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First Time Europe - going to Italy for 14 days

First Time Europe - going to Italy for 14 days

Jan 2nd, 2008, 07:22 AM
  #1  
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First Time Europe - going to Italy for 14 days

We are 2 couples in our early 40s going to Italy 14 days. None of us have ever been to Europe so I have a lot of questions.

We are planning to stay in Venice, Florence and Rome (traveling from the North to the South) Arriving May 31st 2008.

We are interested in art, history, archeology, churches etc.

1) How many days would you stay in each city?
2) When B&Bs/hotels quote room rate - is that per room or per person?
3) When traveling from city to city would I buy individual train tickets or is cheaper to buy a pass of some sort.

Accommodations I like so far are:
Venice - Hotel Riva
Florence - Relais Cavalcanti
Rome - il Colle degli Ulivi

Any other suggestions?

Many Thanks
Mary


MaryRay is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 07:34 AM
  #2  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi M,
You have the perfect Gig 3 visit.

>1) How many days would you stay in each city?

Fly into Venice - 4 nights. train to Florence - 4 nights with a daytrip to Siena or Bologna, train to Rome - 5 nights with a daytrip to Orvieto, fly home.

2) When B&Bs/hotels quote room rate - is that per room or per person?

Almost always per room, but check with the B&B.

3) When traveling from city to city would I buy individual train tickets or is cheaper to buy a pass of some sort.

For this trip, Point-to-point tickets.

Check with your hotels to see if bkfst is included.

Enjoy your visit.
ira is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 07:37 AM
  #3  
 
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I'm not the final word on any of this, but just my impressions:

For me, 4 days in Venice, 4 in Florence, 5 in Rome (am subtracting a day for travel).

Art in Florence: You'll want to visit the Accademia and the Uffizi. Yes, you can do both in the same day. Reserve timed tickets via phone; operators speak English and are extremely efficient, and you won't have to pay in advance. If you want to climb the steps to the Duomo, go 1st thing in the a.m. to avoid the lines.

Any room prices I've ever gotten are quoted for the room assuming double occupancy.

Since it looks like you'll be doing limited train travel, I think individual tix would work better, though others may have a different take on that.

Aren't familiar with the hotes -- maybe a search on tripadvisor.com will help -- but focus on central locations for Rome and Florence, but don't worry too much about location in Venice, since it's small and location is not of major importance (unless you want a canal view or something like that).

j_999_9 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 07:50 AM
  #4  
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Thank you for the prompt replies...

1a) I should explain further - I had already factored in a day in the beginning for overcoming jet lag and a day at the end for leaving so that is really 14 days of full sight seeing! Are there any other cities I should add for overnight trips?

2a) hotels - is it possible to get a nice room for less than 100,000 E per room??

3) Should I be looking for hotels with air con?? We will be there early June.

4) Do I buy train tickets ahead of time online - or buy on the spot when boarding. Any links for train info?

Thanks again
Mary
MaryRay is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:01 AM
  #5  
 
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You could add a day to each Florence and Rome and do a daytrip to Lucca/Pisa from Florence and, if you are up to it, a long daytrip to Naples/Pompeii from Rome.
It is difficult to find airconditioned hotel rooms for two people in high season for less than 100 Euro per night. For me, airconditioning would be a must, especially in the cities because it can be noisy sleeping with the windows open. Also, some smaller hotels don't have window screens, letting in every mosquito. That can be a big problem in muggy Florence. There have been heat waves in the upper 90s F. within the last few years in early June.
Grinisa is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #6  
 
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I was subtracting a day for travel between cities. You do need to factor that in.

Am assuming you mean 100 euros for a hotel room. I'd say that would be extremely difficult, given the cities and time of year you're going. Given that, I am going to strongly recommend that, for four of you, you look into renting an apt. in each city.

There are pluses and minuses to doing that:

Pluses
It's generally cheaper than 2 comparable hotel rooms.
Can save a little on preparing your own meals when you don't feel like going out (like for breakfast).
It's just more comfy than a hotel.

Minuses
You may have to do a bit more research than in finding a hotel.
You won't have the services of a hotel -- recommendations, reservations, etc.
You may have a problem finding places for less than a week, but some are available.

