May 2008, how soon to start booking?

Sep 27th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 27
May 2008, how soon to start booking?

Hi,I have been reading and reading about Italy these past couple of weeks and have gotten some very helpful information.

I am planning on going to Italy for 14 days May 2008 with my husband (we're in late 20's) and my little sister and her boyfriend (who just will have turned 21).

From what I have read, I am thinking we will fly into Venice, go to Florence, hit Rome, and then maybe spend a few days in Tuscany or Positano somewhere between all that.

I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could help me with:
-When should I start booking tours? I was thinking for sure of the Scavi tour I have read all about as well as Alessandro for a day trip to Chianti?
-In terms of rooms, is it really necessary to book all in advance? When I went to Spain a few years ago, we just found random hostels (in Italy I hear their called pensiones or B&B's) as we went. Is it necessary to book in advance?
-Since we do have 21 year olds with us and this will be their first time overseas, I'm sure they's going to want a few drinks at the end of the day. Is there any cities and or areas you would recommend we visit and/or stay in? I know Italy isn't party country but I'm sure there are pockets here and there you could help me with.

Thanks so much for all the great resources!

jkroll is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi J,

>fly into Venice, go to Florence, hit Rome, and then maybe spend a few days in Tuscany or Positano...

You wouldn't happen to have some idea of number of days in each?

1. You have come to a group of DIYers. We don't usually do tours.

Also, Italy is very, very easy to do on your own.

2. Is it necessary to book in advance?

For 4 people, I think that it would be a good idea.

3. I don't understand your question. You can get beer, wine and spirits anywhere in Italy.

ira is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 411
Major things that should be booked ahead are airlines and very limited tours (like the tour company only takes 5 people per day on XYZ tour). Everything else can be made fairly close to your departure, if not once you're already in Italy. If you're cashing in frequent flyer miles for a free ticket, though, you're probably already SOL.

If your sister & BF want to partake of the grape, any place will do! Beer and hard liquor will be equally accessible. Florence, Rome, and Venice will be fine for having a beer or twelve. Just tell them don't be tacky Americans and get wasted. For Italians, turning 21 is nothing significant since drinking alcohol is an everyday occurrence. Getting wasted is not typical.
tdyls is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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I would secure hotels, especially in the cities. The nice afforable favorite ones go quickly. But if you rent a car to drive around Tuscany, you can easily wing it. Three of did this a few years ago at the end of June/beginning of July and we easily found a hotel or B&B.
yipper is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Posts: 95
Part of the fun for me is to plan the trip, do a lot of research on places to stay, and then book the ones I decide on. We like to know that we have a place already booked and not spend valuable time looking . Just our preference. I have found some places already fully booked for May.
KatGio is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I book air as soon as it is available and hotels very early. I have always saved money by booking ahead.

As an example, I booked three hotels for my upcoming trip to Venice, Florence and Rome 10 months ago. The rates at the hotel in Venice for the same room we have at 252E is now 428E per night, in Florence 168 E vs 284 E and Rome 250E vs 320E.

I also prepaid upon booking and this saved me even more more with the decline of the dollar.

My tour guide in Tuscany is very popular and I booked him 8 months ahead as well as request Scavi reservations.

As for restaurants, I am travelling with a group of 8 which is a challenge to seat during peak times at popular restaurants so I have dining reservations confirmed for most of the trip.

I am a planner by nature when it comes to the bigger things however the day to day itinerary is very fluid except for the Scavi tour and a few pre-reserved museums.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Posts: 27
Wow! Thanks to everyone for the great responses; I really appreciate it.

In terms of the responses, I am confident that my little sister and her boyfriend won't be those tacky drunk 21 year olds but just wasn't sure within the major cities if there are areas that have more younger people where you reccomend stayin in.

In response to kfusto, I guess I should start booking soon and get things figured out once and for all. We were planning on flying in on May 11 and then 3 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Rome, and then 3 nights either somewhere in Tuscany or Positano. How does that sound?

Also, we definitely don't want to take a ton of tours at all but it seems like the Scavi tour is a must and then maybe a wine tour to Chianti as I'm not sure if we will rent a car. It seems like you can most places by public trans, right?

For hotels, I know you said book the good affordable ones, but I have been trouble findong those. I am OK with pensiones but even then are always spending at last $200 a night. I don't remember Spain being like $50 per person per night. I know the $ is obviously an issue but it's just a lot of money for a place to lay your head. In Venice, I was thinking Residenza Santa Croce which is $53.53 per person, in Florence either My friends guesthouse ($20.43 pp) or Hotel Palazzuolo ($25.36), and then in Rome maybe Arco del Lauro (175 euros for a quad). If anyone has ideas on CHEAP decent hotels please advise.

Let me know what you guys think. I am also thinking about flying into Rome, going south to Positano, and then working our way up?

Again, thanks so much for your help!! You guys rock
jkroll is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I would definitely book hotels now. We are going the end of May 2008 and the first 4 hotels I tried in Rome were booked and these were priced 150-200-/night. We are also going to Amali coast and Tuscany. Not as much difficulty there.

I haven't booked tours so I don't know how to help here.
bamababe is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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Hi JK,

In Florence, I can highly recommend

ira is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Between the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, where would you spend a few relaxing days? We will be going to Rome, Venice, and Florence (thanks Ira!) so just trying to figure out where to spend our last few days......what you think?

I can find cheap hostels/pensiones in Floence and Rome but am struggling in Venice and if we decide on Positano. Any suggestions?
jkroll is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
There are some inexpensive places, but they come with a curfew. You can stay at several convents in the cities you are visiting.

Might be worth looking at for you.

My experience is the Florence has a pretty happening scene. There are some really cool bars and clubs between the Arno and the Piazza Signora. Just follow the music.

I think you'll find most people relax with a beverage or two. Wine is more common than water with dinner so worry about that part.
Diane60030 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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In Positano, check out Villa Rosa and its sister property, Villa La Tartana. Great views and a good value for the pricey Amalfi Coast.
cheryllj is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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I'm not sure what the sequence of your itinerary is, but if you start in Venice, then Florence, then Rome (and I guess fly home from there?) touring tuscany would be going backwards. So you should do it along with the Florence segment before heading to Rome.

Maybe this is superflous advice, but I just wanted to be sure you had looked at a map before doing your scheduling.

charnees is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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Trying to be helpful here:
A) We really can't help you to chose between Tuscany and Positano/Amalfi Coast. It is like chosing between the Grand Canyon and the Smithsonian. They are both worth a trip. You must study the two places and decide what appeals to you most. Note: they are also both appealing in May.
B) When you determine your dates for Rome I would consider that, if you wish to visit the Borghese Gallery, you get reservations there. The same for the two big attractions in Florence.
C) Double check - does everyone, especially the younger couple, have their passports? If not, get to work on that right away.
D) Flight arrangements should be complete as soon as possible.
E) Hotel reservations can/should be made keeping careful records of their cancellation policies.

As you develop more detail in your plans, return with more specific questions.
GBC is offline  

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