italy late September
August 24, 2017 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Go north? Milan, Bergamo, Tuscany? Or south? Rome, Puglia, Sicily? Thoughts and suggestions?
posted by specialk420 to Travel & Transportation around Italy (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What do you want to see and do? What kind of things do you like?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:58 AM on August 25, 2017

All of the above?

If you've never been to Rome, go. Unless you don't want big cities.
If you've never tasted the food and wine in the Langhe, go there, especially in autumn. Although it is only the beginning of truffle season.
For hilltop towns filled with Renaissance art, Umbria and Tuscany. But if Medieval art is your thing, don't miss Ravenna.
Nobody has convinced me there is any good reason to go to Milan. I do have a soft spot for Torino, though.
Sicily is its own thing and doesn't deserve to be combined with any other part of Italy in a trip.
posted by vacapinta at 1:41 AM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

For what it's worth, add a day or two in Naples area. You have Vesuvius, Pompeii, Capri, almalfi coast, and tons more.
posted by aggienfo at 3:35 AM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

if you haven't been to Rome then you should go to Rome. The most eye-smackingly historical place I have ever been. if you want further north then that then Florence over Milan every time.
posted by biffa at 4:09 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

North! I'm biased because that's where I'm from, but Northern Italy is beautiful especially in the fall. It all depends on what you want to do (art? sports? food? beach?) but the North has some wonderful off-the-beaten-path destinations.

I lived there for 15 years and there is absolutely zero reason to go to Milan, really, compared to everything else there is to do and see in Italy.
posted by lydhre at 6:44 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

how many days are you going for?
posted by JPD at 7:38 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cinque Terra region and Lake Como are stunning combos of height and water scenes.

Lucca is a cute walled town in the middle of Tuscany. 2nd'ing Torino.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 7:58 AM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Agree with most that Milan shouldn't be a priority at all, but beyond that... honestly you cannot go wrong either way.

If you do go south, Naples is fantastic, one of the best archaeological museums in the world and just such an energetic, interesting city. Pompeii and Vesuvius are a must see.

Rome is central and easily combined with either north or south. Rome would fill your entire trip if you wanted to do it that way. No city in the world has a richer concentration of fascinating stuff to see than Rome, and it's just a really fun city on top of that.

Up north, I mean... richer food, richer art, more picture-perfect Renaissance cities, different weather, different history.

It will be hotter down south than in the north.

Sicily does deserve its own trip, ideally.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:15 AM on August 25, 2017

If it was me? Rent a small boat.
posted by sammyo at 10:48 AM on August 25, 2017

If you end up in Florence (or anywhere nearby), also consider a day or two (or a day trip) in Bologna. Yummy food, great art and architecture, and (for some reason) off most tourist's radar, so a bit calmer.
posted by dbmcd at 12:56 PM on August 25, 2017

You can't go wrong either way, but I'm partial to southern Italy. Warmer people (and weather), IMHO better food. Sicily is amazing and definitely should be its own trip, though if you're dead set on seeing some of Sicily you could easily do Palermo and Cefalu (one of my very favorite places) in a long weekend.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 11:36 PM on August 25, 2017

How much time do you have? I did this in two weeks in late September as few years ago, as follows. Largely planned by my mother who has been to various parts of Italy several times and put together a highlights tour from South to North.

day 1: fly to Naples - shuttle to sorrento - overnight sorrento
day 2: Dayrtrip Capri, - overnight sorrento
day 3: Daytrip positano, amalfi, and ravello, overnight sorrento
day 4: early morning train to pompeii, then to Rome, arrive mid afternoon, overnight rome
day 5: sightseeing rome (villa borghese, trevi fountain), overnight rome
day 6: coloseum, pantheon, piazza venezia, evening tour of vatican museums, overnight rome
day 7: train to florence in the afternoon, evening Fiesole area, overnight florence
day 8: bus to siena, then to Pisa, return by evening train, overnight florence
day 9: driving tour through tuscan countryside (chianti, montalcino), overnight florence
day 10 sightseeing florence
day 11: morning train to venice, see grand canal, st marks piazza, overnight venice
day 12: boat around venice, murano/burano overnight, venice
day 13: midday train to milan, sightsee duomo and la scala, overnight milan
day 14: fly home
posted by basalganglia at 5:49 AM on August 26, 2017

Honestly, looking back over that itinerary, I would be hard pressed to cut anything out. Every day, I was like, "This is the best day of the trip so far!" I think Pompeii and Florence/Tuscany were my absolute favorites, but walking around Rome (seven times round the seven hills of Rome) was phenomenal. You turn an unassuming street corner and BANG there's the Pantheon. If you end up picking just north or just south, Rome is central enough that you must include.
posted by basalganglia at 6:00 AM on August 26, 2017

Great tips. Thanks everyone. Plans are evolving.
posted by specialk420 at 11:35 PM on August 27, 2017

Don't try to see all of the major sites of Italy in two weeks.

Jesus Christ basalganglia's trip sounds like an invasion plan, not a holiday.
posted by JPD at 7:06 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

JPD: trust me, if I had had more time, I would have taken it. As it was, two weeks away from work was the absolute max I could manage, and it required a fair bit of wrangling even for that. Yes, it was an "active" vacation; some of us hate beach lounging, like wandering around foreign cities, and know how to pack 2 weeks of clothes into a carry-on. Frankly, my fortnight in Italy was absolutely delightful, and remains one of my favorite memories. I'm glad you apparently have the time and/or money to visit a place like that multiple times; for me that might have been my only chance. (I mean, I hope not, but.)
posted by basalganglia at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2017

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