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Is it crazy to leave out Venice on a trip to ITALY?

I know Venice is a unique place and everyone includes it on their itinerary but I wonder if its really worth the time and effort for us to get there from Lake Como? Also on my itinerary is Florence and Rome and maybe a couple days in the hill country if we don't go to Venice. We will have 12 days in Italy, not including flight days.

thanks
Sharon

Posted by
1634 posts

Not at all. Most people travel to Italy 2, 3, or more times before they see everything. We have been a few times but we haven't been to Florence, Tuscany, the hill towns etc as of yet. We just figure we will have to make another few trips to Italy to see all on our list. With only 12 days why rush around. Italy will be there next year.

Posted by
6119 posts

I'm a little confused. Does your 12 days in Italy include your time at Lake Como? If so, how many days after that would you have remaining for Rome and Florence? Rome deserves 5 nights (4 full days) and Florence 3-4 nights (2-3 full days) so Venice might not be possible without sacrificing time in the other two cities. There is nothing wrong with leaving out Venice, whether it's because of time restraints or lack of interest or anything else. Travel your way to the places you feel you want to spend the time to see, that's the only way to travel - there is no right or wrong about it.

Posted by
4695 posts

Every vacation where you are exploring places requires a trade-off. It's up to you whether or not Venice is worth the time. You'd obviously go if you had an unlimited time to visit Italy, but you have only twelve days. If for you Lake Como, Florence, Rome, and days in Tuscany(?) have a higher priority than Venice, then just do those places. But I wouldn't skip Venice if you think it would be better/more enjoyable than something else on your agenda just because of the "time and effort" to get there. It's not really more than a few extra hours out of the way by train, is it? Once you get from Lake Como to Venice, it's a straight shot to Florence and Rome by train. (I assume you aren't driving - maybe you are.)

Venice was surely one of the highlights of Italy for me. Maybe it wouldn't be for you. It's not everyone's favorite place. Some find the mobs of tourists obnoxious, but it is possible to avoid them somewhat with some planning. I suspect many visitors to Venice never get far out of the main tourist drags and don't understand there are charming, quiet quarters with few tourists not too far off the main drags.

Posted by
2546 posts

Not sure that Venice is any more effort to get to than Florence. They both require a change of train in Milan. Venice is about 2 hours longer is all. But there's no law that says you have to go to Venice. We've been to Italy several times and not all of them included Venice. If you'd rather spend your time in Tuscany, then do it. Just pick a town with good transportation options.

Posted by
16796 posts

You have to make some hard choices during your limited time and I see you've already cut the Cinque Terre from your earlier plan. Personally, I would prioritize 3 nights in Venice over most other alternatives. An extra 3-hour train travel leg is not significant to me. Someone else will believe that Rome "requires" more time, but I think you can find a good balance with 3 nights at each stop and pretty fast trains in between. Of course, pretty much nobody dislikes Siena or Orvieto, if that's your choice this time. You must plan to return.

Posted by
1700 posts

It was our 3rd time in Italy before we went to Venice, so not crazy at all.

I admit I am a little split on Venice. On one hand it is so unique and magical that it is rightfully a must see in your lifetime type of destination on the other hand it is so much a tourist mecca that it feels almost fake and less authentic than most anything else you will find in the country.

Posted by
2055 posts

I am also very ambivalent about going to Venice. I'm put off by the stories of the crowds and "touristy-ness" of the place. But with that said, I was ambivalent about going to Spain - and once we went there (October 2017), I was so glad that we did. I'm kind of obsessed with Spain right now.

Our next trip to Belgium and northern France is pretty much set in my mind. But after that, I am going to plan a trip to Europe that includes Venice. Maybe fly into Venice and fly home from Vienna.

Thank you sbowers992 for giving me the opportunity to re-think my own Venice-avoidance issues.

