please help with Italy itenary

Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:37 PM
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please help with Italy itenary

Ok.....much like others recently, I am trying to plan a 3 week adventure to Northern Italy for my wife and child. We'd be leaving in mid June. My wife has family near Venice that we will be visiting during part of our trip, but the rest is up to us. This trip we'd really like to concentrate on just the middle and Northern regions. This my 1st trip and wife's 2nd to Italy.

Here's what I've been thinking. Please tell me what you think.
Day 1 - Chicago to Florence via Milan
Then make a large clockwise circle with....
2 nights in Florence
2 nights in Sienna
1 night in Lucca?(not sure on this one)
3 nts in the Cinque Terre(stay in Vernazza)
2 nights at Lake Garda(wife's request)
5 nights in Vicenza (with family)
2 nights in Venice
1 night in Bologna? (heard good food)
Last night back at Florence and then back to Chicago

To much moving?
Can we do this without a car? I don't mind driving but don't want to be anchored by one either. We've not much train exp.

We love to walk, dine and absorb the city. Our child is well travled and does pretty well on the move. I'm really somewhat overwhelmed with this trip right now. We travel all over the Caribbean and 2 years ago did London and Mallorca......but this one....is BIG for me. We're celebrating 15yrs. Sorry for the length....Please help!

Michael
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:41 PM
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Opps ......sorry ......please post on the one like this above.....thanks
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:46 PM
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ira
 
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Hi Michael,
You are doing an awful lot of packing and unpacking.

You can do Bologna, Siena and Lucca as day trips from Florence.

Are you thinking of staying your last night in Florence and then going back to Milan to fly home, or are you flying out of FLR?
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the reply....First of all, we now only travel with carry-ons.
We will from from Florence to Milan and then to Chicago. Thanks!
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:50 PM
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If I could only type....we'll fly to Milan and then Chicago.
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 06:49 PM
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Too much Michael. I would get an apt. in or near Florence for a week and day trip from there. And, I am still confused if you are staying in Milan at all--you apparently arrive and depart from there. And, I cannot fathom that much time in northern Italy and not seeing Lago Como rather than Garda. You could do this entire trip from 4 destinations--think about that.
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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Thanks Bob. We are only traveling through the Milan airport. We're not staying in Milan at all. We've nothing against Lake Como. It's just a sentimental historical family thing with Garda for my wife.
An apartment is possible. I know 3 weeks is a ample time for this area.
Then which overnights would you suggests other than Vincenza and maybe Florence? Thank You
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 12:00 AM
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Hi Michael
I just did a similar itinerary a couple of months ago but used Florence as a base except for four days in Lake Garda and two in Verona. I stayed in Peschiere, Lake Garda and travelled to other towns round Lake Garda by bus. Don't be at all overwhelmed by it, it really is a piece of cake as they say and I traveled on my own. I would suggest you have five nights in Florence and day trip to Lucca, Siena and San Gimignano. I used the train and the bus so if you stay within reasonable walking distance of the train station in Florence which is so user friendly you can make an early start each morning. The buses leave from near there also. There are plenty of trains to these destinations.
I would be inclined to forgo Bologna and include Verona instead which you can do after Lake Garda, it is only a short distance between the two.
Incidentally I found eating out to be a better experience in the smaller towns than in Florence where it is all so tourist fare, in bulk, heat it in the microwave style.
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 01:08 AM
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Kathy;

