Hello! My husband and I will be taking our honeymoon to Italy (our first time there) in July - August, with a 12 day cruise in the middle. At the end of the cruise, we were planning on 2 nights in Florence and then 2 nights in Rome before we come home. I would really love to see Cinque Terra, but am not sure it makes sense. Would it be possible/ advisable to see Florence in a day, stay in Florence, and then go to Cinque Terra (maybe Pisa on the way for a quick stop?) and then back to Florence to stay before heading on to Rome? I am torn between wanting to see everything and not wanting to do too much. Thank you SO much for your help!
It was starting to look a bit do-able until you threw in Pisa. Actually, you really need the 2 nights in Florence to see this beautiful city but I'll be the crazy one and tell you how to pull it off.
First, you can see Florence in one long day. We see travelers on this site taking day trips to Florence from Rome. You would need to decide if you wanted to see any museums or major art. Seeing David at the Academia is at the top of any list. Beyond that, you decide.
Second, on day two, you take the 6:10am train to La Spezia (just over an hour). This train run stops at Pisa. If you want to lose 2hrs on your day, get off, take bus to the tower, take a picture and get back on the bus to the train station. With your Florence/La Spezia ticket, you can get back on the next train to La Spezia. By the way, you can store your luggage at the train staion at their staffed luggage storage area at the south end of Track #1. We've used this storage facility. They take a picture of your passport and place it with your luggage.
Next, retrieve your luggage (passport required) and jump on the next train to La Spezia. Again, store your luggage at the train station (I'm not sure if this facility is staffed like Pisa). Then, go into the TI office and buy a 1-day Cinque Terre Treno card. You will need it (covers unlimited train rides and fares for the coastal trails). Then, jump on the next train to Riomaggiore (6min). Walk through the town to the coastal trail. Take the 30 minute walk on the coastal trail to Manarola. Walk around Manarola. Then, jump on the next leg of the trail from Manarola to the Corniglia train station (40 min). At this point, it should be about 11:30am if you didn't get off a Pisa. 1:30pm if you did.
Take the next train from Corniglia to Monterosso (two stops). Walk around Monterosso and have lunch (1.5hrs). Then, take the next train from Monterosso to Vernazza. Walk around Vernazza (1hr.). (See Next Message)
Now for the fun part. Whatever you do, make sure that you are back in La Spezia by 17:00 or so to retrieve your luggage and make ready for the train. (Make sure the luggage storage area is open at that time). At 18:06, your train for Rome departs La Spezia. 4.5hrs later, you are in Rome.
Two more things. First, there is an earlier train from La Spezia to Rome that departs at 14:06. Thus, you would have to speed up your one-day visit so that you are back in La Spezia in time to retrieve your luggage and get ready for the train. Second, you can buy the tickets for the La Spezia to Rome journey when you buy your tickets in Florence. Make sure that you know the date and time that you wish to travel. Use the self-service machines in the train station. They will prompt you in English and accept your American credit card. For the La Spezia to Rome journey, the machine will also provide your seat assignments.
I'm done now.
Hi Larry -
Thank you so much! This board is such a helpful tool. I think I should clarify our plan. So the cruise ship docks in Rome EARLY in the morning. We were planning on taking our luggage and heading to the train station to go straight to Florence as early as possible. The first full day we would see Florence and stay there. The next morning, we would leave our luggage in the Florence room, since we are staying there again that night, so CT would be just a day trip. From what it sounds like, Pisa may be just a too touristy thing that we should skip :-) So on day 2, we would take the train to CT for the day and then come back to Florence, where we will stay one more night. The third day, we would pack up, and get on the train for Rome. We have the rest of that day, and one more full day in Rome, and our flight leaves the following morning at 11 a.m. Does that sound good? I have heard such great things about all of these places, and just want to see them all without going crazy! How far on a train is it from Rome to Florence? Thank you so much!
Marie, it actually sounds better than my plan. It should be quite easy to day trip to the CT with some of the info above. With your method, you have a few more hours to spend in the CT. Or, get off at Pisa. There's really nothing else to see in the city except the tower and adjoining Field of Miracles.
When you get off the cruise at Civitavecchia, you have about a mile walk to the train station. There is a shuttle that will take you from the boat to the port entrance. But from there, it's a walk. Yes there are taxis but they want the fare to Rome and not the train station. At the train station, take the train to the Rome Termini train station. The Eurostar from Rome to Florence takes 1hr.40min. There are 55 trains a day so you won't have to wait long for the next train. It's the same going the other way.
Larry, I feel that I should bring you along on our trip! You are even better than the guidebook! :-) We are still debating about Pisa, because on the one hand, I think it would be neat to see, and who knows if I will ever get back there again. But on the other hand, I don't want to take away from the CT experience. Have you been there? Loved it? In your opinion, what was the best thing you have seen in Venice, Rome, Naples (the cruise stops there) Florence, or CT?
Marie, your feeling about the leaning tower is shared by so many travelers on this site. For us, Pisa was a nice industrial city with only one thing going for the tourist. The tower. We walked the side streets and saw tons of graffiti. Nothing to knock you out. Don't feel squeezed if you want to jump off the train and see the tower. The train will stop in Pisa on the way and if don't get off while being this close... Well, you have a lifetime together to kick yourself. We did and we won't forget what we saw so go for it. You have enough time to see a lot of the CT in a long day.
If you walk in and out, it will take an extra 50-60min as its a bit of a walk. You can also splurge for a quick taxi to get you in and out if necessary.
Marie, I don't know if this will help you, but I decided to skip Pisa last summer (and I was in Florence for 5 night and Rome for 5). For me, 4 days in Florence wasn't enough - ok I'm the type who really wanders and soaks things in and does things leisurely and I know not everyone is like me ;) I did daytrip to Siena, and loved that. Of course, like you, I wanted to see it all and I pondered taking another day trip to Pisa and Lucca but for me, I was having too much fun in Florence itself so I figured, eh, I can live without having my picture taken in front of the Tower (that's really the only reason I wanted to go there anyway LOL) - and many months removed, I don't regret that decision. But what I regret is not seeing Cinque Terre and it is numero uno on my list for my next trip (hopefully next year!). So, I think taking the day trip is worth it. Yeah, you could easily spend the time in Florence, but on your honeymoon, I'd say find a way to fit that day trip in! :)
btw, I found Venice and Florence both to be insatiably magical in different ways. Yep I'll say it, they both brought a little mist to my eyes - going was a dream come true for me. I can't imagine a better place for a honeymoon - congrats on your wedding and do have a truly fantastic time. I will say one other thing. I went there trying to see it all too, even though i sort of limited myself to the "three big cities" - but Marie, Italy kicked me in the butt. I will be going back and no one will be keeping me away no matter what! So try to think of it that way - definitely see as much as you can but I have a feeling you will only be left wanting more ;)
Thank you to both of you for all the helpful advice - if possible, I am even more excited about our trip! Cinque Terre was really high on my list, and so I am glad that I found an itinerary that will make it possible for us to see it. I would love to be able to spend longer at each stop, but that isn't possible this trip. This will hopefully give us a taste of Italy (and also Greece), so that we can better plan our NEXT trip! :-)
"This will hopefully give us a taste of Italy (and also Greece), so that we can better plan our NEXT trip! :-)"
That's the spirit :D
I was just in CT, Pisa, Rome and Florence. I would suggest skipping Pisa. I thought it was a waste as there are so many other towns that offer a lot more.
I loved CT but you may need a good 2 days there to really experience it.