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Old 23rd March 2016, 12:55   #16
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post

1. How to plan a trip after landing in Venice? I have to fly out of the same city.
2. How to make the best of the 8 full days I have there? Where to go, what to see ?
3. Staying options in Italy ?
4. Travel options in Italy ?
5. Food?
6. Budgeting? Approx how much Euros per day, etc..?
7. Weather and packing advice?
8. Any and every advice about the place?

Jay
Cool. A holiday in Italy can fit any tastes- some who like the art, some the wines, some the landscape while some the driving. there is something for everybody. what is yours?

I have had 3 summer holidays in Italy and may have a bunch of suggestions depending on what your take is.
one of my trip was only automotive - read, Modena, Monza, Stelvio pass etc
another, wine and the landscape - Tuscany, Terme di Saturnia, Cinque Terre types.
first was the tourist - art and history.

I can tell you this, I have not seen Italy fully even after a combined 40 days of holidaying there. now, if you can specify in what theme you fall, I can make some suggestions.

Last edited by 14000rpm : 23rd March 2016 at 12:57.
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Old 23rd March 2016, 13:20   #17
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
I have the exact same query!

I will be traveling to Italy for about 9 days towards April-end; will be flying in/from Rome.
I suggest spending 4 nights in Rome and 5 nights in Florence.

Rome: I'd say vatican museum with sistine chapel is a must. There is so much to see in Rome alone and if you include a day trip like Amalfi coast etc, you will find yourself really pushing it in these 4 days.

Rome to florence connectivity is really good with the FRECCIAROSSA trains.
Visit trenitalia.com

Florence is arguably the best place to visit in Italy. Again like others mentioned, you'll need to find out what suites you better. You can easily spend 3 days in florence exploring the city. A lot of day trips on viator to explore the tuscany region (check out the tuscany in a day tour). Places around florence like sienna and san gemiginano are amazing!

Book all tickets online in advance. The queues are crazy at certain places.
Stay at Airbnb apartments. Its amazing value for money!
Have fun!
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Old 24th May 2016, 13:23   #18
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

First off, thanks for all the suggestions! They really helped plan and execute the trip.

Secondly, man, is Italy beautiful or what! There's so much culture and history at literally every corner for you to soak in.

The weather across Italy when we were there was mostly cloudy with brief spells of rain and sunshine. Overall, it hovered between 7 and 15 deg C.

Here's how we went about it:

Day 1: landed in Rome at about 8am. Stepped out of the airport and looked for the bus to Termini but there was such a rush that the bus we could get on was two hours later. Decided to spend 14 euro on the train, instead of the 4 for the bus, to get to Termini. Our B&B was about a 10min walk from Termini so strolled over.

Freshened up and walked towards Colosseum. Spent the entire day just loitering around that area.

Walked across Circus Maximus and then visited the Capital Museum and City Hall.

Day 2: we had a tour booked for the Vatican City at 10am. The tour covered the Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica. The amount of art and history in the Museum is mind-boggling and the Basilica is so damn huge that you lose every sense of scale!

We then got onto a separate line for the Dome of the Basilica. This is a must visit although it is quite an exercise. There are about 551 steps if you walk all the way (entry is some 5 euro) or you can take the elevator upto 320steps (for 7 euro). The view of the Basilica from within the Dome and of the Vatican city and Rome from outside the Dome amazing!

We then visited the Pantheon (this place is where renaissance painter Raphael is buried), Trevi fountain (one of the most crowded places in Rome) and the Spanish steps (under renovation when we visited).

Day 3: roamed around downtown Rome till our Colosseum tour at 5pm. The Colosseum is just breathtaking. The architecture and the gruesome nature of its purpose make it a fascinating sight.

Day 4: We took a Freciarossa to Florence. Florence has tons of Chapels and Piazzas (squares in front of Chapel/Cathedrals). Florence was the hot bed for the cultural renaissance so Florence has a lot of cultural/literary significance.

