First Italy Trip

Sep 24th, 2003, 03:26 PM
  #1  
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First Italy Trip

Hi all. I'm new here and have found a wealth of great info, especially on Italy.
Just wanted some suggestions from experienced travelers. My husband and I are in early 30's and are planning a trip to Italy the first 2 weeks of April in 2004. We're flying into and out of Rome, and we'd like to see Venice, Florence and maybe Tuscany too. Some people have recommended the Chinque de Terre as well. (We are laid back people and like beach communities)
If you had 14 days to do Italy, where would you go?
doodlebugg is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 03:59 PM
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It seems to me you'd be better off, with all those targets, flying into and out of different cities so as to not be doubling back to Rome and thus losing valuable time.

On the other hand as someone on another thread said today, there's never enough time to see Italy. Surely you plan to return again (and again), so try not to do too much this trip.

I just don't care for the idea of rushing from place to place. Take your time and soak it in.

Liking beach communities, perhaps you should spend a week in Rome, then rent a car for a week and take in the Sorrento-Capri-Pompeii-Amalfi areas.

In another year you'll do Tuscany- Cinque Terre, etc. Venice and the Lakes in yet another year. And so on.
TuckH is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 05:17 PM
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For a first trip to Italy to get a flavor of all the places you named, 14 days is enough. In the 14 days, I'd suggest you spend 4 in Rome, 3 in Florence/Siena, 3 in some other desirable part of Tuscany, and 3 or 4 in Venice. If you choose Cinque Terre as another destination, you might want to spend only one day/night there after or before Florence. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 05:18 PM
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car or train??? We did it in a car a few years ago. We move along pretty fast. Take a look at your Michelin map, and the viamichelin website.
Rome, Assisi, Sienna, Florence, Venice, long drive to Cinque Terre (probably stop somewhere overnight)...final night in Orvieto. We had an early morning flight out of Rome, spent the last night in Orvieto. Had to get up at 430 to drive to the airport, turn in car, and catch flight, but had plenty of time.

How many nights in each city??? We never really plan it. Just stay as long as we feel like, then move on.

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ekellyga is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 08:19 AM
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BOB the NAVIGATORS? FIVE FAVORITE ITINERARIES
________________________________________
MAGICAL FAIRYLANDS:
* Arrive and depart Munich--14 nites--May thru Sep.--car travel
* ITINERARY: Salzburg, Dolomites, Venice, Lake Garda, Bavaria
============================================
BELLA ITALIA:
* Arr Milan, dep Venice--15 nites--car & train travel--April thru Oct.
* ITINERARY: Lakes, Ligurian coast, Tuscany, Florence, Venice
============================================
CLASSIC ITALIA:
* Arrive & depart Rome--12 to 14 nites--car & train travel, all year
* ITINERARY: Florence, Tuscan & Umbrian hilltowns, Rome
============================================
LA DOLCE VITA:
* Arr & dep Rome--12 nites--car & train travel--March thru Oct.
* ITINERARY: Amalfi coast, Tuscan hilltowns, Rome
============================================
OF ALPS & LAKES:
* Arrive and depart Zurich--12 nites--train travel--June thru Sep.
* ITINERARY: Berner Oberland, Lugano, Lake Como, Luzern

THE VILLAGE SAMPLER: My personal favorites?north to south
? Arr Milan & dep Rome---car travel---plan 3 nites per location
? Lake Orta, Castelrotto, Portovenere, Montalcino, Ravello

bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 09:10 AM
  #6  
 
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My husband and I are also in early 30's and we just came back from Italy ( spent 2 weeks). We fly into Venice and left out of Rome. Spent 2 nights in Venice (not enough in my mind), 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Forte dei Marme (from there we did day trips to Cinque Terre, and Pisa) and spent 3 nights in Rome.
We also enjoy beach communities and Forte dei Marme is a perfect place - has sandy beaches (which is kind of unusual for Italy - you can see more rocky places everywhere). Keep in mind though, in April you probably won't be able to enjoy beach/swimming activities - the water may be to cold this time of the year.
Feel free to ask any questions and have a great trip.
nradovsky is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 09:14 AM
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Allow me to suggest some walking tours for you 3 days in Rome at: http://www.exseminarians.com/rome/
malanh is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 08:43 AM
  #8  
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Thank you everyone for all the great information. I've heard many people say they don't make reservations ahead of time, and just "wing it" and decide to stay as long as they like in each destination once they get there. That's a little intimidating for a first trip. I'm not sure we could pull it off. Can you guys elaborate more on doing this? We also haven't decided yet on car vs. train, and it's too late to change flight plan as our tickets are non-refundable. We're flying into and out of Rome, and we got an unbelievable fare, 600 bucks roundtrip out of LAX! Any opinions on car vs. train? We will have luggage with 2 weeks worth of stuff, so in that respect the car is appealing.
doodlebugg is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Read my lips---no car in the big cities.
You will want one as you leave Florence and explore Tuscany and maybe the CT.
Given 14 nites, here is what I would do.
Please note sequence:
Arr FCO--to Florence--2
Get car--to Tuscany base--3
To CT--2
Drive to Venice--drop car--3
Train to Rome--last 4 nites

That is a start--good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 09:43 AM
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For first-timers, I would say, definitely do NOT wing it as far as reservations go. It will be stressful enough for you since it's your first venture overseas.
HowardR is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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Since this is your first time in Italy, get the Rick Steves book on Italy. It is good for beginners and steps you through everything from using trains, finding hotels, and packing light.

Our first trip to Europe was to Spain and we used a very poor guide book. We drove(very stressful), spent one night in each place(very tiring) and had big suit cases(wore same stuff over and over, left half of it unworn). You have plenty of time to do your homework. Have fun and good luck.

Michelle
MichelleY is online now  
Sep 26th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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Oh Boy... Be careful, Doodlebug, about the places Rick Steves recommends. We hit a few in our earlier years of travel and found them swarming with Americans and lacking in ambience.
You can easily get an overview of Italy in two weeks, but I doubt you have time for Cinque Terre, that is a trip unto itself. I HIGHLY recommend renting a car. (Just stay out of Rome) You can take a car ferry from the mainland over to the Lido, which has fabulous hotels, and simply take the Vaparetto (spelling?) over into Venezia. Without a car you can't wander around, and these are our very best memories. Have a wonderful time.
mz
maztoz is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 02:11 PM
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I have to agree with the recommendation of the Rick Steve's books. I have heard his hotel and restaurant recommendations can be sketchy, but we recently used the tour guides in his books on Florence and Venice and were very pleased. We also found the overall info for each city to be very helpful.
Statia is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 02:42 PM
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BTW - By "tour guides," I meant self guided tours of the main sights and museums.
Statia is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 02:50 PM
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blh
 
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We always use Rick Steves books, and have been very pleased. Just don't go with the most inexpensive recommendations. We usually take the middle of the road suggestions, and have had good luck. We flew into Rome last October, rented a car at the airport (avoiding driving in Rome), drove thru Umbra and Tuscany, spending several nights and taking day trips. When we got to Siena, we turned in the car (don't need a car in Siena), and rode the train to Cinque Terre. You don't need a car in Cinque Terre for sure. And two days was plenty in C.T. You also don't need a car in Venice or Rome. You can ride the train from Florence to Venice or C.T., then back to Rome for several days. We loved Tuscany and the C.T. You will do fine driving as long as you stay out of the cities. And you need a car to see Tuscany. Get the Michelin spiral map and you can go anywhere you want to go.
blh is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 05:31 PM
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Hi Bob the Navigator,

OT but ...thank you for all you posts. You have very good knowledge and it is well thought out. As a first time visitor to Rome this Christmas, may I ask your suggestions for a hotel and/or area of city for my family of four(children 13 and 11)? We will be there 10 days. I am seriously considering Hotel Alimandi near the Vatican.
Thank you,
==Mike


mendota98 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 05:06 AM
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Try to get a map of Rome. You will see that the Vatican side of the river is not the best location for most of the Rome sights. I would go to this web site to look at hotels and locations:
www.venere.com You can pick your price range and even look for quad rooms.
You want the " centro storico" area. I know that the Santa Chiara has a nice quad room, I think that the Residenza Farnese may also. Have fun, and start your homework at my favorite Rome site at www.twenj.net--give some homework to the kids and get them involved early.
bobthenavigator is offline  

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