ITALY for first timers

Old Nov 5th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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ITALY for first timers

Please help me plan an itinerary for our first trip to Italy!! We can be gone from Chicago including travel -10 days.
I would like to visit: Rome, Cinque Terre
Possibly: Florence or Venice
and end our trip for 2 nights relaxing either lake como or capri
We would also like to include some sort of cooking lesson or excursion

Have no idea where these are located and the best way to navigate between the cities
This is a romatic trip for 2 33 year olds celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary
First time away from our kids want to make it worth the trip!!

Please offer some tips! Thanks!!
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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So, you have 8 days on the ground? Pick two places. You'll likely eat up one day traveling between them, so you're down to 7 days of actual visiting, which could easily make for a trip to any one of those destinations.

<<Have no idea where these are located>>

Then by all means get a map. It's the first thing to do when planning any trip. Pick up a guidebook or two as well.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 12:53 PM
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Your trip is a bit ambitious for 10 days. Look at a map and think about how much time your want to travel. With everything on your "wish list", you will spend much of your time moving around and very little seeing the sights. Your travel can be done by train.

Think about either Venice, Florence and either Cinque Terre (you can relax there) or Lake Como. Alternatively, consider Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Capri.

If you do the former, fly into Venice and out of Milan. If the latter, fly into Rome and out of Naples. But the first thing to do is get a good map. The second thing is to get a good guide book of Italy.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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When do you plan to go?

Agree with StCirq on picking 2 places. Rome to begin or end. If it were me, I'd maybe start in Venice as a base for 4 days (trip to Verona from there is easy and romantic!); then down to Rome for the balance.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 01:52 PM
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I'm with all the above, grab google maps and get an idea of where these places are. Trains are very good in Europe so unless you are going to need to fill a car the train is the way to get about.

I'd drop Cinque Terre, Rome is a busy capital city that some idiot dropped a massive ancient ruin in the middle of. Not a place to drive, but use the local trams and buses.

Venice can be a hustle but can also be very relaxing.

The train to R
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 01:55 PM
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ome goes through Florence or Bologna. There are plenty of people offering the cooking experience and you cann surf some on this website. The Bologna area is sort of the classic cooking area (assume that everyone shouts at me for this) but i struggle to see if you can cram say a two nighter here to have a day's cooking with your timetable.

Anyone?
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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Because your trip is short, I would investigate your flight options into and out of Italy before deciding the order of your itinerary. I like to put any connection-free flight options at the beginning of the trip to reduce the possibility of delays eating into the trip. (I would also not check luggage.) So, I think that means flying Chicago-Rome on either Delta/Alitalia or American/BA. If you don't want to go back to Rome to fly home, I think you face at least one connection (probably London or NYC) no matter which city you fly out of.

Again, because it's a short trip, I'd probably fly in/out of Rome. Train to Florence immediately on arrival and spend 3 nights. Then bus to Siena for 2 nights, and finally bus to Rome for the last 3 nights.

Alternatively, you could rent a car as you're leaving Florence and spend those 2 nights driving through Tuscany. Return the car in Orvieto and train to Rome.

But depending on when this trip is, my thoughts might be different.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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First - get a MAP! You cannot plan a trip without a map.

Second, think about this for a minute. 8 days equals 2 cities.
Period.

You can of course sit on trains all day and then spend the early am and evening hours checking in and out of hotels - and see 6 or 7 places. But - in preference to that I would buy the PBS DVDs of aerial tours of Italy - you would see more that way and save yourself a lot of money and aggravation.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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We went for the first time two months ago and we spent 9 nights in Rome. We did a few day trips, but we were not bored to be in Rome the whole time and we didn't even come close to seeing everything. I have a big list of things we did not get to!

Our original plan was to split our time between Rome and the Amalfi Coast. We still want to hit the AC, but we were glad we stuck to Rome and used day trips to see more and break it up a bit.

Good luck with your planning.
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