First Trip to Italy

Jul 4th, 2011, 08:38 AM
  #1  
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First Trip to Italy

I would appreciate suggestions. I have a 2 week trip planned for October 2012. It MUST include Ascoli-Pisceno in Le Marche (my dad was born there). I was thinking Rome, a week in Umbria with day trips including one to Ascoli (is that feasible?), then Florence/Venice. Is a week in Umbria too long? I really want more than just a tourist view of Italy and do not want to be in a new hotel every day or two. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
italy2012 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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You are trying to do too much. You simply cannot stuff Rome, Florence and Venice - and the travel in between - into one week. For a first trip to Rome 3 full days (4 nights) is the absolute minimum IMHO - although Iwould really say 5 days to get a real flavor. Also you ned at lest 2 full days (3 nights) each for florence and Venice. You are ogint to hae to cut back on something based on what you really want to see most.

And definitely do an open-jaws ticket - into the first city and out of the last - to avoid wasting a full day getting back to Rome. (Open jaws are no more expensive - look at multi-destination options.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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WIth two weeks, I would not spend a week in Umbria if you want to see Rome, Florence and Vwenice. If you spend 5 days in Rome and 3 each in Florence and Venice, that leaves you 2 or 3 for Umbria and Ascoli. Decide what is most important to you and include that.

I'm not familiar with Ascoli but it is not terribly far from Assisi. Depending on transportation options, you could probably either stop on your way from Rome to Umbria or take a day trip from Assisi. My Michelin guide indicates Ascoli is a location worth visiting so you might want to stop overnight on your way to Umbria.
mamcalice is offline  
Jul 4th, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Hi, italy2012,

what's wrong with Rome and Umbria as a first trip?

in 2 weeks you could have a great time, starting somewhere in Umbria more or less halfway between Rome and Ascoli, then Ascoli itself, ending in Rome. that way, you hire your car from the airport, use it for the first two parts of your trip, and return it in say, Orvieto, before getting the train back to Rome.

leave Florence and Venice for another trip.
annhig is offline  
Jul 4th, 2011, 01:49 PM
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If this were my trip, this is what I might do:

Arrive Rome airport and train immediately to Spoleto (about 2.5 hours). Check into a hotel in Spoleto, walk around a bit, have dinner and crash. Pick up the rental car the next day and begin to explore Umbria. You could move to a different base in Umbria if you wanted to be in a smaller town, but Spoleto does work well as a base for Umbria and would seem to be the closest/best place for day-tripping to Ascoli (about 2 hours one way). If you move to a base like Assisi, Spello, Bevagna, Montefalco, etc., consider spending a night in Ascoli rather than driving upwards of 5 hours round trip in one day.

Return the car at Spoleto or Foligno and train (about 90-100 minutes) to Rome for the rest of your time in Italy.

I agree with annhig and would leave Venice and Florence for another trip. There is so much to see in Umbria and Rome.
Jean is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 03:34 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi It,

I think a week in Umbria, for a first-timer, is 5 days too long.

Flying into Venice - 4 days
Train to Florence - 3 days NOW is a good time to to get a car. IF NOT
Train to Ascoli Piceno - 2 days (the train goes through Bologna, so you might wish to break your trip for the day)
Train to Rome - 4-5 days

Train schedules and prices are at www.trenitalia.com

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 04:30 AM
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I think a week in Umbria, for a first-timer, is 5 days too long.>>

rarely Ira do i find myself in disagreement with you, but on this occasion, i could not disagree more. Umbria is vast and exploring it could take far longer than 5 days. it fits beautifully with a trip to rome and the OP's need to visit Ascoli which neither Venice nor Florence do.
annhig is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Our first visit to Umbria was 5 days, and my husband had to pry my hands off our rental car and drag me to the train at the end of our stay. Our second visit to Umbria was 7 days. Still not enough time. We'll be returning some day.
Jean is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 01:05 PM
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If you decide to go to Florence and the surrounding areas I feel you need a minimum of 4-5 full days.
KeppieAngel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Just got back fly RT cheaply into ROM

kayak.com/buzz

seat61.com trenitalia.it train around

Plenty of time to do Umbria assisi.com old town

was at Orvieto awesome Etruscan hill town on your way

Train Orvieto Florence a couple of hours 4 euros for me

in May....

Venice-tourism.com is awesome not far by fast train

FrecciaArgento 2 hours 40 euros for me in May

www.hotelpausania.it #211 awesome little canal view room

in the Dorsoduro paid 59 euro Otel.com got some cash back too

Perugia is the only sort of ugly uni town in Umbria

would not spend much time there...

