Need help with 3 week Italy itinerary

Aug 17th, 2007, 11:16 AM
  #41  
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I've been looking into hotels in Sirmione (for my Garda/Verona/Dolomites Base) but I've been reading that you can't bring the car into the city. Does it make sense to have this as my base when I will have to be commuting in and out of the city for 3 days to get to my car and do day trips? Esp with a baby and lots of equip (baby stroller, back carrier, not to mention the usual baby haul).
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:23 AM
  #42  
 
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Sirmione would not make a good base IMO. The lake is not that attractive down at that end - the surrounding area is very flat.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:26 AM
  #43  
 
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We have been to Italy many times, and I would agree that you are trying to see WAY too many places! I would skip the dolomites, Verona, Parma, the North Lakes and Milan. You can go back another time and you will!. Let me tell you what we do -- we stay in an apartment for a week and take day trips around. We are going next spring for 3 weeks and will spend an entire week near Lucca, another near Orvieto, and 4 days in Rome before going home. (This is great with a baby who needs his space) You get to know the local storekeepers and they all love kids! Much more friendly that way. And you begin to know Italy for real.
So after 2 days in Venice I would go to Umbria or Tuscany and stay somewhere central. Get yourself a really giant Michelin map of Italy, and check things out. Look for Italy Apartment Rentals on Google. Some I know of are www.rentvillas.com, www.knowital.com, www.sleepinitaly.com. Whatever you do, DO NOT try to drive in Florence or Rome. You will get lost, the traffic is worse than anything I have seen elsewhere, the streets are narrow and the names change every couple of blocks and half of them are one-way or dead ends. You will hate it. If you are going into either city, take the train from an outlying town where you can leave the car. (Drop off the car someplace before going to Rome) The same is true for Cinque Terre. You will have no use for a car there. Trains are good in Italy and not that expensive.
charnees is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 06:41 PM
  #44  
 
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42 replies and many good suggestions, but I agree most with the ones that encourage you to limit the number of bases/hotels.

October is still very much high season in most of the places on your itinerary.

If you're "not big fans of big cities and overly touristy places" and you "want to get off the beaten path," you've really got to decide whether those preferences will determine your itinerary or will your desire to see all the famous places determine your itinerary. The Cinque Terre is not the only beautiful (or even most beautiful) coastal area of Italy where you can also enjoy some walking/hiking.

Elba (accessible by car ferry) is very green, has a few towns to explore and you can hike (or take an odd little cable car) to the top of the island.

Tiny Giglio has that rocky, "romantic Italy" look. It's quiet and would be even more so in October. It's a bit more difficult to get to (no car ferry), but the island is covered in walking trails. The tiny coves and beaches around the island are gorgeous.

Monte Argentario is on the coast opposite Giglio. It's a tiny, round peninsula that feels like an island. Beautiful beaches, rugged terrain, dramatic cliffs. (Sophia Loren has a house here.)

Another option is one of the national parks (www.parks.it). However, visitor centers and services are generally limited to weekends in October.
Jean is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 08:22 PM
  #45  
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Jean,
Thanks for the wonderful off the beaten track suggestions (which are not even in my guide book). Have started looking into it!
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 10:13 PM
  #46  
 
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For Elba, go to www.tripadvisor.com and search for "Elba tourism." Lots of info on getting there, things to do, where to stay, etc.

For Giglio, info is harder to find, but go to www.isoladelgiglio.it/en/index.htm. Click on "The Island," then "trakking" (typo, trekking) and the "photos."

Monte Argentario is the toughest to get info on other than lodging. Many years ago, we spent a couple of nights at the Pellicano Hotel (www.pellicanohotel.com) which was expensive then and is stunningly so now. If you go to www.monteargentario.info, you'll find links to many hotels and restaurants. Some hotel websites have nice photos of the area and info on outdoor activities.

Finally, look at www.parks.it/parco.maremma which is the closest national park to this area. Another, bigger park east of Florence: http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale....si/Eindex.html.
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Aug 18th, 2007, 04:12 AM
  #47  
 
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Excellent reading. Also 3 wks in Oct. What is best place to base in Tuscany if i dont have car but want to see Florence and small villages mentioned. Same when moving to Umbria district. I will split 1wk Venice region, 1wk Umbria, 1wk tuscany.
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Aug 18th, 2007, 10:11 AM
  #48  
 
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Grateful, there have been numerous threads started by people looking for "the perfect Tuscany base without a car." Do a search, but I don't think you'll find that anyone here believes there is such a place. Tuscany is simply too hard to see well without a car. It is possible to see many places by train and bus, but you lose a lot of time in the logistics and you lose the spontaneity of unplanned stops in interesting places.

Umbria is very slightly easier because many of the popular destination towns are on the main train line from Perugia to Spoleto. Add buses, and you can see more. But, again, you lose time and spontaneity.

If budget is the concern, consider how much you'll spend on public transportation. A few euros here, a few euros there, and you've paid for a car for the day. If fear is the concern, it is really unwarranted. The smaller, secondary roads between small towns are very easy to use. You don't have to use the Autostrada to get anywhere.
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Aug 18th, 2007, 10:20 AM
  #49  
 
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The best - and they're not all that good - bus connections into Florence and between villages are in Chianti. They're almost useless in the Val d'Orcia.

As Jean has pointed out, Perugia-Assisi-Spello-Spoleto (and a few other towns) are all on the same train line in Umbria. But if you want to get to Montefalco or Bevagna, you also have to rely on not very frequent buses.
Zerlina is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 12:21 PM
  #50  
 
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Shiriw, The Dolomites are magnificent---and very full of hairpin twists and turns. When I think of a baby in a carseat in the Dolomites, I immediately think of the time we drove in California in the mountains--2 of our 3 children were green-faced by the end of the ride--and our baby was throwing up from carsickness. I drove in the Dolomites last summer, and I LOVED every minute...BUT, I would not want to be in the back seat!
wren is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 08:00 PM
  #51  
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Wren,
Can u reccomend a place to sleep in the dolomites?
Shiriw is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 07:15 AM
  #52  
 
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We stayed in Castelrotto--at the Hotel Zum Wolf---http://www.hotelwolf.it/ a bobthenavigator recommendation. The Cavellino d'Oro came highly recommended as well, but we couldn't justify spending the extra that it cost. Our choice of Zum Wolf ended up being great and we were very happy and comfortable there.
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Aug 19th, 2007, 01:09 PM
  #53  
 
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shiri, to return to your interest in opera events etc, just found this fairly comprehensive web listing of classical music events across Europe - you can look by date, city, venue, etc.
http://www.classictic.com/home
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 01:19 PM
  #54  
 
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Hey, another thing you might like to check out in Rome is the Piccola Lirica, "Opera in Miniature" at the Teatro Flaiano right in the center of Rome. Their website has lots of reviews, although I've nver been ther emyself. They are doing TOSCA this fall.

http://www.piccolalirica.com/eng/pagina.asp?id=3
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Aug 19th, 2007, 01:19 PM
  #55  
 
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Meant to add that with your little one possibly needing a sitter, you might especially appreciate that the Piccolo Lirico productions are under 90 minutes.
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Aug 19th, 2007, 08:09 PM
  #56  
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Tomas - Thanks for the links - will look into. I would love to see Aida. My husband will be the sitter since he will most likely fall asleep during an Opera (nobody's perfect)
Shiriw is offline  
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