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lauratherese Aug 15th, 2004 03:30 PM

1st trip to Italy-need advice
 
I know this is a tough ? since there's so much to see in Italy, but I'm having a hard time selecting "must sees" for a place I've never been. My plan s to go in July 2005 for 2-3 weeks. I'm thinking Rome, Italy, Florence? Yet the Tuscany countryside sounds wonderful, too. I really don't want to rush around too much trying to see it all in 1 trip. Any recommendations from experienced travelers to Italy?

bobthenavigator Aug 15th, 2004 04:31 PM

It takes at least 6 weeks to see Italy. I suggest you plan 3 trips in advance--you will return. Spend time at slowtrav.com for good planning info.

Wayne Aug 15th, 2004 04:35 PM

Did you mean to say you are thinking of the 3 possible destinations as Rome, Italy, or Florence? Or did you perhaps intend to say Venice rather than Italy? Anyway, for your comparatively lengthy visit, you could certainly spend time in those 3 major cities with some time also in a couple of interesting villages in Tuscany, Umbria, or Latium. I would approach (and did) my first visit to Italy by doing a lot of reading in a couple of good travel books, then list the places I'd like to visit. For me, the first visit was a few days in each of Rome, Venice, Florence, then a few days in a small Tuscany village. But for a visit that extends over the parts of Italy that this one would, you could also consider visits to wonderful old cities like Padova, Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Vicenza, and many others. Good luck.

LindaNZ Aug 15th, 2004 07:35 PM

Our first trip to Italy was for 3 weeks, and it was perfect. We decided to do the "Beginner's Guide to Italy" - that was :
6 nights Rome
3-4 nights Florence
3-4 nights Venice
7 days driving through Umbria and Tuscany.
OUr tips for driving are to rent a car, and if possible, leave Rome on a Sunday, and get into Florence on a Sunday. That way traffic is minimal. Getting out of Rome was easy on a quiet Sunday morning. Also thoroughly recommend that you drop your rental car at the airport in Florence. It is so easy to find, and you can get a cab into the city and then explore on foot. No stress. (My brother in law did not do this on his trip, and got completely stressed out driving into Florence, getting lost, couldn't find where to leave his rental care etc).

We drove up through Umbria, Spoleto to Assisi (which is gorgeous and the church there is our favourite in the world), Cortona, then over to Tuscany (Montalcino, Montepulciano, etc etc etc). We ended up staying three nights in San Gimigniano, which was a fantastic base to explore western Tuscany from, and to drive into Siena. Whilst it is touristy, the tourists all leave on their tour buses by late afternoon, then you have the town to yourselves. We then drove over to Lucca, and on to Chianti, and took our time pottering about for a couple of days, enjoying the scenery, villages and tasting the wine.

This itinerary gave us plenty of time to potter around, to have long lazy Italian lunches, to sit and watch people, to stroll around Rome.
We arranged a one day tour from our hotel in Rome to Pompeii and Sorrento. Pompeii was one of the highlights for us both. And Rome is now our favourite European city.

You will have a fabulous time!!

ira Aug 16th, 2004 02:43 AM

Hi Laura,

For two weeks, I would suggest Rome Florence and Venice.

For three weeks, I suggest: Fly into Venice, go to Florence (daytrip to Siena), go to Rome (daytrip to Orvieto), go to the Amalfi Coast, go to Naples for 2 nights, Fly home from Naples.

Eloise Aug 16th, 2004 04:03 AM

In July, you will want to get out of the cities. The heat in Florence and Rome can be particularly oppressive. LauraNZ's suggestion sounds excellent to me.

BoulderCO Aug 16th, 2004 07:11 AM

With three weeks time you could do four nights Rome, four to five nights Amalfi Coast, four to five nights driving through Tuscany/Umbria countryside, three nights Florence, and three to four nights Venice. If you only took two weeks you could eliminate Venice or Amalfi Coast from the itinerary.


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