locations either in the main cities or in potential daytrip locations? I don't necessarily want to plan my vacation around this but I certainly would enjoy visiting a few craft beer places.

Thanks in advance

Posted by
783 posts

I can't answer all your questions, especially those about beer, but may I suggest this: take your RS Italy guide book and see which cities and attractions catch your imagination. From that, agree with your wife on priorities in each place. That will help you determine how much time you should spend. I would also suggest maybe flying into Venice and out of Rome, or vice versa. The common understanding is each change of city is at least 1/2 day of vacation lost. You want to be staying near the airport for arrival and departure day. Make the planning part of the fun and on the plane ride home you can plan your next trip to Italy!

It's going to be hot and humid - most especially in Florence. So build into your schedule some down-time. Hmmm, maybe call that "beer time".

Posted by
245 posts

Based on my personal experiences and preferences (I was in Italy last October), I would do:

Rome: Aug 31, Sept 1, 2, 3 (3.5 days). Train to Florence on Sept 4
Florence: Sept 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (4.5 days). Train to Venice on Sept 9
Venice: Sept 9, 10, 11 (2-2.5 days).

For a day trip, you could take a bus to Siena from Florence for the day.

Posted by
11700 posts

Thomas, good for you for being daring and brave! It's not going to be all that difficult at all to plan your own trip/ make your own arrangements, and you'll find oodles of help here!

I'll agree with flying into Venice and out of Rome, and I'd personally split your trip like this:

Venice - 3 nights/2.5 days
Florence - 4 nights/3.5 days
Rome - 4 nights/3.5 days

You could steal a day from Rome and add it to Florence but being the largest of your destination cities, there's a lot of ground that can be covered in that one. Then again, the art lover (I am) can be fonder of Florence and thus require more time there.
Also, it's very easy to do a number of day trips from Florence (Lucca, Siena, Pisa, etc) so if that hold more appeal than museums, churches and whatnot, then there's your other reason to steal a day from Rome.

I love both of them for different reasons. :O)

Anyway, a number of international flights out of Venice can be annoyingly (very) early so that's the rational for putting Rome at the end.

Posted by
1567 posts

Italian craft beer is ubiquitous these days--ask for birra artiginale.
You have a decent but limited time in the three cities--I'd plan minimal day trips, if any. Sometimes you can spend a little time in a garden to recharge. Maybe plan one excursion from Florence into the Tuscan countryside, or outside of Rome. Or, nix Florence and go to a small town instead.
RE the concern about train travel--one suitcase each should not be a burden, and that's; all you need for an 11 day trip. Plan to do laundry, or pay to have it done for you.

Posted by
1533 posts

Welcome to the forum Thomas!

11 nights is not a lot of time- if at all possible try to add a few more days- if you can't then I'd divide nights like this
Venice 3
Florence 4
Rome 4
It is much easier to fly INTO Venice than OUT of Venice- even if it's a tad more expensive you'll probably end up spending money to get to VCE on your departure day- so take that into consideration.

3 night stay means you have 2.5 days in reality for actual sightseeing (once you get to new location, check in, orient yourself etc.)

Don't let train travel scare you-- it is super easy, comfortable and efficient in Italy. Couldn't be easier from your 3 destinations- stations are in the center, easy to get to and you have fast train options to/from all
Travel lightly!

Venice is the perfect place to get over jet lag- much less intense than Rome for a first timer.

Florence itself should get at least 2 full days and there are lots of easy day trips by bus or train from there- Pisa would not be my first choice (unless the photo op of Tower is that important to you). Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano are better choices- or consider a guided day trip that hits a few hill towns.

Rome needs all the time you can give it-with only 4 nights there that is only 3.5 days- no time really for a day trip.

We like both beer and wine ... well I like wine IN Italy- it is not like wine here in US- so I do drink a lot of wine in Italy ;)
I bookmarked this brewery in Florence for our next trip
https://www.inspirock.com/italy/florence/archea-brewery-a9129238609

There is actually plenty to do in Florence without taking any day trips out to countryside
https://www.ourescapeclause.com/things-to-do-in-florence/

Posted by
1131 posts

One thing to consider is reversing your itinerary. Start with Venice and end with Rome. I haven’t flown out of Venice but

I would do a day trip to Siena from Florence. You can take a bus.

You also could stop on way to Rome and spend one night in Orvieto.

Posted by
7 posts

I'm so glad I posted this BEFORE obtaining my plane tickets. I'm planning to use my American Airline miles and they have a crazy -good deal "Economy Web Special" on non-refundable non-changeable direct flights. I just checked and the reverse of my originally planned travel is also available So I can fly into Venice arriving Mon Aug 31 and can depart from Rome on Fri Sep 11.

