Italy in April?

Old Jan 8th, 2002, 02:14 PM
  #1  
didijo
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Italy in April?

My husband and I would like to visit our daughter in Florence during April.She is spending a college semester there.The one and only trip I took there was 25 years ago with my parents.We could go for 7 to 11 days total because my dear Mom is offering to stay home with my 3 other kids.Here's what I'd like advise with: First, the weather at that time of year. Is it a good time to go?Next,we would like to fit in Rome and possibly Venice too. Would you recommend a tour and with which company? Idealy something that offers less structure so that we have time with our daughter.Or should we do something more independant?Is train travel or bus travel better? What star level hotel is good? Can we do this on a modest budget or not? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks so very much.
 
Old Jan 8th, 2002, 02:24 PM
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Rex
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April is a good time to go (concerning weather) but not necessarily great. June, September and May might be viewed as better. but April is clearly cheaper. Your airfare will be the single biggest determinant of how affordable this is. Where are you originating?

There is a STRONG bias in favor of independent travel, instead of a tour company. Will your daughter be able to leave Florence to accompany you to any other parts of Italy? If you only have, or can only afford 7 days, I might recommend dropping Rome.

Train travel is a breeze, and very pleasant - - especially between these three big city "trunk line" destinations. I know of no advocates for bus travel between these three cities.

Naturally four star hotels offer more then three-star or two-star hotels, but the latter can still make for a great trip.

It's premature to make a suggestion of specific hotels by name without more information on how much time and money you have - - and whether you need to budget a room for her also (outside Florence).

Keep coming back here - - perhaps daily - - as you continue in the process of discovering, and finding out the things you didn't know you didn't know!

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Jan 8th, 2002, 03:08 PM
  #3  
didijo
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Thank you Rex for the quick reply! TO clarify somethings: We would like to leave out of Newark [N.Y.C. area]. Our daughter will not be able to leave Florence, except maybe a day trip.[depends on her classes] From start to finish including flying 11 or 12 days at most. I think most tours use busses. The trains would be on a independant trip. We don't want to drive ourselves.As to budget ,I'm hopeing to do it fairly reasonably but not necessarily the cheapest way. Thanks again for any advise.
 
Old Jan 8th, 2002, 03:19 PM
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Rex
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Okay, more info generates more questions: what dates - - specifically, or at least generally, in April.

And of course, what does "reasonably" mean? $2000 (for the two of you, not per person) - - might be do-able (maybe 7-9 nights, instead of 11). Other people might consider $4000 still in the realm of reasonable. Any chance the school can recommend (a) place(s) to stay in Tuscany that they have a special rate to help keep your lodging cost(s) down?
 
Old Jan 8th, 2002, 03:36 PM
  #5  
didijo
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We are somewhat flexible with our dates -anytime from April 20 or 21 would be best. We could possibly do frequent flyer miles.I haven't checked that out because I figured I needed to find some sort of tour first and some include air. The best value within $4000 for both of us. Thanks.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 11:44 AM
  #6  
kathie
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With someone in Italy as a local guide for at least one city, and frequent flyer miles for your airfare, you have no need for a tour company.

You can arrange local day-tours in Italy if you think you need them after you get there.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 01:24 PM
  #7  
Rex
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I've thought about this, and researched some fares a bit further, and my answers may surprise you.

Start your trip with two days in London. Not only will you save considerably on air fare - - $595 on www.orbitz.com for EWR-LHR on Sunday Apr 21, and MXP-EWR (via London) on Apr 30 (also available May 1 or 2), flying British Airways.

Moreover, you can separate the time zone/jet lag problem from the need to adjust to a foreign language. You'll be much better rested when you arrive in Italy, and will be so excited that you can "jump right in" and not be torn by the combination of wanting to do too much, being too tired and too overwhelmed.

Of course, London is great in and of itself. you can't do it just tice in 48 hours or less - - but if you like Europe travel, you're going to be back - - perhaps again and again. It IS expensive, true (especially lodging) - - but so are Venice and Rome. And I might try to persuade you to forego Rome on this trip.

Get to Italy by flying (Wed, Apr 24)from London (Stansted) for only 18.99 GBP per person (32.05 GBP with the taxes, or $46.06 USD). Yes, there will be the cost (monetary, and getting up early in the morning) to get to Stansted, but you can cat map on the plane, and I'm not doing this strictly for the financial savings.

Stay in Venice two nights, maybe more. I might suggest only two, and then a third in Verona (just about an hour away by train, and gets you closer to Florence).

How long you stay in Florence is going to be influenced a lot by what your daughter has in mind, in conjunction with your visit. I envision you arriving in florence on Friday (or Saturday) to maximize the time you can spend with her (surely she has no major weekend obligations on the weekend).

How you conclude this trip also depends on a lot of factors I cannot predict - - your budget, desire to go to Rome - - or see other parts of Tuscany, etc, etc.

Of course, there are many other ways you could do this. But this can give you a great trip - - and a taste of three or four different cultures, and stay WELL under the $4000 mark.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 11:18 AM
  #8  
Rex
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topping for didijo - - the scroll rate has been incredibly high these first first few days of January!
 
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 02:55 PM
  #9  
K
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Hi Didijo,

Rex has some great insight. My sister studied in Cannes spring semester last year, and since we wanted to do more travelling with her and also enjoy the Cannes/Nice area, my mother and I went to go visit her during the last few days of her semester there, and then took off to Florence and Paris before returning home (about 2 weeks). Also, the weather can be a bit chilly in April in Florence and Venice, it just depends. We've always have found May and June to be very favorable for nice weather (with fewer tourists in May than June). Be sure to go to www.raileurope.com to check out probable schedules to and from Florence and Venice, because that also affected the decision of when and where to go. Hope this helps! Good luck!
K
 
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 07:02 PM
  #10  
didijo
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Rex, Kathie,and K, Thanks for your help!IF anyone else has thoughts on this I would be glad to hear from you. Didijo
 

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