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My first trip to Italy

Hi,

We are planning on very short Italy trip and bought our tickets:
- Paris to Venice -- reach by 8.30 AM and stay that night in Venice
- Venice to Florence - reach by 8 am in the morning and leave to Rome at night by 9.30 PM train
- Rome to Barcelona - Stay in Rome one day and half (flight is at 5.30 PM)

We want to see as much as we can. We are three adults. Would be great if there are suggestions about things we can do in that short time and also good places to stay which accommodates 3 people in a room.

Thanks,
Sudha.

Posted by
8889 posts

Way, way too fast. The advice most people on this site give is at least 2 nights in each location. You have 1 night Venice, 0 nights Florence and 2 nights Rome.

  • Arrive Venice 08:30. Where from? Will you be jet lagged? Overnight in Venice.
  • Arrive Florence 08:00???? I see a train departing Venezia Santa Lucia 05:54, arrive Firenze S.M.N. 08:30. Can you actually get up, and get to the station that early? Especially after your strenuous day before? Will you have the energy for anything?
  • "leave to Rome at night by 9.30 PM train" - I see a train departing Firenze S.M.N. 21:34, arrive Roma Termini 22:54. Then you have to find your hotel. Second night in Rome.
  • Then you have one full day, and one part day in Rome, until you have to leave for the airport to catch your 17:30 flight.

This schedule is not practical, unless you have an Olympic stamina and can sleep 4 hours per night.

Three people in a room is unusual for European city-centre hotels.

Posted by
7737 posts

This proposed itinerary is insane. How many nights do you have in Italy? 2 or 3?

Posted by
507 posts

I can speak only of places in Rome to see. The Vatican because of the art if for no other reason. It seems evening tours are less crowded if offered.

The Roma Jewish Ghetto is something I missed. Several ppl commented on the knowledge of this area when it was established through WWII.

What are your interests so your question can be better answered? History? The arts?

Ciao!

Posted by
4 posts

I know it is crazy. We are flying from Paris. We have only few days. This is our first trip and we just want to have a taste of it for this time. We are planning to have one next year -- just Italy for 10 days.
So, for now, we want to see only very important places. The trains that you mentioned are the ones that we are taking.

Posted by
1533 posts

We want to see as much as we can<<

Do you enjoy trains, planes and check in/check out desks at hotels? Honestly that is about all you will see. Looks like you have already purchased tickets, which is a shame- your itinerary doesn't really allow for much enjoyment in any of the cities you will visit.

Let us know what your interests are- we could probably suggest a sight or 2 in each location that would be doable but really just to check things off a list, nothing in depth.

Posted by
11613 posts

Wow. It seems that you are planning on nothing going wrong, no train delays, no confusion about where you are going, no time to regroup if something does go amiss. Two sources for your situation: Booking.com and Rick Steves guidebooks to these cities.

For accommodations, check booking.com, they list many triple rooms. They also have reviews by guests who have stayed at the property recently. I don't know of any hotels with triples but I never look for those.

Venice: just wander, go to Piazza San Marco and the Rialto bridge. Take a vaporetto ride through the Grand Canal.

Florence: the Accademia, the Uffizi, the Duomo and Baptistry, walk along the Ponte Vecchio, maybe go through the Boboli Gardens for a change of pace and scenery.

Rome: The Vatican Museums/Saint Peter's Basilica, walk through the Centro Storico, go to the Coliseum and Roman Forum, the Pantheon (open long hours).

Get the Rick Steves guidebooks for these cities and you will have access to several self-guided walking tours plus recommendations for things to do/restaurants.

Posted by
1773 posts

Have you ever seen the TV show "Amazing Race"? Your trip will be like that. Unless you have a reservation to see the David I would skip Florence and save it for next time. Go straight to Rome from Venice and skip Barcelona. Or just go to Barcelona for the entire trip and see Italy next year.

Posted by
1501 posts

Skip Florence. It kills me to say this, but you won't see Florence with this schedule anyway. Just the train station and front desk like someone else said. Add the time to Rome. Zoe gave you great advice on what to see in Rome.