I'll take your word for it that this is the better way to go. Thanks!

Posted by
3470 posts

If you fly out on the 11th, you actually have 10 nights.

I too would do 3 Venice, then you have to decide whether Florence or Rome gets 4 nights.
Do this based on the sights you want to see in each city.

Next step would be to book your lodging.

Then book your trains between locations. Book these as early as possible to snag the super economy fares.

Posted by
1567 posts

I'd suggest getting travel insurance (with a cancel for any reason rider) for those non-refundable tickets. Also read the fine print--you may be limited in seat selection. Not a big deal, especially for direct flights--just be aware of the restrictions on the seat class. (I travel yearly and was just tripped up on a booking.) When you are doing carry on and don't care so much about seats, just enjoy the deal!

Posted by
1533 posts

I still count 11
Arrives on 8/31

And yay for not booking those flights yet
Much better

Posted by
7 posts

Not quite sure how to get travel insurance, but will look into it. According to the fare for Economy Web Specials, it states:
"Trips that include Economy Web Specials cannot be changed once ticketed. You can cancel your trip and reinstate miles, but fees may apply.".

These flights are each 17K points/miles wheres the cheapest normal fare is 30K (some as high as 110K). Not quite sure what the fees would be but given these savings, I'm willing to take the risk.

Thanks! :)

Posted by
5899 posts

I encourage you to add a few more days to your trip. Three nights only gives you two days and you will be visiting places that all need more than two days. You are spending so much on airfare; a few more days will be a better use of those long flights and their expense.
We took Eating Rome’s Sunday tour in the Jewish Ghetto and Campo Foote. It included a stop at a craft beer place. I will try to find the name for you. Great tour by the way.

Posted by
1533 posts

Travel insurance is usually offered when you purchase your airfare
It is cheap
Add it

Or purchase your own use
Insuremytrip.com
to compare prices/policies

You may need it anyway for medical coverage, medical emergency evacuation,
Check with your health insurance here to see what /if they cover
If you are on Medicare you will definitely need to purchase insurance as Medicare not valid in Europe

We’ve always purchased travel insurance because we had 4 elderly patents (now just 2) and we wanted to be able to get home quickly if needed

I have never had to file a claim til just recently
Had to cancel our May trip to Portugal due to some health issues my husband has been dealing with
So very glad I only had paid for airfare and had that insurance!

Posted by
3470 posts

Only asking this as it appears to be your first trip.

Are you leaving home on 8/30 or 8/31?

Posted by
7 posts

Hi Gerri - Would be leaving home on Sun Aug 30. I only mentioned Aug 31 because that would be the date I am arriving.

Luckily flight arrives in the 9AM hour so I get a good portion of our first day in Venice.

Thanks for double-checking for me!

Posted by
575 posts

Something to think about: no day trips from Venice since you only have 2 1/2 days, no day trips from Rome unless you want to spend 1/2 a day visiting Ostia Antica or to backtrack from Rome to Orvieto (which you will go right by on the train from Florence to Rome), and do your day trips from Florence where it is easy and fast to get to places by train or bus.

In all three cities, you can easily stay in a part of town that is within the historical center but away from the crowds. Our favorite neighborhoods to stay in are Castello in Venice (15 minute walk to San Marco), Sant'Ambrogio in Florence (15 minute walk to the Duomo)(but parts of the Oltrarno are less heavily touristed, too), and Testaccio in Rome northwest of the Piramide metro station (although that is farther than many people want to be from the main action --- but there are buses and the metro).

For trains, we like having one carry-on two-wheeled bag and one carry-on-size backpack. It seems easier when getting on and off the train to have just one person doing it. Or maybe my husband just makes it look easier. Usually, there has been enough room on the train to keep our bags with us either between us or in the space between the seats. I know that some trains are more crowded.

Keep telling yourselves that you will return to Italy!

Posted by
7 posts

In reading some Italy travel blogs, seems the consensus is to pack everything in a carry-on suitcase and a backpack personal item (to stow under seat). This seems to make sense to me as I don't want to lug around big luggage. Packing light is not something we are accustomed to but on a recent trip we were able to do so.

As I was composing this, I saw your reply nancys8 that you do 1 checked size bag for the 2 of you. This isn't too much of a hassle on a train?

