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Italy for 1st year Honeymoon: Itinerary Suggestions

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Jan 6th, 2012, 07:19 PM
  #1
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Italy for 1st year Honeymoon: Itinerary Suggestions

My wife and I want to go to Italy for our first year anniversary (late April or early May -2012). These are the cities that we would like to visit although we are not tied to them.

1. Venice
2. Rome
3. Florence
4. Milan (maybe 1 or 2 days)
5. Tuscany (for a cooking class, etc.)

We can do 2 weeks but would rather do 10-12 days (on the ground) if possible. We are open to doing an overnight train or renting a car wherever it would be prudent.

Not really sure about hotels, eateries, etc. Really trying to nail down an Itinerary. Then we can see about flights, hotels, etc.

Any help of suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Jan 6th, 2012, 08:25 PM
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Congratulations Prater! Well, early ones, but still meant!

I'm sure you've done a little scrolling around the Boards and realise that you will have a hard time fitting all of the places on your list into 12 days (I've picked the middle number).

It would help to know what you and your wife are interested in (food, history, museums, strolling, etc) to advise on the better options to suit you, but in lieu of that, I'll suggest that you decide if you want to see the "big three" or if you want a combination of city and countryside (ie Tuscany). Once you've decided that, you'll be able to sort an itinerary in which you'll still see and do things but not be too rushed.

Also look into booking open-jaw flights to save backtracking if you can. Transport between places will fall into place once you choose your itinerary, and overnight trains won't be necessary as all of the places you've listed are not that far apart by train. You may find you don't even need to rent a car unless you want to explore a region more.
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Jan 6th, 2012, 08:26 PM
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stupid fingers on wrong keys - sorry about the all Italics!
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Jan 6th, 2012, 10:44 PM
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i agree that open jaw is a must with such a whirlwind trip. we always sort of decide our trip by where we can get the best price flying in and out... if it's in/milan out/rome then it would be a different itinerary order than in/florence out/milan.

we like the sleeper from venice to rome because it saves a hotel night ... but you won't see the countryside until the morning. still-- if you get up early, you would see unbria out the window of the train.

there are a lot of cities listed there. if i had to skip one, it would probably be milan--though i really love milan. maybe talk a bit more about what you want to do or see most??
i would definitely want at least 3 nights in rome for sure. minimum 2 nights in the countryside so you can slow down a bit. we always schedule an extra night for jetlag at our first stop.

hard as it is to do, i'd probably cut one city from the list-- or, better yet, find those extra days to be in italy!!
we are also huge fans of bologna-- in case you find more time and want to add a couple of nights!!

tell us more about what you really want to see and do???
kawh
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Jan 10th, 2012, 07:42 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am into museums and art, etc. My wife is not so much into them as I am. She is content going to Italy for the food, the festivals (if any), the feeling of just being there, etc.

I surprised her and took her to Egypt for our honeymoon and she loved it. Besides that, she had only been tot he Caribbean. She absolutely loved it there. But that gives you an indication; she has no particular likes or dislikes she is just new into traveling outside of Caribbean countries.

I would like Venice for the experience. I thought Milan because we both like to shop, etc. Tuscany was a choice for the countryside as well as to get in a good cooking class with wine tasting, etc. Florence because I have heard how wonderful it is there as well as Rome - just because.

In short, we are interested in all that Italy has to offer: strolling along and taking it all in, the food, the history, art and museums (but not just those things).

I did think about the overnight train from Venice to Rome as a unique experience for my wife. I am not tied to any particular itinerary, but I know that she would like to go to Rome and Venice. Anything other than those two would be a bonus for her.

Again, thanks for the responses and I look forward to you additional suggestions.
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Jan 10th, 2012, 10:31 PM
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I think that what you are going to plan is not really hard.
Many people in their first time in Italy, do a journey including Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. Rome and Milan have the biggest airports in Italy, so you can plan your arrival and departure from there. You can start your travelling from Milan or in the reverse way, from Rome. You can reach, by train, Venice from Milan, then Florence. From there you can rent a car to reach Rome, through the countryside roads, spending a couple of days for visiting some pearls of the Tuscan hill towns.
Probably, the itinerary from Florence to Rome is the hardest part and needs longer time for planning, because there are, really, many choises . A lot of wonderful medieval towns, areas producing wine (perfect for tasting the Italian cuisine), are on the way between Florence and Rome. In this area you can find many castles, monastries or small ancient villages transformed to wonderful hotel.
Finally I think you can stay 1 night in Milan, 2 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Florence, 1 or 2 nights somewhere between Florence and Rome and then Rome, for the rest of your journey.
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Jan 11th, 2012, 02:55 AM
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Congrats on your #1 my wife and I go almost yearly we will be on #37 this year and are doing parts of your journey. We got www.aa.com credit cards snaggged some FF miles tickets into Milan MXP RT usually cheapest. seat61.com/italy hop
cheap trains around eurocheapo.com for hotels city tips.
A nice round robin to www.metropole.it www.lucca.info Siena Rome Florence Venice-tourism.com doable in the time you have
and has worked beautifully for us in the past.

