A few of my conversations early last fall with my husband went like this:
Me: Wouldn’t it be great to go to Italy before we have kids?
Hubs: Yeah, that would be nice…if we have the money.
Me: We should go next year.
Hubs: Do we have enough money go to?
Me: No, really…we need to go. I need to go. We’re going.
Hubs: How much is this going to cost?
That’s when I started my research and hatched a plan to get to Italy before becoming a mama. First things first was figuring out what cities to hit and how long to spend in each place. I started by checking out a few of my favorite travel blogs as well as some message boards. (I love how detailed and candid Amanda of Kevin and Amanda is with her travel posts.) We picked March to go because it was pretty much the only month that didn’t interfere with work commitments or weddings or bridal/baby showers.
It sounded like Venice, Florence and Rome were on the top of everyone’s must see list. Some of the other cities were Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Sorrento and the Almafi Coast. We added Cinque Terre and Sorrento to the list, ruling out staying in Tuscany because we would be close enough in Florence to take a day trip out if we wanted to and we ruled out the Almafi Coast because we’d also be able to take a day trip from Sorrento…plus, we weren’t sure how the weather would be in March.
About this time, we had told a few friends that we were going to Italy and they wanted to join. This changed our plans a little, because now we’d need to look for larger places to stay and our one friend had family in Sorrento. We started planning out our itinerary and realized that we wouldn’t be able to do Sorrento and Cinque Terre in one, two week trip, so we dropped Cinque Terre and added it on to our Future Trips list.
From talking to friends and interwebs research, a half day (travel day) and a full day in Venice sounded like enough. We wouldn’t get to visit Lido, Burano or Murano, but we’d get a good feel for Venice. We decided that two nights in Venice would be good.
For Florence we went back and forth with how many nights we should stay there and originally decided on three. We ended up adding an extra night in order to spend a full day on a winery tour…good move, right?
Some of my friends had recently been to Rome and said it was their favorite city with tons to see, so we decided to spend four nights there also. That left three nights in Sorrento. We had originally planned on working our way down the country from Venice to Florence to Rome to Sorrento, and then coming back up to leave out of Rome. A quick read of one of Rick Steve’s websites made me make a slight change to our itinerary and put Rome last…which would later prove to be one of the best choices of any trip I’ve ever taken…but more on that in another post.
Our final itinerary looked like this:
Day 1: Depart home for Venice
Day 2: Arrive in Venice
Day 3: Tour Venice
Day 4: Travel from Venice to Florence (by train)
Day 5: Tour Florence
Day 6: Tour Florence/Tuscany
Day 7: Tour Florence/Tuscany
Day 8: Travel from Florence to Rome (by train and pick up car) to Sorrento
Day 9: Tour Sorrento
Day 10: Tour Sorrento
Day 11: Travel from Sorrento to Rome
Day 12: Tour Rome
Day 13: Tour Rome
Day 14: Tour Rome
Day 15: Depart Rome for home
The only addition was that we had a early morning flight out, had a 12 hour layover in London, and then flew out London early the next morning for Venice.
Looking back on the trip, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about the itinerary. I think we spent enough time in each city that we really got a feel for them. If I wanted to squeeze in another city I think we could have cut a day off of Florence, Rome and maybe Sorrento, but those were the lazy days when we got to relax, walk around the city, and enjoy what Italians call ‘la dolce vita’, the sweet life.
In the next few posts I’ll talk about the rest of our adventures in Italy and what made it the trip of a lifetime.
What one trip have you been dreaming about taking?