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Italy, Rome, Florence, Venice

Need help with a December 2015 itinerary for 15 days in Italy?

I'm helping a friend come up with an itinerary for Italy in December 2015 for 15 days and suggested he visit Rome(6 days), Florence(5 days) and Venice(4 days) and fly back to Rome from Venice to catch his flight out on Jan 1. He's open to all kinds of experiences. He'll be travelling by Eurail between Rome, Florence and Venice. From what I've read, these cities looked like the ideal places to stay with fast and easy transportation to other towns around, like Pisa, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano, The Vatican, depending on what he'd like to do and see and he'd, effectively, be spending Christmas day in Florence. Since it's Winter, he's staying away from the coast as it may be colder. Does this plan sound good? Should he be visiting some other part of Italy instead of what I've suggested?

8 Answers

answered by
Tom from Brasschaat

Siena and San Gimignano are absolutely stunning! Pisa is only good for visiting the tower.


  • visit the central square and go up the tower.  The view from the top is wonderful and it's worth the climb!
  • Furthermore it's a lovely city to walk through and discover

San Gimignano:

  • The ride up there is magnificient, you drive through fields and hills and you can visit the picturesque village.


  • visit the tower (we didn't do the city, but I heard it's not very special)
  • Next to the tower is the "battistero di San Giovanni". It's worth paying the €5 entrance fee (sept. 2015).  If you are lucky like we were, the woman at the cashier (or someone else) will sing some kind of opera piece. The acoustics will blow you away!

It's seems like your friend will be visiting mostly cities, if you'd like nature tips, please let me know!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Siena (attraction)
  2. San Gimignano (attraction)
  3. Pisa (city)
2 thankscomments (3)

answered first by
Maria from Dublin

Hi Gita,

That sounds like a good trip and he'll get to see some of the nicest places, at a time when they're relatively quiet. Venice is romantic and beautiful clouded in mist in Winter. As well as LuccaSiena and San Gimignano he might like to add Bologna which has a lot worth seeing and some of the best restaurants in Italy. Close to Venice Padova is a really nice small city that can be reached in under 30 minutes by train.Christmas day in Italy is pretty quiet. The big nights are Christmas Eve and New Year's eve, especially the latter. On Christmas day many families have a low key day and go to the cinema in the evening.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Venice (city)
  2. Lucca (attraction)
  3. Siena (attraction)
  4. San Gimignano (attraction)
  5. Bologna (city)
  6. Padova (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Saro from Seattle

From what I hear from our Italian experts, traveling during December is costly - it's winter, Christmas. Is he looking to do a solo travel or okay with group travel too?

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
William from Rhode Island

Great answers already. Just wanted to add that I've spent a some nights sleeping on train benches because I didn't book a hotel during the holiday season.  


1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Howard from Palm Beach Gardens

Sounds great. It was very cold when I was there in Dec. Just take very warm clothes.

1 thanks

answered by
Meir from Tel Aviv

Hi Gita,

Italy is a beautiful place with so much to offer BUT... let's stick to facts, your friend has only 15 days. Under these conditions your program sounds optimal.
You've managed to pick the right highlights for this time of the year. I also agree with the number of days dedicated to each destination (altho he might chose to make slight changes and dedicate one more one less day here or there).
The south with NaplesAmalfi CoastSorrento sounds also very tempting, BUT! these are places that shine during spring, summer. During winter time one might find those places a bit deserted, dull, and most of the Mediterranean sea and sun joy typical to the place just 'not there'.
If however your friend might want to enjoy some of the beautiful landscape of the country with it's winter decoraion it should be the northen Dolomite MountainsCinque Torri, Dramatic mountains looking best at this time of the year and may be even enjoy some ski.
A visit to the Dolomiti however, should NOT be in addition to your itinerary, it should be only as replacement to one of the destinations in case your friend wants 'something different'...

Offered by Meir Jacob, Founder of Trips for Photographers

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Naples (attraction)
  2. Amalfi Coast (attraction)
  3. Sorrento (attraction)
  4. Dolomite Mountains (attraction)
  5. Cinque Torri (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Roni from Dallas

This itinerary looks good.  I might suggest doing 5 days in Rome, 4 days in Florence (and visit SienaLucca, San Gimignano, Montalcino on day trips).  I would then suggest spending 2 days in Bologna as well. Then finish the trip with just 3 days in Venice.  Bologna is also a wonderful city that is not quite as overrun by tourists, with amazing history and foods. While in Rome, I would also suggest doing a day and visiting Ostia Antica, near the coast.  The only other place that could be interesting would be to visit the Alps, near Bolzanoor Cortina d'Ampezzo.  Both would offer spectacular scenery and some different food options.  I think it's important to not try and fit all of these cities in but adding one more destination to the cities you mentioned would  be doable. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Siena (attraction)
  2. Lucca (attraction)
  3. San Gimignano (attraction)
  4. Montalcino (city)
  5. Bologna (city)
  6. Venice (city)
  7. Ostia Antica (attraction)
  8. Bolzano (attraction)
  9. Cortina d'Ampezzo (city)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Good chance of snow in Tuscany. For sure cold. My first question, why fly or train back to Rome? Fly out of Venice and save a day for somewhere else. Your other option btw, is to go south to Naples, Pompei and the Amalfi Coast from Rome and then train to Florence/Tuscany and fly home from Tuscany.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tuscany (state)
  2. Rome (city)
  3. Venice (city)
  4. Naples (attraction)
  5. Pompei (attraction)
  6. Amalfi Coast (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

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