Help with October 11th trip

Hello! We are leaving for our much anticpated first visit to Italy on October 11th. Our original plans are two nights in Venice, two nights in the CT, four nights in Florence with a day trip though Tuscany, five nights in Rome with a Ponpeii side trip. Home from Rome. We are now worried about the CT trail closures. Should we think about Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast instead? We will still need to leave from Rome. Any suggestions/advise welcomed. Thank you.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2392 posts

Personally, I would skip the CT for this trip. TWo nights really is not a lot of time especially when you consider that it takes about 6 hours to get there from Venice. I would add another day to Venice and another to either Florence or Rome. This will also allow you to do more day trips from those locations and not need to change hotels as often. I would add Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast to the next trip also. Donna

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

I wouldn't skip the 5 terre and wouldn't worry about the trail closures. I think only the Via dell'amore might be closed because they had a slide about a week ago that killed a tourist. Two nights in 5 terre may even be too long. I've done the 5 terre as a day trip from my house in Florence thousands of times. It's only a couple of hours by car from Florence. From Florence take the A11 to Viareggio, then A12 to La Spezia. Exit la Spezia and follow signs to Portovenere-Riomaggiore, on the road that goes around the port. Eventually the road splits Portovenere straight, Riomaggiore slight right up the hill. Take to Riomaggiore (the 1st of the 5 villages comprising the 5 terre). Once in Riomaggiore park. There is a paid parking structure just before the old core, down the street. Park for the day. Walk down. Visit beach (rocky, no big deal), have lunch, take train to next towns you want to visit. Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso are the next 4 villages from East to West. If you like trekking, walk from Corniglia back to Vernazza (2 hours) through the Sciacchetra' (local wine) vineyards (spectacular). End of the day, take train from Vernazza back to Riomaggiore, get car drive back to Florence. On the way back take a detour further south on A12 and stop in Pisa. You can kill Piazza dei Miracoli (Duomo, Baptistry, Leaning tower) in 10 minutes flat. Take the FI-LI-PI Superhighway back to Florence. Go to bed, you're cooked by now.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

Also, you are wasting too many nights in Rome. 3 days before your flight back are more than enough, unless you absolutely need to see Mario Monti and Giorgio Napolitano (Italian prime minister and President of the Republic respectively) at the Palazzo Chigi or the Quirinale Palace. From Florence go straight to Naples and the Amalfi coast (Positano is my favorite village there). I presume you have a car. If not, do it by train (even faster) Florence-Naples, then Naples to Sorrento and Positano (bus). Visit Pompeii while on the Amalfi coast, it's right there, visit rest of Amalfi coast. All can be done by car or bus. There is also a train from Naples to Sorrento, with a Pompeii stop in between. There are also daily boat excursions to Capri from any town (both Positano and Sorrento) You can probably stay 2 or 3 nights there if you cut 2 nights in Rome and also cut one night in Florence+Cinque Terre (you were planning 6 in total there). Once you're done with Bella Napoli area, you can go back to Rome and stay the last 3 nights before the flight back. In Rome: Vatican (St. Peter's Basilica+Vatican Museum) less than 1 day
Roman Ruins (Forum+Colosseum+Palatine): less than 1 day City center (Trevi fountain, Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona etc): you can do that on your spare time after the Vatican or the Roman ruins in the late afternoon and evenings. You don't even need 3 days in Rome.

Posted by Jeff
Richmond, Ky, USA
226 posts

I agree with Roberto, CT is totally doable in two nights, and to me, Florence is really a two night stop as well, unless you want more time for your own reasons. I think a break in the CT would be nice after the fast pace of Venice, and Florence. Have a great time!
Jeff

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

I love the CT and will spend a week in October there for hiking in Liguria (not just the CT), but I'd skip it on your trip. IMO it requires at least 3 nights to appreciate and to enjoy the pace of the area. You are short-changing Venice with only one full day there, especially if those are your first two nights in Italy ater flying. Make Venice 3 or 4 nights, there's lots to see and a terrific ambience to enjoy, rain or shine. Roberto suggests 3 nights in Rome, but I really like your pace at 5 nights. Rome can beat you up if you try to rush too much. (Rick Steves' one-two-three day itineraries for Rome are brutal!) It's wonderful to get away from the crowds a bit, take time between sight-seeing sites to rest, sit in a piazza, linger over lunch. Before moving here we spent 5 nights on one trip and 9 on another, and I still have a list of things to do and places to go, even after 4 months of living here. Just seeing the "highlights" doesn't cut it for me, anyway. When we travel, we like to enjoy the culture, get lost a little, not be over-scheduled. If you like to walk, Rome is heaven! There's a wonderful book, "24 Great Walks in Rome" that will get you off the beaten path a bit while seeing the best Rome has to offer. Plus, it helps you justify all the gelato, pastry and wine! Buon viaggio!

