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Finally...our 19 day glorious October 2007 (very long detailed) trip report to Italy!

Finally...our 19 day glorious October 2007 (very long detailed) trip report to Italy!

Old May 9th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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Hi all,

I'm back! I'll get the next installment and photos up this weekend.

Ciao...for now!
A/S
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Old May 9th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Bellissimo! Truly, what a beautiful - no, captivating report! I welled up with tears when you described The David and then again when you spoke of leaving the CT. Italy does bring out the best in you and inspire you to live a fuller life! Cheers to you! Your trip report has allowed me to reflect again on our family trip to Italy (Rome, Positano, Tuscany and Venice) last summer and to dream of new locations to visit. Thank you!
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Old May 17th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 08:23 AM
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Adventureseeker:

Your trip sounds amazing. My husband and I are planning a 14 day trip to Italy in Fall 2008 with 2 other couples who are good friends of ours. Our itinerary is:

Sept 24-27 in Rome,
Sept 27-Oct 5 in Tuscany (villa near Lucignano & 1 night in Lucca),
Oct 5-7 in Cinque Terre, departing from Milan on Oct 8.

I also am addicted to these boards and have enjoyed your marvelous trip report and gotten some valuable tips from it. We are using a personal trip planner that we found (on good recommendation) to book our hotels, tours, side trip ideas, car rental, etc. She is marvelous, but it is a little hard for me to let go since I love to plan vacations. It's scary to plan them when you are including friends though - a little too much pressure if the hotel is not great, etc.

I was in Italy in July 2005 with 2 of our daughters and it was very hot the entire time. My husband has not been there before, so we are looking forward to our trip very much! I have never been in Europe in the Fall, so don't know quite what to expect, weather-wise, since it is a transitional season.

I have some clothing/packing questions for you. We want to minimize our packing as much as possible.
How was the weather/temperature? (Our trip is about 3 weeks earlier than yours was and of course, the weather can be variable from year to year).
Did you take mostly long pants and closed toed shoes, or did you have crop pants or skirts and sandals, too?
If both, how much did you use each one?
We will certainly be including small umbrellas, and jacket/sweater options.
We want to be prepared, but not overpack. I am not the best at minimal packing, but can certainly do it if needed.
I have checked www.weatherunderground.com, but am looking for advice from someone who has been there at a similar time of year. Any helpful advice from your experience would be great. Thanks!
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Old May 25th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Sorry all for taking an extended break. I'll be back soon to finish Tuscany!

Mktopks,

I apologize in advance if this is too much info....

Before (and during) our trip, I followed the weather forecast to be sure to pack accordingly. We were in Venice Oct 11-15, Florence Oct 15-17, Cinque Terre Oct 17-20, Tuscany Oct 20-27 and back in Florence Oct 27-28.

Venice: I (happily) wore skirts and crop pants (paired with light shawls/scarves).

Florence: We had some cloudiness and slight drizzle, so out came the pants.

Cinque Terre: pleasant and during hikes I wore crop pants and layered with a light pullover. Tuscany on the other hand was a different story...they had a cold snap that was biting cold.

Tuscany: We didn't let it damper (literally) our trip. We just bundled up, layered and wrapped in scarves. I took a black peacoat (not wool) and DH had a black light jacket. This all worked well. I also took a light chocolate brown vest.

I guess the best advice I can give is to coordinate and bring pieces you can layer. My best investment for the trip were 3 pieces from J.Jill's Essential (I think that's what its called) line: black flowing wide leg pant & crop and a sienna brown skirt. They were wrinkle free and comfy. The pashminas (I took 3: red, turquoise and black) were godsends. Not only were they functional, but stylish. They added a punch of color and changed up the outfits without taking up too much space. I ended up purchasing 2 (heavier) wool-like shawls in Venice (one in moss green and the other in brown). I wore them to death.

SHOES: We walked up a storm, so comfort was key. I took a pair of Kenneth Cole flats that had a Mary Jane "look" to them. They were comfy and broken in (very important). A pair of neutral euro style sneakers (mine are Skechers) that have the criss cross velcro closure. I did want something dressy for night so I brought a pair of Sofft (handmade European) wedge heel sandals that were both stylish and comfy. The last pair: closed toe walking shoes that doubled for hiking and just cruising around. That covered it for me.

Misc: I brought 4 hats: a leopard print scrunch hat and black fleece both that pulls down below ears. A roll up linen/cotton wide brim "sunhat" and a baseball cap. These were crucial when we encountered the cold snap. Also: added a clutch black purse to the group for evenings out.

I've heard it said to pick out either black or brown and go from there. I sprinkled in a bit of both and felt that I packed just right.

Hope that helps! Have a great trip.....

A/S
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Old May 26th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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bookmarking
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Old May 30th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Adventureseeker,

Thanks so much for the clothing and packing information. It helps to hear from someone who was there in a similar timeframe. October can go "either way" with weather and packing light is our plan, with room to bring home goodies.

