19 Days in Italy

Old Apr 20th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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Kybourbon has a good plan laid out geographically that makes sense. However, I would train to Siena after Rome and get a car there to enjoy the Tuscan hill towns and keep it as you transiton to the CT, dropping the car in La Spezia or Pisa. The hill towns I would not miss include Volterra, Montepulciano, Montalcino and Siena itself. Good luck--you have a good start by having so much time to enjoy Italy.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Thank you bob - Loved Siena last time - stayed with the nuns at Alma Domus and had a wonderful time. They were setting up for the Palio while we were there and we saw all the prep and parades - but not the crowds. Loved Kybourbon's advice and his route has become our route. We still have a few days to play with and I think we will spend extra nights in Sorrento and Lucca. Thank you especially for the hill town advice - johanna mentioned Volterra - as did zeppole - would you recommend Volterra over San Gimignano? Well, with four days in the area, I suppose we could do both.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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You may want to rent a car for those extra days and visit several of the small hill towns in Tuscany,taking in the countryside that can only be seen from a car. If you will be near Montalcino, make reservations to visit Fattoria dei Barbi, on their website. They offer a free winery tour,tasting,and a museum. We had one of our best meals in our 4 trips to Italy at their restaurant,grilled meats and wild boar w/polenta.Buy some of their very tasty olive oil and Brunello wine.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Thanks toni - there are only two of us this time so we questioned the cost efficiency of a car - what would be an expected daily expense for a car in the area?
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:16 PM
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If you go to Montalcino, you are close to the abbey of Sant'Antimo - this is a lovely place for a picnic on the grassy hillside (I suppose the color of the grass would depend on how late in the summer you are there) and you can listen to the monks and their meditative Gregorian chants.

If you want to add a mountain escape in there, don't overlook the Italian Dolomites. I am not sure how you would add it into the itinerary, but we went there in between trips to Venice and Umbria a few yrs ago. Absolutely gorgeous.

The last two times I was in Italy, I also went to Florence as a day trip (I had spent more time there previously, as you have); once from Tuscany and once from Umbria. I was with friends/family both times who were not all that keen on Renaissance art, so those well-planned long days were just the right amount of Florence for them...

I stayed one night in Santa Margherita on the way from Milan to the Cinque Terre; it is a pretty town, but I have to say we liked our nights in friendly and convenient Levanto more.

Can't add to the Lucca comments as I have never been there!
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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You are the second to mention Santa Margherita - I'll have to read up on that - and Levano
Thanks!
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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oops - Levanto - searched both - very nice - Santa Margharita seemed a little more "noticed" than some of the other towns - Levanto seems nice
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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I was just reacting to you, senorarroz! I was taken aback when you seemed to deride people who took your first post seriously that "obviously" you meant something else and you were handing out gold stars for the advice you liked -- and I had to wonder if you were actually reading people's answers since Florence as a day trip, hilltowns or other advice pertinent had already been suggested to you.

But in the continued spirit of helpfulness, if you intend to base in Lucca -- and you seem very interested in doing that -- Santa Margherita Ligure is too far out of your way, and Lucca is not a base for visiting the val d'Orcia or areas south of Siena. Also, if you rent a car, you will want to be certain to book a hotel in Lucca with convenient parking.

