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Dream vacation with my (adult) daughter for 1st Italy trip. Is this itinerary OK?

I will be flying to Italy with my 23 year old daughter. First trip to Europe for both of us. We want to see as much as possible in 2 weeks but I worry our plans may result in too much for 2 weeks (arrive 4th & fly out on 19th). Here it is so far:

Arrive in Venice June 4 (9am)
June 4 Venice
June 5 Venice. Take evening train to Verona (staying with the family of a friend who owns a winery)
June 6 Verona
June 7 Verona
June 8 Morning train to Cinque Terre and spend rest of the day there
June 9 Cinque Terre (hiking)
June 10 Cinque Terre
June 11 Leave C.T. and take morning train to Florence
June 12 Florence (Uffizi, Duomo) or day trip to Tuscany town
June 13 Morning train to Rome (Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon)
June 14 Rome (Vatican and St Peters)
June 15 morning train to Naples then train/boat to Sorrento
June 16 Amalfi Coast
June 17 Amalfi Coast
June 18 Amalfi Coast and return to Rome in the evening
June 19 Fly out of Rome 9:40 am

It seems ambitious but I want to experience all of these and not sure when I will make it back! We will probably do guided tours for Rome and a 1/2 day boat tour while at Amalfi Coast. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated!

Posted by
7736 posts

Well, my likes and dislikes might not match yours but my opinion is that you do not have enough time in Venice, Florence or Rome. I would cut the 4 days to Sorrento and Amalfi coast and add 1 night to Venice, one to Florence and 2 to Rome.

Posted by
7124 posts

Head to Sorrento after Florence, consolidating your time in Rome before flying out.

June 13 Train to Sorrento (3 nts) via Naples
June 14 Amalfi Coast - Capri
June 15 Amalfi Coast - Positano
June 16 Train to Rome (3 nts) via Pompeii
June 17 Rome (Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon)
June 18 Rome (Vatican and St Peters)
June 19 Fly out of Rome 9:40 am

Extra nights in Venice and Florence would be desirable, however, the offer of accommodation in Verona with a friend who owns a winery is way too good an invite to give up. I think it's a great trip - sure it's intensive, but you have acknowledged that, and I know that over two weeks the pace is sustainable for both you and your daughter. Have a great trip.

Posted by
2235 posts

Andy, I pretty much agree with Pam. You will not be spending enough time to really experience Venice, Florence or Rome, and you will be spending a lot of time on trains, in train stations, and getting to and from train stations. The geographical outliers on your itinerary are Cinque Terre and Sorrento/Amalfi Coast. I think you should pick one of those and drop the other. If you love Italy like many of us, you'll be back, probably sooner than you might expect.

Posted by
1708 posts

I agree that you should axe either Amalfi Coast or CT. It will give you a much better feel for Venice, Florence and Rome to have more nights in each city.

Posted by
20686 posts

I agree with the others. A bit too much travel. As min I would consolidate Rome by moving Rome to the end. First day in Venice is going to be shot just because of jet lag. You will not get or see much that day. And then you leave the next day. While I am not the biggest fan of Venice as others may be, still it deserves at least double the time you are giving it. I think you should drop something and I would consider flying into Milan and going to Verona directly. And CT would be another option. Need to lighten it somewhere.

Posted by
11977 posts

You have 15 nights in the ground.
If you can make changes add at least one night to Venice, Rome and Florence.
Also since you depart from Rome you should do Rome last and go to Sorrento and Amalfi coast before going back up to Rome.

My itinerary would be (in this exact order and all by train):
Venice 2 nights
Verona 2 nights
Florence 3 nights
Cinque Terre 2 nights
Sorrento 3 nights
Rome 3 nights

Frankly I would cut down the Cinque Terre and add those two nights to somewhere else.

30 years ago few Americans even knew the Cinque Terre existed and now it seems everybody has to go there no matter how impractical it is to squeeze it in a short vacation. By cutting the Cinque Terre, you could add one night to Florence and maybe do the Cinque Terre on a day trip from Florence (2.5 hours each way) if you must see it at all costs. You could also add another night to Sorrento so that you have time to also see Capri.

Posted by
10 posts

Well I will definitely make the change of moving Rome to our last stop after Amalfi Coast. We I'll have to talk over the rest. She is a big fan of the beautiful coastlines . Thank you!

Posted by
11613 posts

With two weeks, seeing something means giving up something else. Prioritize, if coasts are important then go to both. That means less time in beautiful cities, but there you are. You will never see everything in every country, so knowing what you and your daughter want is a big plus.

Whirlwind memories last forever, too.

