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I need help planning my trip to Italy

edited January 2010 in - Italy
I am trying to plan a trip to Italy from June 2nd to June 29th. The timing might be a bit warm and humid, but it's what works out best for me. I am also looking to visit multiple cities and areas, but need help figuring out how to plan the trip well for timing. Any recommendations on time I should spend in various cities would be welcome. For example, would 4 days in Rome be enough or should I stay there for longer? I would also like to take a trip down to Sicily at some point during the trip to see where my grandparents came from. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.


  • edited 11:01AM
    Of course what you do depends on your personal taste. June is not too bad from a weather point of view but more importantly, the Italian schools close late June so you will miss the peak crush and July is typically the hotest month. The classic most popular tourist visits are to Venice, Florence, Rome and possibly Sienna and Pisa (close to Florence). As you have 4 weeks I would highly recommend Venice as its a special place. To access Venice you can either fly in directly or consider Milan as a stopover (Last Supper Fresco+ Duomo) and hire a car for the trip to Venice (285kms - 3 hours)try to spend one night on the island (, you can park on the Venice island for €20 per day, then onto Florence/Pisa/Sienna/San Gimignano (these ware within a 80km radius of Florence) Personally unless you are an appreciator of art and you wish to visit the galleries, I would spend only a few hours in Florence take your photos and then rather stay in Sienna or San Gimignano. Then drive to Rome through the Tuscany backroads via Orta and surrounds. Sorrento just south of Naples is definitely worth the effort (2.5 hours drive or less and its a fantastic little town itself) and from Sorrento you can do day trips to Isle of Capri, Pompei and Amalfi coast (3 days). Drive back to Naples, handover the car and fly to Sicily. The South of Italy is a very slow drive compared to the drive from the north (Milan/Venice) down to Sorrento. Driving through Sicily cannot be measure in kms, only in hours of driving as the area is very hilly and therefore very slow. Rather fly directly into either Catania or Palermo, which ever is the closest to your family town.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Thanks for all the information, that will be very helpful in helping me create my final plans. I'll probably be spending a bit more time in Florence than a few hours since I'm planning on visiting the museaums and looking at the art and architecture as much as I can. Is it worth the effort of using a car to get around, or is the train/bus system ok? I've noticed a lot of people sem to say walking around is the best way to see everything, also because traffic in Italy is pretty bad. I'll look up the pricing for car rental and fuel in the meantime though.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Hi Ed, Certainly in Florence you do not need any transport as all the major galleries and sights are within easy walking distance from the station. There are buses to Sienna as well as San Gimignano however you would be far better off driving yourself to these destinations as you will waste too much time waiting(and do get a GPS with the car (or your own - from €120 in Italian stores) to take all the pain out of directions with foreign road names). There are also many interesting places to stop in this general area to view old castles etc. The immediate areas of Florence and Pisa do have peak traffic jams however these are typically between 07:30 to 09:30 and then 16:30 to 19:00 and its not really that bad. If you avoid those you would experience little traffic. In Rome a car is not needed and in fact a hinderance as parking is scarce (and expensive) and the central areas are camera controlled and restrict entry to non-residents (expect a fine if you transgress during the cut-off times). Rather take a taxi from the Coliseum to the Vatican as well as to Trevi fountains etc. Each trip would cost you under €10 and you will get to see more of the city rather than the metro which would still require you to walk some distance (watch out for pickpockets in the metro especially in peak crush (literally) times. For the Sistine Chapel you will face huge queues so make this your very first priority on the day you plan to visit it. Book on the internet for all galleries (Florence) and the Sistine Chapel ( For the Coliseum expect an average queue of 30 - 45 min without a guided tour (also take note that any photo you take of the guys in Roman garb outside the Coliseum will cost you a min of €5).
  • edited 11:01AM
    Currently in Singapore I am planning a trip to Italy along with husband around easter holidays this year. My travel dates are March 27, 2010 to April 05, 2010. We would like to cover multiple cities like Rome, Vatican, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Venice and Milan. We haven't booked our trip through a tour operator and were hoping to do it once we reached Italy. I would much appreciate if you could help me out with credible tour operators whom I can get in touch with in Italy.


  • edited 11:01AM
    Hello, I am trying to organise a trip to Italy in February 2011 for me and about 10 girlfirends. Its my hen do but I don't want the typical pub crawl and 'L' plates do. I'd like to go to Milan for two nights, one of which I'd like to go to a posh restaurant and on to a lively part of town later on. Maybe go for some spa treatements during the day? Does this sound like something I could acheive in Milan? Could you recomend a high class hotel in a specific area?

