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Laurie May 3rd, 1998 10:33 PM

First time to Italy
Any tips on where to stay, where to go, what we should not miss?
There are 4 adults traveling in September. I'd be grateful for any help. Thanks!

Barbara May 4th, 1998 01:33 AM

Laurie, That's a really general question -- do you have a basic itinerary worked out? What kinds of experiences are you hoping for? Every region of Italy is wonderful . You should do some reading in some basic guide books and make a plan of some kind. Glad to help if you can provide more details.

Nicole May 4th, 1998 05:55 AM

Barbara is right -- give more information such as the length of your trip to begin with and if you were already considering some specific regions. For instance, if you'll only be there for a week, I'd suggest just visiting 2-3 places. If you think northern Italy is in your itinerary, I think you should definitely visit Venice...and also the lake region is beautiful.

Cheryl Z. May 12th, 1998 05:21 PM

Rome!! And then Florence. Don't try to do too much, Italy is pretty big, narrow your choices down, but I'd definetly recommend Rome. We've been to Italy several times including to lots of small towns and out of the way places that the average tourist doesn't go to and have enjoyed everything. Northern Italy is our favorite. Have a great time.

Walt May 14th, 1998 06:35 PM

I lived in southern Italy years ago, but just spent 2 weeks with my wife predominantly in the North. We are not crazy about crouds and love beautiful vistas. Bellagio on Lake Como fit the ticket, as well as Cinque Terre (stay in Vernazza). Florence was like Disneyland during the summer, too many people. The Tuscany region is filled with wonderful scenery and great little villages. Don't miss Assisi either.

Kathy Gazin May 16th, 1998 06:38 PM

Walt, we will be in Lake Como on June 29 & June 30. Can we make a day trip to Cinque Terre? Can we get there by Train? We will not have a car, and heard that is not to be missed. How long would it take us from the city of Como to Cinque Terre? Please advise as soon as possible. Anyone else who has the answers to these questions, please respond..


Kathy May 16th, 1998 06:50 PM

Barbara and all others, we will be traveling to Italy arriving June 29..two days at como hotel, then to Venice for 3 days, then Florence 4 days, then hopefully the Tuscany and Umbria region for 2 to 3 days, then Rome for 4 days. We do not have lodgings for the Tuscany area or Umbria. We hoped to wing it and find something along the way. Is this possible. Do you have any special places in those areas to suggest? Also, after Rome what should we see going south? Where should we stay going south of Rome? We have a total of 3 weeks to spend in Italy. Must we get reservations ahead as we travel south? If so, any suggestions?

Thanks for all and ANy info you can give me.


Dayle May 16th, 1998 08:40 PM

Of course, it always depends on what your personal interests are, but you might want to take a look at Rick Steves' 3 week Italy tour itinerary for some suggestions. Personally, I would think 4 days in Florence itself would be more than enough, but his suggestions sound like a nice balance between the major sites and the "off the beaten path." I would definitely recommend Pompeii. It's an amazing place. Have a great time!!

Walt May 19th, 1998 03:53 PM

We drove by car from Como to Cinque Terre in about two 1/2 hours. I don't know what it would take by train. If you left early morning by train and stopped at the Southernmost Cinque Terre (I can't remember the name), and then hiked from there to Vernazza, you would not be dissappoiinted. Unless you're big into hiking, don't hike all the way to Monterosso. We are not hikers usually, but we considered the hike one of the highlights of our Italian stay.

Erik May 26th, 1998 11:25 PM

Here is a question for you all out there-

I going to take a frist time (one month) trip to Europe in August and am going to travel in France,
Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. Am I trying to see
too much in too little time? I am using Rick Steve's Guide books and are a wonderful resource for
the Budget travler who wants to see European culture and its people and not the tourists, or atleast I think so. I am planing to use Youth Hostles, will I have any problems getting a bed in August? Will I need to call ahead while I am in Europe or should I call NOW? I have never been to Europe so I do not know what to expect. Tell me about some small towns in these countries that have a great personality and culture, it would be nice to hear a slice of experience of people who have been to Europe before. Oh I read in Rick's "Europe Through the Back Door" that a wonderful way to travel from France to Italy is by using gondolas that start in Chamonix, France and end up in La Palud, Italy, by going over Mont Blanc.
Has anyone out there done this before? Is it worth the time and the price? I would think so due to Rick's description of the view (the Alps and the Matterhorn seen from the view of 12600 ft.). How is it travel by the Rick Steve's method? I would love to hear from you out there, and thanks a bunch!!!

-Erik :)

Paciano Diaz May 27th, 1998 06:38 PM

Laurie, I naturally had envisioned each city a certain way and was surprised. Rome gets a lot of flack but it was probably my favorite place. So much to see, masterpiece after masterpiece. Florence was somewhat dissapointing for me because I had envisioned it how Rome was. Venice was also great. Has its own character. Very Romantic and certain mystic. Take a gondola ride. Expensive but worth it especially if you are going with someone special.

Dayle May 27th, 1998 08:14 PM

Erik: The only part I can advise on is the tram trip from France to Italy. From the scenery I saw skiing in the Dolomites around Cortina, I would say the Alps definitely rank with the most beautiful mountain ranges I have seen, including the Tetons, the high Sierras, the high Uintahs (Utah), and the Canadian Rockies around Banff. Go for it and report back! I read the book too and thought it sounded like a great idea. Let us know how it goes.

Kay May 28th, 1998 07:10 PM

We did a trip entirely by train in Italy last year and did the hike along the Cinque Terre. It was truly an amazing site--but lots of other people are reading Rick Steves too, so the trail was crowded.
We found the timetables sometimes kept up from being able to make really efficient day trips if changes were needed. I checked the Italian Rail schedule on-line last year to see what was reasonable. We stayed north of the Cinque Terre one night, then took the train down early in the a.m., did the entire hike, and rode the train back in time for a late dinner. So it is possible from further like Como, but you will need some good connections Genoa and plan on a long, tiring day. I would say its worth it.

Teddi McMahon Jun 17th, 1998 08:13 PM

I am flying to Rome on June 24th. My daughter is there now and is booking me a room. I will be in Italy for 2 weeks. Since I have been reading these messages I am concerned it will be so crowded I will not enjoy it. Also should I book all my rooms now as I won't be able to find rooms in Florence, Venice etc. once I get there. If the big cities are booked can't we find rooms in smaller towns out from the bigger cities? Any suggestions would be helpful as this will be my first time there. <BR>Teddi <BR>

Dayle Jun 17th, 1998 08:21 PM

Teddi: Don't miss your chance, just accept that things will be busy and maybe don't try to do as much. Since you can count on nice weather, enjoy relaxing in the outdoors, see Tuscany and Umbria, enjoy the smaller less-visited towns where the crowds won't seem as bad. If you have a chance to go back later, you can see more off-season. Yes, book your rooms now and be flexible. You'll have a wonderful time! <BR>

Patricia Jun 18th, 1998 07:33 AM

My husband and I loved Rome. We enjoyed walking the entire city. Must see's: The Coliseum, the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish steps, the Basilica and Vatican Museum. <BR> <BR>I loved the Trevi so much I made sure we happened by it every day! Highly recommend soaking up the ambience in the pedestrian district near the Spanish steps. Grab a cappucino under an umbrella. And make sure to climb to the top of the Basilica and look out over Rome -- a wonderful view. <BR> <BR>I hope you find Rome as much fun and as romantic as we did. <BR> <BR>

Sarah Jul 8th, 1998 02:01 AM

hi, <BR> <BR>Go to Florence. It's really nice. Not as busy as Rome and you can walk everywhere!

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