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Need Help with Order of Italy Trip!

My fiancé and I are trying to plan our honeymoon in Italy this September. We are quite the experienced European travelers (she studied abroad in Europe, I travel to Europe approximately once a month for business). With multiple visits to Barcelona, Madrid, London, Paris, Prague, and Germany between us, along with her one week stint in Rome and Florence, we have a pretty good grasp of what to expect as far as time allotment in each city, jet lag recovery, etc. However, we are struggling to put the locations we've chosen for a 12 day Italian trip in the most efficient order with regard to travel time between locations, cost, and most appropriate means of travel (regional airlines, car, or train). In prior trips to Europe, we've had success in such items as recovering from jet lag on a long train ride the first day (i.e. flying in and out of Barcelona, traveling and sleeping on a train from Barcelona to Madrid the first morning), renting cars (driving throughout southern Germany and into Prague, but parking at the airport on the edge of the city to avoid traffic), and flying low cost, one-way flights.

Any help in suggesting a proper order for these locations, as well as the best means of travel, will be greatly appreciated. We are booking our trip using frequent flyer miles and have been looking at flying into Rome or Venice. However, there are a lot more flight options on the airlines I frequently travel by flying into Milan and I am beginning to wonder if our trip should originate from there, which would afford an opportunity to view the "Last Supper". A quick glance at a map seems to indicate this may work if the trip is conducted in a circle beginning or ending in either Florence or Cinque Terre with Rome as the "turn around" point in the middle of the trip.

Our Desired Allotment in Each Location:

Rome - 3 days,
Florence and Tuscany - 4 days,
Venice - 2 days,
Cinque Terre - 2-3 days

Posted by
1317 posts

Given all the above factors, you might consider a zig-zag pattern:

Fly into Milan, go to Venice, zig back to Cinque Terre, then work your way south through Florence and Tuscany (possible rental car, depending on where in Tuscany you want to go), finish up in Rome and fly home from there.

Another option is to fly between Venice and Rome which could look like: Milan - Venice - fly to Rome - work your way back north through Tuscany - Cinque Terre and back to Milan.

For me, Venice always proves a bit tricky in relation to the other often-visited sites since it's on the opposite side of the country. Therefore, I think it usually makes the most sense to get it out of the way early or save it for last and fly out of there.

I'm sure other Italy experts will have more good suggestions.

Standard warning: don't rent a car, except possibly in Tuscany. It's just not worth the headache.

Posted by
32265 posts

Brian, given the criteria you mentioned, I'd probably plan the trip somewhat like this:

Fly to Rome (3 days) Does that include the day lost in flight?

Train to Florence (4 days)

Train to Cinque Terre (via La Spezia) Which of the five villages were you planning to stay at?

Train to Venice (will be about a 6 hour trip, depending on which train you choose - using an arbitrary date, I found one train leaving La Spezia at 09:13, arriving Venezia S.L. at 15:17)

Train to Milano (about 3 hours, for the flight home)

This Itinerary could probably be done in the reverse order also. The times in each city would have to be adjusted for the travel times.

Hope this helps. Congratulations and Happy travels!

Posted by
240 posts

Brian, Here is the schedule tht I took last year. We had a little more time, but it worked out perfect and we really had a great experience.
Fly into Rome, rent a car.
Drove to Naples and stayed for 3 days. Had time to go to Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi.
Left Naples and drove uptowards Rome, then went over to the east coast-about a 6 hours drive. and Stayed in Rimini for 1 night. We stopped in Ravenna and shopped on our way our towards Venice. Stayed in Venice for 3 days. Then drove across toward Florence and rented an apartment in Pelago for 1 week. Only 15 minute train ridge from Florence. We had time to go to Florence, Cortona, Lucca, Pisa and Siena., then drove back to Rome for 4 days. The driving throughout the country and along the adriatic sea was quite beautiful. I think that CT is over rated and there are so many more beautiful places to see, especially since you are on your honeymoon...find a unique place that will be "your" memories forever!!