Thanks for the reply. This may sound odd, but meals are of large interest for me. Not just for the food itself but for the overall experience. Thus my question is then.....how did you experience somwhat authentic quality dinners when staying in Florence if you just did daytrips to the smaller towns?
Lucca, Sienna and Cinque Terre appear to me to be places that we'd enjoy an evening experience. True? or what do you think? I do like the daytrip idea. Just afraid I'll kick myself for not if I see these towns only during the day that's all. Thank You!!
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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Can anyone please offer more?
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 07:40 AM
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IMHO beside trying to do too much, you itinerary is also a bit disorganized. I would spend the first 6 nights in Florence, daytripping to Siena, Lucca and Bologna. Than I would move to Vicenza, from where Venice is an easy daytrip (trains run late into he night, so you might spend a couple of days in Venice going back to Vicenza only for sleeping). Than you might move to Lago di Garda (which is pretty close to Venice). On leaving Lago di Garda you might reach Milano faster if you didn't tsop in Bologna, but if you like (and have enought time) you might stop in Verona, which happens to be more or less on the way from Lago di Garda to Milano. As for the Cinque Terre, they are placed quite off the main area where you will be travelling for most of the time, consider skipping them and spendng a few days more in norhtern and central Tuscany.
All these destinations are easy to travel by train, which is the best solution. You might still want to use a car for the daytrip to Siena, which, IMHO is better by car because thus you will be able to enjoy the sights of the nearby countrysine (drive off to the side roads instead of travelling on the Superstrada Firenze-Siena). If you opt for the car, you might keep it for a couple of days and daytrip to Cinque Terre as well, or spend one night in Cinque Terre before driving backto Florence and taking the train to Vicenza.
Now, talking about train, IMHO the best solution is to book from the Usa only the Milano-Florence trip. Once in Florence, use one hour of your time to book all th erest of your train trips. you will need to buy in advance (and book) the train from Florence to Bologna and back, the train from Florence to Vicenza, maybe the train from Vicenza to Lago di Garda and the train from Lago di Garda to Milano (according to my suggested itinerary). All the other train trips (Firenze-Lucca and back, Vicenza-Venezia and back) will require no booking (most trains operating on these lines allow none). Buy your tickets at the station or at a travel agency as you arrive in Florence, this will be cheaper than buying the tickets from the Usa, but it will still allow you time enough for booking all the seats you need. Also, if your son is under 12 check out the family offer, that will grant you a 30% discount on every train ticket (except for the 3 euro booking fee per person).
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 10:15 AM
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I still see 4 detinations--Alice was on the right track:
Florence--6 nites--get apt.
Cinque Terre[do not asssume Vernazza]
Lago Garda--3 nites
Veneto--7 nites[ I would day trip from Vicenza--especially if it is free, or rent an apt. in venice for the week]

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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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Id' rather say 3 + 1 destinations. As I have said, Cinque Terre are not too easy to fit in this kind of itinerary (not impossibile to fit in, though!), and I would consider skipping them for more time in Tuscany or even for a couple of days in Bologna and nearby area.
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 11:06 AM
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Thank you all.....here's a couple of questions based on your suggestions to do more daytrips.

1. Is Florence is worth not overnighting in Sienna for? Remember we like good food and ambiance.

2. Bob....what do you mean not to assume Vernazza? The reason I ask is after doing more research, I'm a bit worried that the entire 5-Terre area will be less than appealing during high season. But......we would like to see that coast somewhere while making our way up to Lake Garda area.

Finally.....yes the stay in Vincenza will be free except for treating our Italian family to some meals ect. Thus I dont mind spending some larger $$ where I need to. Thank you again!!

ps...I'm committed to flying in and out of Florence.
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 05:53 PM
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Vernazza will be wall to wall back packers then--you will have a hard time finding a place, and you may not want to with a child in tow. I would stay in Levanto or Monterosso where they have the best beaches. Look at Villa Margherita in Levanto or Hotel Pasquale in Monterosso.
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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Hi Michael, I also think Alice is on the right track.
With regards to eating out, I had beautiful pasta which was freshly made in the kitchens of small cafes in the little towns, unfortunately or fortunately for them whichever way you look at it, in Florence they prepare well ahead and in large quantities and it was not nearly as fresh. This is my personal experience anyway. You could just as easily do day trips and stay in the towns long enough for dinner and a stroll round before heading back to Florence. On average these trips are only 1 and 1/2 hours by train one way.
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Old Mar 8th, 2003, 02:02 AM
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Thank you Alice, Bob and Kathy.

That is my concern about Vernazza Bob, though I have found a nice reasonable apartment for our desired time. Still I really prefer a more sirene experience. I'll check into the other cities you suggest. Maybe we'll skip the Cinqe Terra altogether then. Which is hard for me to comprehend at this point.

Anyway now maybe will stay a bit longer in Florence with daytrips from there followed by skimming the NW coast and then onto the lakes.

Another question.....there's no train between Florence and Sienna...correct?
One must bus or auto?

Thank You!!





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Old Mar 8th, 2003, 02:34 AM
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There are trains but the bus is more direct/fast. And if you are looking for good food, for sure visit Bologna. For a real Bolognese trattoria, try Osteria 15, on Via Mirasole 15. Good luck!
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