Aug 3rd, 1997, 12:16 PM
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Hello! I am trying to plan a trip to Italy. Our main points of interest are Florence, Rome, Venice, the Leaning tower of Pisa, maybe even Milan and Naples. Please advise on a good travel plan and inexpensive places to stay. Add any other points of interest that you found too!
Aug 4th, 1997, 07:53 AM
Raleigh Ragan
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My wife and I spent a wonderful week three years ago in Rome, Venice, and Florence. We flew into Rome and then took the train to Venice and Florence. I would recommend the "Let's Go" books to find good, cheap places to stay. Also, we bought quasi-backpack/suitcases that were wonderful. Pack as light as possible!

ROME: Of course the Coliseum and the area surrounding it. Make sure you see the Pantheon - it is really cool, but check the hours (we got there 10 minutes it closed). Piazza Novona is neat and Trevi Fountain is a fun place to hang-out at night. We saw the Vatican, but were disappointed at not seeing the Sistine Chapel - try to see it. Note: Book at least your first night ahead of time. It's no fun getting off a plane, a train, and then searching for a hotel in a strange city.

VENICE: Loved this city so much we stayed an extra day. St. Peters Square is fantastic and you have to take a gondola ride even thought they're overpriced. Just wander - there is no city like this in the world. Nearby glass-making island Merano (sp?) is interesting. Email me and I'll find the name of number of the simple, cheap and clean pensione we stayed in.

FLORENCE: Least of our favorites, but we're not as iterested on museums, etc. GO SEE DAVID. Unbelivable at 16 feet tall. Go to the top of the Duomo (large church). Shop for hours on the Pointe Vecchio (sp?) bring for a neat piece of jewelry.

Any other questions, email me and I'll do my best to help. You'll love it!

Aug 7th, 1997, 07:39 AM
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Holly, Those destinations are typical for a first trip
to Italy. However, all of the big cities have the same mutual problems-----the 3 "C's"-----cost, crime, and crowds. If you want to explore the best
of Italy and control the cost then consider staying
outside the cities. I you desire more input then
contact me directly.
Aug 7th, 1997, 12:40 PM
L. Hamilton
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I too planning a honeymoon in Italy. We have about 5 days to spend in each of the Lake district and the Amalfi coast? We are a bit older (35) and can afford a couple of really expensive nights if the hotels are worth it.

Aug 8th, 1997, 01:59 PM
Monica Richards
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Last year I had the good fortune to spend a month long honeymoon in Italy. We stayed in Lago di Como in the lake district and the Grand Hotel Villa Serbolina (?). It is the nicest hotel in Bellagio, for the couple that wanted the luxurious place. Not cheap, though.

For sights to see, I was disappointed in Florence (way too crowded, and not much going on after you saw David), and loved Venice! Get the Rick Steve's guide and do his Osteria (wine bar) tour there--too much fun. There also isn't much going on in Milan. I heard Pisa was overrated as well. Rome was great. I liked touring the Foro Romano, although don't go during the heat of the day--I thought I was going to faint. Allow a full day for the Vatican. The night-time City walk was fun too. I didn't find any part of Italy any more dangerous than any other city--there were a few pickpocketing children in Florence, but that was all. We also made it down to Pompeii, which was really something to see. And the smaller towns, like Assisi and Siena are nice too. You can get to all of these places via train, which I highly recommend!