Posted by
16796 posts

With limited time, you can probably choose just a couple of top sites in each city, from the lists at http://www.ricksteves.com/europe/italy. But do also try to take a walk off the beaten path.

In Venice, going just a couple of blocks off the main Rialto-San Marco route makes a world of difference. A vaporetto ride down the Grand Canal is also a great way to see the city upon arrival. You won't have time for a canal ride before an early morning departure, so you should plan to sleep near the train station. Rick's Italy guidebook lists several hotels in each city that offer a "triple" room; the cheapest one that he lists in Venice is wwww.hotelrossi.ve.it, for roughly €120/night. But if you need three separate beds, not a double and a twin, then confirm that with the hotels.

In Florence, if you plan to see the Accademia and Uffizzi museums, then make advance reservations online. If you don't plan to see them, then I would skip the Florence stop.

Posted by
1271 posts

I'd vote for staying either in Venice or in Rome the whole time.

Posted by
1533 posts

Hopefully your day in Florence is not a Sun or Mon! If it happens to be- I'd have to say skip Florence as well.
Also not sure if mentioned above but if only a day in Florence- no hotel- you will have to store your baggage at train station- allow extra time to do that on both ends, storing and retrieving.

Posted by
11613 posts

Good point about storing your bags in Florence. Also, keep in mind that you'll have to drop your bags off at your hotel in Venice since the room may not be ready that early in the morning, so best to find something near the train station since you will be heading out the next day. You could look at Locanda San Marcuolo, 50 meters from the vaporetto stop San Marcuolo, for a triple room. Quirky elevator (you have to keep the button pressed until you get to your floor), nice breakfast, little garden/courtyard in the back.

Posted by
714 posts

Hopefully you will be doing carry-on baggage only - you can wait a lot time for baggage to appear otherwise. As you are coming from Paris you won't have to clear immigration/customs which is a time saver. You than have to get from the airport (Marco Polo?) into Venice and to your hotel - depending on transportation (taxi, Alilaguna water bus, or bus) can easily take up to 1 hour. You should be able to check in and store bag at hotels (I can recommend Casa del Melegrano close to the other hotel at San Marcuola).

On this very quick trip forget doing gallery tours - they will pass in a blur and you will never remember what you saw. In Venice utilize the vaporetto and your feet to explore. Here is a good suggestion for what to see in Venice if you arrive mid-morning and are leaving the next day: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/veneto/venice/sights/venice_itin_1day-arrival.html. Anyone who has spent any time in Venice will have their favourites - find your own and make up your own list for your return visit. I was there for a day at the end of a cruise (my fourth visit) and I finally made it into San Marco (for some reason there was no queue to speak of) and had a very expensive sandwich and drink at Florian's cafe on the Piazza - worth every cent because it was on my "must do" this for this visit!

I agree that you are better to head straight to Rome after Venice. You will see little of Florence otherwise.

In Rome you will need to get a hotel near Termini - easier to find when you arrive and handier for getting train to FCO for your flight. I know a lot of people will disagree with this, but I would say forget the Vatican and save that for your next trip. You might want to do the hop-on-hop-off bus which will take you all around the major sites in Rome and you can stop at those that appeal to you. The Colosseum area is in the centre of most of the major archaeological sites -the forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus etc. and is easily reached by metro from Termini or, of course, the hoho bus. Rome is full of amazing churches but you will not have time to see them all but do visit the Pantheon - for me it is a must do every time I go to Rome. A lot of people consider the cafes surrounding the Pantheon Piazza too touristy, but they are also great people watching venues - great for a cup of coffee or a quick
pasta meal.

Get a good guidebook for either Venice and Rome or Italy and together with your traveling companions decide what you want to do and see so you can get on with it right away, rather than wasting time deciding when you are actually on the ground.

Posted by
7737 posts

Regardless of the motivation, this is still insane. It does indeed sound like an episode from The Amazing Race.