I'd say A/C is something you'd want in June in Rome and Florence.

You may want to get your train tix in advance for 1st class train travel, if you're certain of the times you want to depart and arrive. It's not that big a deal, but it's one less thing you have to think about when you're there.

j_999_9 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi M,

> 14 days of full sight seeing! Are there any other cities I should add for overnight trips?

A: Add one night to Venice
B: Add 1 night to F and daytrip to Siena and Bologna from Florence

2a) hotels - is it possible to get a nice room for less than 100,000 E per room??

I think that you have too many zeros.

If you are looking to save money:
I can highly recommend
www.bedinflorence.it

In Venice, look at http://www.alcampaniel.com/

3) Should I be looking for hotels with air con?? We will be there early June.

Will your visit be spoiled if your room doesn't get below 83F until 02:00?

4) Do I buy train tickets ahead of time online - or buy on the spot when boarding. Any links for train info?

You can buy all of your tickets online as early as 60 days in advance at www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html

You can also get them at the Venezia San Lucia train station.

ira is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:12 AM
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You can buy train tickets at the train station in Italy. Much easier than messing around on the internet from home since you are traveling just twice. Unless you add a lot more train trips, there is no value getting a pass (it's not enough travel to make one worthwhile going just Venice/Florence and Florence/Rome).

I'd stay 5 Venice, 3 Florence, 6 Rome (but I really love Venice so this is different from the way most would divide their trip).
suze is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:48 AM
  #9  
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Thank you for the hotel recs....the pricing is more in line with our budget.

Not sure how you are supposed to write the euro amt - do you include the comma and extra zeros?? LOL

Are these in good locations for general sightseeing?

---narrowing things down now (the half days are due to train travel from city to city)

Venice 3.5 days
Florence 4.5 days (incl day trip to Pisa)
Rome 4.5 days (incl day trip to pompeii)
MaryRay is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 09:05 AM
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We stayed at Relais Cardinal Leopoldo this past October. It was spotless and very well maintained. It's in a residential area so it's very quiet. The bus stop is a few yards down the street. Giada, the owner, is wonderful and will give you marvelous recommendations for restaurants, day trips, etc.

We paid 90 euro per night. This also included a fully stocked mini-fridge with all kinds of breakfast foods. There is also a kitchen with fresh breads, pastries, etc. and a coffee/cappucino machine.

We were very happy with it and would recommend it to others who do not wish to stay in the city center.
swisschocolate is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Your itinerary is shaping nicely. I assume you're flying open jaw into Venice, out of Rome.

I'd quibble with a few details. You will probably have jetlag for the first few days and be less efficient sightseers during that time. So I wouldn't cut Venice too short. And I'd consider a day trip by bus from Florence to Siena instead of Pisa. (The bus leaves from near the Florence main train station and stops in the middle of Siena whereas the train leaves you off outside the walls.)

I like to buy my train tickets in Italy at travel agencies. We usually pass one in the course of our sightseeing. They always have somebody who speaks Engish, and there is no extra charge. It's just easier than tussling with trenitalia or waiting until the last minute before the train leaves.

Have you looked at www.tripadvisor.com for hotel/B&B reviews?
Mimar is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 10:57 AM
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MaryRay,

Just so you understand the logic of some suggestions people have made . . .

People are suggesting adding days to your time in Venice, Florence, and Rome and then taking daytrips rather than relocating to another city for one night. That's because it always takes up at least half a day to relocate (checking in and out of hotels, getting to and from train stations, actual train travel time). You've received some good suggestions for places that make easy daytrips from where you will be staying and will give you a taste smaller towns--without the muss and fuss of changing hotels.

Euro amounts in Italy, if including cents use a comma, but there are only two zeros after the comma. The comma replaces the decimal point as used with dollars. No need to show cents if they don't come into play in the price you're showing. So I euro 50 cents might be shown "1,50". But for general discussions here, no need to show cents.

