30 days in Italy

Old Mar 11th, 2010, 02:59 PM
  #1  
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30 days in Italy

We'll (3 or 4 of us) be spending 30 days exploring Italy in June/July. First time travelers. Interests besides history and art are food and gardens. The last week or so (or maybe first week) we'll be spending in the Florence area (DeBorgo San Lorenzo). Want to visit Venice and Rome definitely. After reading a lot of forums it seems train travel is best way to get around. Need help with the following questions---

1 Where else should we go if time allows?
2 How much time in Venice and Rome?
3 Better to fly into Florence, depart Rome or Venice or back to florence-------or other?
4 Best way to purchase train tickets once itinerary is established.
5 Best way to purchase tickets to museums, day tours, etc------buy here or there?
6 Any suggestions about airline travel----which carrier, etc.
7 Places to stay--preferably with jacuzzi (bad back) or are we too American?
8 Best way to explore Tuscany------car or bus

Any other suggestions are definitely appreciated!!!!!!!
OldFloridaGal is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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There are beautiful gardens on Lake Como.Visit on the way to or from Venice.
Which carrier? I would choose the best schedule and price from your airport.Fly open jaw, into Rome ,out of Venice, or visa versa..
Buy museum tickets in advance, online or by phone..There is loads of info on this Forum about this. Put your question in the search bar. I've ordered mine through www.selectitaly.com several times.I've never done any day tours so can't help you with that.
Tuscany..you need a car to explore the countryside but not in Florence.
Our room at Il Falconniere outside of Cortona had a jacuzzi which we didn't use. Can't remember seeing one in any other places we've stayed. Don't expect US amenities in European hotels.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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Plenty of Italian lodgings feature jacuzzis, even small charming b&bs. Do google searches for them. The Ca'Pisani in Venice has jacuzzis, I believe. It's not American to have a bad back.

None of the places you mentioned are noted for well-loved gardens, and most of them -- unless you are willing to spend significant money -- are not necessarily great food destinations. (The lakes are not great for food.)

If you are interested in art and history, Rome and Venice merit a lot of your time. You might consider Ravello for a multi-day stay, especially in July, because it has a number of good restaurants. I would combine it with Napoli for fantastic food, art, history and access to Pompeii and Capri, but Napoli frightens a lot of Fodor's posters, so expect some pretty dire reactions to that suggestion, especially since you've announced yourselves as first time travelers. But if the idea appeals to you and your group, the town is safe and has great hotel deals.

In July, you want a car for Tuscany.

Have fun!
zeppole is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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hi gal,

how lovely. i hesitate to give you any advice lest another poster pop up and tell me I'm being bossy, but to deal with your queries, not necessarily in turn:

many people fly into Venice and out of Rome, partly because the flight times doing it that way are quite convenient. you are right that travelling between Venice, Florence and Rome only by train is very convenient; if, however you would like to see more of Italy than the big cities, you might like to think about hiring a car.

with the luxury of 30 days, you have plenty of time to try out some other places, not just the big cities, and June/July is an ideal time for exploring a little. for example, it would not be far out of your way to have a look at one of the lakes; they are all lovely and certainly Maggiore has some beautiful gardens. if you wanted to mix it up more, you could fit in a few days in the Cinque Terre too, so that way you would get some time by the sea as well.

This is my take on your 30 days in Italy:

Days 1-5 [4 nights] fly into Venice. realx, explore, and acclimiatise [and recover from any jetlag].
Day 5-7 - pickup car and drive west - you might like to think about a few days in Bolgona or Ravenna, or even in the dolomites if you'd like to look at the mountains.
Day 8 - head for Lago di Maggiore. stay 7 nights.
Day 15 - go to the CT, via la spezia to drop off your car you don't need a car in the CT. spend 3 nights.
Day 18 - train to Florence. 4 nights [use at least one for a day trip to Siena or San Gimignano]
Day 22 - train to Rome. spend the rest of your time in an apartment, with perhaps a couple of day trips.

