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Extra days in Venice or Rome

We will be taking the 10 day Rick Steves Italy tour of Venice, Florence, and Rome in August 2019 with 3 nights in each city. We'd like to tack on a few extra days to our trip having never been to Italy. Would you recommend more time in Venice or Rome? We will be flying in and out of those cities. Or, is there another area near Venice or Rome that you'd spend a night or two.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by Laurel
Lincoln City, OR
7581 posts

I would think at least one night before the tour starts. See some things in Venice that the tour does not cover and at least partially recover from jetlag in that marvelous city. You can never have enough time in Rome, either. Add a night there, as well.

Posted by CJean
Ontario, Canada
1524 posts

Well, how much time do you have?? The possibilities are endless if you have enough time (and budget.). I agree that at the very minimum you'd want an extra day in Venice before the tour starts. I love Venice, so I'd even add 2 days. 3 days in Rome I isn't nearly enough, so a day or 2 there wouldn't go amiss. With even more time, I might head into Tuscany for a few days and fly home from Florence. Or go visit Sorrento with trips to Capri and Pompeii and fly home from Naples.

Posted by ItalyTravelerSoon OP
12 posts

Thank you for your replies. We are thinking of 2 weeks with the 10 day tour and some days on our own.

We plan to arrive a day earlier than the tour and spend at least one extra day in Venice. Wasn't sure if 2 extra days would be too much. Capri is definitely something I would consider. I never considered flying out of Naples so I may do some research. I just don't want to spend all of my time traveling from city to city.

Posted by stan
The Heartland USA
3263 posts

ITS, we flew into Milan before the VFR tour. Lots of direct flight options there from the US. We stayed three nights at Lake Como and one in Milan before heading for Venice by train to join the tour. By the time the tour ended in Rome, we were tired and ready to go home, even though there was much more to see and do in Rome.

Posted by ItalyTravelerSoon OP
12 posts

Thanks for your reply, Stan. My gut says to add more days to both Venice and Rome. I know I'll travel to Italy again one day so I'd prefer to take in more in 3 cities than try to see many cities in our 2 week limit.

Any hotel and restaurant recommendations in Venice and Rome are welcome. If there are any lesser known "must do's" or "must see's" in Venice and Rome, please suggest away. Thank you in advance.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11288 posts

I would spend 2 nights in Venice pre-tour and explore the back ways. You could also day-trip to Padua or Verona. There's always more to see in Rome. Or you could spend 1-2 nights in Orvieto, for a completely different atmosphere. If you stay in Rome, Ostia Antica and the beach are a nice day out of the city. So is a day trip to Hadrian's Villa and the Villa d'Esti i Tivoli.

Posted by Teri
Tucson, AZ, USA
127 posts

We have always stayed in the same hotel that the tour stays in when we plan to stay extra days either before or after a tour. They are always in a great location and will save you moving from one hotel to another. Also, mention that you will be with the tour. I agree that extra days in any or all of the 3 cities would be most enjoyable.

Posted by ItalyTravelerSoon OP
12 posts

Chani, thank you for your suggestions of Ostia Antica, Hadian's Villa and the Villa d'Esti i Tivoli. I will do some research on those locations.

Teri, it does make sense to stay in the same hotels as the tour. I hadn't thought of that. How soon after booking with Rick Steves tours do you find our the names of the hotels you'll be staying at?

Posted by Bob
Manchester, CT, USA
644 posts

We have found that independent travel before the tour is more satisfying than after the tour. Perhaps this is because post-tour travel seems anticlimactic, or that the tour itself is exhilarating but also tiring.

Having said that, it wouldn't be a bad idea to tack on some time in Rome after the tour. In Italy they have a saying: Roma, non basta una vita - for Rome, one lifetime is not enough.

Many people on RS tours leave for home on the day the tour ends, sometimes having to wake very early to catch a flight. We prefer to have a leisurely breakfast on the last morning of the tour, say goodbyes to tour mates and the tour guide, and stay on for at least another day. To leave for home early on the last morning sort of breaks the magic spell that surrounds the tour experience.

Posted by va from va
Alexandria, VA USA
379 posts

You will receive the name of the first and last nights' hotels in your confirmation email. That came the day after we made our deposit this year, and I promptly made reservations for more nights. The hotels generally try to keep you in the same room as for the tour--as one place said to us--it's easier for them too.

Posted by ItalyTravelerSoon OP
12 posts

Thanks for your insight, Bob. This forum is providing me with the help I need to confirm my gut instincts about this trip insofar as arriving early than the tour in Venice and staying later than the tour in Rome.

