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Trip Report Finally...our 19 day glorious October 2007 (very long detailed) trip report to Italy!

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Let me begin by thanking everyone on this board who made this the most amazing trip ever. I have used Fodor's talk for a couple years...gathering, asking, reading, etc. to create this (10 year Anniversary) trip of a lifetime which was a dream come true.

About us: My husband and I are in mid-40's (young at heart, hip and adventurous) and live in Southern California. We have 7 yr old son who made his own memories and adventures while staying with Grandpa and Grandma for 19 nights!

The type of trip we wanted (and planned): This was our first ever trip to Europe....a "second honeymoon" filled with it all: culture, art, history, romance, adventure, food, wine, off-the-beaten-path experiences, etc.

THE PLANNING: I love the planning phase as much as the trip itself (that's why I'm addicted to this board!). I immersed myself in reading practically everything Italian, about Italy, etc. We watched travel shows/movies galore about Italy. I experienced 2 "burnouts" during the planning which resulted in a couple months of anti-Italy.

How I organized: (this system worked best for me) I cut and paste specific excerpts that I wanted from Fodor's talk, news articles, travel websites and dropped the info into a MS Word categorized by A) city B)type: ie. FOOD, ACTIVITIES, LODGING, etc. I also used a 3 inch binder with tabs for each location and plastic sleeves to hold articles, notes, etc.

Favorite Travel Shows: Travel Channel's Samantha Brown's "Passport to Europe: Italy series" and Da Mosta's "Head to Toe Italy Series" (PBS).

We also enjoyed shows by Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa's Travel and Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations".

"Visions of Italy" is an outstanding disc series we highly recommend. It's an aerial tour of Italy. Breathtaking! A must for all Italy bound travelers.

Favorite reads: Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome, John Brendt's City of Falling Angels and Marlena De Blasi's A Thousand Days in Venice (a must for all romantics!).

Favorite travel books: Fodor's, Access, Pauline Frommer's. We especially recommend the Access series (we used: Venice and Florence) and buy this book for any destination we take. For a 40-something couple, we have found that Access consistently has excellent advice for travelers like ourselves and is formatted to appeal to us.

others: Kerper's The Collected Traveler-Venice

Dates of our trip: October 10-29, 2007.

*Los Angeles to Venice (4 nights)
*Venice to Florence (2 nights)
*Florence to Cinque Terre (3 nights)
*Cinque Terre to Tuscany (7 nights)
*Tuscany to Florence (1 night)

NEXT UP: VENICE.....

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