We are going on a cruise leaving from Rome and traveling to Greece and back.  But before the cruise, we are looking at doing some land touring with another couple for a week to 10 days.  We are just starting to think about what to do and where to go.  We are thinking of spending a few days in Rome, a few days in Florence and going to Venice, but are pretty open to other options.  Also, we are thinking of traveling by train and maybe by car for some of the trip.  We are not interested in doing a tour where everything is scheduled, but doing it more or less ad hoc.

Considering where we are looking to visit, any ideas of other places to visit in Italy?  Any must do Items?



Original Post

TT, have you been to a Rome and/or Florence before? Wondering if you have seen the major attractions already such as Colosseum, Vatican, Uffizi, etc. Depending on where you stay in those two cities, you can situate yourself close enough to be easy walking/public transportation distance to a bunch of things. While I’m far from one of the more seasoned travelers on this forum, I’ve. Been to those cities in 2013 and 2018. Never rented a car in Italy. Look into Hotel IQ Roma. Fairly close to Termini station and if you are energetic, not a bad walk to the Colosseum. 

jcocktosten posted:

If you avoid major citoes driving in Italy is easy.  Do not drive in Rome under any circumstances if it can be avoided

Florence is extremely restricted with driving. A good idea, with all of the narrow streets and throngs of people in the heart of the city. Plus, parking is basically nonexistent. And big time ditto on Rome.

I drove from Rome to Siena to Florence. I did not drive in Rome except to leave (it was white knuckle driving) and Florence to return. Outside was fine but be aware they have speed cameras on highways which I was not aware of. Two years after I got back I got a couple tickets on the mail from my trip. Don't know that I had to pay them but they were inexpensive enough that I just did.

Rome-Siena-Florence will easily take up the 7-10 days.  You won’t need a car.  Trains are the way to go.  If you wanted to take a day trip to say Chianti and Montalcino, Siena is probably the best location from what I remember.  There is a Hertz location across the street from the train station in Siena.  While Florence may be slightly closer, you run the risk of turning into a no-car zone and getting a fine in the mail.

We are going to be in Italy in mid September next year.  We have made it to a few places in Italy including Rome and the Amalfi Coast.  We saw the Vatican and the Coliseum, but would be interested in seeing other sites.

I was thinking a car would be good for seeing sites around the Tuscany region, but not for going into major cities.

We don't mind doing some walking around.


If it were my trip and based on what you’ve already seen, I’d start with Assisi (2 nights) after you arrive from the airport (assuming FCO), then Siena (4 nights), and 4 nights in Montalcino.   They are not far from each other, but a car is needed because public transportation between these cities aren’t great.

Assisi is beautiful and small, walkable village with a Basilica that is probably in my Top 3.  It is also a little more than an hour drive to Siena.

4 nights in Siena allows you to have a day trip to Florence.  If you like stifling crowds, stay in Florence.  Siena’s Duomo is in my Top 3.  Impressive.  Siena is also enough to be walkable with books and crannies that are waiting to be discovered.  I’ve stayed twice at the Palazzo Ravizza which is within the city walls and has parking.

Montalcino for 4 nights allows you day trips to Chianti and have a lot of time for winery visits.  Il Giglio is a must place to stay.  Great restaurant and wine list.

Depending on how often you want to pack and unpack, you can stay in Lucca which is in the northern part of Tuscany.  You can visit the Super Tuscans in Bolgheri and the Tower of Pisa from Lucca.

Usually massive throngs bug the heck out of me. It doesn’t bother me as much in Florence for some reason. I can easily navigate and enjoy it just by looking above the heads of the masses and taking it in. 

This past fall, I was really looking forward to ur day trip to Lucca, as my paternal grandparents were from that area. While I did mostly enjoy it, I was surprised that the town was filled with a crapload of white tents all over, including some on top of the wall. The event? A freaking comic-con. In a medieval Tuscan village they were about to become invaded by nerd fest.

billhike posted:

While I did mostly enjoy it, I was surprised that the town was filled with a crapload of white tents all over, including some on top of the wall. The event? A freaking comic-con. In a medieval Tuscan village they were about to become invaded by nerd fest.

Ugh ... that's a shame.  Whoever approved it should be removed from their post in the town council.

Trains are great to commute between major cities, but driving in Tuscany (or anywhere in Italy) is a necessity if you plan to see the countryside and do any winery visits.

On our first trip to Italy lasted 3 weeks. We flew into Rome (where we spent 5 days and could have stayed longer), then took the train to Venice (4 days), then picked up our car near the Venice train station and drove to Florence (3 days) and to Tuscany where we stayed at a farm house near Castellina in Chianti for 8 days with day trips to Sienna, Montepulciano, Montalcino and other smaller towns.

After that, we drove to Civita di Bagnoregio - worth a day trip (google it) - and finally dropped the car near the Rome airport and spent the last night at a cheap hotel near the airport so that we could visit Ostia Antica. The Roman ruins at Ostia Antica are absolutely worth a visit.

Our most recent trip (also 3 weeks) we flew to Venice, after which we picked up our car and meandered west through Verona (staying at an azienda agricola north of Verona and did visits to Giuseppe Quintarelli and a few other producers), Lake Como, over to Turin, a full week in Piemonte, and then dropped the car in downtown Milan where we spent our final 2 days.

If you do drive into a large city, be aware that you may require a permit to drive into town. We didn't know this in Milan and the car rental place (downtown) didn't inform us. So a month later we received a sizeable fine in the mail, as well as an extra "processing" charge from the car rental company - because the car was registered to the car rental company, so the police had to deal with them to get our contact info. A big money grab scam on the part of both the police and the car rental company.

Rome-Florence-Venice would be a bit too much for a week trip IMO. In Rome alone you could easily spend several days to visit the top spots. For the Colloseum + Forum Romanum you would already need a full day.

I agree with other replies here: For Rome and Florence (and also Venice) I would take the train but for Siena and Montalcino and other smaller Tuscan cities (Pitigliano would be on my must-see list) I would recommend using a car. This also will allow you to make some trips and enjoy the amazing scenery.

My trip would be something like:

Hire a car at FCO, drive to Montalcino off-highway via Pitigliano. Spend 3 nights in Montalcino with a few winery visits, a visit to the Sant Antimo Abby (preferably experience a Vesper or other mass in Gregorian), a trip to Pienza (Pecorino-city) and generally enjoy the great wines during lunch, dinner and in between. Il Giglio is a great place to stay & a great place to drink some of the most amazing wines from their cellar. 

Then I would travel to Siena (the nr. 1 favourite in my family) and stay for a few nights. A daytrip (by train) to Florence is easy from there. The Duomo is amazing, there are excellent restaurants and outside July/August craze it is a relatively relaxed medieval city. Personally I find the main square (Il Campo) one of the most beautiful places in the world, I would at least have a cappuccino, lunch and a dinner there. If you fancy a nice drive I would recommend a trip to Radda in Chianti or Arezzo on the local roads. You will see so many familiar names of towns, if you know an Italian wine or two...

Then I would go back to Rome, hand back the car, and spend the remainder of the days enjoying the thousands of things to see there. 

After celebrating our 20th Tuscan-summer-holiday this year I might be a bit biased but I think we could spend a full year exploring this amazing part of Italy.

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