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Itinerary Help for Italy 2020

This will be our first trip to Italy, I went thru the guide and the things we want to see and do? How does the trip look? Where would add/ take away or move to another day? I know I’m probably missing some things as there is so much to see sand do! Any input would be very helpful!!
Thank you so much!!!

Venice 3 nights
9/30-10/3
Oct 30th: Arrive at 9:25am
Check in around 10:30-11am via private water taxi
La Salute Church
Accademia
Gondola Ride

Oct 1st
San Marco/ St Marks /Doges walks of Italy tour at 9am
Rialto Bridge
Frari Church
Grand Canal Cruise maybe or walk the streets

Oct 2nd
Explore Venice Lagoons/Islands for the day

Florence for 4 nights:
10/3-10/7

Oct 3
Train from Venice to Florence in the am arrive around 10am
Check in to VRBO near Duomo than:
Uffizi Gallery (hit this first w/ reserved time)
Piazza della repubblica
Palazzo Vecchio

Oct 4th
Bargello
Galileo Science Museum
Santa Croce Church
Ponte Vecchio
Pitti Palace
Brancacci Chapel

Oct 5th
Day Trip to Cinque Terre or Siena
Which one??????

Oct 6th
Walks of Italy VIP tour of Duomo/ Accademia
San Marco Museum
Medici Chapel
Santa Maria Novella

Rome for 5 nights
Oct 7-12

Oct 7th
Florence to Rome by train
Check in Vrbo in Trastevere neighborhood
Explore Trastevere after lunch for the day

Oct 8th (15 year wedding anniversary)
Walks of Italy underground coliseum, Palatine, Forum tour (8am)
Arch of Constantine
Capitoline Museum
Victor Monument
Where should we eat for a nice anniversary dinner????

Oct 9th
Walks of Italy Early am Vatican Tour (7am)
Afternoon:
Heart of Rome Walk via Rick Steves Guide

Oct 10th:
National Museum of Rome
Borghese Gallery
Dolce Vita Stroll via Rick Steves Guide

Oct 11th:
Free Day to do what we want or
Did we miss anything?????
See a crypt? If so which one??

Depart Rome to Positano
Oct 12-16

Oct 12th: Train to Naples
Private Car Pick up to Pompeii for 3 hours
Explore Positano in the evening after check in

Oct 13th:
Positano for the day some R and R time

Oct 14th: (Wife’s 40th Bday)
Path of the Gods hike from Agerola to Positano
Afternoon/ Evening in Positano
Where should we eat for an awesome Bday dinner in Positano

Oct 15th:
Explore Capri for the day

Oct 16th:
Private car to Naples Airport to Barcelona for 4 nights

Posted by
1235 posts

Congrats on the anniversary and the birthday. Your time distribution looks good. I would suggest that you save visiting the Accademia in Venice for later during your visit - on your first day in the country, you’ll probably be too tired and jet lagged to appreciate it, and it would be better to stay out in the open air as much as possible.

Posted by
6438 posts

You have made a very detailed itinerary and researched the local sights well in every city. It's a very good guide, however seeing so many travel sights will indeed be difficult.
We long ago planned our trips to the Nth amount of detail--and our trips would naturally take on a slower pace. If we get tired of a fast pace, we'll sleep in until later in the day. After all, our trips are work in progress, and we'll catch any place we missed on our next trip to Italy. And most travelers will be back to this incredible country.

Posted by
1485 posts

Nicely planned!

Assuming you have verified open/closed days? I know that was a big issue for us when we visited Florence.

Agree with above poster- stay outdoors on arrival day- flip the sights

9/30 Frari (shorter inside visit than Accademia), Rialto, Grand Canal today
We loved views from San Marco Campanile- did that on our very first night/first trip to Venice- just before sunset- great views, great photos

10/1 La Salute, Accademia, gondola

10/4- seems like a lot- we skipped Pitti Palace

10/5- your choice, not something you need to decide in advance- see how you feel, see that the weather is like

10/6- San Marco, Medici and SM Novella- maybe an hour for each sight? - you'll have time to stop at the wonderful Mercato Centrale for lunch

10/8 We've been to Colosseum/Forum twice. Both times planned to visit Capitoline afterwards. Both times we were too pooped. YMMV

10/10 Be sure to book Borghese tix

10/11- Free day is good. We thought Capuchin Crypt was rather cool/creepy/interesting. Food tours are always fun but you've got lots of guided tours already... I'd probably just go sit and people watch at piazza of choice.

