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8 days in Venice, Florence, and Rome

So my basic plan is below for a trip from September 8-16. I was wondering how long it would take to get through Rome customs and how long till I get on a train to Venice? Is my basic plan okay? What activities and suggestions do you guys suggest? I am staying in Airbnb in all three locations. The airbnb in Venice is in Cannareggio, the one in Florence is a 5 min walk from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and my airbnb in Rome is in Trastevere.

September 8:
Land in Rome at 8:45am
Take train to Venice
Gelateria Alaska, Calle Larga dei Bari, 1159, 30135 Venezia VE, Italy
Dinner at Osteria alle Testiere at 7:15

September 9:
Breakfast at this pastry shop Pasticceria Tonolo
Explore Venice
Leave for Florence
Gelateria My Sugar, Via de’ Ginori 49r
Dinner at Trattoria Cammillo (MAKE RESERVATION) or Teatro del Sale

September 10:
Lunch with sandwiches at All'Antico Vinaio
Explore Florence
Dinner at Ristorante Del Fagioli at 7:30pm (MAKE RESERVATIONS)

September 11:
Explore Florence
Lunch at Trattoria Mario or Cibrèo Trattoria
Dinner at Ristorante Il Guscio at 7:30pm (MAKE RESERVATIONS)

September 12:
Leave Florence on train
Explore Rome
https://romevacationtips.com/orientation-tour-self-guided-piazza-walk/
Otaleg Gelato in Trastevere
Dinner at Pizzeria Ai Marmi (GET THERE WHEN THEY OPEN AT 6:30pm)

September 13:
Explore Rome
Breakfast at Il Siciliano Trastevere or Le Levain Roma
Colosseum
Roman FOrum
Pantheon
Lunch at Armando al Pantheon
Dinner at Osteria Der Belli
Gelato Fatamorgana

September 14:
Explore Rome
Vatican
GELATO at NEVE DI LATTE
Lunch at OSTERIA DELLE COMMARI (Sit-down restaurant) or PIZZARIUM DI GABRIELE BONCI (Grab n go pizza)
Dinner at Trattoria Da Enzo al 29

September 15:
Explore Rome
La Norcineria di Iacozzilli for Porchetta
Cesare al Casaletto dinner MAYBE?
Tavernaccia Da Bruno in Trastevere DInner
BUy CHEESE AT Antica Caciara Trasteverina

September 16:
Go home
Flight in afternoon at 1pm

Posted by
2131 posts

As much as I love Venice I wouldn’t bother going there with the extremely short time you have given it
You’ve got a few hours on day one late afternoon/evening- still jet lagged? Where are you flying from?
Then you leave next day for Florence. You’ll spend almost more time on trains than actually in Venice.

Can you change flight to fly in to Venice?
Even then just not much time

If you intend to visit any sights/museums etc you will need to prebook your timed entries.

Allow time in Rome to get your preflight COVID test

Posted by
7480 posts

I am with ChristineH--- if you cannot fly into Venice, do not waste your time going there for one night. Give that night to Florence

Posted by
205 posts

Third person suggesting that you drop Venice from this trip. You need at least three nights in Venice to do it justice and as many say, it’s best late afternoon when the day trippers have gone. Add those nights to Florence or Rome. I’d be tempted to add a trip to Ostia Antica, the ruins of a complete Roman city…less than an hour from Rome by metro and train.

Posted by
2 posts

Great choices of neighborhood for your airbnbs. You also have some excellent restaurant picks -- Del Fagioli in Florence is excellent (try the pasta with sausage ragu' if they have it that day, and as a main course, try their meatballs--they usually have one preparation in white wine and another with tomatoes). Da Cesare a Casaletto is also a notable place for local Roman food--far from the tourist center but accessible. Try the polpette di bollito, and antipasto of other fried ingredients (cheese, vegetables, codfish), then one of their classic pastas.

A less rushed way to do this trip, while still giving you a chance for a "change of scenery" could be:

First 4 nights in Florence, with one of the days being an excursion into the Tuscan countryside.
Next 4 nights in Rome--with a morning in Ostia Antica if you'd like a bit of time outside the city proper.

If you absolutely have your heart set on Venice, and if flights are flexible, I'd fly into Venice, spend 2 nights, then train to Florence for 3 nights, then Rome for 3 nights.

Posted by
1041 posts

As others have suggested, consider dropping Venice since you’re not flying there. You could easily go to Venice if visiting Croatia someday since it’s a 3h ferry ride from Rovinj. This way you could focus on Florence and add a day trip to Siena and then finish up in Rome and include a day in Vatican City.