Day 5: visited the leaning tower of Pisa and roamed around Florence. We had booked a tour that covered Sienna, Pisa and lunch in a village somewhere in Tuscany but couldn't join. Ciaoflorence has good tours that you can consider.

Day 6: we traveled to Naples; during the journey, you notice a drastic change in topography and geography with a lot of mountainous terrain.

Naples is famous for the pizza; we visited the supposed first pizzeria, the pizza you find there is actually different, the base is very different and is quite pleasant to eat.

Day 7: traveled to Pompeii, about a 45min train ride from Naples. The town was buried under the volanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD and discovered in the 1800s. Archaeologists have managed to unearth a significant amount of the town, which has a very advanced system of housing, drainage and water supply.

This is quite an interesting lesson in history but can be boring if you aren't inclined.

Got back to Naples and strolled around the city. Naples has a bunch of castles but we didn't visit any since we'd been walking around all week.

Some observations:

1) Italy in general is fairly expensive; an average meal for two will cost 40-50 euros (if you have a drink or two). Average accommodation in the city area will be 100+ euros/day
2) City public transport (bus/train) has a good network and works out much cheaper if you get a pass (be it a day pass or a tour that gives you entrance to places of interest and free travel on public transport). Trains (Frecciarossa are a good way of traveling around Italy and tickets follow the model of air travel: tickets get more expensive closer to the day of travel. So, book in advance.
* Be sure to validate your ticket when you use public transport (basically, any ticket that doesn't mention a dedicated seat no.). If you don't, the fine can range from 10 to 60 euros
3) There's so much history and most places do a good job of explaining in English but you'd enjoy more if you had a guide
4) I downloaded offline maps for all the cities we visited and that made life SO much easier as we navigated through places of interest on foot
5) Almost every place (restaurant, coffee shop, shop) has free wifi so you are generally connected
6) Since we stayed near the city center in all the towns we visited, we felt generally safe
7) Most places accept cards so you can carry minimal cash

Last edited by libranof1987 : 24th May 2016 at 13:30.
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Old 25th May 2016, 11:40   #19
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the capuccinos in Italy. Be it a chain or a cafe anywhere in the city, the drink is absolutely divine. Be sure to have one before 11am and stand by the bar(sitting to have a coffee will cost you and extra €3-€5 depending on the place as tax!) sip and keep exploring.

Water is expensive at restaurants. carry a water bottle in hand, Rome has many fountains all over the city with drinking water.
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Old 25th May 2016, 17:51   #20
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by kraft.wagen View Post
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the capuccinos in Italy. Be it a chain or a cafe anywhere in the city, the drink is absolutely divine. Be sure to have one before 11am and stand by the bar(sitting to have a coffee will cost you and extra €3-€5 depending on the place as tax!) sip and keep exploring.

Water is expensive at restaurants. carry a water bottle in hand, Rome has many fountains all over the city with drinking water.
Yep Outstanding..So are the Gelatos which are cheap too. However be prepared for "Al Dente" when it comes to Pasta.
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Old 4th March 2017, 20:34   #21
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

Reviving an old thread with few queries.

We are planning to make a trip covering Italy, Austria and Slovenia spanning around 10 days. Primarily, a Rome/Vatican focused trip, but would like to cover key places in Italy like Milan, Florence, Venice, Naples, Amalfi Coast (not sure of this though). In Austria, plan is to cover Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg. In Slovenia, Bled and Ljubljana.
1. Planning to land in Milan
2. Visit places and reach Rome
3. Fly from Rome to Vienna
4. Do day trips from Vienna to Salzburg + Innsbruck, and Bled + Ljubljana
5. Fly out of Vienna

Wanted to get suggestions from friends who have context/experience on these locations/travels on the following:
1. Does the above itinerary feasible? Any other places of interest which is missed or can replace above ones?
2. Can we cover places of interest in Itlay in 4/5 days?
3. Are Salzburg, Bled and Ljubljana doable in day trips?
4. Does driving works better than trains since we are a group of 5 (including 2 children and my 86 year old, but healthy, father-in-law)? So, carrying luggage around and in trains could be an issue?
5. Can we drive with Indian Driving License or need an IDP?
6. Is AirBnB a good option for the trip considering the group combination?
7. Planning the trip during 3rd and 4th week of April. Will weather be decent that time?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Regards
Rex
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Old 5th March 2017, 09:44   #22
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by rex_varghese View Post
Reviving an old thread with few queries.

