Italy first time trip help!

Apr 14th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Italy first time trip help!

My husband and I are planning a first trip to Italy. We have about 10 days and are flying on miles out of DFW.
We need advice about where to fly in and out of and whether to see Rome and then south, or Rome and then north, or...can we fit it Amalfi Coast as well as Tuscany region. Also, any advice of "not to miss" and "don't bother" would be appreciated. We love to just wander, see the sights, enjoy the locals, great food and great wine. Of course, we want the history, but we are not huge museum lovers. Thanks!
shezoolover is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Does the 10 days include travel time? What time of year? IF in the summer, Rome and the Amalfi Coast would be nice, if in the cooler weather Rome and Venice.

Consider that any major city or area generally deserves at least 3 full days. You can easily spend a week in Rome and not get bored. If your travel time is oart of the 10 days, that leaves you with about 8 full days, which is really just enough for 2 main places (one probably being Rome) with possibly a day trip or 2.
MFNYC is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Hi S,

With 10 days, I would fly into Venice - 3 nights/

Rent a car and drive through Tuscany - 3 nights.

Drop car in Siena and bus to Florence or drop car in Florence - 3 nights.

Fly home from Florence FLR or Pisa PSA.

I would do this in mid-Sept to mid-Oct or mid-May to mid-June.


Fly into Naples - 4-5 nights on the AC
Train to Rome - Fly home.

ira is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 04:04 PM
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Booking your plane ticket "open jaw" to fly into one city and out of another, is often not more expensive, and can save time by not backtracking on the ground at the end of your trip.
suze is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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we are planning on going in mid October. 10 days actually does not include travel. We had thought about flying into Rome and "trying" to see Rome and possibly the Amalfi Coast, then heading up to Florence and Tuscany and flying home from somewhere near there.
Is that doable in 10 days plus 2 for travel?

shezoolover is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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With 10 full days, I think either ROme 6 days, AC 4 days. This should include a day trip to Pompeii, and possibly a day trip from Rome just to see one of the smaller hillside towns (ORvieto is a good option). You could also consider a day in Naples and fly out from there.

The other option would be the typical Rome-4 days, Florence/Tuscany-3 days and Venice- 3days. Since you aren't huge museum lovers, a solid day in FLorence and then spend time in other Tuscan cities (Siena, San G, etc).

I fyou want to spend more time exploring Tuscany, you can skip Venice this round and split you time between Rome and Florence/Tuscany, but I think added Amalfi to this would be too much.
MFNYC is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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That's an awful lot for 10 days.

I agree with Ira's suggestion. Not too rushed, plenty of variation for your first trip, enough time to sample the qualities of each destination.

We were in the Chianti region of Tuscany last autumn (stayed in Castellina). Absolutely breathtaking! The fall colors easily rival Vermont.

Venice and Florence will be delightful with fewer tourists, nice weather.

Save Rome and the south for another trip.
JeanneB is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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I just googled the weather in October in Sorrento (just to get an idea of AC weather). That is the 2nd most rainiest month (Nov is the rainiest). AVerage high is 71F.

If it indeed is rainy in Octover I think the Rome/Tuscany/Venice is a better option.
MFNYC is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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I traveled to Italy last summer and enjoyed most of the sites and cities that we visited. We started in Rome then headed north towards Florence, Venice, and Cortina. Rome itself was a bit of a let-down, mainly because the city is rather dirty and you have to be very careful of pick-pockets/thieves. We also found some of the people to be very rude in Rome, especially our hotel staff. Despite that, we still enjoyed seeing the historic sites, which are incredible! I highly recommend a tour of the Vatican, it's not to be missed. The Coliseum and Trevi Fountain are quite amazing too.

I would probably suggest that you spend the majority of your time in northern Italy. Maybe save southern Italy for another trip. Florence is a wonderful city, it's full of beautiful architectural sites as well as amazing art collections. There are so many things to do and see, I'm just disappointed that we didn't get to spend more time in Florence as there are many hidden treasures to experience.

I wouldn't bother visiting Pisa, it's a tourist trap and there isn't much to see other than the Leaning Tower and the large church that is nearby.

Venice was probably our favorite place to visit in Italy. There is nothing like it! When you enter the main island via the water taxi, it will take your breath away. St. Marks Square is beautiful, the basilica is unlike an other in Italy and has a strong Middle Eastern influence. You'll also have a chance to see and feed the famous pigeons in the square. Be aware that Venice is a network of tons of small islands connected by bridges/cannals. It's very easy to get lost in the alleys, but there are shops everywhere, so you can always ask for directions. The shops in Venice are also worth checking out as many of the high end designers have boutiques there (neat to see even if you can't afford to buy) and the glass shops are amazing. You definitely will not be disappointed with Venice, we didn't want to leave.

Finally, Cortina is in the northern area of Italy. It borders Austria and is situated in the Alps. It is a magnificent place as the mountains are all around you, the air is incredibly fresh, and everywhere you look are flowers. The atmosphere is very relaxed and cozy, tons of cafes and lodges to enjoy. You will notice an Austrian influence in this town as the language/dialect is a bit different from the regions south of Cortina. This is a popular place for skiers, and the Olympic ski jump site from the 60's is still there.

A couple of things to note about Italy... the food is not like what you are used to in the US. The dishes are less heavy (we use a ton of cheese/sauce here) and they use a lot of fresh ingredients/herbs. I really enjoyed the food in Italy, but I noticed that the portions were smaller than what I expected. The wine is very good and different regions specialize in different types of wines, so make sure you sample their specialties. All in all, it was an amazing culinary experience and we tried a lot of foods that we would never have here in the US (lots of fresh seafood). Also, most public toilets require some kind of small fee, so make sure that you carry some euro cents with you.

Good luck with planning your trip and I hope that you have a fantastic time!
Crazycatlady75 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 04:29 PM
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I suggest and have taken suggestions from my fellow Fodorites regarding Italy. With so much culture to experience I would pick one large city, ie Rome (4 days) and then a smaller town like Lucca (2 days) and then a city like Florence(4 days) and fly out of there.

Or if you want beaches fly into Florence (3 days), Cinque Terre (3 days) and end up in Rome (5 days) with a day trip to Orvieto.

Hope this helps.
Denise is offline  
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