Happy anniversary and birthday! Looks like a very nice trip.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for the replies! I’m a planner and I enjoy doing that since this is our first trip we don’t know when we will be back. I know I can’t cram everything but also don’t want to miss things we shouldn’t miss when we are there. I feel like we have laid it out to where there is some leeway if we don’t get to a place where we can add on to another day or adjust our schedule a bit. Wife and I like to be on the go so we don’t mind long days in the city!!!

As far as a day trip from Florence would you go to Cinque Terre, Siena. I was thinking Pisa as an option but I don’t know if it’s worth to go see a tower that is leaning. But I could be wrong 😁.

Posted by
1485 posts

Haven't been to Pisa
Take a look at Lucca or San Gimigiano

Siena is lovely- easy day trip- but also deserve a night or even 2- it's a much bigger town than Lucca/Pisa/SG, etc- so if you wanted a bit of a break from crowds/busy-ness consider a smaller hill town

Posted by
1341 posts

Hey hey edryer
Congrats on first Italy trip and anniversary. You have done lots of research and planning, some to busy for me but your vacation.
Like mentioned, arrival day in Venice May be jet lagged or fuzzy, stay outside and walk around. Keep address and directions handy to your place, lots of zigging and zagging in Venice.
seeing you arriving early morning to places you’re staying, checkin is usually 2-4pm, have you confirmed with hosts for that and if they have luggage storage if not. you don’t want to be pushing/pulling bags over cobblestone/uneven pavement, climbing over bridges, steps/stairs, waiting.
September/October is still busy months since harvest time and many festivals planned. Just be prepared and patient with crowds, you are going to the well known and want to see tourists sights.
enjoy your trip, you’ll have a fun time.
aloha

Posted by
24 posts

Might have to check out the event in Venice. Had no idea!!

I switched my arrival day in Venice to:
Check in around 10:30-11am via private water taxi
Rialto Bridge
Frari Church (0900-1800hrs)
Stay Outside and wander/ recover from jet lag
San Marco Campanile in the evening

And on my VRBO stays in each place I verified with the owners and they have no problem with us dropping our bags off/ check in early between 10-11ish. We may not be in the room at arrival time but we will have keys and bags dropped off so when the room is ready we can go back at our leisure.

How long would you say is needed for the Galileo Museum? Had to switch that to the first day in Florence do to museum hours on the original schedule.

Also with the Bargello museum it’s the first Sunday on our schedule which is free but busy according to the guide. Do you recommend hitting that first thing in the morning and how time there?

Also had to change San Marco Museum does to the hours not working out for our original schedule. Is the San Marco worth going to? And if so we would add it to the Sunday (Oct 4) as well after Bargello.

Posted by
787 posts

I’ll get back to you re Homo Faber.
It so impressed me, so needs more than a two minute reply.

Posted by
1300 posts

Congrats! You have planned a wonderful trip.
However, Cinque Terre is not a day trip kind of place.
You need to stay at least two days and hike at least one segment.
Anyway beach might be just a little chilly.
So day trip to Siena and maybe Pisa too.

Posted by
1054 posts

We did a day trip by bus to Siena from Florence . I thought it was very enjoyable and very doable.

You can take your bags to Capri for the day and there is a luggage place near where you come in from Positano. You can then take a ferry to Naples, spend the night, and then take a taxi to the airport. It is what we did and certainly much cheaper than a private car from Positano.

I would do your r & r day at the beach in Positano. Be aware that it is a rocky beach and you will have a more enjoyable time if you bring water shoes.

Posted by
101 posts

A restaurant that I would recommend for a birthday dinner in Positano is Adamo and Eva at Hotel Eden Roc, Via G. Marconi 110, Positano. It is a romantic restaurant on a rooftop terrace and when the lights go on in Positano it is magical. It has a lovely view and outstanding food. Make a reservation for a table with a view. We ate there two evenings while we were in Positano. It is an intimate setting with an incredible view and delicious food. We stayed at Hotel Eden Roc, so this was convenient for us. If you are staying in another area of Positano then you may find another wonderful choice.

Posted by
1485 posts

well dang- typed a response and it disappeared.

Since you are less than 4 months out- yes- I think it is time to book your flights. Make sure you are settled on itinerary first then when you see a price you can live with- book it and don't look back.

