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Minimum of 14 days exploring Italy

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Apr 12th, 2012, 05:05 PM
  #1
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Minimum of 14 days exploring Italy

Ciao! My husband and I are planning to explore Italy in September or October 2012. I have no idea where to begin.... very overwhelming! What I do know is that I do not want to spend precious time packing, unpacking and being in transit. My husband and I like to go off the beaten path...being a part of the true culture. I am not sure how I feel about the tour packages.... but am wondering if maybe a tour package in Rome would be beneficial?? I would like to incorporate Venice, Tuscany, Rome... I heard Siena was beautiful? MIlan, Lake Como...Almafi coast.....Cinque Terre..... Sicily... Or is Sicily a separate trip??? We are love italian cuisine...cheese...bread.... Driving around in the country on a vespa is a must!! Which city is the best to fly into?? Any insight is appreciated...
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Apr 12th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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For two weeks I would limit my travels to Tuscany/Umbria and Rome. Pick up a car at the Rome airport, figure out an itinerary (a guidebook and a map would be useful at this point) for Tuscany/Umbria and drop off the car close to Rome to spend the last few days of your trip in Rome. Siena and Perugia would b e good bases for day trips in the respective provinces.

That's what a long time ago, landing in Rome and driving up the coast to Tarquinia. We had a little more time, so we included Urbino in our itinerary. This was the basic sequence in pictures:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622914974923/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622914855341/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622914730403/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622915079327/
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Apr 12th, 2012, 06:18 PM
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>>My husband and I like to go off the beaten path...being a part of the true culture. I am not sure how I feel about the tour packages.... but am wondering if maybe a tour package in Rome would be beneficial?? I would like to incorporate Venice, Tuscany, Rome... I heard Siena was beautiful? MIlan, Lake Como...Almafi coast.....Cinque Terre.....<<<<

You seem to have some conflicts here.

You want to go "off the beaten path" but include "beaten path" destinations (CT, Amalfi Coast, Venice, etc) - plus you are considering a canned tour (another beaten path thing).

Stu Dudley
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Apr 12th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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I think anything can be overwhelming if there is no focus. I think some of the current way you are approaching the planning is making it more difficult.

You mentioned packing and unpacking and being in transit. Is it an objective or a cost? Supposed you have put together an itinerary consisting of many interesting activities but requires packing and unpacking and being in transit. Would you choose an boring itinerary that does not require packing and unpacking instead?

Go off the beaten path is mentioned by many new comers. What does it mean? If something is off the beaten path, it is either of no interest to anyone or a special interest to limited number of visitors only. Do you have such special interest? One would like to think there are hidden destinations, but with so many visitors posting about practically everything, I doubt there are that many such places left anymore. Also off the beaten path and a tour package are likely to be an incompatible combination.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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You have the typical problem with a first trip to Italy---too many places you must see. The solution is simple---plan 3 trips in advance since you will return.
For this trip, narrow your scope to 4 destinations and try to keep them geographically compatible. Since you are going in Sep I would try to include Tuscany. Here are images from most of our 17 trips to Italy that may help you to decide:

http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3827
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Apr 12th, 2012, 07:08 PM
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There is no way you can see all you want in only 14 days. Certainly not Sicily - which is a separate trip.

Other than that I would pick 3 destinations and if you want do a a couple of day trips from then.
If you want to be off the beaten track the last thing you need is a tour. rome is a huge city with a plethora of world class sights - but you can get off the beaten track there too if you want.

You need to decide what YOU want to do - cities, towns, countryside. Hiking or historical sights or wineries or ancient villages or whatever?

As for a Vespa - it's not really made for the highway - IMHO not a great idea trying to drive in 80 mph traffic. Don;t do this unless you are both very experienced bike riders.

As for food - there is a wwhle lot more than bread and cheese. And don;t stick to pizza - which is a snack there - not a whole meal.

IMHO if you want a little different do rome, a couple of days in CT hiking and pick one town in Tuscany or Umbria and do day trips by car.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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Clearly you need some focus. You say you want to get off the beaten track, but then you list all the totally beaten track destinations. A tour is about as far ON the beaten track as it's possible to get.

Pick a few - like 2 or 3 - destinations and read up in detail about them and plan to savor them in detail. It could be cities or the countryside, or a combination.

And you seriously do not need to worry about planning a trip around decent cheese and bread. It'll be ubiquitous.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Some people LIKE to look at photos - it helps them decide where they want to go. Some people are visual - ever hear the expression 'a picture is worth a thousand words'? I have many times looked through Bob's photos - and many others - if I am undecided as to where to go. There is nothing wrong with a person knowing they want to go to Italy but not knowing where they want to go and nice, helpful people give suggestions rather than putting them down because they aren't sure where they want to go.

And the OP may have meant they would like to see something other than just the main sights in places like Rome, Venice, etc. You could be in Piazza San Marco in Venice (totally ON the beaten path) and walk ten minutes and be on a deserted canal without another tourist in sight (OFF the beaten path) and still be in Venice.

