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US to Italy - flying in and out of one or 2 cities --

We have 9 days in Italy -- including travel to and from --

Flying from Detroit -- prefer non-stop and would like guidance on the best airport to begin and end our journey in Italy and if it should be the same airport.

Our itinerary is tentatively Rome, Florence, Venice but welcome suggestions on how best to do this.

Also willing to fly into London to save $$$ --

Do we begin and end in Rome, Venice or Florence? Or do we fly into one, train to the others and fly home from another?


Posted by
5687 posts

I'd fly into Venice out of Rome if possible - unless your flight out of Venice is not early (try to avoid taking a very early flight out of Venice - can be expensive to get there early if you can't use the airport bus!).

Otherwise, it's a matter of optimizing time, cost, and convenience. Go on Google Flights and do some searching. Note, you want "open jaw" or "multi-city' and NOT two one-way tickets! You want an open jaw (into one city, out of another) on a SINGLE ticket.

If it's super cheap to fly into/out of Rome vs. the open jaw with Venice, you could take the train to Venice (or Florence) immediately upon landing and start there then train back to Rome at the end and do all of your days in Rome together. But that costs you half a day extra of train travel, and you have only nine days, so that would not be ideal.

I assume 9 days means 8 nights - and one night in the air(?) so that might really mean only 7 nights in Italy. In that case, that's going to be a very quick trip.

Posted by
1229 posts

Look at Toronto! Flights from there are often cheaper. Try Google flights; you can enter different departure and arrival airports to compare prices. There are ways to make flights cheaper but you pay with time and possible stress (like flying on one ticket to a cheaper city and then flying from there on a separate ticket to your destination). But you mentioned non-stop and the latter is certainly not that.

Rountrip will almost always be cheaper (vs open jaw/"multi-city")

Posted by
11292 posts

Hopefully this link will work. EDIT ( it did not so deleted it)

It is an example of what Andrew was describing ( 'multi-city" single ticket)

You can go to Delta's site , select 'multi city' and DTW-VCE as your 1st flight and FCO-DTW as the second flight.

CDG as the connection should be avoided

Posted by
14097 posts

Joe, your link comes up as expired. I suspect you were suggesting a DTW to Venice (VCE) outbound changing in Amsterdam and I see there is a non-stop Rome to DTW on the way home on Delta.

Carefully compare saving a few dollars to the hassle of transiting a major city. You want all your flights on one ticket. So...if you fly DTW to London and decide to book separately on different airlines, you'd want 5-6 hours or an overnight before you got a low-cost carrier from London to Venice.

Venice is easier to fly in to. Flying out of there on a return flight to the US often means having to get to the airport really early and that is a hassle when you are having to do water transport via vaporetto. There are a few non-stops Venice to US hubs but often you'll have to fly to another European hub such as Amsterdam or Paris for your onward flight.

Posted by
5687 posts

Delta is a good choice for direct flights to Italy, as Detroit is one of their hubs. But are they the cheapest? Not sure, but with such a limited time in Italy, I might put simplicity and shortest travel time ahead of saving money in this case. Flying via somewhere like London (something I have done to save money in the past) makes more sense for people have extra days.

Posted by
1824 posts

Others have already addressed the transportation issue so I will add my thoughts about your time on the ground.

Days 1 and 9 are travel days. You arrive in Italy sometime on day 2 so at best you have only 7 full days but it’s more likely that you only have 6 1/2 days on the ground. Changing cities takes time. The conventional wisdom here is a half day is lost. So 3 cities in 6 to 7 days might be a little aggressive time wise.

Just for comparison the RS VFR tour has 8 full days plus an evening to cover the same cities.

I am not trying to dissuade you. Just something to think about

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
996 posts

We're flying directly from Detroit to Rome, so that's a plus on my end. (We have to make other flights to reach Detroit, but that's our problem.)

You should have some good options from DTW. Any direct flight saves you money in the long run. It's Saturday, so I hate to check the Delta website (they are notorious for making changes on Saturday), but generally speaking if you can do a round trip DTW to Rome OR a multi-city DTW-Venice and then Rome-DTW, you'd have some great options with Florence in the middle of the two.

Posted by
118 posts

Google flights is your friend. Set an alert for several options if you have time, and pull the trigger when the price drops to an acceptable level.

We booked Multi City from Cincinnati to Rome and back from Venice to Cincinnati for $750 a ticket for peak season in June. So it is not always more expensive. That includes a layover in Philly on the way there, and a layover in Chicago on the way back. There are no direct flights from Cincinnati, so you might be able to do it even cheaper.

You also have to consider the cost in both time and money in treking back to your original city in Italy to do a standard round trip fare.

We would have lost a entire day of our trip going all the way back to Rome to fly home rather than ending our trip in Venice and flying out of Venice. We would also have had to buy additional train tickets to get back to Rome.

Posted by
767 posts

To give the other side, my trip plans (over the past 2 trips) haven't worked out to do open jaw. I have arranged my flights for RT into/out of Rome. I get into Rome, and I immediately go south to Salerno. Then after Salerno, I go all the way north to Verona (or last time it was Venice), then making my way down to Florence, and ending in Rome, where my flight out is. Yes I have a roundabout way to do the country, but I don't want to try to leave out of Salerno, and arriving into Salerno doesn't excite me (I have done the flight into Naples and the trek to Salerno isn't fun haha) so spending 2 hours of my already tired day on a train doesn't faze me. Yes, I do have to spend 4-5 hours on a train after my southern jaunt, but that's how it has to be to get to a major airport that has the ease that FCO has to do in and out.

