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critique our itinerary please :)

We are finally sitting down and planning out the details of our trip to Italy in October. We think we have a final plan as to our itinerary, what do you think? (I know we are doing a lot, but are ambitious and this will be my first time in Italy).

D1:Arrive in Rome at 2pm. D2:colluseum, forum etc. D3:Vatican,StPeters. D4:train to vernazza (945am-228pm). D5:hike towns. D6:trian to florence (934am-1233). rent car. drive to montalcino. D7:wine tour. D8:explore tuscany. D9:drive to florence, return car. tour city. D10:train to venice. D11:venice. D12:home, leave at 12:15pm.

Posted by
586 posts

Sounds like a wonderful trip, Julia. My wife and I did something like this in December. My only suggestions would be these:

  1. If you haven't been to Italy before, I would NOT start with Rome. It can be crazy, chaotic, and less personal than your other destinations. By making that your last stop, you'll be better prepared and "enculturated."

  2. Maybe start with Venice (flying into Marco Polo), than take the train to Vernazza (probably via Milan), then train to Florence, then car rental for Tuscan countryside, then return car after drive to Rome (or before drive, and take bus or train).

  3. Also, three days in Rome is about right, I think, and two nights in Venice is fine, but seems like you're cutting Florence a bit short.

  4. Look carefully in Vernazza: is Cinque Terra still hopping in October, or is that better left for a spring/summer trip some other time?

Hope this helps...have fun!

Posted by
223 posts

Julia, I have a suggestion for your first night in Rome: a night bus tour. We chose one that was about 3 hours with a stop at the Trevi fountain. It's a lovey introduction to the city and so romantic under the lights. I'm sorry I don't remember the tour company, but your hotel and/or the TI will have info on what is available.

Posted by
9429 posts

Your itinerary sounds perfect to me. We started in Rome on our first trip to Italy 3 yrs ago and it was easy. We loved it and all of Italy. We're returning for our 3rd time this July, can't get enough!

Posted by
139 posts

Julie, we leave on April 7 and have a similar plan, Rome 3 nights, Venice 2 night CT 2 night then 7 night in Tuscany. Whit all the posts on here about Florence and tickets I might suggest you do what we are doing. When we leave CT we are taking the train to Arezzo. That is where we will pickup and return our rental car for use in Tuscany. Just a thought.

Posted by
59 posts


If you only have 1 day to do the CT hikes, you may want to pick and choose which ones. For example, the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza offers a STUNNING view of the town. The hike from Vernazza to Corniglia was beautiful- but Corniglia impressed me the least of all the towns. Riamaggiore to Manarola is an easy hike, as is Manaraloa to Corniglia. If you're a big hiker you may want to do the harder ones. I am not, but we had 3 days to hike so we did it in pieces. I LOVED the vineyard walk in Manarola- in Rick Steve's book. Also if you have a chance, take the boat/ferry from Monterosso to Riamaggiore or vice-versa. Some of my best pictures were from the boat ride, plus it was fun! Best place to eat was Via Venti

We went last Year and did CT, then Florence, Tuscany/Montalcino, then Venice.

You will LOVE Montalcino- I'm assuming you're into wine and if so definitely get the tasting flight at the castle.

Venice was like a fairy tale- I fell in love!

Have fun

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I are traveling to Italy in October as well. We only have 2.5 weeks. I was hoping to see Rome, Florence, Montalcino, Cinque Terra and Venice. Very close to your iten. I have not made any arrangements yet so I'm trying to get a feel from others of how this should flow. I though we would spend the bulk of out time in Tuscany and 2 - 3 days in the cities. Thoughts?

Posted by
28 posts

Hi Julia,

Some thoughts on Rome: since you will be in Florence later in your trip, visit the Uffuzi there and skip the Vatican museum in Rome unless you like Renaissance art.

Yes, the Sistine Chapel is beautiful, but getting to it is so time consuming and exhausting that it just was not worth it for me.

Instead, consider a quick stop at San Luigi dei Francesi (a block from the Pantheon) to see Caravaggio's "Matthew Called," or visit Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) to see Michaleangelo's Moses. You'll get world class art, no crowds, and it's free--tough to beat :)

Also, instead of a night time bus tour, follow Rick's evening walking tour from the Spanish steps to Trastavere for a late dinner. Stop at Taza de Oro near the Pantheon for a fantastic cup of coffee on the way. Central Rome is exhausting by day, but breathtaking at night--don't miss it!

Posted by
689 posts

Your plans sound good - enjoy your trip!!!

Posted by
5 posts

Your trip sounds great! One suggestion I would make is that you research what you want to see in Tuscany besides Assisi there are so many beautiful little hill towns to explore but they take time and it looks like you are on a pretty tight schedule. I spent some time in Tuscany and one of my favorite places was San Gimignano, make sure while researching that you check it out.


Posted by
7654 posts

I agree that it is a good itinerary, but more so, I'd like to point out something you did so well as a suggestion for others. You specifically blocked out "travel Days" and a daily schedule, not mixing major sites into the travel day. Many would be tempted to Plan Rome 2 Days, CT 2 Days,Tuscany 3 days, Florence 1 day, Venice 2 days (your exact itinerary) but then fill each day with sites. You seem to be content with seeing what you can without overdoing it, the key to a good itinerary.

Posted by
5 posts

What a wonderful trip you'll have! You know what works for me and helps maximize limited time is to travel between towns in the evening hours sometimes. For instance on your D4 maybe you could take a late afternoon train after St. Peters on D3, leaving your luggage at hotel or in a locker. It could give you 2 full days for hiking. Guess it just depends on you and what you like to do in the evenings! If it's nice long dinners maybe evening transfers wouldn't work for you...