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Old 10-14-2012, 07:12 PM
 
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I got off my flight back in May, took the Leonardo Express to Termini, walked a few clocks to my hotel (stopped for some gelato along the way) checked in, took a shower, and didn't go to bed until around 11:00 that night. I got a solid five hours sleep on the plane--more than enough to get through the first day without jet lag.

 
Old 10-14-2012, 07:42 PM
 
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Don't forget sweaters and rain gear. March is a crazy month and usually a bit chilly, rainy and cloudy.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,282,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRock View Post
I think 6 days in Roma is waaay too long. It might be alright if you use Roma as a base for day trips. I would stay 3 days MAX in Roma. Pompei, and the Amalfi coast is awesome!

Look into visiting Cinque Terre. Somewhat off the beaten path, totally charming.

Check out Rick Steve's.
With everything there is to do in Rome, including Vatican City...I can't see how 3 days would be enough to do anything?! Everyone says spend at least 4 or 5 days in Rome to get to see all the sights and tour the city.

Quote:
How are you getting back and forth, Train/Bus? I would also recommend you during the research and chosing local companies for your day tours instead of just roaming around lost.
Probably high speed rail. And I think we're just going to hire a private tour guide familiar with each city to lead us on tours. None of us particularly care to be the "bus crowd" that is ushered to destination like a herd of cattle. Much rather do things at a leisurely pace.

Quote:
I would stay in Rome 5 days, Venice 3 days and Florence 4 days. I enjoy Florence more than Venice, If I chose 2 I would do Rome and Florence. If this is your first trip to Italy I would stay away from the Naples area, unless you are going straight to Sorrento or Pompeii or Herculaeneum. I would also not recommend Pisa for your first trip.
This sounds about what we'll end up doing as far as dividing up days. I wouldn't mind seeing Pompeii though so might take a day trip there.
 
Old 10-17-2012, 03:15 AM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,588,017 times
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Most important thing: check the strike schedule. There are several sites, the two below are from the top of my head:

COMMISSIONE DI GARANZIA E SCIOPERO

Ministero delle infrastrutture e dei trasporti
 
Old 10-18-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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Your trip sounds great and your budget inline. I've been to Italy twice just recently to Florence, Rapallo and Como and two years ago to Venice, Rome and the Amalfi coast. 5 days in Rome is good in my opinion. There is lots to do and day trips elsewhere. 4 days in Venice might be a bit much but it depends on how much you like to visit museums and such as that eats up time. Venice is beautiful. 3 days in Florence is plenty but if you want to switch off one day in Venice for an extra day in Florence you could do a day wine tour from there or a tour to Pisa. Remember to calculate your travel times in the trip as that will eat up partial days. One note, if you are staying in Florence and leaving for home from the Pisa airport take the bus not the train. It is far easier with luggage and is direct. Takes about an hour.

For hotels, research through tripadvisor for your needs.

Food. In Italy it's all courses. You don't need to eat all the courses. Order what you feel like. Pasta only or dinner only or share an anitpasta and then have pasta or dinner and make sure you try the pizza at lunch or a panini sandwich and don't forget the gelato.

March? Could you do September instead? March tends to be rainy. I've traveled to Europe 3 times in mid September and have always had great weather.

Last edited by janrey; 10-18-2012 at 08:51 AM..
 
Old 10-18-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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I LOOOVVVEEE the Tuscany. Forte dei Marmi, Massa, Carrara,... Only a "Short" way to Firenze ( Florence) and Pisa. Also Parma, Bologna and Milaaannoooo shoe city.
 
Old 10-18-2012, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,282,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janrey View Post
Your trip sounds great and your budget inline. I've been to Italy twice just recently to Florence, Rapallo and Como and two years ago to Venice, Rome and the Amalfi coast. 5 days in Rome is good in my opinion. There is lots to do and day trips elsewhere. 4 days in Venice might be a bit much but it depends on how much you like to visit museums and such as that eats up time. Venice is beautiful. 3 days in Florence is plenty but if you want to switch off one day in Venice for an extra day in Florence you could do a day wine tour from there or a tour to Pisa. Remember to calculate your travel times in the trip as that will eat up partial days. One note, if you are staying in Florence and leaving for home from the Pisa airport take the bus not the train. It is far easier with luggage and is direct. Takes about an hour.