Posted by
133 posts

Brian,

What specifically is the draw to Venice? If you plan on having dinner in Florence on Day Two, you're probably leaving Venice by 4:30. 2.5 hour train but with commuting to and from stations and luggage and an 8 PM dinner reservation....earlier maybe if you are looking for gelato too that night. Between getting out of FCO with passport control, getting to Rome, then training to Venice, to then train BACK to Florence, you're probably looking at 10 lost hours of nothing over Day One and Day Two.

Posted by
2810 posts

Some great responses so far on your plan. As much as I love Venice I agree it warrants more time. If you had 10 nights I could see Venice>Florence>Rome. For eight nights I would delete Venice & add a day to Florence with a day trip to Siena and a side trip to Ostia Antica from Rome. Great that you have scoped out restaurants and most importantly Gelaterias!

Posted by
4697 posts

I agree with the others about Venice, and I love it too. But you don't have enough time there to make all the train travel worthwhile. Flying into Venice would give you more time there but it's still a very short visit. If you do spend just the one night in Venice, why spend any of that time chasing down a particular gelateria or a particular bakery? I'm sure the ones you listed are very good, but there are many other choices. (However, I'm not much of a foodie so you can take this with a grain of salt.)

Posted by
2168 posts

Drop Venice if you think you'll have the opportunity to be back in the future. Or, at least, try to find an open jaw ticket to arrive in Venice instead of Rome.

Not all train tickets must be time stamped before gettin' on. It's only the tickets of Regionale trains purchased "in the real world" ( "not purchased on the Internet" if you prefer). Those are more flexible then Regionale tickets purchased online, but if you forget to validate you can get fined. Since there is free wi-fi at Fiumicino Airport, you can get a through ticket "From Fiumicino Aeroporto to Venezia S. Lucia" before arriving at the airport station.

You have picked some good restaurants, partly catering to tourists but good. Imho, if you are a foodie, you're going there too early. Rome's beloved Sforno (it's in via Statilio Ottato 110) has just reopened if you want an alternative to Bonci. Always prefer a chef who has restaurants in Rome, Martina Franca and Noci instead of one who is in Rome and Chicago.

Posted by
18897 posts

Unless something has changed, you cannot just buy a random Rome-Venice rail ticket, hop on any Venice-bound train departing from Tiburtina Station in Rome, look around for an empty seat and get to Venice in 4 hours. The super-fast Freccia trains require seat reservations; they're built into the cost of the ticket, but you must have a reservation for precisely the train you are taking. There are some slower trains (making lots of stops) that don't require reservations, but they take more like 9 or 10 hours to get to Venice.

I'd also caution you about terminology. If you get on a water taxi in Venice, you're taking a motoscafo, not a vaporetto. A motoscafo is, indeed, like a taxi. A vaporetto is more like a bus. A motoscafo will be eye-wateringly expensive.

Posted by
12501 posts

Another vote for skipping Venice and adding that one night to Florence. One night - and that night being arrival day besides - doesn't leave enough time to make the long train ride, settling in and packing up/moving on process to Florence the next day worth it. You don't mention where you're coming from but if it's from the U.S. you could be dealing with some jet lag upon arrival and be too tired to appreciate much it. Any sort of delay will also chew into the very little time that you've given it; COVID-related delays of all sorts are not uncommon lately.

If you DO decide to keep Venice, you can also buy a through-ticket at the airport for the Leonardo Express train to Termini (32 minutes) and Frecce high-speed train from there to Venezia S. Lucia (4 hours). Transfer time between trains at Termini looks to be about 1/2 an hour. As mentioned above, tickets for the high-speed trains are for specific trains at specific times, and will include a reservation for a specific carriage and seat #. Tickets which state the train number, departure time, carriage and seat number do not have to be validated.

Do buy your tickets or tour for the Colosseum in advance:
https://www.coopculture.it/en/tickets/index.html

Same for the Vatican Museums:
https://tickets.museivaticani.va/home

In both cases, tours are also available through private companies; we can suggest a few good resources if interested. You might consider one that includes the Colosseum, Palatine and Forum as the latter two are complex sites which benefit from knowledgable guidance. Combo tours which include all 3 run 3.5 hours or longer and are not currently available through coopculture so would need to be purchased from another resource.

Posted by
25760 posts

from an answer upthread -

you can take a train from Fiumicino Aeroporto to Roma’s Tiburtina
station taking 1h. You can then hop on a direct train from the
Tiburtina station to Venezia S. Lucia (end of line) that’ll take 4h.

