Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/)
-   Europe (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/)
-   -   "Typical American Tourist", Italian summer fashion & random questions (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/typical-american-tourist-italian-summer-fashion-and-random-questions-783909/)

MyTwoToodles May 10th, 2009 07:53 PM

"Typical American Tourist", Italian summer fashion & random questions
 
Greetings Fodorites! I've been reading these boards steadily ever since the opportunity to travel this summer to Italy came about. Well, now it is official and I will be traveling there in July - this is my first trip to Italy so there is so much homework to be done! My husband will be in the country, however he will be attending training. Therefore, most of my travels throughout the Northern part of the country will be alone. We are actually traveling to and from the country separately. The good thing is that he is taking ALL of my luggage and I will be traveling with a backpack for three days before we meet up in Venice. I've used these boards for tons of advice so far so now I'm chiming in with my own set of questions.

First, My husband is worried (with good intentions) about me roaming the country alone. therefore, he doesn't want me to stick out like the "typical American tourist". He suggests leaving the Nike tennis shoes at home and trading them in for Pumas ???) as well as leaving all my bras at home. He says Europeans don't wear bras..so there is no sense in taking any. Huh? So...tell me...what is the fashion like in Italy during the hot summer months? Can I get away with summer dresses and comfortable tennis shoes? Help me not sick out like the "typical American tourist" (and save me the embarrassment of forgetting to wear a bra). I'll be packing VERY LIGHTLY in my backpack and the last thing I want to spend my time doing is shopping for clothes and shoes when i arrive.

Here are my travel plans thus far:

Flying into Milan, taking the train immediately to Lake Como where I have reservations for two nights at Hotel Florence in Bellagio. From what I understand I have to take a shuttle bus to the train station in Milan and catch the train to Varenna and then a boat in Varenna over to Belliago? Yawn! Since I have this intense fear of flying, I can't sleep a wink on flights. This is going to make me a sleepwalking zombie when i get into Milan. My first day on Lake Como will probably be spent sleeping in my room.

Questions: Are the shuttles to the train station right outside the doors of the airport? If not, where I can I find the shuttles? Which train station do I need? From what I gather on other posts I've read; I should wait to buy my ticket at the train station. Will I pass an ATM in the airport so that I can load up on some Euros? Is there anything I should be aware of (besides pick pockets) when training it to Lake Como?

Question: Are there tours of any kind that I can take once I get to the Lake? Will Hotel Florance be able to recommend anything? I'd like to take a boat trip of some sort, see beautiful gardens and villas and eat LOTS OF TARIMISU! Do you have any "must sees" in Bellagio or around the lake?

After I spend Wednesday and Thursday night in Bellagio, I will take the train to Perdonone to meet up with my Hubby. We'll travel by train to Venice together for Friday, Sat and Sunday where I've made hotel reservations at Locanda Orseolo. If this hotel looks anything like it does in pictures and from the reviews I've read - I doubt we will get around to see much of Venice! Joking. My husband has been to Venice so he's very excited to show me around and getting lost in the mazes of canals.

Is the Casino in Venice anything worth checking out? We gamble - but I'm thinking a casino is the last place I want to be holed up in when I'm in such a thrilling place. Then again, I'm curious. I would also like to see Murano. Is this an entire day thing or a few hours?

Verona: I would like to see Adia in Verona. However It looks like the opera is over 3.5 hours long! This means that it would end after midnight. I'm trying to figure out the last train that would leave Verona to take me back to Perdonone...I've put in dummy dates on the Trentatalia website and it looks like the last train leaves at 7:30pm!?!?!? Am I doing something wrong? I was under the impression that trains run all night long? If this is incorrect, then I'll need to go to Verona (and the opera) alone! My husband has to work the next morning. We are not renting any cars, we are relying on the trains. If I do go alone, I'll need recommendations on a safe hotel for me to stay in for one night there.