Valadelphia had suggested doing laundry. This got me to thinking of maybe on our 4-night stay in Florence, maybe we should consider a VRBO rental instead of a hotel. I am guessing that some of these rental places include laundry machines. Other possible perks are more space. Downside would be not coming home to a freshly cleaned room, and no included breakfast.

With 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Florence and 4 nights in Rome, any recommendations on the approach of VRBO vs hotels? My first thought was maybe just the VRBO in Florence, but that opens the door to looking for suggestions in other cities as well. Maybe in Venice a 3-night stay isn't worth the fixed booking fees and cleaning fees?

In looking at VRBO saw that the cities are broken down by these neighborhoods, so I was actually going to ask for recommendations on that. Thanks for your input on that nancys8. I guess either way hotel or VRBO - I would like to ensure I'm in an optimal section of the city.

Thanks!

Posted by
1533 posts

You should be able to go 11 nights without doing laundry
Wash unders in the sink

Not crazy about apartment for anything less than 4-5 nights
You’ll need to waste time finding food for bkft etc and don’t have the help of a 24/7 desk

Another common problem with some apartments is you may not be able to check in til later in the day so you’ll be dragging luggage around til then
With a hotel you can always check in and drop bags early in day when you arrive

No matter where you stay make sure you have air conditioning

We always stay at Hotel Ala in Venice
It is perfectly located just a few steps from vaporetto no bridges or canals to cross
10 min from San Marco in a quiet campo very good bkft and a nice roof terrace

Rome-we like to stay in Pantheon area so we can walk everywhere
Hotel Due Torri
Hotel 9Cesari

We’re staying at this hotel in Florence in Sept
Hotel della Signoria
We have previously stayed at Hotel Torre Guelfa

we like to be as close to center as we can be

Booking.com is your friend

Posted by
11700 posts

Thomas, there's no wrong answer, really, but I usually recommend accommodations with 24/7 desk services versus apartments for first-timers. It can be comforting to have someone who speaks the local language standing by if needed in the middle of the night, or just for questions during the day. Hotels will also usually stow your luggage if you arrive before check-in, and after check-out if you have time for more sightseeing before your next train or plane.

Oh, speaking of Italian trains - they're great and not complicated once you get the hang of them - this is a great starting point:
https://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm

Posted by
1131 posts

We had 10 nights on Amalfi coast in hotels and managed with washing in the sink.

That said, I think it is really nice to have more space for at least one place on a trip. We were in London last summer for five nights in a hotel and then moved and had a small apartment for three nights. We were so happy to have more space that we just went to the grocery store and bought prepared food to eat in. We also did laundry (things did not dry as well in England as Italy).

But you do give up the front desk at a hotel which can be really nice especially for a first time traveler. And we have had some mixed luck with apartments in Europe because there often aren't key pads like in the U.S. So you have to meet up with people which can be tricky.

Posted by
1567 posts

Just weigh the pros and cons. If you don't want to deal with apartment rental this first time, you can go to a laundromat or have the hotel do your laundry. If you rent a place, you will need to make sure you give time for laundry to air dry (dryers are rare, but there will be a rack or line for your stuff to hang). Florence would be the natural place to rent an apartment, with four nights and at the midpoint.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the feedback - think I'll concentrate on hotels and forget about VRBO. Was looking at Booking.com and I see that there are choices for bed types. 1 Queen or 2 twins. I'm used to sleeping in a King bed and I find a Queen a little too small. Some pictures of hotels look like the 2 twins are kinda pushed together. If that is the case - that would be preferable for me.

Thanks for all the very helpful feedback.

Posted by
245 posts

In looking at VRBO saw that the cities are broken down by these neighborhoods, so I was actually going to ask for recommendations on that

I rented a VRBO apartment in each of Rome, Florence, and Padual on my last trip, and they were great options. I have no need for a 24/7 desk availability, and I really prized having a kitchen. There's no "hassle" finding grocery stores because either a) I enjoy local markets and/or b) they're on Google and are easy to find (Italians need them too, so they're all over). I like renting apartments for stays of longer than 2-3 days because I like being not having to eat every meal somewhere else - sometimes I like breakfast in my pyjamas, or a mid-afternoon snack after a siesta to tide me over until a later dinner. And, added bonus, is that they often have washing machines. I did stay in a hotel in Naples because I wanted the security of a 24/7 reception desk - in theory, before I went there. When I was there I found it wasn't necessary for anything and that I wished I'd rented an apartment instead ;)

Still -- invest in a few pair of quick drying "travel" underwear because, washing machine or not, you will need to have them dry overnight. Even in places with washers, you'll find that you need to air dry, not machine dry, your laundry.

