First timer to Italy

Apr 18th, 2013, 01:33 PM
  #1  
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First timer to Italy

Hi!!
I am looking to travel to Italy at the end of May and I'm TOTALLY overwhelmed by all my options!! I am the sort of person who really appreciates a calm and nature orientated break so was thinking about the Amalfi coast/Sicily or Sardinia. But I also feel that to travel to Italy and not see the obvious famous sites i.e Rome/Venice, may be foolish! I don't really have the time to organise more than one location and am struggling hugely to make a decision!! I'm not sure I would want to drive, so this also poses a problem, as wouldn't I need a car to drive round some of the more remote but scenic places???
Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated as I am a very inexperienced traveller and haven't a clue how I should approach this!!!! Thanks
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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You haven't given us much information. If you've purchased your airline tickets, where and when are you flying in and out? If you haven't purchased your tickets, which airports can you use and how many days do you have?

Can you fly to/from Sicily or Sardinia or make reasonable connections through another airport? If not, and you don't have time to organise more than one location, then I guess those destinations will have to wait for another trip.

A starting point: In all of Italy, where do you most want to go?
Jean is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Do what we all have done in the past---plan 3 trips in advance based on geography, since you will return. That way you will not feel you have to include everythingn your first trip. I have gone back 16 times so far.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 02:26 PM
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If you don't want to drive, just approach your planning with figuring out what you can do on the train. And plan around that.

Does any place particularly capture your heart? For me that's Venice. I've only been to Italy twice, and both times went to Venice. While it is a "city" it does not feel hectic to me since there's no car/truck street traffic.
suze is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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Hi emma,

really to be able to help you we do need some more basic info as Jean points out.

There really is no need to see the "major sites" if you don't want to - I'd been to Italy about 10 times before i went to Rome; that said i loved it from the off and would recommend it to anyone.

the other "must see" for me in Italy is Venice - it is wonderful and we may not have it much longer.

add in some time by the coast [the CT?] and assuming you've got 2 weeks or so, you've got a trip!
annhig is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 06:00 PM
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First, exactly how many days do you have on the ground (not counting the day you arrive and depart)?

Secondly are you willing to drive on strange roads and are you comfortable with manual transmission (automatic transmission is quite rare in rental cars, higher rates and often only in larger, more expensive cars).

If you really want to see the deep countryside or stay in a very small town - yes, you will need a car.

But if you want a mix of major sights, smaller towns and countryside you can probably sort something out with public transit. For instance, you could spend 5 or 6 days in Venice, then train to Verona for a couple of days, do a couple of day trips to see Palladian villas in the countryside and then head to Lake Garda.

But you need to give us a little more info to start

No of days
Approximate budget
Some idea of where you want to go (look at tour brochures - with pics and guide books to make a couple of initial wants)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply, I appreciate your advice!!!

Apologies for the lack of info, you are right to point that out..eek! ;-) I will only have from Saturday to Saturday total time (including flights), so I guess that leaves me 6 full days, which i'm assuming is not really long enough to visit too many places.

I really like the idea of visiting Rome and Venice as I have heard such amazing things about them both, but I've also heard that the Amalfi coast is stunning (and I'd definitely like to schedule in a little chill time too!)

So I'm now thinking maybe fly to Rome (from london!) and spend 2-3 days visiting Rome and Venice, then spend, the last 3 days on the Amalfi coast, or do you think this is trying to cram too much in?

Maybe I should do as bobthenavigator says (thanks Bob!) and do the Rome/Venice in one trip and the coast another time. The only trouble with that, is if I go in May, I won't be returning for at least a year (funds!!) and also I'm a little eager to see as much as possible!

But realistically, i don't want to spend the whole 6 days travelling around too much as I won't feel as though I've had much of a rest. I'm not too keen o hiring a car, therefore places with no bus routes would probably be best avoided. nytraveller, my budget is not extensive, probably an absolute maximum (including absolutely EVERYTHING, of around £1000)

With regard to where......it all looks so good! I considered a tour guide trip over 2-3 weeks in the summer but they are very expensive and quite full-on, whereas, I do really want some chill out time too. So I decided to do a short Italy break in May, and maybe head to Thailand for few weeks in summer, but maybe I should just do a longer summer trip in Italy. I have heard that it is much nicer to visit around May time though as it's much less touristy!

