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Trip Report 17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

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We had such a good time on our trip to Northern Italy in 2012 that we decided to plan another trip to Italy with our friends for a couple of weeks during the spring of 2014. We wanted to go in May but because of all the grandkid’s graduations we couldn’t fit it in until June. We like to do a lot of research and we eventually came up with an itinerary of a week at an agritursimo near Siena, two nights in Florence, then four nights in Positano and finishing with four nights in Rome. We made reservations for all the places we were going to stay, the car rental and all limo services. We bought tickets online for the Accademia, the Uffizi, the Borghese Gallery and a Vatican Museum tour. We also bought our train tickets online.

We rented a car at FCO upon arrival and drove to our agriturismo (we were in Apt. Le Logge ) with a stop in Orvieto for several hours on the way there. We turned the car in at the Florence airport at the end of the week and took a taxi to our B&B ( ) near the duomo. When we left Florence, we took an Italo train to Naples and had a limo service meet us at the train station to take us to our hotel ( ) in Positano. When leaving Positano, we had the same limo service take us back to the Naples train station and took a Trenitalia train to Rome. We caught a taxi from Termini to our apartment (long story but we EVENTUALLY ended up staying at this apartment which was NOT the one we had reserved ( ).

This was our seventh trip to Europe (fourth to Italy) so you would think we would know what we were doing right? Well it turns out we made a few mistakes on this trip. The worst was thinking that the temperature would be somewhat close to the average temperature for that time period - so we did not make sure we had air conditioning in the agriturismo where we stayed. Bad Mistake! It was HOT –the temperature was in the mid to high nineties almost every day of the week we stayed there. We liked the place a lot but it was HOT! I think it was a near record heat wave for that week and it was HOT! Did I mention it was HOT!

Our group ranges in age from early to late sixties. Another mistake we made was thinking we were all still in our fifties. We didn’t think we had a very aggressive itinerary planned – drink lots of wine, eat lots of food, a hike here and there, walk around a few hill towns, go to a few festivals, tour a few museums – you know – easy stuff. Well we did all that stuff but we were totally exhausted when we got home. Even though we took lots of water, wine and coffee breaks throughout the day and we really enjoyed everything we did - we needed to have spent more time just chilling out at the places we were staying. I think the terrible heat took a lot more out of us than we wanted to admit but we all just kept soldiering on.

As I said earlier, we really enjoy the planning phase of a trip and we thought we had this one nailed. We had about a year and a half to plan the trip and we had done a lot of research on things to do at each of our locations, travel logistics, restaurants - you name it and we had researched it. We had done a LOT of research on where we wanted to stay (both the place itself and the area it was in) and picked places that we thought would fit our travel style. Everything worked out pretty well until the taxi dropped us off at our apartment in Rome. As we walked towards the apartment, a girl met us on the street and told us she was the apartment greeter. She said she had good news and bad news. The bad news was our apartment was completely flooded and was unlivable. The good news was they weren’t going to leave us on the street – they had an upgraded apartment we could have and it was not too far away.

I’ll get in to the details later but the bottom line is we walked about 1.5 kilometers to the other apartment. Every so often the girl would turn toward us and say we were very close (which was complete fiction) and that we were such good sports. Hey, 1.5 kilometers is not far UNLESS it is on crowded uneven cobblestone sidewalks in the rain with lightning and thunder all around AND you are pushing/pulling all your luggage (and we don’t travel lightly). What a nightmare! We were not such good sports by the time we got there.

We were wet, exhausted and not at all satisfied with the “upgraded” apartment. Their web site makes it look way better than it actually was. So much for all the planning we did to find our perfect apartment in Rome – but like I’ve said many times on our trips – what are you going to do? So we made the best of it and did not let it spoil our enjoyment of Rome. Even though we were not happy with the situation, if the flooding story was true I think we were lucky they found another place for us on such short notice. I keep telling myself it could have been worse – they could have left us on the street. Eventually I hope we will look back on it as a great adventure but that horrendous walk is still too fresh in our minds.

Having said all these things about what went wrong on this trip, we really had an amazing time and met fantastic people every place we went. If you’ve read any of my other trip reports you are probably cringing now because you know what will eventually follow are way too many gushy details of what made this such a great vacation for us.

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