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Trip Report Alps to volcanoes: Grindelwald, Lucca, Tuscany, Rome and Pompeii

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My 18 day trip has come and gone, and now that I just booked a Groupon for a week-long cooking trip to Italy for June, I realized that I needed to catch up and write my trip report from last summer (if I can remember all of it that is!). I received so much help from everyone here - and thank you all for the time you took to answer my questions - and would like to pass along some more info to other Fodorites.

The trip: my husband and me, my 17 year old son (DS) and non-twin 17 year old daughter (DD). Given that 13 days of this 18 day vacation was going to be spent in Italy, we bought "Learn Italian in Your Car" and Michel Thomas Italian and listened to them whenever went anywhere. It was amazing how much Italian we picked up this way and I found that I could use basic phrases to get my point across when I needed to. People were pretty good-natured about our attempts and it was actually fun to be trying out our Italian. Only one mishap when I asked for directions and understood the entire answer...except for forgetting which word meant left and which right. I asked again, but got the cold shoulder from both people in the shop. Oh well, I'll just work on remembering those for the next trip!

Our itinerary: June 28 - July 15, 2012
Grindelwald, Switzerland - 4 nights
train to Lucca, Italy
Lucca - 2 nights with a short visit to Pisa
drove to Tuscany
Tuscany (agriturismo near Pienza) - 3 nights
Montepulciano - 1 night
drove to Orvieto where we spent a good part of the day
train to Rome
Rome (apartment) - 6 nights with a daytrip to Pompeii+Archeological Museum in Naples

Jump in anytime if you need other info than what I have included. I'm not going on my next vacation until I finish this report!

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