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First Italy Trip: tour versus independent?

First Italy Trip: tour versus independent?

Dec 13th, 2012, 03:29 AM
  #21  
 
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I agree with Annhig - dont depend on others opinions about a place. Do some research and then take the time to do it justice. If you go in thinking it is dirty and you wont like it then thats probably what you will take away - especially if you try to cram everything into a couple days. I would take the time to do what you want to see justice so you arent cramming things into a short period of time. Or like annhig suggest - skip it this time and focus on the other areas you are attracted to - no harm in that at all!
jamikins is online now  
Dec 13th, 2012, 05:47 AM
  #22  
 
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The shuttle bus from the Naples airport to Sorrento is Curreri.

http://www.curreriviaggi.it/inglese/E_index.html

Two nights somewhere really just gives you one day of sightseeing.
kybourbon is offline  
Dec 13th, 2012, 05:53 AM
  #23  
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I am realistic. I am not expecting to stay in the Ritz the whole time. My expectations for hotel are clean and safe and not a hostel. Basically, I realize we more than likely won't be in the hotels for more than showering and sleeping. It's not like we are going to a sleepy little beach town or something like that

It's so hard to prioritize. I hope that we have the opportunity to come back, but don't want to bank on that. So unfortunately my mentality is this could be a once in a lifetime trip. Again, I really hope not!!!

Annhig, just out of curiosity, what was your itinerary the first few times you went?
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Dec 13th, 2012, 06:09 AM
  #24  
 
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Annhig, just out of curiosity, what was your itinerary the first few times you went?>>

JF, the first time we did a week's package tour in Sorrento, [that's what Brits did nearly 40 years ago] and we filled our time with sightseeing every day - Naples, Capri, Pompeii, and much, much more, and there were still things we didn't see.

the next time we were more adventurous, and after 4 nights in Venice, hired a car and toured Tuscany for 10 days, including a few nights in Florence - which was in the days when you could just turn up and find a room, and parking!

After that we had kids to take into consideration, so we had 2 weeks on Lake Maggiore, a week on Lake Garda, and once they got old enough to appreciate it, separate weeks in Rome, Venice and Florence. We have subsequently been back for shorter trips to those places, because there is still loads I haven't seen, but I would never consider spending less than 3 nights in one place, especially if I'd never been there before.

Yes, i know that we are very lucky to be able to get to Italy so easily. But i still think that you will enjoy your time more if you do NOT treat it as a once in a lifetime trip. you can't see it all, so make sure that you have enough time to enjoy the places that you go to.

less can be more.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 06:12 AM
  #25  
 
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I think that's where most first timers go wrong - assuming its a once in a lifetime kind of thing.

You will only be able to see x amount of things in the time you are there.

You can see these x amount of things either in a select few places - which means less money and time spent/wasted in transit.

Or running around trying to cover alot of ground seeing 1 thing here and 1 thing there and another thing over there.

In fact you are likely to see less of the sights if you move around more because you will spend the time you could have spent seeing where you are actually seeing trains and trains stations.

Just something to think about - covering more ground trying to see everything potentially means not seeing more but seeing less.
jamikins is online now  
Dec 13th, 2012, 06:27 AM
  #26  
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I hear what you all are saying! It's so hard to narrow down!! I thought I had done such a good job- you should have seen my first itinerary! Yikes. I think I was trying to go EVERYWHERE. So everyone seems to be saying no less than three nights per place?

The good news is, I have decided NO TOUR! If the general feedback is that my itinerary was too quick then a tour would be way too fast. It's progress people!
JFtravels is offline  
Dec 13th, 2012, 06:33 AM
  #27  
 
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JF - as you say, that's progress.

the sense i get from your original post is that Venice and Florence are calling to you most - you have included the most detail about what you'd like to see there.

isn't that where to start?

you could fly into Venice, spend 4 nights [gives you a really good time to see things including the islands] then get the train to Florence and finish your trip there. There are plenty of day trip options in Florence - bus to San Gimignano or Siena, the train to Bologna, a day out with a driver doing a private winery tour, [look at TA for more ideas] - plus all the things to see in Florence itself of course.

fly home from Pisa. [less than 2 hours on the train from florence and the train goes right to the airport]
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Dec 13th, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #28  
 
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That is progress indeed! You can definitely do this on your own. I so agree with the above posters that you are trying to see too much in one trip and will spend more time packing up and moving around than actually enjoying yourself.
The first thing in my opinion that will help you narrow it down is to lose the once in a lifetime idea. Plan a great trip with the idea that this is the first of many.

