Please sign in to post.

Italy - Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome

I am planning a 2 week summer trip to Italy and I have enough miles for an "open jaw" ticket either into Venice and out of Rome or the other way around. I am thinking about visiting:
Venice (2 nights - the only city in Italy I've been before)
Florence (3 nights)
Cinque Terre (3 nights)
Rome (4 nights).
I can add one more night somewhere.

I am active - I like seeing the sights by running, walking, hiking, and biking. I like a good combination of big city sights and getting away from it all a bit.

Does this looks like a good plan or is there something that I could add/delete? Which way would be the best way to work this trip - Venice first or Rome first? Thanks for any suggestions!

Posted by ChristineH
Gettysburg PA
450 posts

I would start in Venice- add a night there- then to CT-->Florence--> Rome. Fly home from Rome
Much easier to get to FCO for early departure flights than it is to get to VCE.

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

Would it be better to go to Cinque Terre before or after Florence? I thought that CT would break things up between Florence and Rome but I'm not sure what is most convenient.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3575 posts

I don't think it makes much difference as far as transportation is concerned. It makes sense to visit CT between Florence and Rome if you want to break it up.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
28770 posts

Sue,

The most efficient route would be Venice > Florence > Cinque Terre > Rome, as that minimizes transportation times between locations. One other thing you'll need to determine is which of the five C.T. towns you'd like to stay in (which will also be important when buying train tickets).

I haven't checked, but as I remember these are the travel times for the routes I listed above (along with the stations you'll be using).....

  • Venezia S. Lucia to Firenze SM Novella - about 2H:05M via high speed Freccia or Italo trains.
  • Firenze S.M. Novella to ??? C.T. town - about 3 hours, with two or three changes depending on which departure you choose. The trains will be a combination of Regionale, InterCity and Freccia trains operated by Trenitalia.
  • ??? C.T. town to Roma Termini - about four hours via Regionale and then InterCity or Freccia trains operated by Trenitalia. You'll first need to get from your C.T. town to La Spezia and then connect with one of the direct (no changes) trains to Roma Termini. There are numerous types of trains on that route, but I'd suggest connecting with one of the direct trains.

You can see all the rail details on the Trenitalia or bahn.de websites. Schedules for next summer won't be posted yet, so just use schedules for the next week or so, using the same day-of-the-week that your trips will be on.

If you haven't travelled by train or other public transit in Italy before, there are several potentially expensive "caveats" to be aware of. If you need further information, post another note or send me a PM.

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

Great information! Thank you very much!! I believe that I would like to stay in Monterosso in CT but I'm not entirely sure at this point.

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

P.S. - I have traveled via train in Europe several times before but not much in Italy - besides traveling in and out of Venice from Switzerland. If there is anything in particular that I should be aware of, let me know! Are specific reservations ahead of time necessary?

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11022 posts

Given the choice, I'd start in Venice, especially since you've been there before, so there's less stress while adjusting to the time change and catching up on sleep after the long flight.

There are various fast trains and slow "regionale" trains. The regionals never sell out, but for your trips you'll probably want the fast trains. Those required reserving a seat. I've always bought my train tickets in Italy. I've learned not to wait until the "last minute" because the lines - even at the machines - can be really long. I've missed at least one train because of that. So I usually buy my next ticket when I arrive, or at least the day before. For Venice, it's a nice vaporetto ride on the Grand Canal to get to the train station. The Florence station is right in the old town center. Generally the train track information (binari) are only posted a few minutes before the train pulls into the station. You'll see the boards overhead.

You can fit in a 1/2 day visit to Pisa (that's all you need) on the way from Florence to the CT. Leave your luggage in the storage facility at the train station. Do you want to add a night to one of your 4 destinations or add another town for a one-nighter? If the second, I recommend Verona, between Venice and Florence.

Posted by Roberto da Firenze
San Francisco Bay Area (USA)
10665 posts

Your sequence is perfect as is (VE FI CT RM). Ken is right.
If you are experienced with European trains, they work similarly in Italy. You can purchase Freccia (high speed trains) ahead on line (120 days prior) at a substantial discount. However discounted tickets aren't refundable if you change plans or miss the specific train you book. For maximum flexibility u can pay full "base" price on the spot at the station. The caveat Ken was referring to is also that you must validate the tickets for travel on regional (commuter) trains. There are machines that can date stamp your ticket at every platform. Don't forget to do so before boarding, because fines are stiff. High speed (freccia) trains and intercity trains don't need validation as they are train and time specific.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
28770 posts

Sue,

For your stay in the Cinque Terre, Monterosso would be my suggestion. It's the largest of the five towns and therefore has the greatest number of lodging choices, restaurants and other tourist amenities, and the best beaches of the five towns. However, as you'll be travelling in summer, I would highly recommend booking accommodations there as soon as you have your dates locked down. Did you have a particular hotel in mind?

Regarding the trains, Roberto provided a good summary. I'll send you a PM with my usual "boilerplate" on the subject.

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

Thanks for all of the GREAT advice! I will likely be traveling solo so I like to have all of my plans nailed down to minimize stress. :-) During my last trip to Europe two years ago (also solo), I booked all of my trains ahead of time and there were no glitches but I was definitely concerned about missing a train because of some type of delay.

I don't have a hotel picked out in CT (or anywhere else for that matter). Once I get my airline ticket (which I hope to do by early January at the latest), I'll start working on some definite lodging plans. Monterosso sounds like a good plan!

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

Thanks also for the input on a stop in Pisa and/or Verona. I will look into it!

Posted by Sue OP
Ypsilanti
103 posts

I have secured my airline ticket and have booked my hotel in Monterosso - Hotel Villa Steno - which appears to be highly recommended.

I will plug away at the rest of my itinerary. Thanks for all of the help and advice and happy travels!!