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Trip Report Venice-Florence-Rome First Trip To Italy Report!

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Well, since I am already planning my 2nd trip to Italy, I thought it would be a good idea to report back on my first Italy experience since I learn so much from these forums. This trip report is late in coming as our visit was May 1 - 15 of this year.

As everyone does, we struggled with our itinerary as we wanted to see and experience way more than we could possibly fit in a 10 night visit so we finally decided on 4 nights in Venice and 6 nights in Rome, with a day stop in Florence while we were traveling between these 2 destinations.

Traveling/Packing: I am usually an over-packer but we committed ourselves to travel with carry on luggage only. This was one of the best decisions we made and cannot stress this enough to fellow travelers. With train connections, possible rain, bridges in Venice, few elevators to be found .... you do NOT want to find yourself with more luggage than you can comfortably manage.

Venice: We stayed at the El Teatro B&B and found this met our needs perfectly. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the breakfast was more than adequate with fresh assortments of breads, cereals, fresh fruit, cheese/meets, coffee, etc. We stayed in the only room with a little (not big enough for chairs, but big enough to go out and stand or sit) balcony and it was worth it! We so enjoyed watching the gondolas go by throughout the day and the views were awesome. We also found the location of this B&B to be in a convenient central location.

Since we had 4 nights in Venice we had the opportunity to "live slow" during our visit. We purchased the vaparetto pass and used it often, sometimes just as a fun tour up or down the canal. In addition to the major attractions, we were able to enjoy most all of the neighborhoods including an afternoon trip to Murano and Burano. I'll be honest, once we toured St, Marks and the Doge Palace on our first morning in Venice - we never went back to that area as it is crazy crowded.

Tips: The vaparetto pass was definitely worth it for us although we walked miles every day in addition. I would not recommend less than 3 nights in Venice. I think people who try to "conquer" Venice in less time are probably those who tend to say they didn't like Venice.

Florence: We knew before we went that Florence is much more deserving than a fly by but thought a few hours in Florence is better than no hours in Florence! We arrived in Florence around 10:30 am and used the "left luggage" option at the train terminal. This was a quick and easy process although not cheap!

I was surprised by how much we were able to see and do in our 7 hours in Florence. We went to a couple museums (it was a Monday so the biggies were closed); walked the main sites and the river/bridges and even went up to Piazzale Michelangelo (taxi'd up and walked down). Had some lunch and gelato along the way .... ok so we did lose track of time a little and in our panic we also lost our bearings to the terminal and ALMOST missed our train to Rome ... but we didn't! We were actually running to the terminal and then to the train which is not an ideal way to end the day in one of the most beautiful cities in the world... In any event we loved our time in Florence and hope to visit again sometime in the future.

Rome: We arrived to Rome at about 7pm and took a taxi to our "home" for the next 6 nights - the Residenza Canali ai Coronari near Piazza Navona. This place is truly exceptional - from service, rooms, breakfasts, and location. The rooms could use a little updating, but that didn't matter to us. We had a HUGE balcony that overlooked the streets below. With 6 nights, we had time to really enjoy our balcony whether it be for a little nap, to rest and have a glass of wine, etc. In such a crowded city this was our own little oasis. We loved it!

With 6 nights, we tried to "live slow" but there is simply so much to do and see! We did guided tours for the Coliseum/Forum and also for the Vatican/Sistine Chapel. We usually don't do a lot of organized tours but I would recommend tours for these sites.

I went to Italy saying I wasn't into art (thus my rationale for shorting Florence this trip) but I left Italy with a new appreciation, respect and interest in art. Thanks in part to my husband - architectural engineer - I now share a passion for sculpture and we found ourselves on a quest to find and see anything Bernini!

In addition to the main sites, we went to the Borghese Gallery and gardens. With 5 full days I know many people would recommend a side trip but we just stayed and savored the streets of Rome. Every church was like a mini museum - it was simply incredible. We enjoyed gelato, eating lunch on the sidewalk and people watching. Rome is a place that I don't think I could ever tire of ...

We are not foodies so all I can say is I never had a bad meal - we were in Italy after all!

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