The good news is you don’t need to reservation on either train. You
may have to stand for a while, but eventually you'll find a seat on
your second leg. However, be prepared to move in case you’re sitting
in someone’s seat. Oh, and don’t forget to VALIDATE your ticket before
getting on, otherwise you’ll pay a fine and this applies to all trains
in IT.

You could use another night in Venice and if it’s not too late,
take away a night in Rome. This way you could fit in a vaporetti
(water taxi) ride from where you’re staying to San Marco Square and
drool over the palaces that line the Grand Canal at twilight.

I'm sorry - there is a lot of incorrect information in the answer near the top of this thread.

The train from the airport does not take an hour - the FL1 takes 48 minutes. If you took the Leonardo Express to Termini (Rome's main station, all on one level, no stairs needed) it would take 32 minutes. The only way to spend an hour would be to take the Leonardo Express to Termini and then take a Metro out to Tiburtina. I don't know why anybody would do that. The trains start at Termini, it is faster to Termini, you have more time to change trains at Termini, and the fast train costs the same no matter which Rome station you start from, (unless you pay to add a Metro ticket, then you lose on all angles).

Only Regional trains can be boarded without a reservation. There is not a Regional train in the world that can make Venice in 4 hours.

Only Regional tickets bought from a machine need validating. If you got the Leonardo Express ticket on its own from a machine it would indeed need validating... High speed trains and Intercities trains all need reservations and therefore do not not need validating.

If you board a Freccia train in Rome to Venice (or try to, there have been barriers in Rome where your ticket is checked - no reservation, no travel) and try standing around until seat comes free (after Florence???) you will get a big fine. You can't board a Freccia without a reserved seat ticket.

A vaporetti - the correct term is vaporetto, vaporetti is plural - is not a water taxi. Huge difference. Cost, a water taxi is more than 10 times as expensive. A water taxi is private transportation, a vaporetto is like a bus on a fixed route on a schedule, and public.

I do agree about riding the vaporetto up and down the length of the Grand Canal (not just from your hotel wherever that is, Cannareggio is big) to enjoy the chandeliers after dark.

Posted by
21202 posts

Just to reinforce, Nigel is correct. The earlier posting he referenced is full of mis-information.

Posted by
12501 posts

The good news is you don’t need to reservation on either train. You
may have to stand for a while, but eventually you'll find a seat on
your second leg. However, be prepared to move in case you’re sitting
in someone’s seat

Backing up Nigel and Frank: You MUST have a seat reservation - for a specific seat number on a specific train and carriage - on the "fast" Trenitalia Freccia trains. You will not be standing. Tickets are usually checked to make sure you have reserved/paid for the train # you're on, the correct class of carriage (1st, business, economy, etc.) and seat # you're sitting in. IMHO, it's only really OK to move to a different seat if the carriage you're assigned to is not full after departing the last station on the journey, and tickets have been checked.

The same applies to Italo trains. This private train company competes with Trenitalia in the "fast" long-distance/city-to-city rail service market. It's often worth checking for departure times or fares that might be more optimal than Trenitalia's for your particular journey.

https://www.italotreno.it/en

Posted by
2168 posts

Only Regional tickets bought from a machine need validating

Your message is 99.9% correct, but perfection is boring as they say in Florence. Regional tickets bought at the counter need validating, too.

Posted by
25760 posts

true enough, Dario. Last time I bought a Regionale Italian ticket at the counter was about 8 or 9 years ago, in Quarto d'Altino if I remember correctly.

Posted by
2790 posts

Sorry but taking a train to Venice the day you arrive and then leaving for Florence the next day is crazy. Most of us would be too exhausted on that schedule to remember anything about Venice.

Posted by
21202 posts

Earlier I glanced over your first couple of days. As others have statement and I will try to be equal nice but your plans for Venice are ...... crazy !! Makes no sense and a total waste of good sightseeing time and money. Save it for another trip. Go directly to Florence. The worst meal for staying awake I ever had was in '86 in Paris on the day we arrived. Never again. We have now change our jet lag adjustment program but I would not schedule anything on the afternoon and evening arrival in Europe.

Posted by
4 posts

Ok thanks guys for the suggestions, we will skip Venice on this trip, any suggestions on what to do in Florence and Rome? Any other restaurant recommendations or any unique experiences in the cities? Also, any possible day trips?

Posted by
2790 posts

Congratulations on your flexibility in changing your plans so quickly. You won't regret it. In Florence, the San Marco Museum is quiet and peaceful and offers a rare chance to see the art in its original setting. We really enjoyed a food tour of Florence-I think ours was by Walks of Italy. Florence is my favorite European city-its so walkable and relatively compact. Its walkability makes it a good choice for the afternoon you arrive because walking around doesn't require the same level of cognitive alertness as navigating transportation options in places that I assume you haven't visited previously. You should consider watching the Medici series on Netflix-Florence and also Rome are more interesting the more you know about their history and art. Every time I go to Florence, I stay longer than on my previous trip.

