Never been to Italy...HELP!

Mar 6th, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #41  
 
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TDudette, I said several times -- read my posts -- that if dutto wanted to go to Venice they should do it! "Skippable" doesn't mean "don't go." It means it can be skipped -- contrary to all the yelling of the "must-see Venice" types -- if dutto concluded he/she would have to choose between Milan, Turin, Tuscany, Rapallo and Venice. We had no idea which was most important to dutto. Now we know.

If people feel there is a reason to believe a poster doesn't realize they will be within easy striking distance of a worthwhile place to visit, they should ask if they've considered it. But we've all seen responses to people's obviously considered itineraries for a first visit to Italy where the arm-twisting starts about "You're making a mistake, IMHO, if you don't see Rome on a first trip to Italy" or "I can't imagine going to Italy for the first time and not seeing Venice" and all that other utter nonsense. I don't know why Italy attracts that knee-jerk response when France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Belgium and Greece do not, but I hope to dynamite it to dust on Fodor's!
zeppole is offline  
Mar 6th, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #42  
 
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Dutto,

If you don't want to be one of those history and art loathing tourists who make Venice their italian destination because they can't stand going inside museums and churches or learning anything about Italian history -- they just like wandering cluelessly without worrying about getting creamed by a motorcycle -- well, read up on Venice before you go so you know exactly whose shoes you're walking in! Find out why it looks the way it does. You might even get inspired to try the pastries of Venice, heavily influenced by its Austro-Hungarian history, instead of gelato, which is only there for tourists.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 12:34 PM
  #43  
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Zeppole, you make me laugh. LOL...I am reading up on Italy as we speak. I like to know about where I am going and try to see what is most important to me, in case I do not make it back. The internet is great for that. You have put a picture in my mind of looking up at the entrance to a museum,deciding whether to go in, and getting creamed by a moped. Yikes! Chicago has lots of museums and Art institutes...which I frequent. There are many chicagoans who never go to the lakefront or into the neighborhoods that Chicago is famous for. We "live" and absorb Chicago. I visit Washington D.C. many many times, because I love the Smithsonian Institute and the mall. We travel extensively in the states and Canada, but, I wish I had the time and money to "live and absorb" Italy. But until I become that affluent retiree, I will have to continue to sample Europe.
dutto11 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 03:20 AM
  #44  
 
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If you enjoy visiting art museums as fine as the Art Institute, Venice has one of Italy's best -- in fact, it's one of Europe's best -- the Accademia. One of the most enjoyable things about the Accademia is that it features its very best artworks in the first galleries of the museum. The galleries are numbered. If you follow the numbers, you can see all the most important work in the museum in the first 30-40 minutes of your visit, so if you that if you don't want to spend another hour in the museum, leaving is not a big frustration.

Three other places I think are worth entering as one "wanders" through Venice: the basilica of Santa Maria Glorioso dei Frari, for its Titian and other unique artworks, and two "scuolae": The scuola San Rocoo and the scuola Carmini for their astonishing decoration. All three can be combined in a wander that includes the Accademia museum. I would do that in lieu of "secret tours" or battling crowds of shoppers around the Rialto bridge.
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Mar 7th, 2010, 01:51 PM
  #45  
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Thank you Zeppole for those suggestions. I love museums. Because of the history involved. Have you been to Ellis Island in New York? Incredible history. You can stand in front of a display and become one with the people who experienced the history. Walking through Auschwitz, was so emotional. That's what I mean by "walking in their shoes". Reading about other countries and places makes me want to "feel" the place also. I have not thought about what I want to do in Venice yet. Do you recommend seeing the glassblowing in Murano? Glassblowing fascinates me. Does anyone have suggestions for hotels or B&B's?
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Mar 7th, 2010, 02:47 PM
  #46  
 
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I always stay at http://www.abbaziahotel.com/
It's near the train station. The staff is second to none. It gets very good reviews on tripadvisor.com
TravMimi is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 09:42 PM
  #47  
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Thank you TravMimi. I love this site.
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Mar 7th, 2010, 11:10 PM
  #48  
 
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I love Rome and I would get there by TGV (bullet train) if it fit into your timeline. I don't know why I'm even telling you to go to Rome, but I love the forum ancient area and I love the Vatican and the Vatican Museum.

As always, I live and die.. and plan my trips... by the Rick Steves' books (and a few well-traveled friends). Steves's usually right about cheap hotels that are in the middle of the cities. (I'm so repetitive about these books but they work for planning.)

