Italy in September/Virgin trip

Jan 10th, 2010, 08:51 PM
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Italy in September/Virgin trip

My husband and I and our two best friends will be traveling to Italy in September. Never been there before and I can't wait. Were are thinking about a villa/farmhouse in Tuscany for a week and a week on the Amalfi Coast. I really have no interest in Rome (some call me crazy) more so just to enjoy the wine, the sights, and the food. I can use all the help I can get since I don't know what to expect but it has been my dream to see Italy. I am a sponge when it comes to input......pile it on :^)
djzelezen is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 11:34 PM
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Sounds lovely! What sort of information are you looking for?
dreamon is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 12:12 AM
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A week in each place sounds perfect to me, but what are the specific interests of your friends and husband? For example, do they have an interest in Rome or Venice? You may have to select locations that allow each of you to do some things separately, so your individual needs and interests are accommodated. Wine and food are easy, but what particular sights do you have an interest in? Perhaps you should view some videos of Italy and do some serious reading of guide books, if you have not already done so.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 01:38 AM
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I agree with Sassafrass, so far we have heard about your interests, but what about the rest of the group. We went to Tuscany a few years as part of a group of 7. We all know each other very well and get along fine at home, but when we arrived it turned out that one of the guys fancied sitting around, cooking lavish breakfasts, driving around the countryside taking photos - all of which have merit. However, the rest of us nearly went nuts as we wanted to be up and away in the mornings so that we could explore Siena, San Gimignano and Florence which were al close by. Our mate was grumpy and very grudgingly joined us.

Can I advise that you check with your husband and friends and then come back to us so that we can give more balanced advice.
cathies is online now  
Jan 11th, 2010, 04:40 AM
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For a place on the Amalfi coast we rented a villa through and had great service.

Sounds like a lovely trip!
jamikins is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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Do you want to cook or not to cook when you are in your villa? Or would rather have someone cook for you as part of a farmhouse stay? Do you want to drive home from a restaurant after dinner or do you be served your dinner at the same place you stay?

You can rent fine accommodations in Tuscany with kitchens so you can do your own cooking, or you can rent equally fine accommodations on farms where the owners will cook dinner for you every night. If you stay in the countryside and don't stay where you can get dinner everynight, you will have to drive to a restaurant and drive home again. So somebody will have to skip the wine.

Having dinner cooked for you by the same cook every night at a farm where wine is also made is a glorious way to experience Tuscany. Most Tuscan recipes were developed to feed large groups and are based on fresh picked vegetables and home-made pastas. Most people find that when an Italian cooks a meal for them, they eat better and feel than when they eat in restaurants, picking individual plates from a standardized menu to make a 4 course meal. That's especially true for a largish-group of people selecting 24 different dishes to eat. That might be great in France, where cooking is all geared toward creating the perfect individual plate of food. In Italy, people eat together, by and large.

There are several very good websites that will allow you to search specifically for farmhouse -- or "agriturismo" -- accommodations with restaurants on site. This is one of my favorites:

Perhaps first you and your group need to decide where in Tuscany you'd most like to be situated. I like the area known as le Crete Sinise, just south of Siena, for its unique blend of manicured farms and wild geological features.

Hope that helps.
stepsbeyond is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Wow! great insight so far. We would like to take a cooking class. I've heard that Forence is a must. Would like to see Venice but have heard that it is very crowded and over-rated (?). Wineries and olive groves sound lovely. Capri seems to be beautiful and maybe a little antiqueing. I love art but the men can only do that for a short time. Seeing cheese or proscuto being processed appeals to us. I will check out all the mentioned sites when I get home tonight right after I go to the library and get all the videos I can get my hands on :^) I didn't think about the whole resturant/cook thing. Food for pun intended. Thanks for the thoughts so far. NOW I'm getting excited!!!
djzelezen is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Keep on doing your research, so you can decide if Florence is a must FOR YOU and your group - it has some of the best Renaissance paintings and sculpture in the world, but if your group is not so interested in that, don't feel that you should go just to say that you went. (On the other hand, you may discover something new to love and appreciate.)

Parts of Venice can be crowded, but other parts are not, especially if your trip starts in mid-September. Venice is unique, being the only city in the world built on islands, with no cars. I don't think it's over-rated at all, but again, it depends on what your group would enjoy.

Lots of people love the rent-a-villa plan, but that has never interested me, so here's a different viewpoint, just to make sure that it's something your foursome really wants to do. Our family likes to be close to the sites and sights, within walking distance if possible. When we're not enjoying art and culture, we like to sit at a cafe and people-watch. And we love to try a new restaurant every night, and for lunch too (or just buy cheese and bread for a picnic lunch). All of those are primarily hotel-in-town features. Also, if you stay at a villa, keep in mind that if you go anywhere, you'll be driving to do it.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Whether Venice is "over-rated" is fighting words (I'm not a fan of being there except to focus on specific artworks) but I don't think it fits into your trip. A week in Tuscany and a week in the Amalfi sounds exqisite. (There are several cooking class options in and around the Amalfi, and I would rather learn to cook the food of that area than the food of Tuscany.)

Hope you can find time to visit places in Tuscany where pecorino sheep's cheese is produced AND mozzarella in the areas close to Amalfi.
stepsbeyond is offline  
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