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Flying to Italy for the very first time


Flying into FCO. Do we a) stay all 7 nights in Rome and use trains to see the other parts of Italy or b) do we pick three or four locations and take a train and stay in that specific city/region for a couple of days?

Posted by
8433 posts

What time of year? How many and what ages?

With only 7 nights, only one location other than Rome would be advisable.

If you choose to go to another destination, I would go there first and have all your days in Rome at the end. Saves one hotel move.

Posted by
827 posts

I would spend at least 4 nights in Rome. You could go to one other place for 2 nights, then back to Rome for your last night. Florence is a quick train ride away.

Posted by
3 posts

We are middle aged and very well traveled. Just us two.
Worked for three major airlines prior to 9-11. Been around the world several time. Very comfortable with mass transit.
We will be coming in during April. I do want to end our vacation in Rome.

Posted by
3222 posts

If this is your first time in Italy, then limiting yourself to 2 places is good advice. To maximize your time there, go to your other city on the day you arrive ( I suggest Florence) by train. Spend 3 nights there, then return to Rome for the last 4 nights.

Posted by
996 posts

I agree with CJean's post above. You sound well traveled, so you already know that transiting from one location to another eats up at least half a day each time. Florence and Rome would be perfect for a first Italian adventure of 7 nights duration UNLESS you already know that there is something big you want/need to see that's not located in Rome or Florence.

Do you have a must see this list yet? OR are you playing it by ear?

Posted by
216 posts


We have been to Italy a few time and with 7 days on the ground focus on Florence and Rome. We absolutely loved Rome! Our second time there we took a train to Tivoli and visited the Villa. Unfortunately it was unseasonably cold and poured on us so our day was cute short. It was Sunday as well and the trains had decreased schedules. Historic Florence for us was just ‘blah’ We are not art buffs and prefer outdoor agendas so the museums became overwhelming. The most fun in Florence was 1. Renting a Vespa with WalkAboutTours which included 4 hours outside the city limits, lunch at a farmhouse with wine overlooking the hills of Tuscany 2. Renting a car and driving to Chianti. We did a wine tour at Verrazzano which was great! The wine and food was plentiful and the scenery was just beautiful! Of course it rained that day as well BUT we pressed on and had a wonderful time. We did purchase and ship from 2 wineries that day for decent prices.

Posted by
2691 posts

Conventional wisdom would be to split into 2 places, ending in Rome. This is a fine idea. On arrival in Rome take the train to somewhere else in Italy. One place. Suggestions would be Florence or Venice because they are iconic and easily reached by fast train. If you wanted something smaller, Siena would be an option. If you want to dive in to Italian chaos headfirst, Naples (or stay in peaceful Sorrento and day trip to Naples). After 3 nights in one of those places, head to Rome to finish your trip.

BUT I personally would spend it all in Rome, taking 1 day trip to Orvieto to see a smaller town. Maybe 1 day to Ostia Antica (nearby town destroyed and in ruins, kinda like Pompei). Rome has so much and it’s much better appreciated by leisurely exploring, not rushing and squeezing. I spent 6 nights in Rome, no day trips, a couple years ago and it was amazing.

You are well traveled, you probably know if you appreciate longer stays in fewer places or if you like to see different cities for shorter times.

Posted by
4939 posts

I, too, would use Rome as a base for the entire time. We've spent a lot of time in Rome over the years, and still haven't seen everything we want to. If you want or need a change of pace, consider Pompeii, Orvieto, Ostia Antica, and Tivoli.

If you do want to add another base, I vote for either Florence or Siena. Totally diffent vibes from Rome, each with lots of interesting things to do and see.

Have a wonderful trip. We love Italy.

Posted by
27480 posts

Reading all of the above.

If you want a different and unique other city I suggest nipping up to Venice for a couple of nights.

Be sure you have at least one early morning and one evening/night out walking around there - it is a completely different city than during 10-4.

If you didn't already have the flights in and out I would have suggested to fly into Venice and out of Rome.

Posted by
1061 posts

For our first trip to Italy we spent 10 days in Rome and barely scratched the surface.