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Italy: Need help putting together a trip for a family friend

Italy: Need help putting together a trip for a family friend

Old Feb 27th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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Italy: Need help putting together a trip for a family friend

Hello my fellow fodorites!

A good friend of mine has asked me to put together a travel itinerary for Italy.

I am having a problem putting this together. Problem being is I can research a trip that I will be on, but this is my first attempt at trying to suggest a trip for friends.

Group will consist of 6 people. Adults ages 30 to 65 yrs. All women! 10 day trip! October 2003. First trip to Italy. All have an artistic backgrounds so the ART of Italy will be a prime interest.

I am asking you guys who know Italy well to throw in your thoughts!

Here is what I suggested so far.....

1. I think the 'Big Three' Rome(3 days), Florence(2 days) and Venice(3 days) will be doable in 10 days
2. I am suggesting that they fly into Rome and out of Venice.
3. I am suggesting that they use the trains and day trip/tour out to Tuscany, Siena, Cortina, etc.

Q: What questions should I ask the group?
Q: Any thoughts on maybe staying at a villa for the whole week?
Q: Any hotels that you think would be good for six adults in theses areas?

I await the great info!
JOHN

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Old Feb 27th, 2003, 06:24 AM
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rex
 
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I submit that there are (at least) two different ways to look at this (don't I look at life like this, just about always?)

Is their greater interest in art history and appreciation? or in getting a chance to put their artistic abilities to use somewhere? I won't be surprised if the answer is some of both, but if it is none of the latter, it might change the strategy a bit.

Ther are a lot of one-, three- seven-day (and more) "courses" or outings for artists - - with brush for sure, and perhaps with chisel or other media as well (clay? textiles?)

If such an opportunity is important, then I think you need to find that, in the right place, at the right price - - and build around it. It might or not be connected with the chance to consider a "villa" stay. In addition to a "villa" stay (i.e., in the countryside), there is the related, but different self-catering option IN cities - - an "apartment" stay.

A key factor in either kind of self-catering stay is whether the idea of food shopping and cooking is appealing - - or distinctly unappealing. I love this aspect of a villa stay, but others would want no part in it.

If none of these factors are relevant, I generally NEITHER Rome nor Venice at the front end of a ("short") trip to Italy; Rome because it is so intense that it can be quite a shock at first (especially with time zone adjustment/ transatlantic in-flight sleep loss) - - and Venice because it is so special that it "deserves better" than allocating those first few fatigued days there.

So, I think Florence is a great place to start. You can fly ther direct (or nearby Pisa) by connecting through a city IN Italy, or elsewhere (London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc). Flights into Milan, or even into Rome are a perfectly good way to train into Florence too.

I assume that these people are not seeking you (or anyone else?) to plan AND actually lead them around? Because if that was part of the equation, it might make a difference too.

Last of all, depending on specific interests in art (media, periods), some could argue that it is not necessary at all to ever leave any of the big three, with ten days available. Especially true of Rome (and of course, day tripping to Florence and/or Catania would work from Rome as well).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Feb 27th, 2003, 08:12 AM
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Thanks Rex for the first response! I knew I could count on you!

I like the Florence start. I agree Rome might be too intense for the first view of Italy. I was trying to keep the Train rides time to a minimum.

Let me also say that this group is all related (daughters, Mother and
Aunts) so doubling up on rooms would be no problem

The Artistic side would be more in the "Art History catagory". Two of the women are in fashion textile industry.

Their Mother so wants to visit the Vatican, so we have to allow for that as well!

No, unfortunatly I would not be going on the trip. If I would, I could have made the travel adjustments after getting the reactions of the group!
JOHN
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Old Feb 27th, 2003, 01:28 PM
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You're most welcome. Thank you for the kind remarks.

Topping for you, in hopes of additional input.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 11:10 PM
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With only two nights in Florence, there wouldn't be much time for a day trip. I'd make it 3 nights Florence and 2 in Venice. That will give them time for both the Uffizi and the Accademia in Florence plus one day trip - I'd reccomend the bus (not train) to Siena.