Posted by
1737 posts

Just want to chime in. First, the BEST trips I've taken were when I traveled with my adult kids. Took my daughter first to Rome for 5 days. We did some side trips, to Orvieto, and to Ostia Antica. The next year, my son to Munich for 5 days. We saw the BMW factory and beer gardens, and of course took time to visit Dachau. Years later I did it again, this time my daughter to Florence for 4 days with a trip to Assisi, Perugia and Pisa. Then my son to Bologna for a Ducati factory tour, really fast one day trip to Florence, and one day trip to Venice and the amazing food tour with Alessandro. You and your daughter will connect so deeply sharing this experience ! Good for you both!

Posted by
172 posts

Hi,
I would allow another day in Venice and Florence.
I could cut a day from Verona and CT. You are only allowing 1 day in Florence which is a shame as it is a beautiful city.
Enjoy your time

Posted by
3330 posts

Don't mean to rain on your parade, but that is an awful lot of traveling from place to place. It seems that it almost always take longer than anticipated to get from Point A to Point B and that cuts down on the amount of time to actually enjoy where you are. Personally I would just try for Venice (and Verona is close by), Florence, the CT and Rome. While the CT and the Amalfi Coast are somewhat different, the views and scenery are very similar. Just food for thought.

Posted by
11658 posts

Lots of different options here, and none of them are 'wrong' unless they aren't to your liking but the Amalfi Coast seems like the outlier to me, and involves backtracking. I'll also vote with the others who think you haven't given enough time to Venice, Florence and Rome - although I also don't know what your shared interests are. I'd personally scrap the A.C., add one day to Venice, one or two to Florence (day trip on one of them), and one or two to Rome.

The C.T. is going to be mobbed so if you keep that one, reservations should be made ASAP!

Posted by
23728 posts

I'm sorry to pile on, but arriving in Venice all tired and jet-lagged and it will be at least noon, probably later if you are hungry for something, anything to eat, before you can see anything of this most beautiful and atmospheric of cities, and then you will tire easily - even if only 23 - (where are you flying in from, Andy, is this after a connection somewhere or a direct flight?) and then in the morning when it is beautiful and you decide you love the place, but then you are off to Verona (lovely place and a great excuse to go there).

It would be such a shame to go away with bad memories of Venice because you only saw the tiniest bit of it when you were tired and rushing. The way to appreciate Venice is to give it the time and space to get under your skin and mesmerise you. That takes more time than you and she are giving it.

I'm probably biased because I go back to Venice every year - after 10 years of at least once a year, often more, I have barely scratched the surface.

If there is a chance what I said, you might just leave it out altogether this trip. It is special.

The other thing is that you are doing all this moving around in July. That's just about peak season, for both numbers of tourists in each of these places, and for temperature.

Unless you and she work outdoors somewhere hot - like Texas - the overwhelming heat may get to you. Certainly in Florence which is in a bowl and is hotter than the surrounding area, and in Rome where the heat just sticks.

The crowds will be unbearable in the Cinque Terre, where it is hard to avoid them, and elsewhere where it is a bit easier. The Amalfi Coast will also be wall to wall. The CT and Amalfi Coast both suffer he they have crowds because they are both on rocky coast so there is very limited area for all the people to share. In Rome, and Venice it is possible to get away a bit from the crowds by going just slightly off the beaten path, especially in Venice because the attraction is the city itself, not necessarily the paid attractions, and in both Venice and Rome there are plenty of nice cool churches to cool off in, and get top notch art as a bonus, hanging where it was painted to hang or standing where it was carved to stand. That is an experience completely different to visiting a museum.

Verona will be hot too, although I never found that it troubled me there as much as in some other Italian cities like Florence and Rome.

I think it is fabulous that you are doing this trip together. That's wonderful.

Even if you don't get back for several years, you will have planted the seed of Italy in her consiousness and I am sure she will return as often as she can.

Posted by
14003 posts

Nigel has written everything I was thinking while reading your itinerary.

As TC said, traveling takes time. It's not just a 2-hour train ride to . . . You have to pack, check out, get to the train station allowing for traffic and other delays and enough time in the station to find and board your train, then you have to go from the train station to your next hotel to drop your luggage before you start sightseeing or lunch or whatever. Add to that the time it takes to get oriented to a new place, get your bearings with a map, figure out the public transportation system.

Posted by
3696 posts

I traveled with my 21 year old daughter on our first trip to Europe and it was fantastic. We traveled in May and had a car, so we had lots of freedom. Neither of us is in love with big cities or hours of going to museums, so what we found the best were the smaller villages and coastal towns (we love the sea) The most memorable things we did were totally unplanned and surprises that we found... The time we did spend in the big cities (Paris) was enjoyable enough, but it was crowded and hot and stressful compared to watching the sunrise at the Lake of Constance, or having a roadside picnic. Our trip was as much about spending time together in beautiful locations as it was checking stuff off of a list.

