Italy

May 21st, 2014, 03:32 PM
  #1  
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Italy

My husband and I have decided that we would like to visit Italy this September.
We have 3 weeks. I was thinking of flying to one town and starting there. Thinking of renting a car and going all around Italy. Does that sound possible? If not , can we have some suggestions. Rome, Venice, Tuscany ,Florence , Naples for Pompeii are on our list to see.
Thanks in advance for your time.
scissorwizard is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 03:40 PM
  #2  
 
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Sorry but it's not possible to go all around Italy in 3 weeks.

You can visit the places you mention but you won't want a car in Rome, Naples, Florence and there are no streets in Venice so a car is not possible there. Many towns have streets that are off limits to tourists' vehicles and you will incur a hefty fine when you're caught on CC cameras. It's costly to have a car sit idle and pay for parking. The only area the car is a benefit is in the Tuscan countryside.

You could fly into Naples, visit Naples and Pompeii, take a train to Rome, take a train to Florence, then pick up a car for the Tuscan countryside and drop it off before going on by train to Venice.
adrienne is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 03:49 PM
  #3  
Ian
 
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Yes, it is very possible. But a car will be useless in Rome & in Venice, so work your itinerary to start in one & pick the car up on the way out & finish in the other. Do a search for Italy trip reports to get ideas of where/what/how.

Many posters here will insist that you must spend a week in every location. Not true. Any more than 3 days in a place & I am itching to move on . . .

And you might want to add the Amalfi Coast to your itinerary & skip Naples. You can visit Pompeii from there.

Ian
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May 21st, 2014, 04:02 PM
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Italy has a fantastic, affordable rail system. Use it. And there are fast trains between Venice, Florence, and Rome. A car is a needless hassle especially in the bigger cities. The only place you'd really want a car is in Tuscany, if you want to spend a few days touring the countryside and the small towns. But it's possible to rent a car just for a few days.

I suggest you fly "open jaw" - fly into one city and out of another to avoid back-tracking from a round-trip flight. The cost may be the same. In your case, I'd recommend flying into Venice and out of Rome or Naples, depending on the airfare. If you have to fly out of Rome, it's just a few hours' back-track up to Rome from Naples/Pompeii.

Consider a day trip to Siena from Florence (if you don't have a car, by bus works fine).

One of my favorite places in Italy (in Europe) was the Cineque Terre, five quaint old villages on the NW coast of Italy that are connected by hiking trails and a train. The big attraction is to hike between towns, through olive groves and vineyards, with incredible views. It is quite touristy nowadays but it's still a beautiful place.
Andrew is online now  
May 21st, 2014, 04:25 PM
  #5  
 
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I think the OP wanted to rent a single place for 3 weeks and visit cities and sights all over Italy from there.

And NO - this is not possible. Italy is way too big for this to work unless you limit yourself to a small area. For instance, from one of the hill towns you could see a lot of Tuscany and spend a day or two in Florence. But Venice or Rome or the AC are NOT doable as day trips - just too far.

And you will need a car only to tour around the countryside - it is worse than useless in the cities - since the centers are pedestrian only.
nytraveler is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 04:29 PM
  #6  
Ian
 
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I hear you about the train & I have used some rail as well. It is cheap, easy & efficient. But to me, it is the adventure of driving around that next bend that is a big part of my travel experience. Sure you get lost & frustrated at times & parking tickets on very rare occasions but it is always interesting. Stopping on the side of the road to take THAT picture or having a cafe in a roadside village . . . you can't get that from a train window. Too many people concentrate on the cities & forget that there is often a very beautiful country in between them.

Ian
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May 21st, 2014, 06:05 PM
  #7  
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Ok, well now I'm thinking of landing in Venice and starting there. I'm told it's a great place to get rid of jet lag . 3 days there then train to Rome or Florence and Naples. Renting a car for travelling around Tuscany and the AC. Not sure , in what order yet but would like to spend at least 2 days per place. Anywhere else we should try to visit. Venice sounds wonderful. Amalfi sounds beautiful. We love markets and doing picnics and enjoying the view. Want to do it on a down to earth budget. Need help to plan this. Thanks again.
scissorwizard is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 07:39 PM
  #8  
 
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Where are you flying from?

So, a possible itinerary, very rough, might look like this:

Fly into Venice, spend 3 nights.

Train to Florence, spend 2 or 3 nights, depending on your interests.

Rent a car and pick a spot for exploring a part of Tuscany. Many here, including me, are fond of the Val d'Orcia. Spend 3 nights.

Drop car (you have choices, Chiusi being one, Orvieto another, these are both popular) and train to Rome.

Spend 3 or 4 nights.

OR train to Naples
OR train to Salerno (in fact I like this option without a car)

Pick a spot on the Amalfi Coast and stay 3 or 4 nights. You can do this by ferry, and won't need a car.

Leave there, make your way to Naples or Sorrento, spend a couple of nights and visit Pompeii.

Train to Rome, fly home. You could move your visit to Rome to end of the trip, and possibly drive your rental car south from your Tuscany base.

These are some rough ideas. You can get a map and a guidebook and see how these options appeal to you.

In Venice, visit the Rialto market. In Florence, visit the Mercato Centrale (both of these are food markets).

