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Itinerary review - 3 weeks in Italy

After a Best of Italy trip in 2015 we're going back to spend more time in the places we enjoyed the most to explore them more and to visit a couple of new ones. Wondering if any of the days have too much crammed in to enjoy the day? In general we are up and out super early to visit the sites before everyone else. (i.e. St. Mark's square at 6 am) And when we go into vacation mode we tend to stay out until midnight or later. (We figure we can sleep when we get back home.)

We tried to put together our daily itinerary today and looking for feedback. Most arrival days planning to check in late afternoon then get the lay of the land of wherever we've arrived.

Flying into Bologna and out of Rome. (Using air miles and these were the closest cities we could get the class of ticket we wanted so not an option to change.)

9/9 - Arrive Bologna and train to Venice (Staying at the Hotel Serenissima that we discovered on the RS tour in 2015)

9/10 - St Marks square, Doges Palace, Accademia area

9/11 - Long lagoon tour, Evening cicchetti tour (Didn't have time to visit Murano and Burano on the RS tour so planning to spend most of the daylight hours on this)

9/12 - Rialto market early morning, shopping, gardens on the west side of the island. (We're into gardens and did not see these before. Any thoughts on visiting these gardens?)

9/13 - Touristing and train to Parma (Hotel in the older city)

9/14 - Half day tour of parmesan, balsamic and prosciutto making, shopping & walking

9/15 - Train to Florence - Michaelangelo's David in the evening? (Staying at apartment near the Central Market)

9/16 - Central market, Heart of Florence walk, Farmacia (Soccer game if this is the right time of year? Any thoughts on this? Thought it would be fun to experience the local game atmosphere and cheer for the home team.)

9/17 - Uffizi Gallery early, Flea market, David late if 9/15 doesn't work

9/18 - Day trip to Lucca

9/19 - Oltrarno side of the city, Boboli gardens

9/20 - Train to Siena (Staying at apartment near Il Campo) Piazza Matteotti for groceries

9/21 - Chianti region tour all day with Roberto (Hill towns, winery, and lunch)

9/22 - Heart of Siena walking tour, Piazza del mercato, Museo Civico, shopping

9/23 - Day trip to Volterra? (Not sure if this is an easy day trip from Siena?)

9/24 - Cooking class? Shopping. Mostly open day.

9/25 - Traveling market in the morning, train/travel to Amalfi Coast/Positano (Staying at apartment near the top of the town)

9/26 - Chill out on the Amalfi coast

9/27 - Pompeii ruins visit

9/28 - More chilling out on the Amalfi coast

9/29 - Travel to Rome

9/30 - Fly out of Rome

Posted by
5244 posts

Looks fine. We all make plans that we don't end up doing. Just curious what route are you taking to get to Positano?

Posted by
13161 posts

I suspect a day-trip from Siena to Volterra will be a challenge by public transportation. I believe it will involve two buses, though it's possible I'm missing something. Perhaps there's a company offering bus tours out of Siena that include Volterra.

Posted by
8585 posts

Looks well-planned. When you go to the Laguna Islands, don’t miss Torcello and consider lunch at Trattoria all a Maddalena on Mazzorbo. Mazzorbo is attached to Burano and you can get off the vaporetto close to the restaurant. Make a reservation so you get a table outside. I believe I made a reservation via email. Walk to Burano after lunch then on to Torcello.

The gardens at the east end of Venice are where the Biennale is held. (Is that what you mean because the west end is the cruise ship port.) I think this is a Biennale year (2017 was and it is alternate years) and we enjoyed wandering the pavilions there. These are not formal gardens like the Boboli, but more of a park. The Biennale brings a lot of art to the city and it is worth seeking out some of the special installations that are in public as well as at the official sites.

Posted by
17 posts

Laurel yes I meant the east end of the island. Oops! The ones with the pavilions are the ones I was thinking of. Thanks for the tip on the Lagoon tour.

No plans yet for getting from Siena to Positano. Was think a train to Sorrento then a bus to Positano. Just know that is the travel plan that day however it works out.

Posted by
2827 posts

Hi, I can relate to your first sentence! We also did the Best of Italy tour several years ago and have been back to Italy on our own itineraries five times now. We loved Venice so much that our first return focused on just the Veneto region & the Dolomites.

In Venice, we enjoyed this clock tower tour: It’s an easy climb with a brief stop at each level, learning about the city history of Venice and role of the person who had lived in the clock tower.

When you’re at Parma, be sure to stop into the gorgeous cathedral. Also the teatro is interesting inside. We weren’t wow’ed with the art museum. If you would like a terrific restaurant, eat at Ristorante La Forchetta which is near the cathedral. Be sure to reserve ahead.

A very nice cooking class is located in Lucca. Extra Virgin Cooking Class:

If Volterra doesn’t work for a day trip from Siena, I would head to Montepulciano with a small group wine tour.

Posted by
2810 posts

The 2019-2020 soccer season will have started by September, but the schedule won't be released until sometime after the current season ends in May. Most Fiorentina home matches are played on Sunday afternoons, occasionally other days and times, but the chance of there being a match on Monday, 09/16 is next to nil. Too bad, as watching a Series A soccer match live is really great.

Volterra can be visited from Siena using public transit, but it requires 2 buses each way. The bus between Volterra and Colle Val d'Elsa only runs a couple of times in the morning and in the afternoon, so you would need to plan carefully.

Posted by
17 posts

Frank, Thanks for the soccer info. We're actually in Siena over the weekend and remember they had a rather large soccer stadium so maybe that will be a better city/ day to catch a game? I'll try looking for clubs online to see who might be the hometown favorite.

Jean thanks for your info as well on things to look into in Venice. Since we'll just be in Lucca for the day we'll probably spend it sightseeing and riding bikes around the wall, something we did not do on the RS tour in 2015. Ciao!

Posted by
2810 posts

Siena plays in Series C. While I don't think the quality of play is anywhere near the level of Series A, it might be fun as Siena is one of the better teams in its grouping. I'm not sure where you buy tickets for Siena home matches, but I suspect you're apartment host will know.

Posted by
1 posts

Have you made your arrangements for your half day tour in Parma? If so what company are you using? My husband and I, along with some friends are staying in Bagni di Lucca the month of September and are interested in taking a tour like the one you mentioned parmesan, balsamic and prosciutto making.

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Julie. We arranged a half day tour with Laura. I had seen a post here from someone who used her and contacted her directly. Info below. We're doing a half day tour that will include seeing parmesan, balsamic, and prosciutto being made/ the process at 3 different locations.

Hope that helps!

Discover with Laura
Food Tours in Parma
Laura: +39 320 4179262

Posted by
17 posts


Thanks for the garden suggestions. Will definitely look into visiting the ones in Ravello when we're in the area. They look amazing!

Rome is a very short stop. Arriving there late afternoon and flying out the next morning so not able to check that one out on this trip. Maybe next time!