Italy Itinerary?

My fiance and I are planning our dream trip to Italy right now. We've started our research and think we have our itinerary planned out but would love your input. Day 1: Rome Day 2: Rome Day 3: Rome/Vatican Day 4: More Rome Day 5: Sorrento Day 6: Amlafi Coast Day 7: Day trip to Pompeii Day 8: Leave Sorrento and head to Tuscany (should we take a train or drive??) Day 9: Rental car through Orievto and Civita Day 10: Rental car to Siena and more of Tuscany Day 11: See Pisa, head to Cinque Terre (should we drop off rental car before we head to Pisa or in Cinque Terre) Day 12: Hike the Cinque Terre towns Day 13: Florence Day 14: Florence Day 15: Venice Day 16: Venice
Day 17: Venice (visit with old friends) We'll then head to Paris for 3 more full days, but have not planned that part of the trip yet. We'd love any input, advice, or recommendations =)

Posted by Tammy
San Diego, California
4 posts

Woops should have mentioned that early, sorry about that. =) We'll be there in August. I know it will be really hot during that time of the year, but my work schedule limits when I can take time off.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Tammy, To begin with, congratulations! In reading your Itinerary, one thought that came to mind is that you could also reverse the direction and start in Venice. Of course, for travel in August it would be a VERY good idea to pre-book all accommodations. A few comments on some parts of your Itinerary.... > Days 5,6,7 - it will take about half a day to get from Rome to Sorrento, so you won't have much time to do much touring around the city. Could you elaborate on your plans for the "Amalfi Coast"? > Day 8 - I'd travel by train to Orvieto and rent the car there. As you'll be driving in Italy, note that each driver will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. Failure to produce an I.D.P. if requested can result in fines on the spot! You can easily obtain an I.D.P. at any AAA office for a small fee (Passport photos required). You'll also need to be aware of the dreaded Zona Traffico Limitato areas, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in Italy. Passing through these zones can result in expensive fines! Recent posts here would seem to indicate that authorities in Italy are becoming more aggressive in collecting the fines from foreign drivers and there may also be charges from the rental car firm for providing renter information to law enforcement. > Day 11 - leave the rental car in La Spezia, and then take the local trains to whichever of the Cinque Terre towns you'll be staying in. You won't need a car in that area, as the local trains and boats work well. From there take the train to Florence. There are some "caveats" to be aware of with the trains in Italy also. If you need further info, post another note. Happy travels!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Tammy, One other comment..... You might consider skipping Pisa and spending more time in the Cinque Terre. When you arrive there and see the area, you may wish you had booked more time! In any case, it's going to be hot and crowded in the C.T. in August. Which of the five towns were you thinking of staying in?

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1978 posts

I'm with Ken on his suggestions. He knows the area well. In Orvieto, the Hertz outlet is 100 yards from the train station, across the street. Check Hertz.com or AutoEurope.com who is a consolidator that'll send you to the same Hertz franchise. We found AutoEurope to be cheaper 4/12. We just loved visiting Orvieto, as it's a really nice hill top city. You're smart to take the short trip to the incredible Civita. Take your best pair of walking shoes though.
Note that Siena is very congested with people and traffic, and it's very difficult to park. Going in by bus from Florence might be preferable, as it's just an hour ride from across the street from the Florence train station. You're going to have a terrific trip.

Posted by Tammy
San Diego, California
4 posts

First off, thanks for your well wishes! We're so excited, about our engagement and the trip. ;) Also, we really appreciate your input! Your advice really cleared some issues up for us. Ken, here are the answers to your questions: 1) We discussed starting in Venice, but we fly into Rome. It seems like taking a train to Venice from Rome on our first day would be shenanigans. What do you think? 2) I am very excited about the Amlafi Coast. We are planning on taking a tour or getting a driver (any recommendations?) and seeing the coastline. I definitely want to see Sorrento, Ravello, Positano. Do you think we should spend an extra day in Sorrento which will give us more time to explore? 3) Thanks for your input about getting to Orievto. We'll defintely take a train there. We also didn't know about the international s drivers permit and will make sure we have them before we leave. The zona traffico limito sounds stressful, and we'll definitely look into that before we leave. 4) I have heard nothing but wonderful things about C.T. and am so tempted to spend more time there too. Would it be worthwhile to spend only 1 night in Florence and an extra night in C.T.?
5) We're not totally sure which C.T. town we'll be staying in yet, but after reading Rick Steve's overviews of each town it sounds like Monterosso or Riomaggiore will fit us well. We're Southern Californians in our 20s who enjoy the beachy lifestyle. ;) David, thanks for your input. We will definitely check out AutoEurope. Do you think we should skip Siena and focus more on the less touristy towns? Thanks again!