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18 nights in Italy: Another ‘is this a reasonable number of nights in each location’ post

Still itinerary-tweaking with my friend for our Italy trip next late spring. Your thoughts?

2 nights Milan (including Milan mainly to see an opera at La Scala, but will see a few other sites)
3 nights Venice
5 nights Florence (including day trip to Pisa/Lucca, and likely a half-day cooking class in the city)
3 nights in Tuscany (hill towns, wineries, etc.)
5 nights in Rome

The opera would be the evening of the second night in Milan, so we may be risking lingering jet lag, but I think we would probably be fine.

We aren’t planning any day trips out of Rome, so we could perhaps move one night from Rome to, say, Venice. Thoughts?


Posted by
2004 posts

I can think of nothing wrong with another day in Venice, but you may want to write out your specific list of things to see to determine if you have enough time for Rome.
And of course flesh out your Tuscany hill town time--I'd consider adding the day there as well, but I particularly like small towns.
Looks wonderful!

Posted by
2053 posts

I think it looks great.

Since you won't be jet lagged in Venice, 3 nights is good. Train is about 2.5 so you can get there early and have almost 3 full days

5 nights in Rome is also good, that's the amount we had for our first visit and were able to see/do an awful lot without pushing ourselves. Vatican 1 day, Colosseum, etc another, maybe Borghese another. Split all those things up.

Tuscany could use another day for hilltowns but you do have the visit to Lucca/Pisa so I'd probably keep the 5 in Rome, 3 in Tuscany.

Posted by
4574 posts

I would add a night in Milan, but I don't know where I'd find that other night. I like that you're staying 3 - 5 nights in the other locations.

Posted by
9719 posts

It's a good plan. Milan is fine if you are going for a specific purpose like the opera, but I would not take any time away from anywhere else to extend there. I am not the biggest fan of Florence as I can only take so many museums in a couple of days. I like Florence better for short stays so for me, 3-4 nights would be enough. Your plan there allows non-museum time, so brava.

5 nights in Rome is great. Too many first timers cut it short and then say they didn't like the city.

Posted by
1086 posts

That's a long time in Tuscany- 8 nights total, I would do four/five and do three/Four in Sorrento/Amalfi coast. From Rome to Sorrento is a 2 hour 45 min train ride and such a different Vibe from all the other places your going and just beautiful. But that is just me...

Posted by
21167 posts

It is a decent schedule. If I was doing it I would go into Venice first, then Milan, etc. -- Travel is a little more straight line. I am not the greatest fan of Venice but a big fan of Rome, so I would not short Rome as someone else suggested. And I might drop a night from Florence and added it to Rome. Florence is in Tuscany so you will see a lot of Tuscany. Some great wineries around Florence but the better ones do require a reservation and a fee. Try to find one with a luncheon paired to their wines. Will not be cheap but memorable. The TI in Florence will be your friend.

Posted by
25583 posts

I agree with Laurel. I take Florence in small bite sized pieces, I've never done that in Venice or Rome.

But it is your trip, not mine. I don't think it is possible to add too much time to either Rome or Venice.

When you take your trip to Lucca and Pisa, will you see more of Pisa or is it just a "gotta see THAT" stop? I spent most of my time in Pisa admiring the other buildings in the Field of Miracles, and just a few minutes with the tower. Lots of people doing the holding it up pose so that kind of spoiled it for me - the area around the other buildings was pretty empty... don't miss the Baptistry.

Posted by
885 posts

Looks like a great trip! The Last Supper is well worth it if you have the time while in Milan.

Posted by
540 posts

There is a lot to see in Pisa, and you can google for 7 self-guided walking tours. Adding Lucca you would spend another 2.5 hours on trains and going to and from stations. Besides Lucca there are several easy day trips [Bologna only 30 minutes on the train].

For the 3 nights in Tuscany you could pick up a car leaving Florence, return it in Chiusi and taking the train to Rome.

If you don't want to rent a car, you could take a train to Naples; or to Salerno and ferry to one of the Amalfi Coast towns. Or just add the 3 nights to the existing locations for day trips.

Posted by
1420 posts

The opera would be the evening of the second night in Milan, so we may be risking lingering jet lag, but I think we would probably be fine.

