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Northern Italy Help

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Apr 12th, 2011, 11:11 AM
  #1
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Northern Italy Help

So I searched for some posts on this topic and wanted a bit of clarification on what I should do and what weather I should expect.

Planning on a trip about a 10 day trip in the beginning of September. We are military and will be flying into Aviano and staying in guest lodging on the base. Other than those two facts I have no idea what to do.

The perfect trip for me is eating. Not big of crowds, I don't care about museums, not to big on architecture...I do love a beautiful landscape though. I really just want to experience Italy, if you know what I mean.

I wasn't planning on renting a car and just taking the train. I read in a few threads that renting a car and driving up towards the Dolomite Alps would be a good day trip. And maybe an overnight in Venice. Other than that, I am all ears.

Also, what is the weather like. We would like to pack as light as possible.
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Apr 12th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Are you planning on staying in the guest lodging for your entire 10 days, or for the entire time minus overnights in Venice?

If so, the region of Italy you'll be in is Friuli-Venezia Giulia; not a well-known region, but if you do a search here on Fodor's using those words, you'll come up with some ideas.

Also, I'd encourage you to spend as many nights as possible in Venice!
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Apr 12th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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U'll have no problem with the eating part -- food is devine in NITaly. I don't think in all our travels there we had more than 1 or 2 bad meals. We tend to go to local trattorias. The countryside is very scenic in some parts, but there is also a lot of industrial development thruout the countryside which seems such a shame.

The Dolomites are beautiful and certainly worth a daytrip...scenery is lovely. We enjoyed Vicenza, its not real big and a nice town to stroll about. Asolo is also a nice small town that u can check out, lovely views from it. Padua is a larger town, but really not touristy at all. The Scrovegni Chapel is incredible. If u really want to get away from the tourists and crowds, check out Udine area -- we thoroughly enjoyed our time in that area. U can read about our trip there
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...udine-area.cfm.

Havent been there in Sept so cant help with the weather. Have a great trip!
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Apr 12th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Well...I was actually just talking to a coworker and they said to stay in Rome a few days and Venice a few days. Since our flight itinerary isn't known (meaning we have approx. a 1-3 days when when we can arrive and when we fly out) I'm trying to stay close to base on the tail end of our travel.

Do you think we should train it out of that area and go somewhere more "touristy" or something? Clearly, I haven't done much traveling

Thank you for your reply and I will definitely check out the region.
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Apr 12th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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yestravel, what a great review! The area seems lovely. Trieste sounds like it's right up my alley. I would much rather enjoy the countryside than the hustle and bustle but I also don't want to miss out. Just trying to prioritize and there are soooooo many things I want to do.

Any cuisine suggestions are welcome as well
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Apr 12th, 2011, 01:34 PM
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Hi aarcher - we have done exactly what you propose several times. Aviano is a great destination for a Space A hop (I assume you are going Space A). Are you sure there will lodging on the base? It is also Space A and can be tricky at times. If you don't luck out at the base, The Hotel Oliva is just outside the gate, not expensive and a good choice. Speaking of the base itself, if you are not aware, it is split into 2 parts. One is the airfield and then the rest of the base is about 1 mile away. There is a shuttle between the two. The base part is actually in town and you can walk all over Aviano from there - it is is a nice town in itself.

You do want to rent a car and go up into the Dolomites - it's spectacular and will be a highpoint of your trip. You can rent a car either at the airfield or at the base.

There is a train station in Aviamo, but the service is very limited. It's better to go into Pordenone where there is a much bigger station. To go to Pordenone your choice is taxi, bus (it lets you off about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station)or what we have done on occasion, just ask if anyone is driving into Pordenone - sometimes you get lucky. From Pordenone Venice is not far at all. My recollection of the last time I took the train there it was under an hour.

You mentioned Trieste - not so much my favorite place but you can take a ferry across to Piran in Slovenia.

On our first trip that was some time ago, we rented a car, drove up into the Dolomites in the direction of Balzano and around dinner time "turned right" and drove into Austria where we spent the night. We then backtracked but through Austria and crossed over to Italy and over to the then Yugoslavia - that part now Slovenia and spent a couple of nights in Piran. We then drove on to Florence and Venice then back to Aviano. It was a wonderful trip. Click on my name and under trip reports scroll down until you see one titled "An Extremely Belated TR, Italy and Yugoslavia.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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Apr 12th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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If the perfect trip for you is eating, I urge you to go Friuli Venezia Giulia.

This is an excellent summary of places to eat well in the region from the famed Italian chef Lidia Bastianich, who is a native of Trieste.

http://www.fodors.com/news/story_2870.html

Personally, I think Trieste is a wonderful place, with streets that are both tree-lined and caffe-lined, and fully pedestrianized. I live in Italy, and it is one of my favorite Italian cities.

The Dolomiti are a spectacular sight, but keep your food expectations low beyond delicious cheese, fruits and some very good wines. Alas, keep your food expectations low for Venice as well.
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Apr 12th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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"Alas, keep your food expectations low for Venice as well."
I totally disagree. We had alot of fantastic food when we were in Venice in October. It just takes some research.
We are traveling back to Venice and then touring F-V-G for a week and am really looking forward to experiencing the culinary delights of that region this October!

