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Where would you take a first timer to Italy?

Where would you take a first timer to Italy?

Aug 21st, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Where would you take a first timer to Italy?

A lifelong friend has never been out of the USA and would like to take a girl's getaway to Europe with me and perhaps some other girlfriends next June. I made the executive decision that we will visit Italy. I have asked her where she would like to go and she said her daughter liked Venice best so she would like to go to Venice but it is up to me to decide where else we should go. I image we will be there a week or ten days not including travel days. I can think of a lot of possibilities but I am wondering where you would go if you were in my shoes? Thanks~!!!!
rbnwdln is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Well to get started I'm thinking either Venice to Rome or Venice to Milan. Please tell us some of your interests - do you want to do all the "must-sees" or a more leisurely la dolce vita kind of trip. I am thinking probably 3 places, 3 nights or more each - will you be comfortable taking the train in between destinations?
suec1 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 11:47 AM
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If you have a week you should do no more than 2 stops. If 10 days - 3 at most. Otherwise you will see little of Italay beyond train stations and hotel lobbies.

IMHO you need at least 3 full days (4 nights) to really see anything of rome and and 2 full days (3 nights) to scrape the surface of Venice, Florence - or anyplace except one of the tiny hill towns (which can be done in one day (2 nights).

If you give some idea of interests (ancient remains? history? art? wine tasting? shopping? or?????) people can make more useful recos. Whatever you do, allow tim for sitting in a cafe in late afternoon and just watching the world wander by as you drink a campari or similar. Otherwise you will have missed the whole point of Italy.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 12:06 PM
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If it's a first trip with only 10 days, and you are pretty sure you'll return very soon, you can do a whirlwind tour. Pick varied spots and spend 2 nights in 5 places. Then you'll know exactly where you want to go on your next (real) trip to Italy.
Otherwise think about your likes and dislikes. Art, museums, hill towns, shopping, ancient history, flora and fauna, mountains, seasides, beaten tracks/off beaten tracks, etc. Italy has it all. Then you can narrow the itinerary down to 2 or 3 bases with day trips.
Then ask away ! You'll find most people here, if not traveling, are more than happy to chat about it.
TravMimi is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Venice for sure. If it's truly only one week (7 days) I might keep it to Venice with a few day trips.

If it's the 10 days instead you could add another place... Milan, Florence, or Rome could all work. Even adding Paris, if you're willing to think outside just Italy.
suze is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 12:39 PM
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I've been to Italy many times but as I said, she has not. I am not a huge fan of Milan or Florence but I LOVE Rome, Tuscany and Umbria, the Lakes, Verona, and the Amalfi Coast. I think for a first-timer, it should be a little of everything - churches, art, piazzas, wine, walking all over, etc. We are not huge museum people and would like some relaxation. I was actually thinking - Venice for a few days, train to a town in Tuscany to pick up a car, a few days seeing hill towns and staying in one of them, and then finishing and leaving from Rome. I can tell my friend that we NEED ten days as opposed to a week. Does that sound like a plan?
rbnwdln is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 02:42 PM
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With 10 days, I really like your plan. If only 7, I guess I would skip the Tuscany part. Definitely convince your friend that 10 days is required. Save a bit of time by flying open jaw into Venice and out of Rome.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Sure, sounds like you already had a good plan in mind that's what you want to do. You don't need input from us, if you've been before and are going places you're familiar with.

Definitely hold out for 10 days (12 would be even better) and fly open jaw.
suze is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 03:08 PM
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Never plan only one trip to Italy unless you have a terminal illness. Plan 3 trips in advance since you will return.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 03:25 PM
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I'm going to Italy for the first time in September, Venice, Florence, Rome = ) I feel I'm being the cliche tourist, but I have read and heard so much about these places - the art, the churches, the architecture, the history.

