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Which two cities in Italy for 7 day trip...

Which two cities in Italy for 7 day trip...

Aug 13th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 46
Thanks to everyone for all of your wonderful suggestions. I think that I'm going to stick with Rome and Pienza for this trip, although I'm getting way ahead of myself, and already planning my second trip, which will surely include Bologna.
NeoPatrick...Thanks for the tip on the apt. It looks great and I'll contact the owner directly. I couldn't really tell from the pics how great of a view of the Pantheon one gets from the living room. Would you consider it a romantic place to stay?
MartiB is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Wherever you decide to go, do read up on the cooking of the region. All Italian cooking is regional, and the cooking in Bologna is very different from the cooking in Rome.

Unless you're into "creative" cuisine. That's pretty similar everywhere - including Rome, New York and Singapore.
Zerlina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Listen, no matter where you go, it will be a blast, and wonderful, and picturesque, and you will have a great time.

But I have to say two things. Having been in Italy in November five times, it is absolutely not true that it won't be crawling with tourists. Not as bad as the summer, but fall is pretty briskly busy.

As for the cuisine, Tuscan cooking is great, but not super varied, and is based on fresh, fresh ingredients, simply prepared. In the fall in Tuscany you will be sure to enjoy porcini, and (in Rome, artichoke season will have begun, as well as puntarelle) boar, chestnuts and many other delectables of the season.

But just to be clear, Tuscan cuisine is not as varied and layered as that of Piemonte, and Emilia-Romagna.

This article from the New York Times illustrates this brilliantly:

Just How Good Can Italy Get?

So enjoy the Val D'Orcia, but be sure to put the other two regions on your list.
faredolce is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:33 AM
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For real foodies....Bologna, Bologna, Bologna!

Then Rome, because it's your first trip to Italy - how could you miss it?
StCirq is online now  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Hunted around the net for rates on Castello Banfi - not to be found. Has not been reviewed by NYTimes or Travel and Leisure - it looks fantastic. The Ristorante has a Michelin star, by the way.

RE renting a car - if you think you'd like to do it, there's no reason not to have a car to drive from town to town in Tuscany and Umbria. Of course you then have a car to deal with , but you also come and go as you like. If you have several days when you're not staying in a large city and would like to explore by car - especially winery-hopping (keep a designated driver), then do it. On the other hand, if it's the first time for both of you in Italy, maybe it's more relaxing not to deal with a car. And of course, you don't want or need it in town.

I think young chefs in Rome would enjoy Trastevere, and would find it a great area to have an apartment, too. (I tend to like being around the corner from the center of things, rather than spot in the middle.) Lots of good dining options (and food shopping) there and in Testaccio, both the authentic and traditional and the modern variants.

You'll find may specific apartments to look at, Marti, recommended by Fodorites. Just search "Rome apartment" and you'll be swimming in them.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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OK, I'm convinced. At the risk of stretching us a little thinly, I think that I'd like to add Bologna. So, in terms of itinerary.....what do you think the easiest/best way to do it would be? Rome/Pienza/Bologna/Rome? or Bologna first, then Pienza? We're flying in and out of Rome either way. And would renting a car hinder or help? Thanks everyone! You've overwhelmed me! (in a good way
MartiB is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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As I see it, the most time- and cost-efficient would be the following:

Arrive Fiumicino, train to Roma Termini (main railway station), train to Bologna, stay in Bologna.

Train to Chiusi, rent car, drive to Pienza, stay in/near Pienza, drive around area, return car in Chiusi, train to Rome.

Stay in Rome, train to Fiumicino, fly out.

Having a car anywhere except in Tuscany is not only expensive, it's useless. And the autoroute between Bologna and Florence is a horror, which is why I suggest the train. Driving into Rome is also something better avoided, in my opinion.
Zerlina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for the tip Zerlina. You've reinforced what I was thinking of doing.
MartiB is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Hi Marti,

I'll join those voting for Rome and Tuscany. I haven't been to Bologna or Parma - yet. However, I'm a big believe of mixing cities with countryside and Rome and Tuscany are wonderful (so is Umbria). I believe November will put you into truffle season too! Yum, yum yum. And the Brunello! Made in heaven. Loved the traditional Tuscan and Roman food.

I think if you try to add Bologna, you will be stretched too thin. You'll definitely be going back anyway, so anything more than 2 destinations in 7 days can happen in the future!

Buon apetito!
Dayle is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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If you're able to extend the trip to 9 days, why are you limited to just two cities?
Narnya is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Hi M,

>I'm planning on taking my boyfriend on a surprise birthday trip to Italy on the first week of November (7 days),...

How nice of you. Lucky fellow.

I suggest fly into Venice - 3 nights.
Train to Florence - 3 nights
Daytrip to Bologna
Fly home from Florence FLR of Pisa PSA.

If you have more time, all the better.

ira is online now  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Marti~ If you do decide on Bologna, you could consider flying into or out of Milan, about 100 miles closer to Bologna than Rome. We booked flights into Milan with a train to Bologna (it was easy to be in Bologna around lunchtime ...) a couple of years ago, ending the trip in Rome and flying home from there. I say Milan rather than Venice or closer Florence simply because of the many non stop flights Milan-New York. You would likely find that an easy open jaw ticket to book. Spend a night in Bologna (or even Parma first, if you want the real chef's tour), then head south stopping where you will on the road to Rome. But with that plan, you wouldn't need a long train ride out of or back to Roma. Just another way to do it.

I agree that lots of the suggestions offered you are great ones (many from real experts!), so give yourself a night or two (or more) to look them over, with a map open, thinking about what really appeals.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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hi, marti,

I know that many posters have raved about the food in Bologna [and may be right - it's high on my wish list] but the food in Rome was surprisingly good. Definitely better than Florence, and most of what I've eaten in Tuscany.

if you can get open jaw into Milan and out of Rome, I'd go Bologna, drive to Pienza, then drive to orvieto, drop off car, train to rome.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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On that link I did to the Pantheon apt, there is an actual shot out of one of the windows of the Pantheon. You are looking at the side of it, but in the pictures you can see the columns which are part of the front of the Pantheon, and you see into the square in front of it. Yet the apartment, being to the side prevents it from having the constant "roar" of noise you'd have if right on the square.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 14th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Hi Everyone, Thanks so much for all of your great info. I'm making a final decision this weekend (and booking the flights so that I don't change my mind again!), but so far, I'm leaning towards Rome/Bologna/Tuscany/Rome, probably in that order. I'll be sure to give you all a rundown of the trip once I'm back in NY. Can't wait for November 1st! Thanks again!
MartiB is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hi MartiB
Don't stress too much- No matter where you go in Italy, you'll have great food and a wonderful time. If you're like me, your first trip will be the reason you need to go back- there is just so much to see and taste still!
Just a few practical suggestions for you:
If you are thinking train travel, order your tickets on-line. Then you can retrieve them from the machine at the station. It saves long lines at the station.
Also, ask your waiter for suggestions. I am a foodie, but little known local or house specialties- yum!!! Enjoy your trip!
havepassport is offline  
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