    Your comments are much apreciated,
    Thank you
  • edited 11:01AM
    i am planning a trip to italy in 2nd week of april, is that a good time as far as weather is concerned? i have total of 8 days and i want to see atleast rome, venice, florence( may be a day max), any helpful tips and ideas how to plan my trip, what kind of transport should i use? which are good hotels to stay there?
  • edited 11:01AM
    I want travel to Italy because I want to none more about the Culture anything just something I always wanted to do this since day 1.
  • edited 11:01AM
    I will be traveling to Italy next week for a multi-day backcountry ski trip in the Ortler region north of Milan. I have a few extra days on either side of the trip and am planning on spending some time at the Roman baths in Bormio. I have a few days at the end of the trip and a rental car, and was wondering if you could offer some other suggestions of sites/attractions between Bormio/Santa Caterina and MXP airport in Milan? My preference is to stay away from the large citites.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated. thank you, Parussella
  • edited 11:01AM
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  • edited 11:01AM
    Dear Parussella,

    The road coming back from Bormio towards Malpensa will take to past Sondrio and then Lake Como. The Lake is certainly worth a visit and if you like sleepy quaint villages try Varenna. It is winter so the smaller towns are especially sleepy at this time of year. Varenna boasts a car ferry which could take you across the lake to Bellagio or Menaggio. Another great place to visit off the well beaten track is Orta San Giulio, an old mideval village on the side of the lake. This is quite close to Malpensa and certainly off the peak traffic areas.
  • edited 11:01AM
  • edited 11:01AM
    Hi, am planning to travel with family to Rome, Florence, Venice during in June 10th.
    Please tell me:
    a) are there signposts in English in these cities especially at Metros, Railway & Bus Stations?
    b) is it safe to walk around the streets unguided?
    c) do we need warm clothing for June?
  • edited 11:01AM
    I am visiting my family in Germany then we are taking a road trip to Italy. We want to visit Milan, Florance, Rome. We only have 10 days to do this. Please will you let me know to visit with 2 teenage girls what would be the best.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Go to, that is what I used for my 10-day trip to Italy. we went to three different cities airfare and train from all cities were included, but thoes are all options you can add or choose not to do. It is a great website for Europe travel.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Dear Joyce