I think open jaw in Rome/out Venice or vice versa makes the most sense. I can't make sense of flying into Florence (which is in the middle) when your goal is to also see Rome and Venice (which are at the two ends). It seems you'll end up facing that difficult connection issue between Rome and Venice which defeats the whole purpose of an open jaw ticket. Just my two cents. Hope the ladies have a great trip. (Tell them to use the in-room safes and carry money belts!)
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 01:59 AM
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BMW -

I agree that Rome is too intense to start the holiday. Trying to see Rome in 3 days is exhausting enough - not ideal after a long flight.

But it doesn't make logistical sense to start with Florence - as Lesli says.
I would definitely fly INTO Venice and OUT of Rome.

Steve
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 07:23 AM
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With only 10 days I would not try to do all 3 of the art cities--too much city time and too intense. I would include a Tuscany location as your third destination and use either Rome or Venice as your gateway. Or, talk them into 13 nites.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Here's another idea, not that I disagree strongly with what appears above.
If they are interested in art and architecture, I'd consider basing them in both Rome and Florence, and, reluctantly, skipping my beloved Venice. Venice has art of course, both quite modern (Guggenheim Collection) and quite old (a lot of 15th century) but for art buffs I think Rome and Florence have so many high Renaissance riches that Venice just has to come in 3rd, if only by comparison.
Dividing time between F and R, which are also quite close to each other, would also allow for a daytrip or two to Siena
(a great deal of preserved medieval architecture and ambience), Assisi, Pompeii etc.

If they insist on all 3 cities, I can't see having time for daytrips. And transportation among the 3 cities will cut out the equivalent of 1-2 days from precious sightseeing time, when you add in packing, unpacking, checking in and out, etc.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 05:05 AM
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Thanks. again for all the replys!

See, this is not easy!! I have a fondness for Venice myself,and would hate to leave it out, but I have to agree that it might be pushing to do all three cities! Who knows if the older women will ever make it back to Italy!

So...I will try and throw these great suggestions back to the group and get them to "fine tune" what they want out of this trip!

Any thoughts on the Italian train system? Is there a 'group tix discount availble?

Thanks!, John



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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 08:42 AM
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It's not 'pushing it' to do all three cities. Certainly it will be a little harried, since the bustle of the cities does not contribute to general relaxing, but this sounds like a trip that memories are made of, and you shouldn't let them skip any of the three cities. I can't imagine that any art loverw sould choose to pass on Venice in favor of two or three days in the Tuscan countryside, if they HAD to choose. I would even make it crazier and suggest that they take a half day in Pisa...
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:07 AM
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I agree that Rome is intense. I flew into Rome and out of Venice with a week in Tuscany in between. However, anyplace will be tiring aftter jet lag. One might consider flying the group into the easiest area of the three to navigate. Allowing for varying degrees of jet lag and energy to venture for the in those first hours after landing, I'd suggest Venice as the easiest to see/come to consciousness in. SOme of the highlights of Venice can be easily found with the chances of getting lost much less than say in Rome or Florence/Tuscany. Given that these folks are art lovers it will also permit them a sense of working from the most recent to the most ancient with the Renaissance in between if they start in Venice then move on to Florence and lastly end up in Rome. If there is a question as to whether some of the party will ever make it back to Italy...don't skip Venice! There is so much to see in Tuscany and I would definitely include a trip to Siena in their plans. The Duomo alone there will captivate them. I might even suggest an overnite in Siena especially given that they will be taking the train/bus. The issue of self catering places to stay is a good one. However, I think many self catering places have a week's stay at a minimum. But you might do a search for the various websites people have referred to on this site to look at possibilities. I think perhaps the greatest period of time should be in Florence allowing for points of interest in the city itself and trips out into the countryside. Given the great differences in folk's ages in this group I would also allow both for down time and travel time in planning the itinerary. Any chance they could increase the vacation to 12-14 days?
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