Both Florence & Rome in the heat of summer are miserable for me....we were fortunate enough to visit CT before the overflow of people, but it is still worth seeing. I now prefer to stay in Santa Margharita and take the boat or train to the CT.

Have a wonderful trip....

Posted by
11158 posts

Terry Kathryn and Neil are onto something. If you really want to see coastal areas, you should cut one or more cities. Despite what many will say, you don't have to see Rome, Florence, Venice, or indeed any particular place on a trip to Italy, any more than a first time visitor to the US has to see New York or San Francisco. I didn't get to Rome on my first trip. After six more trips to Italy, I feel that was the right decision (I love Rome, but who knows how I would have felt if I had shoehorned it in).

Posted by
96 posts

I don't know how old you are but after traveling regularly to Europe for the past nearly 30 years, jet lag gets worse with age and I find myself tiring more easily. We attempted to jam a lot into a little time at first, but once you get your taste of Europe you'll find a way to return, hopefully again and again. Please don't plan so much into your trip that you have no breathe room in between. Two years ago, on our first trip to Amalfi, I got food poisoning, spent a day in bed and didn't eat for another day. Luckily we were there for three days but had we had a tight schedule, we would have been screwed. Venice is a treasure and you are planning such a short trip that you'll still be on jet lag when you are leaving.
I would suggest that you make your two cities the ones that you are already committed to because you are arriving in Venice and leaving from Rome. I'd save Florence for your next trip, put all of your Rome time together at the end of your trip. Now take the time that you are saving and add it to Venice and Rome.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for all of the advice! We actually booked outlet flight but we are now flying in and out of Venice (saved us $600 each) so we are rethinking our itinerary. Not as convenient but thats$1200 worth of experiences!

Posted by
1726 posts

OK--that being said, in and out of Venice, the question is over 2 weeks, how far south do you want to go, and for how long?

I'd certainly go to Florence for 2-4 days, a 2 hour train ride. Possibly even take the Freccia train 90 minutes more from Florence to Rome for a couple days to begin that leg--those are easy enough to do, and relatively efficient. 6 days on the road and you'll have at least viewed--albeit quickly--two of your main goals. But in June, with the heat and crowds, I'd stay away from the Amalfi Coast and also the Cinque Terre unless you want to fight the tourist hordes. I'd think about staying north and possibly off the beaten path.

Options are Bolzano to the north, Trieste and Ljubljana (Slovenia) to the east, the Como/Bellagio region to the west, all within 2-4 hours away. Thinking way out of the box, someplace like Murren, Switzerland isn't that far away (6-7 hours by car or train) and is absolutely magical.

But you can't do everything, remember that! Have the mindset that you will be back. Don't plan too much in that time, leave space open for day trips or to just hang out in whatever town strikes your fancy. And this is a good 'problem' to have. That's the beauty of European travel.

Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
1700 posts

The overall plan is workable I think but definitely would want to CUT 1 night from Verona and give to Venice and then MUST also CUT 1 night from either CT or AC and give to Rome. Lack of time in Rome is my biggest issue with the plan.

The advise of keeping that first arrival day light in the site seeing is a good one.
Young and old will burn out trying to arrive tired and on 6-8 hour different time zone hitting the ground running and attempting to walk all of Venice in a day.

Ouch I just read you are now flying out of Venice, that makes things more difficult and now am thinking either CT or AC should go.

Posted by
616 posts

If she loves coast and Nature I would rather do Orbetello, Talamone, Porto Ercole and Porto San Stefano, all these places covering Monte Argentario. Copalbio not very far away has very nice gardens with statues by Niki de St Phalle
Take the boat in Talamone and go and see the reserve with plenty of birds and animals. If she loves the coast. (4 nights)

Florence (3 nights). Is not too far from Monte Argentario. It takes three hours 15 to go from Florence to Orbetello coast. Train cost: 20,50 euros.
To go to Talamone, you've got to change in Grosseto. Wonderful villages around, small lakes, hot water rivers where you can bathe such as Saturnia.
Then I would do the Amalfi coast (3 nights). Make sure at do this by boat.

Venice (4 nights)

I would do Rome and Cinque Terre another time. And I am sure she will want to come back to Florence and discover Tuscan countryside even if it is away from the coast.

Another nice thing to do is to go for a few days to Elba. I find Venice should be absolutely part of this trip this time.

