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My bucket list first trip to Italy

Old Aug 17th, 2017, 11:48 AM
  #21  
 
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Rome was still quite warm last year when we visited mid Oct, 13-17.
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 06:29 PM
  #22  
kja
 
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As you are learning, one can’t convert a tour itinerary into an independent one. For one thing, there are too many things that are done FOR you by tour groups that you would need to do on your own. But far more importantly, tours often mean driving by places, rather than actually stopping to see them; or stopping really briefly, even if you would like to stay; or skipping things that YOU might really want to see. The differences in times can be substantial. I usually assume that I can see no more than 50 or 60% of the destinations listed in a tour and still feel that I’ve done ANY justice to the places I visit. JMO.

Guidebooks have different strengths, so I would recommend that you consult a few at your local library or bookstore to see what best suits your needs. IMO:
• For comprehensive coverage of things to see and do: I generally like the Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, and Michelin Green.
• For inspiration: Any of the ones with high quality photos, such as the National Geographic Traveler, Eyewitness, or Insight Guide.
• For very good coverage of main destinations (but not every place), with information to help you prioritize: Fodor’s and Frommer's.
• Note that I do not use guidebooks for lodging (I use booking.com), nor do I use it for restaurants (I use a combination of tripadvisor, Fodor’s forums, and other resources).
• Whatever guidebook you choose, PLEASE consult the sections that aren’t location specific – the sections on cuisine and business hours and local norms and a bit of a phrase-book and maybe some of the general sections on art or architecture or local specialites (crafts or food or whatever) and special events / festivals…..

For good climate history information, please consult timeanddate or wunderground or another reputable resource. Here’s one, set to Rome for the end of September; note that you can change the month, city, type of information (even to get sunrise and sunset times), etc.
https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/italy/rome/climate

Hope that helps!
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 08:23 PM
  #23  
 
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Just one little tip. If you don't already have them, invest in properly measured compression socks for your long haul flights.
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 08:58 PM
  #24  
 
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I'm really surprised that people are turning your itinerary into such a problem. It's a pretty standard itinerary even for people who go on their own rather than an organized tour. If you want to cut some things and go slower fine, and it is simply always the case that executing any travel plan runs into glitches. But you need to be flexible about these things, that's all.

If you are from Arizona I doubt you'll think Italy is hot at the end of September. The weather is likely to be beautiful.

There are lots of things I don't agree with in Rick Steves guidebooks when it comes to his opinions but they are excellent for putting together the nuts & bolts of a trip like yours. Full of practicalities for first time travelers to Italy who are adults on a modest budget & who plan to use trains but also see a lot. His entire aim is to make it simple & doable & fun.

If you decide you want to see le Cinque Terre while you are in Tuscany but don't want to sta in Florence then you will need to sta in a small town in the northwest area of Tuscany -- Lucca, Pistoia, Montecatini Alto.
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 09:11 PM
  #25  
 
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If one of my relatives asked me to organize a 16 day tour for him or her with the same wish list, this is what I would do

Venice 3 days
Lucca 4/5 days with side trips to Florence, Montecatini Alto
Overnight le Cinque Terre (take your luggage)
Train to Rome 4 days
Sorrento without a plan 3

I would encourage them to book a walking tour for Florence & maybe the same for ancient Rome.
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 09:31 PM
  #26  
kja
 
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And if one of my relatives asked me to organize a 16 day tour for him or her with the same wish list, I would say, really, cut at least one destination. Or show me that you can really do what you want to see and do in the time you have. JMO.
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Old Aug 17th, 2017, 11:06 PM
  #27  
 
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If the first thing you do with somebody else's wish list is change it to suit your wishes, at least admit that's what you are doing.

These people have 16 days to travel. Had they posted they had 13 days & wayted to see Venice, Florence w/da trips + Rome, the responses would have been far different I suspect.

Somebody above posted about "the big 3" for Italy that "They are the heart of Italian tourism for a reason." That reason is that until very recently, what mattered most is that all 3 were easily accessible on the train line. (Prior to that, the "Grand Tour" had "must sees" like Genoa & naples, Leghorn, Pisa, Mantova.) Toda, with the help of internet research, people have discovered much more of Italy and found out it is easy to go beyond the "Big 3"

And guess what? Millions of people have come back from their 1st Italian trip to declare what the really LOVED MOST about Italy was the small tows, the time the spent i le Cinque Terre, Sorrento, the lakes, etc etc etc. There is a school marm's scoldy notion that Italy is a fat textbook & you'll get quizzed about how much homework you did on your trip. But a lot of people who go to Italy & spend time outside the Big 3 like their trips more, & actually observed & learned more about Italy & Italians than those who unimaginatively & timidly followed the pack.

