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cb Feb 19th, 2002 03:54 PM

1st time to Italy -- help?
Myself and 3 other friends are going to Italy in September for 2 weeks and have never been before. We are flying in and out of Milan because of frequent flyer tickets (only city available). My very rough plan is to take a train from Milan to Rome and spend 4 or 5 days in Rome. Then head over on the train to Florence for about 3 days where we would rent a car and drive up through the Tuscany area. We would then take a train to Venice to spend a few days and then finally back to Milan to fly back to the states. <BR>We are on a fairly conservative budget, so recommendations of hotels, etc around $90 - $110 per night would be appreciated. We are also toying with the idea of staying in an apartment in Rome -- is that recommended?<BR>I would appreciate any comments on the itenerary and suggestions on places to stay, etc. Thanks

Rex Feb 19th, 2002 05:21 PM

This is a minor suggestion - - but I might recommend putting Florence first, then continue onward to Rome. Shorter train ride for that first fatigued day (yes, I know it shouldn't tire you out to just sit on a trin, but somehow it does).<BR><BR>Plus, Florence seems to me to be an "easier" place to get used to the language barrier, the time zome difference, etc. Rome has a very fast tempo. Can be dizzying - - almost to the point of overwhelming or unpleasant at first.<BR><BR>This might be more relevant if you are over 50, less relevant if under 25.<BR><BR>Best wishes,<BR><BR>Rex<BR>

Rex Feb 19th, 2002 05:23 PM

Oh - - and I forgot to ask - - $90 to $110 per night for a room big enough for 4? (will be hard to find) or $90 to 110 per PERSON per night (you will have some very nice choices - - that's not a high budget, but it's not dirct cheap either) - - or last of all - - maybe you meant $90 to 110 per room for TWO. Tight - - but not impossible.<BR><BR>Clarify?<BR>

Esther Feb 19th, 2002 06:04 PM

If you are set on Milan-Rome-Florence, you could drive from Rome to Florence through Tuscany, then take the train to Venice. We found it amazingly easy to drive around Tuscany, and it was our first trip to Europe. By the way, the Chianti region, just south of Florence, is just unbelievably gorgeous and worth a detour from the A1.

Andy Feb 19th, 2002 08:28 PM

Hotel in Venice- the HOTEL FLORA---part of the Ciga Chain==but affordable-great location off San Marco Sq.-but you will need 2 rooms--I don't think they have Quads....

jan Feb 19th, 2002 09:08 PM

We are renting an apartment in Rome in a couple of weeks for our next trip, family of 4. Much more affordable than hotels. I was searching all over and trying to make up my mind when I came across an incredible bargain. There is a tour/limo company there that a group of us had used the last time I was there. They had picked us up at the airport, did a 1/2 day Rome tour(private tour), and a tour of the Necropolis(?) at the Vatican. They were great, and I wanted to use them again for this trip. Very attentive and prompt, good English-speaking skills, great historical knowledge of their homeland, and they went above and beyond expectations. So, when I called to book them, I discovered they also have an apartment to rent now! 2 bedroom, 2 bath. It is not in the town center, but only about 8km out(well within the G.R.A.), and we worked out a deal where he will drive us in and pick us up each day, plus help us get acclimated to the subway and bus system in the city. I know we will be well cared for.<BR><BR>I hope this doesn't sound like advertising, because it's not, I just am really excited about using this service. Their name is North American Limousine (I know, the name is a scream), and their website is It's run by a father and son, Remo and Daniele Melaragno. If you get in touch with them, tell them Jan says hi and I'll see them soon!<BR><BR>You're gonna LOVE Italy! Have fun!

cb Feb 20th, 2002 08:05 AM

Thanks for all of your help so far. Rex, to clarify the hotels -- we are trying for $90 - $110 for the four of us per night -- do you think that is impossible? What about apartments? <BR>By the way, thanks Jan for the advice. I will look them up.

Rex Feb 20th, 2002 09:11 AM

I certainly don't have a lot of expertise when it comes to hotels at that low end of the price range - - and this site, in general is not terribly strong on budget lodging, overall. You might find more experience at (ThornTree).<BR><BR>Looking on for September, I came up only with Hotel Iride - - - - which looks acceptable, even if not stellar, at 61.27 euros per double room with shared bath. Almost at your price range.<BR><BR>The problem you will have with apartments is that the vast majority rent by the week only. Thus $770 per week is 110 per night, if you stay there 7 nights, but 154 per night if you only stay 5. And I think you wil be hard pressed to find anything even as low as $770.<BR>

marj Feb 20th, 2002 09:26 AM

We stayed in a quad at hotel flora, venice in March '01. it was about $300/night, not in your range. you should also consider that venice tends to be pricier than most of the other cities. We stayed in the 2* Hotel Casci in FLorence, also in a quad room, that went for about $180, and that's one of the more moderate hotels there. Maybe an apt. rental may be more reasonable. That's a very tight budget for 4 people or maybe you should consider convent accommodations.

elvira Feb 20th, 2002 11:53 AM

try<BR><BR>we used it for accommodations in Venice and got a great hotel for a good price.

Vita Feb 20th, 2002 12:13 PM

Tried posting this before. Enjoy Rome ( offers a booking service for apartments which look to be pretty centrally located. I haven't used their services for booking lodging but I have for a tour and think they're a pretty reputable organization.<BR><BR>I'd also recommend Pensione Panda ( by the Spanish Steps. I stayed there last October. The rooms are very small but very clean and two double rooms without bath will run about $140 total.<BR><BR>The Let's Go guide might also offer some accomodations in your price range.

Maria Feb 20th, 2002 01:10 PM

I would suggest trying to book a B & B or hostel. There are also many convents in Rome that book at reasonable fees but you may have a curfew.<BR><BR>Try for some inexpensive B&B's. I have found lots of cheap options. There is a book called Cheap Sleeps in Italy that may help, and also one on Monistaries and Convents. I do not remember the name of that one.

Maria Feb 20th, 2002 01:14 PM

sorry, I miss-typed the web address. It is

Maria Feb 20th, 2002 02:46 PM

More sites to check out.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>

Buddy Feb 20th, 2002 03:58 PM

In Venice, we had a terrible time finding a place that wasn't outrageously expensive...we lucked out, I think, with the Hotel Marconi. The room didn't have much charm, but it was large, and otherwise we were very pleased. You can't beat the location, and they have an extensive website.<BR>

chris Feb 20th, 2002 08:00 PM

Thanks for all of your replies so far. I just found out about this web site and I am glad I did.<BR>I do have a question for Jan if she reads this again. I am very interested in looking up this north american limousine co. for the apartment, but the address you gave me, doesn't seem to be working. Do you have any other ways to get in touch with them?

top Feb 21st, 2002 07:22 AM

to the top

top Feb 21st, 2002 03:09 PM

Try topping again

Chris Feb 22nd, 2002 11:52 AM

Ok, I have found a little B&B in Rome called the Rudy B&B. For a quad, it's only 104Euro/night. Does anybody know about this place? Is it a decent place and is it close to old Rome?

Larry Feb 22nd, 2002 12:22 PM

If you do a Google search on North American Limousine you will get a web address of

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