or - spend less/no time at lake maggiore, and go straight from Florence to the Bay of Naples, and spend a week "doing" sorrento, pompeii, positiano, perhaps capri; then get the train back to Rome to finish your trip.

of course in 30 days you have an absolutely limitless no. of permutations. you could just go to Sicily for a month and have a brilliant time, or if you were feeling brave, book nothing between Venice and Rome [or Milan and Naples] and go where the mood takes you. or book a villa in the middle of a little town in Umbria and use it as a base for exploring. or, or, or...

what I would try to avoid though is hopping fom one city to another with no "down-time" in between. I can more or less guarantee that at the end, you'd have no idea what you'd seen where and you'd need another holiday to recover.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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Sorry -- I omitted some crucial words:

I meant to type that none of the places you mentioned on your itinerary -- Rome, Florence or Venice -- are noted for well loved gardens, unless you include Tivoli (and you probably should) out of town.

Many people are disappointed in the other gardens of Rome and Florence, and the Tuscan landscape is farmed, not gardened. Venice has no gardens as far as I can remember.

Ravello is noted for quite special gardens, and there is also one on Capri I believe (I've not visited it.)
zeppole is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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"1 Where else should we go if time allows?"

June and July are hot months. The best place to be during these months, IMO, is Lake Como or Sardinia. For a 30-day visit, I would consider Rome, Florence/Tuscany, Lake Como, and end in Venice and stay at Cipriani's with their fabulous pool.

"2 How much time in Venice and Rome?"

One week in Rome will burn first-timers out. You can recover in Tuscany and do day trips to Florence (or break up another week). One week on Lake Como and the final week in Venice. Divine!

"3 Better to fly into Florence, depart Rome or Venice or back to florence-------or other?"

IMO, Rome will be better to hit first. It gets unbearably hot as summer progresses. If you can fly into Rome and return via Venice, that would be ideal.

"4 Best way to purchase train tickets once itinerary is established."

Buy them in Italy.

"5 Best way to purchase tickets to museums, day tours, etc------buy here or there?"

Buy them in Italy.

"6 Any suggestions about airline travel----which carrier, etc."

What class?

"7 Places to stay--preferably with jacuzzi (bad back) or are we too American?"

Many hotels offer rooms with Jacuzzi tubs and I LOVE them. If your trip is this year, you might be to late to get those rooms.

"8 Best way to explore Tuscany------car or bus"

A car in Tuscany is a must. I always opt for a luxury automatic in Tuscany.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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OldFloridaGal.

I think you are going to have to elaborate in what order of importance you rank art, history, food and gardens.

Many people here can plan their own 30 day dream trip to Italy, but if you have real preferences about the importance of food or gardens, or are serious about art touring or history touring, you have to make that clearer.

Since you've now gotten two recommendations for Napoli, I'll again underscore that the city is safe. I've seen posters insist that because they've seen dentists offices with security buzzers on their doors that proves inexperience travelers should not dare go there on a first trip. I assume dentists in Florida also keep their gold fillings and drugs under lock and key.

Napoli is a first class food, art and history destination with memorable gardens nearby.
zeppole is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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First of all, thanks for your so quick responses! Also for your recomendations. It does seem we should definitely include Napoli in our plans. Also renting a car to see Tuscany. But Happy Trvlr could you please explain "Fly open jaw"?????? It brings images of drool to my mind and I don't think that's what you meant!
OldFloridaGal is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Fly "open jaw" means fly from home to one city an return home from a different city rather than roundtrip to and from the same city. (In the examples above, fly from U.S. to Rome, travel around Italy, fly from Venice home to U.S.) The cost is usually about the same as a simple roundtrip and it saves backtracking. Use the "multi-city" function at airline websites.
ellenem is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Thanks so much ellenem for clearing that one up!
OldFloridaGal is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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Hi; If you consider Naples, we stayed in a very nice hotel, near good restaurants and also a world class, National museum. Richard www.costantinopoli104.com
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