Italy Honeymoon by Train

Dec 13th, 2000, 04:38 PM
  #1  
Harkmore
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Italy Honeymoon by Train

Buongiorno!
I would be very grateful for any suggestions regarding "favorite places to stay" for a 2 week honeymoon via train. Its my first time to Italy (let alone Europe). I'm not sure if the itinerary is doable, esp. by train. Here it is: Flying into Milan, then train to Verona (1 night)/Venice(3 nights)/Bologna (1 night)/ Parma, then La Spezia/Cinque Terre (2 nights)/Florence and Tuscany region (4-5 nights)/ Rome (2 nights); fly out of Rome.

Has anybody taken a similar trip and been ok by train? Any favorite places to stay in each city? And how did you reserve the places: via internet, phone call, travel agent, etc..? Any advice here?

Also, what should I expect on holidays? Closures? fairs? April 25 is Liberation Day and the Feast of St. Mark in Venice.

So mant questions, but grazie!grazie! (I'm practicing my Italian!)
- Hark (yep, that's my actual name.)
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 05:36 PM
  #2  
Patsy Klontz
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Consider doing less traveling on a honeymoon especially! We just returned from Italy and did minimal training from one place to another, but there is nothing romantic about train stations. If you are not a veteran traveler on the trains, there are several ins and outs (read other posts about taking trains) that are important to know: trains post by final destination, etc. Nothing about it is all that hard, but I tired of trying to judge how far ahead I needed to be at the station, where/when the posting for the train would show, finding the car, sometimes having to throw people out of my seat even though I had a reservation, etc. Maybe some other folks with more experience will write you soon, but I would prefer to go fewer places and have more time to relax at each place. You won't see as many different places perhaps, but I think you might enjoy the trip more. Whatever you do, I am sure you will love Italy.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 06:08 PM
  #3  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Hark, IMHO that is too much for only 2 weeks---especially a honeymoon. I would limit your itinerary to 5 detinations and I would do it in this sequence.
Venice, Florence,Tuscany, Cinque terre,
and Rome. I would consider a car for about 3 days to best see the fabulous hill towns. Here is a recent article of
mine that may also lend some perspective

YOU WANT TO SEE ITALY !
FIRST, GET A GOOD MAP ! Having planned more than fifty personalized itineraries to southern Europe and Italy, I have learned that the best trip plans start with a good
map. It takes about six weeks to see most of Italy, and that does not include Sicily.So, any typical two week sojourn requires a geographic orientation and thoughtful planning to optimize the total experience. The temptation is to try to see too much,
and that is a big mistake. My advice is to limit yourself to FIVE DESTINATIONS
OR LESS for any two week itinerary. Perceive Italy as geographic regions and
plan accordingly. Here is a menu to help you to plan well. Let your total timein Italy, and a good map, determine your feasible choices !

THE BEST DESTINATIONS IN ITALY---BY CATEGORY---NORTH TO SOUTH

REGIONS OF NATURAL SPLENDOR:
1. The Lakes of Lombardy/Piedmonte [ Maggiore, Como, Lugano, Orta]
2. The Dolomites/Lake Garda [ Cortina, Ortisei, Merano, Riva del Garda]
3. The Ligurian Coast [ Portofino, Cinque Terre, Portovenere]
4. Tuscany/ Umbria [ quaint and historic hill towns]
5. The Amalfi Coast [ Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, Capri]

THE HISTORICAL ART CITIES:
1. Venice & Veneto [ allow 3 days---more if you include Vicenza, Verona et al]
2. Florence [ it all happened here--plan for 3 days just in Florence]
3. Siena [ deserves a full day, perhaps as a day trip from Florence]
4. Rome [ the Eternal City demands 5 days---some would say two weeks]

UP-SCALE RESORT DESTINATIONS:
1. Bellagio [ the best of Lago Como]
2. Cortina [ the Vail of Italy--ski resort in heart of the Dolomites]
3. Portofino/ Santa Margherita [ splendid sea-side venue]
4. Positano [ the best location to explore the Amalfi coast]
5. Taormina [ fabulous sea-side location in Sicily]

ROMANTIC HIDE-AWAY DESTINATIONS:
1. Asolo [ charming village in the hills of Veneto]
2. Orta San Giulio [ on mystical Lago Orta]
3. Ravello [ la dolce vita above the Amalfi coast]

I hope this helps your planning. Let me
know if you need some details.

BOB THE NAVIGATOR [email protected]



 
Dec 13th, 2000, 08:29 PM
  #4  
Tina
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Hark -

Agreed that you should pare back on the number of towns; Bob's offered up a good itinerary. However unlike Patsy, I very much enjoy the 'adventure' of train travel (not all of it --- dearly wish that porters still existed --- draggin your own luggage is a pain-in-the--- that's why we recite the "pack light" mantra). Anyhow, I kinda enjoy sitting on the train watching Italy roll by and especially when it's on the 'ES' (EuroStar). I will say however, this was my third trip to Italy (Oct/Nov) and yes, Patsy is correct when she says there are lots of ins & outs around the train travel experience.
[One caveat I must share --- be forewarned if using the WC (bathroom facilities) in the LaSpezia train station. They are clean BUT the ladies room was of the, uh, let's call it the 'Squat Pot' style.]

As to the town selection, Venice - Florence - Rome are the 'gotta see's' for a 2 week stay. And, you could easily do just that trio and get from one to the other via the train. The Cinque Terre is beautiful; a nice relaxing switch from the hustle of the larger cities. However you didn't specify the time of year during which you intend to be in Italy; mentioned April 25th; are you starting then or finishing or is that a date that may fall somewhere in between? Beauty of the Cinque Terre is best enjoyed during the spring thru fall months; not alot going on there, so it's not a place to be during rainy reason.

Time of the year may also impact where you go & how you structure your itinerary -- whether it'd be best to start in the North & head South or vice versa.

Florence is easily accessible via train; from there you can also visit Pisa for a day or go to Lucca, a very charming town also on the train line. There are some towns in Tuscany region and particularly, in Umbria region that aren't accessible via train --- that's where Bob's 3 day car rental comes into play.

As for the actual logistics, you'll find the majority of the posters to this website are 'do it yourself folk' -- certainly, conduct alot of pre-travel planning and use the internet/phone/fax to book reservations. I do know some people can recommend travel agents that are helpful; however, my experience is they often don't have the actual 'hands on' travel as many people do on this forum.
 
Dec 14th, 2000, 12:30 PM
  #5  
Harkmore
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thank you Patsy, Bob, and Tina for your great replies and suggestions. I will re-work my plans, as well as read through the other posts here. Grazie, grazie!
 
Dec 17th, 2000, 08:06 PM
  #6  
Josh
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Hark,

I agree with most of the above, but really need to ask, Why only 2 days in Rome?! There is SO much to see & do there that I fear you'd be disappointed with so little time there. One idea would be to spend less time up north, more time in Rome, then south to the Amalfi Coast for a few days. In planning my honeymoon (11-01) I have found that the Amalfi area is often regarded as one of the most romantic/beautiful areas in the world.

Also, if this is your first Europe trip, (to reinforce the other posts) such a busy itinerary may be really hard to handle. Maybe you could fly into Venice, thereby avoiding a trainride right after the flight, followed by a one night stay (Verona). Please keep in mind that it will take more time to get around than in your home country, and that this is a honeymoon.

Good luck & congratulations.
 
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