14 Days in Italy

I will be taking a trip to Italy arriving on April 6th 2014 and leaving on April 20th. I will be traveling with my two adult children (30's and 40') and while I have been to Venice, Rome and Naples before, they have never been to Italy. They have said they would love to see a few museums in the cities we visit (perhaps one or two in each city) and they have expressed to do a wine tasting at some point. Of course having the time to walk and explore each city is important as well. Alas I have been bragging about the pizza and gelato since I returned last year. Looking forward to doing some day trips from the cities we do stay in so as not to waste time always changing hotels. We will be traveling by train as I have no desire to rent a car. We are at this point planning to fly into Venice and depart from Rome. We are thinking of spending time in Venice, Florence, Rome and either Naples or Sorrento. Concerned we might be going to too many cities but Rome is a must for them as is Venice. My son says he would love to see Pompeii and I think both of them would love the beauty of the amafai coast. Any suggestions on how to split the time up would be great. Also any thoughts on whether to deplete on the above mentioned cities due to time. Thanks for any and all suggestions. Paul

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3209 posts

My choice would be Venice, Rome and Sorrento (my favorite place in Italy). I like the Amalfi Coast much more than Tuscany. Sorrento is a beautiful, charming town. Transportation to other places from there is so easy... train, boat or bus to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Positano, Amalfi, Naples, Capri and more.

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1476 posts

With 13 days in Italy, I think your 4-city itinerary is very realistic. I'd suggest 3 nights each in Venice, Florence and Sorrento, and 4 nights in Rome (in that order). It avoids Monday in Florence and Rome when many museums are closed. Travel times between cities by train would be in the 3-4.5 hour range, which is manageable. Look for trains from Florence to Naples that don't require a change in Rome (there are several each day). If you're concerned about being in Rome during Holy Week, then fly into Rome and out of Venice doing the itinerary in reverse. You'll be in Rome on a Monday, but could visit the Vatican that day. The following Monday would be your travel day to Florence, and so only a minimal inconvenience. The downside to doing the itinerary in reverse is that you'll probably have an early flight out of Venice on a Sunday morning.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2406 posts

You basically have 13 full days to explore. I would limit yourself to 3 cities- Venice, Florence and Rome. I would split up the time with 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Florence and the rest in Rome with a day trip to Pompeii. This will give you plenty of time to explore these cities and not be too rushed. Donna

Posted by Courtney
Chicago
7 posts

In your planning, be aware that Easter falls on April 20, 2014. That may impact what you decide to do in Rome and other cities and towns in Italy.

Posted by Robert
Tampa, FL, USA
275 posts

If Pompeii is too far out of the way and don't want to that far south, you can check out Ostia Antica instead. It's just outside Rome and is a easy half day trip on one of your Rome days. Checkout Tours By Roberto (recomended in Rick's book and on his show)for a tuscany wine tour daytrip. they'll pick you up either in Siena or Florence at your hotel. Or since you are doing Rome and Venice, an option could be to homebase in Siena instead of Florence. It's a easy bus ride to florence for a day trip to do the museums. You enjoy the small Siena at night and on your other day, and a wine tasting tour the next.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2531 posts

I think your four cities/areas will be fine; you've already been to most, assume your kids will go back. The plan suggested of flying into Venice, then Florence, then the Amalfi Coast/Sorrento and ending in Rome is a good one. If you are not going to most of the museums in Florence, three nights should be enough. A fourth would give you a chance to day trip to one or two other cities. My favorite museums are the Accademia and San Marco. From Venice, you could visit Padova (Giotto frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, must reserve ahead) and the island of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. From Sorrento you can easily get to Naples, Pompei and one of the islands (I like Ischis). Sounds like a great trip, enjoy.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3209 posts

Just my opinion, but you need at least 4 nights in Sorrento/Amalfi Coast to make going there worthwhile. Three nights, which is 2 days, is not enough.

Posted by Paul
Kingsland, Ga, USA
9 posts

Well the plane tickets are purchased with us arriving in Venice on April 6th and leaving Rome late morning on the 20th of April. Now to decide which cities and for how many nights. I have been to Naples and while I did not find it unsafe, I did find it rather dirty and a bit of a let down after Venice and Rome. So perhaps Sorrento would be a better choice since as it has been pointed out, the travel to Pompeii and the cost and even to Naples is rather easy to do. We will be spending the last night of our trip in Rome near to Termini station to make it easier to get to the Airport since it will be Easter Sunday. So with 14 days (assuming at least some time on the arrival day to walk around Venice and have a relaxing welcome to Italy dinner, I am thinking of 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in the Florence area (not sure what the best city in and around Florence might be as we do wish to get to Pisa and Lucca and maybe to Assisi) and then 3 nights in Sorrento and the final four nights in Rome. As I mentioned we will be traveling in country by train and it seems the tickets can not be purchased beyond the six month point. Any suggestions on day trips from the cities we will be staying in? Thanks so much for the wonderful information and suggestions you all have posted. Paul

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3511 posts

With only 3 or 4 nights, you won't have time for day trips from Venice or Rome. If you really want to squeeze in some more, you can leave Venice on an early train to Verona, check your bags at the train station, spend the day seeing one of my favorite places in Italy, then continuing in the evening to Tuscany. In Venice I recommend the Secret Itineraries Tour at the Doge's Palace (book in advance) and the Jewish Ghetto tour. Both give a good look into life in the Middle Ages in Venice. Florence is a good base for Tuscany because of its rail connections. It doesn't sound like your crew are going to want to spend much time there, however (its attraction is the wealth of painting and sculpture). Siena is lovely and there's good bus service from Florence. Pisa is okay for 1/2 day. Assisi is pretty far and inconvenient to get to, Orvieto may be a better choice. Since you are going to Pompeii, I encourage you to get to the Archaeological Museum in Naples. You can check your bags at the station (either coming or going) and take the metro to the museum.

Posted by Paul
Kingsland, Ga, USA
9 posts

We will be leaving on Easter Sunday so that should not be a problem as I will have a hotel near Termini station and I am sure the train to the airport will run that day. My only concern right now, other than securing hotels, is whether the Friday night tour at the Vatican will be available. If not I am sure it will be open either Wednesday or Thursday and we will try to get tickets to St Peters Sq for the weekly audience on Wednesday. Paul

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3511 posts

I like the Dorsoduro section of Venice for hotels. It's a little cheaper than around St. Mark's, and most of it is quiet and residential. It's still an easy walk to St. Mark's and close to the vaporetto routes. I've stayed at La Calcina and enjoyed it very much. Besides a wine-tasting, get house wines at restaurants - they are usually pretty good. You can also get bottles at very reasonable prices in the supermarket. Your hotel will have a corkscrew if you don't. 3 adults and one bottle sounds just about right for a picnic lunch or a relaxing end to a hectic day.

Posted by Paul
Kingsland, Ga, USA
9 posts

Good morning. Looking for hotels now so wondering if anyone has some suggestions in Venice? Florence or Siena, Rome and Sorrento or Naples? Looking to keep it under $200 USD per night for the three of us and ensuite is a must. Have no need of fitness center (we will be doing alot of walking) and breakfast is optional as well. Proximity to the train stations would be important as well. Thanks