Posted by
4 posts

Our introduction to Venice was cruising by boat the Grand Canal. It was a moment I will never forget. We loved Italy and worked at our itinerary to include Venice -- so happy we did. It is a very unique, romantic city. If you don't make it this trip, I suggest you fit it in if possible on your next! We also visited Lake Cuoma, Cinque Terra, Florence and Rome. Lovely country. We hope to visit again!

Posted by
4695 posts

Anyone who fears Venice is too touristy and fake should do some research ahead of time as to how/where to go to avoid this experience at least for a while. I'm guessing people who walk only from the train station along the Strada Nuova to Rialto and on to San Marco do have that impression, because all of those areas are often mobbed (literally) with tourists, but that's not all of Venice. For example, walk from the train station to Rialto on the other side of the Grand Canal (cross the Scalzi bridge near the train station), zigzagging through the courtyards and narrow streets of San Polo area to Rialto. It's easy to follow - just follow the posted signs "per Rialto" that are hard to miss. I did this walk in the morning last May, and there virtually no other tourists in sight. (Could be busier by late morning with tour groups I guess.) Compared to "tourist Venice," though, it's like a whole different world.

Posted by
6524 posts

Omitting it this trip gives you an EXCELLENT reason to return and see it on your next trip!

Posted by
996 posts

Italy is one of those countries where you can omit [this place] and still have an incredible adventure in [those places] in the country.

I think Venice is a must see destination, but it doesn't have to be a must on this particular trip. Focus on what you want to see, not what you think you should see. And have a great trip!!

Posted by
42 posts

Again, thank you all!! I love this forum. I'm going to keep Venice in the itinerary and make a point of stepping away from the super touristy area to visit some other neighborhoods. Sharon

Posted by
1667 posts

Sharon,
There is always the temptation to cram everything into a trop like this, especially when it is your first time. There is a fear that you will miss seeing something and never have a chance to see it again. My wife and I have done both the "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belguim" kind of trip as well as trips where we slowed down a little and explored an area in more depth. We tend to prefer a less hectic pace. Our dream is to spend 3-4 weeks in Rome alone, with most of the time not doing touristy things.

That said, I could make an argument for you to either keep or discard Venice on this trip. If you decide to keep it, do so only if you can spend a minimum of 2 days and three nights there.

Venice and Rome especially have been overrun by cruise ship day trippers. The only way to enjoy them is to explore the out of the way places while they are there and see the main sights early and late, before and after the thundering hoards have come and gone. It's a question of both quantity and quality. It would be bad enough if the masses were considerate and polite. Unfortunately, there is a significant percentage of the cruise ship crowd that are rude and obnoxious.

Since it looks like you are already loaded up on cities, I suggest you consider substituting the time you would spend in Venice with spending time out in the Italian countryside, exploring rural areas and small towns. There's a completely different rhythm and atmosphere that is just as much a part of Italy as the major tourist cities. Either add a day or two to Varenna or find a smaller town in Tuscany.

Posted by
4343 posts

I consider the big three for Italy to be Rome, Florence and Venice. You can do all three in two weeks, even 12 days.

Suggest Rome 6 days, Florence 4 and Venice 2.

However, if you plan to visit Italy in the future, no problem with saving Venice for another trip.

Posted by
14039 posts

You will never have enough time in Italy. You will rarely have enough time in one place. Most places will call you back again and again. As long as you don't try to cram in too much, you'll have a very good trip no matter what you choose. Try your best to enjoy everything, not to see everything.

Posted by
20732 posts

We have been to Italy maybe six, even eight times over the past 20 years. Wasn't until our third trip we hit Venice and the fourth trip finally made Rome. There are lots of places to see in Italy and we tend to park in an area and do short train rides to other locations. My wife's favorite travel expression is, "We will see that next time." But, also you need to understand what appeals to you. For us Venice is so so and we are not eager to return. We enjoyed Venice when we were there but ....... Much prefer to spend time in Florence, along the coast, and Rome. So leaving out Venice is not a major no, no.

Posted by
307 posts

We've made three trips to Italy and have not been to Venice yet, and may never make it to Venice. But we have wonderful memories of the places we have been and don't feel like we've missed out. Never enough time in Italy!