Glad you checked those open/closed times. I know when we went I had to almost make a spreadsheet to figure it all out- we were there on S, M, T so it was a bit difficult!

If I remember right we spent about an hour each in Bargello, Galileo and San Marco and found them all worthwhile. None were crowded. There is so much to see in Florence- honestly if you have to skip one museum--don't fret about it. Fit in those that are most important to you. We also visited the little museum of precious stones- that was a quick stop and delightful- but not necessary. We just happened to be right there after San Marco and had time to pop in.
I don't know how that free Sunday would affect the Bargello but it never hurts to get anywhere at opening time.

Does the Palazzo Vecchio still stay open late in PM? We visited after dinner so it must have been close to 10 pm- there was nobody there but us.

Posted by
24 posts

Plane tickets are booked so we won’t have to worry about that!! Here is an updated plan for the first two days in Florence compared to the original plan. Double checked hours and if it was open and had to switch a few things. San Marco Museum is still up in the air as I originally planned since it it in opposite direction where we are starting. Let me know what you think if San Marco is worth making the trip to see or if it’s something we get to great and if not, not worries! Thanks for all the input this really helps!! Also with the museums which ones should I buy in advance? Uffizi and Borghese for sure but what others?

Oct. 3rd
Train from Venice to Florence in the am arrive around 11am
Check in to VRBO than:
Uffizi Gallery (hit this first w/ reserved time 0815-1850hrs)
Galileo Science Museum (0930-1800 hrs)
Piazza della repubblica
Palazzo Vecchio (0900-1900hrs)

Oct 4th Sunday
Bargello (free but busy 0815-1700 hrs)
San Marco Museum (0815-1650hrs) or Skip?????
Santa Croce Church (1400–1730hrs)
Ponte Vecchio
Pitti Palace (0815-1730hrs)
Brancacci Chapel (1300-1700hrs)

Posted by
1235 posts

It’s surprising how close together everything actually is in central Florence. The Museo San Marco is really lovely - upstairs, you can see Fra Angelico’s ‘Annunciation’ fresco, and the frescos he painted in the monks’ cells. I hope you’ll get to go.

Posted by
1485 posts

If you want both and don’t want that bit of a backtrack
Go to San Marco at opening then Bargello
Suck up whatever free Sunday visitors there are
I’ve never seen anyone hear complain that the Bargello was crowded.

Which side of the Duomo is your hotel?

Posted by
24 posts

Our place is about a block or 2 south of the Duomo! That’s good to know about the Bargello. That maybe best to hit San Marco first thing and than head back south. I look at the map and city looks huge but realistically is it compact enough where it’s not so spread out?

Posted by
1485 posts

It is very compact

Try to go up to P Michelangelo for the view
Duomo so impressive when you see it from above

Posted by
17 posts

Sounds like a great trip! I'm going with my wife at the end of March/beginning April for our honeymoon and we have almost the exact same itinerary. I've been doing extremely extensive research on it so it sounds like we're in the same boat. While I can't comment on experience, I can share some of my research with you, and upon my return, I'm happy to share my experiences!

Venice - we're planning to spend more time wandering than in museums since we only have one real full day (we're doing Doge's secret itineraries though)

Florence - Our "day trip" we're taking a tour that goes to 2 wineries in the Tuscan country side and also visits the medieval town of San Gimignano. I've read that Cinque Terre is a bit far and much for a day trip. I also found a few tours of Tuscany that go to San Gimignano, Siena, and Pisa, but I've also read that you spend more time on the bus then in the towns.

Positano - We're going straight from Florence to Positano (we're flying out of Rome, so we're ending there). However, I've read that it could be easier (cheaper and more fun) to take the train to Salerno, then the ferry into Positano. You get to see the views as you enter Positano via ferry as well. This would be my way of going, however the ferry isn't running at the time we're there :-(. I've also read (and heard) that La Tagliata is a wonderful restaurant. It's a fixed price and no menu, they just bring you what's fresh from the day. I've read great things, but also just ok things.

Rome - We also will be doing the Colosseum underground as well as Vatican guided tour. We booked a wine pairing dinner which would be great for an anniversary, but it's in a group, so you won't be alone (if that's what you want). Here's the link: https://www.winetastingrome.com/

If you have any in depth questions, please feel free to private message me, I'm happy to bounce ideas off each other as I'm constantly doing research for the perfect trip!

