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Take a small tote for Venice and Cinque Terre? Best of Italy in 17 days

I am leaving early June for the best of Italy in 17 days. I may be over thinking this... but I packed into a 22 inch roller-board (it is 25 lbs packed) so that it would be easier to get to the hotel in Venice and in Monterossa. The final trip documents from RS suggests we pack a small duffel to take those things necessary of those places and we will leave our suitcases on the bus.

So if I do repack into a duffle for those 2 places, should/can I take a larger suitcase for the rest of the trip? It might be easier to have a larger suitcase for bringing things home.
Did any of you take your rollerbags to Venice and Monterossa? My hotel is "up the hill" in Monterossa
thank you for your thoughts

Posted by Debbie
Narberth, PA
427 posts

Hi. A recent poster asked the same or a similar question:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/rs-requesting-futher-downsizing-of-luggage

I believe the idea is to leave the larger bag on the bus for these destinations where climbing or numerous stairs may be encountered. Your larger bag would remain securely in the bottom of the bus while you take a smaller amount of stuff to the hotel.

Hope this helps.

Edit: I guess I should have not tried to embed the link. I hope this works. D

Posted by Leslie
Southern California
188 posts

Monterosso will not be the problem since your luggage is sent up on a small cart. Venice is the tricky one because of needing to walk up and down the steps on the bridges to get to the hotel. It was crowded there in early October; I imagine it will be even more crowded in early June. You'll have to decide whether or not you can either heft the bag up each step, or whether the wheels on your bag can take the bumping. A friend of mine went to Venice as a side trip at the end of a cruise and destroyed her bag's spinner wheels on the bridge steps. However it was a larger, heavier bag than what you are taking.

Posted by joe
Edmonds, WA
2153 posts

When we did the 17 day Italy tour we left the roller bags on the bus at Venice and just stuffed our day bag backpacks for the 2 nights there. Made it much easier to do the boats and bridges.

In Monterosso, took the roller bags with us. Our hotel there had a tiny pickup truck that took the roller-bags from the train station to the hotel.

You were going to have some type of day bag, no? Its OK to stuff it-- its not like it has to fit under the seat like on an airplane, where its the 'personal' item

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
14336 posts

I would not switch to a larger bag. Your current 25-lbs packed into the 22-inch bag is probably the maximum that you can handle easily in the variety of situations that still remain on the trip. Other situations may include hotels without elevators (or only tiny, historic ones that can break down), your first train ride to Varenna, and other hotels where the bus can't pull up to the door of the hotel.

Yes, I've taken my old-ball-and-chain 22-in travel bag into both the Cinque Terre and Venice several times, usually when traveling alone without another practical option. I'm used to handling them in Europe for months at a time but still welcome opportunities to leave them behind. I agree with the guides' and office's advice that you lighten up for these stops, especially as the public transport only gets more crowded. If the group is trying to stick together and stay on schedule to meet a particular train or vaporetto, nobody wants to be the one who over-estimated what they could handle.

I would not count on van/pickup transfer of the bags within Monterosso, just in case that van is not available, or in case you get a guide like me who considers most of our Monterosso tour hotels to be an easy walk. (I have not stayed at those that are further uphill.) The van doesn't help you with the flight of stairs each way in the Levanto and Monterosso train stations (or, it might help with one side that has a ramp but that still leaves three that are stairs).

For coming home, you can pack souvenirs either into the duffle, or into the 22-inch bag, depending on which items are more fragile (to hand carry) or need to be checked (like well-wrapped liquids).

Posted by wesleycl OP
Newark DE
15 posts

thank you, I appreciate all of your wise words. So looking forward to this trip.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
4511 posts

Agree with the others on keeping to the 22incher plus a small tote/duffle for Venice and CT. I’ve been on 3 different RS tours in CT and one had the luggage cart and the other 2 didn't. I have not done the 17 day tour, though.

You may want a small bag for the bus and that’s the one I use for Venice/CT. On the bus I use it for guidebook, water, snacks, maps, iPad etc.

Posted by Nance
Orange Park, Fl
745 posts

I used a Laurel Burch large shoulder tote and hubby used a RS civita bag for Cinque Terre and Venice on our RS 21 day trip. Just packed a change of clothes plus extra shirt and 3-1-1's. Was much easier than toting a larger bag on the vaporetto and over all of those stairs (plus up the stairs in hotel). I would have like to travel the whole tour that way.

Posted by Roberta
Washington state
9 posts

On that tour in September, the hotel in Monterossa was the only one on the tour that would do laundry for us (for a fee). It was nice to get a deep cleaning of all our clothes since we were washing nightly in the sink at all our other hotels. You might want to consider that when thinking of leaving most of your clothes on the bus.

We used backpacks for suitcases so carried them to Venice and CT and didn't leave any luggage on the bus.