Happy Planning!
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Jan 11th, 2012, 10:33 PM
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Thanks for the additional information Prater. I'm going to suggest skipping Milan as you can happily shop in Rome, Venice or Florence (will detail the designer areas if you want those, otherwise plenty to find in cities).

If you can fly into Venice and out of Rome, that will help. So you can look at:
Venice - 3 full days (4 nights)
Florence - 2 full days (leave Venice in the morning to sneak as much time as you can - train is around 2hrs)
NOTE: if you still want to do a Cooking School, some offer 1 day courses, some 3 days and some 1 week. Many also offer accommodation at the school. If you want just a one or three day course, then you can certainly do that then spend the remaining time in Rome - esp. if you choose the 3 day course. If you just want a one day course, then add an extra day to Florence and the rest of the time in Rome.
Rome - depends on cooking school, but 3 full days would be a minimum.

As for Tuscan cooking schools, check out Tuscookany (www.tuscookany.com), Toscana Mia (www.welcometuscany.com/en/index.php) or Good Tastes of Tuscany (www.tuscany-cooking-class.com). Or if you decide to spend a week in the Tuscan countryside and forgoe Florence, then you could try the Hedonistic Hiking tour that also has cooking and a lot of strolls(!) (www.hedonistichiking.com/week-tuscany)

It wouldn't be an indepth visit to Italy, but will certainly let you see the places you want and do the things you want. Getting between each city will be best done by train (check with the Cookery School on transport to/from their property) and the journeys are all short enough. Although the suggestion above of driving through the Tuscan countryside is a good one. Once you've worked out the itinerary, you can work out if you need to slot that part in.

If you decide against the cooking school, then you can base yourselves in Florence and take day trips to places like San Gimignano, Lucca and even Pisa (well, half a day will be plenty there). If you can make it a 14 days on the ground trip, that would be much better as you won't rush and will be able to play with the time more. If fact, that would let you do Venice, Florence, drive to say Siena and stay 2 nights then continue to Rome.

Let us know on your decision for amount of time on the ground and if the cities proposed work for you.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for the great suggestions and insight. I really would like to drive though the countryside for a day or so to "smell the flowers".

Is there any suggestion on spending money, etc?
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Jan 16th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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If you are just interested in a day in the countryside to smell the flowers, you might splurge on a private guide to do the driving who can create a perfect personalized itinerary for you and knows the local traffic rules. Luca Garappa of hillsandroads.com is one such driver/guide who works in Tuscany and comes highly recommended by many in this forum, including me.

What do you mean by "Is there any suggestion on spending money, etc?"
How much money you will need?
What method to use?
The general best practice to get the best exchange rate is to use your credit card whenever possible and use your ATM card attached to you home checking account to get pocket money for incidentals. Be sure to check the fees both your credit and bank charge for international use. some banks charge much higher fees than others. Be sure to notify your credit card company and bank that you will be traveling in Italy to avoid having your accounts frozen because of unusual use.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 03:39 PM
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Thanks. Yes, I am referring to how much money will we need for 14 days in Italy?
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Jan 16th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Without knowing where you're coming from, how much per night you can afford to spend on hotels, whether you're serious foodies or just pick up snacks on the run, it's really hard to give you an estimate of the trip's cost. Maybe minimum 100 euros per day plus transportation. (I'm sure somebody will say they can do it for less.) For the maximum -- well, if you have to ask....
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Jan 16th, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Thanks. I am coming from the US. Just looking for how much money to take to spend for food, musuems, etc.

I am not including hotel, etc. We love to cook and experience the local flair for food, wine, etc. But we also are practical and can get snacks here and there.

Thanks...
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Jan 17th, 2012, 04:34 AM
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I 2nd the recommendation for Luca as a guide in Tuscany. Also, I think he lives in Siena so he can give you some tips about exploring that city.

Budget: Always hard to predict for someone else. I'll say $150/day for food. That may be a little on the high side, but if you budget for that and spend less, all the better. Figure another $100/day on museum tickets, miscellaneous, local transportation. For 12 days, that's $3000. You can do it for less, I'm sure, especially if you stay in breakfast-included hotels and grab lunch on the run.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 08:25 AM
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We like to have big, leisurely lunches and eat light in the evening. The long lunch gives us a chance to rest in the middle of a busy sightseeing day, and generally costs less than a big dinner. For dinner we have gelato.
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