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Italy (30th B-day) - Itinerary/General Help?

Ok so after a month of research I have almost come up with an itinerary. Please let me know what you all think and please give any suggestions.

The big question I have now is should I buy my ticket ahead of time or wait until about 2-3 months before October for the best price. I see all these great prices online but they are usually for travel within a month or 2 of special offer. Any suggestions?

Itinerary:

Leave Thurs. night arriving Fri. morning (fly out of Newark or PA into Venice)

Day 1 Fri: Venice
Day 2 Sat: Venice
Day 3 Sun: Florence
Day 4 Mon: Florence
Day 5 Tues: Rome
Day 6 Wed: Rome
Day 7 Thurs: Rome
Day 8 Fri: Day trip to Pompeii(which Is on top of my list but I have heard others say it is not worth it to do a day trip?)
Day 9 Sat: Rome
Day 10: Depart for home from Rome.

Does this seem ideal? Can you all give me any ideas of the best times to visit sites and Will we need reserv. for the popular sites? Should we book some kind of tour?

I am most nervous about train/bus travel (1. Getting lost and 2. I have read people getting yelled out for not filling in something on a ticket) should we buy tickets ahead of time for trains?

Also any help on places to stay in Venice & Florence that are central would also be helpful (budget friendly).

Posted by
1201 posts

I find it easier to think of nights of lodging when planning. So let me translate your trip.

Arrive Friday Venice

2 nights Venice (Fri & Sat)

Train to Florence Sunday

2 nights Florence (Sun & Mon)

Train to Rome Tuesday

5 nights Rome (Tues through Sat)

Fly home Sunday from Rome.

Is that right?

I might take a night from Rome and add to Venice. Other than that it seems ok.

THe deal with tickets is that in general you get issued sort of a generic ticket in some cases valid for up to a month. You need to validate the ticket by getting it date and time stamped in a machine before you board. That way a person can't use the same ticket for travel the entire month.

Posted by
110 posts

I don't know if I would do Pompeii as a day trip. It really depends on what you want to see and how you want to spend your time. Pompeii is great and I really loved the Amalfi Coast, but I don't know if it is worth the time there and back to just see Pompeii.

Also, it might be wise to leave Venice in the pm and stay over in Bologna to get dinner and walk around. This will cut the time travel time in half and save you some money on accomodations in Venice. Really depends on what you want.

Also, a day in Siena or one of the other hill towns would also be a nice stop along the way.

I know you don't want to hear about more places. It took me forever to finalize our 10 day itineary and I kept switching things.

Venice was the best in the early mornings or late evenings though when all the cruise passengers had left. I loved and hated Venice. It was so magical and beautiful but very touristy.

Posted by
4555 posts

If Pompeii is on the top of your list, then it is easily do-able as a day trip from Rome. You won't regret it. If you leave early enough and return late enough, you can even stop in Herculaneum and look at a better-preserved town site right in the shadow of Vesuvius.

Posted by
8879 posts

I think the itinerary is fine. I want to assure you to not be nervous about train travel. I travel solo all the time and will tell you getting trains in Italy is pretty easy. Just know your train stations. You can buy you tickets the day of if you wish from self serve machines which have an "English" option. Just use your credit/debit card. The schedule will show times of departure. Just remember to STAMP your ticket before you get on the trains. Look for the YELLOW boxes by the train tracks. Your ticket will have your train (treno)# , car (carrozza) # and seat (posti) # listed on it. Train car numbers are posted on the sides of the trains. The ticket will also say from where to where. For example from Florence to Milan it would read: ( Firenze S.M.N--Milano Centrale).

As already noted in previous post on this website you MUST reserve in advance to see David at the Accademia in Florence. Same for the Ufittzi Gallery. October is a great time to travel as the summer crowds will have diminished considerably.

Great trip for a 30th birthday. Have Fun!

Posted by
103 posts

Also - the Uffizi is closed on Monday and Sundays are notoriously busy. I was surprised to find that the only day we could get tickets during the second half of April was Friday the 17th.

Posted by
586 posts

I agree with Ron: your itinerary is a good one, Michelle, and certainly do-able, but I would steal one night from Roma and ADD that night to either Venezia or Firenze. To me, 4 nights in Roma is good on one trip (with or without Pompeii)--it's Venice and Florence I've found to be magical. Buon viaggio!

Posted by
527 posts

I'm a huge fan, as is Rick, of Ostia Antica the ancient port of Rome. I prefer it over Pompeii and it's only one hour and a one euro trip from Rome. Try www.ostia-antica.org for a preview.

Posted by
12172 posts

We also did Ostia Antica. It was similar to Pompeii in the sense of seeing how Romans actually lived. I might have preferred Pompeii but couldn't justify the travel time unless South of Rome was part of the itinerary.

Posted by
45 posts

The train travel was easy. My husband, and daughter and I spent 10 days based in Rome. We did a day trip to Florence and a day trip to Pompeii/Naples (one of our most favorite things wish we had stayed in this area as well). We would go to the train station in the morning and use the ticket machine to purchase a ticket (they have English Machines) and we never got yelled at once.