This is our honeymoon destination, and I really appreciate everyone's suggestions as it's our first of what will be likely many trips to Europe.

Posted by ItalyTravelerSoon OP
12 posts

Thank you Va from Virginia. I think we're close to booking the trip and look forward to making arrangements in advance as I have heard summer travel is busy.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11288 posts

Add as many extra days as you can to your trip. There is always more to see and do.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
3157 posts

I took the same tour last month. Being a fortunate retiree, I had time to add three nights in Venice before the tour began and four in Rome after it ended, in both cases at the tour hotels. I didn't run out of things to see and do. Padua and Ostia Antica were some of the "extras" I especially appreciated.

At a minimum I'd recommend getting to Venice the day before the tour starts so you can get your sleep cycle at least partly back. And I agree that adding some time after the tour helps you relax. Especially in a place like Rome, there's much more to see and do than the tour can cover. At least nine of us stayed at least one night longer than the tour and we had a great dinner together.

Posted by Carol
1746 posts

Another advantage to staying in the tour hotel upon early arrival is some input into your room type. For example, if you wanted a room with a balcony, you might pay a $20 up charge for that night before tour. Most likely you will remain in that same room for the tour dates and have the room you really wanted for the starting dates of the tour.

Posted by Bob
Manchester, CT, USA
644 posts

Dick mentioned having a dinner with tour members after the tour. This is a nice benefit of staying on after the tour ends. In effect, you get an informal tour extension this way.

Posted by Laurie Beth
MN, then TX, now home in San Diego
707 posts

I love both cities, but one consideration is how you manage with hot weather. Rome can be beastly hot in August and even when you have a/c it can be rather weak.

Posted by bvowles
20 posts

I took this tour at the start of October this year. I arrived on Sunday afternoon in Venice for the tour that started Tuesday afternoon. I am glad that I did. Venice is an wonderful city to just roam and get lost in. Make a list of areas not covered on the tour and decide what you really want to do. I enjoyed spending a hour on the Rialto bridge watching people and traffic on the canal. Our tour was over on Thursday morning in Rome and my flight home was not until Saturday afternoon. Ostia Antica was well worth the visit and one can never spend too much time in Rome.
Have a great trip

Posted by chilidonna
1 posts

Venice is our favorite city which we have visited several times. Enjoy off the beaten path sights - take the vapparetto (water bus) to San Giorgio Maggiore Island and go to the top of the church tower for the best views of Venice. Explore the Biennale di Venezia displays all over town, many free, which are fascinating and often away from heavier crowd areas. Take the water bus to Burano and Murano, see the beautiful art, wander the streets and enjoy a canal side cafe. And look up Rick's best Gelato on earth recommendation just off St. Mark's Square. If you have time take a day trip by train to Padua and visit St. Anthony's Basiclica. ENJOY!

Posted by msg4frank
1 posts

Since you will be in Venice starting in August, I recommend a quick train ride before the tour starts to Verona for two or three nights. The first night will let you get over jet lag. The next day for sightseeing in Verona. It is a beautiful city that doesn't have the hectic, overcrowded feel of Venice. That evening, attend the opera at the Roman amphitheater. Verona hosts a world class opera festival that is spectacular especially sitting under the stars. You can make advance reservations on-line and you will have a great time even if you have never been to an opera before. You can make a day trip to Vicenza since it is on the same train line. An alternate would be two or three nights in Padua also a quick train ride from Venice. The Rick Steves guide book has excellent information on those three cities that are readily accessible to Venice and well worth a visit.

Posted by jdeptula
3 posts

My daughter and I also added a number of days, and we're so glad we did. We flew into Florence; spent 2 days there and one in Siena. Wonderful and so worth it. Took train from Florence to Siena and then ultimately to Venice to meet tour. Extra night in Venice. Venice tour hotel was booked, but we were able to spend our extra night just across the courtyard. Only glitch was a train strike which delayed us several hours getting to Venice. A bit of panic, but all ended well. Also spent an extra night in Rome to see more and ease transition from tour to flight. Highly recommend this itinerary! (Yes, we were in Florence 2x!)

Posted by lkennelly
5 posts

Train strikes are common, BTW, try to allow time. We had a wonderful experience because of one...waiting in Orvieto we met a younger couple & had great fun talking with them. Never would’ve happened otherwise. Agree with all the great advice about Rome and Venice I see here.