Here is a lovely Italian road trip, or rather rail trip as it involves using the Italian trains to explore. Italian trains are cheap, easy to use and far better than tackling Italian driving! This trip starts in Venice, and you will visit Milan, Cinque Terra, Rome and Naples with the opportunity for side trips to the Italian Lakes, Florence, Pisa and Pompeii. April/May is a great time to visit too, weather should be good and it won't have the crowds of summer.
I've picked all central places to stay as this is a jam packed itinerary you don't want to be too far away and waste all your time travelling, although if you did choose to stay a bit further out of the city you may get cheaper deals.
The screen shots show the trains I've picked but you could review the times and pick alternative ones. For anyone who has always wanted to see Italy it's a good way to see a fair bit in a short space of time.
The trains you will need to book on the Tren Italia website. Note that you will need to look for the Italian spelling of the cities!
23rd-26th April 2017
Arrive into Venice with Ryanair from East Midlands. You'll stay for 3 nights in Venice in the lovely Alloggi Agli Artisti. Now if you choose to stay in Lido or Mestre you will be sure to find cheaper accommodation much, much cheaper, but as you've only got 3 nights in Venice, I've picked somewhere that is walking distance to the attractions such as Rialto Bridge. Depending on your budget you could change this. The room is private en-suite and again, if you are happy to share bathrooms you will certainly get cheaper.
26th-28th April 2017
On 26/04 you'll catch the train to Milan. It's just over 2 hrs direct into Milan. I think Milan is really underestimated, don't miss the opportunity to take in the views from the Duomo and get your tickets well in advance to see the Last Supper. There is also plenty of museums to explore and with 2 nights you should have plenty of time. Como and Lake Maggiore aren't too far away (around an hour if you want to head out of Milan). In Milan you'll stay at the Aspromonte which is close to the train station which means getting around is easy and you are in a central location. Again it is private rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
28th-30th April 2017
On 28/04 you'll catch the train to La Spezia which ideally places you for exploring
Cinque Terra. You'll spend 2 nights here at the Cernaia 42 which again is walking distance to train station and local attractions. Rooms are en-suite. If this isn't long enough, you can easily tweak this trip.
30th April to 3rd May
On 30/04 you'll get the train to Rome. It's just a couple of hours and you'll be in the centre of Rome. You'll spend 3 nights in Rome and I've picked a lovely B&B called La Corte Sconta which is near metro and train stops and includes an amazing breakfast too. There are so many places in Rome with shared bathrooms and I initially posted this as having a private bathroom but it doesn't. It is a lovely double room with balcony and shared kitchen, and bathroom however the host sounds amazing so you'll have a true Italian welcome and a great breakfast! If it really bothers you then you can find lower rates accommodation that does have private bathrooms. 3 nights will give you plenty of time to explore and you are ideally located for train and metro stops.
On 3rd May you'll take the train to Naples. I've allowed 3 nights in Naples as it's a great gateway for exploring Pompeii which is easily done as a side trip. I think Naples is a love hate place so you could split your time up and visit Sorrento too but as this is quite a busy trip I'd just suggest the ferry over which takes an hour and a half. You will stay at the Welcome B&B in Naples for 3 nights and fly back to East Midlands on 6th May.
Ryanair flights from Nottingham to Venice £39.98 for 2 people.
3 nights in Venice £218.98 book at Ebookers using code AFFMVC117
Train Venice to Milan €19.80/£17.05
2 nights in Milan £85.51 book at Ebookers using code above.
Train Milan to La Spezia €25.80/£22.22
2 nights in Cinque Terra £88.68 book at Ebookers using code above.
Train La Spezia to Rome €39.80/£34.27
3 nights in Rome £137 @ booking.com
Train Rome to Naples €25.80/£22.22
3 nights in Naples £113.86
Flight Naples to Nottingham €59.98/£51.65