Aug 24th, 1997, 05:50 PM
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An inexpensive trip to Venice, Rome or Florence??? Tough to do unless you are young and willing to put up with the inconveniences. If not, stay out of the big cities and enjoy the countryside. I would suggest a Rough Guide (British) or a Berkeley Guide (CA) if you really want a bare bones guidebook. The good news is that the exchange rate is great right now--1850 lire to the dollar! Trains are a good option also but you need to plan a careful itinerary or you will spend a lot of time changing trains and seeing nothing. If the crowds bother you, go in late October or April--those are our favorite times.
Aug 26th, 1997, 03:38 PM
Cary Thomas
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In May I was able to stay at my dream hotel - Villa d'Este. The hotel is located about 10 to 15 minutes outside of Como on the western side of Lago di Como. What an absolutely wonderful hotel. Gourmet magazine recently voted Villa d'Este one of the top 25 hotels in the world. They also voted it one of the most romantic. If you stay there, be sure to request a lake view room. It is worth every penny. For more info visit their web site - www.villadeste.it
Aug 31st, 1997, 11:04 PM
Dave De Jear
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First timers in Italy! Going to Milan, Bologna, Florence, Siena. Upper 20's couple. Trying not to spend a fortune, but would like to stay in clean, reasonable hotels. Would love suggestions on sites, restaurants. Thanks.
Sep 2nd, 1997, 10:03 AM
Rosemary Augustine
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I spent three incredible weeks in Italy in late May/early June. Do not miss Sorrento. Also make sure you visit Herculaneum-it's better than Pompeii. In Florence make sure you visit the Ufizzi (sp?) Museum. Also do NOT miss the Vatican Museum. Skip the Cupola climb unless you are in great shape. Orvieto is a wonderful hill town. Get Rick Steves' book. He will give you his opinion, and although I did not agree with him all the time, he is very helpful and his book is lightweight. He did not like Portofino nearly as much as I did. I also think he overrated Cinque Terre and Bolzano. Have a wonderful time on your trip.
Sep 2nd, 1997, 06:09 PM
J Cuttino
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Join ABC travel ($30) and take "Unbelievible Italy" for $1169 you get 10 days Venice/florence/Rome from Newark, JFK, Boston or Chicago. This includes lodging/2 meals daily and transportation. Additional tours a must. 1-973-338-8687
Sep 14th, 1997, 06:43 PM
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My fiance and I are taking a trip to Italy the last two weeks of October. I have been doing a lot of research on the areas and costs for this trip.
We plan on visiting my fiance's grandmother there in a small village. He is familiar with Italy because he is Italian and has been there many times. His recommendations for me was to plan only two meals a day, which will cut your costs down and it makes sense because they don't eat breakfast over there anyway. Also, avoid the big cities. I know Rome is must for most, but once again, it is crowded and very expensive. Try visiting small cities or towns and you will not only see more but you cut your costs as well.
Sep 15th, 1997, 01:12 PM
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Don't listen to some of these other people. I've been all over Europe many times and Florence is still my favorite city in the world. It's like a living, breathing museum just walking the streets and realizing that the office building next to a church was designed by Michaelangelo. Some sites to see: David (at the Acadameia); Uffizi Gallery; Church of Sante Croce (lots of famous people buried there, plus Giotto frescoes). Spend an evening drinking wine and hanging out near the Ponte Vechhio. For good shopping, go to the markets where they sell the knock offs of Gucci, Fendi, etc. and ask "where to find the real stuff". They'll take you to a back alley where you can get the goods for 60%25 less than the stores. Finally, you must try the gelato -- my favorite is the Gellateria right near Sante Croce. I'm not a big Rome fan and you must be careful about the child pickpockets but the Sistine Chapel is not to be missed. I also love Venice and will be there myself in January when I ski the Dolomites. I've heard that Como, Sienna and the Amalfi coast are all worthwhile. Ciao!
Sep 18th, 1997, 06:35 AM
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I loved Rome, and three days wasn't enough. Rome is a perfect city to wander in, as everywhere you turn there is something to see. Not interested in ancient Rome? How about medieval? Perhaps early Christian? I also loved Pompeii, although I recommend you take water and expect to buy a guide book at the sight. I was underwhelmed by Venice, as it smelled and was really only geared to tourists. I prefer to find the real city that I am visiting, and Venice was only touristy. The Doge's chapel was worth it, though. If you're truly looking to go inexpensively, have you consider joining the international hostel association? They're not just for students anymore. And most have family rooms (private rooms for groups), although you will have to share a communal bathroom. Many even accept reservations. A new one opened in Rome last year, and Naples has one out on the water front. A nice place to stay outside of Florence is the Lucca hostel. It's about an hour outside, but is a direct train connection. Lucca's actually a main tourist attraction, but the tourists are all gone by sunset. Shell out the extra money for breakfast, and possibly for dinner, but find your own lunch. The street pizzas in Naples were wonderful. Just make sure that you eat in a restaurant where the locals eat, or you may be disappointed. Have fun!
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