We are planning to make a trip covering Italy, Austria and Slovenia spanning around 10 days. Primarily, a Rome/Vatican focused trip, but would like to cover key places in Italy like Milan, Florence, Venice, Naples, Amalfi Coast (not sure of this though). In Austria, plan is to cover Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg. In Slovenia, Bled and Ljubljana.
1. Planning to land in Milan
2. Visit places and reach Rome
3. Fly from Rome to Vienna
4. Do day trips from Vienna to Salzburg + Innsbruck, and Bled + Ljubljana
5. Fly out of Vienna
If you enjoy history, you'd easily need three days just for Rome: half a day at the Vatican and the rest in Rome: Colosseum guided tours and the other points of interest.

You can then spend a couple of days in Florence: the hotbed of the cultural renaissance and wine country!

The places you have listed for Italy, are simply undoable in 4/5 days if you want to enjoy each place.

We spent eight days in Italy last year: three each in Rome and Florence and two in Naples. That seemed just about enough to really explore these places.

Also, take a train from Rome to Venice: the high speed Frecciarossa is extremely convenient.

Quote:
2. Can we cover places of interest in Itlay in 4/5 days?
Not all of them

I'd recommend you do Rome and Venice, or Rome and Florence.

Quote:
6. Is AirBnB a good option for the trip considering the group combination?
We stayed at AirBnBs throughout our trip; loved our experience.

I deliberately chose places right at the city center so it wasn't a big difference over hotels cost-wise. But the experience of staying at a local home was wonderful.

Quote:
7. Planning the trip during 3rd and 4th week of April. Will weather be decent that time?
We'd gone in the similar time frame; expect temperatures around 10-15 deg C, and possibility of rain.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 5th March 2017 at 09:45.
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Old 5th March 2017, 10:29   #23
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

When in Florence (a.k.a Firenze), do make a point to visit Piazzale Michelangelo. And do make an all wineries trip to Chianti. There are some tour operators who take tourists in a scania bus ride from Firenze in the morning at 8am and take you to all the wineries in the Chianti region, make you taste them all and them drop you back to Firenze by evening 8pm. Many ferrari owners come for a long drive to this region. And Piazzale Michelangelo is a meeting point of sports car owners.

One more most important point. Be very very careful with your bags and wallets. When I was in Rome, my co-travelling family became a victim to bag theft and that too in MC.Donalds store near the Trevi Fountain.

The trick the thieves adopt is, they carry a MC.D food tray with all the trash that is left after eating. And they pass by your side and wantedly drop the tray as if to simulate a panic scene. And with our usual habit of helping the guy we also tend to bend down to the floor and help him in gleaming all the trash into the food tray. In the meantime, his accomplice would snatch and flee away with your bag.

We counted our blessings as the bag that was stolen was immediately recovered by police within 2minutes. The irony is, we didn't know that our co-traveller's bag was stolen till the police came to us with a bag and asking whether the recovered bag belongs to us. Police knew that many thieves are behind foreign travellers and when the thief was caught the police informed us that both the thief as well as the police were following us from the past 30minutes and they were waiting just to catch the thief redhanded

Though robbery prevails everywhere in the world, I just wanted to share this so that if anybody who encounters the same situation can be on alert.

Happy vacation.
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Old 11th March 2017, 12:41   #24
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Also, take a train from Rome to Venice: the high speed Frecciarossa is extremely convenient.
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Originally Posted by rohiT Nonu View Post
When in Florence (a.k.a Firenze), do make a point to visit Piazzale Michelangelo. And do make an all wineries trip to Chianti.
Thanks for you replies libranof1987 and rohiT Nonu. Appreciate your time. I'm reworking the itinerary to fit in 10 days.