In Rome, the San Clemente Church is really interesting. I think it's relatively near the Colosseum. (Rome is really big and spread out) I haven't been to Ostia Antica, but it's on my Rome bucket list. The Forums have light shows at night. There's plenty to do in both Rome and Florence.

Posted by
12501 posts

any suggestions on what to do in Florence and Rome?

Too many to list! I guess i'd start with your reasons for choosing to visit these two cities to begin with? What appealed to you about them? See, I could make long list of museums and churches (I'm an art and architecture geek) that I think are well worth the time and shoe leather but that's not helpful if you don't like museums and churches. Same with some archeological sites, so my suggestions would end up being for a trip I would like but you might not.

So besides food, which I can't help you with 'cause i'm not a foodie, what are you interested in? Have you purchased a good guidebook yet?

Posted by
4874 posts

Too much travel, but you did narrow it by skipping Venice.

Your plans are more general for sightseeing, since you seem to focus on dining.

Focus more on what you plan to see. Yes, you can do the Coliseum and Forum, but will you go the Palantine Hill as well?
What about the Capitoline Hill Museum? Trajan's Forum?

Don't miss the amazing Sistine Chapel, are you planning to climb the dome of St. Peter's?

Take in Castel St. Angelo (Hadrian's mausoleum)?

Explore Rome, what do you plan to see?

Same with Florence?

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you guys for the suggestions and tips. This is an updated itinerary for now. I love history and culture so any other suggestions for a day in Rome on the 15th would be nice and any other critiques and suggestions for the itinerary would help so much!

September 8:
Land in Rome at 8:45am
Take train to Florence
Lunch at Sergio Gozzi
Dinner at I’Brindellone, Piazza Piattellina, 10, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy

September 9:
Bargello.
Duomo Museum
Uffizi — with a reservation.
Gelateria My Sugar, Via de’ Ginori 49r
Dinner at Trattoria Cammillo (MAKE RESERVATION) or Teatro del Sale

September 10:
Accademia — with a reservation.
Museum of San Marco.
Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Duomo interior, or climb the dome (reservation required) or Campanile.
Lunch with sandwiches at All'Antico Vinaio
Explore Florence
Dinner at Ristorante Del Fagioli at 7:30pm (MAKE RESERVATIONS)

September 11:
Tour Church of Santa Maria Novella.
Pitti Palace and gardens.
Tour Palazzo Vecchio
Lunch at Trattoria Mario or Cibrèo Trattoria
Dinner at Ristorante Il Guscio at 7:30pm (MAKE RESERVATIONS)

September 12:
Leave Florence on train
Explore Rome
https://romevacationtips.com/orientation-tour-self-guided-piazza-walk/
Otaleg Gelato in Trastevere
Dinner at Pizzeria Ai Marmi (GET THERE WHEN THEY OPEN AT 6:30pm)

September 13:
Explore Rome
Breakfast at Il Siciliano Trastevere or Le Levain Roma
Colosseum to the Forum, Capitoline Museums, Victor Emmanuel Monument viewpoint, and Pantheon.
Lunch at Armando al Pantheon
Dinner at Osteria Der Belli
Gelato Fatamorgana

September 14:
Explore Rome
In Vatican City, visit St. Peter's Basilica, dome climb, and tour the Vatican Museums
GELATO at NEVE DI LATTE
Lunch at OSTERIA DELLE COMMARI (Sit-down restaurant) or PIZZARIUM DI GABRIELE BONCI (Grab n go pizza)
Dinner at Trattoria Da Enzo al 29

September 15:
Explore Rome
La Norcineria di Iacozzilli for Porchetta
Cesare al Casaletto dinner MAYBE?
Tavernaccia Da Bruno in Trastevere DInner
BUy CHEESE AT Antica Caciara Trasteverina

September 16:
Go home
Flight in afternoon at 1pm

Posted by
7480 posts

Sept 15-- perhaps Ostia Antica.
A change of pace and a "Pompeii-like" experience in a less crowded manner ( and more shade). Leaves you plenty of time for some 'wandering' in Rome, your final dinner and cheese shopping

Posted by
21202 posts

I would make a couple of small changes -- Again, I think you first day is too ambitious but you can try.
Second, I would come to Rome on Saturday pm, 11th. Sunday, the 12th, is an excellent time to see the Appian Way. Car traffic is restricted on Sunday so it is much easier to visit the catacombs and even bike on the Appian Way. Also the Aquduct Park is in the same area. A pleasant break from the busyness of Florence.

