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Old 06-03-2014   #1 (permalink)
aņejo
 
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Going to Italy

We are most likely going to Italy in August Sister, BIL, twins, David and I. Actually one niece will be there, studying architecture, and we would like to go towards the end of her stay. She will be in Florence.

So, my world traveling friends on PI, where do we fly in to, how do we get around, where would you recommend we stay, what should we make sure to do, should we go to other areas and if so, where and how do we get there? We will be there 7-10 days depending on various factors.

Last question, for now would you recommend we do this through a travel agency, or maybe go with tour group or travel independently?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2014   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SharonD View Post
We are most likely going to Italy in August Sister, BIL, twins, David and I. Actually one niece will be there, studying architecture, and we would like to go towards the end of her stay. She will be in Florence.

So, my world traveling friends on PI, where do we fly in to, how do we get around, where would you recommend we stay, what should we make sure to do, should we go to other areas and if so, where and how do we get there? We will be there 7-10 days depending on various factors.

Last question, for now would you recommend we do this through a travel agency, or maybe go with tour group or travel independently?

Thanks!
We just got back from 2 weeks in Italy. Most fabulous trip EVER. We drove ourselves, planned everything ourselves. I used Trip Advisor, friends, and Frommers and Rick Steve's books. I actually did a lot of research for the month leading up to our departure. We didn't want to do a group, a tour, or anything like that. I'm pretty averse to being shuttled around like cattle, having to be anywhere at a certain time, etc....but there certainly are some advantages to the convenience for some people.

What you do in 7-10 days will depend on what's important to you, really. Have you ever been to Italy before? We had not, so we spent 2 nights everywhere we wanted to go.

We flew into Milan, drove directly to Lake Como. To me, Lake Como is something everyone who goes to Italy should see. It's fantastic. We took the train 1 day to Milan from Como. Milan has some nice sights, but it's more like NYC than anywhere in Italy, I think. From there we drove to Venice for 2 nights. Venice is the most SPECIAL PLACE I've ever seen. Obviously, SO SO unique. Loved it.

Took a quick trip to Maranello to the Ferrari factory. If you're a car nut like my husband, it was worth it, but I could have skipped it. We only spent one night there.

From there, to Cinque Terre. Beautiful spot...great hiking....again, totally unique and hard to describe. We actually stayed in a town north of the Cinque Terre, called Sestri Levante. From there, we took the train to the villages and hiked between them.

From there to Florence - beautiful - stayed at a magnificent hotel outside of the city that is partly owned by the brother of a friend of ours...never could have afforded to stay there without this connection. Florence actually SMELLS like leather, I swear. Great shopping there.

to Positano for 2 days, on the Amalfi coast - where we relaxed, shopped, took in the breathtaking countryside. Just loved it.

Last stop - Rome, for 3 nights. I mean...if you go to Italy, in my mind, you MUST go to Rome. There's the Vatican. The Sistene Chapel. The Roman ruins....all of this so humbling, so ancient, and truly "awe" some. We flew back from Rome.

It sounds like you have somewhat of a large group, so you'd have to rent more than 1 car if you were to drive. You really can get around a lot of Italy on trains, though, from city to city, and to a certain extent, even to the country. That might be an option for you, too.

And the FOOD - well, you just can't lose in Italy. We are foodies, and the italians certainly measure up. We made it a point to go to smaller places that the locals like and we ALWAYS ordered local wine, cheap and good. I fell in love with Italian wine on this trip.

I'd be glad to answer any specific questions you have....about hotels or restaurants in certain places when you decide where you're going, etc. We basically made sure we saw some cities and some countryside, all in the same trip.

When I got home, I needed a vacation from my vacation!!! I was exhausted! Sign of a great trip, though.

