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Old 10-19-2012, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Venice Italy
1,027 posts, read 1,098,460 times
Reputation: 486

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To the op... you are more than welcome

may l give you just two or three ad.s??

Italians are friendly and we love Americans, but nowaday the Italian cities are full of illegals, they came from the ex comunist Europa, so..be!!! extremely careful the danger is around the corner, so are stikes and public manifestations.
Trust me... hire a tourist guide..do it , one or two days in any Italian city without a guide it's a waste of time
in Venice rent a kayak and goes around the ancient laguna, who knows?? you could find out some arkeological Roman armor pieces .. be careful a special police corp patrolling the arkeological area, you will be jailed ..no reasons not excuses, l repeat myself...hire a guide .

Said that.. all the best to you and your friends team, enjoy the Italian vacation

.
Francesco da Mosto - YouTube

 
Old 10-19-2012, 01:04 PM
 
14,752 posts, read 28,604,934 times
Reputation: 8780
Quote:
Originally Posted by miticoman View Post
Said that.. all the best to you and your friends team, enjoy the Italian vacation

.
Francesco da Mosto - YouTube
Mitico, in that YouTube, I see the Ca' d'Oro! Very true about the crime in Italy. After a few trips to Europe, a person learns that what might be a Mediterranean face is actually an "ex-communitario" face. That is, people from the Eastern bloc of former Communist countries and they are responsible for a lot of the petty theft. Some come from other places, altogether. The gypsies you see in Italy cause a lot of problems and are also from other places. The same is true for the prostitutes. The only time I've witnessed a crime in Europe was in Madrid's Plaza Major, which would be like Venice's Saint Mark's Square. Running like a cheetah through the crowd was a man from sub-Saharan Africa who had just snatched a purse. If he was slightly slower, I'm sure someone could have tackled or tripped him. The police were chasing him, but I think he outran them.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 01:28 PM
 
548 posts, read 1,806,134 times
Reputation: 186
I've been twice in the past 3 years and have had no problems and have felt completely safe without a guide though tours are nice. Only problem I've had with the police is them telling me I couldn't take a particular picture....it was the American Embassy so I guess they were on high alert. Yes, like all cities even in the US be careful. Don't carry a purse, instead have a camera bag draped cross shoulder. Men put wallet in front pocket. Don't look lost or confused even if you are. Just shake your head no when people approach you and walk away. Some are persistent. As in all travel keep your guard up. Strikes, yes they can be a problem. We worried this last trip about Lufthansa but they settled to at least not strike again until a later date. If they did strike it would only have affected our trip back and we didn't care....we could stay in Italy forever.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 01:35 PM
 
14,752 posts, read 28,604,934 times
Reputation: 8780
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinkBeforeYouVote View Post
I lived in Italy for a summer and have been back two more times since then...it's definitely one of the best places in the world to visit.

In Rome, just walk around and go into every church you see. I'm not Catholic (or even Christian) and I found the churches in Rome to be the best part. Vatican is amazing, but you need to make sure you buy the tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum Tour, you get a top-notch tour guide as well as getting to skip the lines. The Vatican is an absolute must-see. As is the Coloseum and Forum if you get a good tour guide. Go through Viator, they were amazing and incredibly professional. Our guide in the Forums was a literal walking encyclopedia. Interestingly enough, our best meals in Rome came at two very odd places: A restaurant at the foot of the Coloseum called "Coming Out" which was a gay place but the food was incredible and it's one of only a few restaurants where you can eat outside in direct line-of-sight to the Coloseum. The other restaurant which was amazing was in the Jewish quarter...it was a Jewish-Italian restaurant which had some really unique things I'd never heard of and which were spectacular. But food in Italy is basically all wonderful unless you're going to the touristy places.

I really don't like Venice, but it's definitely something you should experience. I'd make that the shortest portion...two days is definitely enough. If you want to see Canals in a city, go to Belgium or The Netherlands where they are clean and not lined by graffiti-covered and pee-soaked walls.

Florence is a freaking painting in 3 dimensions. It's stunningly gorgeous and the museums are wonderful. It's a city you can definitely spend a few days in. Make sure to go to the top of Florence Cathedral, the views from the top of the dome are breathtaking. Food in Florence is fantastic, but a bit more expensive than other places in Italy.

Pisa is nothing special outside of the Leaning Tower. Verona is only notable because of Romeo and Juliet. Milan is interesting, but not beautiful. Lago Di Como is stunning (if you've watched Attack of the Clones, the planet of Naboo scene where Anakin and Padme marry is filmed there) but out of the way being near the Swiss border.

Personally, I think Naples is the most underrated city in Europe. It's far cheaper than the other major Italian cities, has the best pizza in the country without question, has the best shopping (Via Roma), the best Gelato, the Island of Capri is a short (and cheap) boat ride away, Vesuvius and Pompeii is right there and is a tour you must go on. People talk about the crime there, but being American I don't see it to be a problem compared to most of our major cities. I walked alone through alleys and random streets and just about everywhere in the city (dressed in Khakis and a button down with nice shoes as I always am) and never once had a problem.

