I started off by making a list of the places that we each wanted to see in Italy. We had to be realistic because there’s no way to see everything within a month. We want to see all of the major sites of course but we are more of the “Get off the beaten path” type travelers. With our modified list of places to see, I wrote down the cities and towns that we are going to visit. I took a map of Italy and wrote down our itinerary in the order that will allow us to see the most without backtracking. I say to see the most, but in reality, we could “see” a lot more; but I had rather not rush through Italy.
I purchased Rick Steve’s Italy 2014 book, which has many great tips, and advice that only someone who has been there could know. I suggest that anyone planning a trip to Italy to pick up a copy.
Anyway, I went online and started searching airfare to Italy. I decided that although it would be cheaper to purchase round-trip tickets, we would have to give up at least a day of our trip to get back to the same city and it would also be hard to visit Sicily. I purchased one-way tickets from Atlanta through Moscow into Venice. I purchased our return flight tickets from Palermo, Sicily.
Our itinerary is this: Fly into Venice, spend four nights which will allow us enough time to enjoy the city at night. We can hit the backstreets and other areas during the day while the cruise ships are there and be up early to be first in line for the major sites. We could have saved money by staying in a B&B outside of Saint Marks Square, but I wanted to be right in the middle of things and enjoy this romantic city at night with the locals. We get to use our new found language skills this way. I hope we are not like that poor Asian teacher I saw online teaching how to order a Coke in English (If you’ve seen it, then you know what I mean).
From Venice we will take a train to La Spezia Centrale and catch the intercity train on to Vernazza. We will spend five nights in the Cinque Terre region, which will give us time to relax and enjoy the area. This also leaves us time to be spontaneous depending on how we feel. I understand that there is a lot of walking and hiking up hills. I can’t wait!
After we leave Vernazza, we will stop by Pisa for a couple of hours on our way to Florence. We will be in Florence for two nights; we will make a short trip from Florence to Siena where we will spend two more nights in the Tuscany area. One-day I’ve planned a cooking class for Dana. I guess I’ll go, too. They do have wine.
From Siena, we will take the train to Rome. We will spend four nights in Rome, which should give us plenty of time to see the major sites and find a few romantic spots to relax and enjoy this awesome city. One day will be spent in another cooking class. More wine for me.
We will take a fast train from Rome to Naples where we will get on a ferry to Sorrento and from there we will ride the bus or catch a cab to Sant’Agata Sui which is where we will spend five nights. Sant’Agata Sui is a short walk from Sorrento with great views. We may rent a motorcycle if I can persuade Dana, or we may take a ferry or bus along the Amalfi Coast. Another day we will take a ferry or hire a private boat guide to take us to Capri Island. Dana has been in touch with a private guide which sounds like something we would enjoy. We will visit Pompeii and other areas while in the region.
From here we will backtrack to Naples, which is only an hour away to hop a plane to Palermo, Sicily. I initially planned on us taking an overnight train to Cefalu from Naples but after researching, I found that the trip was a nine hour plus day train that may or may not be a pleasant ride. I didn’t want to roll the dice so I then planned on taking an overnight ferry, which travels to Palermo, too. I still think this would have been an experience, but to save time, I decided to book a flight to Palermo. Our flight doesn’t leave until late so we save almost a full day. This will give us time to find the best pizza in Naples, the city known for its pizza.
When we arrive in Palermo, we will take the train over to Cefalu where we will spend the final five nights of our trip. Dana will be taking another cooking class while in Sicily, and she wanted to get there as early as possible.
We will travel back to Palermo to catch our plane for the journey home.
This is just a summary of our plans, and I will break it down in more details later, about each phase of planning, how and where I booked flights, rooms, trains, tickets and more. Stay tuned… arrivederci.