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First Trip to Italy - Advice needed

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Oct 8th, 2012, 07:26 AM
  #1
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First Trip to Italy - Advice needed

We are planning a our first trip to Europe. Rome, Florence and Venice and am struggling with using independent daily tours or going on our own. Any advice. Thinking about Central Holidays. They have daily 1/2 day tours, hotel accommodation choices and first class rail pacakges.
Bonnie_Maloney is offline  
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Oct 8th, 2012, 07:46 AM
  #2
 
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I would suggest finding a city bus tour, hop on hop off or a 3 -4 hour walking tour when you arrive in each city. This will give you a good overview of the "what to see" places and then you can decide where and what you want to spend more time with and go back on your own. It will more fun to explore these cities on foot or by public transportation and give you a chance to see some of the "off the beaten path" places or find quaint little cafes. We have used this method in Istanbul, Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Rome and found it meets our needs and we aren't tied into an extended tour with a guide that makes you want to kill yourself!!!!
Snowflake25 is offline  
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Oct 8th, 2012, 07:55 AM
  #3
 
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I think you can do better on your own, making your own hotel reservations and buying your own train tickets. The posters here at Fodor can help you. But that's our collective bent, researching ahead of time and avoiding packages and bus tours.

At your destination cities, you can pick up walking tours and excursions as you wish. We can also advise you on museum and tour reservations.

But you do need to have some time to do this research, sifting among the available options for what you want to see and do. Personally I enjoy the research as much as the trip, and the background knowledge I pick up adds a lot to my experience.

Important first advice: fly into Venice and out of Rome. This is called an open jaws ticket and should cost about the same as a round-trip ticket. (Click on multi-city at the airline websites.) This saves the time and money you'd spend getting back to your arrival city.

Fly into Venice because connecting flights out of Venice leave early robbing you of some time on the ground. Plus Venice is a nice relaxing introduction to Italy -- for those who arrive sleepy and jet-lagged after a long, overnight flight.

Hopefully you will have at least 10 days for this trip. Otherwise I'd suggest omitting Florence or only spending a day there en route. Ignore this advice if you're great fans of Renaissance art and architecture.
Mimar is online now  
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Oct 8th, 2012, 08:05 AM
  #4
 
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If you like being in a group, moving at the group's pace and having decisions made for you, then tours are a pretty painless way to go. Some of my in-laws only travel this way. But...

If you're willing and able to do some research, you can find hotels within your budget that may be better suited to you and your sightseeing plans than hotels picked by a company looking mainly at the bottom line. Search Fodor's Destination Guides (top of the page), other guide books, websites like venere.com, Tripadvisor.com, Karenbrown.com.

Many first-timers find Rick Steves' books helpful in easing their worries, but I don't generally recommend his hotel or restaurant suggestions.

If you're only taking two train rides (Rome-Florence, Florence-Venice), you can easily buy those tickets yourself. Even after you arrive in Italy.
Jean is offline  
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Oct 8th, 2012, 08:51 AM
  #5
 
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I think that you will be fine taking the advice offered here. We have been to Italy many times, and the first couple of times were on our own, then we took two cruises (Oceania) that involved Italy. Once, we took their Vatican tour (it was excellent) and the other time, we simply used their "Rome on your own" bus from Civitavecchia to Rome and return. The rest of the times, we have gone on our own and once you get used to the rhythm of the Italian life style, you will do fine.

Simply pose your questions on this forum, and you will get sound advice based on much experience.
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