I will be flying out of Venice. How far is the Venice train station from the airport? Will I need to find a transfer or does the train take you directly to the airport? Since my husband will be working every day except our weekend in Venice, Im again going solo.

I'm really going to miss my kiddies (my two toodles) but am really looking forward to exploring!! Any other must sees and DO NOT MISS THIS' in the NorthEastern part of the country? I'll have a few day trips to plan out.

Thanks!
Heidi

adrienne May 10th, 2009 08:13 PM

Wow! Lots of questions!

Is your husband kidding about the bras? Pack your bras.

I don't wear sneakers any more. I either wear Ecco sandals (very comfy and supportive) or SAS walking shoes. The white sneakers do stick out but what do you care. You want to be comfortable, especially on cobbles. Just make sure your shoes are supportive.

Summer dresses will certainly be cool and comfortable. If you plan to do any hiking around the Lakes then you might want to bring at least 1 pair of trousers. Or if you get a chilly night you'll be glad of trousers.

Why is your husband worried about you being alone. Thousands of women travel solo all the time. Is he concerned that you might have a romantic liaison with one of the hunky Italians - LOL. And there are so many hunky Italians!! Tell him that if you don't show up in Venice he's not to worry! Italy is perfectly safe for a woman alone. It's safer than many places in the US (I'm guessing you're American, although you didn't put any info in your profile).

When you arrive in Varenna walk downhill about 5-7 minutes to the ferry dock (you can't miss it). Take the ferry to Bellagio. The Hotel Florence is to the left of the ferry dock.

Also at the ferry dock is a small building that houses the TI. You can get info, ferry schedules, maps there. They will be able to answer all your questions on the area.

The ferries are the main way to see all the little towns. There's not a whole lot except for the villas and gardens. Buy day passes on the ferries and just hop on and go to the next town. One ferry does a loop around the lake, the other goes from Bellagio to Menagio to Varenna. It's so magical watching one town recede and the next one approach. They're all so lovely!

The Venice airport is about an hour from Venice. You can either go to Piazzale Roma for the bus or (my preferred method) take the Alilaguna boat to the airport. The dock is to the right of St Mark's square if you're facing the water. It's different than the regular vaporetto stop. I don't think you can get to the airport by train.

http://www.alilaguna.it/

MyTwoToodles May 10th, 2009 08:20 PM

Thank for your reply! I forgot to mention that I won't be staying in Venice the day I leave, rather I'll be coming from Pordenone. I'm wondering How I will get from there to the airport. It sounds like the advice you gave I should go into Venice and take boat from there? Is there any other way beside going into the city itself? maybe I will have to stay the night in Venice and leave from there in the a.m. My flight isn't until noon (and I wont have any luggage).

and No, My hubby is not kidding about the bras! He'll try anything.

adrienne May 10th, 2009 08:28 PM

You certainly should not go into Venice to get to the airport - that looks like it would be out of the way. Your hotel can advise the best way to the airport.

Zerlina May 10th, 2009 08:32 PM

If you leave from Pordenone, you can take a land bus from Pordenone to the airport:
http://www.atvo.it/index.php?lang=en&area=23&menuid=35

ellenem May 10th, 2009 08:33 PM

No need to go all the way to the Venice islands (Venice SL station). From the Venice Mestre station (the last stop on the mainland before the train crosses the water to the island) you can take a bus or taxi to the airport.

The complete train schedule for after June 15 has not yet been posted. But my memory of past schedules is that the last train is later than you mention, but not later than the end of the opera. Either find a room and overnight in Verona, or rent a car

alanRow May 10th, 2009 11:16 PM

<<< He says Europeans don't wear bras >>>

Take an extra one for your husband as he's obviously a t*t

blightyboy May 10th, 2009 11:22 PM

I am sure the local boys will notice you without a bra, perhaps your husband wants you to have a romance as going braless would be an open invitation to seek attention from the local lads

micador53 May 10th, 2009 11:30 PM

Verona and Aida - for years i have been trying to work out a way to just go to the opera - using trains - and I have never found a solution - so this year I have relented and I am now trying to book a hotel or B&B within walking distance (safe for a single lady)... even that is a challenge. As for not sticking out too much - I had to give up after living near Florence for 3 years - they never seem to wear what I consider to be 'suitable clothes' for being a tourist! So take the most sensible things you've got worn in, plus remember it can be very hot and humid in the middle of the day especially.

greg May 11th, 2009 12:25 AM

So many questions. I would tackle two.

