Trip to Italy!

Old Oct 25th, 2017, 11:15 AM
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Trip to Italy!

Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning a 9-day trip (2 of those days being for travel) to Italy for June 2018. We are so excited but I am handling the logistics and picking the locations and I have been struggling. First I thought, Rome and the Amalfi Coast but with flying out, I don't want to waste a lot of time having to travel back to the city with the major airport. SO, now I am thinking we fly into Venice and leave out of Rome. We are both 30 and love exploring. We are drawn to great food, great bar/restaurants, live music, rooftop spots, and also love the beach and art. We want the true Italy experience but I am struggling to lock down where we pick. I think 2 cities is max since we have limited time. Any suggestions are welcome. Is Rome and Venice the right choice for us? If so, hotel recommendations and restaurant recommendations PLEASE!! We are wanting a romantic but not stressful trip.

Excited to hear your thoughts,

Angela
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 11:24 AM
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1st time IMO yes Venice and Rome are perfect -two of the most amazing cities in the world and maybe even a short stop in Florence in between - the classic trio.

Take trains as cars are banned from many city centers (and obviousluy Venice) - trains are faster and cheaper too if you book well in advance - www.trenitalia.com.

I'd suggest 3 nights in Venice
1 in Florence or skip it
4 in Rome

Great train sites: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 12:42 PM
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If you want Amalfi fly into Rome and out of Naples and get car transfer from wherever to airport. Take train Rome-Naples then car transfer is best or train to Salerno if closer then ferry in season to your Amalfi town.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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Sure, Rome and Venice will work fine.

I have limited experience with Rome so I won't comment on it.

June is going to be a bit crowded, but so be it. Plan on a lot of nighttime activities in Venice after the day-trippers have left. Examples:

Have a glass of prosecco and hors d'oeuvres while sitting in San Marco listening to the orchestras under the stars. It's not that expensive and it's worth the money.

Some of the hotels have rooftop bars where you can have a drink and watch the sunset. Do a bit of research on that. And you can also sit at night at some of the bars on the Grand Canal hotels and watch the boats go by.

Some people might recommend a day trip to Murano or (I prefer) Burano. That's OK, but realize you'll be spending just about a whole day outside the city and will take away from your sightseeing time in the city. Your choice.

A lot of people will tell you Venice isn't the place for great food. That's true to a point, but you can have a nice time and a cicchetti bar where you can sample local foods and have a drink. I recommend Trattoria da Fiore (not to be confused with the much more expensive Osteria da Fiore).
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 01:18 PM
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I agree with Palenq, but would add that it's pretty easy to stop over in Florence for half a day en route between Venice and Rome. The train station is very near the center of the city, and there is a left luggage facility where you can leave your bags. (Allow plenty of time for picking them up.)

If you want to do this, leave Venice as early in the morning as possible. You can buy the train tickets in advance to save money; you'd need a ticket from Venezia S. Lucia to Firenze S.Maria Novella, and then from Firenze S.Maria Novella to Roma Termini. (You can buy these 120 days in advance on the http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en website.) If you're not sure how long you want to spend in Florence, it's best to buy just the first ticket in advance and get the second one at the station when you're ready to head for Rome. You can't get any discounts on tickets bought on the day of travel, though; the best discounts are available when you buy far in advance, but there are often a few left even a few days ahead.

From the station, you can just follow the crowd to the Duomo, about a ten-minute walk. I wouldn't bother going into the Duomo, which usually has long lines, and there isn't a lot to see inside.

In front of the Duomo, there is the Baptistery, where you can see a copy of the famous door called the Gates of Paradise. (The original in in the Duomo Museum.) I would encourage you to go inside the Baptistery, which has some beautiful medieval golden mosaics. There is a single ticket, for €15, that you can buy in a ticket office in the Piazza of the Duomo, and that gives you access to the Duomo, the Baptistery, the Cupola of the Duomo, the Campanile (bell tower) and the Museum of the Duomo. However, the only two things that usually don't have long lines are the Baptistery and the Museum, which in any case are the two things that I consider most worth your time. It would take about an hour to see all this, not counting the museum. If you include the museum, add at least an hour.

The Museum of the Duomo has many great works of art that used to be inside the Duomo, plus many exhibits on the history of the Duomo, the construction of the Cupola, and much else. It's just been completely restructured and is in a beautiful space now.

After the time you spend in the vicinity of the Duomo, you can walk a short distance to the Piazza della Signoria, which was the very center of Renaissance Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio is worth a visit, but on such a short visit, I would skip it. Then you could walk to the River Arno, where you'd get some great photos, and walk along the river to the famous Ponte Vecchio. All of this would take about 45 minutes.

For a concentrated look at some great Renaissance art, you can't beat the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, right by the train station, which is named for the basilica. Inside there are some works by some of the most famous Renaissance artists. Especially beautiful are the frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel, which illustrate the life of the Virgin Mary, a lot of which is legendary. There are also some cloisters at the basilica, one of which is very nice. (I don't remember much about the other(s).) You could see all of this in half an hour to one hour.

