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Itinerary for Italy 12 days - Any advice?

I'm going to Italy and Europe for the first time and on top of that doing it alone. I'm flying into Venice and out of Rome. Any advice you guys can give me on where to spend my time? Maybe I'm being too greedy and trying to do too much! I'm also not very happy about spending 3 nights in Rome at the end of my trip, but I don't know where to allocate my time. Here is my itinerary currently but it's flexible.

Day 1
Arrive in Venice.
Spend night in Venice

Day 2
In Transit from Venice to Florence

Day 3

Day 4
Sienna daytrip back to Florence

Day 5 - Sunday (when other things are closed)
In Transit from Florence to Cinque Terre

Day 6 - Monday (when other things are closed)
Cinque Terre

Day 7
In Transit from Cinque Terre (La Spezia) to Sorrento (full day of travel)

Day 8
Sorrento and Capri

Day 9
Amalfi Coast back to Sorrento

Day 10
In Transit from Sorrento back to Rome
Visit Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii on the way back.

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13
Return to US

Posted by
73 posts

If this is your first time to Italy, it sounds like you have a lot.
Actually your itinerary is good and covers quite a bit. However, you are spending only a day or two in each place.
You have also not mentioned when you will be going. If you are going any time from May to September, museums and other places can be really crowded. Also Rome, Florence and southern Italy can get really hot in July and August. If you are young and fit, it should be fine, otherwise there is a lot of walking involved.
Unfortunately as I love all the places you are going to, I would have a hard time cutting any of those places out. Also 3 nights in Rome is not too much. Rome requires 2 days at least with the Vatican and St Peter's plus Old Rome.
When you are in Sorrento if you are up to it, you might make a quick visit to Naples.
Your itinerary will give you a quick glimpse into each place and may be if you really like it, you can go back!

Posted by
20863 posts

Way to too much. You will be exhausted.

Posted by
423 posts

I will be traveling for the first time to Italy at the end of this month. I plan to take the train to each location:

Day 1 Arrive Rome
Day 2 Rome
Day 3 Rome (this is May day - big celebration)
Day 4 travel to Florence
Day 5 Florence (reservations for several museums)
Day 6 Florence (day trip to Tuscany area)
Day 7 Florence
Day 8 travel to Venice
Day 9 Venice
Day 10 Venice
Day 11 travel to Lake Como area
Day 12 Lake Como area
Day 13 travel to Zurich
Day 14 fly back to US

The rest of my time is flexible and I will enjoy exploring an stumbling into wonderful experiences.

I alway try to see as much as I physically can, in case I do not return (although, from what I hear, everyone always returns to Italy).

I decided to concentrate on Northern Italy. I'm staying at hotels listed in Rick's book.

Ciao and have a great trip!

Posted by
9 posts

After much soul searching, I've decided to be less ambitious and cut out Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi coast. BTW, I am doing all of this by train.

So here's my new itinerary:

2 nights in Venice (1 full day)
4 nights in Florence (2 days in city, 1 day trip to Sienna)
2 nights in Cinque Terre (1 full day)
4 nights in Rome (2 full days in city, 1 day trip to Pompeii)

Any other suggestions? Civita? Assisi?

Posted by
73 posts

Your itinerary seems more realistic now.
I wouldn't change it. Assisi and Civita are harder to reach and since this is your first trip to Italy you should do the biggies on this one.

Posted by
20 posts

We did a similar itinerary twice...must see the 3 main cities, love Sorrento and Capri, hope the waters are calm and you are able to see the Grotto. Nothing like Pompeii..the hottest place I've been. (so far) The drive from Sorrento to Rome is easy and exciting (along the coastline)if you rent a car.

Posted by
473 posts

I'm liking the new itinerary better. Changing cities takes quite a bit of time, with packing, unpacking, getting lost finding your new hotel, checking in, checking out, getting to the train station, etc. Also, there's something to be said for being able to call a place "home" for a few days. You feel more comfortable. And with a little luck, you'll find a restaurant or two that you can go back to.

