Enough time for Italy

Apr 15th, 2002, 07:10 AM
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Enough time for Italy

My husband and I are planning a last minute trip to Italy at the end of June. We have decided to visit Rome, Florence and Venice with a possible day trip to Assissi. Will 4 days in Rome and 3 days each in Florence and Venice give us enough time to get a "taste" of the culture? This does not include 1-2 days for travel to/from USA.

Are we better off booking things ourselves or getting a package deal through a travel agent? We definitely like to do a lot of exploring and set our own agendas.

Thank you.
Apr 15th, 2002, 07:14 AM
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I think it is definitely doable and you could swing this on your own. I'm assuming you'd fly into Venice and out of Rome (or vica versa), with Florence in between. It would be a great taste of Italy, especially if this is your first trip there.
Apr 15th, 2002, 07:28 AM
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It sounds like a great itinerary
In actuality a week in Rome itself is not enough, but your plans will give you a good taste of each city.

Don't wait to book hotels for June--many small places will already be fully booked
Train service among those cities is frequent, but the ride from Venice to Rome approaches 5 hours. It might not be too expensive to fly (less than one hour), compared to the cost of a first class train ticket. When I flew that leg one way last fall it was a little over $100.
You can have your travel agent research air fares, trains and book hotels, but do the hotel research yourself for sure.
www.venere.it is just one source, so is this message board of course (search for hotels in each city) and the city info elsewhere on this fodor's website is very helpful and has comments called "rants and raves" from former hotel and restaurant guests
I have files on those cities; if you'd like to see them, email me
Apr 15th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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Maureen, you'll find the travelers who use this board are ardent proponents of independent travel. Spend as much time as you can researching options right here. There's a wealth of first-hand information and experience right at your fingertips.

Learn to use the search function. Go to the top of the page and find the box that says "text search." Type in whatever you're looking for, such as "Rome hotels." Then in the "subject search" area, scroll down and highlight "Italy." Then hit find. A zillion messages should pop up from the archives. You can repeat this for restaurants, etc.

To get you started, get your plane tickets first. Then work on the hotels for each city. Do this as quickly as you can, as the good places book out early. My suggestion for Rome is the Due Torri; for Florence try the Casci, and for Venice try La Calcina. You can find the contact info by going to www.google.com and typing in the name of the hotel. E-mail them for availability. Don't be discouraged if they don't have availability.

Your intinerary is definitely doable. You will be surprised at how quickly you'll want to go back!

Keep us posted on your planning progresss and ask us lots of questions.
Apr 15th, 2002, 07:39 AM
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Maureen, definitely e-mail Elaine for her files. They're a great resource. In fact, I was just getting ready to forward my copies to your e-mail address when I saw her post!
Apr 15th, 2002, 10:10 AM
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Interestingly, your itinerary is exactly what we started with. However, we concluded that we would spend too much time travelling if we included Venice. The 5.5 hours train ride back from Venice back to Rome was the killer. If you fly in one place and out the other, problem solved. If not, you waste a lot of time on the train.

We instead decided to spend the time visiting smaller towns in Tuscany & Umbria. One big plus is that we can afford to stay in much nicer places, since Venice hotels are ungodly expensive. Same with restaurants.

I suppose there are good travel agents, but most offer little real help. Package deals often won't save any money in place like Italy since the demand is high so there the good places don't need to offer any incentives to tour providers.

Besides, doing the research needed to plan your trip is half the fun. In a 10 day trip, you'll need to make a lot of decisions ahead of time about what to see and what to miss. You won't be able to see everything.

Apr 15th, 2002, 10:43 AM
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Do yourself a favor and try SlowTrav on the web. As good as Fodors is, Slow Travelers is the best. Ciao. DALE
Apr 15th, 2002, 11:22 AM
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Yes, this is fine, Maureen. Suggestions that you get an open jaw ticket (in Rome, out Venice or vice versa) are excellent. If the price differential is too great, compare this with a one-way connecting flight Venice to Rome for your return flight as this will save you a whole day of transit (more time for sightseeing).

Yes, definitely, get your hotels booked ASAP. In addition to www.venere.it, the www.itwg.com is useful for online booking. I can recommend the Albergo Santa Chiara in Rome...but it may be booked already for June as it is highly popular on this board.

You don't say how much addtional time you might have for places such as Assisi (a great place to visit)...see www.annesitaly.com for a great tour guide. But, if you can at all, add a couple of days (or take one from Venice)seeing some of the smaller towns and countryside of Tuscany and Umbria are really a great way to balance out the strictly urban experience that the big three cities will give you. Buon Viaggio.
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