Posted by
651 posts

I did mostly 2 & 3 nights at each location on the trip I just got back from. I've hardly been able to get out of bed since I got home on Saturday. I think I just wore myself out!

Posted by
11613 posts

In my opinion you are better off walking or taking a taxi in Rome, eaiting for the ho-ho bus can take up to an hour. It's expensive for the ground it covers and you still have to walk from the bus stop to the sight and back to the bus stop.

If you had more time, the ho-ho bus might be fun.

Posted by
1501 posts

Respectfully disagree Zoe [this is a first, as you're always correct :-)] and in this circumstance, I think the HO HO bus would be
absolutely perfect for people who planned this trip. It's a 'drive-by.'

Posted by
4539 posts

Your itinerary sounds exhausting!

You definitely are not giving yourself enough time to enjoy your trip.

I agree with Donna, it will be a 'drive by' type of trip.

Posted by
37 posts

I have to agree with the other posters. Your itinerary is too ambitious! You will just be frustrated because you won't have time to enjoy the cities or their interesting museums or galleries. Skip Florence and spend an extra day in Venice to enjoy the city as its fun to just hang out there or add an extra day to visit Rome so that you can go to both the Colloseum/Forum and the Vatican. You might also consider group or private walking tours in such a short time period to get more out of the experience. Lots of recommendations on this site about walking tours.

Posted by
31076 posts

I absolutely agree with the others in that your proposed Itinerary is far too ambitious. Even if it is feasible, you'll be spending most of your time on trains, checking in and out of hotels and going through the usual airport annoyances. You'll only have minimal time actually seeing the places you've come to visit.

The rail trips between Venice-Florence-Rome are all relatively short, but the trip from Rome to Barcelona will realistically take the better part of six hours, when all is considered (I've travelled that route).

When is this trip taking place? Given the very short time frame, I'd highly recommend pre-booking accommodations. It's difficult to recommend places to stay without having some idea of your criteria - which part of each city you want to stay, what price and comfort level you prefer, etc.

Posted by
11613 posts

@Donna, you are right,, for a drive-by, the ho-ho bus can work pretty well, but if one only has a day, it takes a lot of waiting time to visit anything. One thing I did last summer in Rome was arrange a taxi ride for a friend who wanted to see the monuments at night. Tour buses are not able to get as close to the sites as taxis are, and the per-person cost is higher than we wanted to pay, plus she had trouble walking long distances. We negotiated with a taxi driver to drive around for about an hour for €50 total. He stopped so we could take photos, threw in some extra stops on the way, and told some stories (in Italian). This worked out great for us but it might not be for everyone. Main thing is to get the details (how long, which sights, stops for photos, total cost) nailed down before you start.

Posted by
1501 posts

Zoe, as usual you are brilliant! A private taxi is just what they should do. eu50 for an hour divided by three is Very Inexpensive. I plan to pick your brain in the Spring, as I'm dragging my husband kicking and screaming down to Naples and the toe of the Boot! Haven't done that yet!

Posted by
250 posts

While your trip is "ambitious" I get what you are trying to do, so rather than tell you how "insane" it is, I think it will be more helpful to answer your question, which is what to see. I find it helpful to go to Trip Advisor, look up the city and click on things to do, then activities. It will give you links to some great 2-3 hour walking tours that will show you the highlights of the city, and if you have time, you can go back and visit a site or museum.
While some people like to soak it all in, others prefer a taste so they know where they'd like to focus next time. I enjoy a fast pace, and perhaps you do to. Enjoy, it will be great fun. You can rest when you get home!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Kathi. That is exactly what I am planning on. Just get taste of each place and pso that I can plan for one place next time.

Posted by
694 posts

I agree. Pick one city and see what you can. Especially if you plan to return. I'd pick Venice but that's just me. We are booked at Hotel alla Fava near Rialto Bridge next May. They are reasonably priced and have rooms that should accommodate you all. Good luck & enjoy your trip!