Aarcher, since you are so close I highly recommend at least 2 nights in Venice. We also had lovely day trips to Verona (don't miss the Giusti gardens) and to Padova (DO NOT miss the Scrovegni chapel).
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Apr 12th, 2011, 04:39 PM
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aarcher, thanks -- glad u enjoyed the TR

I would love to know where u found good food in Venice, ekc. I have to agree with Zep in the couple trips I have been there, I haven't found exceptional food, so some recommendations would be appreciated.

OTOH, we did have good meals in the Dolomites.

I also agree that Trieste is a pretty nice city worth a visit.

With 10 days I would try and stay relatively close by your base, but would spend at least 4 of the days in Venice...it's a magical place. Love Verona also, but that may be too far from your base.
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Apr 12th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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It is a beautiful time of year to be there, fwiw, i have found Venice to be a little chilly in Sept, at night, so just bring a sweater or jacket. One thing i have mentioned before, in Venice, itis lovely to get on the vaporetto (number 1) and sit and relax and look at all the beautiful palazzos on the grand canal. Sit on one side going up, and then get off, and sit on the other side going down. Have a wonderful time.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 05:58 AM
  #11
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Wow! Thank you all for your replies! Since this is my first time on this message board, I am blown away by all the helpful responses.

I think this is a tenative itinerary (based off of the recs here):

Land in Aviano (yes, this will be Space A travel and our first go at it...I'm a bit nervous) and stay one night there (not sure when will be arriving so that is up in the air, no pun intended)

Rent a car on base and drive up to through the Dolomites, stay overnight in Dobbiaco.

Leave Dobbiaco and come back through Fruili (stay overnight).

Leave Fruili and come down through Venice and stay two nights.

Leave Venice and make our way to Vicenza and stay over one night.

Leave Vicenza and stop over in Treviso and stay over a night.

Leave Treviso and make our way back to Aviano and wait for our Space A flight to leave (it could be a few days).

Does that sound like too many overnights? SHould I just stay the day in some of these places and travel onto the next city to save some money?

Also, should I just plan on a rental car the whole time or can I manage on trains? Maybe returning the rental car when I get to Venice and then just taking the train to Pordenone from Venice?

I will have to go on the train website and see what I can find...Thank you again for your suggestions!
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Apr 13th, 2011, 06:18 AM
  #12
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Maybe I should return the rental car in Venice and take the train to Vicenza, Treviso, and Aviano and just wait there for the flight. I just went to the train site and it looks highly affordable to do the traveling this way.

Should I skip an overnight and Treviso and maybe add a third day to Venice...toooooooo many options! Slightly overwhelming
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Apr 13th, 2011, 06:42 AM
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If you can answer a few questions, I can be more helpful about your Space A adventure - we have flown Space A many, many times and know the ropes pretty well.

First - what is your category, e.g., active duty, retired, environmental morale leave, etc.? It makes a big difference.

How many people will be traveling? The fewer people, the better the chances of getting a flight.

If active duty, how far in advance will you sign up. Know that you lose leave days beginning with putting in your Space A request. Getting called for a flight goes by date and time of signing up. Rank has no bearing on the matter. I have seen an Admiral not getting on a flight because an enlisted had a better sign up (Julian) date. That is how it should be.

From where are you leaving? That also makes a big difference.

Are you willing to change your plans at the last minute if you don't get on an Aviano flight but are called for elsewhere? Some of our best trips have been when we did not get on the flight we wanted and took an opportunity to go elsewhere. As an example, with our first Space A flight, the subject of the TR I referenced our hope was to get on a flight to Spain. That did not happen but we were called for the Aviano flight. Same with going to the Azores when our goal was Iceland. Bottom line, you need to see Space A as an adventure and be flexible. When we go Space A, we put our basics in the suitcase and everything else in ziplocks to cover different climate. The ziplocks go in the trunk of the car and when we know exactly where we are going, we throw the right ziplocks into the suitcase. More often than not though, we do get to our first choice.

BTW, when you sign up, be sure to put "All" as one of your desired destinations. Also, put your final desired destination on the sign up as a destination as well. That way, if you have to change flights on the way, you will not lose your sign up priority. Be sure to also sign up your return at the same time as signing up for your departure - that will give you a better date for getting back. If you are returning to the US, in addition to putting "All" as a destination, also put "CONUS" in your first choice slot.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 07:07 AM
  #14
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Active duty on ordinary leave, 2 people, leaving from BWI or Norfolk (but Andrews and Dover are also ok I just don't think they have flights to Aviano)...and we have to be on leave when requesting a flight. We are thinking of going on leave 30 AUG at 0001 and signing up for a flight ASAP. What I've seen from BWI website is a sign up process so I think following that and being flexible about losing the days is fine with us...esp for how inexpensive it is to go!