You can go much more in depth with visits and research, but this is a way to start with your first visit to Italy.

By purchasing train tickets ahead of time, which you will get help with here, you can save money.

What do you think is a down to earth budget for three weeks in Italy? You have to give actual numbers before people here can recommend specific accommodations.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 05:23 AM
  #9  
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Oh ,thank you !thank you !thank you ! I will do some research and look at the map, and go from there...
We are coming from Toronto,Canada and our Canadian dollar is terrible right now so I was thinking in Canadian funds about $200 or less per night ? So much to learn but I appreciate your advice . This is so much fun planning...I'm excited now!
scissorwizard is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 05:29 AM
  #10  
 
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Get used to talking in Euros---you will get more help if all of the Fodorites know your budget.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 05:42 AM
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E134 per day is not a down to earth budget for 2 people especially with moving around a lot and a rental car for part of the time.

You could try convent lodgings or hostels but I was just looking at hostel prices in Rome and they are quite expensive for double rooms. Buy food at supermarkets and only drink water (buy a couple of bottles and refill them rather than buying new water bottles all the time).

In Italy, the cheapest eating is in bars, standing up or take out. Next expensive is sitting at a table and the most expensive is sitting at a table outside.

Get the Let's Go Italy book from your library and read about traveling on a strict budget. There's lots of tips in these guides which I've been using for decades. Their hotel recommendations have never failed me.
adrienne is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 06:56 AM
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134 euro per night for rooms? Or does that include food? Is it per person or for two? For two with food, I don't think you can stretch it that far, but I'm an older traveler and want more sit down meals.

You did mention picnics, which are easy to do. In March, we bought strawberries, two kinds of cheese, and two kinds of bread at the Mercato Centrale in Firenze, took them outside and found some steps to sit upon and that was our lunch. It was memorably delicious.

Also, we filled our own water bottles each day, saving money and cutting plastic use.

Sometimes we have to cut either a few days or a destination to make our budget fit. That wouldn't work for everyone but it has happened to us.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 11:03 AM
  #13  
 
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I think you really need to do more research.

First - get a map so you can see where places are in relation to each other and check out driving times on viamichelin.com.

Second check on costs of car rental, tolls and gas at $8 per gallon. (We love road trips too - but use a car mostly in countryside and small towns - and, frankly, have a totally different budget than you do.

Clarify what that 134 euros a day will cover. It don't see how it can cover hotel, car rental and costs, meals and sightseeing for 2 people. I wold suggest looking at specific costs to get a feel for what things will cost and then do a zero-based budget.
nytraveler is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 11:55 AM
  #14  
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No sorry, I was thinking backwards...200€ is almost 300 Canadian .
I only meant for sleeping, not counting anything else. Is 200€ for rooms possible per night?
Also wanted to know what time of the year, we should go to avoid crowds. Is September or early October still nice enough to swim a little at beaches. Sorry for the confusion.
scissorwizard is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 12:09 PM
  #15  
 
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I think €200 per day is fairly easy to do, but you would want to cut down the number of bases you use and look at rented apartments.

You can spend a week in Rome and hardly scratch the surface. We rented an apartment within walking distance of the Vatican for around €600 for the week. I am sure you could find similar in Florence and Naples. Venice will cost more, but you might want spend less time there.

As a rule I've always found the latter parts of September/Early October to be fairly cheap (the first week or 10 days of September tends to be high season)

In terms of Swimming, I've swam in mid October in the South of Italy - the locals were horrified, but the sea was warm enough.
willit is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 12:43 PM
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200 euros per night is doable in a modest/moderate hotel. Have you allocated enough for car rental/costs (parking is about 40$ per night unless you hotel has a lot or garage and very few do), meals and sightseeing.

The Med doesn't get super cold so you can probably swim end Sept early Oct - but the beaches are nothing to write home about in general - unless you stay at a luxury resort that has trucked in sand to make a real beach.
nytraveler is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 01:01 PM
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You can find plenty of double rooms for E200 per night.
adrienne is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 01:32 PM
  #18  
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Thanks people, I'll do my homework now.
scissorwizard is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 02:46 PM
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<<200 euros per night is doable in a modest/moderate hotel>>

Oh come on. NYTrav goes high end. Fact is you can get a decent hotel for that amount of scratch.

But if you're going to spend more than 3 nights in any one place (e.g., ROME) you should consider renting an apartment -- it will be less expensive comparatively and give you more room, even in a tiny place of just 40 square meters.
BigRuss is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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I have a couple of suggestions, as I am planning a trip in September.

I began seriously planning about two months ago. You are kind of late to the game - that is, many apartments I inquired about were already booked. I do believe Sept is more popular than Oct, so to get around this, start looking at October or even later.

Get a couple of Rick Steves books out of the library: Europe through the Back Door, and Italy 2014. They have maps, itineraries for 3 days to a month, and great advice.

Also, since I booked my airfare about a month ago, (at the urging of Fodorites - thanks for that!) it has only gone up. Not sure about October, but if you insist on September, I'd book ASAP. Air is steep.

Good luck, and also check out Trip Advisor message boards, there's tons of posters there as well as here.
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