Sorry this is so long....I have tons of pics to go through, I will do a trip report, keep trying to get going on it, but....just haven't, yet.
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Old 06-03-2014   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks so much, we have never been to Italy, so this is the type of info I was hoping to get!! I don't want to do a tour group either, but since I know nothing about Italy, I wondered if that was a good idea or not. I now have a starting point and know where to start researching so we can plan our own trip, awesome! Can't wait for your TR. Thanks again!!!
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Old 06-03-2014   #4 (permalink)
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Last year, we flew into Venice(3 nights), train to Florence(3 nights), bus to Siena (3 nights), picked up car, to Montepulciano (3 nights) and the Tuscan hill towns, drove past Rome to Sorrento (4 nights), bus to Positano/Amalfi, bus to Rome (5 nights), flew out of Rome.....21 nights...best trip ever! Let me know if you have any questions..we booked the entire trip ourselves. (-:
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Old 06-03-2014   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry this is so long....I have tons of pics to go through, I will do a trip report, keep trying to get going on it, but....just haven't, yet.

You better get cracking!! I really want to read that report.

Italy is my dream trip. We almost went this September, but all we have is one week....were going to just do Florence for the whole week, plus Siena, but decided to wait until we have at least two weeks. Going to a fancy AI in the Mayan Riviera for a week instead....it'll have to do.
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Old 06-03-2014   #6 (permalink)
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For me Rome was spectacular, and don't miss the Vatican if you have any interest in Art History!
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Old 07-09-2015   #7 (permalink)
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I am starting to plan a trip to Italy for next year in June/July.

My question is about packing.
Since we are going to be staying at different places for a few nights before moving on, do you pack everything in a carryon size suitcase or did you do a bigger suitcase. I have a rather large suitcase that I would prefer to take as it will be easier to bring back souvenirs in... but not sure if I can travel with than on the train.
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Old 07-09-2015   #8 (permalink)
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Lucy, travelling by train with a suitcase is no problem in Italy. Just make sure you can see it all the time. Let me know when you go and where so maybe we can meet up. I am usually in Italy (island of Sardinia) in June but not yet sure that I am able to go next year.
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Old 07-09-2015   #9 (permalink)
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Lucy, travelling by train with a suitcase is no problem in Italy. Just make sure you can see it all the time. Let me know when you go and where so maybe we can meet up. I am usually in Italy (island of Sardinia) in June but not yet sure that I am able to go next year.
Hi Andrea,
I am looking at hopefully doing June 17-July 3. Planning on flying into Milan and flying out of Rome... but will decide once I see the prices. It is too early to do that right now. Have to wait a few weeks.

Plan to do Milan, 2 nights
Venice 2 nights
Cinque Terre 2 nights
Florence 4 nights
and Rome 5 nights
Would be great if we could meet up somewhere!
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Old 07-09-2015   #10 (permalink)
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That does sound a bit like our itinerary...you're going to love it!!

We really enjoyed the driving - for example, we were able to take a bit more luggage- we both brought smaller bags for Venice since we had to leave the car on the mainland, and we didn't want to drag huge bags around Venice and on the water bus, etc... Then those bags got left in the car at hotels with dirty clothes later. But taking the train I suppose just one would be better, and probably bigger....

Planning is such fun. I really plan for every day, and we pretty much stuck to it, with some exceptions. That way we were able to get the most out of it, I think.

Enjoy!!
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Old 07-10-2015   #11 (permalink)
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Lucy, two years ago I went to Venice for a weekend and stayed in a hotel close to the train station. That way I didn't have to drag my suitcase all over Venice when I arrived and left it there on sunday till I flew home. For hotels in Italy I can recommend you the german website HRS They have very competitive rates. I use them for all my trips in Europe. Good thing is that you mostly do not have to pay anything in advance and you can cancel till one day before (or the same day). I used them for Rome as well when I met Cicconi there.

My hotel in Venice was the one to the left in the pic (Continental):
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Old 08-12-2015   #12 (permalink)
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Sharon - when do you go? Did you make up an itinerary?
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