Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

10-days in Italy/Our first trip/We're not rich! Need tips, info, etc.

10-days in Italy/Our first trip/We're not rich! Need tips, info, etc.

Feb 9th, 2013, 11:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
senozkadir Thank you for your reply, tips, link - and especially the hotel recommendations.
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
Nikkei Thanks for the B&B link. We like B&B's very much.
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
Wow, Rob - you guys have done some travelling! Thanks for the link to your blog. Will enjoy having a nosey around there.
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
Hi there annhig You are so right: it's all in the details, isn't it?

Our plane arrives in Rome around 10.30am on 24 Apr and we leave Rome on 04 May about 7.00pm.

Could you help with the logistics of getting from the airport to the train station and where/how to eat in between that time?

We have traveled a bit (not much, mostly locally; or cruises) but NEVER anything like this: multiple hotels; dragging luggage around; etc. It will be a new experience!
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
Thank you very much, ellenem x
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,170
The main train station in Florence (Firenze SMN) is right in the center, very walkable for most of what you would want to see on your day trip. Here's a repost about a one-day visit to Florence I made a few years ago.

On a quick 5-day trip to Rome with Italy novices, I took them on a day trip to Florence. It was one of their favorite days. These friends appreciate art, but don't know much about it, nor did they express any special interests in particular sights. Our trip was during Thanksgiving weekend—late November. I planned the day this way for our group of 5 adults.

We got a train at about 9 AM which put us in Florence by about 10:30AM.

From the station, we took the #12 bus to Piazzale Michelangelo. Therefore, our group's first real view of Florence was from this famous scenic overlook. Loads of photo opportunities, ooohs and aaahs. (If our group had been smaller, I would have opted for a taxi. Even so, a taxi might have been a good idea, since the bus skirts the center of the city and took 30 minutes to reach the piazzale.) Having just spent 3 days in the city of Rome, the group also appreciated the views of the green hills and houses on the hillside nearby and the different style of architecture than that of Modern and Baroque Rome.

From there we went into the city, walking down the steep Via di San Salvatore al Monte, a pedestrian-only walk past green gardens. We entered the city at Porta San Niccolo just as the church bells were ringing noon, the fragrance of delicious lunches in the air. We followed the Via San Niccolo through quiet streets (One friend commented that she finally felt like she was in Italy.) to Via Bardi, eventually turning onto the busy Ponte Vecchio, decorated for Christmas.

From there we walked through town past Piazza della Signoria all the way to the Duomo, which took my friends totally by surprise. This seemed a good moment to stop for lunch, so we had a lovely lunch at Osteria Belle Donne.

After lunch we strolled back through Piazza della Repubblica and then visited the Duomo and the Baptistery. My friends really enjoyed the mosaics inside the Baptistery, spending a lot of time sitting and interpreting the stories depicted. I'm sure we stopped for coffee once or twice during the day since this group became quick converts to the Italian system of coffee—a quick shot at the bar and then on your way.

Then we went to the San Lorenzo markets, splitting off into smaller groups to explore the wares and setting a meeting place and time. I knew my friends would enjoy this market, especially since there is no equivalent in Rome. At the meeting time, 3 were content with their shopping while 2 were still looking for leather jackets, so I indicated a nearby coffee bar where we 3 would wait while they finished. We sat for at least an hour, enjoying our thick hot chocolates and watching the buzz of the busy bar.

With the group together again, it was just after 5 PM, so I thought it couldn't hurt to see how the line was at the Accademia. There was no line, so we walked right in and had David to ourselves and about 20 other people. Quite magical.

We shopped a little more and then had dinner at Trattoria Za-Za. Our return train to Rome left at 9 PM and arrived at about 10:30 PM. They loved this day, which was balanced with a short "hike", beautiful scenery, historic sights, shopping, relaxing in a cafe, and two good meals.
ellenem is online now  
Feb 9th, 2013, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 97
From Rome Fiumicino Airport,you'd better take Leonardo Express to Roma Termini Station(14 €)(30 min)
In Roma Termini you can eat your lunch before heading to Venice.

It takes 3 hrs 40 min from Roma Termini to Venezia Santa Lucia
Please check www.trenitalia.com for the price.

BTW,before boarding the train, validate your ticket at a yellow stamping machine on or near the station platform. This is very important, because your ticket isn't valid unless it's stamped.
senozkadir is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
Hi again Denise,

Could you help with the logistics of getting from the airport to the train station and where/how to eat in between that time? >>

this means you have plenty of time to get to from the airport on the "Leonardo express" to the main train station in Rome, called "Termini" and catch your train to Venice. if you are confident about catching a particular train, you could pre-book your tickets hopefully getting some of the cheap tickets that are on offer if you book early.

