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Italy Q&A: Itinerary Help, Please!

Carmen left this question on my Perfect 2 Week Italy Itinerary post, and I thought I’d turn it into a new post in the Italy Q&A series to answer her. She asks:

Hi, I’m planning to go with my husband to Italy in December for 2 weeks to be exact. After reading your itinerary (really good by the way) I would like to share what we have planned and ask for your opinion. We aleardy bought our plane tickets (before reading this article); so we have to start in Rome and end up in Milan.

19 December ROME
20 December ROME
21 December SIENA
22 December VENICE
23 December VENICE
24 December VERONA
25 December LAKE COMO
26 December CINQUE TERRE
27 December BOLOGNA
28 December FLORENCE
29 December FLORENCE
30 December SIENA
31 December TUSCANY
1 January TUSCANY
2 January GENOA
3 January MILAN
4 January BACK HOME

First of all, congratulations on buying an open-jaw ticket before you even read my post – it’s something too few people think of doing, but it can make all the difference in your trip. I do have to say, however, that I think your itinerary could use some re-arranging. Going from Rome to Siena is fine, but then to go all the way up to Venice only to kind of retrace your steps and head south again seems unnecessary. Is there some reason for the back and forth? Are you trying to do something specific in Venice or another city at a specific time? If not, I think your itinerary as it’s currently listed will have you spending too much time in transit.

Using the same cities you’ve got on your itinerary, and the same time spent in each, here’s what I’d suggest as a more direct one-way route:

19 December ROME
20 December ROME
21 December SIENA
22 December SIENA
23 December FLORENCE
24 December FLORENCE
25 December TUSCANY
26 December TUSCANY
27 December CINQUE TERRE
28 December GENOA
29 December BOLOGNA
30 December VENICE
31 December VENICE
1 January VERONA
2 January LAKE COMO
3 January MILAN
4 January BACK HOME

Having said that, there are an awful lot of one-day stops on this itinerary. You don’t say where you’re spending the night each night, but if you’re planning to sleep in the cities you’ve listed, that’s not just a lot of packing and unpacking, it’s a lot of transfer time spent on trains (or cars, depending on your transportation method). That kind of trip would wear me out, but it might be okay with you – everyone’s different. If it were me, I’d spend an extra night each in Florence and Siena and take day-trips into Tuscany, spend an extra night in Venice and take a day-trip to Verona, and spend an extra night in Milan and take a day-trip to Lake Como. That still leaves one-night stays in Bologna, Genoa and the Cinque Terre, but cuts the one-night stays in other places.

Anyway, those are my preferences – but again, everyone is different, and this trip may really be your travel style. Only you know that for sure! Just be sure you’re calculating transit time between cities, because you may find that you’ve got much less sight-seeing time in some places than you’d have thought.

Have a great trip, and let me know if you’ve got any other questions!