I thought Florence was cool, and it was a big push to get my husband to go. However, I loved Venice. I thought it would be too touristy for me. It sounded like an old rotting Epcot Center. Wrong wrong WRONG...it was the highlight of my trip. (I don't know if you'll need wading boots when you go, but you sound like you could handle adversity if necessary.)

You don't have to see all of these movies, except the documentary about how Venice was built...it's basically on pilings on a sinking marsh... have to see this movie if you are on Netflix...:

http://travelguides.suite101.com/art...enice_vacation

You can find these movies on Netflix. Skip the Kate Hepburn movie unless you are a nostalgia freak.
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Mar 7th, 2010, 11:12 PM
  #49  
 
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PS I always forget something...

If you are close to Rothenburg (not sure about spelling) when in Germany... you might want to visit. It's a great medieval walled city. A bit touristy, but cool none-the-less.

Take trains if going to major cities. No parking anywhere as far as I can tell.
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Mar 7th, 2010, 11:26 PM
  #50  
 
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Tdudette,

If I had a friend with a place in Venice, I would visit them every sunday.

I love it's old decadence. It's so old bones of Marie Antoinette Let Them Eat Cake. I didn't want to go there, but if your pals need a bad housekeeper, I'll go and learn to clean their place. I expected to hate Venice. I am a VERY jaded traveler. I was surprised how much I loved the little grocery boat with the yummy grapes. How much I loved watching the girls watch the boys who were playing soccer in the alley by the cheap little hotel. I loved the Doges' Palace. I do everything on the cheap. I would love to be a homeless person for the last days of my life in Venice (or maybe Place des Vosge)... I hate tourism. I like slumming around even if I can (can't now) afford spacious digs... I loved old wet Venice. I was shocked that I liked it.
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Mar 8th, 2010, 04:42 AM
  #51  
 
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tinaweha: I love your thoughts!! You put to words the way I feel. See and absorb it all.
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Mar 8th, 2010, 06:33 AM
  #52  
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Tinaweha: I was showed Rothenburg by German natives and did saw it all.
All: I am glad to hear great comments on Venice. I am still going back and forth on what to do. I could not change my ticket to fly into Italy (no flights at this late date) I looked at the train routes finally, so it might prove more logical to take the Overnight to Venice from Munich, (2 nights) then the fast train to Turin,(overnight)then the train along the Italian Riveria and stay somewhere. (3 nights in Rapallo?) I will train to Florence (2-3 nights) and then Overnight back to Munich, hopefully fitting in a day trip to Pisa. Is it possible to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa during a day trip? We are spending more time in Italy and less with the family. I think I will purchase a Flex Pass with 3 countries, if I understand the system right, I will be going through Austria and that would be required. I think this allows the night trains and it is all premier. Is anyone familiar with the Passes?
dutto11 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 07:15 AM
  #53  
 
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Pisa is an easy day trip from Florence. It's about an hour and 15 mins. by train. You need reservations to climb the tower, and can buy tickets online http://boxoffice.opapisa.it/Torre/index.jsp
It's a great experience!
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Mar 8th, 2010, 09:52 AM
  #54  
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I wonder if it is possible to train to Pisa for the day...see the tower...then continue on to Florence? Is there enough time? How far is Pisa from the train station? I guess I can google it.
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Mar 8th, 2010, 10:02 AM
  #55  
 
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You should put up a separate thread about the train pass. I think it may not be worth the cost, but maybe it would.

You can see Pisa on a day trip from Florence, or on the way to Florence from Rapallo (leave your bags in the Pisa train station, see the tower, pick up bags, proceed to Firenze).
zeppole is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 10:04 AM
  #56  
 
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Sorry I forget to answer your other post. Do what fascinates you in Venice. Check Tripadvisor and Venere.com for bed-breakfast places.
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Mar 8th, 2010, 10:10 AM
  #57  
 
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You could take an early train from Rapallo to Pisa. A Frecciabianca train takes about 1.5 hr. Take a bus from the station to the tower, or walk (about 20 mins.) Then take an afternoon train to Florence (just over an hour.)
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Mar 8th, 2010, 02:48 PM
  #58  
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Zeppole and Travmimi, Thanks! the suggestions were just what I was looking for.
dutto11 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #59  
 
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Hi,

If you need to travel by train and visit Milan, and if you are looking for a budget and comfortable place to stay, I suggest you Hotel Bernina. take a look to the hotel website http://www.hotelbernina.com/
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