My wife and I are planning a May 2008 Best of Italy (Milan-Rome) tour and would appreciate any alumni's suggestion on pre or post trip ideas - we plan either to arrive 2-3 days earlier or 2-3 days after.
Great choice of tours, you will love it! Get to Milan the day before the trip starts (you'll arrive mid-morning probably from the States). Do a little sightseeing the day you arrive, get to bed early. Do a quick tour the next morning (duomo and surrounds, Sforzca castle, Last Supper if you can get tickets). Then take a lunch time train to Varenna where you start your tour. Some people on my tour went straight to Varenna and were "done" with the town before the tour left (it's a small place). Rome is easy to spend a day or two extra in (book tickets to the Borghese on the day your tour ends). You can also get to Pompeii or Almafi Coast. I will say that after the 17 day trip, I was tired and ready to come home, so the one extra day I spent in Rome was more than enough. Have fun!
Agree with CL. We stayed one day extra in Rome for the Borghese; it has amazing sculpture. Sorry we didn't do Pompeii too. We arrived the day the tour met and were pretty jet lagged, but an East Coast departure is probably better. Some people on our tour did totally unrelated trips before the tour--train travel in Switzerland or extra hiking in the Dolomites!
We spent 3 extra days in Rome after this same trip and had a wonderful time. Before the trip, we spent an extra day in Varenna and had a great time just wandering around and getting over jetlag. I know you will have a great time on this trip.
Took same trip last spring and did not have nearly enough time in Venice. Fly into Venice, spend 3 days, then train to Varenna via Milan. Very easy to do. If you have to fly into Milano, the train ride to Venice is very easy. If fact, I'm going to fly into Milan and then go to Venice in April before going south to Rome
We just returned Friday from 25 days in Italy The first 13 we were on our own and then we met our 10 day RS tour ending in Rome. We stayed two extra days but the day the tour ended we went to Pompeii early in the am before breakfast. The next day we spent in Rome was more than enough. If I had it to do over I would plan at least 3 days at the end leaving Rome immediately on the last day of the tour and heading to Sorrento to stay and see Pompeii from there.
Yes I agree spend some extra time in Venice...it's magical! We were there for 5 days - spent one day going to Verona and Padua. The Scrovegni Chapel was also a highlight in Padua.
Thanks to ALL for some very good ideas. We certainly enjoyed reading your proposals and feedbacks. It was TC's idea that interests me most.
For now, I will plan to fly into Venice,instead of Milan.
2 nights at Venice
1 night at Padua (train)
1 night at Vernoa (train)
Afterwards, on to Milan by train again, then join the rest of the group at Vareena/Lake Como to start the Best of Italy tour. I figured from most of you, arrive earlier is a better idea than staying extra days, as we might be all exhausted after the 17 day tour.
THANKS, again, to my fellow travellers.
If time, take the vaparetto (water bus) to Burrano in Venice one day. Be sure to spend a night listening to the music in St. Mark's square. We sat and listened to the music at the Cafe Quadri one evening after dinner. What a great memory. We didn't ride a gondola, but my husband rode a traghetto. For about 1/2 a Euro you get a short Gondola ride across the Grand Canal.