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Rome, Florence, Tuscanny- is it possible?

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Rome, Florence, Tuscanny- is it possible?

Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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Rome, Florence, Tuscanny- is it possible?

Hi there,
I have never been to Italy and I'm planning a trip for myself (28) and my parents (mid 50's). I doubt they will return so I want it to be as good of a snap-shot of Italy as possible in approximately 10-12 days. Ideally would love to go to Rome and then also Tuscanny (and towns such as Sienna) and Florence (and Pisa). Is this possible? Too aggresive and what would be the best bet on how to fly in/fly out- should we rent a car? My parents prefer tours but I want to do it on our own. Any advice is greatly appreciated or if you can direct me to a posting already that has this info. Tx!!
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Definitely doable. And, Florence is in Tuscany. Seems to me your major decision will be where to base yourselves for the Tuscany portion of the trip. If you want to wander from town to town at your own pace in Tuscany, you'll need to rent a car. Or,"rent" a driver or perhaps driver/guide. A car in Florence itself or in rome would, in my opinion, be a liability and waste.

What time of year will you be travelling? And, what are your (and you parents') interests? There are many threads on Rome and on Tuscany, including Florence. If you put those words in the search box, you'll get a lot of information. Then, come back here with some more specifics...
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Hi Lorraine,

12 days is perfect for the Big Three.

Fly into Venice - 3 days
Train to Florence - 5 days - one daytrip to Siena by bus, one daytrip to Pisa (if you must) by train.

If you skip Pisa, add the day to Rome and go to Orvieto.

Train to Rome - 4 days

Fly home from Rome.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Few questions- is renting a car expensive? We're trying to stay as budget as possible. Would we train between rome, florence? We like to get some culture- museums and such, love history, not major art fanatics, would love to stay at a nice winery, do walking tours, take great pics, sort of not wordly travellers- so we'll just be excited to be in Italy, take in scenery, enjoy italian food/wine. And we'll probably go in July/August. We're pretty low key - will eat sandwiches for lunch and save up for dinertime. Etc.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:55 AM
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Also is is pricey to fly into one city and out of another? Guess I'm majorly concerned right now with how to get around? Tx!
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Hi lorraine,

Unless you are planning on spending a week or so driving through Tuscany and Umbria (which I don't recommend for first timers) a car is contraindicated (more trouble than it is worth).

I strongly urge you to consider that your first trip to Italy is to get to see some of the world's greatest art and architecture, meet some very warm and welcoming people, and eat very well amidst beautiful scenery.

Save the wineries for your next visit, which should be in September.

Have a great trip.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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The classic debate---urban settings with art & culture versus rural natural beauty and quaint villages. Ira is an advocate for the former and I prefer the latter. A good mix is perhaps ideal. I suggest you spend time at slowtrav.com and read about Tuscany venues and some trip reports and hotel reviews. Then, come back here with some questions.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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I highly recommend car rental and driving Tuscany. Fly in and out of Rome is probably easiest/most affordable. Spend 3-4 days there, rent a car and venture into the beautiful Tuscan hillside! Stay S of Siena for a few nights and N near FLorence a few nights (day trip into Florence for a day). in order favorite towns I recommend are :
Montepulciano
Montalcino
San Gimignano
Siena
Pienza
Cortona
Greve
Pisa (too touristy imo)

Missed Volterra and Lucca but have heard great things. Relax, enjoy. Rome is a big city, Don't spend a lot of time in Florence too.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 10:13 AM
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>The classic debate---urban settings with art & culture versus rural natural beauty and quaint villages.<

I recommend the former for first timers because one can "chill out" and relax anywhere in the world.

Thin how disappointed you would be if you spent your first visit to Italy motoring through Tuscany and Umbria and then died.

There you would be in Heaven, never having seen the beauty of Rome, Florence and Venice.

Very disappointing.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Unless you have a STRONG OVERWHELMING desire to meander through Tuscan hilltowns at your own pace, I'd ditch the car rental for a first trip. Public transportation (especially trains) is so easy (if you don't pack any more than you can handle) and reasonably priced. Take the train from Rome to Florence. For countryside experiences, take daytrips, either on your own or with a small group or with a guide you hire for the day. My 2 cents worth!
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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And, a good mix is perhaps ideal !
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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If you can't see all the beauty of Rome, Florence and Venice in Heaven - - then it's just as well I ain't going there...

I'll be drumming up folks interested in a Fodorites' trip in "that" (or any of those) "other" place(s) I'm going...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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Lorraine:

First, flying in/out of different cities isn't that expensive...usually $20-$30 more per ticket.

How does this sound? (For reference only, I'll note what you might spend per night for a "decent", air conditioned, fairly well located, double hotel room.)

Fly into Milan (MXP), train to Florence--3 nights
(Euro 130-160)

Rent car, Tuscany--4 nights.
Given your interests (wine, walking), look at accommodations in the Chianti region or around Pienza, just south of Siena. Price is very variable depending on the type place you choose, but you could find something nice for 100-125 euros.

Turn in car in Orvieto, train to Rome--4 or 5 nights. (Euro 160-180 double)
Fly out of Rome.

