First Time Visiting Italy - Help!

Sep 10th, 2001, 01:29 PM
Mary Ellen
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First Time Visiting Italy - Help!

Seven of us (6 women and one man - in our 30's) are looking to spend 10 days in Italy in June 2002. We want see sites, drink wine and eat real Italian food. We do not want to tour every day, preferring instead to get to know a couple of areas and the people pretty well.

Since we have never been to Italy, where do you suggest that we should visit? We were thinking of Sicily, but are concerned that we won't get an accurate representation of Italy. What do you think?
Sep 10th, 2001, 01:34 PM
Book Chick
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Mary Ellen,
Ciao! This is kind of a difficult question to answer. Sicily is in Italy, but many would argue the Sicilian POV/way of life is not necessarily that of the typical Italian.

My own experiences centered most of the time around Tuscany, which I would highly recommend. Siena, or anywhere outside Florence might do it for you. Florence is fine, but also loaded with tourists, who are attracted to the art & architecture, so if that's not your thing, seek elsewhere in Tuscany.

Buon Viaggio,
Sep 10th, 2001, 02:25 PM
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Mary Ellen,

Substitute "the real Dixie south" for Italy in your question - - or even Florida, for that matter, and you see how impossible your question is.

But having said that, I will take a stab at an unconventional answer. Get a map, and draw a triangle of the following three points: Brescia (east of Milan), Vicenza (west of Venice) and Modena (due south, right between the two of them). Mantova is right in the dead center of the triangle. Pick some place that strikes your fancy in this triangle.

There is a sort of confluence of four provinces here: Lombardia (west), Trentino Alto Aldige (north), Veneto (east and Emilia-Romagna (south). I'm going to be learning a lot more about this area (firsthand) later this month; I have read about it until it is running out my ears.

But I believe that it represents some of the best of all Italy: lakes, mountains, rivers, ancient Roman empire, Byzantine, medieval, art, basilicas, wine, four different food cultures - - you name it - - all in a very tight little circle.

Does that sound like what you are seeking?

Best wishes,

Sep 10th, 2001, 02:35 PM
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Love the Lake District and all the North. Have stayed on Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. Would go back to Venice in a heartbeat. The Val de Aosta is a great area, and borders with France. The scenery is outstanding. The area north of Lake Garda is fabulous too. Stayed near Trento. Enjoyed the Cinque Terra alot, too. That`s already too many places for one trip. Italy is my favorite country!
Sep 10th, 2001, 03:02 PM
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Local and regional traditions are strong in Italy, so no one area "accurately represents" the whole country. If this is your first trip to Italy and you want to concentrate on just one region, I'd suggest either Tuscany or Sicily.

Tuscany contains much of what you probably imagine when you think of Italian culture: Renaissance sculpture and painting, medieval architecture, the history fo the city-states, scientific discoveries, home of Dante and of the form of vulgate language that became standard Italian, etc. I'm sure you'd enjoy both the major cities (Florence, Siena) and the smaller towns and countryside.

Sicily is something special, as islands always are. Its multicultural history is reflected in Greek ruins, Moorish architecture and decoration, an interesting dialect that's very much alive, varied unusually flavored cooking, wonderful fruits and flowers, little Norman towns, etc. Much of the scenery is spectacular.
Sep 10th, 2001, 06:33 PM
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Hi Mary Ellen,
My vote is definitely in favor of Tuscany. I have been to Italy 3 times and plan to return June 2002. I have been to many areas and all have their own merits, but Tuscany is my favorite!
There are wonderful hill towns, beautiful scenery, fabulous food and gracious people. If you want to throw in some sights, you are not far from Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Siena, the Chianti and etc. We plan to stay an extended period in the area as soon as we are able!
Sep 11th, 2001, 03:02 AM
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Hi Mary Ellen,
sicily is wonderful but don't remember Siena,Chianti,Florence or Cinque Terre.
In these places you should try with this new operator at [email protected]
Helped me in my last trip and everything was o.k.
Sep 11th, 2001, 03:13 AM
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Hi Mary Ellen. This is the exact time we just spent during our first trip to Italy -- we just returned 2 days ago. First of all, you're going to love it! One of the best experiences of my life. Secondly, my recommendation is strongly to not do more than 4 places during this time frame. I am so proud and happy of the itinerary we picked -- it was perfect!!! Third, do not do the typical big city tour (Florence, Venice, Rome). There's so much more to Italy! Go knowing you'll be back. Our itinerary was Venice 2 nights, Cinque Terre 2 nights, Florence 1 nights and Tuscany 3 nights. It was perfect because we'd be so tired from walking and touring and being a city to relaxing on the ocean or on the countryside. Our favorites were really Vernazza in Cinque Terre - the most amazing quaint Italian town on the ocean. We are definitely going back. And Tuscany was our favorite too. The Chianti region will take your breath away with the scenery, the people, the food, and the cute little towns. We rented a car and drove. Highly recommend that. Just know to pace yourself. I had higher expectations of all the towns we could visit in that time period via car from postings I read here. Just a note, it's a little harder and longer than you think it takes to try and visit many of the different towns in Tuscany. Just remember to leave some time to relax and enjoy and you won't regret it!
Sep 11th, 2001, 10:05 AM
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Mary Ellen, Ten days is not much time. You will only have time for an appetizer. I suggest you do Tuscany, Siena, Florence and not more. You can do that from only 2 locations. Good luck !
Sep 11th, 2001, 10:13 AM
REar - End
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Guess you got a new perspective on your trip today. Right.??
Sep 11th, 2001, 06:39 PM
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Many others have said, and I agree; Tuscany. I'd pick Siena or Lucca as a base and you can see Florence and other landmark towns easily. Siena is an incredible place steeped in tradition while feeling small and Lucca is just, well just small, but historic and beautiful.
Sep 12th, 2001, 11:16 AM
Mary Ellen
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Thank you for all the input! It will help us to decide exactly where we want to go.

And as REar-End suggested, yes, we do have new perspective on our trip: Do everything we can while we can. If we can get all the girls together, we'll probably make our trip as soon as possible, followed by many more.
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