Do you really need to stay at that winery this time? Else add one more week to do all you wish to do. 😃

Posted by
3696 posts

In and out of Venice does change things... I would consider opting out of Rome and Amalfi and spending more time in the north and Tuscany. Are you opposed to renting a car in Tuscany? That could allow more time in small villages, etc. which will be more enjoyable than hot, crowded cities.
As far as staying at the winery I think that could be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. What better experience than to stay with the locals???
My daughter and I stayed a few days with a friend of a friend in the small town of Bad Groenenbach in Germany. The family had 2 young horse loving daughters (pre teen) who did not speak English. Some how they conversed with my daughter. We went to a festival, a horse show, a parade in the town and spent time seeing how this Germany family lived. That experience was priceless and one of our best memories.

One of our best off the beaten path adventures....

Posted by
10 posts

Ok so my am convinced we have too many stops. I can leave out one... What do we leave out...Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast or Florence. Opinions?

Posted by
616 posts

Yes it is true the winery will be a nice experience but the daughter wants to see the Italian Coast and I thought that if you really want to see fishermen delivering their fish, or see wild sea birds, it is better you go to Elba or Porto Ercole, both are by the way, part of Tuscany. There is a Ferry going from Piombino to Elba Island. You can always find sun or Wind on Elba Island, If it's hot at a place in the Island, just hold to the Opposition Side of the Island.
If you go to the Amalfi coast, you Need to take Time enough time to go to Ischia, Capri, Amalfi, Sorrente, Ercolano or Pompei. You Must take your Time, sail.
Each place you decide to go needs at least 3 nights. Discuss with your daughter and see what she is willing to leave out.

Posted by
3696 posts

I would leave our Florence.... but that's just me... I would rather spend time at the sea than a hot, crowded city in the summer:) It's so depressing that it is always about choices!... but what a great thing to be able to choose!

Posted by
244 posts

I would definitely drop either the Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast and put more time for Rome. One of the previous forum comments about the Cinque Terre listed a link so you can see what cruise ships would be in port. If there are a large number of ships, I would drop CT. cruise ship link.

Posted by
62 posts

I would leave out the Amalfi Coast. Too much time to get there and back. I love the CT, have been there 6 times since 1994 -- when it was essentially undiscovered. Now, it's true, it's a madhouse. We stayed for 3 nights in Vernazza in July and it was a little disappointing because it was just so jam-packed. Still beautiful, but way more commercial and cynical. No more "buongiornos" with the little old ladies doing their daily walks. I asked a local bar owner if they love or hate tourists now.. he said they love the ones that come stay a few nights, but not the day-trippers who just come in, consume, jam through town and don't bother to appreciate the people or place.

That all said, I think you *have to do the biggies on your first trip: Rome, Venice, Florence. Verona I've done and seen a couple of operas, which is cool, but I don't need to go back. Same with Venice. It's lovely and romantic (if you stay a few nights) but also overrun with people, which can lessen the experience, especially if it is as hot as it was this summer.

After multiple trips there often seeing the biggies because I've always been with first-timers, I've decided my next trips will be to smaller towns, staying longer in each. Travel is tiring, especially if you are going all day and moving every 2 days. As someone above said, it's never just "2 hours by train." And things rarely go according to plan... you just have to have patience and go with it.

Have a great time, I'm sure you will both enjoy it tremendously whatever you do. And whatever you don't get to goes on the list for next time!

Posted by
96 posts

I would drop the one that is farthest away and most time-consuming to get to: Amalfi. There is so much to see in that area; save it for a future trip and dedicate four or five days to really get a taste of the area. Our first 6 trips to Italy concentrated on northern Italy, no farther south than Siena. BTW, I am not one to take organized tours, but your itinerary looks like something that would be best accomplished by taking a tour and letting someone else organize your day-to-day activities. If you want to see that much of a large area in such a short time I'd suggest making your next trip a tour.

Posted by
96 posts

I would drop the one that is farthest away and most time-consuming to get to: Amalfi. There is so much to see in that area; save it for a future trip and dedicate four or five days to really get a taste of the area. Our first 6 trips to Italy concentrated on northern Italy, no farther south than Siena. BTW, I am not one to take organized tours, but your itinerary looks like something that would be best accomplished by taking a tour and letting someone else organize your day-to-day activities. If you want to see that much of a large area in such a short time I'd suggest making your next trip a tour.

Posted by
2975 posts

I don't have any advice on schedule. I just wanted to say how glad I was that you and your daughter will have this wonderful memory making opportunity together. Enjoy and treasure these times! In the end it won't be which sight that you went to that matters as much as the that you went to them together.