First trip to italy-help!

Apr 25th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
First trip to italy-help!

I'm a little overwhelmed with all the options available. We want to go the last two weeks of September, so I know I need to get hopping on the planning, so I hope you can help. We are in our early 30's, like hiking and quaint romantic INNs, and can certainly deal with minimal services. We like wine and food, and our minds picture of Italy is sitting in an outdoor cafe, sipping coffee or wine. We aren't much for museums or churches, but would like to see just a selct few that are must see. We do like to see old ruins. We think that we want to include Cinqua Terra in our itinerary, but beyond that we are very flexible. We have two weeks. Thanks.
koala is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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I suggest you read some guide books and look at some travel TV shows or videos to narrow down the places and sights that appeal to you.
Jean is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Hi koala,
Along the same lines as suggested by Jean, above, I would begin with the Rick Steves Guide to Italy and also purchase the Michelin map of the entire country. You can get them both, with a discount, on Amazon.
Do some homework, then, when you need help narrowing down come back and ask here. The Guide will have ideas as to how best to spend the two weeks. It will fly by. Happy Traveling!
GBC is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Cinqua Terra is a fabulous destination and would be the highpoint of your trip. Start from Portofino. Research it, because it's almost impossible to get a car into any of the villages, but they have great train service. I would focus on that corner of Italy. Two weeks sounds like a lot of time but it's not. YOu didn't say where you were flying into. Rome? Milan? Whatever city you are flying into, spend a couple of days there, first. Are you renting a car? Car or train, I would focus on Tuscany (the grapes for the wines are fat and happy in September), Lucca, Pisa, or any town that is also the name of a wine. There are lots of fun wineries. If you want to go to Florence, (and you do because you have to go to the Uffizi Gallery, even if you don't like museums),stay in Firenze, on the hill above the city. They have an amazing hotel there that is too expensive for most people, (St. Michel)but serves excellent wine in their bar with a view of the Florence for ther rest of us. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Firenze that had been a nunnery 400 years ago. Firenze has an amazing museum of its own right in the basement of a little church by the hill. You have to stumble into it, make a donation, and be amazed at your colorful discovery. Even non-museum goers would enjoy it. My husband did! They also have direct bus service into Florence (easy - really). Also consider Lake Como, (home of the REAL Bellagio)and Lake Maggiorre (sp?). Three suggestions. One - use Karen Brown ( for your hotel choices, or for one or two special nights. She is the guru of quaint hotels, inns and b&bs for Italy, and her guides are the best. Second, if you are driving, avoid any towns on the map that have large dots. The small dot towns are the most charming anyway, and least aggrevating to drive through. Driving in Italy is really hard. The streets are narrow and the towns have scary walls around them. Third - if you are driving, make sure your relationship is solid, because, although the rewards of having your own car is beyond anything else imaginable, it can cause some difficulties when the signs indicate that the town you want to see is just where you came from. Hope this helps. I think I'll go have a glass of Montepulciano.
desertginter is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Make copies of your tkts/passports/credit cards. Wear a neck pouch and money belt.
Pago is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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I'm sorry, but this drives me crazy - it's Cinque Terre (not Cinqua Terra or any other variation on it - it means the five regions or territories). If you're trying to do research on the internet on it it would really help to know the correct term.

End of lesson....
StCirq is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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StCirq, I think the incorrect spelling flows from incorrect pronunciation.

Ergo, under the curse of Phonics, CHIN-kwa TAIR-uh becomes cinqua terra. I've also heard CHINK-a TAIR-ee. Sigh.
Jean is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Uh...just to correct desertginter...the town above Florence is called Fiesole...not Firenze. Firenze is the Italian word for Florence.

Sorry to nitpick.
camelbak is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Both corrections are appreciated. Shouldn't try to spell late at night with a glass of wine. I loved my time Fiesole, and that is what I meant to say. Can't help somebody else if I can't get the name of the town right. Also, Cinque Terra is so beautiful, it should be dignified with correct spelling AND pronunciation. (Tough critics out there!)
desertginter is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Are you driving once you arrive or travelling by train? We're in our early 30's and pretty low maintenance. We really enjoyed driving. The autoroute tolls can certainly add up, but it was a great way for us to experience the small towns as well as the attractions in the big cities. Just an idea.
skriss is offline  

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