Thank you to everyone who has given input regarding my initial itinerary planning and questions. Have it narrowed down to 2 main options (open to tweaking of course).
My main “dilemma” (which I guess is a good thing), is it’s my first trip to Europe and I’m debating whether I can fit both the Alps and the Mediterranean. While Italy is my main focus, I also would love to have a contrast to Italian culture and Switzerland just seems completely incredible. We also probably won’t be doing major traveling for at least several years after this, so I’m trying to make the most of it. Also, if I absolutely had to cut the Mediterranean seaside village or Switzerland due to time or whatever, what do you think would be the bigger loss? We would be going in the last week of June into July, love beautiful scenery, and enjoy a nice balance of leisure/wandering time and some planned/busy time. Thanks for your help!
Lauterbrunnen 3 nights (day trip to Lucerne)
Chur- 1 night (just staying over to do Bernina express)
Either Tirano or Lugano- 1 night (just to break up travelling to Levanto)
Levanto 3 nights (I know CT is completely overrun in July, but looking at the websites, it seems that Levanto might not be as bad- especially during the weekdays when cruise ships aren’t scheduled there. We don’t mind crowded- we’re from NY lol- but seeing the pics of CT completely swamped is a little much. Thoughts on Levanto?)
Florence- 4 nights (when we leave Florence, we will pick up a car to drive to pienza and stop at Siena for the day before continuing onto Pienza)
Pienza 3 nights
Orvieto- 1 night
Rome- 3 or 4 nights (if I do 4 nights, I wouldn’t do the overnight at Orvieto- just visit for half to a full day, drop off the car, and continue onto rome via train)
Arrive In Zurich in AM, head right to Lucerne
Lucerne- 3 nights (visit Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus)
Lauterbrunnen- 3 nights (obviously this Itinerary would have me skip the Bernina express, but would do one or two of these walks while in Lauterbrunnen: https://voyagista.com/2013/10/07/switzerland-hiking-bernese-oberland-top5/ )
1 travel day/night: Leave late morning for Milan; ON in Milan; Leave on 8 am train to arrive in Levanto by 11am
Levanto- 3 nights; leave late morning/early afternoon for Florence
Florence- 4 nights
Pienza 3 nights
Rome- 3 nights
*One additional change to option 2 is that we can also just spend 4 or 5 nights in Lauterbrunnen with a daytrip to Lucerne, and use the days that I originally had in Lucerne and add an extra night in Rome and/or Florence.