Posted by
222 posts


I have found that doing the "open jaw" or multi-city cost more. Depending on where you live will determine where you fly. This year to save on money, we will be taking a direct flight into London from Tampa... then jump on a one way flight to Venice. From Venice we will go to Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples. We will then take a one way from Naples to London. Our Italy trip before was a direct flight from Chicago to Rome... Rome to Florence by train...Florence to Venice by train and then back to Rome. If you are a semi-budget traveler, I have found American/British Airways to be the best prices.

Posted by
107 posts

I agree with previous posters re: time on the ground in Italy. How many cities you visit depends on how much time you want to be in transit vs. sitting on a piazza with an aperitivo enjoying the passeggiata. My first two trips to Europe taught me a couple valuable lessons re: saving money vs. saving time. 1) Book direct with the airline, especially if you plan on a layover. We booked with two airlines, with a three hour layover in London to change planes. EACH airline adjusted their schedules in opposite directions cutting that to 45 minutes. We made it, by the skin of our teeth because we had carryons only, but it did create a LOT of stress. And many calls to the airlines involved. Next trip when our flight was cancelled due to a strike ON THE MORNING OF DEPARTURE!, the airline bent over backwards to help us out and reimburse us for extra costs incurred. (BTW, If you have a cancelled flight, go to the airport anyway instead of trying to handle the issue online. Talking to a face is much more productive than waiting on hold.....) 2) Don't book too far in advance. If we'd waited on that booking, we would have seen the change in the schedule and adapted. Another point, when you figure the savings for booking round trip from Rome, for example, be sure to consider the cost (time and money) of returning to the original airport.

Posted by
442 posts

We will be flying into Venice and home from Naples on an upcoming trip. I stalked rates for months and jumped when I found an open jaw that didn't cost more than a round trip (for us, this is out of Atlanta on this trip, but we need to take the dog to family in Atlanta anyway.) I buy open jaw whenever it doesn't break the budget - over the years have done into Stockholm - out of Munich, Into London-out of Munich, into Budapest - out of Vienna.

Only once could I not make it work. We flew round trip Vienna for a trip that was mainly to Slovenia, Croatia etc... But visited our son in Austria first since that was also an objective of the trip, then traveled by train and rental car for our vacation and got a cheap flight from Dubrovnik back to Vienna. That ended up much cheaper than any open jaw out of Dubrovnik. So, we had to make a fun afternoon and evening in Vienna out of that back track - we decided it was so much fun we would do it again!

So, keep searching and if you see a great fare, jump on it. Have an idea of what it will cost you in time and money to backtrack.

Posted by
393 posts

Someone above said "open jaw" tickets cost more.
Perhaps, but it saves a full day of travel, not having to go back to the "original" airport - plus you save the train fares.
I did open jay, arriving in Venice and departing Rome - worked well.

Posted by
879 posts

I agree that there are benefits to not doubling back so you can in/out from the same airport. Also, if you are considering Milan, keep in mind that there are two airports - most folks forget Linate. I prefer it as it is easier/faster/cheaper to get to Centrale than from Malpensa. And the airfares are typically the same.

Posted by
23368 posts

..... have found that doing the "open jaw" or multi-city cost more...... That may be one person's experience. It is not universal. We do nearly all of our trips via open jaw and rarely find them to more expensive than RT. If so, it is generally in the range of a hundred dollars/person and still cheaper when you factor in the cost of return to the RT city and especially the time. And on a few occasions have found open jaw to be cheaper than RT. Forget flying into London to save money. It works only if you get a super deal to London but adds much more risk that you cannot afford with a short trip.

For a trip this short, it makes an abundance of sense both time wise and money to fly into Venice and home from Rome.

PS -- Just did a quick check. Using mid July dates (peak time) -- Open jaw from Detroit to Venice and rtn Rome was $1488, RT Rome was $1350 -- Difference of $138. Train cost between Venice and Rome is a range of $100 to $40. The max savings would be a $100 or less. The questions -- is you time (half day) wasted getting back to Rome worth a $100 or less?

Posted by
222 posts


Can you please help me navigate this multi-city ticket? Are you using a specific search engine or carrier? For example to fly from Tampa Florida to Milan and then fly from Rome to Tampa on a multi-city on British Airways for the dates of April 28th -May 11th was $1600.00 pp. This includes multiple layovers. I paid $600.00 including exit row seating for a direct flight to London. We land at 0630 and jump on a flight to Milan for $80.00 only losing 3 hours of time. This will cushion the time to get through customs, baggage, bathroom break and leg stretching.

Posted by
23368 posts

There is no secret to it. Just use multi-cities option with any search engine and plug in the dates. The most we ever did was a five legged flight over a two week period. Saved a bunched over various other options. Are you wedded to British Air?? Right now I am seeing all kinds of one and two stops flights between Tampa, Milan, Rome for your dates in the $1200/1300 range. That is pretty is good for this late in the booking process.

I doubt if the OP can land a $600 fare to London from Detroit. You may have been fortunate. But with a three hour window there is some risk. What happens if you miss your next flight? What is the price of the replacement ticket?

We have done what you suggested but generally with a bigger time window. Last year it finally caught up with us when our original flight was cancelled for mechanical problems and we were delayed two days leaving the US so we missed the connecting flight and lost that ticket.