2 unplanned days in Italy

Hello, My husband and I will be in Italy for 8 days in July. We are planning 3 days in Rome, 2 days in Florence and a day and a half in Venice. With my remaining two days, I am torn between so many appealing options. Should we spend the time in hill towns such as Siena, San Gimignano, or Voterra or go to the Cinque Terre or even down to the Amalfi Coast (we are flying in to Venice and out of Rome). We aren't planning on renting a car, so would be traveling by train or bus. We are 30 years old and have never been to Europe. Thanks for any advise!
Erin

Posted by April
Portland, OR
246 posts

I would definitely NOT add another destination that schedule. You would be missing the whole point of Italy, which is to slow down.....observe the people, sit in a piazza for an afternoon with a bottle of wine, spend three hours eating dinner, enjoy il dolce far niente. Venice only becomes interesting and authentic after all the day tourists leave. I would add all of your extra time there. Or add a day there and a day to Florence. I am sure many will respond to you with similar posts. We have all done this on our first trip to Europe....plan way too much and then it ends up being stressful and you come back exhausted and frustrated. Keep in mind that you will be traveling quite a bit of time just to get from place to place.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4859 posts

I like to think of my trips in terms of how many nights I am spending in each place. How much time do you actually have? You can't really count your arrival and departure days. If you spend 2 nights in a place that is one full day. It takes longer to move from one place to the next than you would think. Don't just look at the length of the train trip. Factor in the time it takes to check out of your hotel, get to the train station, find your track, wait for your train, train ride, then arriving in the next city and finding your new hotel, checking in, etc. You get the idea. Figure at least a half a day for each location change. I would definitely not add a destination. I would add time to Venice, since you will likely be jet lagged upon arrival. You could add a night there and a night to Florence if you would like to do a day trip to a hill town, or to Rome to give yourself more time there. You don't have time to go to the CT or to the Amalfi Coast. Everyone wants to see it all, but that's impossible. If you try to move too fast it will all become a blur to you.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2811 posts

When I read your post, my initial reaction was the same as Andrea's - what "remaining" days? You haven't accounted for travel time between destinations. She's right - plot out nights, not days, and remember that 2 nights in a destination is only 1 full day. With only 8 days, just add time to Venice. This is especially true because you'll arrive there after a very long journey, and the jetlag can be fierce. With your current plan, you'll just be getting over the worst of it when you'll be leaving Venice. Congratulations, BTW, on booking an open jaw itinerary and on starting in Venice. Now, all you need to do is book your train tickets in advance on www.trenitalia.com (after having registered with the site), as soon as they become available, to snag the good discounts.

Posted by Erin
Orange, California, USA
10 posts

Thank you all for the replies. I should have stated, Italy is the last leg of our vacation (Ireland, England, France and Italy), we are flying in from France. I really appreciate the advice- I think you are right, adding a day to Venice and Florence might be the answer. Maybe an additional day trip from Florence to Siena or a hill town would be easier.

Posted by lorie
east haven, ct
60 posts

Those two days stay at your scheduled destinations. Don't add to them. Stay another day in Venice and another day in Rome. Have been there several times and never have enough time.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

I like the idea of adding a day to either Rome or Florence - Siena is an easy day trip by bus from Florence.