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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

World Traveler Friends--I Need Your Help

Nadav and I have been spending lots and lots of time planning our dream Italy and Paris vacation. 
Okay to be honest, we've been working hard to plan the Italy portion of the trip.... Paris planning will happen later. =P

This is our tentative Italy itinerary.... 

Day 1: Rome 
Day 2: Rome 
Day 3: Rome/Vatican 
Day 4: More Rome 
Day 5: Sorrento 
Day 6: Amlafi Coast 
Day 7: Day trip to Pompeii 
Day 8: Leave Sorrento and head to Tuscany (should we take a train or drive??) 
Day 9: Rental car through Orievto and Civita 
Day 10: Rental car to Siena and more of Tuscany 
Day 11: See Pisa, head to Cinque Terre (should we drop off rental car before we head to Pisa or in Cinque Terre) 
Day 12: Hike the Cinque Terre towns 
Day 13: Florence 
Day 14: Florence 
Day 15: Venice 
Day 16: Venice 
Day 17: Venice (visit with old friends)

Now world traveler friends, I need your help and opinions. =)
Does this itinerary sound good to you? Would you make any adjustments? We would love any advice and input you'd like to share.
We're also researching affordable hotels and bed and breakfasts. Do you have any recommendations? 

Looking forward to your input =)


tiarenie said...

No cars - trains, trains, trains! Many times they are faster than cars and they are romantic and you'll have lots of photo ops! I would spend 1 day less in Rome and 1 day more in the Amalfi Coast - Positano & Capri.

Casey said...

Leave the car in Pisa!! Life will be so much easier, promise. Take the train from Pisa to La Spezia (1 hr-tops)...and then from La Spezia to Cinque Terre (like 15 minutes, if I remember correctly).

Might I suggest skipping either a day in Rome or a day in Florence (mostly because I didn't care much for Florence) and adding a day in Capri or Positano? I hear WONDERFUL things about both of those little paradises...so much so that we're doing a Capri excursion on our Mediterranean cruise in May!

As for Tuscany...make sure if you do the rental car thing, that you get a small car. As small as is tolerable. Those roads can get super tiny in some places! And watch out for speed cameras hidden in the bushes. I wish someone had told me that 80 euros ago. Ugh.

I know you're not quite to the Paris planning yet, so if you haven't already booked your hotel there...might I suggest this place?-->


SUPER adorable, cozy, and VERY Parisian! Also close to practically everything. There's a metro stop right outside the hotel. :) Ok, enough from me. HAVE SO MUCH FUN! Can't wait for the photos! :)

Liz said...

Second everything Casey says above... I think you need less days in Rome and/or Florence and more on the Amalfi Coast - it is RIDICULOUSLY beautiful, you won't want to miss Positano and Capri. Also, YES on the SMALL car. It's a must in Tuscany!

If you go to Positano - you MUST eat at Il Ritrovo (http://www.ilritrovo.com/web/index.php) seriously best meal of my life!

Happy planning!!!

Erika Lee @ A Tiny Rocket said...

I always thought the train was so easy in Italy but my friend always rents a car.. and says once you get out of the city .. always go with the car.

I think the itinerary looks great. Go to the Vatican early- because there will be a huge line in and out of the museum and same with the Sisteen Chappel. :)

Also Pasta in Rome.. Florence I think has the best Pizza :)

Megan Leader said...

Ohh I'm so jealous! I lived in Florence for a few months and LOVED it. While you're there, be sure to hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a great view of the city (especially at sunset) and grab gelato at Grom! For art, the Uffizi gallery is amazing, and seeing the statue of David at the Accademia is incredible--seeing it in real life is so much different than seeing it in photos!

I think you could get away with one day fewer in Venice (it's not huge) if you wanted to make time for a day-trip to Capri like a couple of other gals suggested, or you could do a day at a vineyard in Chianti (even a half-day while you're in Florence).

I think you're going to LOVE Siena and hiking the Cinque Terre towns. Pompeii is fascinating, as well! I hope you and Nadav have the best time!

