Never been to Italy...HELP!

Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Never been to Italy...HELP!

We are Americans, visiting family in Germany and would like to visit Italy while in Europe, the last two weeks of April. We need to travel from Munich, Germany and back. We would like to do a circuitous route encompassing Venice, Tuscany, The Italian Riviera (Rapallo mostly) maybe encorporating Milan and Turin. We probably have 8 days to spend in Italy. We can't decide on flying into Italy, drivng or taking the train. I've looked at some flights and the flights out of Italy back to Germany seem expensive and they require a long stop over. We wonder if we should stick to trains or rent a car while in Italy. I also wonder about the weather at that time of the to dress. We thought we would bring back packs although we are mature travelers. We do not need luxury, we are athletic sports entusiasts and like to walk. I have found great suggestions for hotels in Rapallo and want to make that our base. Please help?
dutto11 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:22 AM
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5 cities in 8 days seems a bit much, especially since you have a bit of distance to go to get to Italy in the first place and you are thinking of spanning Venice to Turin. You wouldn't have much time for walking. I don't think the Italian Riviera is at its peak in April if you're looking for a beach experience.

For weather averages go to For most locations it shows by month average high and low temps, precipitation averages, humidity, etc.
Paul1950 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:30 AM
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It is way too ambitious, in my view, for that amount of time. Also, you mention making a circuitous route, but also want to make Rapallo, so I am not sure which it is.

Anyway, in your shoes, I would go from Munich to just the northeast of Italy. Hit Venice, maybe Verona, and day trip to some smaller places around there.

Weather that time of year will be very variable. It can be very hot, but also mostly cool, and some rain is likely. Bring clothing you can layer.
Infotrack is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 03:35 PM
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I live a few miles from Rapallo and the weather can be just lovely in your time frame, but no swimming and no guarantees on sunshine.

I know there is a train from Munich to Rome, and I would guess it stops in Milano (Florence), but I'm not sure. There are flights from Frankfurt into Genova (and perhaps from Munich) but I would think there are several budget options into other airports -- Milano, Pisa, Torino are all fairly convenient to Rapallo by train.

From a "base" of Rapallo, there are no easy day trips to any place you mention, except a sliver of Tuscany, like Lucca or Pisa -- and even that would be 2 hours plus one-way by train (as would be Milan and Torino; Venice is out of the question for a day trip.)

Beginning in Rapallo, you could move on to Torino and Milano and Venice by train -- provided you only had targeted things you wanted to do in each city and were willing to keep packing and unpacking.

Or you could rent a car and cut a swath through parts of Tuscany and the Emilia-Romagno or the Veneto to get to Venice. If you've never been to Italy and speak no Italian you might find it quite an adventure!

Easier-- by train -- might be Rapallo-Parma-Mantova-Verona-Venice -- but I can't seriously recommend you try it in 8 days.

What's your most important destination? Can Rapallo go or does it have to stay? Why do you want to go to the cities you mentioned?
zeppole is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:19 PM
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You are right in wishing to know Italy, it is an amazing country with many fascinating destinations, however there are MANY. If you only have six days you should make a selection, there is no point in my view to enter to a city, look around and leave, a big effort and little to harvest. It would be nice to take a train and then rent a car, or fly one of the budget airliners go to and they will show you many options, for a few euros most likely you will be able to fly from Germany to Italy. If you decide flying check the luggage allowance and the airports they fly from and to because they vary. You can also drive all the way, no big deal. If I had to choose I would go to Florence, Rome and Venice and if I am driving will choose something in between. Even if you go only to Florence and Rome you cannot be wrong. There are tons of things to do in both fascinating cities. Rapallo is very nice, and you must have a reason to go there in these circumstances but it could be easily left for another day. Select, select and you will not be sorry.
Graziella5b is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:31 PM
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In those 2 weeks you should pick a max of 5 destination---4 would be better Munich and Venice seem to be givens--I wwould train to Venice. I would then train to Florence as your 3rd destination. You pick the next ones but rememeber you have to be back in Munich--you may only have time for one more. I see no way you can include both Rapallo and Tuscany.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Is Venice a given?
zeppole is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:07 PM
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I think 5 cities in 8 days is too much. I'd approach it a different way. Since I would not want to rent a car or drive in Italy myself, I'd plan a trip that can be done by train. I would not skip Venice.
suze is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:48 AM
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Hi Dutto,

Were I going to do this, I would
Train to Florence - 3 nights, the 21:03 Arr 06:18
Train to Venice - 2 hr - 4 nights.
Train back - the 22:51 Arr 06:30.