This would give you a nice taste of each place. I would guess around $150-170 for a 4-day car rental. Check out autoeurope.com and even Avis.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Just thought I should mention that July and August are very warm months in Italy. You can still have a wonderful trip, but should be prepared for the heat (light clothing, hats, suncreen, carry water with you, be sure hotels have A/C, etc.)
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 05:54 PM
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Buona Sera Lorraine,

If you really think you parents will never return (never say never, especially when it comes to bella Italia!), then you cannot miss Venice!

It's easy and not really more expensive to fly in and out of different cities.
Last time I did it, it was actually cheaper! That's how logical the airline industry is.

My recommendation:

into Venice - 3 days
to Florence - 1 day (since you are not big art fans)
rent car - 3 days Tuscany, driving in the countryside and sticking to the smaller roads is easy!
drop car in Orvieto & spend 1/2 day and evening
4 days Rome

If you must go in July/August, be prepared for hot and crowded cities. Balance with lovely Tuscan countryside and liberal doses of vino!

Note: Train reservations use Italian names for cities, i.e., Roma, Firenze.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 07:47 PM
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I agree with the last poster - my husband and I just did my first and his second trip to Italy (we're 34) and I thought it was absolutely perfect as a first time overview for me. We flew into Venice for 3 nights, train (easy as pie) to Florence for 3 nights, picked up rental car and stayed near Siena for 2 nights, and drove to Rome for 4 nights and flew out of rome. Looking back, I would recommend that you drop the car in Orvieto - we had no problem with the car in Tuscany/Florence but driving in Rome wasn't much fun. Loved all three cities. Florence surprisingly the least because we overdosed on the museums in a short timeframe - we like museums but frankly found the Borghese (sp?) museum and Vatican museum in Rome more interesting than the Uffizi in Florence - just our opinion of course. LOVED Rome because we're more history than art fans - my favorite city and I would highly recommend the Scala Reale tour of the Antiqua/Forum area as well as the Scala Reale or Icon (cheaper) tour of the Vatican museum (this tour is good in order to get the tour guide exit from the Sistine chapel plus the museum is huge and the tour helps to focus on key areas). Also loved Venice as a first timer because it is so unique that you must see it at least once. Plus, we found Venice so easy and relaxing with no cars/vespas/etc. It might seem cheesy but we loved sitting out late at night in the San Marco plaza after the day trippers left and listening to the Orchestras play (if you're on a budget, buy one glass of ovepriced wine and nurse it!). Venice was also fun to buy little gifts (murano glass bead jewelry, etc.) and in Florence bought lots of cashmere/scarves/etc. Lots of inexpensive restaurants of course and we would typically do our cappacino/croissant standing up at a bar in the am (cheap), lunch on the go (yummy slices of pizza everywhere) and have a good dinner at an Osteria/Trattoria. We weren't on much of a budget but found that our favorite meals were not at the expensive restaurants we were referred to by hotels but at the small osterias/trattoria's we found ourselves. I have to mention that we loved Nino's in Rome (only one block from Spanish Steps - don't be dismayed by the big neon sign). Ate there twice as it was one of our fav. restaurants - the cannelloni was to die for. Make reservations within one day and you'd be fine. Have a great time!!!!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:34 PM
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In April of this year, I (mid 50's) and 2 of my 4 children (28 and 30) took our first trip to Italy. Italy was wonderful, and to be able to share it with the kids made it even better. We didn't go on a tour, I spent almost a year researching on the internet, and made all the reservations based on travel guides and message board recommendations. It all worked out very well. We flew into Rome, stayed for 5 days, took a train to Venice for 2 nights, and then the train to Florence for 3 nights. We then rented a car to visit several other cities (towns) in Tuscany for the next 3 days, our base was San Gimignano. We returned the car to Rome. If I were to plan the trip again, I would fly into Rome and Depart Venice. While visiting Tuscan towns, I would stay in Siena and visit San Gimignano for a few hours. I would rent a car for Tuscany because of the freedom it provides. O hope you and your parents have a wonderful trip.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 04:51 AM
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It is absolutely doable! We were in Italy for 9 days in October and we did Florence, Siena, San Gimingnano, Pisa, Lucca, Radda, Greve, Castellini, the coast and Rome. We spent 3 days in Florence and went back to Siena and San Gimingano twice. We only spent 1/2 day in Rome but if we'd had one or two more days we could have easily spent more time there. We also had a car the entire time which helped tremendously. Be prepared to get a little lost driving around but that is half the fun! Ciao!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 05:03 AM
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I agree with those who recommend an open jaw and would fly into Rome and travel through Tuscany, including Florence, and to Venice, leaving from there. The cost will be no greater than the cost to return to the city you flew into. Rome, Florence and Venice are a wonderful trip for first timers and for experienced Italy travelers. This itinerary can easily be done by train as indicated in earlier posts. Is it possible to travel in June or September? You will find the weather and crowds more tolerable.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Very possible. I would recommend 5 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Florence, and then 4 nights somewhere like Pienza where you can daytrip around Tuscany. I would fly in to Florence, do your time there, pick up a car for your Tuscan countryside days, and then drop it off in Rome. Or you could reverse the order. You don't want a car in either Florence or Rome.
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