However you may decide that it's just easier to buy them when you get there so you don't run the risk of missing the train you've booked. You'll find loads of info about this on www.seat61.com. there are also plenty of places at Termini to eat or to buy food to eat on the train if that's what you decide to do.
annhig is online now  
Feb 9th, 2013, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
Try this b&b in Venice http://www.aitagliapietra.com/ it is €100 night and in a great location...we always stay there
jamikins is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 274
You wrote:

>>Would prefer to avoid crowds wherever possible. (Yea, I know - ha ha) <<

There are 2 great strategies for avoiding crowds when touring Italy

1) Pick your sights on the basis of your personal interests, not their fame

You like tea? Go to tea salons in Rome


or Venice


Do you like books? Medical studies? Mystery stories? Jazz? Craft beer? Bike riding? Whatever it is, just google for a search string that specifies your interest and add your destination city (i.e., "tea salons Venice Italy"). While everyone else is piling into the glass factory tour, you will be sipping tea and eating pistachio cakes in a secret garden, or watching someone repair musical instruments -- seeing another side of the complexity of Italy and really enjoying yourselves.

2) WALK UPHILL OR UPSTAIRS -- Most crowds of tourists are so exhausted from marching around like robots to the "must-see" sights in their guidebook, that they dread every hill and set of steps they see. But while they are drifting in the direction of the high-priced seats in the cafe in the tourist piazza, you should look for the nearest hill or set of stairs and start walking UP. You will shortly find yourself in a breezy spot, either with a glorious bell tower view or breezy cafe away from the traffic.
pizzocchieri is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
ok - here's a possible itinerary adjusted to your arrival and departure dates and times:

24 april: arrive Fiumocino 10.30am. take Leonardo express to Rome Termini. catch train to Venice, arriving at about 4pm.

25 April - Venice. Basilica di San Marco, Secret itineraries tour of the Doge's palace, lunch, Church of the Frari and the scuola di San Rocco. wander down to the Zattere and have a gelato or drink. supper wherever.

26 april - take boat to the islands from the fondamente Nova, stopping off at the church of the Gesuiti to admire the marble curtains en route. Land on Murano [if you're going to do a tour of a glass factory, now is probably the time to do it, but I've never found one that wasn't 5 minutes guff followed by hard sell] or carry onto Burnano [my choice]. then either have a nice wander around and leisurely lunch in the sun, and then get the ferry to Torcello, or immediately take the little ferry over to Torcello and see the Basilica [last renovated about 1000 years ago] and have lunch there, then getting the boat back to Burano. up to you.

on leaving you used to be able to take a boat back to Venice proper that stopped at "Giardino" - if you get off there you can walk back towards San Marco via a lot of little streets and shops where a diminishing number of venitians still live.

27 April - get an early start and go down to the rialto market to see the fish market and other early morning activity. Then back to the hotel and collect your luggage to go to the station to catch your train to ???? - Florence or get the bus to the airport to fly to Naples.

28 April - Florence/Naples

29 April - Florence/Naples

30 april - Florence/Naples

1st May - train to Rome. arrive by midday. check in then do walking tour of centre of Rome - Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, etc. etc.

2nd May - Colosseum, Forum, Palatinate, followed by the Capitoline museums and/or San clemente.

3rd May - Scavi tour, St Peter's, then vatican museums.

4th May - early morning visit to the campo dei fiori market, then 10am tickets for the Villa borghese [takes 2 hours on the dot, and because you must pre-book, you know you will have time for this]. lunch, then taxi to Termini to catch the train to Fiumicino. leave by 7pm flight.

i haven't included anything for your time in Naples or Florence but there are plenty of ideas above for you to be going on with.

Hope this helps and that you have a great trip!
annhig is online now  
Feb 9th, 2013, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 274
By the way, the Beatrice tea room in Venice also runs a budget hotel, so if you like tea at breakfast, it might work well for you

pizzocchieri is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 02:18 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 437
We stayed at Hotel Marconi in Venice - on the Grand Canal at Rialto Bridge - a fabulous location to explore all of Venice from, and very reasonably priced - check the website, but also look at some of the other online booking sites through Trip Advisor - might be able to get a better deal!

bendigo is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Yes you can walk from the St Paul train station to the church. I can't remember exactly how long it took but it was perhaps 5 minutes. Here's a link to a virtual tour of the church.

adrienne is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,357
It was good advice to skip Ostia Antica if you were visiting Pompeii - no need to see both on this trip.

