An Italy trip in the R&D phase

Old May 27th, 2009, 09:20 PM
  #121  
 
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But it is soooo interesting Peter!

Sunflowerguy, do plan the trip on your own. With all the resources here on Fodor's and elsewhere on the web plus some guide books from your local library, you will work out a trip you and your wife will so enjoy..much more believe me then what some travel agent will plan for you.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:23 AM
  #122  
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Well my friends thanks for the shot of confidence. Peter I will read that trip report of yours, 60 pages should give me lots of good information.

Sarge, thanks for the kind words. My parents God love them or to be fair my Dad is starting to rethink this trip. My Dad feels that he and my Mom should just wait and go spend as long as they want in Italy and see it all. He says he wants to go to Sicily, because that is where the mob started. I told him I was not going to follow him through the countryside as he looks for the mafia! What a mess that man is, get worse as he gets older. He also thinks Mrs. Sun and I should go by ourselves and have a romantic time.

So we will see, I have the Rick Steves Italy DVD’s coming through netflix so I am going to try and get them to make up their minds. On a side note MDT we watched ‘Fireproof’ that was a pretty good movie. I have seen better acting but I loved the message. Thanks LoveItaly and everyone else, looks like I am going to do this myself.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:43 AM
  #123  
 
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Do think about booking an "open jaw" aka "multi-city" flight so that you can fly into one airport in Italy and depart from a different one. That way you will not be backtracking SFG. If you have any thoughts about using the Marco Polo Airport in Venice I strongly feel it is much easier to arrive at Venice versus departing from Venice as most planes depart Venice so early in the morning. Venice can be a good place to get over jetlag and to unwind. No cars and traffic of course except for the various boat traffic. There are two Venice train stations. The Mestre station is the one on the mainland. The Santa Lucia train station is along the Grand Canal in Venice proper. If you plan on touring Italy by train that is a very convenient train station to use for your first train trip.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:58 AM
  #124  
 
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SFG - the acting was not oscar worthy but great message right?

You can do this - look at the DVD's and it will give you a GREAT idea for where you want to go. If your Dad wants to spend more time it might be nice to have a few days with them ? That might be great.

I also 100% agree on open jaw.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:54 PM
  #125  
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Peter, your trip report printed out is 103 pages. A small book.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:26 PM
  #126  
 
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There is this movie about Italian crime families:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0929425/

But it doesn't romanticize them. The writer of the book on which the film is based is in hiding from the cammorra.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 09:21 AM
  #127  
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scrb, I will add that to our netflix. Maybe I can get dad to change his mind.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 11:38 AM
  #128  
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After setting sown with Mom and Dad and Mrs. Sun and watching the DVD’s we have settled into an idea as to what we would like to do. Here is what I am thinking about and maybe some of you can offer advice, as I said this is just a thought.

Fly into Venice and spend six days there. While we are there take a few trips out into some of the surrounding towns. There names escape me but they were day trips that Rick Steves suggested.

Leave Venice and spend the day in Florence, see David and the Birth of Venus and then head on to Sorrento.

Spend three days in Sorrento and visit the Blue Grotto on Capri. Drive along the coast and see the other towns along the way (Rick suggested hiring a taxi for the day).

Leave Sorrento and go to Rome for 6 days. Fly out of Rome.

I know this is trying to bite off a lot but I don’t know if I will ever convince my Parents to go again so we are trying to see everything they were interested in while were there. What do you think about this?
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 11:52 AM
  #129  
LJ
 
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I stayed out of the fray so far, but am glad you and Ms. Sun and Mum and Dad (who sounds like quite the character)have yourselves a schedule. And, IMHO, a good one.

I would change only two minor things.

Make Venice 5 days instead of 6 and Sorrento 2 instead of 3 and spend the extra time in Florence. You simply can't treat Florence as a side trip. It is a marvelous destination and you won't want to miss Fiesole when you are there.

Second thing: much as I think Rick Steves is helpful, this is your trip, not his...ditch the slavish devotion indicated by the casual remark about side-trips to places outside of Venice that you are taking just because Steves recommends them. Get a guidebook, then go to where you want to go (your Dad might enjoy, for example, the Donna Leon tour of Venice with his interest in crime-he might want to read a couple of those books before he goes to soak up the Mafia atmosphere: the new one 'About Face" is especially sinister).

In any case, enjoy!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 08:46 PM
  #130  
 
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SFG! So glad you are still planning the trip!

I would recommend that you read/research more before making a decision on final destinations. BUT- I absolutely think you are doing the right thing by spending at least 6 days in Rome. I, personally, think you also ought to knock a day off of Venice and spend it in Florence. Florence has so much to offer besides the David and the Birth of Venus. The Duomo is a must, plus think of all the DaVinci, deMedici and Galileo history here. I think adding the Amalfi coast might be too much for this trip, though. You will be fairly worn out after 2 weeks in other cities. If you do the Amalfi on this trip, I suggest you pick one beautiful spot on the coast, and spend those 2-3 days just relaxing on the beach.

Whatever you decide, you know we're here for you. AND trust me- you are going to have a wonderful, wonderful time! This country will steal your heart!

