My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in September. General itinerary: Milan/Lake Como/Venice/Cinque Terre/Florence & Tuscany/Rome. I have read guide books, internet sources and this forum on the subject and the plan was to fly on an open jaw from New York into Milan and out of Rome. The best non-stop fares for our flexible dates (Delta or Alitalia) run about $1,135pp. Here's the Issue, there is a round trip JFK to MXP on Emirates for $635! That's a savings of $500pp. I understand the benefits, and general preference, of working north to south over an itinerary that loops back to our starting point in Milan but in this case $1,000 is a lot of upgrades on hotels, dining, entertainment etc., or savings for the next trip. If we did the RT we could re-order the sights possibly leaving Cinque Terre and/or Milan for the tail end. We do also prefer the flight times on Delta, leaving earlier at night and getting into Milan earlier the next day (6:50pm depart/8:55am arrive vs. 10:20pm depart/12:15pm arrive). I find myself stuck and wondering, "What would Rick Steves do?" We are relative international travel neophytes and I would love to collect some opinions from the experienced folks on this forum.
Much appreciated, Steve