Subject: Re:Trip to Italy - Cinque Terre / Venice
Hi Maria,

Since you are flying to Venice, I would go to Cinque Terre rather than the Amalfi Coast. Save Amalfi for a trip to Rome. Cinque Terre is lovely, great seascapes, good fodder for photographs! You could spend a couple of days or at least overnight, visiting the villages. We just did a day trip from Lucca (loved Lucca!) but friends who have spent longer there enjoyed the villages even more than I did. It is touristy though with many Rick Steves' aficionados.

I really enjoyed Venice as well - very atmospheric. I had thought that I would be disappointed, that the city wouldn't live up to my expectations but I was wrong! It was captivating. You will need a couple of days here. If (when!) I go to Venice again, I will make time to visit the islands, especially Torcello.

We stayed one night in Varenna but it was a break between after a hot and hectic week in Italy. You can use the ferry to see other towns on the lake such as Bellagio. It is an attractive town with a few touristy things (we saw the gardens at Villa Monastera). See this site for more information:

Siena is fabulous but stay in the city rather than daytrip in or stay on the outskirts. I have done both and staying there is a much better experience. Walking the narrow streets after dark is wonderful. Actually all of Tuscany is special, especially the southern areas near Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano.

You could include Verona and Vincenza between Venice and Milan. Verona was a tiny bit disappointing but perhaps I was feeling over-touristed! Lots of people gawking at Juliet's balcony, has a good Roman amphitheatre. Vincenza, the Palladian city is on my list of places to see when I can. I have not been to Bologna either but it is known for its fine food.

However I would caution you against doing too much in two weeks. You don't say how you will be travelling - by car or by train. This will probably affect your itinerary.

Ask more questions! Ziners love Italy.

Frances Toronto, Canada