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Back from Italy (Florence, Siena, Sinalunga, Orvieto, Rome, Capri, Positano, Venice, Bellagio, Milan) - Happy to share info

Back from Italy (Florence, Siena, Sinalunga, Orvieto, Rome, Capri, Positano, Venice, Bellagio, Milan) - Happy to share info

Jun 13th, 2002, 04:30 PM
  #1  
Susan
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Back from Italy (Florence, Siena, Sinalunga, Orvieto, Rome, Capri, Positano, Venice, Bellagio, Milan) - Happy to share info

This is a short note to thank all those who helped me plan our honeymoon and first trip to Italy. I would particularly like to thank all those posters who encouraged us to rent a car and stay in Tuscany and Orvieto. It was the highlight of our trip!
I would be happy to answer any questions regarding our stay in the places listed above.
Kindest regards,
Susan
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 05:05 PM
  #2  
Diane
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Glad you had a good trip, Susan -- how about a report!
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 05:28 PM
  #3  
Jody
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Wow Susan. Those are a lot of places! I'm getting married in Ravello (Amalfi Coast) in October and we are still trying to figure out our honeymoon plans. We were thinking Rome, Florence and Siena. Is this doable in a week? How many days do you recommend at each? Should we skip one of these and try another?
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 06:51 PM
  #4  
Susan
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This will be my first trip report, so please bear with me!

My husband & I flew from Honolulu, Hawaii to Toronto (around 9 hours), then from Toronto to Milan (another 9 hours), then took a short flight to Florence. The service on Air Canada and Alitalia was very good, although Alitalia misplaced our luggage! (Our bags were delivered to our hotel 3 days later).

In Florence, we stayed at the recently renovated Hotel Orto de Medici near the Accademia, recommended by Karen Brown. Our room was very spacious, with extremely high ceilings. Our room would have easily accomodated a family of four. The bathroom with a shower and small tub was sparkling clean, but about the size of a broom closet. Overall, I felt the hotel was a good value. The service was excellent, especially the front desk staff who called Alitalia numerous times each day regarding our lost luggage. We enjoyed breakfast each morning, served in a delightful conservatory with frescoed walls, leading outside to a terrace with a view of San Marco.

On our first morning, we visited the Uffizi Gallery. What a mob outside the entrance! Although we had reserved our tickets through Select Italy, we waited in line for approximately 45 minutes. I can't imagine the wait for those without reservations. I would advise those with reservations to arrive at least 30 minutes prior. The Uffizi is incredible -- a "must see" while in Florence. We also enjoyed the sprawling Boboli Gardens, a nice cool respite from the crowded streets.

We both loved the food and wine in Florence. Our meals often lasted 2 to 3 hours. We had wonderful conversations during dinner! We chose most of our restaurants by wandering several streets away from the major sights, looking for tiny yet crowded places with menus outside printed solely in Italian. This method served us well.

If you are torn between climbing the Duomo or the Campanile, climb the Duomo although it has more steps. The painting on the ceiling of the Duomo is wild. My husband was fascinated with the depiction of Heaven & Hell.

We spent four days in Florence and felt as though we had seen all the major sites and galleries without rushing. We enjoyed strolling down narrow streets, window shopping, stopping for gelato (don't order a large sized cone without knowing how truly large it is!).

I hope this isn't boring. I'll write more soon.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 07:15 PM
  #5  
newt
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Short cut tip: for those that have reservations at Uffizi, you can pick up your tix at Museum San Marco (near the Accademia) and then just waltz into the Uffizi at your time slot.

 
Jun 13th, 2002, 07:45 PM
  #6  
Susan
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Dear Jody,
How romantic to be married in Ravello! Best wishes for a happy life together. May I suggest to you Rome, Sinalunga (near Siena), and Florence for your honeymoon. It might be nice to alternate between busy, crowded cities and peaceful, romantic locations. You will have more energy to visit sights and galleries in Rome and Florence if you take some time to relax in the countryside.
I highly recommend staying at Locanda 'dell Amorosa in Sinalunga (a thirty minute drive from Siena). Their website is www.amorosa.it. This place is romantic. Very peaceful and beautiful. Also, a good location to take day trips to Siena and to several Tuscan hillside towns (Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, the Abbey at St Antimo).
In my most humble opinion, if you have seven days and 6 nights, I would stay in Rome for only 2 nights. Rome is fabulous and exciting but can be tiring at times: it's a big, bustling, crowded city. Do not miss the Borghese Gallery - an absolute gem!
From Rome, you could take a train to Orvieto and pick up a rental car there. (It's surprisingly easy to drive in the countryside). You could visit Orvieto and its incredible cathedral, then drive up to the Locanda 'dell Amorosa in Sinalunga near Siena for a 2 night stay. The next day could be spent visiting Siena or hillside towns in Tuscany.
I would drive up to Siena and drop off the rental car there. It is a short train or bus ride from Siena to Florence. It would be nice to stay at least 2 nights in Florence. That might make for a delightful honeymoon.
Kindest regards,
Susan
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 07:57 PM
  #7  
Brody
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Susan, I am also staying at Hotel Orto de Medici in two weeks. Thanks for the scouting report. Did you go there from the train station? Any problems. Was your room air conditioned. Mine is supposed to be. What else around the immediate area.
Brody
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 08:20 PM
  #8  
Judy
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Susan -

