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MariG wants to go to Italy, help me refine this plan.

MariG wants to go to Italy, help me refine this plan.

Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 04:53 AM
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MariG wants to go to Italy, help me refine this plan.

This trip has been a few years on the making and has been postponed a few times. DH and I have been to Italy, DD has not. This trip is kind of a present for her 16th birthday so we will be revisiting a lot places. There are a million things that I would love to do but I am trying to keep this trip as reasonable (money and schedule) as possible. This is a draft of the current plan:

Thursday, May 21, 2009 fly into Rome
* Rome (5 Nights) – Pickup rental car as we leave

*Umbria (5 Nights) – Possibly Spello as homebase

*Tuscany (5 Nights) – Possibly Pienza as homebase

*Florence (4 Nights) – Drop off rental car

*Venice (4 Nights) – arrive by train

Sunday, June 14, 2009 fly out of Venice

I like Rome, I love the things in Rome, but I don’t LOVE Rome herself. I find her too chaotic so I want to go there first so that it can be crossed off the list and then proceed at a more leisurely pace (OTOH, I adore Florence!).

We are light travelers and do not mind to move from hotel to hotel. Compared to most of our trips, this is a very sedentary plan. I am wondering if it would be better to have two bases in Tuscany to minimize re-driving through the same areas to do day trips. Something in the South (Pienza area) and another more Northern location? …..Thoughts?

I had originally inserted 3 days in Cinque Terre but DH thought it was a bit out of the way. For the moment being I am keeping it off the itinerary (but not completely of my mind). That iteration of the plan went: Rome > Cinque Terre (train) > Florence > (pickup car) Tuscany > Umbria > (drop off car) Venice in the same amount of days…..Thoughts?

In another version of the plan I wanted to squeeze a night in Ravenna (after Florence) and Verona (after Ravenna) but it began to look a bit chaotic. The other option was two nights in Padua before going into Venice. Husband was not completely sold into this either as he thinks that these are too industrialized and he would rather spend the days in the rolling Tuscan hills. I have not been able to get him to read a few trip reports that would change his mind. I am still planning to do a day trip to Padua from Venice.

My preference is to alternate cities and towns. This plan would go like this: Rome >(pickup car)Tuscany>Florence>Umbria>(dropoff car) Venice. But then the rental car becomes dead weight for those four nights. Maybe that would not be too bad.

Anyway, all kinds of suggestions are welcome! I have 9 months to refine and define this itinerary
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 07:20 AM
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This looks like a wonderful plan and I think you have the right amount of time in each place.

I would look into picking up the rental car outside of Rome so you don't have the problem of driving outside the city or of going back to the airport to pickup the car. Look into Chuisi or Orvieto. A few years ago we took the train to Chuisi and picked up the car there. It's a small station and the car rental places are near the station. There are several recent threads about picking up in these towns.

Keep your current itinerary as you won't want to deal with a car in Florence; finding a hotel with parking and driving in and out of the city. Also you're paying for the car for 4 days but not using it. I understand that you want to alternate city and countryside but Venice has no motor traffic so you won't have the typical city noise to deal with so less like a city.

I stayed in Pienza for a week a few years ago and thought it was a great location. Most places were only an hour away so it was good for day trips and you have several restaurants in town, eliminating the need to drive dark and windy roads when returning from dinner. The only towns we saw that were a bit inconvenient were Volterra and San Gimignano as they were 2 hours each way. Siena was 1 hour each way.

I agree with your opinion of Rome - noisy and chaotic. But there are so many attractions that are away from the main streets where you hardly know you're in a major city. You'll have to do the typical tourist first-time things with your daughter but there are many beautiful churches that see few visitors and are away from the hub-bub. Last trip to Rome I also went to 2 archeological museums that were very interesting and had few people in them.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:36 AM
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Nice trip--hard to critique.
Also look at Bevagna as a base in Umbria--look at Le Case Gialle and Genius Loci.
I would consider an apt. in Rome. You have a great start to a wonderful trip.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:44 AM
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marigross - We did a similar trip in 2005.

