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Concerned that most of Italy will be 'closed' in March.

Concerned that most of Italy will be 'closed' in March.

May 16th, 2001, 10:34 PM
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Concerned that most of Italy will be 'closed' in March.

We are planning a month in Italy next March to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I've been reading that a lot of hotels are closed until at least April. Are we going to have trouble getting accommodation and meals? We prefer to be flexible and find hotels/pensiones as we go along. Do not require fancy meals or 5 star hotels.
Also, will transport run regularly in March? We plan to buy a train pass and use the buses now and then. Places on our list are Rome, Venice, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, possibly Sicily etc.
Does it get dark early in the day? I'm wondering if it would cut into sightseeing time.
Would appreciate any advice at all.
Thanks, Kay
May 17th, 2001, 01:13 AM
Santa Chiara
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The good news is that you will find plenty of lodging where you plan to go. The hotels that close down are usually in the resorts such as Ischia and Sardegna. Lodging is usually cheaper, too, because this is the off season. The bad news is that, yes, it does get dark early, around 5 or 5:30. There's a world sunset/sunrise chart on the web. Just do a search. But overall, I think March is a good time to travel because there are so few tourists, prices are generally cheaper, and the weather is usually better than in January or February.
May 17th, 2001, 06:17 AM
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Italy in March should not be problem except in two areas: seaside resorts and SOME ski resorts. We had difficulties in Vieste (on the Gargano Peninsula-not open 'til after Easter) and in the ski hills of the Abruzzo (Scanno, but Sulmona was fine). For one it was too early, and the other too late. But in the south Bari, Brindisi areas it was already warming up oceanside and resorts were opening up,as were restaurants that had been closed for the season. We were not distressed by the early nights, but tended to get up earlier than usual whil on vacation, often on the road by eight!
May 17th, 2001, 06:38 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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We did a small piece of Northern Italy (including Cinque Terre) in early March of this year and thought it was a perfect time to go. We may have gotten very lucky with the weather (10 days, only one day of rain, temps near 70 some days) and I don't remember it getting dark very early.

Numerous hotels in Cinque Terre were closed, but there were enough open to choose from. Some restaurants were closed, but we never went hungry. The trains do not run as often between the CT towns before May, and we got stuck in one for a couple of hours longer than we planned, but it wasn't too bad.

Being able to walk the trails without seeing another tourist was well worth any inconveniences we experienced by traveling "off season".
May 17th, 2001, 07:25 AM
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Spent some time in Italy in '97 and in '01 in March and both times I did not suffer closings. The first time I actually stayed right on the sea near Formia and still there were plenty of choices for everything. The second time I was all over the North and stayed in Rapallo, on the sea also. No problems.

Don't forget if you are there on March 19, that it is St. Joseph's day. This day may feature festivals etc. St. Margherita L. had a hometown "cooking" festival with everyone able to mangia on the Sunday before that date.
May 17th, 2001, 07:39 AM
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we were just there in march. everything is open in most places. some of the farmhouse type accomodations in the outskirts of town centers are closed through march. we stayed in venice, florence, rome and orvieto and it was fine, plenty of restaurants and hotels to choose from. it's a great time of the year, not overly crowded. except for 1 rainy day in venice the weather was beautiful (sunny, 60s and 70s). it doesn't get dark that early, there's plenty of time to sightsee.
May 17th, 2001, 02:57 PM
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Before you purchase a rail pass, you may do a cost comparison -- point-to-point travel in Italy is inexpensive and you may not have need to purchase a pass.

You'll likely encounter rain & some cooler temps in north (particularly Venice & the Cinque Terre). Won't have any problems finding places to stay or meals during March -- with exception of Cinque Terre or Amalfi, which are both more 'beachier' places and so, there will be some hotels still closed for winter.

Yes, you will have shorter days, but it can be a worthwhile trade-off as the number of tourists will also be lighter at this time of year.
May 20th, 2001, 02:56 PM
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March is my favorite time to travel to Italy. Weather is cool, but not too cold, and the rainy season generally starts in April, at least in northern Italy. I never had problems with things being closed--Italians love to eat, too, and they are avid museum-goers, etc. Lack of crowds and cool weather are the biggest benefits. And shopkeepers are even friendlier when they are not burned out by tourists.

Have fun!

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