Corey

Posted by
24 posts

Hey Corey,
Yeah I’ll definitely message you or you can message me with questions or ideas!! Ferry to Positano sounds awesome. But we are going to Pompeii for a 3hr stop. Decided to hire a car to not worry about getting from point A to B and will also have a place to keep our luggage! I’ll have to check out the restraint you mentioned as well! Also instead of going to Cinque Terre for a day trip. We decided to go to Siena for the day!

Posted by
1493 posts

Oh don''t leave your car parked in Pompeii with luggage inside it--not a risk I would take!

Posted by
24 posts

We hired a Private car to drive us. We aren’t renting a car. The driver stays with the car so I’m not to worried about our luggage

Posted by
11091 posts

Oct 4th Sunday
Bargello (free but busy 0815-1700 hrs)
San Marco Museum (0815-1650hrs) or Skip?????
Santa Croce Church (1400–1730hrs)
Ponte Vecchio
Pitti Palace (0815-1730hrs)
Brancacci Chapel (1300-1700hrs)

Having done all of these but the Brancacci, I don't know how you'd do them all in one day at less than a VERY dead run. If my notes serve me right, the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments of Palazzo Pitti were 28 and 14 rooms, respectively, in opposing wings, and I remember being cross-eyed from visual overload (it's sort of a messy thing; google up some interior pix) and desperate for the exit by the time we hit the last one...and I'm an art geek! I'm also a hiker who can endure a lengthy amount of time on my feet; the itinerary above would test their endurance. Yes, Florence is nicely compact but you have to consider walk time + the hours on your feet at the attractions?

It'll be a personal decision, I know, but I would skip the Pitti before scrapping San Marco or the Bargello. We enjoyed both of them (and Santa Croce) very much, the day will be well along by the time you'd hit the Pitti, and it ate abt. 2.5 - 3 hours before we threw in the towel (essentially skipping the Modern Art Gallery, Treasury and Costume Galley.) Even doing just the Palatine Gallery section will consume a good amount of time/energy.

Anyway, as exhausting as the Pitti can be - and that has been mentioned by some others who've done it - it's not an attraction I'd leave for the latter part of the day when energy levels might be starting to flag. I'm not a bit sorry we did it (and some time in the Boboli Gardens too) but glad we went earlier in the day when we were fresh. :O)

Posted by
24 posts

Hey Kathy,
Thanks for the info on Pitti we will definitely look at that. Maybe a walk by the palace to see it from the outside and move on to the next thing since we are doing so much! Would you take in the view from P Michelangelo instead?

Posted by
190 posts

Edryer, we went on our first Italy trip in 2017 and took the Walks of Italy VIP tour in Florence and really enjoyed it! Only time for the highlights, but it was very enjoyable and worked well for us. Also, make sure to see the Duomo/Bell Tower/Baptistery at night - that was a wow moment - to see the marble all lit up, it glowed! And Piazza della Repubblica had some great musicians a couple nights when we were walking off dinner, a really great vibe. You'll have a great time!

Posted by
11091 posts

Would you take in the view from P Michelangelo instead?

Not just from the piazzale but from a bit higher up at San Miniato al Monte too. It's a very old and important church with an interesting cemetery and equally breathtaking view. If the weather if favorable, this would be a nice outdoor break after 3 indoor attractions. Raining? Have a Plan B in the back pocket.

https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-churches/san-miniato.html
https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/piazzale-michelangelo.html

Editing to add: on your way to or from San Marco, take a swing through nearby Piazza della SS Annunziata. Some background:

https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/piazza-ss-annunziata.html

There are some very nice frescoes in the entry Cloister of the Votivi of the church (Basilica Santissima Annunziata) if you've time for a quick peek:

https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-churches/santissima-annunziata.html

Posted by
5690 posts

Venice 3 nights
9/30-10/3
Oct(sic) 30th: Arrive at 9:25am
Check in around 10:30-11am via private water taxi

If your flight into Venice is from a non-Schengen point, getting to the lodging 60-90 minutes after landing is, umm "optimistic" If the flight into Venice is from outside the Schengen zone you will have to go through passport control

Does your lodging have early check in or at least luggage storage?

Presumably you meant Sept 30th ?

Posted by
24 posts

Hey Joe32F.
Sorry Sept 30th! Our flight arrives at 9:25 from philly so we will have to get our luggage and go thru customs. And the owner of the VRBO is meeting us at the Rialto stop at noon to check in, get us the keys and drop our bags off. We are taking a private taxi to the Rialto stop from the airport.