Heart my Hart said...

i suggest... you pack me in your suitcase.

Treasure Tromp said...

a couple of people mentioned Capri, and I completely agree. I would take a day off Rome, though, not Florence, personally. Florence NEEDS at least two days, and 3 in Rome is just fine.
I would leave the car as soon as you can. I hated driving around on those crazy roads. I took the train from Sorrento to Tuscany and didn't have a problem at all.

Can't wait to see the final itinerary!

Cece said...

It's good that you are spending so much time in Rome. You will need it! That city is huge, beautiful and full of traffic. Rome ate us alive when we were there as we only had 1 day. I would have liked to have a day for Vatican/St Peters alone. In Pisa there isn't much to see except the tower so it's good you have that and something else planned. I wasn't interested in driving there at all so I really can't comment on that much. Parking seemed miserable in every town we went to. I'm just not so sure I'd want to deal with it. The train system is reasonably priced and excellent so I'd use it whenever possible. I suggest Trip Advisor in your hotel search. Every hotel we used in France, Spain and Amsterdam was as expected. Those reviews there are so helpful.

Abra said...

Siena!! I live there for a semester :) When do you guys plan on going in the summer? There is a HUGE town festival/horse race called the Palio in the summer (If you've seen "Quantum of Solace", you've seen the Palo). It would be amazing to be there for it, but it gets crazy crowded and hotels can get expensive and booked quickly. I would just double check your dates. Another option is to stay in Florence and take a bus to Siena. It takes an hour or two, and drops you off in the middle of town. I don't have too many suggestions in terms of restaurants, but gelato places, I know :)

Hayley said...

looking at the other comments now my opinion is totally right on! Less time in Rome, its like a big city, and after you see the touristy thing, its not as great as some of the smaller quaint villages that will MAKE your trip! Spend MORE time in the places you can wander, and enjoy and plan LESS time for the touristy things, trust me. Except venice, its magical and never gets old!

Amy Charming said...

1. The trains can be smelly. Like really.
2. Do plan to not plan and just roam and enjoy. Venice is amazing. One of the best nights of my life was just breathing in the culture in St. Marks at nighttime. We just walked around and ended up at this restaurant for dinner and had an amazing meal. I couldn't tell you much about landmarks because we didn't hit them, but it was still an amazing amazing visit. Xo

Jodene said...

I have never been to any of these places, only dreamed about them, but I am SO excited for you and I hope you'll post pictures of your trip! When are you going? If you're including Paris, how long of a vacation will you go on?

Megan said...

Sounds GREAT. Also for bnb's check out Airbnb.com there's a ton of options that will suit whatever you need.

Justina F. Lee said...

Pack a Justina in your suitcase, like this one! :-)

I've never been to Italy, but my boyfriend and I talk about living there.

Betty said...

I wouldn't cut down on your time in Florence (I lived there for a year, and still was discovering new things up until I left!), Rome has so much to see as well (but I think Florence is more charming)...but I would try to spend as much time as possible visiting Capri and the Cinque Terre...it is beyond gorgeous! A small car in Tuscany is great...but I really enjoyed riding the train. You are going to have so much fun!

Devon Riesenberg said...

How fun! You must go to Capri, I agree. I think the rest of your itinery sounds great, except maybe make more time for Florence/Tuscany and visit San Gimignano and take the train to Lake Como for a day. My husband and I kept a travel BLOG when he honeymooned for 5 weeks in Europe. You can access it (its been since expanded on) through the wanderlust tab on my blog. Check it out :)!

Devon Riesenberg said...

By *he* honeymooned, of course I me WE ;)

Devon said...

days 1 -7 sound nearly identical to what we did when I went with my family a few years ago. This trip is going to be awesome! The amalfi coast is to die for!

Beth said...

Sorrento is beautiful and I would recommend Hotel Gardenia - we stayed there - reasonable prices, close to centre of town & great service! xxx


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