I'll be visiting Italy at the end of the year for 20 days (19 nights), starting at December 22. I will be travelling with my girlfriend, and we like to explore cities by walking, and tried to fit some nature as well (day trips outside the cities).
I have made a basic itinerary for the entire duration, and I would like to get some feedback:
I'd really appreciate the feedback,
We did 12 days from Pisa to Paestum so I think you will be fine. I agree with Mary. Definitely see Lucca For the most part, Pisa is the Tower area and it is filled with tourist trap junk. and doesn't take long to see. We were told to see Lucca and I was so glad. It was one of my favorite cities. Volterra, near Pisa is also wonderful. It is where alabaster comes from.
I also would suggest staying on the amalfi coast rather than Naples for 2 reasons. The first beginning Naples is not a friendly city, like the rest of Italy and it was not much to speak of. They had a garbage strike when we were there and while we took a bus tour to get a feel what we saw were the slum like area. We stayed here on our way back to Rome to fly home. We stayed between Positano and Amalfifor a couple of days. We were driving and the drive is a bit hairy but beautiful. I think the cities on the coast were much more interesting then Naples.
I would suggest if you go to Pompei, do a tour whether audio or guided. We did not . We overheard some of the guide's comments and regretted it. It is VERY large and takes hours to see it all (not all is necessary).
Italy is wonderful take your time and enjoy it!
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In my opinion I would skip Capri, it's a tourist trap. I would stay in Amalfi rather than Naples. Sorrento would be my second choice. I have stayed in both cities. I would skip the train in the Amalfi coast and hire a driver/guide to take you down the coast. More money but well worth it. I can recommend one. I would stay one less day in Rome and see more if Tuscany or Cinque Terre, two of my favorite places in Italy.
In my opinion I would skip Capri, it's a tourist trap. I would stay in Amalfirather than Naples. Sorrento would be my second choice. I have stayed in both cities. I would skip the train in the Amalfi coast and hire a driver/guide to take you down the coast. More money but well worth it. I can recommend one. I would stay one less day in Rome and see more if Tuscany or Cinque Terre, two of my favorite places in Italy.
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1. I assume you are travelling around by train? Use the official Italian railway website in English to find train times, details and fares:
Another rail company, Italo, runs high-speed trains on some of the routes also used by high-speed Trenitalia trains, generally using the same stations. Journey times and fares are much the same:
Both Trenitalia and Italo have very good advance online discount fares for the fast trains.
You'll need to use the Italian names for some of the places you are visiting: Roma, Milano, Napoli, Venezia and Firenze (Florence).
2. Do allow yourself time to explore Bergamo. It has a superb historical centre (Bergamo Alta) from which you can take lots of pleasant walks in almost-countryside.
3. Bologna is a fascinating city and needs at least one full day to even partly explore. It would be even better if you could squeeze an overnight stay.
4. Florence is a good base for daytrips though it deserves at least one full day to itself (and preferably more).
5. Include Lucca on your trip to Pisa. Lucca is a lovely, historical walled city with a Roman amphitheatre now used as a 'square' and it is well worth visiting. Take the train from Florence to Lucca and then go from Lucca to Pisa San Rossore station, about 10 minutes' walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli. Walk back through historical Pisa to Pisa Centrale station to take the train back to Florence.
6. It is entirely possible to make a daytrip by train from Florence to the five Cinque Terre villages. First get the train to La Spezia and then use the cheap, frequent trains to get from one village to another.
If you want to walk any of the CT paths you must buy a pass. The easiest place to get one is at the CT information office at La Spezia Centrale station.
7. Getting to Monteriggioni is not straightforward. You will first need to get to either Siena (bus 131 is best as the station is a long way from the historical centre) or Poggibonsi. You can catch bus 130 to Monteriggioni from either place.
Bus timetables on the link below. Click 'mostra alti' to see all of them.
Remember that in Italy bus drivers do not sell tickets. You will need to get tickets from a ticket office (if there is one), a nearby newsagent or tabacchi (shops which sell cigarettes etc).
8. Rome has more than enough to hold you for the whole 20 days of your trip.
If you only want to see the Villa d'Este then half a day to Tivoli will be enough, but if you want to include the Villa Adriana and/or Villa Gregoriana you need to allow a whole day.
Also make a daytrip to Ostia Antica, the ancient port of Rome. It is a huge, grassy site with buildings standing 2 storeys high...Pompeii without the crowds! There's a cafe and small museum too. Just get the Metro to Piramide and then follow the signs to the cheap, frequent commuter train to Ostia Lido. Get off at Ostia Scavi.
9. If you want to see the Amalfi Coast then you are much better off based in Sorrento than in Naples. Buses along the Amalfi Coast start from Sorrento and there are also frequent ferries and hydrofoils to Capri.
When you arrive at Napoli Centrale station from Rome follow the signs to the cheap, frequent Circumvesuviana commuter trains. The Napoli-Sorrento line will take you straight to Sorrento in just over an hour, passing the stations for Pompeii and Herculaneum on the way.
10. You can easily make a daytrip from Sorrento to Naples by Circumvesuviana train.
Capri ferry & hydrofoil info (no need to book tickets online):
11. One full day in Milan is enough, imo. Make sure you go up on the Duomo roof for stunning views and amazing architecture.
If you want to see Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' you need to book online in advance many weeks beforehand. Even then you're likely to find that all tickets have already been taken by tour groups.
I do hope that helps (and remains visible!). Feel free to ask for more details if you need them. :-)
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