First trip to Italy

Feb 6th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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First trip to Italy

I have been invited to visit Italy by my good friend who will be house-sitting in Lucca for a few months this Spring. She has been there many times, but this is my FIRST VISIT! I will be going for 10 days in May. She suggested I can either fly into Milan or Rome (from Florida) and she would meet me there. I am a "young" and "fit" 62 year old woman who loves all art and cultural activities. I would appreciate ANY and ALL SUGGESTIONS for a great itinerary!! Thanks in advance for your help!!
MarciaK is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Umm, well if your friend is house-sitting in Lucca, just what do you mean by an itinerary? A day to day list of suggestions of what to see and do in and around Lucca? Google can provide you with more than enough answers for that. For example:
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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I would ask your friend for guidance/suggestions on an itinerary. She knows you well, what you like to see/do, and she knows the area. Many of us can recommend things, but we don't know you, and our ideas will say more about our interests than yours.
Jean is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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if you mean that you'd like suggestions for other places that you can go to with your friend, as she is house-sitting, she may have some specific ideas about where she wants to go. but if not, the obvious plan would be to fly into Rome, spend a few days there, then move onto Florence, and end in Lucca, flying home either from Florence or Milan.

[you do know about open-jaw flights? use the "multi-city" button on the airline website and you can fly into one place and out of another for the same as or not much more than a round trip flight]

with only 10 days, you don't really have time for staying in more 3 places.

in fact it might be argued that with 10 days, you don't really have time for Rome AND florence. you could substitute Venice for Rome; 3 nights there is not enough either, but enough to give you a feel for the place and to see some of the main sights.
annhig is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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You might also consider flying into Pisa, much closer to Lucca than the other 2.

I think you'll love Lucca. Last time I was there I had an apartment for a week and couldn't have been happier. Lucky friend, lucky you!

I suggest going on a day trip to Barga, not far from Lucca and a bit off the beaten path.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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If you have a place to stay in Italy, I would use it as a base. From Lucca, you could do day trips to Pisa, Florence, Fiesole, the Garfagnana region in the hills behind Lucca, Prato, and other places in the area. All can be visited by train and bus.

If you fly into Rome, you could have a short stay in Siena or Orvieto (or a million other places between Rome and Lucca).

If you fly into Milan, you could visit somewhere between Milan and Lucca, such as along the coast, Parma, Mantova, etc.

You'll have a lovely time but 10 days will fly by. Don't rush around but take advantage of your friends knowledge of things Italian and relax.
dreamon is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 02:38 PM
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This forum is amazingly active - 5 responses in less than 10 minutes!
dreamon is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 03:15 PM
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Thank you all for your speedy responses!! I am now thinking about flying into Rome and maybe flying back from Milan or Florence. Good suggestion to check out that option!! Spend a few nights in Rome and then head back toward Lucca. Since I only have 10 days, it sounds like I should stick with Rome and Florence and maybe the neighborhoods around my friend's house!!
Thank you all again for your input!!
MarciaK is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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Don't miss Venice.
suze is online now  
Feb 6th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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10 days. Fly into Venice - even if it costs a bit extra. Stay 3 nights. Train to Florence and on to Luca. Friend could meet you in Venice or Florence. Fly home from Florence, Pisa, or Rome. Can you stretch your 10 days to 12? Do it if you possibly can.
Sassafrass is offline  
Feb 6th, 2014, 04:59 PM
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Even if you fly into Rome, you don't have to stay there. Of course, it's a wonderful place and fine if you want to but don't see it as a necessity if your interest is in smaller places. It's very easy to take a train directly from the airport towards Lucca or other places enroute. will show you train timetables (click on tutti treni for all trains).

There are so many options open to you and only you can know what you'd like best but I think very sensible of you to stay in maximum 2 or 3 places in your 10 days.
dreamon is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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Marcia, I think your plan is fine. With 10 days in Lucca, you have a wonderful chance to stay in one place, get to know a neighborhood, meet some Italians who may recognize you the second or third time they see you. Lucca is a lovely little city. I've often thought I wouldn't mind living there. (Another such lovely little Italian city is Ferrara.)

You can make numerous day trips from Lucca, as indicated above by dreamon. Florence and Pisa are both very easy day trips from Lucca. If you could stretch your trip enough to allow three or four nights in Rome, you'd have time to get a glimpse of that city.

I would assume that this will be your first trip to Italy, not your only trip, and resist the urge to add destinations.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 7th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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We spent nearly a month in Italy in 2011. After a week in Rome, we spent 2 weeks at a flat in Umbria, they drove to Cinque Terre for 2 nights, stopping in Lucca for lunch. What a really neat town it is. You will love it. As your friend is wanting to show you around a bit, fly into Rome and spend a couple of nights there. Take the train to Orvieto and spend a night up top then train on to Florence for a couple of nights, then back to Lucca....or based on your hostess' suggestions you may just want to skip Florence and head for Lucca to base your explorations from there. For example you could probably train it to Cinque Terre to see the coast and spend a night and go back to Lucca. Visit Pisa or Florence on a day-trip. Maybe then schedule your flight home from Florence.

Ten days will fly past. Italy is such a wonderful place to be. Rome is a terrific city, and you should spend at least two, maybe 3 nights there. It might be best to just plan for Rome and then use Lucca as your base to daytrip from. It would be easy to see a lot of Tuscany and Cinque Terre from there, and to fly home from Florence.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions!!! You are making my trip-planning so much easier!!!
MarciaK is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 04:30 PM
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Marcia, you will have a wonderful time!
In Fall 2012 I rented a small mountain retreat outside of Pescia (which is 45 min east of Lucca). The trains run easily between Lucca and Florence (check out Montecatini Terme - quaint and interesting for its Baths). In a 2 week period you can take in Rome for a few days, the coast is lovely, we drove to Montepulciano and back one day, a day trip or two into Florence is also easy. Like most have suggested, your friend will probably have ideas - my kids joined me with the grands and I was the tour operator. I am 62 also and drove all over! There are some wonderful surprises just taking the roads up into the hills in the area.
Time will fly! Take the time to just sit at a cafe and people watch. I loved it!
nanael is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 11:41 PM
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Marcia Pisa is likely to be cheaper to fly in and out of, it is a bigger airport than Florence.

We spent a week in Lucca last summer and loved it! We did day trips to the Leaning Tower, Florence, was wonderful!

We have lots of details in our trip report

And the pics are here

Happy planning!
jamikins is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Pisa and Florence airports are the most convenient, but will require changing planes somewhere in Europe. Delta has some seasonal flights JFK/PSA, but might not start until June.

If you do fly in or out of Pisa, there is bus service from Lucca.

If you fly in/out of Rome, I would take the train onto Lucca upon arrival and visit Rome at the end of the trip.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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A taxi from Pisa Airport to Lucca is not terribly expensive and can be much more convenient than public transport options. But it is the most convenient airport to Lucca for location. And if budget is at all an issue then changing to a low fare carrier allows one to book the lowest fare into Europe to a place that has such flights to Pisa. Do keep in mind, though, changes of airport as these carriers often use secondary airports.

This shows low fare airlines with flights to/from Pisa:
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 8th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Another vote for flying into Rome and staying there a few days. Then Florence, Lucca and environs. The cultural riches in Rome will inspire you... I recommend skipping the Coloseum and Forum. Must-sees are Borghese Gallery, Capitoline sculpture museum, Vatican museums and the other standard highlights. Just walking around the city is fantastic, it is a spectacular place.

Florence is less on display, more closed in. There, besides the Uffizi etc. don't miss the Bargello for its sculpture.

If you like opera, try to catch a performance.
danlev is offline  

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