Italy Itinerary Order

Hello Fellow Travelers, We are looking forward to 16 days in Italy, departing August 28 and returning September 14, and have already booked a splendid Tuscan agriturismo near Pienza as the centerpiece. My question is, in which order should we see the rest of the sights we have in mind? Looking at the map, it would seem that Rome/Tuscany/Florence/Cinque Terre/Venice makes sense. We would spend two nights at each stop other than Tuscany, with a third night perhaps in Florence, or in Rome to see Pompeii. Considering the heat this time of year, might we be better off to start in Venice and end in Rome? Would the two weeks make any difference with the summer heat in Rome? Thanks in advance!
Barb

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

I'd suggest starting in Venice and ending in Rome... Not because of summer heat but because I think it's easier to recover from jet lag and adjust to travel in Venice rather than the crush of Rome. Also, it is usually easier to fly home from Rome than Venice (which typically has early morning departures if you're going to the US, coupled with the time required to get to airport via vaporetto/bus/etc). Others can probably provide better input on sequence, but it seems out of the way to put the CT between Florence and Venice; seems like you'll be back-tracking.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3293 posts

The best order is: 1. Fly into Venice 2. Train to Florence 3. Cinque Terre 4. Tuscany countryside 5. Rome
6. Fly to US from Rome Car should be rented after Cinque Terre (in La Spezia), or at least fter Florence, and returned upon arrival to Rome (or just before, such as in Orvieto)

Posted by Barbara
Bella Vista, AR, USA
9 posts

Thank you, Sherry and Roberto! Due to the timing of our Tuscany stay, on days 3 through 10 of the trip, I have unwittingly limited our flexibility. I am thinking now that perhaps we should fly into Venice and spend 2 days, then train to Chiusi to pick up a car for the Tuscany countryside. During our week there we could make Florence a day trip or two, along with Siena, Montalcino and various other Tuscan sights. Following our stay in Tuscany we would return the car to Chiusi and take the train to Cinque Terre and spend 3 days there, and then train to Rome for the final 3 full days. This does involve a bit of backtracking but I am not sure how else to fit it together. Does this plan make sense? Thanks for your assistance!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3293 posts

Since you plan to go to the Cinque Terre after Tuscany, why would you want to return the car in Chiusi? Going to the Cinque Terre from Chiusi is a train nightmare, you'll need 3 train changes (Florence, Pisa, La Spezia), if you have luggage that's not going to be easy. You should arrange to return your car to La Spezia. The rental car agencies in Chiusi (AVIS-Budget, Hertz and Europcar) are all present in La Spezia as well. There are no drop off charges if dropped in the same country. Then from La Spezia you would take a short train ride to the Cinque Terre. La Spezia is very easy to navigate and most car rentals are near the port, close to the freeway end in La Spezia. Everything else in your itinerary seems ok. When you do your day trips to the cities (Florence, Siena) watch for the Limited Traffic Zone, park outside the City Walls. Coming from Pienza you should park at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence. The parking is free and while there you can take picture of the panorama and visit the San Miniato church (the prettiest in Florence, IMO). Then from there you can walk down hill to the historical center or take a bus/taxi. It's less than 30 min. walk. Then maybe take a taxi or bus back to the car (this time it would be uphill)

Posted by Barbara
Bella Vista, AR, USA
9 posts

Roberto, thank you for your insightful advice. We'll return the car in La Spezia as you suggested, and will watch out for the dreaded no-traffic zones in the cities. Many thanks!