A question remaining unanswered is regarding the mode of transport. Car vs trains, considering six of us are traveling lugging our baggage all through the trip. Comments/suggestions are welcome.

Regards
Rex
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Old 12th March 2017, 13:14   #25
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Default Re: Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!

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Originally Posted by rex_varghese View Post
Car vs trains
Car is of no use in Rome, Naples and Florence. Infact is a pain with a car, in these 3 cities. Roma and Napoli are infamous for their driving style, the part of the city that has all the museums in Florence is mostly restricted for vehicles. The city on that side of Arno river is totally a walking city. On the other side of Arno like Piazza Michealangelo, Siena can still be explored by drive.

If you are planning to explore the outside the cities like Cinqueterre, Sud Tirol, Sardegna for example. Driving is the way to go, especially with a 80+ old and kids
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Old 17th March 2017, 16:13   #26
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Originally Posted by rex_varghese View Post
Thanks for you replies libranof1987 and rohiT Nonu. Appreciate your time. I'm reworking the itinerary to fit in 10 days.



A question remaining unanswered is regarding the mode of transport. Car vs trains, considering six of us are traveling lugging our baggage all through the trip. Comments/suggestions are welcome.



Regards

Rex

Driving around in Italy is AWESOME if you plan it right. I and my wife did a 13 day round trip Milan to Milan (after securely depositing the pesky juniors with the welcoming pensioners) and we had a blast.

The journey we did was Milan-Como-Milan-Padua-Venice-Florence-Lucca-La Spezia-Chamonix (which is actually France)-Milan.

If you are driving anywhere in these areas I can give you tons of driving tips. Key points when planning:

1. In city driving in Milan, Florence, Venice, Pisa, etc is not possible. In fact all these city centres are ZTL zones where tourist cars are not allowed. HOWEVER, there are parking lots where you can park for days at relatively reasonable costs. So for example, you could drive from Milan to Venice and park at the Tronchetto parking (in any case even trains cannot go further than that) and pick up the car after 1-2 days of your stay there. Parking charges (except Venice) are very reasonable. In Florence it was around EUR7, Pisa was EUR 3 for full day or even overnight parking. Venice was around EUR25-30 but there is a discount of 25-30% with hotel stay.

2. Like you have found out, round trip rentals are quite cheap (cheaper than India). Our 13 day trip was EUR240 or so. Diesel and petrol are expensive in Italy but overall it is still quite reasonable.

3. When traveling by car, you can consider a LOT of things that are just not possible to plan on public transport. Our route would have been impossibly hard to schedule on public transport even if we do not consider the issue of lugging bags at train stations. We stayed in countryside villas, went to out-of-the-way hills and caves, just aimlessly drove around Evian and Lac Leman. stopped at Padua on the way to Venice, etc etc. And there is no stress of timing.

4. Train connectivity is good between main towns in the same country like Milan-Venice-Florence. But connecting between countries is a pain. E.g Salzburg to Milan or Florence in your case (Vienna/Zurich to Milan will still be good). Chamonix to Milan was a 4.5 hour drive, but if we had tried public transport it would have been min 8-10 hours with a train change and no flexibility on timing. That kind of thing is hard on the family.

5. The famous museums, monuments and palaces all sell tickets online. Famous ones like the Uffizi in Florence, leaning tower of Pisa, St. Peter's, etc have fixed time slot bookings, which get filled way in advance. If you have not pre-booked, queues can be serpentine. So please plan these in advance.

6. The Autostrada or inter-city highway network in Italy has tolls through and through. Same is the case in France. Switzerland however requires you to have a vignette (or toll sticker) on the car before getting onto a highway. This costs I think close to USD 40. Off motorway roads do not have tolls generally.

My suggestion would be:
- if you are planning only major city sightseeing and it may not be a round trip, you should go with trains or a package tour.
- if you are mixing city tours with other activities and want to have flexibility in moving around, consider driving.

If you have more clarity on your itinerary, I can give more inputs.
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