Help! I'm obviously not very good at making travel decisions.....eek!
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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In 6 days I would stay in one place - but you can do 2 if you are willing to skim the surface and keep moving quickly. It would NOT be a relaxing vacation.

Doing 3 different places will mean you are spending a large part of your vacation in transit and IMHO a waste of time and money.

If you really want to relax I wold fly to Naples and just spend the week on the Amalfi coast.

If you decide on a city I would do either Rome or Venice with a day trip to Verona.

But not 3 widely spaced places.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Thank you very much
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Just one more question!........I have been advised to go to either The Amalfi coast, Sardinia or Tuscany.......which would you recommend out of these 3??? Thanks again all for your very useful advice and suggestions!
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Hi Emma

I wouldn't include both Venice and the Amalfi coast in one trip, they're just too far apart. The good thing is that from here in the UK you've only got around a couple of hours in the air, so no jetlag and maybe get in for lunch!

As you've not yet booked your air tickets and if you want to include the chill time, then it's Rome and the Amalfi coast. Split your time equally and try and fly into Rome and then out of Naples back to LHR or whichever London airport.

On the other hand, you could fly into Venice and out of Rome (or vice versa) to see those great cities. I'm with annhig on Venice. I never tire of seeing the place and it seems to get better every time.
Rubicund is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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You should investigate lodging availability in your budget range in these destinations before you commit to an itinerary. You're late in booking.
Jean is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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"6 full days" is not enough to start adding Amalfi coast, Sardinia or Tuscany. Unless you are skipping Rome, Venice, and Florence entirely??

Sorry I'm confused.
suze is offline  
Apr 19th, 2013, 02:29 PM
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Tuscany isn't easy to see without a car.

Sardinia is quite different than a trip to mainland Italy.

Are you really sure you want to see the major sights in Italy? It really doesn't sound convincing.

The idea to fly to Naples and spend your time on the Amalfi Coast seems more suited to your stated preferences.

You really don't have to go someplace just because "it seems a shame not to." If it's not your cup of tea, then it's just not.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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Just one more question!........I have been advised to go to either The Amalfi coast, Sardinia or Tuscany.......which would you recommend out of these 3??? >>

the trouble with that sort of advice is that it is normally totally subjective. do you know how long they had there, their budget, where else they had been etc .etc?

you could have a terrific time in any of those places [and in many others] but the more places you try to cram in, the less of any you will see.

with 6 days, if you want a city, I'd go for Rome. if you want the coast, go for Sorrento.
annhig is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Thank you all for the advice, it is much appreciated. Unfortunately i am late in booking Jean but that couldn't be helped, but I will definitely not let that put me off, I am determined to see some of Italy! I def won't try to do 3 places in 6 days, that wouldn't be sensible at all, but I had already considered flying to Rome for 2 nights and then heading to the Amalfi coast for the rest of the week. Thanks Rubicund for the same suggestion And thanks also tuscanlifeedit as you are right, I don't have to do the usual places just because they are expected! I'm sure that I will love wherever I go as it all looks so wonderful!

I think that I will try for Rome and the Amalfi coast this time and if i want to return (which I'm sure i will!) I can see Florence and venice then as they are closer!

Thank you all for your advice, it has all been very useful to me as a first time solo traveller!

I'll let you know how I get on!!
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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Hi Emma,

rather than doing Rome first and then the Amalfi, or splitting your stay in Rome into two, it would probably be better to go straight from the airport to the Amalfi [often a good way of using a day when you might be suffering from jetlag] spend you time on the Amalfi, then go back to rome to finish your stay.

that means you're in the right place for flying home [assuming you're flying into and out of Rome] AND you don't break your time there into two parts, which is an inefficient use of your time.
annhig is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Annhig is correct on the order of things.
Sassafrass is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 10:32 AM
  #19  
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Aha! I hadn't considered that! thanks annhig and Sassafrass
EmmaJH is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Emma, i hadn't considered it til i discovered fodors!

when you think about it, it's obvious, but i needed someone else to point it out to me too.
annhig is offline  

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