Near the Basilica, on Via della Scala, another thing that lots of people enjoy is a visit to the ancient pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, officially called the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, where you can see an old pharmacy and buy some lovely expensive creams and lotions, among other things. There's also a very nice tea room there, where you could get a light meal if you have time. Allow from half an hour, depending on how much shopping you do. You have to mark on a slip what you want to buy, then line up to pay for it, and line up again to pick up your purchase. The tea room hasn't been crowded when I've been there.

You might be able to fit all of this in the time you would have on a stopover, but you probably should pick and choose.

A good place to get a quick decent meal near the Duomo is the Self Service Leonardo, on Via de Pecori, 11, a cafeteria-style restaurant. It's not fancy but it's quick and cheap, and they have some typical Fiorentine dishes. They even have steak Fiorentina, but I wouldn't order anything like that at a cafeteria. We sometimes go to Florence for the day, for an art show, and that's where we usually eat.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 01:33 PM
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Four nights in Rome will give you a decent amount of time to enjoy the city, but realize that you'll be there at the very height of high season, so don't load your schedule with too many "must-see" places, which all of the other 50,000 tourists in Rome at the same time think they must see.

Rome has at least a dozen world-class art museums, of which two are sinking under the weight of tourists, another two are crowded but not unbearably so, and about eight are totally off the tourist radar and you can actually browse and enjoy the art. The same, in general, goes for archaeological sites.

You said you love beaches. With such a short time, you really don't have time to get to any of Italy's spectacular beaches, but both Rome and Venice have their own beaches. In Rome, the beach is in the neighborhood of Ostia, which is near Rome's most spectacular archaeological sites, at Ostia Antica. I've been to Ostia Antica four times, but never to the beach. Some cousins of mine went to the beach, and enjoyed it, partly just because it was different from an American beach. In Venice, the beach is on the Lido. Again, I've never been there. Few of the beaches in Italy can hold a candle to the beaches in, for example, Hawaii, or even to some of the better beaches in the mainland USA. There is some great coastal scenery in Italy, but that's different from the actual beaches. The best beaches I've seen in Italy were in Sardegna, but that's really pretty much a trip on its own.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 03:29 PM
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Wow,thank you all for such great feedback! I think we will do Florence and Tuscany on a separate trip. For now, I am thinking fly into Venice, spend 3 days in Venice (I am a big photography geek so I really am interested in Burano) then train down to Rome, have a day trip to Capri, and spend the rest of the duration in Rome exploring. Any suggestions on new (preferably newer but reasonably priced) hotels in Venice and Rome? Any restaurant suggestions in both are appreciated too!!
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 05:24 PM
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What price point = “reasonable” for you?

Don’t think you really want a “new” hotel in Venice — you want something in an old palazzo that has been renovated. Take a look at Ca Sagredo...
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 07:46 PM
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In Venice for photography you'll want to get out early and late. That means pick a hotel in the city and don't think about Mestre. The city at night or early morning is much more photographic then during the day when it's full of daytrippers.

June sunrise will be early and sunset late. Sunset behind the station at the university is a nice spot. Sunrise more options.

With only three days I wouldn't commit to Burano just yet. If you get bored take the trip to the island if not just stay in Venice
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 09:47 PM
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I have been to several hotels in Venice that were just ok yet not inexpensive. Now I have going for the last visits to the same Hotel Flora. 4 min from San Marco. Great rooms great breakfasts.
I paid about 200 euros for a night but I was in December last time so not high season.
As for food I either grab a sandwich or something fast or go to an upscale restaurant. I find the ´ normal ´ restaurants overpriced for mediocre quality. Unless your hotel recommends one he knows well.
For Le Burano is a highlight of Venice.
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Old Oct 26th, 2017, 06:01 AM
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bookmarking. I'm going to Florence in a week, Venice tomorrow!!
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Old Oct 26th, 2017, 01:14 PM
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June is not quite the busiest season - crowded but still probably can get OK hotel for reasonable price. But book now!
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 04:06 AM
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Probably don't want to spend more than $400/night in Venice. Ca Segrada looks absolutely AMAZING but in June. the prices shoot up to over $500 per night. Should I maybe consider changing our dates?
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 04:06 AM
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$400 in US dollars
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 06:11 AM
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I can no longer find any current statistics, but the last time I saw monthly figures, May, June and October were the months with the most hotel presences in Rome, and I imagine also in Venice. I don't remember which was the peak month.

Some of these visitors are people traveling on business or attending conferences, but they still occupy hotel rooms, and you won't find bargains in June. July and August are considered shoulder season. High season (for hotel prices) begins with Easter, and ends at the end of May. Then it begins again in September and ends in early November, after the All Saints holiday. There is also a brief high season between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6th). All of these high-season periods usually expand to take in adjacent weekends.
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