Venice/Rome/Florence/London

Old Nov 20th, 2014, 04:09 PM
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Venice/Rome/Florence/London

My husband and I would like to spend about two weeks on our 25th anniversary trip with just two nights in London to see family and the rest as tourists in Venice, Rome and Italy. In Italy, we want to stay in the heart of each city. We need a real, full breakfast at each hotel. Any suggestions for hotels? Do we need to book our trains in advance? HOw much would it cost in each city to use a local taxi to get to/from train station? Thanks!
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 05:46 PM
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What do you consider a "real, full breakfast"?

What is your hotel budget?

Is Florence part of your itinerary (in the title) or not (omitted in your post)?

Discounted train fares are available if you purchase in advance, but there is no need to "book" trains in advance.

Taxi fares relate to how far the hotel is from the train station.

If you fly into London, can you fly home from Rome or Venice? Or vice versa?
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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I would do either Rome and Venice or Florence and Venice--all three together are likely to leave you exhausted. In Venice, if you are splurging, think of the Gritti Palace or the Daniele or Baeur Gramwald (spelling bad). Our hearts, however, belong to the Pensione Accademia, converted Russian embassy about 15 minute walk from Piazza San Marco. It is where I stayed on my first trip to Italy, where we spent our honeymoon and return to again and again. It is 3 minutes from the Accademia museum, on a small side canal which intersects with Grand Canal, has a garden in the back, an area in the front where you can breakfast outside when it's nice, a short walk from the Zattere with great ice cream and where Venetians take their passeggiatas.
If you stay on the Grand Canal, avoid the noise of the Riva deli Schiavoni (sorry I'm tired and my spelling is awful tonight).
Go to early mass at San Marco, take the vaporetto for an elegant lunch on Torcello followed by a stroll on Burano....and enjoy the city of our hearts.

In Rome, I'd consider the Raphael, on a quiet street near the Piazza Navona. Great location, we stay near there in a small hotel too modest for a 25th anniversary, but a lovely one which we are very fond of.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:10 PM
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ps Flying into Venice and taking the water taxi into the city from the airport is an incredible experience. We did it once the hour before sunset in December...there is a moment where the boat turns and a magical vision opens up in front of you. Well worth the many many euro you will pay, in my book as special as a gondola.

And I too would be interested in knowing your hotel budget.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:40 PM
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I'm not sure why cmstraf thinks you'll be tired after just two cities in Italy.

In my experience, you should consider no fewer than 5 days for Rome, 3 for Florence and 3 for Venice. If you can add more time onto your trip, then start by incrementing up from there. it sounds like you have just about enough time to do the three cities.

If you have that one extra day, consider taking 4 days in Florence, which allows for one day trip to Sienna or Pisa/Lucca.

The taxi costs depend on how far your hotel is from the station. Assuming you fly into Venice and home from Rome... you could catch a street taxi from the Venice airport to Piazzale Roma. Once there, you could catch the vaporetto to a stop nearest your hotel. This is more budget friendly than a water taxi directly to your hotel.

However, if you have tons of luggage (highly advise against more than one bag each), then the water taxi might be a better option. However, you have to haul your luggage down to the dock at the airport. And it is very expensive.

To me, you might as well take the bus to Piazzale Roma and take the vaporetto. Pick a hotel that is close to a vaporetto stop.

In Rome, you would then be arriving by train. There are many hotels within walking distance of Termini (the main train station); however, a taxi to someplace in city center should not be expensive, perhaps €10-15.

If you are stopping in Florence (a logical path is Venice to Florence to Rome), the price of a taxi is reasonable. I find myself taking a taxi, even if my hotel is within 15 minutes walking- as the cobblestones and streets in Florence are difficult for me to navigate with any rolled luggage. It can be a real struggle, so I just take a taxi. There is a taxi queue right outside the train station and always plenty of cabs.

I know you'll have a wonderful trip. Happy Anniversary!
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 10:57 PM
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You can of course take the train from London to Italy via the Alps.

London-Paris in 2h20 from £39 then Paris-Milan from £23, booked as one journey at www.loco2.com

Have lunch at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant at Paris' historic Gare de Lyon between trains. The TGV races across rural France at 186 mph then slows right doewn to snake through the mountains via Chambery and Modane into Italy. All seats have power sockets, there's a cafe bar on board, bring your own wine (or champers...)

Or take the ultimate scenic route via the Bernina Express, http://www.seat61.com/BerninaExpress.htm

Then book trains in Italy at www.trenitalia.com (also try www.italotreno.it for Venice-Florence)
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 05:33 AM
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For me, Rome, Florence and Venice all on the same trip leads (and led) to Stendhal's syndrome---great art overdose. Venice is underrated as an art city; it's quite wonderful. The water taxi is expensive--close to 100 euro. I compare it to taking a helicopter in Hawaii.

Consider Hotel Principe in Florence and read guidebooks on how to dodge Disneyland experience in Venice--most of the city is quiet and uncrowded. We find planning (like mass at San Marco's) makes it magical.

Buon viaggio!!
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 06:13 AM
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A compromise between cm's water taxi (expensive) and sarge's taxi/vaporetto (no fun) is to take a shared water taxi, which will probably cost you about $40/pp.

It will drop you at the vaporetto stop nearest to your hotel. If you consider that a land taxi from the airport to PR will cost you about 30 euros (+-$40), plus the cost of the vaporetto from PR to near your hotel, which costs 7 euros ($9) each, the shared water taxi starts to look like a reasonable deal.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 06:14 AM
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BTW, you really need to give you hotel budget if you want a recommendation.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 08:47 AM
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The only reason to book trains in advance on those routes is if you want to save $$$. There are discounts for early bookings. Otherwise, there are fast trains each hour or more on those popular routes.

I agree,we need your hotel budget range. The ones mentioned above vary from 200E to 500E per night.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 08:51 AM
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Do we need to book our trains in advance?>

Absolutely not there are so so many trains going everywhere all the time - if by chance 2nd class is sold out first class IME never will be - but if you buy when you get to a city for your train out you should always get a 2nd class ticket if you want that.

But by booking far in advance you can get some nifty discounts - but these tickets are sold in limited numbers so much be booked weeks ahead of time to guarantee (or they could be available practically up until the train) - they are I believe non-changeaeble non-refundable so be sure of your dates and times.

www.trenitalia.com runs most of the country's trains but that site can flummox many people - use www.italotreno.com for Venice to Paris - different trains and the site is easier to get working (many say) and they tend to have cheaper walk-up fares so not the crucial thing to book weeks early. www.raileurope.com in the U.S. books trains at about www.italotreno.com prices and that is an easy one to work thru.

For lots of great stuff on Italian trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites: www.seat61.com (Man in Seat 61 who posts above his commercial site - has a commercial link to www.raileurope.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (a RailEurope agent) and www.ricksteves.com (also a Rail Europe agent).
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 09:25 AM
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For hotels you need to clarify

1) what you mean by "full breakfast" - do you mean a cooked to order hotel breakfast with bacon and egss or pancakes/french toast, ham, etc - or do you just mean a larger buffet (with cereals, yogurt, fruits, cheeses, cold meats, etc) versus a basic continental?

2) Specific nightly budget in euros and what you expect for that in terms of amenities

Many of the hotel reco'd to you are 4/5* and sizable budget
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