Milan - should we bother?

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Dec 27th, 2006, 11:32 AM
  #1
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Milan - should we bother?

We are planning a potential trip to Italy in late September/early October for husband and me (early 50's). We have 2 weeks, but have never been before and really want to cover ground and see the sights. We plan to fly into Venice and out of Rome. Have decided not to go south of Rome, leave that for a future trip. Here is our tentative itinerary: 3 nights in Venice, possible day trip to Milan, 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Tuscan hill towns (San Gimignano, maybe Lucca, would like other recs), and 4 nights in Rome. Is the Milan trip worth it? We are not into fashion, more into art museums, culture. We plan to rent a car in Florence at the end of our stay there, drive through the Tuscan hill towns and on to Rome and drop off car. Is this good plan or should we take train from Florence? We are budgeting $350/day for hotel & food. A hotel room needs to be clean and well located, but luxe is not important. We are into food (Chowhounds), but a simple well prepared meal is better than an average 4 star for us. TIA! Any advice?
aliska is offline  
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Dec 27th, 2006, 11:40 AM
  #2
 
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Milan is OK, but don't bother.

Your 2 week plan, as it is, looks like a good one, without including Milan. The more time you have for the big three plus Tuscan countryside, the better.

You can do MIlan some other time.
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Dec 27th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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Personally, I would not worry about the day trip to Milan on this trip. As far as I'm concerned, the best things in Milan are the Duomo, The Last Supper, LaScala, and the Galleria. I think you would enjoy yourself much more saving that time for more of Tuscany.
I suggest a visit to Siena, Montepulciano, or maybe Cortona. Get yourself a good map of Tuscany, a good guidebook, and take off and explore. You will absolutely love it!
We usually choose to drop off the car in a town in Tuscany or Umbria and take the train to Rome. We've dropped it off in Orvieto a couple of times, and the place where we dropped the car is about 150 yards from the train station there. (AutoEurope and Hertz)
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Dec 27th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Thanks 2Italy! Would like some more info about the rental car - we have been to Europe a couple of times, but never drove a car. Is it a big deal to get an International driver license? Both of us used to drive stick shift in our 20s but that has been a long time ago (during the Carter administration!). Can we rent automatic car? Husband is 6foot2 - will he fit in a European rental car?
aliska is offline  
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Dec 27th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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hello aliska - given your two week limit, i would recommend skipping Milan and adding the time to the Tuscan countryside. A side trip to Milan will cost you an entire day of travel, especially if you are taking the train. My husband and i started an 18 day trip in Florence this past September and ended in Rome, with time in Tuscany and Umbria in between. We picked up the car as we left Florence and dropped it at the airport before entering Rome (we took a taxi to the centro storico). It worked out very well; we loved both the cities and the countryside and certainly didn't feel like we spent too much time in any one place. Your budget sounds reasonable, although you might spend more for your hotel in Venice. We joined "friends of the Uffizi" for florence (it is listed as a link on the bottom of the Uffizi Gallery website) and the E 100 for a year's family membership was a bargain, as we could come and go, skipping the queues and not being stuck with a reservation time, for all of the state museums in Florence (about 17 different museums, including all of the majors). We stayed at a superb little inn in the hills near Radda (the link: http://www.lalocanda.it/ ) The hosts were genuinely hospitable and made great reccommendations and helped us plan routes for our day trips. The Chianti area had beautiful scenery, delicious wines to taste and great, realatively inexpensive restaurants.
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Dec 27th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Try looking at www.autoeurope.com (put in some tentative dates and see what kinds of cars come up)

Yes, your husband will fit into a rental car depening on the size of car you rent.

You cna get an International Drivers PERMIT at any AAA office.
Dukey is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #7
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Thanks for all the advice so far, anyone have recs for hotels within $150-200/nt in Venice, Florence, and Rome? Any more details on stopping in a couple of Tuscan hill towns? Happy New Year everyone!
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Dec 29th, 2006, 01:27 PM
  #8
 
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I too vote to skip Milan--especially as a daytrip from venice--it's 3 ours each way! If you really feel the neeed to leave Venice (and I doubt that you will), try Padua or Verona--much closer and easier to manage the sights in one day.

I love Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo in Venice. It's well within your budget, though very well-reviewed so may be difficult to reserve. In Rome the Daphne Inn fits your budget and requirements--also popular here.
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