Venice and Rome in 8 Days
June 22, 2011 5:43 PM   Subscribe

Travel filter: Venice and Rome in 8 days?

As previously mentioned we'll be in Venice for the Biennale next week - we have been thinking that Rome for a couple days would be great as well but are wondering if we're trying to pack too much into 8 days (9 nights) on the ground? If we try for Rome, any suggestions for contemporary art and design in Rome? Oh and Boutique hotels?

also any updates or recommendations on the Biennale in general?

thanks in advance.
posted by specialk420 to Travel & Transportation around Venice, Italy (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I recently went to Venice and Rome (as part of a larger trip). We spent only 6 nights in total, 3 at each, and I think it was good amount of time for a quick, but not thorough, overview.

In Venice I recommend a trip over to Giudecca, which is relatively peaceful and has a good view to Venice proper from the church tower. We also went to the Peggy Guggenheim modern art museum, which was wonderful and also happened to house my favourite Magritte.
posted by smithsmith at 6:08 PM on June 22, 2011

If you only have a couple of days spare consider Florence, or maybe Siena. Florence will halve the distance from Venice and will be a bit more restful than Rome. if you do go for Rome then pick a few must sees and don't spend your time trying to do it all, because you won't be albe to.
posted by biffa at 6:08 PM on June 22, 2011

Seconding Venice + Florence in that timeframe over Venice + Rome.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:11 PM on June 22, 2011

Are you flying in and out of Venice? If so, you'd lose a good chunk of two days just getting back and forth to Rome; the train ride is 4-6 hours. The countryside is beautiful, of course, but that would definitely limit how much you could do and see in either city. You might want to consider Florence instead, or even a smaller (and even closer) city like Bologna, Verona or Trieste.

(on preview, what biffa said, and another vote for the Peggy Guggenheim museum!)
posted by mauvest at 6:12 PM on June 22, 2011

I just got back from Venice and Rome, also as part of a larger trip.

Honestly, I think you'd enjoy yourselves more if you explored the country around Venice. There are a lot of really amazing places to visit, all within a couple hours by car or train. I'd especially recommend Verona (check out the archaeological museum in a Roman amphitheatre or the huge Renaissance fortress!), Padova (though it might be impossible to see the Scrovegni Chapel what with all the artsy tourists in the area for the biennale), Ravenna, or Trieste.

I also really loved Aquileia, which is this teensy under-touristed town way off the beaten track, full of Roman ruins and an early Christian basilica with amazing mosaics. Aquileia was once a major city during the Roman era, and in fact its sack by the Huns inspired the settlement of Venice.

If you want to go to Rome, you face a day of travel on either end. Which means, what, three days in each city? Boo. Lame. Don't do it.
posted by Sara C. at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Rome doesn't do contemporary art very well, anyway. I've been to all the major museums (basically anything you'd have a prayer of squeezing into 3 days) and can't think of a single one with any modern art at all. Let alone anything even remotely "contemporary".
posted by Sara C. at 6:54 PM on June 22, 2011

Thanks all, excellent suggestions. - we are flying into and out of Venice and expect the Biennale to be a handful. We'll play it by ear. Tuscany certainly has it allure as well as do the beach towns towards Croatia.

Any other Biennale goers here?
posted by specialk420 at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2011

Instead of the Dalmatian Coast (you basically don't have time unless you fly), check out Piran in Slovenia. It's a bit outside Trieste by car. I believe there are a few Italian beach towns before you get to the "border"*, as well.

*Another good reason to opt for the Slovenian segment of the Adriatic coast - not only is it closer to Italy, but there's no border formalities to go through which also saves you a ton of time. Croatia is not in the EU yet and thus you'd still have to deal with customs and all that jazz.
posted by Sara C. at 7:27 PM on June 22, 2011

actually the fast ferry from Venice to Croatia gets you there in just a couple of hours, and Immigration/Customs is pretty lackadaisical to say the least. however you'd have to check what the summer ferry schedules are like, but it was super-easy when we did it last year.
posted by wayward vagabond at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2011

You guys rock. #socool
posted by specialk420 at 9:46 PM on June 22, 2011

depending on how much you want to spend on boutique hotels I would look at the SLH line- I joined their free club and now get great extras and upgrades. But the hotels are really pricey- so if you want to splurge or just check out some nice hotels
posted by ibakecake at 10:36 PM on June 22, 2011

Oh, and Rome doesn't do contemporary art very well, anyway. I've been to all the major museums (basically anything you'd have a prayer of squeezing into 3 days) and can't think of a single one with any modern art at all. Let alone anything even remotely "contemporary".

Erm, this isn't really even remotely true. The primary dedicated museums are And individual exhibits can be found at any given time in other museums dotted around the city; just off the top of my head:
posted by romakimmy at 1:23 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you're going to still be in Italy on July 2nd and you can get to Siena, you absolutely should check out Il Palio. It's a twice-yearly bareback horse race in the Piazza, and it's really pretty incredible. I was lucky enough to see it in 2007, and it was one of the best travel experiences I've had.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 3:07 AM on June 23, 2011

romakimmy - none of those museums are even remotely close to a top 10 (or even top 20) list of things to see and do in Rome. Rome has modern art, sure. But it seems a waste of time to spend two days traveling to spend your time skipping the good stuff in order to visit third-tier museums simply because they have modern art in them. Especially immediately following a visit to one of the pre-eminent contemporary art venues in Europe.
posted by Sara C. at 5:21 AM on June 23, 2011

I absolutely adore Rome and it would pain me to be in Italy and not go there, but I agree with others about keeping the North and Central regions because it would add too much travel time over 8 days. I would suggest while you are in Venice to rent a car and see the scenery around Padua. The architecture is marvelous and the villas are stunning out there.
posted by dgran at 6:12 AM on June 23, 2011

Yes Sara C., one can argue that after the Guggenheim it's all downhill, and please do excuse my obviously local bias :), but
If we try for Rome, any suggestions for contemporary art and design in Rome?
is why I answered as such above. I don't consider it my place to judge what someone will or won't like in terms of art, but just point the OP (as well as who ever runs across this post in the future) to where they can find contemporary and modern art in Rome.
posted by romakimmy at 7:23 AM on June 23, 2011

More fantastic suggestions - the horse race in Siena looks marvelous, as does the sound of a trip to Croatia.
posted by specialk420 at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2011

If you are in Rome, plan what restaurants you want to go to, the average tourist trap place there is AWFUL. Seriously, we had pasta at a few of them that were noticably worse than a Bertolli's frozen meal. For something different from pasta everywhere, I really enjoyed Africa (an Eithiopian restaurant).
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2011

Venice and Florence ended up being the perfect combination. Riva Lofts in Florence was a vacation inside of a vacation. Highly recommended.
posted by specialk420 at 1:37 PM on August 1, 2011

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