Posted by
1714 posts

Your new itinerary for your trip in ITALY is perfect. Do not change it. At the Cinque Terre, I very highly recommend walking on the trail (path) from Corniglia to Vernazza. And Manarola has a pleasant seaside spot at the "harbor". The sea water is a beautiful indigo blue color there. I think a person going to the Cinque Terre does not need to go to the Amalfi coast or Capri. Buon viaggio ! Italian people in Italy like hearing American tourists say "Tutto va bene" (Everything's fine).

Posted by
451 posts

Pompeii is terrific, but you might consider substituting Ostia Antica. This is the remains of the ancient port city of Ostia. While not as well known as Pompeii, it's far less crowded and an easy commuter train ride out of Rome. Check the website

Posted by
26 posts

Personally, I would substitute my stay in Florence for Sienna. You could stay in Sienna, and do a day trip to Florence. Sienna has so much more charm and is just plain funner to stay in. The museums are the best part of Florence and could easily be done in a day trip, and the rest of the city just isn't as interesting. I also might think about doing Sienna/Florence in 3 nights instead of 4 and adding a day to Venice. If you are flying into Venice from the states, then right now you only have one full day in the city, which most likely you will still be tired from the flight, and maybe even jet-lagged. Not the best way to spend your 1 full day in one of the greatest cities on Earth. Also about doing a side trip to Pompeii: It is about 3 hours from Rome to Naples, and then you must catch the circumvisuvia to Pompeii. So figure about 8-9 hours of travel time that day. That is a lot of time wasted to see one site, we went last September, and I don't think it is worth quite that.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks to everyone for your feedback so far! Please keep them coming since I have 1 more week before I go. As for day trips out of Rome, I found a quick summary of my options here:

It is quite a lot of travel time to do a "day trip" to Pompeii from Rome. My original itinerary had a stay planned in Sorrento, but it just seemed like too much relocating for 12 days. When I get to Rome, I'll see what I'm in the mood for then! Maybe I'll just hit the local beaches for a couple days :).

As for staying in Sienna, I will definitely consider it especially if the hostel in Florence isn't all that great.

Posted by
17 posts

There are three day tours which start in Rome and do Pompeii etc and arrive in Sorrento on the first night. They then have a second day free in Sorrento for you to relax and do what you want. Third day they go out to Capri and then after doing a few other things head back to Rome. My daughter left Sydney on Saturday and she and her husband are doing this - staying Rome one night and then on this tour and back to Rome to the same hotel for two nights.
Seems easier to me than what you are planning. PottyaboutParis. Have fun!

Posted by
3 posts

Only staying in Venice--one of the most magical places in Europe--for one day??

Please give yourself more time there.

Posted by
320 posts

I always assume that I will be returning. Your itinerary is too ambitious for me. Don Cinque Terre and Tuscany on this trip - see Rome and the Amalfi coast next time.

Posted by
8 posts

I am planning a similar trip for early October 2009.
Arrive Venice 10/2 spend 3 nights
Florence for 2 nights
CT for 2 nights
Siena(w/daytrip to San Gimingnano) for 2 nights
Rome for 3 nights
Fly back to NYC 10/14

How did your trip go. Based on your experience, am i trying to see too much too fast?

Posted by
9 posts

My trip was awesome! It was a couple years ago, but the pacing of my trip was fine. The only "detours" I made was that I stayed in Cinque Terre for 3 nights instead of just one. Also, rather than spending 3 days in Rome, I spent 1 day in Rome and 2 days in Sorrento. I think the pace of my trip worked out best with a few days of rest in smaller towns like in Cinque Terre and Sorrento. I also love the smaller towns in general because life is less hectic and you can do more siteseeing on foot. Let me know how your trip goes!

Posted by
53 posts

Funny how your itenerary is similar to what we did:

Day1: Flew into Venice, 2 nights
Day3: Train to Florence, 2 nights, could have done only one in our opinion and added a day to Tuscany
Day5: Train to Siena, 2 nights, 2nd day in Siena, rented a car and drove around to hill towns, Aciano, Pienza and Montepulciano
Day7: Train to Rome, spent 4 full days in Rome and took one day to just chill.
Day11: Depart Rome to home.

We did plan on taking that last full day and going to Pompeii but after all of that, we just needed an extra day to relax, would highly recommend building a day off when spending more than a week there.