Posted by
4 posts

Congrats on the anniversary.
I agree that Cinque Terra is not a good option given your time. We loved Sienna, san Gimignano and Lucca and would definitely go to one of these instead. We only visited the Tower area (Cathedral & Baptistry) in Pisa but didn’t care for that trip as much as the others.
I would not take a car to Positano. The Circumvesuviana running between Naples, catch it right in the Naples train station, and Sorrento stops right at the Pompeii ruins. I’d be surprised if they don’t have luggage storage. The Circumvesuviana is the original light rail train system, old but if no strikes, efficient and if their is a strike on, get a driver, maybe with another traveling couple. The buses to Positano leave from across the street from the Circumvesuviana station in Sorrento. Easy Peasy. Once in Positano you most likely will have/want to walk in any event and must to get to the Capri ferry. We spent a week in Positano and didn’t miss a car one bit. We enjoyed the Arienzo Beach Club for a drink and bite. Call and then catch their boat at the Positano dock for a 20 minute ride along the coast to the isolated beach bar/restaurant. The view from the boat, especially after sunset, was fantastic. Check out the recent reviews though. Good luck.

Posted by
24 posts

So after all the input from everyone. Which I really appreciate! Here’s is what I have. With some wiggle room:

Venice 3 nights
9/30-10/3
Sept 30th: Arrive at 9:25am
Check in around 12pm via private water taxi
Rialto Bridge
Frari Church (0900-1800hrs)
Stay Outside and wander/ recover from jet lag
San Marco Campanile in the evening

Oct 1st
San Marco/ St Marks /Doges walks of Italy tour at 9am
Lunch
La Salute (0900-1200, 1500-1730hrs,
Accademia (0815-1915hrs)
Gondola Ride

Oct 2nd

Explore Venice Lagoons/Islands in the morning

Florence for 4 nights:
10/3-10/7

Oct. 3rd
Train from Venice to Florence in the am arrive around 11am
Check in to VRBO than:
Uffizi Gallery (hit this first w/ reserved time 0815-1850hrs)
Galileo Science Museum (0930-1800 hrs)
Piazza della repubblica
Palazzo Vecchio (0900-1900hrs)

Oct 4th Sunday
San Marco Museum (0815-1650hrs) go first thing in am
Bargello (free but busy 0815-1700 hrs)
Santa Croce Church (1400–1730hrs)
Piazzale Michelangelo/ San Miniato
Brancacci Chapel (1300-1700hrs)
Ponte Vecchio

Oct 5th
Day Trip to Siena

Oct 6th
Walks of Italy tour of Duomo/ Accademia (8am)
Check out Piazza SS Annunziata
Basilica Santissima Annunziata
Medici Chapel (0815-1700hrs)
Santa Maria Novella (0900-1730hrs)
Medici Ricardi Palace (0830-1900)

Pitti Palace (0815-1730hrs) Skip if on time crunch

Rome for 5 nights
Oct 7-12

Oct 7th
Florence to Rome by train
Check in Vrbo in Trastevere neighborhood
Explore Trastevere after lunch for the day

Oct 8th (15 year wedding anniversary)
Walks of Italy VIP underground coliseum, Palatine, Forum, Arch of Constantine tour (8am)
Capitoline Museum (0930-1930hrs)
Where should we eat for a nice anniversary dinner????

Oct 9th
Walks of Italy Early am Vatican Tour (7am)
Afternoon:
Heart of Rome Walk via Rick Steves Guide

Oct 10th:
National Museum of Rome (0900-1945hrs)
Borghese Gallery (0900-1900hrs)
Dolce Vita Stroll via Rick Steves Guide

Oct 11th:
Free Day to do what we want
Capuchin Crypt

Depart Rome to Positano
Oct 12-16

Oct 12th: Train to Naples
Private Car Pick up to Pompeii for 3 hours
Explorer Positano in the evening after check in

Oct 13th:
Positano for the day some R and R time

Oct 14th:
Path of the Gods hike from Agerola to Positano
Afternoon/ Evening in Positano
Bday dinner at Adamo and Eva

Oct 15th:
Explore Capri for the day

Oct 16th:
Private car to Naples Airport to Barcelona for 4 nights

Oct 20th Home from Barcelona