Nike and sticking out: You will stick out as a tourist. But then the places you are heading are full of tourists anyway. You can only reduce being noticed. Talking loudly in English is a good way to attract attentions. I can always identify other Americans in the restaurants because they talk so loudly. I don't think it is an area worth taking much of your attention beyond what can be easily addressed. I don't take Nikes for a practical reason -- bulk and lack of versatility. I take a pair of walking dress shoes instead. I can go to a Michelin class restaurant as well as walk miles with it.

Pickpockets: There is an awareness camp and a physical measures camp. The awareness camp belives taking physical measures, e.g. money belts, are not necessary. All you need is a common sense and being aware of surrondings. The physical measures camp believes that the pickpockets are skilled at defeating awarness, hence it is necessary to take physical measures such as using a money belt. You live with the consequence, you decide what steps to take.

lanejohann May 11th, 2009 03:44 AM

that is so funny hahahaha!

your husband suggests you go braless?

ive been to venice florence rome naples capri and bari but i didnt see braless women
maybe the gypsy beggars...but eeeeeeek

how one earth do you travel solo and braless in italy ( or anywhere in italy) and come out of it unscathed

if youre attractive youll be a target
if youre unattractive youll still be a target
if youre braless then youll definitely be a target
oh lol again
i love your husbands sense of humour!

kybourbon May 11th, 2009 04:20 AM

It doesn't matter what you wear they will still know you aren't Italian.

On my last trip, the Italians were wearing Converse tennis shoes, not Nikes. I also saw many Italians wearing tennis shoes that had glitz/sparkles/metallic.

You might not have to worry about Verona if you can't get opera tickets.

Vttraveler May 11th, 2009 04:32 AM

When you are planning your wardrobe for days you will be in cities with churches you want to visit, you should not wear shorts or short skirts and should cover your upper arms.

Murano would not be a full day trip from Venice. It is a short vaporetto ride from the Fondamente Nuove. I would only go there if you are interested in the glass blowing. Burano and Torcello are more attractive lagoon islands
http://www.frommers.com/destinations...067010011.html

TravMimi May 11th, 2009 05:27 AM

If you are a tourist, it's very difficult to not look like a tourist, so trying to not look like a tourist is usually pointless. I'm not talking about the Hawaiian shirt, sandals with black socks, fanny pack and camera hanging from your neck. Leaving that look out does help. Telling a local from a tourist is very easy to do, but more difficult to explain. It's not really in how they look, but how they act. Locals don't spend much time looking at things or for things, tourists do. Locals are usually going somewhere with direction and purpose, and just trying to get around a tourist who is stopped in the street looking at things, or for things, OR locals are just sitting around with other locals doing nothing. I even see this with European tourists in Florida. There is nothing wrong with being a tourist. For safety, just use the same common sense you would use at home. If you get bothered at home, then you'll probably get bothered as a tourist. Not because you are a tourist, but because you have a look of being prey, anywhere! As far as being safe, locals tend to be more aware of the people around them, than of the sights. It's easier to pickpocket someone who is obviously hypnotized by St. Peter's. Just leave the "tourist costume" home, keep safe, be smart, be polite and enjoy yourself.