Below is link to trip report with pictures.

http://travelswithmaitaitom.typepad.com/travels/




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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:57 AM
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marigross,
My trip report may give you some ideas http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35046872


Henry
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:58 AM
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Tom, it could be somewhat possible that your trip report has something to do with my itinerary... :-?

I am basically planning to follow your footsteps (And Stu's tiremarks)
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Henry, thanks! I had read (and loved!) your trip report a while ago. Thank you for posting so I can go over it again.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:59 AM
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"I am basically planning to follow your footsteps.."

Repeat after me:
"Pull up on the ring for reverse."
"Check your petrol choice...carefully!"
"Don't drive on town squares."

Have a great trip!!!!


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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:06 AM
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marigross

I think your trip plans sound just right.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:41 AM
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Hi marigross,

If this were my trip and given my personal preferences (love Rome, don't love Florence), I would take 1 day from your countryside visits and 2 days from Florence so that I could include Cinque Terre. That was my first thought before I read you had already decided against it.

But your trip sounds great for what you want to do and nice lengths of time in each location.

Have some brunello for me! Your daughter is very lucky. Will she enjoy the countryside and hilltowns for 10 days? Might she get bored? Maybe some hiking?

Buon viaggio!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 01:04 PM
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Hi Marigross,

I have a 17-year-old daughter and she has traveled a lot in Italy. I agree 100% with you about Rome, but she absolutely loved it. Florence is her favorite city of all however. (I've not been yet.) We both loved Venice and were there the same week last May and had gorgeous weather and it wasn't too horrible crowded yet.

I want to mention that I really loved Ravenna. If you have one extra night to play with try to go. The mosaics are so wonderful and you can see most of the major ones in one day. The little city is very nice with cute shops and lots of biking around town. I didn't bring my daughter on that trip, but both of my teens would have liked Ravenna. It's not hectic either.

My girls are not keen at all for hiking or scenery - your daughter may be different.

gruezi

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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 02:03 PM
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I think it sounds wonderful but was also wondering if 10 nights in the countryside might be a bit long for your daughter. Wouldn't want her to get bored!
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 04:06 AM
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Thanks to all!!! Wonderful replies.

DD does enjoy the countryside and spectacular views... up to a point. We have been to small towns in Switzerland (Samedan, Weggis, etc.) which worked perfectly well for us because they were safe enough that she could go have a coffee or talk a walk by herself. I would not exactly want to stay in an isolated, romantic villa (well... I would want to but it would not go over well with DD )

I'm still wondering how to squeeze the 5T in. I would LOVE to hike the trails...and Ravenna...and Padua...
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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What can you tell me about Bevagna? Are there several restaurant options? Is is easy access / parking? How does it compare with Spello?

It certainly looks interesting!
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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....Bevagna?

I've been reading up and it is looking great? Any additional info?
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Bevagna is very close to Montefalco so look at food reviews there also. I do love Spello but it is s bit vertical to me for a base location. I would prefer to be rural with easy parking and driving, and Bevagna is the perfect location.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Check the Genius Loci website for info on Bevagna...they are located very near the town in a lovely spot.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 03:54 AM
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I looked at the Genius Loci website and it does look amazing.

Next question, should I go for two home bases in Tuscany instead of one? Piensa and Sam Gim?
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 04:40 AM
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I think it's best if you identify the towns you want to visit during the 5 days; figure out how far they are from your base and then determine if it's worth moving. For example - if you're based in Pienza and you'll only go to San Gim in the north and all other towns are between Siena and Pienza or east of Siena then it's not worth moving. You won't save time traveling each day so there wouldn't be a reason to pack and unpack a second time in Tuscany.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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I think one base is OK if you plan to see Siena from that location. I like to include the Abbey at Oliveto Maggiore that same day, coming or going since the Abbey closes from noon to 1500. And, plan to divert to San Gim. the day you transition to Florence, dropping the car at the airport. That way you can stay south most of your time in Tuscany but still include 2 highlights further north. The Palazzo del Capitano in San Quirico is the perfect location to explore south Tuscany. I also like Le Traverse south of Pienza. BTW, my son was at Genius Loci recently and loved it.
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