Great Florence plan by Ellenem. You would probably enjoy the Uffizi though, if you could work it in.

Love Annhig's itinerary. I would change it only a tiny bit.

Fly to Naples from Venice.
Cut a day/night from Naples/Sorrento and add it to Rome, giving you an extra day in Rome to do a day trip to Florence.

April 24 arrive - head to Venice
April 25/26 Venice
April 27 Fly to Naples - train to Sorrento
April 28 boat down the AC - view Positano from the water. Get off and walk around Amalfi. Bus (or ferry) back to Sorrento.
April 29 visit Pompeii (stash your luggage in storage there) and go on to Rome by train that evening - saves time returning to Sorrento and you have a whole day in Rome the next day.
April 30 Rome
May 1 Rome
May 2 Day trip to Florence
May 3 Rome
May 4 Rome and depart

Personally, I would skip Murano, but I did love Burano. Venice has so much to offer, I wouldn't do either, unless it was a perfect and warm day - you never know for sure in April. You can wait until you are there to decide. There is also Paduva and Vicenza for good (and quick and easy) day trips if one day is enough in Venice.

Naples versus Sorrento.
Naples is a busy, gritty, very crowded (not with tourists - with locals) city. However, it has some great museums, excellent food and lovely people. The train to Pompeii is quick and cheap - easy DIY day. You could probably visit a museum or two the first afternoon, leave your luggage at your hotel the next day and catch the train on to Rome that night or just wait until the next morning, so only two nights there.
Sorrento is a smaller, but touristy, town on cliffs with beautiful views. It has easy train access to Pompeii and a lovely small port with great ferry access to the Amalfi Coast so you could see Positano or Amalfi. It will take about an hour to take bus from airport to Sorrento and taxi to a hotel. It would take about a half hour to taxi to hotel in Naples. That becomes a toss up. The only time Naples saves is returning to Rome. It is easier to do the AC from Sorrento.

What to do depends on how much you might like to see any of the museums in Naples. You will already be seeing a lot of musums, but if want that, then stay a third night in Sorrento or Naples.

For your trip, this is what I suggest.
Stay in Sorrento and see the AC instead.
I've tried to balance more intense sight seeing or travel days with mostly walking. Example: put the day trip to Florence in the middle of days in Rome,rather than right after Pompeii and trip to Rome.

What a wonderful trip you are going to have. Italy is just as easy to get around as England. It will start to feel "local" to you after a couple of days.
Sassafrass is online now  
Feb 9th, 2013, 03:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
This is all so helpful and such thoughtful responses. I thank you so very much. I've been reading all afternoon/evening on this laptop and have a splitting headache ! so will have to save my personal Thank You's until tomorrow. But all of this is so very much appreciated!
TeaLoverDenise is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 96
Hi Denise, we wre staying in rome in June and we have booked at Hotel Sonya which is right near spanish steps and has very good reviews on trip advisor! Very reasonably priced!
caroline65 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 96
Sorry 4got to add, mention Rick Steve's name and you get a discount. Pay in cash and you get another discount! Worth checking out!
caroline65 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2013, 05:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 187
Hi again everyone. I'm trying to read, research - and cook Sunday lunch all at once. I'm so talented! ha!

Working with a small budget, wanting value for money, and searching for a double ensuite room w/canal views, we have narrowed down our Venice hotel options to:

1. http://www.hotelgalleria.it
2. http://www.hotelriva.it
3. http://www.hotelcavendramin.it (if neither of the above pan out)

At first, we were talking about staying in Venice for 3 nights, but we've also narrowed that down, now, to 2 nights after reading about an onslaught of cruise ships arriving in Venice on that third day!

I wish my husband had not booked our flights for a 10-day trip. He really didn't think it through and we probably could have ended up doing more things of greater quality over, for example, 6 or 7 days, than fewer things on a shoestring over 10 days, but what's done is done and I dare not say anthing to him as he is so excited about the trip (as I am).

So anyway...one more question before I move on to more Thank You's.

Question: Is the savings worthwhile by pre-booking train tickets (i.e., the Rome-to-Venice train) or negligible compared to buying our tickets on the day we arrive? As annhig said, one does run the risk of missing a booked train.
TeaLoverDenise is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:39 PM.