What was the weather like?
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 08:32 PM
  #9  
Susan
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Dear Brody,
Our room did have air conditioning (no extra charge).
We arrived at the airport and took a 15 minute cab ride to the hotel. When we checked out, we did walk from the hotel to the train station. It wasn't too bad. It took about 15 minutes if I remember correctly. Things to consider: the sidewalks are very narrow and crowded, and the streets are cobblestone. If you don't have a lot of luggage, you should be fine.
Kindest regards,
Susan
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 08:47 PM
  #10  
Susan
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Dear Judy,
Florence was perpetually overcast; it rained on several days. I believe the temperature was in the 60's. (I'm from Hawaii and have a terrible time estimating the temperature -- everything feels very cold to me!) I was surprised to see most of the women wearing tiny jeans jackets to keep warm. I had on a sweater and short coat.
Rome, Capri, and Positano were warm during the day and cool in the evening.
Milan and Venice were slightly cloudly, perhaps in the 60's as well. We got caught in a sudden thundershower in Milan. It passed in a few hours.
Otherwise, the weather in May was very pleasant.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 09:46 PM
  #11  
arney
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Susan--How 'bout the rest of the trip report? You only did Florence.

arney
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 10:28 PM
  #12  
Artemus
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My wife and I will be at the Fiumicino airport in Rome at 8:40AM on July 4th.
Our destination is Florence, by train.
Can you advise us on how to get to the train station (I assume Stazione Termini)? We have heard that there is a train at the airport, but I assume this is just a shuttle to the Stazione. I was told that the cab fare is very expensive.
we Will have two bags each. What do you advise? The timing is the next question.
We want to reserve seats on the train, but we don't know which time/train we should be scheduling.

Thanks, it sounds as if you had a really nice tripl.

Artemus
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 05:40 AM
  #13  
Tanya
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Susan,
You've mentioned staying in Capri during your trip. I would appreciate any advice: quiet restaurants (not too touristy), non crouded spots (do they exist)?
Thank you
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 06:29 AM
  #14  
newt
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There is a train servicing FCO to Roma Termini Stazione, easy to take from the airport, especially if your luggage has wheels. Takes 40 minutes, I think it was E10 for 2 tix, not sure, but was economical.

When you arrive at Roma Termini, just go upstairs to find the trains going to Florence. Very easy to do.
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 06:37 AM
  #15  
Frank
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Artemus: Travel light is my advice. Platforms are not level with trains, therefore you have to carry your luggage up several steps to board and then down when you arrive at your destination.
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #16  
Betsy
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Artemus, you can buy your ticket all the way through to Florence at Fiumicino, so you don't have to stand in line again to buy a ticket at Termini. The agent will know what to do. You probably don't need to reserve ahead for a morning train on a weekday. (July 4 = Thursday).
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 06:56 AM
  #17  
Laura
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Hi Susan,
My husband and I are getting ready to go to Italy for a few weeks- 2 year anniv. and 1st time in Italy.. I planned some things for Rome and Florence, but we have absolutely no plans for Venice yet (3 days)- any suggestions/comments including restaurants or guided tours?
Thanks for your time.
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 08:20 AM
  #18  
jackie
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to:Jody ([email protected]
Not seeing Venice would be a tragedy.
Jackie
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #19  
Jody
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Susan: Thank you SO much. This is wonderful. I just looked at www.amorosa.it and am floored at how beautiful it is. I just emailed my fiance and told him to make reservations. I was thinking two days in Rome too. Thank you so much again. This is why I love this board!

Jackie: I would LOVE to go to Venice and definitely will one of these days. I just thought this trip was already too booked and from what I hear late October isn't the best time to be up there. I will make it up there someday though.
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 12:30 PM
  #20  
emily
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Hi Susan. My husband and I are also planning to take the train from Rome to orvieto and renting a car there. Just wondering if you have any insider's tips and how easy or difficult this was. Did you reserve car ahead of time? Thanks!
 

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