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1st time to Italy and lots of questions re:hotel, car, meals

1st time to Italy and lots of questions re:hotel, car, meals

Jun 13th, 2011, 01:55 PM
  #1  
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1st time to Italy and lots of questions re:hotel, car, meals

Hi everyone!
I am taking my first trip to Italy! I am so excited ..been to many other places in Europe but never there! My friend and I are going from Sept 3- 17th. Our itinerary is below and would love soem input. I will put questions as I type the itinerary. Thanks in advance!


Sept 4th arrive in am from over night lfight- Venice
9/4- Venice
9/5 venice, leave at night to head to FLorence by train
9/6- Florence
9/7 Florence
9/8 wake up, rent car, and head to Tuscany region..plan is to stay here..friends stayed there and loved it..my question: is it a good location to take day trips around to other towns in Tuscany? Any suggestions for wine tours? Cooking classes (I am a chef and wolud love to take a cooking class in tuscany)
http://www.lariservamontebello.com/index_eng.htm
9/9 -tuscany
9/10-tuscany
9/11-tuscany
9/12- return car and leave for Almafi coast- or should I drive to Almafi coast and then ddrop off the car?
9/13- positano
9/14-positano
9/15- positano
9-/16 positano and leave for rome for sleeping overnight- any suggestions for a hotel near the train station so we can jsmp on in the am to the airport? Also, what is the earliest that the trains run.
9/17 go home

Any suggestions on must see things. My friend and I are not much into art. but more into soaking up the atmosphere and culture of the locals,. I prefer restaurants that the locals frequent over "touristy" places.
Thank you so much! can't wait!!!

oh, and will it be warm enough to bring a bathing suit?
piperfl is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 02:14 PM
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Well - everyone had their own ideas but I can;t believe you are oging to italy and not spenidng at least 3 or 4 days in Rome. The Tuscan hill towns are quaint - but they didn't rule the world for the best part of a millennium.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 02:25 PM
  #3  
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I appreciate your comment, I knew i would get a lot of comments regarding that. My friend has been to rome extensivly and for my first time, It was not a priority. Contrary to some other opinions, it is not a "must" for me this time around
piperfl is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 02:35 PM
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But you are going on your holiday, so go where you fancy.....you'll have a lovely time whether or not you go to Rome...
alihutch is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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we had a very similar trip last year ...we did the same things except after tuscany we spent 5 days in rome....i looked to return the car in tuscany but the days and timing wasnt right....FYI car rental agencies are closed on sundays....... we returned the car at the rome airport...... from there you can get anyhere...
alane is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 03:15 PM
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In Tuscany I would definitely suggest Montepulciano. A wonderful hill town, a wine lover's dream ( lots of wineries in the area) iconic countryside (you will see every post card and calendar ever photographed) good restaurants and close to the other great towns of Montalcino and Pienza. On your way from Florence drive through the Val di Piesa for other great towns in Chianti, but Montepulciano is a good base. It also has cooking schools etc. but I have not attended them.
I would drive to Positano as you need a car for the Amalfi Coast to see Amalfi, Sorrento, Ravello etc. Now parking is not the easiest in Positano, but there are parking garages and it is best to arrange it with your accommodation. If you are departing from Rome. the airport is an easy drop off. If you want to drop off at Termini, Hotel Artimede is a good hotel near the station.
http://www.montepulciano.net/
http://www.hotelartemide.it/
DownUnder is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 03:26 PM
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That is not a good location for Tuscany--much too far south.

Drive to Sorrento to drop the car---less hassle.

I did not see Rome until my 8th trip to Italy---17 trips now.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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I would not hesitate to use trains as much as possible. We based in Sorrento for three nights and took a bus over to Positano for the day. We were also close to Capri (ferry from Sorrento) and Mount Vesuvius (train from Sorrento) for day trips. Unless you plan on spending a lot of time sight seeing from your base in Positano I can't see why you'd need the rental car. I'm excited for you. Hope you have a great trip! PS...Rome wore me out so I don't think it's such a bad idea to skip!
terri58blue is offline  
Jun 13th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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The place you chose to stay isn't even in Tuscany at all. It's in Lazio. If I was interested in Tuscany, I would pick somewhere IN Tuscany to stay.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 04:48 AM
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kybourbon-
The place you chose to stay isn't even in Tuscany at all. It's in Lazio. If I was interested in Tuscany, I would pick somewhere IN Tuscany to stay.

