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20yr Anniversary trip to Italy/1st time there too!

20yr Anniversary trip to Italy/1st time there too!

Nov 12th, 2013, 09:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
20yr Anniversary trip to Italy/1st time there too!

My husband are I are celebrating our 20yr anniversary in April and we have always wanted to see Tuscany. I also want to see Florence and Venice. It is overwhelming to look online at all the trips, etc. so I thought I'd ask the experts here for trip ideas, itinerary, whatever you can help us with. We are hoping to go at the end of March/early April, for probably 8-10 days. We have teenagers so we can't get the grandparents to help out more than that!
I am excited to hear what ideas come our way, I love to plan travel but this being our first trip, I want to do it right too!
TaraG is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,005
Tara, congrats on the 20 years. Here is what I did for our upcoming trip to France/Germany, starting from ground zero.
1 bought some guide books. Yes, plural.
2 decided the places that interested us.
3 bought and downloaded french for dummies, beginning german
4 pared our trip down to two places,with a day trip to the d-day landing beaches.
5 read many trip reports and questions posted on fodor's.
6 I have not needed to ask a specific question as they have all been covered.
7. enjoy the planning
ziggypop is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,534
10 days if you can do it, with those including travel dates, and assuming you're coming from the US:

Look at getting open jaws tickets, in to Venice and out of Rome or vice versa. This does depend on what your US airport is, because some flights out of Venice leave just too early in the morning. US Airways has good time to PHL and I think Charlotte, too, out of Venice.

So let's say you fly in to Venice. Stay a couple of nights, pick up a car and drive to some place in Tuscany. Spend 3 or 4 nights.

Turn in the car someplace easy with no risk of driving in forbidden zones, like the Florence airport. Very very easy to get a bus or taxi into town from the airport.

Spend two nights in Florence. Train to Rome airport and maybe spend the night at the airport before the flight.

Be aware that there are at least a dozen permutations or very similar itineraries that will cover your three choices.

Probably time to start looking at flights so you can proceed from there.

In Tuscany, are you most interested in wine, scenery, history, art? It makes a huge difference on where you decide to base yourselves.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
If you don't want to see Rome on this trip, no sense in flying into or out of Rome. Fly into Venice, spend 2-3 days, train to Florence, rent a car, spend 3-4 days in the Tuscan countryside, return the car to the Florence airport, spend the rest of your time in Florence and fly out of either Florence or Pisa.
mamcalice is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
So we are in CT and can fly out of JFK or LaGuardia. We are into wine for sure, and scenery. Art/history somewhat but not overboard. We were not planning on Rome for this trip.
I am a little leary of driving in Italy - but we aren't against it (although what is a Forbidden zone?!).
Thank you!!
TaraG is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 11
We had bought our first trip to Tuscany in April of 2012 thru a local charity's auction. It included a villa in Manciano, which was great because it was centralized in Tuscany, and we did day trips from there.

I planned most of the trip using this website.


You will find information on this site about the Forbidden Zone - http://www.bella-toscana.com/traffic...ions_italy.htm

I do know that one couple that we ran into drove into Florence and had a $785 fine waiting for them in the mail when they got home from the rental agency! Make sure you read up on where you can and can't bring your car.

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting the small towns and booked all our sidetrips through ViaTour. We bought the tickets online and had them in hand when we landed. I highly recommend checking out their website. This will save you lots of time and aggravation of waiting in lines.


Make sure you plan some "down" time to enjoy the food and the Tuscany area. We traveled with another couple and enjoyed Italy so much that we are now looking at visiting the Amalfi Coast next year for our 60th birthdays!

I am on vacation in Florida but please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to help you out.
bailey554 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Allow an extra day or so at your first destination -- to get over jet-lag and any sleep deprivation if you fly over night. Venice is a great place to recover from jet-lag. Wandering in a daze, getting lost, is appropriate sight-seeing there.

April is a good time for this trip, not yet too crowded in Venice and Florence. Be sure to stay in Venice proper, not Mestre or the Lido. Otherwise you cheat yourself of the relaxing early mornings and evenings in beautiful Venice.

You can pick up a rental car at the Piazzale Roma on the edge of Venice and drive to your country Tuscan location. It's not such a good idea to pick up the car in Florence; it's difficult to drive in central Florence without stumbling accidentally into one of the locals-only driving areas (ZTLs). If you drive into a ZTL, they photograph your license plate, the rental company outs you, charging your credit card for the service, and you get an expensive ticket in the mail months later.

Likewise drop off the car outside of Florence, at the airport or someplace on the way to Florence like Siena or Arezzo and go into Florence by train or bus.

The important question is where do you want to stay in rural Tuscany? It's quite a large region with a variety of scenery. There's the coast, the hills in the north, green Chianti, beautiful southern Tuscany. You need to do your research. I like the DK guidebooks because they have lots of photos. And, of course, there's loads of information on the Web. After you narrow things down, you can ask more questions here.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 13
My wife and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary in Italy and loved it all. We are not "travelers" at all so we enjoyed taking day trips with tour guides. Out of Florence we took a best of Tuscany tour that gave us a lot of variety into the countryside, a wine tasting/lunch on a farm, small medieval towns, and finally into Pisa. A long day but well worth it! From our own experience, as much as we enjoyed staying a little outside of the city of Florence, it was a challenge getting to the train station each day. So make sure you have easy access to the trains ... they have a good system and helpful workers too. (We also took a day tour to Cinque Terra on the coast and loved it too.)
oldsteve is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Our trip is now going to be in late Sept. The weather seems to be better then, and our schedules are just too crazy to do this trip in April.
So we are loving the idea of Venice, Florence and Tuscany. I am going to read through the above replies and welcome any and all suggestions, etc. Thanks!!
TaraG is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
Good idea!
Be sure to give yourselves at least 10 nites to sleep in Italy for those 3 destinations--it will all work.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,812
Not wanting to be a bearer of bad news, I was in Tuscany late Sept last year. I got hit with torrential rain with lengthy detours in fog to deal with washed out roads. Be sure you have a back up plan even during the month most think as having good weather.
greg is offline  

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