So, my answer to your question is that it depends on what kinds of things your friend (and you) are interested in = )
sam86 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 03:48 PM
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rbnwdln, with ten days your plan sounds excellent. Don't see how you can go wrong with that. While in Tuscany, I hope you get to spend a night in Siena!
Andrew is online now  
Aug 21st, 2010, 05:32 PM
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How fun to plan! We took our daughter to Italy for the first time last year, and as usual, a lot of the fun was in the planning. But we had 2 1/2 weeks, so our itinerary won't match yours.

Don't feel that you MUST go to both Venice and Rome, with only 10 days, especially if you know that you're not big museum people. Ask her about vacations (in the U.S.) that she's taken, and what she liked best. If she's primarily visited big cities, and eaten at fancy restaurants and enjoyed the nightlife, then maybe Venice and Rome should be it. If she likes small towns and scenery, and gets uncomfortable in big cities, then maybe focus on Venice and rural Tuscany.
Lexma90 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 05:52 PM
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7 nights- Venice 3, Lake Como 3. Last night Milan, fly out of Milan. Or, if possible, last night Lake Como and arrange for a driver to take you to Milan the morning of flight. Use trains (except for possible driver).

10 nights- Venice 3 or 4, southern Tuscany (or Umbria) 5 or 6, last night in Florence, fly out of Florence. Rent car in Venice and return at Florence airport the night prior to departure. Taxi to Florence hotel for last night.
zoecat is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 06:10 PM
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I like your plan and I think it's important that you take her places you love. If you are having a crappy time in places you don't like then that is going to affect her enjoyment too. Venice, Tuscany, Rome sounds great.
cathies is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:19 PM
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How about a spa day in Bagni di Lucca? I went with 3 friends and it was an incredible experience. Even the all inclusive lunch was fabulous.
dlpiano is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:25 PM
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I think Rome is practically obligatory. So, Venice and Rome at a minimum. The Tuscany countryside would be wonderful, if you have the time. Have fun!
travelgirl2 is online now  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:38 PM
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Rome is Italy! It is the perfect girlfriend place for shopping,sightseeing with culture and history,eating and drinking-well,you get the picture. If you want to add a sidetrip you can always do daytrips which would be so easy with the train or metro.Pompeii or Ostia Antica OR Orvieto OR Sorrento OR up to Florence for a night or two.Not having to move around will save you more time to drink wine and laugh!
If this is a first trip to Italy for your girlfriend and others, then I feel that Lake Como, driving through Tuscany,etc. is another trip.

Do yourself a favor and watch Anthony Bourdain's "Rome" on No Reservations this week on the Travel Channel-he taped it in black and white with fabulous restaurants and scenery of Rome. It made me cry and want to get back ASAP and I fly there for work at least once a month!
dutyfree is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:43 PM
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For my college-age nieces first trip to Italy (first trip to Europe!), we had just a week. Our itinerary:

Friday: depart USA
Saturday: arrive Venice; sleep Venice
Sunday: Venice
Monday: Venice
Tuesday: train to Florence; check bags at station; spend day in Florence; train to Rome; sleep Rome
Wednesday: Rome
Thursday: Rome
Friday: day trip to Orvieto; sleep in Rome
Saturday: Rome
Sunday: fly to USA
ellenem is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:44 PM
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dutyfree - I LOVE Rome but I know so many people who don't, so I really don't want to spend our whole time in Rome in case my friend is not a fan. I could spend a lifetime there! Since she wants to go to Venice, then Tuscany makes sense for a 'country' experience before Rome. Venice then Southern Tuscany then Rome I am thinking, no? I missed Anthony Bourdain's Rome but will see if it is on again. Thanks!!!
rbnwdln is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 11:19 PM
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Count me as one of those people who didn't like Rome that much...EXCEPT for the Forum area which was outstanding. So your friend HAS to go to Rome at some point, if not this trip than another time. I think you have the right idea of spending just a short time there at the end, so you have more than just the cities.
Andrew is online now  

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