I'm feeling overwhelmed with trip planning. Seems we cross something out but then add it again the next day. Please post your "favorite" places. It would help :)
Rome is essential, in my opinion. And specifically the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Trevi fountain should be on your list for your visit, especially if you haven't been before.
One of my favorite places in Rome is Piazza Farnese, just off the Campo dei Fiori.
I agree with Michael - Rome is not to be missed. The Roman Empire and the Catholic church - arguably the 2 things that mmost made Europe what it is today - right there at your fingertips.
So hard to narrow down to just a couple. Certainly Rome - St Peters, Trevi and Pantheon. Also 1st ride on a vaporetto down the Grand Canal. David in Florence. Riding the ferry around Lake Como. The list goes on and on. However some of the really special moments are those that just happen - walked into a small piazza in Siena where a harpist was playing. The sound was amazing as it bounced around the surrounding walls. That was years ago and I still remember it vividly. What ever you decide I am sure you will enjoy.
Rome a must but I spent way too much time there, it only needs 3 days at most, St.Peters and Vatican most impressive.
Also very impressive was David in Florence also the climb to the top of the duomo. My fav was Venice, I love that city! Taking the Vaperetto down the grand canel, dodge's palace, san marco, the glass and shopping I loved every moment of Venice, It makes Rome seem a little overrated even though there is a lot to see in Rome, I just found Venice magical!
How long is your trip? That will set the boundaries for how much you can really see. Rick's suggested itinerary on this site has the "top" must-see list. As you will see from the posts on this site, every one has their own opinions...you need to decide what suits your interest. Make a list of the "stuff" you want to do (museums? big city? outdoors? countryside?). Then pick places that fit your style. I took Rick's 17 day best of Italy and loved every second of it, especially Lake Como, Venice, and Cinque Terre. But there were places I probably won't go back to (Pisa, Florence). The best advice is plan for the trip you're able to afford (time and money wise) and assume you'll go back again.
One added note:
One thing I would caution you against is trying to "see it all" because you cannot, not in one trip, not ever. So more time in a few places is better than little time in many places.
My first Italy trip in 1998 we tried to cram too much in in 11 days. Each visit got less hectic, with more "down time." This time, it is two weeks in Rome. The odd day-trip. That's it. Next time, something else.
depends on what you like. If you are a museum hound and love architecture and history, you can't miss Rome. If you like the outdoors and quaint villages, hike the Cinque Terre. For me that was the high point of my recent two week trip.
Our first trip way back in 1988 included Rome and the requisite sights there including St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, The Pantheon, various piazzas and a day trip to Assisi which was awesome! We also visited many churches inside as well as outside the wall. On to Florence we did the Duomo and bell tower as well as the Uffitzi and other churches with a day trip to Pisa. Then on to Venice for a more relaxed couple of days. The entire trip I seem to recall being eleven days in country and the dollar-lire exchange rate was substantially better!
My wife's third and my second trip in September this year included a week in Portofino with day visits to the CT and local towns. The second week was enjoyed at Toscana Saporito cooking school near Viareggio followed by several days in Sorrento which included a day trip to Pompeii.
We're hoping to make a return trip within a year or two!
I didn't get as far south as Rome but did spend a month in northern Italy. As far as cities not to miss, Venice, Genoa & Verona were all fabulous. I was very disappointed in Milan & Pisa.
If you get up north, Belluno, & Cortina are beautiful since they are located amongst the Dolimites & Alps.
I would start by getting a block itinerary made up of just days and cities, noting travel time between them. The goal is to get a well paced trip, not travelling every day, but also changing locales every 2 to 4 days, with 3 nights in a city about right for a first trip. Keep your cities together, if most are in the North, skip Naples and Pompeii for now. If Rome, Tuscany, and Florence fill your time, don't worry about skipping Venice. Even within a city, take your sights in small portions. In Rome for instance, a few churches are nice, trying to see twenty, they get to be another old building. Italy is like a great restaurant, plan a nice meal, don't try to eat everything. To do so would make you appreciate everything much less.
Shannon, if you ask a question like that to this forum you're just going to get more confused. Tell the forum a little about yourself. What kinds of things do you like to do? Are you a hiker, foodie, history buff, musician, art buff, wine drinker or hippie? What's your family's nationality? For example, if you're German than you may want to go to Germany. What made you want to go to Europe in the first place?
