First time to Italy

Feb 24th, 2001, 07:01 AM
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First time to Italy

My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in September. It is our first trip and we are torn between Venice, Tuscany and Florence. We are going for about ten days and want it to be an incredibly romantic trip. Money is not an issue. Can you please help with suggestions? Thank you. By the way, we decided to skip Rome because we hate the big city crowds.
Feb 24th, 2001, 07:26 AM
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You can do all in 10 days quite easily!
Fly into Venice or Florene. take at least 2 nights in Venice, (I'd go for 3. The Veneto,(The region around Venice), really isn't much to see. After Venice head to Tuscany. Florence is in Tuscany and can actually feel much more crowded than Rome because of its small size and high concentration of sights in a small area. My suggestion would be to stay a couple of nights in Florence. The Savoy is a luxury hotel right by the Duomo. Very well located. After Florence consider a Tuscan hill town. Lucca would be my choice. Still relatively undiscovered and very well preserved. Only about an hour train from Florence but feels a world away.There are other more well known hill towns like San Gimingnano, but you'll be there where all the other tour groups.
Finally, you'll have the time, its close to Florence and A completely different place, GO TO SIENA! Stay withing the city walls if you can, (there aren't many hotels within the walls). Siena is a wonderful Tuscan town steeped in history and traditions you won't find anywhere in Europe. And the food?!.
You could also dip into Ravenna for a norming or afternoon. A city known for its ancient mosiacs.
Feb 24th, 2001, 09:05 AM
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Skip Sienna. Messy city atmosphere. Tons of tourists. All the tours go there. Volterra is also a walled city (slightly to the north and west of Sienna). Much quieter. Very interesting. Great shopping in San Giomanni, but the crowds can be heavy duty! For romance, you can't beat Cinque Terre ("The Italian Riviera"). Florence is easy to fly in-out of. The rental cars are right outside the airport doors, and you hop right on the autostrade (tollway) west toward the coast. Stay in a hotel over-looking the water.Hike the five towns along the coast--or take a train between each town if you aren't up to the hike. Fabulous views.
The rental car route is the best. You can meander in and out of any small town you choose. We stay 3 nights in one place, use it as a home base, then go a 3-4 hour drive in one direction and stay another 3 nights. If you go 2 nights at a time, you'll feel like you are always packing up and leaving and then unpacking. 3 nights gives you enough time to actually see and an area.
Read "Bella Tuscany"...sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun and much better book. Gives lots of ideas for touristing around Tuscany.
Feb 24th, 2001, 10:37 AM
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Mike, If you want romance don't leave out Rome. Think about 2 nights in Venice, even though Venice is very romantic you can see it relatively quickly. Take a train to Lucca via Florence. Use Lucca as your home base in Tuscany, spend 4 days or so there. You can take day trips to Florence, Montecatini, Pisa, Cinqua Terra, Sienna etc. from Lucca. Rent a car or you can take trains if you like. I strongly suggest you visit Rome and expierence it's flavor. You can spend your last two day staying in old Rome, one day (if you get started early) seeing the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St Peters (religious or not they are unbelievable) and the Coliseum. Spend the second day romantically walking around Old Rome shopping, eating and enjoying the sites. The Spanish Steps, the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona etc. are all really neat to see and are all within walking distance.
I know it alot of territory to cover but it's doable I did it last year and I'm glad I did. Unless you are going to return to Italy in the near future don't leave out Rome!

Good Luck,
Feb 24th, 2001, 10:48 AM
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I see now that you have two nearly identical postings, this one with slightly more information (about omitting Rome). I posted to the other one (maybe that ought to sink to the bottom) - - and so I will put my (slightly modified) reply here now.

A trip of 10 days to Italy offers the opportunity to visit multiple wonderful places, including a number that are geographically separated by sizable distances. I would recommend picking three principal destinations.

Rome is a terrific destination, and one of the most important air travel points of entry into Italy. But a trip to Italy COULD be complete without it.

Florence is IN Tuscany. But your listing them as two places is not altogether silly. Many travelers and tourists to Italy think of Florence and "rural" (hill towns of) Tuscany as two separate places. Both good.

I have virtually never met anyone that didn't enjoy including Venice as part of an itinerary to Italy, and this will be especially true in September (by the way, September is possibly the best month to Italy, if there is such a thing). Venice is somewhat expensive and a slight pain in the butt to get into and out of. For that reason, I do not recommend making Venice your "base" to see anywhere that is more than 25 miles away. It simply doesn't make sense to pay the price of Venice lodging and then trek in and out to see "somewhere else". Having said that, I recommend a MINIMUM of two full days and over night IN Venice as part of your trip. Staying "nearby" (including Venice Lido or Mestre) is a poor substitute in my opinion, unless you are severely budget constrained (even then, perhaps better to cut one day from the trip than not to stay IN Venice).

Campania is the region of Italy that includes Naples, and it is superb. But there are many other better places to "base" to see places like Pompeii, Sorrento, the Amalfi coast, Capri (and the list goes on and on). Getting to Campania would typically mean including Rome in the itinerary (but wouldn't have to - - there ARE a few cheap flights connecting Naples to the north of Italy). You will need to study a map and think this through a bit.

Similarly, Sicily is best accessed through one of Italy's large cities, like Rome or Naples. I have no personal expertise on Sicily, though it is high on my list of "next time" destinations. Everything I ever hear about Sicily is good.

And Milan is often described as "worthy of one or two days" at most. I think that is a bit harsh, but the stuff AROUND Milan is outstanding, and does clearly eclipse Milan in most regards. I have yet to find a good deal on lodging IN Milan, so I am reluctant to recommend it as a base. But one way or another, I recommend that you DO visit one or more of the following: Bellagio or other towns around Lake Como, Bergamo, or Monza.

Feel free to write to me if I can offer you additional thoughts on planning your trip.

Best wishes,


Feb 24th, 2001, 02:10 PM
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Italy is a wonderful country and a visit there is long remembered! My husband and I spent 2-3 weeks there, driving from Venice down to Amalfi Coast. Venice is a must - 2 nights, preferably 3 if possible. Florence is not to be missed, spend 3-4 days there. And Sienna is most certainly one of the most memorable cities to visit in Italy - stay inside the old walled city. You might consider visiting Assisi if you have time - a wonderful spiritual destination (one of our highlights). Rome is most certainly also not to be missed - it is a wonderful city - we stayed in an hotel near the Pantheon, very central. There are plenty of small hilltop villages to visit - just stop at any one that takes your fancy. Do not be disappointed with regard to the time of year you are visiting Tuscany - September is rather hot, humid and dry and the countryside is no longer green, but all in all, you will have a marvellous time and will surely plan a return visit soon thereafter! Have fun.

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