Planning 2 week trip for next June, 2 adults, 2 teens. Texas to Venice. 3 days in Venice, 3 days in Dolomites, 3 days in Tuscany, 3 days on Ponza Island, 2 days in Rome. Looking for new places in Tuscany, love hill towns like Montepulicano. Will rent car in Venice and return in Rome. Any recommendations for places to stay or just thoughts on our plan would be much appreciated. My wife and I have been to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Tuscany before so we're looking for some new, less known gems which I will share with no one. Thanks
Rent a car after Venice. I would do 3 nights in Venice. Drive to Dolomites (Go to Cortina Pordoi Val Gardena).
Sleep in Val Gardena 2 nights. Use the full day in between for some hiking if you want. After the two nights in VAl Gardena, go through the Sella Pass, Canazei, Ora and take the freeway at Ora/Egna. Exit at Lago Garda Nord/rovereto, Drive to Lake Garda stay 2 nights at lake garda. After the 2nd night on the lake Garda, drive down to Tuscany. Choose a central location between Siena and Florence along the Autopalio freeway (near Colle Val D'Elsa or Monteriggioni is good). Use the area as a base to day trip to Tuscany. To choose some towns you haven't seen and you might like take a look here: www.borghiditoscana.net Stay 3 or 4 nights in Tuscany. Head to Ponza and Roma. For Ponza you don't really need to take the car across. Actually I don't recommend it at all because there is only one (narrow road) from the Port to La Forna and not much parking. In July and August, as a matter of fact, only residents can bring in the car. As such Italians put the car in a parking place in the mainland then take the hydrofoil or ferry across (the hydrofoil is twice as fast, but no cars on board). There is a bus that goes to all beaches around the island, even at night, therefore you have no real need for a car. You might consider returning the car in Rome before going to Ponza, that way you save some rental costs. It would make no sense for you to keep it parked in the mainland, as most local Romans do. That would be a waste of money to keep a rental car and not use it. A car in Ponza is usable only if you rent some house outside of the port town. In the town itself you might even have a hard time parking it.
We liked San Quirico d'Orcia, not far from Montepulciano.
Montalcino, Arezzo, Sansepolcro?
Ok, you asked for it! Tuscany: Pienza Portovenere (take a boat up the coast and see the 5 terre towns for the sea) Lucca Montecattini alto Vinci
Porto Santo Stefano Tivoli (Lazio) Herculaneum (Campania) Have fun!
Hi Dirk, If you don't change your plan listed above, I would definitely recommend following it in reverse. No need to have jetlag in the most beautiful city - Venice, and a gondola ride would be the perfect end to your two weeks. Also, this would allow you to move north into the somewhat cooler areas towards the hotter time of the month. My husband & I loved Moena in the Dolomites and stayed at Hotel Monza - nice hotel hosts & provide a traditional evening meal, too. Padova (Hotel Plaza) is near Venice, and we also enjoyed it as a lesser known gem. Verona is more known but equally nice. Near Florence, a special city we hope to see again is Siena. Enjoy your trip!
I would do Venice first and fly back from Rome.
Venice airport is not easy to get too, especially super early in the morning. You have to deal with boats in that town, so it takes longer. Rome airport is just 30 min. from the city center. To me Venice is perfect for jet lagged people. No criminal activity (no pickpockets on buses or metro, no purse snatchers). Pedestrians only city with no cars that will run you over while you cross the road half asleep and if you fall in the cold water of the canal it will wake you up.
Thanks for all the advice and help and good ideas. As you know this is an evolving process. Sure I'll have more questions. So far my best idea is just to make this a one way trip and not come back.