Where did you get the parachute duffles you used for packing your dirty clothes? Were they able to be checked for your return flight? I've only seen packable type bags that go over your shoulder, but don't zip closed for checking (who really cares if your dirty clothes get delayed on your way home? - not me!).

We stayed at Residenza Il Villino in Florence in 2005 and it was fantastic! Looking forward to hearing about your impressions of Sergio and his beautiful little inn. We will only have a day trip visit to Florence this time, but would stay at Il Villino again in a heartbeat!

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventures in Tuscany!
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:19 PM
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mktopks,

LOVED Il Villino and Sergio....It was a perfect inviting welcome after a nightmare-ish car rental return in Florence.

We got our parachute duffles from Crate and Barrel (brand: Selected by Sagafoam) at a bargain price of $14 each. They were so incredibly compact on the way over and so incredibly filled to the gills on the way home. They were easily checked and no prob.

More to come.....
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:25 PM
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oops.........It's sagafoRm, not sagamore parachute duffle.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:38 PM
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What a wonderful read! I am thrilled to discover Italy through your eyes.
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Old Jun 5th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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What a fantastic trip report! Can't wait to read more, particularly as we are spending time in Florence and the Val d'Orcia this Sept! We also have reservations at Il Villino, but the breakfast situation sounds a little awkward... I don't mind a somewhat leisurely breakfast, but I wouldn't want to feel obliged to stay longer than, say, 30 minutes or so on it. Did you feel "stuck" there for longer than that?
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Old Jun 6th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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adventureseeker,

I totally loved your report!

Glad you loved La Mala. This summer we are going back to the Cinque Terre and are trying out La Mala instead of our beloved Arpaiu, just to mix it up a bit! We are in room 26 for 3 nights and then 31 for 2 nights. From your report, it sounds like we will be pleased with our selection.

It will be a short trip for us with 5 days in Vernazza and then 4 days in Montepulciano. I struggled with whether to do anything but the Cinque Terre, but after a dozen trips to Italy, we really need to see Tuscany!

I saw in your report that you might stay in Montepulciano next time. As I believe we have similar hotel tastes, check out this place where we are staying: La Locanda di San Francesco.

http://www.locandasanfrancesco.it/

Sally
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Old Jun 6th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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tara3056,

The "family style" breakfast was not at Il Villino. We stayed at Il Villino on our last night in Florence which is day #21.

You will love Il Villino...it's truly a gem. Sergio goes out of his way to make sure your stay is top notch. And the location/prices are incredible.

Sally,

Grazie for your kind comments.

LUCKY you! I can't wait to hear how La Mala compares to Arpaiu. ...And how staying in Vernazza compares to Manarola. I, too can't imagine a trip to Italy without a stop in CT.

I have the La Locanda di San Francesco bookmarked from a recommendation here at Fodor's....I bet it was from you! It looks absolutely lovely and totally up our alley.

Buon Viaggio!


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Old Jun 8th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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I have LOVED your trip report! I hope you are going to post the final installments soon. I've also enjoyed perusing your pictures on Flickr. You are as talented with photography as you are with writing!

I'm very new to the Fodor's Boards, so forgive me if this has been suggested here a million times before, but have you seen the documentary "The Last Victory" about the Palio in Siena? DH and I really enjoyed that, especially having been to the Piazza del Campo.

We are planning our fourth trip to Italy this fall. At this stage in our life (three school-age children at home and limited flexibility for DH to be away from the office), week-long trips are all we can manage, so we're seeing the country a bit at a time.

This time we were contemplating relaxing for the entire week at Lake Como and taking a few day trips, but your description of the Cinque Terre has made me want to spend at least three of our nights in Vernazza. We're flying in and out of Milan, but I'm still up in the air about stopping there to see its Duomo and the Last Supper.

Thank you again for sharing your wonderful story. I'm off to email La Mala to inquire about a room in September!

Eloise

http://weaselsjourney.blogspot.com
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Old Jun 9th, 2008, 03:40 AM
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Looks like a fabulous entry to your Memory Bank. Thanks for sharing it
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Old Jun 9th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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AMAZING, amazing Adventureseeker! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey. This probably won't be your first offer, but would you consider selling your tabbed notebook??? I need it... I'll be meeting my college daughter in 16 days!!! I can hardly contain myself.

On one of your early post you mentioned you downloaded -iPod: loaded with 2 playlists just for the trip: Italy-classics and Italy-lounge mix. May I ask where you found the music, especially the lounge mix?
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Old Jun 9th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Grazie, grazie, grazie for all your kind remarks.

I'll be back in Tuscany "mode" soon to finish (that has a very sad "ring" to it).

Katiekate,

My iPod playlists were just mixes I made. I got most from CD's in my own collection, but I used iTunes alot. I made a mini list on a post I made earlier. Check them out on iTunes. The Pottery Barn Cafe Lounge CD is a classic that is a staple for gatherings at our home.

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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 07:29 AM
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I'm having trouble finding your mini list from your earlier post.
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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KatieKate, the post with her playlist is from 3/22 at 11:55 so it's closer to the start of this thread.
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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Thank you, this has been such a successful thread I couldn't seem to find it among the many posts.
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