itinerary suggestion Milan to Rome Dec 2013

Hi,Mother and two adult kids (22&18) planning on flying into Milan Dec 23, 2013 and out of Rome Jan 4th, 2014. Interested in sightseeing, soaking up the atmosphere and some shopping. Never experienced a 'white' Christmas. All in all not too fond of the snow but bracing ourselves for it possibly week 1 and then go to slightly 'warmer' places week 2. No skiing. Was thinking of Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome. Was also contemplating the Bernina express to Zurich for a night. However would like some suggestions to see the most scenic parts at this time of the year. Alternatively can also look into cancelling flight into Milan and fly into Zurich and get to Italy someplace by train and work our way down or even fly into and out of Rome.
Many Thanks Manisha

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3505 posts

I think you won't see much snow, if any, unless you go out of your way. But my first thought when I read your question was that most tourist sights and shops are likely to be closed from early on the 24th through all of the 25th. Venice might be the best place to be then, since a lot of the enjoyment of Venice is just being there, getting lost in the maze of streets and canals, riding the vaporetto (waterbus) up and down the Grand Canal, and popping into the churches (virtually every church in Italy is an art museum), alternately eating gelato and drinking hot chocolate. Then a day or two in Verona, on to Florence, then perhaps Orvieto and end in Rome. I'd say two weeks is just about enough time for that.

Posted by Manisha
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
2 posts

Hello Chani, Many thanks for that suggestion. You have now got me thinking about Venice on christmas day. Yes, I did realise most plases will be closed on 25/26 Dec so was wondering where it would be best to position ourselves on those dates. If you have any other suggestions for the route we should take please let me know. Cheers
Manisha

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2198 posts

I believe you are expecting to see too many places in too short of a time period, especially over the holidays. I have no idea about Milan at Christmas except it is known for being cold and foggy, not necessarily with snow. Chani's suggestion of Venice is good, but it will be quiet on the 25th especially. Make reservations for dinner the 24th and 25th well in advance as some restaurants will close and others will be packed. Consult your hotel, B&B or apartment rental agency for help. As to an actual itinerary, I'd suggest: Dec 23 - arrive Milan, train to Venice and settle in Dec 24 - take advantage of the morning when sites are probably open. If it is like Rome, many places begin to close down after noon. Dec 25 - take a long walk and enjoy the city Dec 26 - some sites may reopen; check locally. Possible day trip to Verona, less than an hour away by train, but heck to see what is open. Dec 27 - head to Florence Dec 28 - Florence Dec 29 - head to Rome
Dec 30-Jan 4 - Rome. Seems like a lot of time but there is SO MUCH to see and do here. Make a res soon as it is busy! If you can get a room near the Colosseo, there's a gigantic party there that your kids might like on New Year's Eve. We actually reserved a room near there for 12/31 this year so we can go see the fireworks without having to fight our way downtown and back home. I will follow this post with some advice I have posted previously on Rome at Christmas and also some Winter in Venice advice.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2198 posts

Manisha, In case you haven't guessed, I personally think Zurich is an "outlier," way off the track of your trip taking a lot of time to do. Maybe a Switzerland expert can weigh in, though. Here are some thoughts on Rome at Christmas/in winter. We were in Rome Dec 22-31 of 2011, and traveling in Italy the entire month of December. The 24th-26th take some planning, but there's plenty to do. The 24th we spent the morning at the Borghese, shopped, had lunch, rested up, went to church at 6:30PM, then dinner at 8:30, followed by a nice walk to see more lights. The city is so decked out at Christmas! A very nice day. A very Roman thing to do is have a fish-based multi course feast on the 24th. The 25th we cooked a nice breakfast, then took a walk through the Ghetto where it was pretty much business as usual. Lots of people were out and about . The ghetto was a great choice for dinner, too, but make a reservation because a lot of Italians dine out for Christmas! There are two precipi (nativity scene) museums open on Christmas Day so we visited one in early evening, taking in the lights at Piazza Venezia as well. The 26th we took a self-guided walking tour up the Gianicolo to Villa Doria Pamphilj, then toured the Palatine and Forum in the afternoon. We were exhausted! The point is, with planning, there is plenty to do even if some sites aren't open. Just walking (check out the book "24 Great Walks in Rome" for ideas ) is entertainment. As the holidays approach there will be lists of restaurants open, special exhibits, etc. One blog to watch is parlafood.com. Katie always lists great ideas especially for dining. I also like romerevealed.com for ideas and current events. Oh, and on the 26th, Via Fori Imperiali is closed to traffic and is thronged with Romans enjoying the passagiata. Quite the scene. As to accommodations, we rented an apartment near Campo dei Fiori and it was perfect! Great

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2198 posts

OK, last post (for today) I promise! Here is a report about a winter trip we took to Venice last December, our second December stay in Venice. Winter Break in Venice.