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1st Time to Italy! Suggestions and tips??

1st Time to Italy! Suggestions and tips??

May 17th, 2001, 09:53 AM
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1st Time to Italy! Suggestions and tips??

My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip to Italy--for 2 weeks starting the last week of September. (We can't wait!)
Thinking back to your first trip to Italy--what were some things you wish you had known, places you'd go back to again and again. So far I find researching hotels to be a challenge. Where to stay, how much to spend, where to splurge.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
May 17th, 2001, 11:39 AM
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How I envy you, but I'll be visiting Paris in October, so I have my own consolation.

Anyway...gelato is the thing to "splurge" on regularly & not feel guilty about. While in Florence, I bought a lot of gloves, a couple of leather jackets, etc., as Florence is the home of quality leather goods. I'd recommend Hotel Aprile, if it's available & as you're a good 4 months away from being there, it probably is. Things I wish I saw more of--the Boboli Gardens & the Uffizi. Sometimes you can find good deals on & around the Ponte Vecheccio on jewelry, but look carefully. Something I wish I'd known back then...the phone system was a little on the "primitive" side, but has improved considerably since then. Also, as Florence is in the Tuscany valley, it is the breeding grounds & home for BILLIONS of mosquitos. I went to a pharmacy & got a solid-stick insect repellent manufactured by Bayer while there. Spend a lot of time talking to the natives--they know they live in a cool country & adore the fact that you appreciate it enough to visit. Use commonsense safety precautions. If going to Venice, stay at Locanda Sturion. Only thing I missed in Venice (did a LOT of running around) was the Accademia. Do tons of walking, but at a leisurely pace. Some wise individual once said the pervasive, delightful atmosphere in Italy is the sense that everyone is praising everyone else!
May 17th, 2001, 01:06 PM
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What places in Italy will you be visiting? And what sorts of things interest you: art, architecture, churches, countryside, wineries,
history, food and wine, etc
And what's your overall budget like?
Will you be renting a car or using trains?
May 17th, 2001, 01:25 PM
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Elaine: We are interested in almost everything you mentioned! Most particularly, though, significant historical sites (like what I imagine Rome and Pompeii will be like), countryside wineries & food & some shopping. We are beginning to appreciate architecture and grand chruches, more & more, as well.
Our budget is modest--we are not going first class, but we want to enjoy ourselves without penny-pinching.

Our tentative itinerary is as follows (have not made any reservations yet--going to the travel agent on Monday): Fly into Rome (4 days); to Amalfi coast-Positano (2-3 days...with excursions to Pompeii and Capri's blue grotto); then to Tuscany region (2 days); then to Venice (4 days) and fly out of Milan. Plan to travel by train entire trip (except 2 days in Tuscany we'll rent a car).

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
May 17th, 2001, 01:34 PM
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Just one heads up: I loved the Amalfi coast (I went by bus -- what views!) but noticed that credit cards were not accepted as often in the south as they were in the north. Just something to be prepared for. (This was in '93, so it may no longer be the case.) Pompeii was truly worth it -- but I found it a little confusing to navigate. Leave plenty of time and try to find a map of the site.
May 17th, 2001, 01:58 PM
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All the wonderful stories and impressions you will get from people here about Italy are true; it's magic beyond your imagination.

And yet I hope that none of what we say sets you up for expectations that your trip cannot meet.

It's an interesting twist that "a trip to Italy" is a metaphor in my "day job" - - the essay on the following web page is popular in neonatal intensive care units everywhere - - and worth remembering in a different sense, with respect to enjoying your trip for what it is, not what you might imagine it to be.

I'll post both a URL (though it appears at many other lcations across the internet), and in a post after this, the essay itself. I trust it is not a copyright violation of some publisher somewhere; the authorship is acknowledged, but the text of the essay seems to have made its way into the public domain now.

Best wishes,

May 17th, 2001, 01:59 PM
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Welcome to Holland

An Essay by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this....

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michaelanglo David. The gondola in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands, the stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland".

"HOLLAND?" you say "What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
May 17th, 2001, 02:42 PM
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CB: here's a suggestion for Venice lodging: Pensione Seguso (see www.karenbrown.com for description and phone). Nice accomodation in 16th century bldg. (ask for room w/ bath); the price includes breakfast and either lunch or dinner. We chose dinner and it was simple but good, and a bargain, as food in Venice is expensive. My suggestion to you is to buy a journal and write in it as much as you can; you'll love reading it again and again when your trip is over!! I saved restaurant cards, stamps, ticket stubs, wine labels etc. and then glued them in w/ a glue stick I took along. May sound corny, but after our 1st trip, we could not remember certain things abt. that trip, so 2nd time around I kept the jrnl. and am so glad I did. Have a great time; I know you'll love Italy.
May 20th, 2001, 06:17 PM
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I can't find this Pensione Seguso on www.karenbrown.com, under Italy Inns nor under B&B's. Do you have any more info about it?
May 20th, 2001, 06:47 PM
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We were in Italy in March and visited almost every area you are planning on going to.

If you have any specific questions, write me. I'd be more than happy to help.

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