Northern Italy vs. France

Jul 2nd, 2007, 05:40 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Northern Italy vs. France


My brother and I would like to go somewhere in Europe at the end of my semester abroad in Nantes, France. We'd go around the 20th-28th of December and don't want to be cold and miserable but would like to see neat things so bad weather is understandable as long as we can still walk around. We'd like to see neat things and especially maybe some neat small towns.

We are torn between visiting more of France (especially some southern parts, but weren't to sure where--maybe Provence or the Dordogne?) or visiting Northern Italy (from Rome through Tuscany/Umbria (see Florence, maybe Bologna) to Venice.

Would Italy provide small, neat towns like France might (and would France provide small, neat towns?). It'd be cool to visit stuff on a whim and visit towns without a rigid schedule. Which would be better for us do you think? Is everything closed?

adam211 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2007, 06:27 PM
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Obviously no one can predict the weather next December (!), but there should not be that much difference between, say, Provence and Tuscany. The advantage of traveling in December is that the crowds will be greatly diminished. Things will be "open" in that the life of the towns and villages of France and Italy goes on all year. Museums may be closed on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

My advice... what is your heart saying to you? Follow your heart. Whether it's Florence and the hillside towns of Tuscany ... or Aix, Avignon, and the towns of Provence, there's a lot of see and enjoy.
travelhorizons is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 07:01 AM
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I vote for Italy...but I *always* vote for Italy! Besides you'll have spent an entire semester in France, so head across the border and check out Italy.
Ralphie is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 07:08 AM
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The weather should be good but you never know. Nothing fleece couldn't handle. We did the trip flying in and out of Marsailles along the french and italian rivieras and back up through Florence, Modena and Parma back to Marsailles. The weather along the coast was beautiful. Clear and sunny but very cool at night. It snowed 6" in Florence and Parma. We were almost snowed in (due to closed roads) in Parma. But who knows what will happen. Email me with any Questions.
jay is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 07:21 AM
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We were in Bologna this past January and it was pretty cold, about low 40s during the day and colder at night. I would suspect it would be similar for December. You can check out the average temps on
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:14 AM
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In general, the more south you go, the warmer it will be, though I believe that the only warm areas in Italy and France are on the Cote D'Azur, east of Nice. Provence (near Marseilles and Avignon) is cool and sometimes cold and windy, and snow is possible. That being said, I think you can easily walk around and visit small villages. Northern Italy is often cold, and snowy in the mountains, which one would expect. The Alpes and the Dolomites are skiing areas. Southern Italy should be warmer. Venice and Florence will be coldish, but uncrowded and lots less expensive than they would be during tourist season. You have lots of choices- it's a win-win situation. Godd luck.
justretired is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 12:37 PM
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I wouldn't say uncrowded, but much less crowded than summer for sure.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 02:26 PM
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I think you should head for Italy only because you will have been in France for awhile, but as the above poster said, you really can't go wrong either way. The only time I have been to Venice it was in December and yeah, the days were colder and shorter, but the lack of massive amounts of tourists was really appealing.
Jenski is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I would not recommend Dordogne. My friends who live there say almost all resturants and shops are shut down in low season. Some will be open, but fewer for sure. Also, many sites wil have severly restricted times during the end of December.
DanM is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 07:09 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Thanks so much everyone for your responses!

I found a decent flight leaving from Rome, so we'll be spending our time in Northern Italy! I'm sure once I get an itinerary (likely Venice to Florence to Rome) I'll probably post it here.

adam211 is offline  

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