Shannon, since you are posting on Rick's website, I assume you appreciate and relate to his recommendations. If that is the case, I would suggest that you look in his Italy book and take his suggestion for itinerary based on how many days you are planning to visit. Stick to that, and plan from there.
Well...what made me go to Europe in the first place? I don't remember other than we love to travel. This will be my 13th trip to Europe, but the first to Italy. No - I'm not German. Are you? I'm actually English/Swedish/Polish - been there done that. Husband is Greek/Swedish - going to Greece for the fourth time because we love it and hope to retire there. My reason for posting the question is to read others' replies and their reasonings - not because I'm "confused." The responses have actually been quite helpful. Just never been to Italy and with only 10-12 days we're trying to get others' opinions. Right now we're leaning towards 2 days in Venice/3 days in Cinque Terre/4 days in Florence & surrounding hilltowns/3 days in Rome. Thanks for your condescending response. :)
Shannon, my favourites are definitely Lago di Como (Varenna, Bellagio) and the Cinque Terre, followed closely by Florence and Rome. If you had more time, I'd also suggest Siena and Orvieto.
LOVE your response. Please see previous post to "Jarrod" and give feedback on timing. Think this is too crazy or OK?
I don't think you can go wrong with any place in Italy. Among my favorites are the Amalfi coast (Positano), virtually any hilltown in Tuscany or Umbria that I have visited, and Rome. These are the places that I have visited multiple times and still want to go back and see more.
Hello Shannon, I think your choice of travel destinations in ITALY, that you posted here 11/13/07 at 5:17 p.m. is perfect, for being in ITALY for 12 days. If you want to have my suggestion for a travel route (direction of travel) in ITALY, send E-mail to me < ELROHN@WMCONNECT.COM
... I can not read any "Private Message" sent to me at this website (Travelers' Helpline) because this website has technical difficulties. I traveled in ITALY. I did not go south of Rome.
... -I am Ron in Southwest Missouri.
My favorite is just about any small village. Out of the way - away from the main attractions. Get submerged in the culture!!!
Shannon, we loved Rome! There's so much to see and it's also possible to escape the tourist crunch if you see it on foot - wander the backstreets, eat in tiny alleys, skip the tour guide hoardes. It's such a wonderfully walkable city with marvels around every corner. The churches alone will blow you away. We only had 3 days and could have used a week. The Amalfi coast is also very beautiful and fun to see via ferries from place-to-place.
We spent 3 wks on our first trip to Italy (Oct 8-30): 3 nights, Venice; 1 night, Milan; 3 nights, CT (Vernazza); 3 nights, Florence; 4 nights, Montepulciano (Tuscany); 4 nights, (Sorrento); 3 nights, Rome. We drove from Montepulciano to Sorrento, so that was a long day and we needed the extra day to catch up, do laundry; otherwise, I would add the extra day to Rome. We hired a taxi and took the 10 hr trip to Paestum via the Amalfi Coast--beautiful and interesting but just too long a day even w/ someone else doing the driving. If staying in Sorrento (or Naples), rent a car and take the autostrada to Salerno and then to Paestum on one day and do the Amalfi Coast another day---would definitely recommend hiring a driver so you can ebjoy the spectacular scenery. CT was crowded even as late as we were there, but we were there on the weekend; trail very congested on Sunday. Our favorites were CT, Pompeii (day trip from Sorrento) and Rome; I liked Venice better than my husband did.
It really does depend on what interests you. Those who like hiking will love the CT. Those who love art museums will love Florence. Those who love romance will love Venice. Those who love big cities will love Rome. Those who love villages will prefer the hilltop towns (Orvieto, Cortona, Siena). Those who love relaxing will love Sorrento and the Lakes.
The best recommendation is to spend at least two days in each place and consider alternating between big city and smaller town to give you a chance to recover from sensory overload. I love Paul's image of Italy as a restaurant (plan your meal, don't try to eat everything).
My favorites were wandering the streets of Venice in the evening and seeing the museums in Florence. My partner's faves were hanging out in the CT, Siena and Rome.
Rome is magnificent. Venice is magical.