TDudette May 11th, 2009 05:50 AM

Questions: Are the shuttles to the train station right outside the doors of the airport? If not, where I can I find the shuttles? Which train station do I need? From what I gather on other posts I've read; I should wait to buy my ticket at the train station. Will I pass an ATM in the airport so that I can load up on some Euros? Is there anything I should be aware of (besides pick pockets) when training it to Lake Como?
ANS: I believe the shuttle only goes to Milano train station. Do ask or look for bus signs. We always get some Euros from Triple A before we go-I am sure there is an ATM but why bother if you can do this in advance. The sign for Varenna is Varenna-Esina so don't be confused. Keep your purse under your arm and use an over the shoulder strap. Don't worry too much. DH and I have been 10 times to Italy and never had a problem.

Question: Are there tours of any kind that I can take once I get to the Lake? Will Hotel Florance be able to recommend anything? I'd like to take a boat trip of some sort, see beautiful gardens and villas and eat LOTS OF TARIMISU! Do you have any "must sees" in Bellagio or around the lake?
ANS: Search this forum for ideas of where to go. When you buy your ferry ticket, get a schedule. Your hotel should be able to guide you.

After I spend Wednesday and Thursday night in Bellagio, I will take the train to Perdonone to meet up with my Hubby. We'll travel by train to Venice together for Friday, Sat and Sunday where I've made hotel reservations at Locanda Orseolo. If this hotel looks anything like it does in pictures and from the reviews I've read - I doubt we will get around to see much of Venice! Joking. My husband has been to Venice so he's very excited to show me around and getting lost in the mazes of canals.
ASN: When you buy your ticket to Varenna, buy your Venice ticket as well. The Varenna station is small (and was unmanned when we were there). This way, you will know in advance what time to be there.

Is the Casino in Venice anything worth checking out? We gamble - but I'm thinking a casino is the last place I want to be holed up in when I'm in such a thrilling place. Then again, I'm curious. I would also like to see Murano. Is this an entire day thing or a few hours?
ANS: We went several years ago but in March a time of year that the Casino was not on the Lido but in Venice proper. Men had to have jacket and tie to go upstairs to play the French Game. I'd give it a pass-if the weather is yucky there are some amazing palaces to see.

Verona: I would like to see Adia in Verona. However It looks like the opera is over 3.5 hours long! This means that it would end after midnight. I'm trying to figure out the last train that would leave Verona to take me back to Perdonone...I've put in dummy dates on the Trentatalia website and it looks like the last train leaves at 7:30pm!?!?!? Am I doing something wrong? I was under the impression that trains run all night long? If this is incorrect, then I'll need to go to Verona (and the opera) alone! My husband has to work the next morning. We are not renting any cars, we are relying on the trains. If I do go alone, I'll need recommendations on a safe hotel for me to stay in for one night there.
ANS: OP will have to help you here. But be sure to check Fenice Palace online-there might be something in Venice. What is Perdonone? Did I miss something?

I will be flying out of Venice. How far is the Venice train station from the airport? Will I need to find a transfer or does the train take you directly to the airport? Since my husband will be working every day except our weekend in Venice, Im again going solo.
ANS: Take Vap to main parking plaza in Venice. Then take bus or cab. About 40 minutes. They make runs to airport all day!

Wear the walking shoes you are comfortable in-forget appearances except for the bra. Your DH is pulling your leg...or you're pulling ours.

traveller1959 May 11th, 2009 09:01 AM

If you want to walk braless through Europe you should wear a plain white T-shirt. And do not forget to keep it always wet!

(We European men would like that, but we don't see it too often in Europe.)

scatcat May 11th, 2009 09:13 AM

If I go braless, I will definitely STICK OUT! Especially if it is cold.

kismetchimera May 11th, 2009 09:27 AM

Rest Assure that Italians Ladies wears bras..((A))

alanRow May 11th, 2009 10:06 AM

<<< Rest Assure that Italians Ladies wears bras.. >>>

What about the women who aren't ladies?

alanRow May 11th, 2009 10:08 AM

<<< Keep your purse under your arm >>>

Don't, keep it in front of you with the strap across the body. If you have it under your arm it will look like a tempting target to any thief who might not notice the strap which would be rather embarrassing as you get dragged along the road


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:38 AM.