The OP said they liked cheese and bread - not that they didn't like other food or that they wanted to plan an entire trip around those two food items.

Now, having said all that, I agree with the responses in that for a first, two week trip you should pick about three places and concentrate on them. Two or three geographically close places.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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A new benchmark !
Not only does she knock any other poster as an imbecile, but now she asks the OP to go to other Forums for good advice.
It really makes you wonder why she stays here--maybe she will go away now--we can only hope.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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maadpc - please don't run away and not come back - [which would be a rational response to at least one of the posts above] but by all means go and talk to the nice folks over at frommers too.

they will probably say the same - you are understandably trying to cram far too much into one trip. in 14 days, you probably can't stay in more than 4 places, 5 max. the accepted rule of thumb is that every time you move you lose 1/2 a day, and once you factor in the first day possibly being a wash out due to jetlag, you soon start to reduce the amount of time you've actually got for seeing and doing things.

my advice would be to focus firstly on one area that particularly interests you, then look at 3 major and 2 minor destinations. for example. you could start in Venice [I don't care if it it's popular, people go there for a reason, which is that it is beautiful and unique and might not be there much longer], and work your way across to Milan, or down to Rome; you could fly into Rome and end in Naples, with a driving tour en route, or you could spend the entire 2 weeks in Sicily and have a terrific time following in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano. [i only mention it because that's what I'd like to do!] .

have a look on the internet, get some books out of the library, and search a few threads here to give yourself some ideas about what you do, or don't want to do.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 01:39 PM
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Ann - you must mean the nice people at ... Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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lol - my remark got under the radar somehow!
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Apr 15th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Wow! I feel as if I have been scolded... chuckling..Though I do appreciate you all sharing your opinions and experiences. I am with the understanding that I should plan to visit no more that 3-4 cities.... I was just asking for opinions on which would mesh together...without taking away travel time... I want to get a feel of the city/countryside without feeling rushed....Tuscany...Venice..and Rome...with possible day trips.... Thank you Isabel for clarifying for me... Bob..thank you for allowing me to view your pictures...very helpful...Annhig...thank you so much for your insight..NYTraveler and StCirq... I certaintly realize that there is more to Italian cuisine than bread and cheese.... and pizza...and would not plan my trip accordingly As far as my reference to a "Tour of Rome"... I was wondering if it is wise to plan the tour in advance with a tour company... or to plan it on my own.... ??
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Apr 15th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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maadpc, I think you have a great itinerary, a little country, a little city, and a little waterside distraction in Venice.
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Apr 15th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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I,too, think you have settled on a very nice and doable itinerary. Everyone has a first trip and it is nice to see the things you have heard about all of your life. One of our posters lives in Italy and makes interesting but often offbeat suggestions, especially for an initial trip. Others travel frequently but remember their first trip and what they enjoyed. Enjoy Rome, Venice and the Tuscan countryside. You'll go back and there is plenty to see and do no matter how many times.
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Apr 15th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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I think it's possible, I am going for 14 days vising Florence, Rome, amalfi and foggia(family is there). I'm taking my niece who has never been to Europe. I've lived in Florence and seen Rome so we will do like 3-4 days in each place. My husband will drive, I think anything is possible with focus and planning! Good luck and enjoy!
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Apr 15th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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maadpc1971 - Regarding the tour in Rome, we hired a private tour guide for several hours to see the Roman forum and the Coliseum. It was really terrific. You can also sign up for small tours to see those areas and I think it's a good idea to help provide context to what you're seeing.

I agree that Venice, Tuscany and Rome would make for a lovely visit! You could fly into Venice, spend several days there, then take the train to Tuscany, rent a car and visit the many lovely towns as well as Siena, return the car, and take the train to Rome. Fly out of Rome. It would be a really great trip.
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Apr 15th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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I like rosetravels' suggested itinerary. But I'd pick up the car in Venice as you leave, drive to Tuscany, drop off the car in Orvieto or Chiusi and train into Rome. So fly open jaws into Venice, out of Rome. Allow about 4 days for Venice, 5 days for Tuscany (including Siena)and 5 days for Rome. If you arrive in Venice after a long, overnight flight, you'll be jet-lagged and sleepy for a day or two. Wandering around in a daze getting lost is appropriate sightseeing for Venice. At the end of your trip, you'll be acclimated to travel in Italy and sharp for Rome.

In Tuscany you could base in Siena or Greve, and take a day trip, by bus or train respectively, into Florence. Or base farther south in Pienza or San Quirico and make day trips to hilltowns like Montepulciano or Cortona or San Antimo.

If you want a more country experience, you could stay in a Tuscan agriturismo, a working farm that accepts visitors. However, later in the season, the days are shorter and it might be hard to find your way back to an agriturismo in the dark.

That's only 3 places, less packing and unpacking. And, I'm sure plenty of good food.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Thank you all!! Mimar.. I like your thinking.... RoseTravels... thank you for the insight on the Rome "private" tours... I am guessing that I should have that taken care of before the trip... any suggestions??
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