Posted by David
Sacramento, CA, USA
205 posts

3 nights in Rome is enough? What kind of drugs are you people taking? Put a big 0 to the right of the 3 and then maybe you will have enough time to really see and understand Rome.
Charlotte--your spending a huge amount of time changiing cities and hotels (burning daylight as they say). I realize you want to see "everything" but you can't. At your pace Italy will be just a foggy faded memory in no time. Slow down...., do 1/2 and then plan your return.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

David, I can show you everything a tourist needs to see in Rome in one day, from dawn to dawn. I'm not saying you'll still want to be my friend at the end of it, but I will show you everything. Give me 24 hours and I'll show you what a Mussolini tour is like.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2452 posts

Why would anyone want a Mussolini tour? Didn't his end with him upside down at a gas station with a rope around his ankles? Charlotte, your five (or perhaps four) nights in Rome seems about right, if you include a Pompeii side trip which will take nearly a whole day (if you throw in the Amalfi Coast instead of CT it will definitely take a long day). I lived in Rome for about 7 years and still haven't seen everything. Check out the Ron in Rome site for the best suggestions I've found on the web.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7960 posts

'Spanish steps to Trevi to Colisseum can be done within 3-5 hours....' is an opinion masquerading as a fact. It's actually a distance of one and a half to two miles, probably closer to the former. A normal, healthy person can cover the longer distance in a bit over a half hour without breaking a sweat. Dawdle times are an individual call. You need facts in order to make your decisions. With your original thought, you've three displacements. Each will effectively use up half a day. It takes five minutes to check in to a hotel and toss your junk. It takes ten to pack and check out. If you're driving, it takes less time since you can leave when you're ready and go door-to-door. If you're using public transportation it will take more since you're tied to a schedule, have to get to and from the station, wait for the train, etc. Regardless of the mode, it's still a half day, on average, to move between your destinations. Regarding the CT, I've twice walked the trail system, round-trip, and been done by mid-afternoon, with a stop in each village for either a beer or a coffee and a bit of snooping. Once was the popular blue route which is about seven miles each way. The other time was maybe ten miles each way since I used some of the interior network. Once I had lunch, maybe not the other time. It's not hiking, it's strolling for the most part. In ten minutes in Pisa all you can do is walk into the middle of the field, take a couple of pictures, and walk out. You need two hours to get inside the cathedral and baptistry, walk around the cemetery, and climb the tower (assuming short lines).

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7960 posts

Venice and Florence are compact. You can walk all of the tourist streets of each in a day. The out-islands of Venice could eat up another day. Florence might take an extra half day depending on museum admissions and time spent inside. If you drive, you can hit four or five of the more popular Tuscan hill towns in a day, but it's grueling. Rome is more spread out. The Vatican, alone, takes a half day for most people. The Colosseum takes an hour, the forum at least another, just to walk through. Rome is one of my least favorite cities, but when I herd people around it takes me at least three days to do it half-justice. Zoe is a lot closer than Roberto, I'd think. The thought of Pompeii as a day outing from Rome makes me shudder and I move at a pretty fast clip when I'm alone.
Tossing in Amalfi with Pompeii seems to make sense, but it makes two more half-day displacements in a two-week trip, which is a heck of a lot of administrative/logistic time. Something would have to be dropped. Your idea of substituting it for the CT would do the trick. These are the facts. Now you can stick in the ambiance based on the opinions. For the record, your whole itinerary is my least favorite chunk of the world, but I've been through it more times than I like to think about.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

Ed:
I guess each has his/her own pace to which one likes to visit things, so it's a futile discussion. 3 days might be not enough for someone while it might seem an eternity for someone else. I've taken my sister in law on a visit to Pompeii on a daily trip from Rome and we did just fine. And that was before they completed the high speed line from Rome to Naples. Actually we were even able to fit in a quick taxi drive through Naples in the 1 and 1/2 hours we had before taking the Eurostar back to Rome. It's only 2 and 1/2 hours from Rome to Pompeii, all inclusive. If you start early enough you can be in Pompeii when they open and leave when the close. High Speed Trains start early and end very late.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8732 posts

Ralph, after you have been here a while you will understand different posters' personalities. Ed is always accurate in his facts. He does tend to run through in his speedos, leaving wailing women and children...

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2452 posts

I'm sure that if we all look back at our posts, we'll find some that can sound a little less helpful than others (myself included). People who ask for advice on this forum want facts and relevant opinions, but of course our opinions come from our own experience and are enrobed in our own personalities, for better or worse.