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Venice, Bologna, Lucca...but what about Amalfi? First timer's struggle...

Venice, Bologna, Lucca...but what about Amalfi? First timer's struggle...

Aug 9th, 2010, 10:21 PM
  #1  
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Venice, Bologna, Lucca...but what about Amalfi? First timer's struggle...

A quick September trip is now a honeymoon! Hooray, but...help.

September 20-29ish. We don't want to rush around, one town per day. We want to stay put and find new restaurants, bars, vistas. Sleep in some days. Campari and soda, people-watching. Don't need to buy souvenirs, we'll just eat and drink and take photos.

Places that have stuck out after research (neither of us have been to Italy but are well-traveled otherwise):
Venice (it might not be there forever)
Bologna (we love food and wine)
Lucca (seems lovely, plus more good food and wine)
Amalfi Coast (I know, it's the red herring. Not close to the others. But when I have imagined going to Italy it's these vistas that I see....)

Would love feedback on the above. Mainly...do we do the first three and just let go of Amalfi? Or as first timers, on a honeymoon, should we devote 5 days to Amalfi and choose one other spot?

Note: I originally thought we should include Florence but I'm fine leaving it out. I'd rather have smaller locations and leave the big cities for a different trip.
DebbieAllen is offline  
Aug 9th, 2010, 10:36 PM
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Say you have nine nights. Fly into Venice.
Get an apartment in Venice for five nights and play house. Maybe a day trip to Verona.
Train to Bologna - two nights.
Train to Lucca - two nights.
Fly home from the nearest airport to Lucca - Pisa maybe.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:00 AM
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Reading your initial statement, that you don't want to rush around, I was hoping that you wanted to choose ONE out of these four destinations, and stay put and enjoy. Actually, that's what I recommend, for a honeymoon above all. Hitting three or - let alone!! - all four of them would be such a terrible rush.
franco is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:50 AM
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I think you have to spend more than 2 days in Tuscany. You could visit some little town like Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino; all places were you could find the real Beef Steak and the great wine like Brunello di Montalcino
VillainTuscany is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:50 AM
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If it is a honeymoon and you don't want to rush around, why not consider just the Amalfi Coast and Capri?
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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I suggest if you are not looking for souvenirs and want to relax Venice is not the place to go. The history is great but it is very commercial. The food I had was average - although that could have just been us picking the wrong restaurants. I would suggest Tuscany - Montalcino or Cortona are amazing, as are most of the small towns. And if you have the desire to see the coast, take a train for a few days to Cinque Terre. Its only a few hours and won't disappoint!
amandalael is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 05:30 AM
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I agree with Amandalael for sure
VillainTuscany is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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You have to realize that Italy is like a drug--very addictive. This will likely not be your last trip there, so pick one area for September, then start planning another trip for next year.
DonnaD44 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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I would fly into Venice for 3 or 4 days and then go on to Bologna OR Lucca. Then the Cinque Terre idea is good -- you could do a couple of days there and then fly out of Pisa. But I think only a couple of days in CT is enough.
charnees is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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We’ve spent a while in Venice, and I both agree and disagree with the posters who say that Venice is a tourist trap, with stupid souvenirs (think a glass Donald Duck paddling a gondola) and poor food (think menus written in eighteen languages).

However there’s another side to Venice that you can discover if you stay there for more than a couple of days. The city – or rather the town – is fascinating once you get away from the major tourist trails. There’s a day to day Venice, populated by actual people who go about their daily business, and it’s not hard to connect with that side of Venice, as long as you give her more than a couple of days.
With your nine nights, I’d spend six in Venice, in an apartment. On our first trip, we spent six nights, but in a hotel, and it was at times frustrating. There’s a big difference between just walking around the Rialto markets and taking photos vs. actually buying food and cooking it.
Then spend three nights somewhere else. Maybe Bologna, but you’d need to book a hotel in Bologna pronto. There are many trade fairs in Bologna, and hotels fill up. You could fly into Venice and out of Bologna.
I wrote a bit of a trip report about our time in Venice, when we spent about eight weeks there. It maybe gives an idea of how Venice seems once you delve under the bits that are just for tourists.
It’s here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...st-verbose.cfm
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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in bologna try tt4he hotel roma great location just off the main piazza good staff
petertherabbitt is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:13 PM
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I should add that we don't plan to rent a car, so that's obviously a factor.
DebbieAllen is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:22 PM
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HAVING BEEN TO VENICE AT LEAST FIVE TIMES. I WOULD RECOMMEND THE ENTIRE HONEYMOON IN VENICE. IT IS ROMANTIC, BEAUTIFUL AND LOTS TO DO AND SEE, GONDOLA RIDE, CONCERTS , ETC. HAVE A GREAT TIME
fpsoley is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:37 PM
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If you don’t have a car, then rural Tuscany – or rural anywhere – is a bit tricky. The Italian train system is very good, with frequent fast trains. Tickets are easy to buy from the vending machines at the stations – the machines speak English and accept credit cards. Some people try to purchase tickets in advance via the web, and have frequent problems – I don’t think it’s worth the hassle.

Here’s a link to the apartment where we’ve stayed in Venice. The owner lives in San Francisco, and is easy to deal with, as you can pay in USD. Giuseppe, who manages the Venetian end of things, lives around the corner from the apartments. He was very helpful to us. If you look at the availability calendar – which is a bit stale – you’ll see a booking from November 21st through to New Year – that’s my wife and I! It’s by way of being our Venetian nest.

http://realvenicevacationflats.com/
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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Tuscany, Venice and the Amalfi Coast are ALL wonderful and you will have a wonderful trip which ever you choose. No one can advise you which you would prefer. The only really good advice, which is what people are saying - don't try to do all of them. The only other practical advice, given that you won't have a car, is that Tuscany would be the least good option. You do not need a car for Venice or the Amalfi Coast.

I would think that nine days in Venice itself might be a bit much. I mean, I'd love to go live there for several months, but that's a different thing than a vacation, and even in an apartment you will still be on vacation so nine days is a lot for Venice. However, there are numerous towns close by that you could visit - Padua, Verona, Vicenza. You could do them as day trips or you could pick one of them and split your time and do the others as day trips. They are all about a half hour from each other by train, and there are frequent trains.

Nine days on the Amalfi Coast is not too much. I just spent 8 days there this summer and it was great. We based in Sorrento and did day trips to Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Capri, Pompeii and Naples. I really liked Sorrento. It has great transportation connections for day trips, plus it's just large enough that you have a variety of shops and restaurants, etc. and it's not totally overrun with tourists.
isabel is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 05:28 PM
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I see people throwing Tuscany suggestions into the mix, even though the only Tuscan destination you mentioned is Lucca. Lucca is OK, but not very "typical" Tuscany.

I like isabel's two suggestions above: the Veneto, or the Amalfi Coast. Either one will fill your nine days.

I like Verona much more than Lucca. I think it has more to offer. So if you really wouldn't want to be in Venice all 9 nights, you could spend some of those nights in Venice, some in Verona and throw in Padua and/or Vicenza. That sounds like a great honeymoon.

For the Amalfi Coast honeymoon, I might do Positano, Capri, and Sorrento. Or Ravello. Or Amalfi. Or Ischia. Any mix of these places would make a perfect honeymoon.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Just a suggestion but this might work. A few days in venice followed by a few days on Lake Garda.

Stay in sirmione and use the ferries. Or Bardolino or Malcesine
notbob is offline  
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