August 3, 2013, 12:07 AM
Itinerary help, Stresa to Rome in 3 days
So much great information on this forum! Thank you.
I can see that I do not have nearly enough time for this leg of our first trip to Europe, but I hope to see a little bit of several places...then maybe we'll be able to return some day.
We will depart Stresa Sept 30 and I have a reservation in Rome October 2. We will travel by train, mostly, but are willing to take a bus or possibly a guided tour.
I had thought we might take the 30th to travel to the Cinque Terre for a night, then travel to San Gimignano for a glimpse, and on to Siena or Orvieto on Oct. 1. On Oct. 2, we could explore a bit that morning and head to Rome, or we could depart and stop to explore somewhere along the route. Is this feasible? Is there a better plan, considering the time we have? Should I skip the Cinque Terre at this time of year and spend our time in Tuscany and Umbria? Would it be possible to travel through the 5T, maybe making 1 or 2 stops, and then reach San Gimignano to spend the night?
I see that there are many tours from Siena. I wonder if we might be better off to travel from Stresa to Siena on the 30th, then take a day tour on the 1st (San Gimignano, Volterra, or ???) Then proceed on the 2nd. On the map, it looks like we could fairly easily take the train to Poggibonsi, the bus to San G, then back to Poggibonsi and on to Siena.
Orvieto looks beautiful. Another thought I had was to travel from Siena on the 2nd...it appears that there is a train down the coast to Rome...(not a Tuscany question, I know, but maybe you can advise)...if we took that route, could we possibly visit Ostia Antica before going in to Rome?
I found a pretty good rate for the Hotel Garden in Siena. It appears to be away from the City Center, but says it is an easy bus trip. Would appreciate clean, budget friendly lodging suggestions convenient to sightseeing and train stations, (hopefully someplace with "character") in whichever locations you recommend.
Thank you for your suggestions.
August 5, 2013, 01:12 PM
Glad you are finding out site and forum useful!
3 days are going to fly by, it really is not enough time to see anything in great detail.... but you'll get good glimpses and tastes to definitely convince you to come back with more time on your hands to dedicate to each area ;-)
If you really want to see the 5T, you can do it as follows:
from Stresa head down to Milano, Genova and on to Monterosso, the first of the 5 towns of the Cinque Terre. They are all connected by train, just about 5-10 min ride between each. So you can spend your first day doing this, and suggest you spend the night in Manarola or Riomaggiore, that way you aren't in a hurry and spend the evening there. (Sept 30th)
The next day catch a train to Siena, passing through Poggibosni. The best solution is to catch the 8.56am train from Riomaggiore that changes trains in Pisa Centrale and then in Empoli. Spend the rest of the day and night in Siena (Oct.1), the following say continue on to Rome - you can stop in Orvieto if you really want to, but this really depends on what time you'd like to arrive in Rome.
I'd cut out San Gimignano in this proposal, just because it would give you less time in Siena.... but you could do it if you get off in Poggibonsi at 12.14pm (3hours and 18 min trip is the shortest, others take longer - check on trenitalia.com for the timetables). From there you can catch a bus to San Gimignano, spend a few hours there, then catch a bus from San Gimignano to Siena, spend the night there. Your time in Siena is very limited, you should see it the following morning and then just head on to Rome.
The other option, as you already saw - would be to just head to Siena on the 30th.
Then you'd have the rest of that day to see Siena and you could do a tour that would take you to San Gimignano, Chianti or to the Val d'Orcia... wine tastings as well, the following day. See the list here:
Maybe this solution would be better as far as timing goes -- Italy is meant to be experienced calmly, slowly and not in a hurry, otherwise you'll get frustrated!!
As far as accommodation goes, check out http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/ - there are lots of options for budget hotels and small B&Bs there too. In Siena I'd recommend you stay in the historical center unless the hotel really does have a bus stop nearby that runs often. You don't want to get stuck too far out and have to return on foot or by taxi in the evening.
August 5, 2013, 01:14 PM
P.S. I can't be much help as far as taking the train route along the coast from Siena to Rome and stopping along the way in Ostia Antica since I haven't done it myself - I think I'd consider the stop in Orvieto on your way to Rome easier to do because the station there is really close to the center and that I know from personal experience
P.P.S. From a quick search, it seems that to reach Ostia Antica you have to leave from Rome - it IS NOT on the route line that goes down from Grosseto to Rome. See the directions Rick Steve's gives for getting there here.
August 6, 2013, 05:53 PM
Thank you! That information is very helpful in deciding. I'm gathering that you'd put Siena ahead of Orvieto, at least for my itinerary. I think we've decided on two nights in Siena with a tour of the area. Then, we'll stop in Orvieto for a night, and take an early train to Rome from there. That way we won't have much less time in Rome, and get to spend one more night in a lovely place instead of the city. Not that I don't think Rome will be lovely...it is just that we are not "city" people.
I will save the Cinque Terre for another visit. Aaagghhh! A tough choice.
Truthfully, I think I should have skipped Paris in favor of more time in Italy. As you said, I'll get a good sample and hope to return. I'll be sure to toss a coin into the Trevi fountain to assure my return to Rome, and when that happens, I'll schedule a week or two in Tuscany!
August 6, 2013, 06:17 PM
Sounds perfect!!! I agree with the night in Orvieto, with not that much less time in Rome.... and yes, toss several coins into the Trevi fountain so that you can come back soon and spend more time in Tuscany and at the Cinque Terre if you want to do some walking in 5T, April and September are great months. Then the paths start getting quite a bit too crowded just for the amount of people that arrive in summer.