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Itinerary for 3 weeks in Italy

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Jul 23rd, 2015, 09:12 AM
  #1
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Itinerary for 3 weeks in Italy

Please guide for making an Itinerary for 3 weeks in Italy, which should cover the must see & all the beautiful places.
Thanks in Advance
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 09:37 AM
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That would take 3 months not 3 weeks.
You need to start somewhere--time of year, number of people, is driving an option etc.???

After 17 trips to Italy I have seen about 70% of all the beautiful places. I would start with Michelin Green book which lists the must see places---there are more than 50 of those. Tell us more so we can help.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 09:32 PM
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Thanks bobthenavigator for your reply, we are a couple & are planning to go in from 9th September to 2nd October or from 30th September to 21st October, whichever is best & driving would be option if it's going to beneficial in seeing lots of places without the hassle of driving in non English speaking country since we don't know Italian
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Jul 24th, 2015, 02:36 AM
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Hi, I live in Italy and not only would it take you 3 years to see even half of all the beautiful sights of Italy, bobthenavigator is totally deluding himself or being an internet boaster tell you that in 17 trips to Italy he's seen 70 percent of all the beautiful places. (I happen know from reading this site how often he only visits the exact same places he's been before, each trip, so those 17 trips are really more like 5 in terms of what he's seen.)

The September 9th/30th would be a better window for travel in Italy. It's true that Italy isn't an English speaking country, but you don't need to speak Italian to rent a car and be safe on the roads. There are many beautiful places in Italy where it is less hassle to use public transportation, but for some very beautiful places in Italy, not having a car is a real hassle.

Much of the beauty of Italy is not "seeing lots of places" but the beauty of the way of life in various parts of Italy, and interacting with its people, many of whom speak English, and most of whom do not consider lack of a common language an impediment to getting along cheerfully. Many of the places listed in guidebooks as the "most beautiful" are overrun with foreign tourists, and while they are impressive to gawk at, you can end up missing a whole dimension of the unique culture of Italy if you never enter into the spaces where Italians live and work, many of which are just as amazingly beautiful as the ones you find in guidebooks but are really known only to locals.

So it would be a pity if you spent your 3 weeks galloping north and south to places ranked with 5 or 4 "stars" in a guidebook only to end up snapping photos in a crowd of other people snapping photos, until it is time to stick your nose back in the guidebook and march to the next "most beautiful."

So think about what you want to experience by traveling to Italy at such a lovely time of year as the turn of summer into fall. One of the most startling things about Italy is how much of everything you can find in almost every small chunk of Italy. Almost everywhere you go, there are Roman ruins, Renaissance art, medieval castles and towns, mountains and lakes nearby, vinyards, mosaics, ceramics, motorcycle museums, fashion shops, food markets, fabulous views of sea and sky -- all within a 2 hour or less radius.

I suggest each of you write down on paper things you want to do in Italy -- whether it is see something, eat something, do something (like hike or swim in the med or learn to make pizza), hear something -- and focus on what would mean something to you personally to experience, and not focus on how "many" or "a lost" or "the most" or percentages. Those are unhelpful measures for understanding Italy.
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Jul 24th, 2015, 06:56 AM
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Get two good guide books before you make any choices, and remember that you will likely return.
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Jul 24th, 2015, 07:03 AM
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Oh yes, so you have some idea where to start, here are my top 5 destinations to consider:

1. The Lakes
2. Tuscany hill towns
3. Venice
4. Amalfi coast
5. The Ligurian coast

Good luck in your reading.
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Jul 24th, 2015, 08:53 PM
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Thanks for your inputs sandralist and bobthenavigator.
I think you missed out the must see city of Rome, Florence, Sorrento.Is it good idea to do a road trip in Italy to dolomite or any other beautiful place.Would it not be a hindrance of not able to read road signs or instructions if one is not familiar in Italian language.
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Jul 25th, 2015, 12:57 AM
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Which are good guide books- Rick sleeves?
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Jul 25th, 2015, 02:11 AM
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Get the Rough Guide to Italy, over 1000 pages of stuff.

Using the trains is easy and comfortable see seat61.com for over view and trenitalia which is maintrain company (there are others)

The standard first timers to Italy is Venice, Florence, Rome. In Sept this is a good mix. You need something like 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Rome and Florence (depending if you are using it as a Tuscany base 3 to 6 nights).

My must sees are different. I'd look at three areas that interest me

The Po valley which includes Venice/Padua/Chiogga/Bologna/Ravenna/Ferrara (which are easily linked up by boat/train). Great food, very flat, three unique places to visit.

Tuscany (everyone loves Tuscany) so Siena, St Gim, Montepulciano etc etc plus a lot of the smaller places which I actually prefer then add in Lucca and Pisa and you have 3 weeks just there

Puglia/Basilicata, Lecce and then all the little towns going north with the faint air of disaster (ever since the Normans left) and some wonderful people and great food with good architecture. Puglia is the best in September and May as just too hot for me in the summer.

