Surprise Italy trip for my wife

Jul 15th, 2014, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
Gawainator, I think that is a great idea. You can choose where you fly into/out of (try flying into Venice, it is a great place to recover from jetlag), the number of days in a few cities, then she can fill it with what she wants to do in each city.

You could make it even more flexible and book only hotels with good cancellation policies.
ekc is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
You are lucky to be going at a time when (mostly) things won't be too mobbed - so you should be able to get some hotel deals and see things without standing on line for hours in the sweltering sun.

I would definitely let her know far enough in advance that she has input (perhaps she would ADORE - or HATE - Venice) but let her plan as much as she wants and leaves the rest to you.

I would book only air travel and hotels (to get nicer ones on a budget) and leave trains and signing up for tours until just before you leave or you get there.

Not sure what your travel style is - but in 3 weeks I would do Rome (week including 1 or 2 day trips)
Florence (4 days)
Tuscany (stay in the countryside and visit several towns - 5 days)
Venice (4 days)

This will give you a day or so to play with. I would rent a car for Tuscany and do the rest by train.

But - do start looking early - since pleasant hotels at bargain prices go early and this is not a generous budget.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 294
I would fly into Venice to start the trip. It is a romantic city and good to just wander around while recovering from jetlag. Stay there 3 or 4 nights then train to Florence for several nights. From there you could rent a car and drive through Tuscany or take the train to Rome for a week then train to Naples or Amalfi Coast for the remainder of your time. We have flown out of Naples and it was an easy airport to maneuver. However, if Pompeii is the only thing you are interested in then you could just do it as a long day trip from Rome.

Once you decide on your itinerary we can give you advice on where to stay. Don't be afraid to rent a car for Tuscany, it is very easy to drive in Italy, especially if you have a GPS.

As for not speaking Italian, don't worry about it. We've been to Italy 5 times and do fine with only knowing a few words as so many people speak English.

This is a fabulous gift for your wife and I'm sure she will love it (and you)! Now, do you think you could talk to MY husband about this kind of a surprise???!
tracilee is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 06:46 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,990
Personally I don't think there is any great skill involved in planning a trip -- in fact, the logistics are rather tedious, which is why travel agents were paid so poorly.

What I'd do is borrow a few books from the library and get a feel for what you and your wife would like to do in Italy. For example, Florence is primarily an art city. If, as you say, you two are not terribly interested in art, cut it down to a day or two, or skip it. There is good hiking in the Dolomites and also along the Amalfi Coast, or maybe you'd like Cinque Terre.

Once you've got a rough idea, come back for hotel and restaurant recommendations. Generally speaking, when you're planning your visits to the cities, think two or maybe three sites a day, maximum, unless you are very energetic indeed.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Jul 15th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,196
I have never seen anyone on these boards say, "That's a perfect itinerary."

You know what they say, opinions are like.....itineraries. Everyone has got one.
IMDonehere is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,521
Well since you like history and not art, I will suggest heading south instead of just a day trip (long) from Rome to Pompeii.

If you go to Naples (amazing archeological museum) you can visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, maybe see the Amalfi Coast and even Paestum.

Venice is crammed with history and atmosphere.

Venice, Rome and Naples and south would be one possible itinerary. And what IMDonehere says is absolutely true.

I hope someone comes up with some castles for you.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,205
Here's another idea: Give her the wrapped Michelin guide when she graduates in March and, if your schedules permit, plan the trip together over the summer and leave for Italy in early October.
Betsy is offline  

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