First trip to Italy

Aug 4th, 2005, 12:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 8
First trip to Italy


My boyfriend and I are planning our first vacation together and we really would love to go to Italy. We're thinking of finding a home base, renting a villa for 8 days and schedule a few day trips. We're on a bit of a budget, so we thought that would be the most reasonable way to do it. One friend recommended finding a place in Bolonia (spelling??) and then taking train trips to venice, florence, rome, etc. We probably won't be able to rent a car for the whole week, so we'd like to stay somewhere central where we'll have plenty to do and also be able to easily take other trips by train. I'm not sure if it's feasible...we might need to rent a car, but I wondered if anyone had any suggestions. They would be much appreciated!!! Thank you!
tgreens is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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Posts: 74,334
Hi tg,

Bologna is a university town - so might be a good idea for you. Also consider Florence. I can highly recommend the B&B Peterson. See

Renting a villa ( I'm assuming somewhere in Tuscany)is pretty much going to require that you have a car.

See for train schedules and prices from Bologna to Florence, Venice, Padua, Verona, Rome, Orvieto, Pisa and Lucca, and La Spezia (Cinque Terre).

Have a nice trip.

ira is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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The vila rental/day trip idea is fine. But only if you want to see places that are quite nearby - 30minutes or an hour - not reall more. The places you want to see are too far from a villa near Bologna to make this feasible. You would be spending way too much time on the road - or on the train.

And to do a villa you really do need a car - most are far enough from towns that the bus to train to wherever would make day trips very onerous.

If I were you I would pick two centers - either rome and florene or rome and Venice - and just look for budget accomodation. If you don;t have to pay all those train fares or car rental your costs would go down.

Also - one of the joys of touring Italy is the 8-10 or 11pm dinners with the romantic strolls through the town afterward (beautiful piazzas with floodlit fountains, window shopping etc). With your plan that wouldn;t be possible - you would always be rushing dinner - or eating at an ungodly early hour - to catch a train - or drive back to the villa.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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In addition to hostels, Italy has a surprising number of convent (and monastery) facilites available. Those should be in the 40 euro per person category. Also 2* hotels for 100 euro per night can be found.

With eight days, you need resoanble expectations on how many cities you can see. (Rome and Venice with one or two day trips is about the max.) You don't need (or want) a car in a major city.

Enjoy your trip.
Aug 4th, 2005, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
While I don't want to splash cold water on your dream idea of a atrip, let me throw out a few realities:

1. "a bit of a budget" means a very broad spectrum, actually, and 25-50% might be spent on transport to get you to/from Italy, if you live on some continent other than Europe - - and that will depend a lot on what month you are thinking to travel (and whether it's this year or next). Your three best budget choices, in the next 12 months are a) Dec-Mar, b) Apr-Jun and c) late-Oct-Nov - - this is in (most probable) price order (though any of these could be identical to the other - - again, so much depends on "from where?")...

...and in "nicest" order, it would probably be b, c, a. Of course, the advice will change a lot depending on this basic choice.

2. Renting a "villa" is a fabulous experience, but two people on a budget face this dilemma... anything bigger than a tiny cottage (i.e, the size of a studio or one-BR apartment - - and these are rare as hen's teeth) will have been designed to sleep four, if not more. And thus, it will be priced as if four people (or more) will be splitting the price. Not a "budget" item for two people.

3. Whil lodging cost goes down in direct proportion to "remoteness", transport costs within Italy will inherently go up - - to get there in the first place, and to get to/from there to any of the places you want to see on your days and nights. Your friend's advice of putting you on the main "Rome-Venice trunk" is sound, but it should ideally be some place that you intrinsically like staying (and seeing what is close at hand), for 50% of the days/nights you spend there. Bologna might indeed fit, as would Florence, Verona, Arezzo, Cortona or Orvieto. I think you will probably want two or three nights in the (big, better-known, more expensive) city of your choice (i.e.,, Rome, Florence or Venice... most likely choose one only) - - unless you want an "all-smaller-town" type of trip - - you could spend the entire 8 days/nights on Lake Garda, for example, and never visit any "city" larger than, say... Verona. Once again, the month of your choice influences the decision a lot.

So, give us more information: where traveling from, when, and a more specific budget range - - and it will lead you to better specific advice.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Bringing your message back up "to the top" since you are new here - - how do I know that? Click on your own name. It's a valuable tip that Fodors fails to provide to you when they send that initial e-mail confirming your registration.
rex is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 957
Everybody has a budget .... the question is, what range does yours fall in?

This forum is an excellent resource for travel in Italy. Italy is a very popular destination on this travel board. However if you're seeking even more economical suggestions for accommadations/restaurants, etc. then also explore The Lonely Planet's message board (

JBX is offline  
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