For hotels, research through tripadvisor for your needs.

Food. In Italy it's all courses. You don't need to eat all the courses. Order what you feel like. Pasta only or dinner only or share an anitpasta and then have pasta or dinner and make sure you try the pizza at lunch or a panini sandwich and don't forget the gelato.

March? Could you do September instead? March tends to be rainy. I've traveled to Europe 3 times in mid September and have always had great weather.
I'm excited, I'm still trying to get everything lined up in my spare time. I think I'm going to take everyone's advice and switch the days in different cities around; 5 days in Rome, 4 days in Florence, and 3 days in Venice. Obviously travel days taken into account, it'll be more like 4.5 days in Rome and 2.5 days in Venice. I have no problem just sitting in a cafe in St. Mark's square and drinking coffee though...I'll never be bored!

I think we're going to take a few day trips to Naples and Pisa at some point but if we don't have time, that's fine. I'm playing this by ear, not planning a trip where we have to do X, Y, and Z this day, etc etc.

March is a convenient time for everyone's schedule and my parents snowbird to Scottsdale from October to March so they'll already be out here.

I'm excited for the food!
 
Old 10-18-2012, 11:01 AM
 
634 posts, read 1,498,804 times
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You have to be excited about the way the italians are DRIVING!
 
Old 10-18-2012, 07:37 PM
 
14,752 posts, read 28,612,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRock View Post
I think 6 days in Roma is waaay too long. It might be alright if you use Roma as a base for day trips. I would stay 3 days MAX in Roma. Pompei, and the Amalfi coast is awesome!

Look into visiting Cinque Terre. Somewhat off the beaten path, totally charming.

Check out Rick Steve's.
I agree on the 6 days in Rome being too much. I think 3 to 4 days are sufficient. Since this trip sounds like it has endpoints of Rome and Venice (or some other northern Italian airport), I would NOT advise them to go to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, being that they are not contained within that compact trajectory and they would have to "deal" with Naples, Italy's most crime-ridden port city, to get there. Nor would I send them to the Cinque Terre for the exact same reasons. It is not on their fairly linear train trajectory. The other thing is that would need to check whether the Cinque Terre are "ok." During the last winter, they made the news for the landslides and massive destruction that occurred. I have to disagree on Rick Steve's. I don't like the limited nature of his books and followed his recommendations for Portugal. They were all disappointing. The best thing to do is merge the results of Frommer's, Lonely Planet and MAYBE Let's Go, depending on the price point of accommodations and dining the OP is seeking.

Other than Rome, I disagree with your recommendations. The Rome-Florence-Venice trajectory is fine because it is linear. You'll want to take in some other Tuscan towns, depending on what you want to see, be it Siena or San Gimignano. I can tell you that there is NOTHING to see in Pisa beyond the grounds of the Cathedral and the Tower. When further north, near Venice, Verona is another NOTHING to see town, beyond the Arena and Juliet's balcony. If you had to sneak in something else, you COULD add in Milan, without changing your trajectory much. It would be inserted between Florence and Venice. There isn't much to see beyond the beautiful Cathedral, the adjacent Galleria, the Last Supper, and the Opera House, but if you like fashion, there is premier shopping. However, the best thing about Milan is that, less than an hour north by train, is another world called Lake Como. If there was ever a worthwhile detour, that would be it. Of the Italian Lakes, it is probably the easiest to see, with a train into Como and another train down the east shore back to Milan. Lake Garda is too far north of Verona and the Milan-Venice train line, and is more geared to recreational pursuits, with windsurfing being popular at its windswept northern end.

For first timers, I definitely recommend limiting oneself to the trajectory you mapped out. The stuff around Naples, such as the Amalfi Coast and Capri, and the stuff around Genoa, such as Portofino and the Cinque Terre, are better for subsequent trips.
 
Old 10-18-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,282,966 times
Reputation: 3936
Does anyone have a recommendation for a hotel in Venice?

I have a Starwood AMEX that gives me a good value when booking with their hotel chain and in Florence and Rome, there is a St. Regis in each city. The limited research I've done both say the St. Regis hotel in each city is excellent so I'm likely going to book those two but still need a hotel for three nights in Venice. Anyone have opinions on any good properties? Any opinions on either the St. Regis Rome or St. Regis Florence?

Thanks again!
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