3 Weeks in Italy

Old Dec 17th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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3 Weeks in Italy

I'm planning a trip to Italy for June of this year. I want to see the whole country so I am thinking fly in to Milano then rent a car and start down the peninsula I will be traveling alone. My interests are history, art, small towns, the Italian people and my ancestral homes in Benevento and Bari. Heard that driving in the cities is not fun. What else do I need to know and anyone have routes or auto tours that meet my interests?

tonyteso is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Your question is so broad, I can't begin to answer. I'm sure others are better equipped. But, 3 weeks to see all of Italy is, I think, unrealistic...particularly by auto. You'll "view" it maybe..but not really experience it.
StanB is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2012, 01:11 PM
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The whole country? In three weeks? Clearly that can't happen, so you have to start narrowing it down for us. I don't think even the most experienced Italy travelers here can make a reasonable stab at suggestions until you've looked at a map and done some basic research and come up with some ideas of your own.
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 01:25 PM
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Dear Tony,

Sadly you can't see all of Italy in 3 weeks, so you'll need to narrow it down a bit. you might have a stab at seeing quite a lot of the area between Benevento and Bari [do you still have family in the area?] or you could look at exploring places like Ravenna, Modena, Ferrara, Mantova which would fit with your art and history interests.

but you can't have it all.
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Tony, after 17 trips to Italy we still have not seen it all.
You really need to narrow your scope. Buy the Michelin Green book and look at the overview pages in the front---that will help.
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Cars in cities, in most cases the cities are not designed for cars (Milan and Turin are one of the two that might be.

In addition many cities do not want cars in the centre so there are extra charges or indeed a ban is in place.

I'd have a serious look at the train system, for this sort of trip I think you will find that is more useful than a car.

I'd get a good book, the Rough Guide is one of the best.
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 02:00 PM
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Perhaps you think you can see all of Italy in 3 weeks because you think of it as a peninsula. I guess technically it is a peninsula since it has water on 3 sides and is connected to a mainland (Europe) but it is much larger than any peninsula I've seen. It's a diverse country and not one that is easily seen in 3 weeks.
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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The car is good in areas where you plan on a good deal of countryside sight seeing. It will not help you see more of the country faster or cheaper. For major cities where history and art are the focus: Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, a car is a liability. You will be paying rental and insurance costs as well as parking and not even using it. Trains are great, efficient and cheap throughout those areas. They take you right from city center to city center in most cases.

Suggest you plot your trip (first based on the cities/towns/areas that are most interesting to you, and how much time it will take to see the things you want to see there) then putting together time-wise those areas where you will need a car and the rest, plan on using the train.

Unless there is some special appeal about Milan, you might consider flying into Venice (if you plan on including Venice) and out of a different city, using open jaw or multi-city bookings (not single one-ways, which are more expensive. Even if the multi-city is more than RT to one city, it is usually still a savings over the cost and time of backtracking to the first city.

Italy is bigger than you might think and driving and visiting the more interesting smaller towns takes more time than you might think. Allow a minimum of 2-4 days for any one area or cities.

Ex: Venice 2 (more for day trips), Florence 2-5 (depending on if you are including countryside & small towns like Lucca, Siena, etc., in Tuscany), Rome 4, Amalfi Coast 4-5 (depending on if you are going to museums in Naples, see Pompeii, Positano, Capri, etc. Each of those takes most of a day.) and time for getting from place to place.

The above is simply to give you a better idea of what you might consider, and I didn't even include places like Padua, Verona, Vicenza, the Lakes area, the CT, Assisi and most importantly - your home area.

It comes down to what you want out of the trip. Do you want just a kind of drive-by road trip? Could be fun. However, if you want more than that, if you want to experience and absorb the culture and some of the history of Italy, your trip needs thoughtful planning. Three weeks is wonderful and seems like a lot, but isn't a lot for the size of the country.
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