In Florence, I stayed in the Oltrarno area on the "other" side of the Arno river, near the Ponte Santa Trinita - quieter, and some great restaurants. And, because the old city of Florence is so small, it was still no more than a very pleasant 10-15 minute walk anywhere.

In Rome, I stayed in the Trastevere neighbourhood, but near the Ponte Garibaldi so I could easily catch a tram or bus into other parts of the city for my sightseeing. Unlike Florence, the sights I wanted were much more spread out, so think about transit access and/or being closer to your primary goal location.

I did not stay in Venice, so I have no suggestions there.

Posted by
1533 posts

We opt for 2 twins over a queen
They are usually pushed together so it’s like a King which we are also accustomed to

Posted by
364 posts

I took our family to Italy for about 11 nights and it worked well.
Jetlag is an issue for the first day - factor that in.

Rick has a short tour that encompases those cities: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/venice-florence-rome
1) learn from reading his itineary there
2) since each city has so much to see/do, avoid the thought to do day-trips - your train travel (moving time) will eat away at your available time.

Posted by
575 posts

We have been extremely happy with airbnb apartments, even for the occasional one or two night stays that we have to do sometimes to make everything else work out. We try to always rent from airbnb "superhosts" who speak English, live nearby, and are incredibly helpful. We enjoy having a much larger and more home-like and more interesting space, usually for less than a hotel room costs. There is no law that you have to shop for or cook any food just because you are staying in an apartment.

I know that many people like having their rooms cleaned every day, but I absolutely hate it, and also hate hotel breakfasts, so we rarely stay in hotels. A resort or a cruise is my idea of a nightmare. But everybody's different and likes different things --- I just wanted to speak up for renting airbnb apartments. You do have to do the research and look at the photos and reviews and locations. I find that the reviews are real and accurate, although tending not to be critical unless some place is bad.

On trains, normally, the rolling bag is my only suitcase and it's carry-on, and the backpack is my husband's only suitcase and is carry-on. We each also have a large purse or messenger bag. We wash clothes in the apartment washing machine.

You will find plenty of craft beer places in Italy! Also excellent beer is served in many restaurants.

Posted by
7 posts

Trying to decide on hotels. Based on ChristineH's recommendations so far I booked (with refundable options):
Florence - Hotel della Signoria
Rome - Hotel Due Torri (I really liked Hotel 9Cesari - but there was no availability)

As far as Venice - Suggestion was Hotel Ala. And I've read other recommendations suggesting this too. However, I just can't get over the cheesy looking pictures of the place with the mirrors on the ceiling and "Amore" written on the wall. Location-wise and price-wise it seems like a good place but I just don't know that I can handle something that gives me the "1980's Pocono resort vibe". Are these pictures just misleading? Is there a way to specify a less-cheesy room?

Some other places I was considering in Venice, and they are quite differently priced
* Hotel Flora (upper end of what I'd like to spend)
* Hotel Lisbona (A very comfortable price)

Any other recommendations? I have been focusing on San Marco. Should I consider other areas as well?

Thanks!

Posted by
11700 posts

I just don't know that I can handle something that gives me the
"1980's Pocono resort vibe".

Best laugh I've had all day!!!!! Thomas, I know exactly what you mean about that particular vibe! Funny how many pix of Italian hotel rooms I've seen that are afflicted with it!

But Ala's isn't that bad, really, although I would request anything but that room with the mirror on the ceiling. Yup, that one would totally gross me out or give me nightmares.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thomas- that is too funny!
I do remember seeing those pics on their website when I last booked and thought what the? They also say it's an "adults only" hotel which is actually not really true- they have family rooms and we did see a few kids there last May. I guess they are/were trying to target a certain clientele?
They have that American Vodka bar off the lobby as well- which is actually kind of interesting (see the history of the hotel).
My daughter works at Sotheby's and her boss is a member of the Saving Venice group- when I told him we stayed at Hotel Ala he was quite impressed as the Ala is such an historic building.
Anyway- we have never had a room with mirrors on the ceiling or anything Pocono resort style at all.
Last visit we had a really great room- top floor- that was HUGE- had so much space, extra bed/alcove, huge bathroom etc.

If you are still hesitant to book Ala- there is another hotel nearby that is just as nice and gets good reviews here
Hotel Flora
http://www.hotelflora.it

also on booking.com
(Ah I see you mentioned it above)

There is another in that same campo- Bel Sito. Not sure about price, etc but the location is great.

You'll be happy with Due Torri. The Cesari does book up really early- I booked it a good 11 months in advance last trip.