With only 12 nights I would do a maximum of 3 places and even that would be pushing my personal comfort level. ( I hate packing up and moving on so usually like to have 4 or 5 nights per place at least, but that is just me)
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Dec 13th, 2012, 06:59 AM
  #29  
 
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That is a very good idea annhig.
So check out the Hotel David in Florence JF, I think it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:00 AM
  #30  
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It's true. However Sorrento is really important to me as well because my maternal grandmother was from there and I grew up seeing her black and white pictures of the area. So while there isn't as much on the list there other than Capri, which I have seen her old pictures of, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. Which makes it difficult to leave that out. Honestly, Rome I could take or leave. I know, I know. When in Italy how could I not do Rome? But it isn't calling to me the way the other places are with the exception of the Vatican (oh darn Catholic upbringing!!). That is truly what I am struggling with.

When I think about this trip, I have these very romantic notions about it. Touring the Italian countryside, seeing the old cities, gondola rides, dramatic views. I just don't know how much Rome fits in to that as much as I want it to fit.

I am most interested in the food, the culture of some of the more rural areas and the art. I am not a huge history buff as much as my husband is, but he is content to let me plan the trip as I see fit because he knows this is my dream trip.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:01 AM
  #31  
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Also, Venice and Tuscany have been my dreams. I was supposed to spend a semester in Tuscany in college but didn't do it. Oh the regrets!!!!
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:06 AM
  #32  
 
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Honestly - feel free to drop Rome! You could fly into Venice, train to Florence/Tuscany and then go to Sorrento. That would be so much better than trying to cram too much in. Fly home from Naples and you are good to go!
jamikins is online now  
Dec 13th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #33  
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What about the idea of doing a day trip from Florence to do the Vatican? Feasible?
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:30 AM
  #34  
 
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Just an aside, I went to Italy without seeing Rome. The more that I read here, the more I would like to go, but you can't do everything.

Someone said to leave Burano out of your Venice stay. Personally I loved Burano. I found it enchanting and would like to have spent more time there (poor planning on my part). But I did see it in a short afternoon.

I understand about wanting to see your grandmother's hometown. It would be fun to copy a few of her old pictures to take and see if you can find the spots from where they were taken. It would be interesting to take your own photos there and compare then and now. If I had a grandmother who had grown up in Europe, I would want to see their birth places. (One of mine grew up a quarter of a mile from where I live now and I was in and out of the house every day as I grew up. The other lived about 8 miles away. Grandfathers grew up a mile away and 12 miles away. Boring perhaps but special as a kid.)
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:35 AM
  #35  
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I agree. The pictures I see of Burano are amazing. I would love to see it for myself.

That was what I was thinking Irishface about the pictures
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:41 AM
  #36  
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What about 3 nights Sorrento, 5 nights Florence, 3 nights Venice?
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Dec 13th, 2012, 08:54 AM
  #37  
 
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wonderful, JF, if that's what you want to do.

if that's a plan you like, you need to start looking at the logistics - have you worked out what your flight times will be, and how long it will take you to get from the airport to your destination? and to transfer from one place to another [eg you have 3 nights in Sorrento which is probably only 2 1/2 days - might you want to borrow a night from florence perhaps?]

as someone mentioned above, sometimes for transatlantic travellers it can be better to fly into venice rather than out, because some airlines have really early departure times out of Marco Polo. and Venice is a very good place to recover from jetlag, as well as being stunning when you arrive. you could play around with which way you are going to travel, depending on the differing arrival and departure times.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 08:55 AM
  #38  
 
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PS -yes Burano is lovely, but if you go there you shouldn't miss Torcello and its Cathedral, which was last renovated about 1000 years ago. [yes, that's the correct no. of 000s!]
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Dec 13th, 2012, 09:03 AM
  #39  
 
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That sounds good, you could fly into Venice and fly home from Naples. The reason I say fly into Venice is because most flights back to North America leave Venice at a very early hour in the morning. If you fly home from Naples you can get the bus from the Sorrento train station which will take you straight to the Naples airport.

You should have the trip that you want and pick the things that speak to you. I wanted to see Burano as well and in two trips to Venice haven't managed it. We went to Murano which I enjoyed, we bypassed the glass blowing show and all the hard sell and found a fabulous shop and the glass museum which was very interesting. Had intended to go on to Burano but ran out of time.

3 nights in Venice will give you 2 days, you could spend one touring the islands and one wandering around Venice. If St.Mark's and the Doges Palace are priorities for you I would book a tour or at least book entry tickets online. In my two trips to Venice I have not been inside either of those places as we did not do that and the lines and crowds were just too much for us.
Once you get away from St.Mark's in Venice the crowds thin out and it is really a magical place.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 09:05 AM
  #40  
 
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Delta has afternoon flights from Venice to the U.S. I've flown twice from Venice to New York leaving around 1pm. Last year it was 1:05.

I think Burano is charming; I must have taken at least 100 photos there of the multi-colored houses and tilting campanile. On a small alley I even found what looked to be the community ladder propped against a house and completely covered in paint spatters in probably 100 different shades; it made for a good photo. They have a nice store on the main "street" (Piazza Baldassare Galuppi) called Dai Freddi that sells all different types of packaged Italian foods and beverages and, of course, gelato. There is a big gelato cone in front.
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