Italian Trip Dilemma

Old Jan 26th, 2001, 09:05 AM
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Italian Trip Dilemma

I am planning a trip to Italy in late May and am going nuts! I'd like to make this stay as far from the stressful nature of my previous trip as possible for Europe (which had been with a tour - bad idea - I now travel indepedently when I can). Will be staying two weeks, fly into Rome, budget is $2,500 including air but excluding spending money.
I want to stay in Rome for a week (to recover from jetlag and do some very light sightseeing, eat out, people watch, etc)
and then the second week be based in a smaller, more low key place such as Siena or one of the smaller Tuscan towns (which I am fairly well read on). My question is how do I plan a trip where I can fly into Rome and then transfer to one of the Tuscan towns
wihthout necessarily renting a car and having the stress of travelling back to Rome to catch a flight out. Secondly is can you recommend any places to stay in Tuscany that are easily accessible and pleasant. Because I dont have much time to do the research I have looked into the indepedent City Paks that Italiaotur offers. A last option would be to base myself in Rome for the two weeks and just take trips out to Siena, Orvieto, etc. Any suggestions? I know this is asking lot but I just want to get some ideas.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 09:45 AM
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My suggestion would be to definitely stay in Rome for a week, and then just take the train to transfer to Tuscany.
For your flight back to Rome, take the train back to Rome, BUT stay that day and night in Rome, and then fly out from Rome the next day.
I wouldn't cause yourself the stress of taking the train back to Rome, and then trying to rush to the airport.

Also,I wouldn't stay in Rome for two weeks if you want to go to the Tuscan towns, because that limits you to just day trips.
Your other option is that you can check with your airline to see if you can just fly out of Florence to go back home. Most likely if you do that, you'll need to fly from Florence to Rome or Milan and then fly back home.

Unfortunately, I can't suggest any hotels off the top of my head for Tuscany, but a really good website is You can see pictures of the hotels and e-mail them too.
Have fun!
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 10:00 AM
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Would base yourself in San Gimignano or Siena (good day trips from either to Chianti, etc.). Siena is gorgeous (enoteco wine museum/tavern) and fun, but I like staying in San G (tourist trap during the day, but quaint and quiet at night). Hotels in San G. are La Cisterna and Bel Soggorrio (sp?). Try Siena might be easier for day trips out, but wasn't as charmed by it at night (does have a great piazza for hanging and people watching during the day.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 11:01 AM
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Hi Too,

I've been thinking about a similar trip, and found the italian railroad website (I think it's very helpful in terms of figuring out traveling time between cities and identifying towns on the lines themselves. Just remember to use the Italian city names (e.g., Roma, not Rome). You can get to Siena, Orvieto or Spoleto easily by train from Rome.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 12:25 PM
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Doing day trips from Rome would take you too long in travel time, and would probably end up being a hassle. I join in the advice to spend your last night in Rome, though.

For travel in Tuscany, I'd recommend renting a car, if possible. There is not much public transportation between the small hilltowns, which are the joy of the area. There are trains in between Roma & Siena, and on to Florence, though. Siena is a wonderful city, though if you stay in the city & rent a car, the parking will be difficult. I also really love San Gimignano, and it is just about perfect after the tourists leave at night. La Cisterna, etc. is not cheap. The Tourist Information office there has a list of places that rent rooms; we did that once, and stayed in a charming, clean room with bath in the middle of town.

There is no airport in Florence (there's small one somewhere west, but I don't think it handles international flights). If you don't want to go back to Rome, you'll have to go north to Milan.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 12:58 PM
the turnip
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Dear Stressed, Don't worry about it!

We did almost the exact same tour last May. Feel free to modify it as you see fit or drop me an e-mail directly if I can be of any help.

We used the trains exclusively, buying point to point tickets as went. This was cheap and easy. One of the best suggestions I listened to was to print out the appropriate train schedule page before leaving. For example I knew that on Tuesday I wanted to travel from Orvieto to Siena. I just flipped open my folder to the right page and the night before could make an informed decision on what time I needed to be at the station so as to catch my train.

Here was our itinerary;
4 days in Rome
2 days on the Amalfi coast
2 days in Orvieto (with a side trip to Civitia)
2 days in Sienna
3 days in Venice

Rick Steves book was a big help and we loved every one of our destinations. Here in random order are some hi-lights.

ALL of Rome. I was frantic but wonderful. We stayed at a B&B that was in a quiet residential neighborhood which was nice to "come home to". Met a wonderful guide named Jasper who gave us incredible tours. Went to the Villa Borghese and were awestruck by the marble sculpture. The history in that one city could take a person years to fully explore.

The bus drive along on the Amalfi coast is reason enough to buy stock in Kodak before you go. We pit Pompeii on the way down and even though I don't believe in ghosts per se I was really creeped out. If that makes any sense...

Orvieto. We wisely listened to our hotel and ate at the Antico Buchero (sp?). The soup was soooo good!!! Geez I wish I was back there. Our waiter was fun and just half a block away was the best gelato we had in Italy. The side trip to Civiti was very relaxing and enjoyable. Orvieto was at it's best after sundown when you felt like you had the place to yourself.

Sienna - at first blush I was underwhelmed. Tourists wall to wall, all looking for a way to spend their money. I followed Rick's advice and got lost. I went wandering aimlessly down side streets and fell in love with the city. In a small square were several men and young boys all practicing theit flag work for the palio. This wasn't a tourist show it was people in love with the history and tradition of what they were doing. The more layers you peeled away the neater the town became. It too is so much better without the tour bus crowds. Climb the tower. If you splurge on only one meal while In Italia do so at the Cane E Gato. The food was worth every lira we spent (maybe $50). Don't eat ANYTHING on the tourist strip. Had some gelato that was so awful I pitched it after one bite. It was VILE.

Please let me know if I can be of any help and have a great time in Italy!

Cheers, the turnip
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 01:16 PM
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An opinion, and two small corrections:

I recommend that you SHOULD get a car for exploring Tuscany - - even though it is a mixed blessing for Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. These well-known destinations are only part of the appeal of Tuscany anyway.

Take the train from rome to Cortona or Orvieto and rent there; then do the reverse for the return trip. Return it there and take the train back to Rome (if necessary) for your return flight.

The website for Italian rail info is (Note BOTH hyphens).

And Florence DOES have a small airport ("Amerigo Vespucci") that DOES offer international flights (not many though) - - it's correct to say that it doesn't have any transatlantic flights. You might consider this an academic distinction unless you want to use a carrier like Air France for flying in and out of Europe via Paris, for example. You can get more info about the Florence airport at - - including the following list of cities served: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Nice, Paris and Vienna.

It is often said that the airport at Pisa (a reasonably car-friendly city) is bigger and better (I don't know; I have never been there). From their website - - - - it appears that it serves fewer international cities: Barcelona, London, Madrid, Munich and Paris.

Best wishes,


Old Jan 27th, 2001, 03:05 PM
Lis Mari
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Dear TooEmbarressed,
Reading all this vise suggestions I think my Home Page can be useful to you;
Lis Mari. Rome

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