My college age daughter and her friends (4-6 in total)will be traveling to Rome, Florence and Venice for the 1st week of March. Can anyone suggest safe, affordable places(inexpensive hotels) to stay as well as an itinerary that will have them see the important sites during their weeklong trip? They want to fly into Venice and home to London from Rome.
They students are flying from London. I suggested they start in Venice and work their way to Rome? It seems that Sunday is a quiet day in Italy, so it might be a good day to travel from Venice to Florence. They want to arrive in Venice on Friday and head to Florence on Sunday. Than on to Rome on Tuesday, flying back to London Friday night. Does that seem realistic?
Me again--if I recall correctly, most of the museums (Uffizi and David) in Florence are CLOSED on Monday. Probably not a good plan to get there on Sunday unless they get there early enough to squeeze those two in on Sunday. I did them both in one day, in December so there were no crowds, and that was a serious (over)dose of art.
They may have left this a bit late to get the really cheap hotels. I'd suggest they consider hostels with the size of their group. The Beehive is well-recommened in Rome, but I hear it fills up fast. Use tripadvisor to get recommendations.
Do they have a full week of sightseeing? They will lose one day arriving in Europe, so if that week includes travel time, they will only actually have about 5 days to tour, in which case they would almost be better off to just stay in Rome the entire time. They need to get their hands on a guidebook, such as Rick Steves' Italy 2009 and see what the recommended 1-week itinerary is. Alternatively, under "Plan your trip" on this website, are suggested 1, 2, 3, and 7 day itineraries for each of the three cities you mention.
Assuming they have 7 full days of sightseeing time, I would probably roughly divide my time as follows:
Rome - 3 nights
Day 1: Ancient Rome (Colosseum, Forum, Panethon, etc.), Night Walk (Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, etc.)
Day 2: Vatican (Museum, St. Peters'). We went to Trastevere in the evening, which was a lot of fun.
Day 3: Depends on their interests. I'd go to the Borghese Gallery (advance reservations required), any churches that interest me, or the Capitoline Museum. Or, another option is to take a half day trip out to Ostia Antica to see the old Roman seaport.
Florence - 2 nights
Uffizi, Accademia (David), Duomo, maybe one or two other churches. I liked Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. Maybe San Marco if they like religious paintings. Be sure to get reservations for the first 2 sites.
Venice - 2 nights
Haven't been here myself, so harder to advise, but probably would do...
St. Marks', Frari Church, Doge's Palace, enjoy Venice's atmosphere.
Regardless, if they are leaving in less than a month, they need to get organized NOW.
the suggestions for Rome and Florence are right on the money. Now to Venice, my favorite place. For a tour itenery check either 36 hours in Venice at the New York times web site, or at experience plus bicycle tours website. I like the one at experience plus as it was put together by a local. For a room try the hotel Ca'Formenta located up on the via garibaldi. It's a nice area close to the vapparetto stops. It's also in a good location to get to the Venice airport if they are leaving from Venice.
Compare flying into Venice and out of Rome with the into Rome and out of Venice. Depending on connections the flights from Venice to the US can be awfully early. A very early departure from Venice Marco Polo can sometimes make getting to the airport from the the city an expensive adventure.
try Santa Maria alle Fornaci or Casa La Salle in Rome for cheap, safe, and right by the Vatican (former)/outside center but right on the metro (latter). They are very inexpensive for Rome and are spartan, spartan, spartan, but clean and safe (the latter is actually across from a police training center and is gated).
I dont know what anyone else is reading about Frankfurt in Steves book.I only have the 2006 book but he says and I quote, for years Frankfurt was a city to avoid but today it has a unique energy that makes it worth a look.