U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-28-2011, 12:17 PM
 
15,787 posts, read 9,538,128 times
Reputation: 68344

Advertisements

My post about the credit card change is based on my first hand experience in Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome last month. It's not across the board, that's for sure, but it did crop up repeatedly - in particular in some stations for the train self-ticketing machines.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-28-2011, 01:46 PM
 
7,901 posts, read 8,903,305 times
Reputation: 3192
Quote:
Originally Posted by poopycat View Post
Two weeks from tomorrow, I leave for Rome. I'm very excited. I will spend 6 nights in Rome and 3 in Florence.
That's awesome. I wish you had time to see more of the country, though!

The Cinque Terre is awesome.

Quote:
When I am in Florence, I think I would like to see a small town or two in the area.
Don't miss Siena. Montalcino is awesome. San Gimignagno you definitely don't want to miss:

San gimignano - Google Search jwWrTszlFoXagAeizrT0Dw

Also Montepulciano is great.

Umbria is probably too far for you, but Assisi is also worth a visit!


Quote:
While it might be touristy, I would like to see the Tower of Pisa, and I hear the town itself has some interesting sights and history. I have also heard good things about Siena and Lucca...and not so great things about San Gimignano.
What!!

San Gimignano was the best! Of course, I rented my own car...

Driving in the Italian countryside is easy. Driving in Florence was a little tricky. Driving in Naples was terrifying. I stayed on foot in Rome after learning my lesson in Naples.

Quote:
There is a bus tour that was highly rated on TripAdvisor for an all day trip to Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano. I don't mind tours, but am not a big fan of big impersonal buses.
Don't do it. Rent a car in Florence.

Quote:
But it would let me see a couple of towns and the countryside. And I would be with other people (I'm traveling alone). I could also take a train or bus by myself and visit Pisa and maybe Siena or Lucca for a half-day each. I would then have flexibility - if I prefer to just stay in Florence I could - but I am worried about traveling alone and potential anti-American sentiment which I have found in small towns in two other European countries.
Quit worrying. I was all over Italy and the Italians were friendly, helpful and genuinely happy to see Americans - ESPECIALLY in rural Italy. The people in Orvieto (also a great town) practically treated us like family. Ditto Venice.

Yeah don't miss Venice either if you can help it.

Quote:
So: group bus trip or individual trip to a town or two? And if you could visit only one town near Florence, what would it be?
San Gimignano or Siena.

Quote:
I have a couple of Rome questions but will ask them tomorrow

There are two kinds of pedestrians in Rome: the quick and the dead.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-28-2011, 02:29 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,590,441 times
Reputation: 2334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strel View Post
There are two kinds of pedestrians in Rome: the quick and the dead.
LOL. Actually, it's very simple to cross the streets in Rome. Check the traffic before stepping off the sidewalk and continue to gauge it from the corner of your eye. Once you're on the street, keep the same pace and rhythm until you reach the other side, never quicken or slow down no matter what, and always keep a straight line. Do not sidestep; do not veer. If you adhere to that expected behaviour, motorists will be able to maintain their speed until they come very close to you before veering away.

It's the same as driving. If you suddenly hit the brake, you'll definitely create a multi-vehicle collision. Always watch the flow of the traffic and adjust your speed accordingly, but never change your behaviour at the last second.

Foremost, the left lane is for passing only. Doesn't matter how fast you drive, you must return to the right lane after passing, then change to pass again and return again as many times as needed, but you do not stay on the left lane unless you wish to pay a hefty fine.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-28-2011, 03:14 PM
 
12,327 posts, read 18,433,096 times
Reputation: 19228
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Wanderer View Post
It's the same as driving. If you suddenly hit the brake, you'll definitely create a multi-vehicle collision. Always watch the flow of the traffic and adjust your speed accordingly, but never change your behaviour at the last second.

Foremost, the left lane is for passing only. Doesn't matter how fast you drive, you must return to the right lane after passing, then change to pass again and return again as many times as needed, but you do not stay on the left lane unless you wish to pay a hefty fine.
Good info if one was driving in. But a vehicle is a liability in Rome, it's a handicap. No tourist with half a mind is going to rent a vehicle.
Of course I'm the crazy guy that drove around London.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-28-2011, 04:45 PM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
905 posts, read 3,069,880 times
Reputation: 712
Enjoy Italy! It is a beautiful country, excellent food, wine, and history. I suggest not staying in Rome for 6 nights. You can see all the major sights in 2 full days, 3 max. Take a day or 2 & hike Cinque Terre, or go south to the Amalfi coast. Pompeii was fascinating..

Forget a bus tour, trains are plentiful, easy, and affordable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-28-2011, 09:59 PM
 
318 posts, read 643,743 times
Reputation: 322
Thanks SO MUCH for all of the advice. I am going to jot down some notes based on all of the great suggestions.

I do wish I had time to see more of the country, but hopefully if I like it there, I'll be back I would love to see Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, but will maybe return one day and take a good walking trip in these places.

I thought about spending a bit of time in Venice, but thought that trying to see three important cities in only 10 days would result in not really getting a good experience in any of them. I love history, so I decided on 6 days in Rome because there are more sites of historic interest there than just about anywhere else in the world. I don't think I'll get tired of being in Rome, but if I do, I will take a day trip - hence the request for recommendations on a couple of interesting days trips outside of Rome.

Thanks for the heads-up on cash withdrawal. I have been wondering what to do about cash. I have a fear that I will not bring enough cash with me and the ATM won't work. I don't want to carry around big wads of cash, but also want to make sure I don't risk being broke in a rather expensive country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-29-2011, 08:09 AM
 
7,901 posts, read 8,903,305 times
Reputation: 3192
Also - be careful in the subways and on the buses in Rome. Pickpockets abound.