Save the rest of Italy for when you have 2 weeks or more.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Venice is skippable. It's among the few places in Italy that some Fodorite posters put a lot of pressure on people to visit, even though they are aware that it is really not an enjoyable destination for a lot of people. Read up on the mixed reviews and realize that you are being pressured, and don't lose sight of what you want from your own trip. You'll be paying for it and it's your time. If YOU want to go to Venice, do. But people who tell you anyplace "can't be missed" have the wrong idea about travel.
zeppole is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I don't think Venice can be appreciated in a day or two. It needs to be savored, experienced and understood. That's what my idea of travel is. "It's Tuesday it must be Belgium" is my idea of a tourist not a traveler. You do need to read about it and understand what it entails first. It's such a different way of life I think it's interesting. You have to understand that the ponti (bridges)are stairs not flat walkways, etc so that you are physically prepared, also. So basically, for the 8 days, I would shorten your list, read up on the areas and cities you really want to go to and go and enjoy. Personally, we enjoy Venice.
Ann1 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 09:05 AM
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When we want to see many places in a short time, we try to get night trains in. It's as if your hotel moved, and you do save sightseeing time, and kids do love train travel. Some people prefer day trains for the view, but in our case some of us sleep anyway. I say "wow look at that!!" and turn to see everyone sleeping. Oh well.
TravMimi is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:31 AM
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I concur with Ira - jamming too much into a first trip to Italy can be overwhelming. Combining Venice with Florence gives you two glimpses of Italy - that of the Renaissance Italy (Florence) and that of the Byzantine/Gothic (Venice). Ith cities and food are different as is the art. I was never keen on going to Venice, but my boss' wife told me I had to go just once in my life - so three years ago I incorporated it into an Italy trip I was taking and I was awe-struck! It was the best piece of advice I had taken. It may not be for everyone, but I spent a few days to become acquainted to the city and that made all the difference.
Tiggy22 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:49 AM
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Is there any difference between a person who tells you a place is not to be missed and a person who tells you a place is skippable?

But I do agree that you should pick two places, and perhaps some day-tripping. Enjoy.
socaltraveler is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Sure there is a difference! The "can't be missed" person is pressuring somebody to spend money and time going to a destination because they believe there is something intrinsicially valuable and pleasurable for EVERYBODY in going to Venice. (Starting to see the problem?) The person who reminds it is skippable is neutrally pointing out that Venice is just like any other destination, there is no one place that every normal person enjoys. Normal people recognize travel is different for everybody. Travel is about the traveler above all, not the destination, and you should skip anyplace that doesn't interest you if other places call to you more.

I've got nothing against people going to Venice. I've got a lot against people telling other people a destination is "not to be missed" unless they are simultaneously offering to pay not the entire bill for the trip to Venice, but a trip to where the traveler was inclined to go in the first place as a replacement. Talk's cheap!
zeppole is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:14 PM
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While some people find covering a lot of ground in Italy during their first visit overwhelming, a lot of people find it exhilirating.

I'm not encouraging you to go fast or slow. But I really see no reason why, since you mentioned Milan and Turin, people can't wait to find out if perhaps you'd like to go there given who you are. And since no one knows what you mean by "Tuscany" I see no reason to recommend Florence to you over the Chianti wine country.

But maybe you're never coming back!
zeppole is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:33 PM
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No one pressured the op to include Venice; based upon the initial question, it sure sounds like this was a destination of choice. No one said it was "not to be missed". Rather, one person said she "would not skip Venice" (in her opinion), to which you responded rather strongly "Venice is skippable" based upon your decision that the OP is somehow being pressured to start off a question that specifically includes Venice as a place the OP wanted to go.

I think there's mixed reviews of almost any place in the world. Venice is one of them. But again, as you said "you should skip anyplace [sic] that doesn't interest you if other places call to you more." Here, Venice was expressly cited as a destination of choice, not one of pressure.
Surfergirl is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:55 PM
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This is just my opinion, but I think your advice, zeppole, is very much of the pressure type, you just think you are right. But that's neither here nor there is it? I hope that the OP simply takes all of this advice and finds it useful in creating a trip that is right for his/her needs/wants/desires.
socaltraveler is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:53 PM
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The thing about Venice is that it is so totally unique - there's nothing like it, really. The canals and completely pedestriaized environment are what, in my opinion, make it so special. Certainly, anyplace can be deemed skippable by those so jaded by many years of travel, but Venice really made an impression on me and I will always treasure the time spent exploring its charms. And as for those who pooh-pooh it as being just another crowded cruise ship port, I would expect that April seems like a pretty good month to minimize that impact.
hazel1 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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"And as for those who pooh-pooh it as being just another crowded cruise ship port"

We were watching a special on Venice. It said the Venetians do appreciate travelers who go and savor the city and stay at least 3 nights. They said they don't like the cruise ships that come in and dump a few thousand people on the city for a few hours who are just there to see Venice and don't get to know it. So, as hazel1 said, go in April. Usually the flooding is gone, it's still cool, and the cruise ships aren't there.

"anyplace can be deemed skippable by those so jaded by many years of travel"......Yes, those and people who are just tourists that go so they can say they were there and, again, not to really know the city.

So, if you want an incredibly unique experience go to Venice, take a map and wander the calle (alleys). It's well worth it.
Ann1 is offline  

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