Let us know what else we can contribute... and start reading some more trip reports from Italy. And there are dozens of cd's you can rent from Netflix that cover a myriad of things that can help you in your planning.

Try these:

Discovery Atlas: Italy Revealed
Europe to the Max: Enchanted Italy
Europe to the Max: Molto Italiano
Passport to Europe: France & Italy (one of my faves- love Samantha Brown!)

Additionally, you'll want to view some documentaries relating to the people and development of the country/culture:

DaVinci and the Code He Lived By (History Channel)
History Channel: Julius Caesar's Rome (excellent)
The True Story of Gladiators (History Channel)
Michelangelo & The Sistine Chapel
Empires: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance
Ancient Mysteries: The Miraculous Canals of Venice
Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
Power of the Past with Bill Moyers: Florence

And then, of course, great movies made in these beautiful places, just to take a break from planning! ...
Roman Holiday (Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn)
The Merchant of Venice (w Al Pacino)
Summertime (Katherine Hepburn)
Casanova (Heath Ledger)
A Room With a View (Masterpiece Theater)

OH--- So many wonderful things to fill one's head!!!

ONE last comment: as soon as you have your Rome dates down pat, send off an email to get reservations for a Scavi tour. This is NOT to be missed!
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 10:33 AM
  #131  
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Thanks you two.

LJ, Dad is a mess but I don’t think I would recognize him any other way. As far as Rick Steves goes we used his DVD as a jumping off point. A lot of what he does is not very appealing to us. One thing though that we did like was the idea of taking day trips from our major cities to these smaller towns. That is something we all enjoy doing is getting off the beaten track and see these smaller places, one village is famous for its lace making and both Mom and Mrs. Sun have big plans for new table runners and cloths. Yes we went to Italy for a table cloth, man we are a silly bunch.

Sarge, wonderful suggestions on movies and the rest; funny story about ‘Roman Holiday’ in the scene where Peck acts like his hand is being removed he did that on his own. Audrey had no idea he was going to do it and that was her real reaction to it.

The coast seems so pretty and what you suggested (just relaxing and enjoying the beach etc.) is why I think that putting it between Venice and Rome would be a great way to rest and recharge. While we have spent time in big cities (NY, Houston etc) after awhile I found them to be draining, as such I though a little R&R on the coast would help. Also that is why I think the smaller towns are a wonderful idea. One comment Dad consistently made with each changing city was ‘look at all the people’.

As far as Florence goes, we are making some cuts and changes to try and accommodate everyone. Mom feels like she can only go to so many museums in one day and I agree. However I know that if we pass it by we will be missing so much. I think at the most we may spend a few days there but I really need to see if I can sell them on something other then just museums. In the long run though I think Florence will be a place that Mrs. Sun and I will have to visit or spend more time in on another trip.

Thanks again.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #132  
 
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SFG,

I think your overall plan is very good! Just to show you (as if you didn't know by now anyway) everyone has their favorites. You can still do that trip to Burano (lace and brightly painted houses)in Venice, but I would say add a day to the Amalfi Coast. A good visit there would be much too rushed in just 3 days.

My last trip I was there for 6 nts and it still wasn't enough to do and see what I wanted. It was even a second trip!

Regardless, you're going to have a wonderful time!
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:45 AM
  #133  
LJ
 
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Ah, hah table linens...you have said the magic words: Mrs. Sun and Mom NEED to go to a store called Sermoneta in Rome on Via Tritone. The staff has an average age of 75, but that is a blessing as this family business is the real deal: spectacularly beautiful table linens that are well made.

How well made? I have a set of tea towels (among other treasured items purchased there) that have been in the wash weekly for 5 years now and are still beautiful enough that I can pull them out and use them as basket liners/table runners when company comes.


By the way, this is not to be confused with Sermoneta Glove shops which you see all over...they may be fine, too...I can only vouch for the linen store.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 01:51 PM
  #134  
 
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Depending on when you go, all these areas are crowded.

Best place to decompress may be the hotel, just hang out there instead of going out every day.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 04:30 PM
  #135  
 
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If you go early spring (March/April) or late fall (Oct/Nov), the crowds will be far less. Far less. AND rooms are cheaper, too. This is considered "low" season.

And I knew about the "Mouth of Truth" incident with Audrey. Very funny!
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 07:57 PM
  #136  
 
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Sun - cannot wait to keep reading about your choices and where you end up. I hope you love Italy as much as we did/do.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:17 PM
  #137  
 
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There's a nice linen shop in Venice. Calle Lunga San Barnaba, on the left hand side as you walk away from the Grand Canal, through Campo San Barnaba. It's about number 2753, Dorsoduro. The owner speaks very good English, and is delightful. Linen, scarves, antique night dresses, etc.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:25 PM
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I forgot. Something the linen shop owner told us was that it is not good to give Italians handkerchiefs as a gift. It implies that soon they will have something to cry about. It was lucky that she told us this - Lou was going to give her Italian teacher (a rather bitchy Italian teacher, I might add) a handkerchief as a "thank you" gift.

That teacher almost made Lou cry!
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