more Florence or more Venice?

hi all, we are abbreviating the Italy leg of a multi country trip. We are thinking More France for this time.. hopefully more Italy in the future., We will be coming from Rome With two kids, ages 13 and 11. and a mom who thinks they have to get SOME history and Culture on this trip,.. what would you do? we are thinking we would like to see these two cities and spend a total of three nights. ( not counting night train out of Venice. ( or Milan) Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan for night train? Rome Florence Venice night train? thank you very much for any help.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
4054 posts

Night train to where? Milan - pass. 3 nights pick one city. That only gives you two full days in the location, after all. Venice is more fun for kids and has culture and history to spare. Read R.S. on what to do in Venice with 2 days. You can see the main historical sights in one day, but take a second day to sail to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. While Murano is a bit over-the-top on glass, Torcello is the birthplace of Venice. Buy a vaporetto pass and enjoy!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6726 posts

Are you considering a night train because you've done a lot of research on what they're really like? Or are you considering it because of what you imagine it would be like? I'd say over 90% of the comments I've read from people who've actually done night trains are negative, saying what a horrible experience it was.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

chris, There's no reason to use a night train between ANY of the cities you mentioned, as travel time via the high speed trains (300 kmH) is VERY short. For example, Rome to Florence is only about 90 minutes. It would be a huge waste of valuable travel time to use a night train on those routes. I'd also suggest skipping Milan, especially as you're "abbreviating" your time in Italy. There's more than enough to see in Rome, Florence and Venice. When is this trip taking place? Which two cities do you want to see (you've mentioned four cities)? Are you planning to spend one night in each city? Some additional information would be really helpful!

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5932 posts

I assume from your post, that you are looking at taking the Thello night train to move on from Venice to Paris. Looks like that could run anywhere from 165 euro for 3 in a 4-person couchette, or 336 euro for a 3-bunk compartment. I am not sure if you we need to pay for a 4th person to ensure that you had the 4-person couchette exclusively, in which case the couchette would be 220 euro. Many on this forum will advise against it, but I say keep an open mind. This method of travel accomplishes 2 and maybe 3 things in one shot. 1. Gives a place to stay for the night. 2. Gets you to where you want to be in the morning. 3? Has a dining car so you know where you're having dinner. Breakfast is included. You can check out the train car layouts at For an independent opinion go to While couchettes are more Spartan than compartments, they have a bit more physical space, especially if there is only 3 of you.
I've taken night trains into and out of Venice, and yes, its not as comfortable as a nights sleep in a hotel room, but it beats the heck out of trying to sleep on a transatlantic flight. It's an 11 1/2 hour train ride, but it also eliminates the headache of getting to Venice airport, security checks, waiting around, landing at a Paris airport, navigating the airport to find the transport into Paris proper. So look into it. It may or may not be for you.

Posted by chris
deep south
25 posts

thanks all very much. all replies were helpful. Is it possible to depart Rome early AM: ( train or early early bus) stop over in Florence for a lunch with David, then connect to Venice for a late evening arrival?
Is 3 hours in Florence possible? ( and can I book gallery reservations via phone ?) That takes care of this mother's " you SHOULD see Florence" and gets us on to the Whheee of Venice where we can spend 2-3 nights. What do y'all think? do-able? ~chris

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13875 posts

The first train leaves Roma Termini at 06:20 arriving Firenze SMN at 07:51 followed by many and frequent Freccias. There are also several Freccias from Tiburtina and many .ItaloTrenos also from Tiburtina. Not the way I'd want to see Florence but if it helps you check a box, hey ho.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

chris, Yes, it is possible to make a stop in Florence on the way to Venice, especially if you're travelling by high speed train. I would NOT recommend travelling by Bus on that route as it will take considerably longer. As I recall, there's a Deposito Bagagli at Firenze SMN station, where you can leave your luggage, but be sure to allow time to do that as the process may not be fast. The Rome to Florence trip via Freccia train is about 90 minutes, while the Florence to Venice trip is about 2 hours. Each city has more than one station so you MUST specify the correct stations when buying tickets. Also, reservations are compulsory on the Freccia trains, which are specific to a particular train, date and departure time. You MUST only board the train specified on your ticket or you'll be subject to hefty fines which will be collected on the spot! The fines are currently at about €60 PP! YES, you should absolutely pre-book reservations for visiting the Accademia and statue of David. Check the Guidebook for details for online or phone reservations. Hopefully you'll have time to see more than David, as there's some incredible art there too. Cheers!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3553 posts

Whether they visit Florence or not they will be getting g plenty of history, culture, and a wonderful experience. I have taken kids about the same age to both Florence and venice... and while both are great...Venice is the favorite. Definitely take the trip to Burano. I would also skip Milan and skip Florence as well. A reason to return...Just enjoy Venice.

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
994 posts

Please look at flights on
Venice-Paris 1H45m prices start at around 37 euro This time savings could give you your full day in Florence.

Posted by chris
deep south
25 posts

Every one of you is wonderful. hmm. permission to skip Florence. rather than dis her with 3 rushed hours.. and just have a grand time in Venice. but that if I can't let it go.. here's how to accomplish it: and that it's doable with call ahead.. all the train help. brilliant. And looking into Easy Jet terrific.. a plane does save us a day ... for Florence or more Venice. looking into flying Venice to Nice to rent a car and see Southern France before heading into Paris. Thank you all.