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maggiolo Feb 20th, 2006 08:00 AM

I have never been to Europe but would like to visit Florence as well as Assisi and its surrounding area in Sept. 06. Can someone please advise me where to start this process, places to stay, base of operations, smaller towns that are must-sees? Are there guided tours that are worthwhile in Florence? Do I need tickets for museums purchased ahead of time? Does anyone recommend renting a villa and how to do it? Thank you very much.

rex Feb 20th, 2006 08:16 AM

<< Does anyone recommend renting a villa and how to do it? >>

Yes. For how many people? Keep in mind that a villa stay is usually Saturday-Saturday, and they are priced the most favorably for parties of 6-10 (but not exclusively).

See for more info than you can aborb in a single setting on reting all types of self-caterin accommodations (includes apartments, in case you are a smaller party).

Best wishes,


nytraveler Feb 20th, 2006 12:01 PM

Renting a villa is a good idea for a group of people (few are less than 3 bedrooms) who are comfortable driving (since they're usually in the country) and want to spend time in a mix of sightseeing in smaller local places and relaxing by the pool.

You say I - implying you're going alone - or perhaps with one companion. In that case a villa would be very expensive versus a hotel. Also - you seem more interested in the sighseeing vs the relaxing by the pool part.
I think you would be happier staying in a hotel in Florence - with easier access to sights and restaurants and shops - and perhaps one other town - depending on how long you're staying. Which other town would depend on if you'll be traveling by train or car.

If you provide info on how long you have and some idea of your budget for lodgings people can help more.

rex Feb 22nd, 2006 08:13 PM


sssteve Feb 22nd, 2006 09:07 PM

There are so many possibilities and so many different answers regarding a visit to Italy...that you have to be organized in your search for information.

When I start planning a trip to somewhere I haven't been, the first thing I do is a search here on Fodor's. Just type into the search box Tuscany or Florence or whatever you want and you'll get hundreds of threads with all the information you want. Just check out the threads with questions you would want answered. You can spend days reading these threads. Believe me, people in the past have asked exactly the same questions you have just asked. Then, start asking specific questions. Also, as Rex wrote check out Slowtrav.

You can also check out my own travel site which includes several trips to Italy.

LizNYC Feb 23rd, 2006 09:30 AM

In 2001 rented a penthouse apartment in the center of Florence from . . and it was the best vacation of my life!!

I highly recommend them . .

nessundorma Feb 23rd, 2006 09:39 AM

You don't say how long you will be traveling, but I would suggest you give serious consideration to pairing the fabulous city of Perugia with Assisi, instead of Florence.

If you have a lifelong dream of going to Florence, then by all means stick to your plan. But Perugia is an astonishing place and it is less than an hour's distance from Assisi.

You could either stay in an agriturismo near Assisi and rent a car to do your visiting. There are many small hilltowns in the vicinity that are well worth your while for their artistic treasures (Montelfalco, Foligno, Todi and Orvieto pop to mind.)

But I think you might do just as well as first time visitor to book yourself into a few nights in Perugia, then likewise in Assisi. If you can spend more than a week, either head over to Florence or down to Rome.

If you are specifically going to Florence to visit museums, don't take a chance and book in advance. I strongly urge to visit the Museo San Marco in Venice as well as the museum of the Duomo. Although I don't care for Siena (rather claustrophobic!) it is nonetheless a treasurehouse of Sienese art and easily done as a day trip from Florence with public transportation.

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