Posted by
4 posts

I may have read the above too hastily, so not sure whether this is your first visit to these cities. I am quite biased and super-spoiled having traveled quite a bit in Europe, so I think each of these cities deserves a week each. Europe's charms for me are in the smaller towns and not the sights on a checklist, so if there is any way to jump off the train and grab an espresso or gelato en route, please consider it. I found Vicenza near Venice lovely and there are many worthwhile places in that area. Hoping your next trip explores a bit beyond the greatest hits. I discovered Lucca in the '90s b/f it hit the tourist map. You sound like a foodie (applause), but don't forget spontaneity is a great part of traveling. Enjoy!

Posted by
4 posts

A tour guide took us here; well worth a detour: Tucked away in the beautiful Rione Monti, in Rome, in the quaint church of San Pietro in Vincoli, there is one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian art, Michelangelo's Moses, an example of superb craftsmanship and incomparable beauty. Monti is one of the most popular and beautiful areas of Rome.

Posted by
2131 posts

For something different that is not a sit down meal you might consider a food tour.
Eating Europe has several- the Trastevere am tour was fantastic and others recommend the Trastevere Twilight Tour. They have one in Florence as well- in Oltrarno on certain days.

They are running a special now 15% off if you book 60 days in advance, You can stack that with their usual discount code EATWELL10 for a nice discount.
They are also fully refundable which is nice in these uncertain times.

www.eatingeurope.com

Posted by
12501 posts

I'll second a walk on the Appia Antica: my favorite day in Rome to date. We really did make a day of it; starting some distance out and hitting the ruin of Villa di Massenzio (mostly the circus), Catacombs of St. Sebastian, Capo di Bove, and Church of Domine Quo Vadis along our way back into more urban Rome. Took a detour and did the Baths of Caracalla, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (old and important; highly recommend); San Clemente (also highly recommended) and Santo Stefano Rotondo.

Otherwise, you don't have Galleria Borghese on your list? Great museum in a structure designed especially for the collection. The Bernini sculptures ALONE are worth the time...which is limited to 2 hours so it doesn't eat an entire day. Reservations are mandatory:

https://galleriaborghese.beniculturali.it/en/

After your visit, take a stroll through vast Villa Borghese (the park the museum is located in; there's some interesting things to see along the way,) to the Pincio Gardens at its other end and a very nice view from the terrace above Piazza del Popolo. Head down the steps to the piazza and head over to Santa Maria del Popolo to admire the 2 Carravagio paintings, a Raphael-designed chapel and Pinturicchio frescoes. Oh, and that piazza has a history...https://www.turismoroma.it/en/places/piazza-del-popolo

Anyway, you can look up a lot of this stuff on Rome's official tourism site....
https://www.turismoroma.it/en

....and for the Appia Antica, use this one:
https://www.parcoappiaantica.it

Posted by
2 posts

Have you priced flying into one city and out of another? I don't know why you are taking two train trips rather than one

Posted by
4 posts

The price of a multicity flight into Florence and out of Rome costs more than double the flight costs compared to a round trip flight into Rome. Plus I figured we arrived in Rome early in the morning giving enough time to get to Florence in time.

Posted by
21202 posts

I am sorry -- something was off. We have never found an open jaw/multi-city ticket to vary more than a hundred dollars in the worse case over a round trip ticket to a single city. You must have been pricing two one way ticket instead of a multi-city. More than double doesn't make sense. Just did a quick check for into Florence and home from Rome for your dates and found the multi-city ticket to be $4 cheaper than RT to Rome. That was from Denver as I don't know where your are flying from.

These comments are for the benefit of others who read this posting. Nearly all of our trips are open jaw tickets. Always saves time and money.

Posted by
54 posts

Wow, I commend you for figuring out the food before hand. I will be researching your choices for inspiration.

A couple of thoughts looking at your updated itenerary, noting that I have not been to Italy, just busy planning my trip too.

For Florence, watch your Medici times. They have recently reduced their open hours and your updated itenerary might be cutting it close. If you have already booked your ticket online in one of the time slots that is now closed, email them as they will issue an open ended voucher.
For recommendations, the sunset Tuscan vespa tour with a wine tasting came highly recommenned and is very convienient and affordable out of Florence. I'm giving it a go.

For the Historical Rome (Colloseum, Forum, etc) and Vatican dates, it seems like a lot to squeeze in before lunch times.