Italy in early december

Oct 5th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #1  
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Italy in early december

My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy in December. We are thinking of:
Venice- 2 nights
Florence-6 nights, with plans to do day trips to towns in Tuscany.
Does this sound like a good itinerary? Are we risking horrible weather in early December? I have been to Florence and Venice, but this will be the first trip to Italy for my husband.

What day trips from Florence do you recommend? And should we rent a car and maybe stay in one of those places for one of the nights?

And I am always open for restaurant suggestions! Thank you.
karencalifornia is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 11:46 AM
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I like Italy in early December. While weather may be damp, there are crowds, no lines and few tourists. I would rather go when it is quiet than when mobbed.

2 nights in Venice is enough for me and I prefer Tuscany overall. Plan to fly open jaw into Venice and out of Peretola or Pisa so as not to waste time.

Siena is an easy day trip by bus. We really enjoy Bologna and I would recommend a day there - I prefer it to Siena personally. Normally we head to a few wineries but not sure how this would be in December. Lucca is a another option but it really depends on what you enjoy.

Can you add a night and do 2 nights Venice, 3-4 Florence and 3 in Rome and then fly home from there? Rome is really nice in December as the lack of so many tourists makes it feel like a different place.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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We spent all December in Venice and loved it. Cold, fewer tourists, lovely. Two nights really only gives you a single day - you might find this a bit short.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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It's really impossible to predict the weather. I have had glorious days in early December. I've had experienced non-stop rain for four days in a row. And every now and then dustings of snow in some hilltops -- during weeks when otherwise you could go around in a light jacket in the sun.

Firenze makes a good base for a December trip because there is plenty to do indoors. As for day trips, tt really does depend on what you and your husband like to do. But if you get rainy weather than doesn't favor trips to hilltowns or marching around medieval cities gawking at the architecture, remember than Bologna -- with its miles of arcaded, porticoed streets -- is just 45 minutes away by train, and has some fascinating attractions plus glorious food. You can also get a good train connection there to additionally visit unique and lovely Ferrara (again well protected from rain by arcaded streets), and it's just another 20 minutes further. In the other direction, the towns with hot, steaming thermal baths might be a lot of fun if the weather turns chill.

An overnight in a hilltown is always very nice, but I don't think you need to book it advance. You can play it by ear.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 03:14 AM
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Hi Karen - Be aware that 8 Dec (- Tues) is a public holiday in Italy.

Many Italians go away for a long weekend - so traffic will be heavy and places will book up early for that period (- i.e from Friday 4 Dec).

Steve
Steve_James is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 08:53 AM
  #6  
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Thank you everyone for your recommendations.

I thought of making a visit to Bologna. It sounds like it is well liked and worthy of a visit!

What do you think of San Geminiano and what is the best way to get there from Florence? car rental? Train?

Also, if I want to rent a car to go to the towns in Tuscany, is this something you recommend I do ahead of time?

I had no idea about the dec. 8 holiday--thank you for informing me Steve_James!! I must get booked for those potentially busy days.

Do any of you have any recommendations for a hotel in Florence- reasonably priced, with our own bathroom?
Thank you again!!
karencalifornia is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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What's your lodging budget for Florence? Do you need hotel amenities (room service, laundry, etc.) or have other requirements? If not, take a look at this place:

www.touristhouseghiberti.com

If you want to rent a car, I'd make that reservation before you leave home. You can make day trips from Florence to many places in Tuscany using public trans, so whether you should rent a car or not depends on what towns you want to visit. Also keep in mind that the sun will be setting by about 4:30 p.m. in December. Would you be comfortable driving after dark?
Jean is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Hi Jean,

I would prefer less than or equal to $150 US a night, if possible. We do not need room service or laundry facitlities. Good point about getting dark in December.

This place looks great--I imagine you have stayed there before? And you have liked it? It seems like a good central location.
Thank you!
karencalifornia is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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Hi KC,

I would recommend renting a car before you leave. Get that out of the way and paid for. The savings is significant from what I've heard because you're dealing with dollars renting here and Euros there, for one. I've always gotten the rental car taken care of long before leaving for any destination in Europe. In '04, I stayed a couple of km from San Gimignano (spelling looks wrong). You can get there easily via car from Firenze if you want to go that route. The drive was beautiful. Get a good map. I don't recall if the bus went through San Gimi but, I'm thinking it didn't. A friend of mine bussed out to Col'v Elsa (spelling again, sorry),a neighboring town, from Firenze as the bus did not come into San Gimi and I'd pick him up there in the middle of the town. I bet you'll see other places you'd like to stop along the way which won't be a problem if you're driving. I wouldn't recommend driving back to Firenze though. Navigating the roads in town would have been a nighmare if I didn't have someone with me who knew the layout. Plus, parking is expensive and if you make the mistake of driving in the restricted area of the city center - let's just say the ticket is NOT CHEAP, you'll get it in the mail long after you've gotten home and it's a pain in the butt to pay as you're having to get a certified check in Euros, mailing it with a signature card etc etc etc. Can you tell I've been there, done that? Hope this helps. Have a wonderful time!

Kim
beelady is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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karencalifornia, many Fodorites have stayed at the Tourist House Ghiberti, and I don't think anyone has ever posted a negative comment.

We've stayed there three times in two different rooms. One room faced the street and the hospital opposite, which I thought would be a noise problem, but it wasn't. My husband really appreciated having the in-room computer with internet access 24/7. I liked the larger-than-average room and bathroom and good lighting for reading (a rarity!). The owners and staff have been very helpful with info and the occasional reservation. Breakfast is good. There's a bus stop near the front door of the building, but the location is walkable to anywhere in Florence for the reasonably fit.
Jean is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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The drive to San Gimignano is very pleasant once you are out of Florence. You probably don't want a car while in Florence. We actually dropped the car at the Florence airport, took a taxi in and had no car while in Florence. The one thing I would say about San G is that it is so much nicer to stay there. Before and after all the tourist buses arrive is it stunningly beautiful, quiet, and virtually all locals. But I understand if you cannot do that. Since there seem to be so many tour buses going to San G I assume there must be one you can get from Florence if you would prefer that.

One idea might be to rent the car when you arrive in Florence, go to Siena then San G, then one night in Chianti area, then back to drop your car before returning to stay in Florence. The distances are not far at all but lots of small roads and small towns that you will want to enjoy. May favorite area of Tuscany is actually slightly further south where small Tuscan towns like Pienza and Montepulciano are. If you have the energy and time to research this area (lots of postings online here), I am sure you will enjoy it. But what's not to like about Florence, Chianti and San G. You cannot lose. Enjoy!
Paulo59 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 01:32 AM
  #12  
 
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Karen - Day-trips from Florence? So many options ...

Siena
San Gimignano
Pisa
Lucca
Bologna
Cortona
Assisi
Perugia
Orvieto
Arezzo
Chiantishire
Cinque Terre
Rome
Venice

If you prefer not to drive, most are convenient enough by public transport.

CAF Tours and SITA - among others - offer excursions by bus from Florence. You can find details at:

http://www.caftours.com/en/regtoursac.htm

http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/info...a-firenze.html

Hope this helps ...

Steve
Steve_James is offline  

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