On my last trip to Europe, my first stop was Prague. I went to see the Czech Philharmonic on my second night. I couldn't keep my eyes open. And it was a glorious concert (the parts I heard). I hope you do better than I did!

Otherwise, I like your itinerary. Where are you planning to stay for your three nights in Tuscan hill towns. I stayed in Siena and used it as a base to explore the hill towns, and that worked well for me. I loved Siena, and I enjoyed spending evenings there after spending the day driving around Tuscany.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for all of the great suggestions! We're still juggling ideas for a couple more weeks, and I appreciate the input!

Posted by
12410 posts

I like your itinerary too, Susan. I'll be one of the few dissenting votes for shortening the 5 nights in Florence as it'll allow you to take in its many treasures at less than hurried pace, plus have a day trip. LOL, I'm sort of an art/architecture/museum geek so Firenze was "my" sort of place but I get it that others might prefer to digest it in smaller bits. So far, we just haven't had the opportunity to make multiple, shorter trips to that one.

Very glad you've allowed 5 nights for Rome! As Laurel said, the people I know who didn't like that city almost always had tried to cover it at a dead run over just a couple of days. Kinda how I feel about Florence too; she takes some time to get to know. :O)

Posted by
295 posts

Any trip is great ... so much to see so little time etc. .... Just north of Verona is Bolzano (see the "Iceman") get free Bozen pass's from your lodging/hotel ... includes free public transportation/lifts up the mountain/trains/buses in the area/museums etc. .... Bolzano has the highest quality of living in Italy .. used to be part of Austria until WW1 ? ... Youtube Bolzano ... they speak 1/2 German 1/2 Italian ... cuisine also... just west of Verona (15 miles?) is Italys largest lake ... Lake Garda ... 31 miles to the north and 10 miles wide at the bottom... many great towns dotting the lake! .. as you go north the mountains get higher on each side .. 2 huge wine festivals in Bardolino .. 1 in May for 2 days and 1 in Sept. for 5 days ... parade the first day and fireworks on the lake on the last day (we plan to be there again) hydofoils,ferries,boat rentals hangliding off the mountain... take a quick bus ride to the top to Riva Del Garda get get a Snitzel or Bratwurst ... yummy ... we always Youtube .. example ... Garda lake towns ... Garda aerial,drone,4k etc. endless searches .. you could spend a week here easy .. day bus trip to Verona? ...Trento? Train from Verona to Venice 1.5 hrs. ... Marco Polo Airport to Venice by Vaperetto or Bus? .. depends on your lodging location (no trains to Venice) nowadays we look for any
large festivals/events

Posted by
3118 posts

I advise resisting the lure of adding more destinations, unless you can add more time. Italy is so-o packed with attractions. I have lost count of how many times we have visited, 16 or 17, and we haven’t repeated much; and we certainly haven’t seen everything of interest. You might consider staying one night in Lucca, or making it your base for the 3 nights in Tuscany. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me to think that you can get to Pisa, then to Lucca, see the attractions in both cities, and do a cooking class all in a day. The mantra often repeated here is, “believe that you will return.”

Posted by
35 posts

The cooking class was never intended to be part of the Pisa/Lucca day. Sorry if that wasn't clear in my post.

I was actually wondering this morning whether both Pisa and Lucca are realistic in one day, although it seems that several RS forumites have done it and have enjoyed it. We're discussing the nightly Puccini concert in Lucca, so that would really be a long day!

I'm still considering where best to base our (non-Florence) Tuscany segment and what we want to do (and where) during those days. I hadn't thought of Lucca, so that's worth considering. Also, moving the cooking class to our Tuscany visit is a new idea that I am considering.

Posted by
2053 posts

I was just about to post that Lucca/Pisa in 1 day would be too much time on trains for me. About 3 hours all together.

Are you renting a car for your Tuscany hill towns bit?
If so- you might consider taking a night from Florence- pick up car- head to Lucca for 1 night. Next day drive to Pisa to visit the sights then on to your Tuscany hill town of choice.

If you want to visit the Val D'Orcia area then Lucca is too far north to use as a base.

Posted by
6517 posts

In Milan, book tickets to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper” at Santa Maria delle Gracie. It is one of our all time beat travel memories. In fact, we went back a second time. You are given about 15 minutes inside with the painting.