Up to the people who posted what parts of Italy they want to see for 16 days. But there is no reason to be limited to the Big 3.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 06:09 AM
  #28  
 
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Massimop--The OP wants to go to Venice, Florence (or at least Tuscany), the CT, Rome and Sorrento. My comment was those are the places that one should go (except for the CT and probably Sorrento which I would skip on a first trip of sixteen days), so she's not wrong in wanting to go there, IMO.

They are the "Big Three" not, IMO, because of the rail connections but because they are three of the most beautiful, art and architecture filled, and unusual cities in the world.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 06:12 AM
  #29  
 
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If the first thing you do with somebody else's wish list is change it to suit your wishes, at least admit that's what you are doing>

OP's wish list mentions 2-3 days in Venice; then in Florence for 5-6 nights and ending in Rome for 4 days - now who's changing their wish list?
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 06:36 AM
  #30  
 
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Getting back to the flight- Recently Alitalia has had very attractive prices for business class on some flights from New York to Milan. I don't know if they have similar prices from any other cities. We have twice flown into Milan when returning from the US just to have the chance to actually lie down and sleep, even though this involved a long train ride home once we got back to Italy. Alitalia's business class is very nice indeed, with excellent food and seats that become actual beds.

If you're first going to Venice, Malpensa airport is about 4 hours by train from Venice: 1 hour to get into central Milan and 2 1/2 hours, by the fast Frecciarossa train, from there to Venice. You'd have half an hour to change trains, and maybe get some breakfast. (There are also coffee and pastries in the café car on the train, as well as lunchtime snacks.)
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 06:41 AM
  #31  
 
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I really wouldn't want to visit the Cinque Terre for just one night. It's just too much hassle (about 2 1/2 hours, and at least three different trains) to get there from Lucca, and an even longer trip (4 to 5 hours)to get to Rome from any of the Cinque Terre towns.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 06:43 AM
  #32  
 
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You'd have half an hour to change trains, and maybe get some breakfast>

There are zillions of other trains so don't have to rush around -maybe if slept on plane put bags in station luggage storage and bop into central Milan to see the famous Duomo if nothing else.

But relax - I'd build more than a half-hour into the change of trains in Milano Centrale - a huge huge station with a zillion tracks - I'd build at least an hour -get to station from airport train -find where you Venice train will be and then have a leisurely breakfast or coffee.

No need to rush around.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 08:02 AM
  #33  
 
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If you have 16 days home to home you will have 13.5 days on the ground. Plus the first day or two will likely be jet lagged with the nine hour time difference. That is why massimop's itinerary is most likely impossible.

Count in NIGHTS not days to see where you will be sleeping each night and how long it takes to get there. Then you decide how much you want to cram in. Do NOT follow the itinerary from some guided tour because they are mostly not doable when you are handling your own transport and don't want to be on the road before 8 AM.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 08:34 AM
  #34  
 
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Debbie2673,

If I've misinterpreted your request, please igore all my adice except to buy a copy of Rick Steves guidebook to Italy.

But what I understand you to be sayig is that you would like your first trip to Italy to include experiencing naturally beautiful Italy & its people & food, ot all about urba sightseeig. BUT? you also don't want to miss the most famous sights if you are walking right past them. you would like help knowing which sights those are, and which are less important & OK to skip.

IF that is what you are saying, I repeat my advice to hire half-day guides in FLorence & Rome. It's the most efficient way to see the "must-sees". I repeat my advice that if you want to see le Cinque Terre & Florence as a day trip or overnight, stay the northwest Tuscany towns I mentioned,

It will not be catastrophically hot, you will not face terrifying storms, you will not collapse in exhaustion. Staying overnight in le Cinque Terre makes sense if you don't like crowds. Otherwise, take a day trip.

All this doom-death-destruction alarmism and projection of anxiety onto your "impossible" trip is silly. If you feel like you are planning to do too much, of course plan to do less. I suspect at your age you are an adult who has aced life challenges more demanding than a 16 day trip to Italy. Have fun crafting the right trip for you & taking the trip itself.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 08:41 AM
  #35  
 
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sorry for my dodgy keyboard (sticky "n")

I was trying to write:

But what I understand you to be saying is that you would like your first trip to Italy to include experiencing naturally beautiful Italy & its people & food, not all about urban sightseeing.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 10:51 AM
  #36  
 
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You asked for a hotel. Relais Vignale is in Radda in Chianti, a charming Tuscan town, vineyards are right behind it. We enjoyed staying there as it is situated right in the village.
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Old Aug 18th, 2017, 12:14 PM
  #37  
 
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massimop itinerary seems to fit your wish list.

Have you considered staying in 2-3 star hotels but splurging on a business class ticket? That way you won't have to stop in Philadelphia and loose one night. And your leg will feel better.
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