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susan4 Jan 14th, 2004 08:13 PM

Help planning trip to Italy
Reading messages from Ira and others has convinced us to visit Italy on our own. (1st trip was with student tour with only 1! day in Florence) My husband and I will be leaving from Chicago, plan to be gone 8-9 days in February (2004!) and want to visit Florence and Venice. We need help with transportation info between airports and trains/hotels. We don't want a car and love trains (though have never traveled on one in Europe). Does it make sense to fly into Rome and take a train to Florence (or vice/versa) We would like to fly American Airlines (more leg room) and flying directly into Florence is too expensive. How much does it cost to take a taxi from airport to railstation? I know railstation in Florence is right in city. Same in Venice? Has anyone stayed at Hotel Paris in Florence? Thanks to all for the great info. Susan4

drsneeze Jan 14th, 2004 08:49 PM

Hi there:

I don't know much about the Taxi rates in Italy because we never took one while we were there in '02 for two weeks. The train routes between Rome <-> Florence <-> Venice are great. Get on a Eurostar which runs almost every hour and you should have no problems. The rail station in Venice is not exactly in the heart of the city, but it has a Vaporetto (water bus) stop right outside so it's not hard to go anywhere you want once you arrive. The trick is getting on with your luggage...fortunately we travelled light.

Cheeky_Monkey Jan 14th, 2004 08:59 PM

I have taken the train from Rome to Florence twice in the past few years. It is efficient and definitely doable, but when debating the merits of airfares such as you are there are a few things to consider. First is: what is your time worth? You will kill the better part of the day getting from the Rome airport to the trains and then up to Florence so you have esentially given up one day to save... how much money? If you're talking about a couple of hundred dollars I would say it is not worth it.

There is no need to have a car for this itinerary. Florence to Venice on a train is also easy to do. In this case, you will arrive at a train station just across from Venice where you take a water taxi to get to the other side. Easy to do. Just know which stop to get off at (St. Marks?, etc.) to get to your hotel. Have a good map of Venice as it is amazingly complex and easy to get lost in and when you're dragging luggage behind you and carrying it over bridges, you want the most direct short route possible.

Your other option is to fly into Venice and do your itinerary in reverse.

These are two sublime destinations. One tip: if you are going to climb the Duomo in Florence, do it first thing in the morning. When it is crowded it is quite oppressive and claustraphobic. First thing in the morning you can climb the 420 stairs or so at your own pace and get up there for an amazing view.

You are going to have a wonderful time.

DebiC Jan 14th, 2004 09:13 PM

Hi Susan,
We stayed at the Hotel Paris in October 2001. It had a great location close to train station, two blocks from Duomo, close to everything. Rooms were very nice with comfortable beds. Beautiful breakfast room with great food! I would definitely stay there again.
Have a great time!

Weadles Jan 15th, 2004 04:27 AM

Hi Susan4,

I would recommend flying into London on American. From there, you can fly British Airways into Pisa. Pisa is about an hour drive from Florence. It is very possible that Easyjet and/or Ryanair fly into Pisa or Florence, too. Just check their schedules, etc.

Good luck!

Lexma90 Jan 15th, 2004 06:30 AM

Here are some flight possibilities. I don't think you want to fly into Rome if you plan to visit Venice and Florence. I don't know the prices on the following, but it'll give you some ideas: United (through a code-share with Lufthansa) flies from a bunch of places, through Frankfurt, directly to Venice (maybe American has a similar arrangement). Stepping out of the Venice airport to a view of Venice is a wonderful sight! Or fly into Milan, then take an easy several-hour train ride to Florence (we've done this several times). Or, obviously, you could fly into Milan and out of Venice, or vice versa. If you could fly open jaws it would save you travel time.

As I recall, it shouldn't cost too much to take a cab from the train station in Florence. Obviously, you don't have that option in Venice! But the waterbus goes from the airport to many convenient stops, then you can walk from there. I've never taken them, but I've heard that water taxis (esp. from the airport) are expensive.

ira Jan 15th, 2004 06:59 AM

Hi Susan

Here are three threads that might be useful to you

Ira?s Trip Report;tid=34451044

Helpful Information: Italy;tid=34443340

Trenitalia Tickets Online;tid=34465647

I found ORD/FLR for $589 on Delta by way of Paris and ORD/Venice on Lufthansa for $529 by way of Munich in mid-Feb.

Open jaw into Venice and out of Florence is $577 on Delta. I recommend this because it is easier to get to the airport in Florence than in Venice.

RT ORD/Rome is $521. I don't think
it is a good idea to fly into/out of Rome - wastes too much time for the meager savings.

Taxi from train station in Florence to the airport is about 12-15 E. Price is similar to take the Aililaguna ferry in Venice. see

I'm not familiar with your hotel, but it looks nice from the website, and the location is good.

Have a great trip.

mamc Jan 15th, 2004 07:54 AM

I agree with the above. It is so much easier to fly into Florence and out of Venice or vice versa. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life was taking the Alilaguna (water bus) from the Venice airport to St. Marks Sq. I will never forget the vista - it is permanently imprinted. And I can't wait to do it again. The trains are wonderful and very convenient and it easy to get from the train station in either Florence or Venice to wherever you plan to stay. What a lovely trip - you will have a fabulous time!

mendota98 Jan 15th, 2004 08:13 AM

Hi susan4,

I returned recently from 4 nights in Florence and 10 nights in Rome. My family of four used taxi's many times. We found them reasonable and cost effective. For example: Florence airport to center of city was about 15 Euros. Center of city to train station 10 Euros. Center of Rome to airport 40 Euros. This travel included 4 people and 4 pieces of luggage and at night.

We always asked the approximate fare before entering the cab. The taxicabs are all white in Florence and Rome and every driver was courteous. In Rome there are unmetered cabs that are twice the price or more. They try to bargain with you and when we were desperate we paid the price.

We took the train from Florence to Rome and it was a piece of cake. Don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure you know which car you are supposed to be occupying.
Good luck,

susan4 Jan 20th, 2004 04:45 PM

Thanks everyone. I have posted our plans sofar and 3 questions on the forum under "hotels in Florence...".

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