Especially bus 64, which runs from the hotel district/Termini to the Coliseum.

Beware of people pretending to help you with your bags...

If you have some binoculars, you can sit atop the Palatine and watch people get pickpocketed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-30-2011, 09:06 AM
 
15,787 posts, read 9,538,128 times
Reputation: 68344
Quote:
Originally Posted by poopycat View Post
I thought about spending a bit of time in Venice, but thought that trying to see three important cities in only 10 days would result in not really getting a good experience in any of them. I love history, so I decided on 6 days in Rome because there are more sites of historic interest there than just about anywhere else in the world. I don't think I'll get tired of being in Rome, but if I do, I will take a day trip - hence the request for recommendations on a couple of interesting days trips outside of Rome.
Personally, I think you're making a great decision and wish I'd stuck to my guns and skipped Venice this time. We have the same attitudes about history and 5 days in Rome was barely enough for our first visit. It's the eternal city and would take an eternity to absorb! To me, it was sort of like a cross between Athens and NYC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by poopycat View Post
Thanks for the heads-up on cash withdrawal. I have been wondering what to do about cash. I have a fear that I will not bring enough cash with me and the ATM won't work. I don't want to carry around big wads of cash, but also want to make sure I don't risk being broke in a rather expensive country.
You'll spend more than you plan to. We had no problem getting cash in Florence and, although we had to try a couple different ATMs sometimes in Rome, we didn't really have any trouble there either. Personally, I felt more secure getting cash a couple times instead of carrying a ton with us. Also, my husband had a money belt - not a fanny pack - to carry our extra money securely. There are equivalent systems like that for women and many hotels have in room or front desk safes. More than finding machines that wouldn't take credit cards, we found that many places didn't take credit cards at all - and many Italians seem to have the habit of paying in cash, even for more expensive items like train tickets.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-30-2011, 09:33 AM
 
15,787 posts, read 9,538,128 times
Reputation: 68344
Some Florence food and other info...

Breakfast - get a sfoglia a la crema & an espresso at Pasticceria Siena, Via San Antonino 54r. Eat standing at the espresso counter so it will cost less. You can stand at the end and watch the other patrons order - you won't feel conspicuous - everyone is busy with their own thing and many singles stand and do the same as you. Sfoglia is a pastry about the size of your palm and tongue shaped with sugar on top and warm vanilla custard inside. It's comforting and delicious. Usually they're in the middle of the top left shelf next to the register.

Lunch - Option 1 - Instead of going into Sieni, take a right off of San Antonino and there's a little Forno (bakery) shop right next door that has a blackboard outside advertising that they sell schiacciatta. These are savory flat sandwiches with different fillings like spinach or mushroom. They're inexpensive and you can go in and point at them in the case in the cramped shop and they'll tell you what's in them. Get one or two to go and you can eat it like a slice of pizza as you head to your next stop. Also, notice the sticker in their window with the colorful Florentine fleur de lis and some writing. Look for it on any other shop for a sign that you've probably found a good, authentic, and historic shop or restaurant. Option 2 - go to the central market near san lorenzo and visit Nerbone for a delicious sandwich or other specialty that you can eat at the communal picnic tables in front of their shop. Look them up for more info about their specialties.

Dinner - get an early dinner (6pm) at Cernacchino on Via della Condotta 38r. They're open until 7. This is a tiny mom & pop Tuscan place. If you're lucky it will be a day when they offer hand made pici for the pasta of the day. Very reasonable prices just like the others I recommended (from our Taste tour.) There are no table - just a counter facing the wall and a counter facing the window to the small street. I think you will be comfortable eating in the window and people watching while you eat. It's very laid back and the owners are sweet and will be happy to see you there and tell you what everything is.

Dessert - by 8ish you'll be ready for gelato at Perche No, Via del Tavolini 19r. They have multiple awards and were voted the best in gelato in all of Italy - 2nd best in the world. Get their pistachio and learn why you should never buy green pistachio gelato. They give free tastes. To order, tell them what size cup you want (or cone but I prefer a cup because gelato is soft and melty.) then say how many scoops you want, then say which flavors. I usually got the second smallest with two scoops - and almost always included one scoop of pistachio.

Addresses - these are different in Florence. You'll note above that I include an r for red after the street numbers. Red indicates business and Black is residential. Often the numbers are colored that way but sometimes they're just at different heights and you have to figure it out. Each color has it's own range and they can be quite different on the same block so you have to know if you're following red or black. For example, you can see a black 23 next door to a red 68 - it's not that every door will increase by two on one side of the street (22, 24, 26) like in the states.

HTH - will try to be back with some Rome food for you later - probably next weekend. It's easy to find pizza al taglio (to go by the slice) to take with you or a porchetta sandwich, though, so you should be set for lunch or a light dinner.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-31-2011, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,539 posts, read 9,949,632 times
Reputation: 9056
For a day trip, I preferred Lucca over Siena, it's an easy train ride from Florence. I definitely wouldn't try to do more than one town on a day trip, and I would plan on it being a whole day trip, as opposed to half a day.

There's plenty to do in Florence though, that you may not even want to do an extra day trip. You can easily spend a full day Oltrarno (across the river), a full day in museums, and a full day walking through the streets and various cathedrals. You could also take a much shorter day trip to Fiesole just by taking a city bus - you'll get the smaller town feel with a couple of interesting sites like the ancient amphitheater and baths and it is a much shorter travel time to get there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top