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First Timer's 11 day itinerary in Italy

My wife and I are going for an 11 day trip to Italy arriving in Venice on Sept. 1 and departing in Rome on Sept. 12. Please give any comments or advice on this proposed itinerary as this is our first trip in Italy (and Europe for that matter):

Days 1-2, Venice
Days 3-4, Florence
Days 5-7, Cinque Terre
Days 8-11, Rome

We are concerned that we are trying to do too much because we really enjoy relaxing and staying away from the typical "must see" things. On the other hand, we also really want to see Siena and perhaps the Tuscany countryside but we obviously can't see it all. We decided to strike the countryside because we would prefer to do all buses and trains in order to save money and hassle. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
3580 posts

All those places are loaded with "must-sees." I suggest not staying in Florence. Spread your ten days evenly over the other three places and take the train to Florence from Rome as a day-trip if you want to see it. Unless you want to be traveling constantly, pare down your itinerary and plan to return to Italy another time. Another option would be to skip Rome this time and focus on the more northern parts of the country.

Posted by
32264 posts

Bill, I'll post a reply on your other Thread in the "Italy" section.

It's a good idea not to cross post, as it's a bit confusing.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for your advice. Sorry about the cross-posting, it was not intentional - I am a first time user.

Posted by
14 posts

I was in Italy the last half of May, and hit those very same stops, albeit in a different order. I don't think CT is really a "must see". I enjoyed the hike, but Monterosso (the northernmost town) was packed to the gills with tourists.

CT is normally recommended as a "vacation from your vacation" stop, but I don't think that will be a consideration on an 11 day trip. Also, CT to Rome is a pretty long journey (I'm not sure about Florence to CT). Dropping CT saves you the bulk of your train travel.

Not sure I have any ideas about what to do with the 3 days saved.

When you get to Florence, I recommend you book a good walking tour as soon as you get checked in to your hotel. I was a little tardy, and missed out :(

Posted by
48 posts

Cinque Terra is wonderful...we were there 3 days in '06 Sept. Weather was wonderful enough to swim We could've stayed another day...we just hiked, ate & mellowed out..had laundry done in Monterosso.

Posted by
157 posts

The overall pace of the trip may be aggressive but depending on your energy level it is possible. The thought of dropping either Florence or CT is a debate to say the least. Depending on your energy level and your overall interests (scenery in CT or art in Florence) can help you decide which to skip if you want to drop one. There are many threads here about the relative merits of each - I like them both but if I had to pick one or the other for a first timer I would bypass Florence because you are already in some major cities.

This summer I was in CT and was going to head to Florence to re visit it after a few years away - but I passed on it and stayed in CT to really enjoy it there and relax. But that is me and others will clearly disagree with that.

Posted by
223 posts

Bill, Your itinerary looks great to me, but I love art and architecture which are "typical must see things". If you really want to relax and avoid must see things, you might consider skipping Florence(my favorite city) and Rome in favor of Tuscan and Umbrian hilltowns accessible by train/bus.

Posted by
9 posts

I travelled to Rome and Florence for 8 days last fall and we had just enough time to enjoy all the must-see sights. I would cut CT and spend more time in Rome...it took a good full 4 days to get to everything there. Florence we did in two half days...if I were to do it over, I would have spent an extra day there. My travel buddy did 3 days in Venice and she was happy with that. Happy travels!

Posted by
1358 posts

Your choices are mostly crowded cities. CT is quiet and peaceful where you can relax and slow your pace. Depends on your personal interests. Do a search for
"Cinque Terre Photos."

If you like crowds, museums, cathedrals and similar sights, skip CT; however, if you want to relax, HIKE and enjoy the scenery of coastal Mediterranean cliffs, (colorful homes perched on the cliffs) spend as much time as you can in the CT National Park.

You will find the bus and train best for a slow paced tour of Tuscany. They all move slowly and stop at every small village. That may sound appealing to you.