Flexibility is the key scoot around on regional trains

cheap fun... Booked around my flights Sheraton Roma South

for $69 on Hotwire.com airport shuttle good for me around

flights... they have a new bed tax in the big cities that

will add several euros per person to your bill there

so be aware... Florence is trying to charge 1 euro per person

per hotel star per day so a couple in a 5 star adds 10 euro/da

Sort of killing the tourist goose that lays the golden egg

for me plan to make many more rural stays...
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 05:45 AM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi Ann and Jean,

The OP has only 2 weeks.

Rome is worth at least 5 days.

Are you suggesting a week in Umbria in lieu of visiting Florence and Venice for a first-time visit?

ira is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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Why not Florence and Venice?

Just curious.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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Ira, if the OP had not stated that Ascoli is a "must," then my comments would have been different. But Ascoli isn't in the direction of either Venice or Florence. Driving Ascoli-Florence is 4+ hours, Ascoli-Venice is 4+ hours, and the same journeys by train are even longer. Yes, the OP can scramble around to 'see' everything, go everywhere, but a lovely trip could be had at a leisurely pace exploring Umbria, a bit of Le Marche for Ascoli, and Rome. If the OP can arrange open-jaw flights (which some here have recently reported are increasingly expensive), then obviously other options work.

Sometimes a traveler's needs/wants dictate the itinerary. There is no rule that every newbie's trip include Venice and/or Florence.
Jean is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 10:38 AM
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Wonderful feedback that is SO helpful. Yes, Ascoli is a MUST so I will definitely consider holding Venice and/or Florence for another trip unless I can get open-jaw flights. I look forward to any other thoughts any of the members might want to share!
italy2012 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Are you suggesting a week in Umbria in lieu of visiting Florence and Venice for a first-time visit?>>

yep, Ira, that\s just what I'm suggesting. the OP does not have time to see Rome, and visit Ascoli, Florence and Venice and fly back out of Rome, unless he does one of those `'if it's tuesday it must be Venice" trips, that I know you dislike.

it makes sense for him/her to do what Jean says and concentrate on Umbria this time, rather than Florence and Venice. it's hardly a hardship, is it?
annhig is offline  
Jul 9th, 2011, 07:10 AM
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So, thinking maybe I should not focus on Umbria but fly into Rome, spend 4-5 days exploring Rome, train to Le Marche for 2-3 days, rent a car and explore Le Marche and obviously Ascoli, then train to Florence (if I can get the return flight from Florence). Does this make more sense than dedicating a week to Umbria?
italy2012 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2011, 07:40 AM
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It's hard to say what is the optimum, different strokes for different folks.

Personally, I would not spend that much time in Rome and miss out on Venice.

I'm glad you've included Florence. If Rome is important as the seat of the Roman Empire, then Florence is important because that's where the Renaissance began. The amount of art in Florence is staggering.

A four-hour drive is nothing to this Californian, so it's really different strokes... after all, you do have two weeks, what's a 4-hour drive through beautiful countryside?

BTW, I'm not a big city person, so for me the charm of Italy is in its countryside, in its small towns. One day I'm going to stop off in Mantua - it's by a lake and always looks so appealing.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 9th, 2011, 07:49 AM
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easytraveler--4 hour drive from where to where?
italy2012 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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italy2012, Rome, a bit of Le Marche, and Florence would be a lovely trip, but you'll be covering some fair distances in between your bases. Only your time in Le Marche would be "more than just a tourist view of Italy" (as you wrote in your original post), but IMO there are no 'bad' destinations in Italy, just not enough time.

It's 6+ hours by train from Rome to Ascoli, so you can assume the better part of a day will be lost to travel. If you rented the car in Rome, I think you'd beat the train by 3 hours. The train ticket, however, could be as cheap as 15 euros which I assume would be much less than one day of rental plus gas and tolls. (Hopefully, you can find a hotel in the Ascoli area that offers free parking.)

The train journey from Ascoli to Florence is 5+ hours, so unless you get a very early start you will pretty much lose another day to travel. Driving might save an hour, depending on where you return the car in Florence. FYI, there are parts of Florence where cars without permits are not allowed to enter. If you return the car in Florence, you need to research your route carefully to avoid entering the ZTL (Zona a Traffico Limitato).

http://en.comune.firenze.it/mobility/driving.html
Jean is offline  
Jul 11th, 2011, 06:43 AM
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Jean

Thanks so much! Yes, I know that the Ascoli segment will be the chance to get the more local flavor. The info on the travel times and options is very helpful!
italy2012 is offline  

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