    Yes Albania is just 63.46 kms outside of Rome - enjoy!!
  • edited 11:01AM
    Dear Karthik, The signposts are easy to understand howver you should realise that they are generally in the original Italian names. I would suggest that you invest in an Italian/English phrasebook and or dictionery. eg Venice = Venezia, Florence = Firenze etc. Metros have a red M sign so easy enough. In Venice the "metros" are boats but easy enough to find your way. All major tourist cities have english speaking people selling tickets etc. Genrally it is safe to walk arouund however take normal precautions of never flashing a lot of wealth. As with most tourist meccas, pickpockets are common. No need for warm clothing however keep one jacket in case. For sure you cannot get access into a church (Vatican, all Duomos) without shirt sleeves and proper shoes etc.
  • edited 11:01AM
    iam planing to take my wife and 3 grown up children to italy for 9 days
    1)florence, rome and venice then vienna - what mode of transport is better, carhire or trains
    2) what places to stay in
    3) anyother suggetions pleaseand austria for 3 -4 days .
  • edited 11:01AM
    Dear Edwardfaz,
    I like and agree with a lot of what BrianB has posted. I have lived in Italy for three years now and do extensive traveling through all of the regions. If you are interested in art, Florence is absolutely the number one place to go. Florence is very doable in about three days. You definitely do not need a car there as everything is within walking distance. I highly recommend Siena as well--it is where the color sienna comes from! If you could stay a few weeks longer, you could enjoy the famous Palio (the horserace around the center piazza!) If you have seen pictures of Venice, that's EXACTLY what it looks like. It's fun to go just to see it, get lost in the back streets, and let children chase pigeons (just don't try to feed them now). However, it is VERY touristy and it can get VERY hot and humid, and some of the streets have a very strong odor. However, you have to go just to experience it. I would spend no more than two days there. Instead, I would head over to Verona (the city of Romeo & Julietta). It is a beautiful walkable city that has become several of my friends favorite city in Italy. Vicenza (nearby) is the capital for Palladian style houses as Palladio the architect designed many of them here--including the Rotundo (where Thomas Jefferson's house was designed after). Another must go to place is Portovenere as a base, then ferry from there to the Cinque Terra (the five towns)--they are all incredible. Just make sure you have your camera! A small town outside of Florence that is worth seeing is Lucca with it's medieval walls around the city. More into the center of Italy is the gorgeous town of Gubbio. Coming further south is another nice town of Orvieto that has a cathedral similar to the one in Siena that is definitely worth checking out. A tip that a got when I first arrived about Rome was to go and use the Hop On Hop Off bus. Go to the top, you can get some incredible pictures of the city. They charge around 25-30 euros, however, you get to use it ALL day, get off where you want, then catch the next one and proceed to the next sight you want to see. It is a GREAT overview of the overwhelming city. Rome is Rome and not like the rest of Italy--I wouldn't spend but about 3 days here. It is beautiful; however, it's exhausting as well. I must say, outside of Rome in a city called Tivoli (one of my favorites, and after I take all of my visitors there, they say it is their favorite as well). It has one of the only surviving Renassiance gardens as well as Hadrian's villa. The Villa d-Este is the villa with a hundred fountains--it's breathtaking, beautiful, and so refreshing--it is a MUST! Now, if you are ready to see some of Augusts, Tiberius, Nero, and Ceasar's vacationland--head towards Bella Napoli area! An area near Naples called Baia has an underwater city where Ceaser's family villa was. You can take a boat at the Baia port and see the original mosaics still on the seabed. Also, in this area is the Baia Castle that house the museum of all of the ancient relics that they have found in the Campi Flegrea area--it is truly impressive. If you are going to Pompeii, I would suggest instead going to Ercolano--a better preserved city with more antiquity left in it, whereas Pompei's treasures have been removed and put in the Naples Archeological Museum downtown--this is defintiely a must!! Also, if you want to see Nero's second wife's villa--go to Oplontis to see it. It is by far my favorite ruin. You can really feel what it was like to live back in those days. Of course, you MUST take a drive down the Amalfi Coast. Be careful who you take with you, because you will fall in love during this drive---it is one of the most beautiful sights on earth! Then, drive on down a little ways to Paestum. It has three Greek temples that is in so much better condition that the one in Athens, Greece. It is a great sight. Also, on the other side of Italy, a great place to see is Matera (it's where Passion of the Christ was filmed). This special city is so serene and tranquil and you can actually see the caves that people lived in. Also, close by is the town of Alberbello--the only place on Earth that you will see trulli houses. You can actually rent one for the night--it's just a magical place. Oh, I almost forgot about Cortona in Toscano--it's where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed--a great medieval city. If you drive on down towards Sicily, you can catch a ferry over to the Island. On Sicily, I'd recommend Taormina (just have your camera ready), Agrigento, and Caltogirone. Now, if it's ceramics you are looking for--these are the ceramics towns: Caltogirone (Sicily), Deruta, Vietri sul Mare, Nove. I hope some of what I have written helps you. I hope you have a GREAT trip! Oh, I forgot, don't forget about going up Mount Etna in Sicily and stopping by the Islands of Ponza, Capri, and Ischia (this is where Jennifer Lopez just bought a house last year). OK, I'll stop now--All of Italy is so beautiful--it doesn't really matter where you go!!!
  • edited 11:01AM
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  • edited 11:01AM
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  • edited 11:01AM
    Hi. There are numerous beautiful places in Italy that definitely deserves a visit. You will in fact be put to confusion. Proper planning is what that is required. I would advise you to get your trip planned with some well experienced tour company and have an enjoyable trip.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Hi. There are numerous beautiful places in Italy that definitely deserves a visit. You will in fact be put to confusion. Proper planning is what that is required. I would advise you to get your trip planned with some well experienced tour company and have an enjoyable trip.
  • edited 11:01AM
    Thanks Brian B and capricrystal for the great advice! Appreciate you guys sharing your knowledge.
  • edited 11:01AM
    I am an Art History professor going to Rome, Sicily and Greece in Summer 2011. All inclusive, hotel, airfare, 2 daily meals and all listed activities for $3,800. It is a 16 day tour w/ a 4 day Aegean cruise. You can see the details at enter code: Newlands-3310
  • edited 11:01AM
    I would like to go to Sicily 10/2011 and saw an interesting tour operated by Amber Roads. They offer tours of not more than 18 people and a lot of free time. Are you familar with Amber Tours?
  • edited 11:01AM
    Thanks for all the above info. We are planning on a trip to Italy covering florence, Siena and Rome
  • edited 11:01AM
    I'm from INDIA now in UK with travel visa, i need to go I Italy for travel, What are the requirements for that?
    How can i apply for visa from UK, Please mail me or Post the solution for that.
    Please help me to find out the way.
    Thanks and Regards
    Lucky Meenia
    [email protected]
  • edited 11:01AM
    I am going to italy for three weeks with husband and three children ages 7,12,14 during the first three weeks of July. would love to base myself in three places yet be able to see Lake Como, Venice, Florence, Rome and amalfi coast. would love to go to Sicily but think I will run out or time . Fly out Rome 24 July. Prefer or maybe stay in villas. Any suggestions about timing and accom. Thanks and Regards Robbie
  • edited 11:01AM
    I am planning to visit italy during Good friday and Easter break. I am planning for 4 days tour with family and friends(total of 13 people including infant kids). Will any of the churches, cathedrals will be closed during this vacation time? We are planning for Rome, pisa, florence and Venice. Can anyone suggest accordingly.
    Thanks and Regards Nippan
  • edited 11:01AM
    Hi there