I had said it was my first trip and also my friends stayed there. i asked if this was good place, not knowing where it was...your comment is not helpful and unnecessary.

I came to this site for advice..I read many threads and found people to be helpful...I ws hoping for the same.
piperfl is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 05:11 AM
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I disagree. You thought you were staying in Tuscany and you aren't. I'm surprised Bob and others didn't pick up on it. I don't think anyone would advise someone wanting to spend time in Tuscany to base in Lazio to do it. It's also not that easy to visit places in Tuscany from there.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 05:29 AM
  #12  
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well thank you for steering me in a better direction.
piperfl is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 05:34 AM
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We were based in Chiusi and found this to be very convenient to all of the hill towns of Tuscany, some of Umbria and even Cinque Terre and Lucca. It was just about in the middle of Florence and Rome to be able to take day trips, which we did a couple of times. Cinque Terre was a little longer of a drive but it was well worth it! I recommend San Gimignana (sp.?) and Rocca della Macie chianti. We have not stopped drinking this glorious wine since we visited in 2006. Chiusi has a train station if you wish to leave the car home. We found it very easy to get to all the places we needed to. Roads good. Driver's courteous and shopping in the local supermercados a real treat. Chiusi has many Etruscan ruins and artifacts that you may find interesting and good restaurants as well. Not as scenic as Montepulciano perhaps but a little less touristy too, if that matters. Safe travels.
lrtayloe is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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piperfl - A few things stand out to me. After an overnight flight, your first day in Venice is probably going to be a write off, so it leaves you effectively there for only one day.

Secondly, As others have ponted out, your location for Tuscany is quite far from anywhere on the beaten path. You are nearer to Rome than e.g Siena. Anywhere you want to travel such as Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Gimignano etc are going to be 90 minutes to two hours away.

There is no train staion anywhere near Positano, so you would need to go back to Sorrento (not ideal as it is still 1hour+ back to Naples), Naples itself or possibly Salerno.

I have frequently stayed South of Salerno in late September /October and the water has been fine for swimming.
willit is online now  
Jun 14th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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>>>>Also, what is the earliest that the trains run.<<<

From Rome Termini, the earliest train departs at 5:52 (14€ each). Travel time is 30 minutes.

A car service will not be much more for two if you need to depart earlier. They will pick up at your hotel.
http://www.romeshuttlelimousine.com/...t-transfer.php

I would probably keep the car for Positano IF your hotel has parking (many don't). Parking is difficult on the coast, but I think the buses will be extra crowded this year as the Metro del Mare ferries aren't operating as usual. You can turn in your car in Salerno or Sorrento.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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1. take your swimming cozy.

2. try to wangle some more time in Venice.

3. the place recommended by your friends may not in be tuscany, but it is in a great position. on lake bolsano, near Orvieto, Viterbo, pitigliano, [like orvieto but without the people] the hot springs at Saturnia. etc etc. if you are ok about not being in tuscany itself [and after all it's only a name] it should be fine. you could do Tuscany another time - perhaps with Rome???

4. if you want a cookery class, you'd probably be better off looking for this in Florence.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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"There is no train staion anywhere near Positano................" Sorry, just ignore that, I had misread your post regarding trains form Rome.
willit is online now  
Jun 14th, 2011, 02:39 PM
  #18  
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would it be better if I took a day out of tuscany or almafi coast/positano to get m ore time in Venice?

Also, I am researching hotels in all the areas and i can't believe how pricey it is. I was only looking at 3 star hotels but, YIKES! Are there somewhat reasonable (less that $200 USD a night hotels out there? Not looking for hostels

I dont plan on driving after i get ot the coast. I am hopefully going to drop the car in Sorrento and take the ferry/bus to Positano?
piperfl is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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You are traveling to the most expensive areas at one of the most popular seasons, so hotel rooms may be higher priced than at other times. I've always been able to find something I liked for less than $200 (about €140). You can do a hotel search at venere.com and organize the list by price to get an idea of better options for you.
ellenem is offline  
Jun 14th, 2011, 02:52 PM
  #20  
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Thank you! Its very overwhelming. I spend at least 3 hours a day researching and reading reviews. Its so hard to pick when you have never been somewhere.
piperfl is offline  

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