I guess if we don't get Aviano we would be fine with anything...When we first started thinking of Space A we were going to try to head out to Ramstien and do Germany or surrounding areas. Just as long as it gets us out of DC for a week or more
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Apr 13th, 2011, 07:07 AM
  #15
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And thank you for all the additional Space A information! It really really helps!
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Apr 13th, 2011, 07:30 AM
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aarcher - that is helpful. Active duty (Cat 3) is good as is choosing Sept. Be sure to go when the kids are tucked back in school - it reduces the competition. Sign up at every possible departure point both leaving and returning - you can do it all online. That has saved our trip more than once. I wasn't aware that Norfolk has flights to Aviano since Norfolk is on the Navy circuit - I have gone to Naples a few times from there and found that a pretty easy flight to get on, but maybe we were just lucky. I have also found Naples to be much easier than Aviano for getting a flight back. From Aviano you may well have to fly into Ramstien to catch a flight back to the US and Ramstien can be difficult at times since it is a major transit point - also lodging on the base at Ramstien is a crapshoot - they have lots of it, but then there is a lot of people trying to get it. There are hotels in town though, both Ramstien and Landstuhl are good bets and there are shuttles that serve the base.

BWI is also a major transit point, particularly for troops and families going PCS and in transit from other places. Our batting average getting out of BWI was about 70% when I was Cat 3 like you and had a good Julian date. Now that I am Cat six, I don't even bother unless it is a very slow travel time. I do not know when the base schools in Europe start up, but early September may be a problem at BWI with families going back for the start of the school year - you need to check on that.

If you go out of Norfolk and don't get to Italy, you have opportunities to Rota in Southern Spain (one of my favorites) Crete, and Iceland as well as other destinations of opportunity.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 07:50 AM
  #17
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basingstoke2- uh oh..now I am nervous we will get stuck there. Good idea about signing up for our departure flight at the same time we sign up for our arrival flight. I could be wrong about Norfolk since I was checking early yesterday morning. We certainly wouldn't mind Spain or any of the other destinations you mentioned.

Thanks again for all of your help! Also, would you rent a car the whole time or just the first part and use the train the second part?
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Apr 13th, 2011, 08:20 AM
  #18
 
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If you find yourself leaving from Aviano and are coming from Venice, I would turn in the car at Venice and take the train to Pordenone - from Pordenone either a bus that leaves you just outside the base or taxi. What we have done though is to fly out of Naples (if going to Italy, be sure to sign up for a return from Naples as well - we have had very good luck there getting the flight we wanted. The lodging on the base is superior - but sometimes hard to get although we have always lucked out on that too. We like to get to Naples a few days early, rent a car (the car rental is on the upper level of the terminal and take day trips to the Amalfi coast - beautiful, and Sorrento. If you get into Aviano and plan to leave from Naples, then you would change your trip plans to keep moving towards the south. Last we did that we went from Aviano to Venice and worked our way south cris-crossing Italy stopping at places along the way that seemed nice. One of those places was San Marino. Tourist central by day and delightful at night.

Rota is a wonderful base (but aside from the beaches, not particularly interesting) and from there you can easily reach Cadiz, Sevilla, Cordoba, Grenada, Gibraltar etc. Rota and also Naples have flight opportunities to Sicily. BTW. Sicily should also be reachable from Norfolk. One trip we did was Norfolk to Sicily for 3 days and then the weather turned bad so we went down to the terminal and they had a C130 leaving for Rota that afternoon that was taking some passengers, so we took it and spent the rest of our vacation in Spain. Like I said, you need to be flexible. For example since Ramstien can be a bear to get out of, some people will go back to the US by taking a flght to Turkey and then turning around and returning to the US from there. That flight goes through Ramstien on the way back, but they are already manifested. SIGN UP EVERYWHERE you never know.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 08:23 AM
  #19
 
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BTW I should have mentioned that if you do return from Aviano, be sure to put down CONUS as your final destination. Your flight will likely transit Ramstien or even end there. If it does, you will then be considered in transit and still have your Julian date and not have to start anew - not a good thing at Ramstien.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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aarcher,

I would pass on Vicenza and Treviso in favor of spending more time in Friuli Venezia Giulia. If you make La Subida in Cormons your base, you could have a wonderful time seeing Udine, Civedale dei Friuli and Gorizia -- and even slipping over the border into Slovenia.

You wrote: "The perfect trip for me is eating. Not big of crowds, I don't care about museums, not to big on architecture...I do love a beautiful landscape though. I really just want to experience Italy, if you know what I mean."

For many people, going to Venice for days on end is just super. But it is filled with crowds of tourists, to the point of it being less of an Italian experience than most places in Italy. It is hard to know what you will do there for days if you aren't interested in art and architecture. I'm also puzzled why Vicenza is on your list, since just about the only reason people go is to see Palladio's architecture.

ekc,

I second the request for specific information about fantastic dining in Venice (hopefully with prices included and whether it is necessary to make a reservation for lunch and/or dinner). Enjoy your trip to Friuli Venezia -Giulia!
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