    My name is Adriana my boyfriend and I are organising atrip to Italy. We are going on the 14 of June till 22nd of June.
    Want to see

    Sistine Chapel
    Fontana di Trevie



    Leaning tower of Pisa



    iS that in correct order?

    And is train or bus our better option?
  • edited 11:01AM
    What would be the best way for 4 adults to travel to Bellagio from Milan on Monday 14/2/11?
  • edited 11:01AM
    hi all,
    We are an australian couple travelling to italy for the first time and we would like to fly to rome from manchester in uk and hire a car to drive to tuscany and spend 2 weeks. We would like to do florence sienna pisa etc. Ideally we would like to stay between these places and make day trips. Italy has so much to see that I want to take it in slowly, hence the focus on one area. Any and all comments and tips would be helpfull.

    Thanks aussie olds
  • edited 11:01AM
    hi all
    I think with 2 week is enought to visit part of tuscany.
    You can arrive to Rome and then visits the capital in 3/4 days. (is minimum).
    The tuscania is wonderfull for a particular landscapes, food, wine.
    The better is Montepulciano, Chianciano Terme, Montalcino, Pienza (are in the same zone) and after Siena.
    From Siena you can continue for Monteriggioni. Now you can visit San Gimignano, Volterra, Certaldo and after continue to Firenze.
    From Firenze you can return on Pisa and to take the fly to return in Uk (Ryanair)
    Bye Bye
  • edited 11:01AM
    I have been living in Italy for 25 years and in a very touristy part of the country. What I cannot understand
    is why everyone insists on visiting the same places which at times can become utterly unlivable by the hoardes
    of people. There are so many beautiful places off the beaten track with only Italian and German tourists
    and at times not even those. One of these places is a little mountain town in the Dolomites called San Candido
    or Innichen. It has two names as it is almost on the Austrian border and has 2 official languages.
    Perfect for skiing and Nordik walking in winter and spectacular during spring, summer and fall. Very close to the
    Three Peaks of Lavaredo which can be easily reached with the efficient local transport. Great walks for all types
    and perfect for children of all ages.
    The area can be reached easily by train or car.
    Really a great experience.
  • edited 11:01AM
    I entirely agree, I am a frequent visitor to Italy and must admit that my favourite experiences have been those enjoyed off the beaten track. The country has some superb countryside and although the small villages and towns are too many to mention, the South of Italy is certainly packed with enough diversions to make your holiday memorable. If time isn't an issue, and you are feeling energetic, there are plenty of bike tours to be enjoyed during the summer, while car rental is also an option.
  • Italy is a very beautiful place. I went there a year back with my family and I enjoyed it very much. I believe many people who are here on the thread agrees to this. I have planned a tour to Italy again in mid august.
  • Hi I am planning to go to Florence, I would like to know if 4 days is enough considering we will be doing a day trip to Tuscany. 
  • Hi Mayanka,
    You will probably be left wanting more time in Florence as there is so much to see and do, but four days is sufficient for an introduction to the city. You'll have to prioritise when it comes to sightseeing, but you can do a general historical tour to take in a bunch of attractions in one day and then spend the other two days at places that genuinely interest you. A day trip into Tuscany should be really fun too. 
  • With more affordable hotel rates and ideal weather, spring and fall might be the best time to visit Italy -- from April to June and September to October. And your trip to Italy from June 2nd to June 29th is good. You should spend 
    One-Two Days in Bologna
    Two Days in Florence
    Padova is a full day if you want to make a foodie side trip to Le Calandre
    Two or Three Days in Tuscany
    Two or Three Days in Rome, 4 day in rome is enough to stay in Rome.
    Sicily is another nice place to visit it has long been a crossroads and crucible of Mediterranean culture, and the island today is a fascinating palimpsest in which Greek temples, Norman churches and Baroque palazzos emerge from the rich fabric.

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