You can buy your train tickets when you arrive in Italy. You will be traveling popular routes with frequent trains so the schedules and availability of seats are good. You might buy the tickets a day or two ahead to have a less hectic departure. And you can buy all your tickets for all your tickets at the same time if you know your planned departures.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:00 AM
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MaryRay,

Is there some special reason you have chosen to stay outside Rome at Colle degli Ulivi?
ellenem is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Hi MaryRay,

You are doing your first trip right! My only suggestion is also to add a day to Venice (at the expense of Florence). Just my personal preference for Venice!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:31 AM
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Just a couple of thoughts:

To really get a feel for these cities you are much better off staying in a very central location. You don;t want to spend 2 hours a day trekking in and out of Rome - esp after having dinner and a nice romantic stroll around the floodlit fountains.

100 euros for a double room with AC in center city is quite a low price. If you search you may be able to find anything - or look for an apartment. If you need AC depends on your ability to deal with heat/street noise (I would never consider staying in a hotel without it).

The train rides you will be taking are short and there are many trains each day. You can buy tickets once you get to europe.

I would tend to do do 3 full days (not including arrival day) in Venice, 4 days in Florence (including 1 or 2 day trips to towns in Tuscany) and the rest in Rome.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Fodors rocks when it comes to travel help – I always come here first. Of course I have the lonely planet and rick steeves books in my hand too but I prefer to get the rec of others.

We are flying overnight into Venice (arriving in the afternoon). I have saved our first day to recover with nothing planned other than eating and sleeping!

Venice 4 days
Florence 3.5 days (incl day trip to Pisa)
Rome 4.5 days (incl day trip to pompeii)

My SIL stayed at il Colle degli Ulivi this summer and raved about it – and we thought it would be a nice change from the hustle and bustle that is the only reason….are there other suggestions inside Rome?? – we are totally open….only issue is budget.

We would like to see the leaning tower in pisa - sienna and pisa are not the same location are they??

Another question - is it possible to do pompeii on your own from rome in a day?

Thanks!
Mary
MaryRay is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 12:54 PM
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It is possible to visit Pompeii from Rome as a day trip, albeit a long one. The train ride from Rome to Naples takes 1.5-2 hours. Then you switch to a local commuter train, the Circumvesuviana, that takes about 40 more minutes to get you to Pompeii. It stops right in front of the excavations entrance, the Pompeii Scavi stop.

So it will be 3 to 4 hours in each direction. In May and early June you will have longer daylight hours, so you could spend quite a bit of time there before heading back to Rome.

Siena and Pisa are not the same place. Siena is a hilltown and many people believe it is prettier, more interesting, and more worthwhile a daytrip than Pisa. A visit to Pisa could be accomplished in half a day from Florence. You'd probably devote a whole day to a visit to Pisa. For Pisa, the train is better from Florence. For Siena, the bus is better from Florence, since Siena is on a hill and its train station is down the hill outside town--the bus stops in town.

<<we thought it would be a nice change from the hustle and bustle>>
Instead, if you plan to visit Rome each day, you will be hustling and bustling on public transport. It depends on the kind of trip you want. You might love it as you SIL did . . .
ellenem is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:01 PM
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There is a new, high speed train from Rome to Naples which takes 80 minutes. This helps cut the travel time a bit. It's a long daytrip if you want to stop in Naples to see the Archeologic Museum and I highly recommend that you do. But in the summer, with long daylight hours, it's very doable. Pisa is a half day trip from Florence which is why I suggest you combine it with Lucca, a charming small town. Siena is also a good daytrip but I don't like spending time on buses. If this is your first visit to Rome, I strongly recommend you stay IN Rome. You really don't want to be outside the city after dinner and strolling around. Seeing Rome can be a tiring business and you may find you'd like to stop back at your hotel in the afternoon for a rest and shower before heading out again in the evening. Hard to do if you are staying outside the city.
Grinisa is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:23 PM
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A hotel in Rome that looked promising to me when I was looking was the Hotel Panda. We ended up renting an apartment instead. I just checked the price and it seems like it is in your price range.

http://www.hotelpanda.it/index.asp
iamq is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:05 PM
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I miswrote . . .

A visit to Pisa could be accomplished in half a day from Florence. You'd probably devote a whole day to a visit to SIENA.
ellenem is online now  

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