Logistics aside, the advantage of looking at a guidebook for recommendations for day trips from Lucca/Pisa is that you will get descriptions of the towns so you can assess which ones might interest you, and know if they are convenient. Here, you will just get a shout-out of people enthusiams based on where they went on previous trips. All of Italy is lovely. If you want to base in Lucca and Sorrento, go with your instincts. There is much that is delightful to see and enjoy in those areas, and around Lucca especially, you won't find the crowds.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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>>>We have 19 days
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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If you recheck my posts, zeppole, you will see I thanked everyone who made itinerary suggestions - including you. I even thanked kybourbon and told him we would be using his advice. Do you always get this bent out of shape when people don't take your advice?
Also, if you read my replies, you will see that I didn't "deride" anyone. I have been very thankful for all the advice received.
I do see from looking up some of your posts that you have the habbit of ticking people off. I found several replies where people reacted just the way I am.
I never said I wanted to visit Santa Margherita from a base of Lucca. I never even mentioned Santa Margherita as part of my itinerary. I do plan on using Lucca as a base and I don't understand why you take such personal issue with that.
I have read many Italian guidebooks but find friendly, first hand suggestions to be helpful as well.
I have to say, in the kindest manner possible, that you have a lousy attitude. The tone of your replies make me wonder why you are even posting here - and I'm not just talking about your replies to me.
You were rude to Michael in the "What to see in Rome" posting, to junk4rp in the "Itinerary, Food and special attractions for Paris w/kids" posting, to remdog99 in "Italy Itinerary Reasonable" posting, to Aussiedreamer in "Flights booked. 4 months France, Italy" posting and in the "Has anyone had afternoon tea at the British Museum" posting. Apparently I am not the only one who is tired of your "know it all" replies.
I am not an expert. This will only be my second trip to Italy but I expected to get advice and not attitude. Please do not share any more advice with me.
Anyone else feel the same?
And now, back to my most recent question - What price range can I expect when renting a car in the Pisa or Lucca area.
Thank you again to all of you friendly Fodorites who have shared such good advice in such a friendly manner.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:34 PM
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Thanks kybourbon - 19 days, 18 nights -
We spent two days in Siena last time just wondering around and ejoying the people and scenery. The Sienese (sp?) are certainly proud of their town.
$350 for a week does sound reasonable compared to train tickets and considering the freedom it would allow. Does your $350 estimate include fuel and is it more expensive in Italy to drop the car off in a different city? Thanks again for your advice - it made sense and I appreciate it.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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topping with thanks
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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Wow--you are a quick study--well said !
She is a notorius contrarian.

I agree you are better off with a car in Tuscany. I will run a car quote for you---assuming a manual compact car for 5 days.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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No prob aussiedreamer - I think (hope) zeppole and I made up in my vegetarian post.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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OK---a 5 day rate for a Peugeot 207---a nice car---with pick up in Lucca and drop in La Spezia is priced at $323--that is $$$. The quote is from Kemwel. When you add petrol and possible tolls I would guess at $400 total. The freedom is priceless.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 06:02 PM
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Yeah - that's what I'm thinking - freedom - especially compared to waiting for trains and buses that aren't always on time
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 06:05 PM
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I'm enjoying all this, even the banter (!!!) but mostly the info. We have flights booked, car leased (peugeot as it happens) and Accommodation in Paris booked. STill got lots to do, but with the time we have we can be quite flexible. I will probably print or save posts like this and take with me.

I sometimes wonder if posters know how helpful they are? Even if we don't chime in, we sure do use the info.

Good luck with planning, I'm sure we are going to 'cross paths' quite a bit.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Thanks and good luck to you - Paris is awesome - Fodors is great but I also enjoy the Rick Steves guides - really worked for us in Paris. We got into the Louvre without waiting in line and didn't get lost once using his Louvre instructions. We would never have discovered Sainte Chapelle or our great hotel in the Rue Cler area. He is really the expert in finding the easily missed but worth it sights and saving you money.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for all the wonderful advice - even zeppole who really does give good advice Here is what we are looking at now - thanks to kybourbon

Arrive Milan, train to Venice - 2 nights
Night train to Naples/Sorrento - 4 nights in Sorrento (Pompeii, Naples, Capri?)
Train to Rome - 4 nights (day trip to Ostia Antica)
Train to Lucca (day trips to Pisa, Florence, hill towns) 4 nights
Train to Cinque Terra - 3 nights
Train to Milan - 2 nights

Any refinements?
Anyone used the night train from Venice to Naples?
Any other ideas for Milan? We have our tickets for The Last Supper. Planning on Duomo and last minute shopping - La Scala tour?
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Hello senorarooz, if you are interested the LaScala Museum can be a delight to visit. Here is the official website, with the hours and cost (very inexpensive) and if you click on the Theater Museum at the top of the screen you will see information as to what is displayed.
http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/mu...i_servizi.html

I wish you a wonderful time in beautiful and vibrant Italy. And I hope you enjoy your time in Milan, I love that city!
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