Others love other areas, I'd chose max of two. BTW, I only went to Rome for the first time a couple of years ago after years of visiting Italy. The main drawers are good, but people have seen Rome as the main drawer for 2000+ years and honestly there are better visits.
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Jul 25th, 2015, 02:16 AM
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If you have three weeks make time to meet with the locals, I'd suggest do a food or art course for a couple of days. If you want suggestions let me know
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Jul 25th, 2015, 06:40 AM
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The Michelin Green book is the best.
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Jul 25th, 2015, 07:53 AM
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Dan - the first thing you need to convince yourself of is that in 3 weeks [or 3 months or 3 years or even 30 years] you cannot see all of the beautiful places in Italy. So any trip is going to be a compromise.

once you realise that, you can begin to plan. If Rome, Florence and Sorrento are important to you, start there. [but are they only important to you because you've heard their names? or because there's something there that you know attracts you? - there is a difference] Then you mention the Dolomites, but a trip linking Rome, Florence and Sorrento, plus the Dolomites is beginning to look quite ambitious for 3 weeks, though not undoable if you are disciplined about what you try to see in between.

As for the driving, like all drivers in a foreign country, you need to familiarise yourself with the road signs, though most are pretty standard. if you decide to concentrate on Rome, Florence and Sorrento, then you probably don't need a car at all; even in the Dolomites you can probably manage it by train if you plan well.

The Michelin Green Guide is great for the sights you might want to see; another book that helps with planning like the Rough guide would be a useful foil. Try your local library to see what they've got.
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Jul 26th, 2015, 04:59 AM
  #13
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Thanks each one of you for your valuable inputs, now I realise why its so overwhelming to plan for 3 weeks for such a beautiful place, let me make a rough itinerary & then shall come back to seek each one of your suggestions & advice. Thx once again
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Jul 29th, 2015, 08:40 PM
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By the way there is plenty of time since I am planning for Sep/ Oct 2016 although can someone suggest which is better period of travel to Italy with less heat & more enjoyable, 9th sep to 2nd October or from 2nd October to 22nd October. Thx once again
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Jul 30th, 2015, 07:36 AM
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Dan - September will be warmer [probably], the days will be longer, but likely there will be more tourists around. [which may or may not matter depending on where you are intending to go].

October - cooler but still warm, shorter days, possibly fewer people.
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Jul 30th, 2015, 02:18 PM
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You asked about guidebooks. I like Rick Steves, but he only focuses on certain areas. Fodors are pretty good for an overview. Eyewitness guides have lots of pictures. Green Guides provide a lot of detail and suggested itineraries, but very few pictures.

Before you invest in hundreds of dollars of guidebooks, go to the public library and check out any guidebooks that look interesting to you. Once you narrow it down, then pick some books to purchase. Also, take out some dvds or watch via Hulu, Youtube, etc. to see what appeals to you.

Also, think what you've enjoyed on other vacations - shopping, sitting at cafes, lots of culture, art museums, or walking in the countryside or hiking in the mountains. Let your interests guide you in what you choose in Italy.
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Jul 30th, 2015, 04:25 PM
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October has short days---we prefer May.
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Jul 31st, 2015, 02:10 PM
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[channelling my inner SL] bob - the OP says that he wants to go in September or October. I would happen to agree with you but that's not what he wants to do .
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Aug 1st, 2015, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for all your replies & advises, Lexma90, I already have Rick sleeves guide& for others if I chose the net version of the Green guide and the fodors travel guide, will it be ok or do I need the bound books & not the web source for the above.
Furthermore as you asked " Also, think what you've enjoyed on other vacations - shopping, sitting at cafes, lots of culture, art museums, or walking in the countryside or hiking in the mountains. Let your interests guide you in what you choose in Italy" and I posed this question to myself and I think We liked bit of everything, I mean a mix of everything along with some road trips and train rides, May that is the reason I am more confused in planning but guess everything will fall in place once I get into depth & with the help all you guys. Thanks for all of your suggestions.
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Aug 2nd, 2015, 09:31 PM
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On the travel guides, depends on how much you want to spend on books. By net version, do you mean electronic copies of the books? Keep in mind that there are a bunch of Michelin Green Guides - for Rome, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, etc. You don't want to end up with so many books for your trip that you get bogged down with referring to them (even if they are electronic, so you don't have the physical weight or space issues).

You may or may not need all three of Rick Steves, and the Green Guide(s), and the Fodor's guides, depending on what you use them for. If you plan to use each of them for information while in (let's say) a museum, I would say you don't necessarily need 3 books for that (and I would choose the Green Guide for that purpose anyway) Or if you planned to use all three for restaurant info, I would say Fodor's is the best of the 3 for that purpose.

Yes, things will start to fall into place, in terms of what YOU want to do, as you learn more about Italy.

October can be very nice, definitely fewer people, but also greater chance of rain. Dolomites are not so good at that time, as it's between the summer hiking and winter skiing seasons. There are other mountain ranges in Italy, but if you gi in October, then maybe skip the Dolomites.
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