Posted by
1731 posts

Like Mother Duck, we have made three trips to Italy as well and have not done Venice yet. FYI, it's been Sicily/Florence/Rome (2010), Florence/Salerno/Amalfi Coast (2015 after Paris & Lucerne), then Rome/Sorrento (2017).

All have been great, but in planning these trips and for the future as well, as you can see I'm definitely torn between going where we like as opposed to trying something new. Our second trips to Florence and Rome were so much more enjoyable than the first time in each--which were wonderful also--because we already had the lay of the land.

Next trip--if I had to guess it will be early 2019--will probably include Venice, but I'm tempted to stay in Verona as a base to also see Lake Garda, making a daytrip to Venice. But folks have said the best part of Venice is in the morning and evening after tourists have gone away. I agree--that was exactly the case in Florence and Rome as well.

Or I'm starting to zero in on Puglia and Basilicata as an option. Or back to Sicily...yikes!

Posted by
211 posts

YES. I've been there once 2 years ago. A must stop. We were there in low season. Not sure about the crowds in high season but I hear the crowds are uncomfortable.

Posted by
23983 posts

The crowds are only uncomfortable if you let them be. There are great crowd avoiding strategies in Venice. I go once or twice a year most years and rarely am bothered by the crowds as I avoid them mostly.

Different strokes for different folks. I feel much the same about Rome, and return time after time. I, on the other hand can be happy never returning to the Cinque Terre (talk about crowds!!!!) and while I will return again to Florence it is way down on my list after Venice, Rome, Bologna, Vicenza, Verona, and the Bay of Naples.

Posted by
17 posts

We are planning our 4th trip to Italy. Our last trip was a week in Vennus. We loved every minute. We rented an apartment so we were out of the madness. I read several books including a collection of theDonna Leon mysteries. You need to get lost and struggle to find your way at least once. Don't worry, it is an island. Have a Compari Spritzer for me.

Posted by
19 posts

Crazy? - no, not in my opinion. Husband and I returned from 13 nights in Florence, Pistoia, Orvieto and Rome just last October. I unapologetically report that Venice was not in my vision for this first trip to Italy. We had an amazing and magical time and I would not have traded any of our experiences for any other locale. We also traveled with the expectation we will return, so that reduces the pressure. Follow and trust your heart - it will serve you well in Italy.

Posted by
14039 posts

I've had a second thought about this. It might be a good idea to skip Venice since it could well be habit-forming. I went there on my first visit to Italy, and looking back I realize than I've been back to Venice on all but one of my subsequent visits - the one to Sicily.

Posted by
3847 posts

Like Chani - I fell in love with Venice at first sight and have managed to go there on 4 of our 7 Europe trips and hope to go back next year. It IS habit forming. It looks like you've decided to go - but it's whatever works for you - it was our 3rd trip to Italy before we got to Florence...and our first trip there included not quite as popular Genoa and Bologna!

Posted by
390 posts

Heck, I lived in Italy for 2 years and never went to Venice! I finally went 8 years after I left on a 2 week trip. Venice is not for me.....I took a neat gondola lesson, we explored the more non touristy areas, but meh.....I don't need to go back. Everything is expensive and I don't like the food.....I gave up one day and went to the Napolitano chain Rossopomodoro because I was sick of trying to find a decent price for a meal I liked.

But as others have said, you don't have to do EVERYTHING in one trip, save some places for another trip!

Posted by
752 posts

Did you say when? Carnivale 2018 in Venice is January 27 to February 13. Now that is the Fun time to visit Venice!

Posted by
9 posts

I completely agree that Venice is habit-forming. We booked a trip to Italy last year, flying into Venice because the fares were much cheaper at the time. Everyone told us that we should cut our time in Venice to have more time in Rome & Florence. I am so glad we did not shorten our time - we had 4 magical days there! So much so that we are returning again in March! It all depends on when you go and where you go while you are there. When we went last year, Florence was the only place of the three that was miserably crowded at the time.