Italy is amazing, just be prepared to gain about 5-10 pounds a week while you're there.
Agree and disagree:

Rome
Vatican - yes, dedicate about 2 days for things in Vatican City, including the guided museum tour, and 2 days of the other things.
Restaurants - lots of good trattorie all over the city. The Italians love American words, so "coming out" in their lexicon is no surprise, along with "part time." I wish the Italians used some of their own words. Private is "privato," but privacy is "privacy?" Why not "privasia" just like "cortesia" means courtesy? There is a Jewish quarter in Rome near Trastevere and I believe there are some ancient synagogues one can tour. Most people don't, but there definitely is Jewish history in Rome, as there is in Venice's island containing La Giudecca. There is also a hill near Trastevere (forgot the name, it has the Tempietto) which offers close-up views of the Vatican complex.

Venice
I think Venice is much more interesting than Florence, and people will be divided on this. How they wedged a city with so much craftsmanship into over 100 tiny islands is indescribable.

Florence
Compact and easy to see. I have not climbed to the top of the Duomo, but have climbed to the top of St. Peter's in Rome, which is fascinating and makes for a spectacular view. In Florence, I have gone to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, which overlooks the entire city from a hillside viewpoint, and is an easy bus ride away (I believe the #13, but check). It makes for the postcard view of Florence which INCLUDES the Duomo in it. Women seem to like Florence quite a bit, because of all the art, ceramics, jewelry, and high-end goods you can buy there, and men just seem to be along for the shopping ritual.

Lake Como
Yes. Another vote for Lake Como, and you might as well spend a SHORT time in Milan, even if just to see their Cathedral, which you can also climb to the top of. That one doesn't have a cupola, but you'll be walking on the roof next to a thousand different statuettes on spires. Not only that, it would be a counterpoint to the great Italian cities in that it is a place of natural beauty. Better Lake Como than Pisa or Verona. Very few people are wowed by Pisa or Verona. Many people are wowed by Lake Como, which includes the noted town of Bellagio.

Naples
Best seen with a guide or a relative, or just immediately go to Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast WITHOUT stopping. Whatever pizza you can get in Naples, you will also get in adjacent areas. Seriously. I have cousins in Italy who experienced a petty crime here and I avoided "un scippo" (a backpack snatching) adjacent to Piazza Carlo III, because something "didn't look right." To the poster here, you got lucky. Many fine watches and jewelry have disappeared from unsuspecting tourists on the ferries to the islands. Yes, some of them are jovial, the views with Vesuvius are great, and their pizza is the best, but NOT on your first "meat and potatoes" trip.* The de facto "meat and potatoes" trip to Italy for those who have 7 to 10 days is always Rome-Florence-Venice.

*the first time I went to South America, I deliberately put Rio de Janeiro LAST. Why? Because I knew it was dicey. Guess what? There, too, I avoided a mugging because something "didn't look right."
 
Old 10-19-2012, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Staten Island, NY
6,480 posts, read 6,198,201 times
Reputation: 6959
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms_Christina View Post
Don't forget sweaters and rain gear. March is a crazy month and usually a bit chilly, rainy and cloudy.
Marzo pazzerello, se vedi il sole prendi l'ombrello!

March madness, if you see the sun grab the umbrella.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 03:35 PM
 
Location: SW France
14,248 posts, read 14,134,918 times
Reputation: 27914
We stayed here four years ago- good position located on a canal just off the Grand Canal;

Hotel Ca' Dogaressa Venice | Official Site | Venice Hotel, Inns in Venice Italy
 
Old 10-20-2012, 02:59 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
Reputation: 13019
With the exception of the Forum and immediate surrounding area, in my opinion no guide is needed for Rome--total waste of money.

You will be INUNDATED with beggars, thieves, and pickpockets in Rome. I think the only place that is worse is Barcelona, and not by much. Respond "VAI VIA-NO!!" (No, go away!) and be very sharp about it. Don't be afraid of insulting them. Don't make eye contact and put up your hand palm out to them to let them know you mean it. You can also call them "Blatta" (****roach). (If you have it in you, learn how to put the f-bomb in front of that for the best effect) Never hang a bag or pocketbook over the back of a chair in a restaurant. I used a cross body bag and never took it off, and when I sat down to eat, I put my DSLR in my lap with the strap tucked under my leg.

They are slick, and I mean really slick. They'll slit the bottom out of your cargo pocket so your wallet just drops out without you realizing it. In my opinion the best defense is a good offense. If they know you know what they are trying to do, they'll find an easier target. Another good tactic is to turn around with your camera and take a photo of them. They hate that and will leave quickly.

DO NOT even look at the people selling illegal items on the street like purses, umbrellas and "splat" toys. Keep walking, don't engage them. You can be arrested and FINED about $250 for buying a counterfeit item.

Keep your valuables close, only carry what you really need, and keep all but a few Euro in cash plus credit cards, passport, etc. secreted in a money belt under your clothing.

You need to be very aware of your surroundings, keep track of your possessions, and be very assertive in how you walk and move. Don't look at a map on the street, instead duck into a shop.

We found the Italians to be overall polite but indifferent towards us. They didn't seem to care one way or the other if we visited except a few people we met in a neighborhood WAY off the beaten path and not in the tourist areas. They seemed to really enjoy using their limited English and I really enjoyed trying my limited Italian--we had a crazy conversation but it was a lot of fun and we made it work.
 
Old 10-20-2012, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,969,510 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms_Christina View Post
Don't forget sweaters and rain gear. March is a crazy month and usually a bit chilly, rainy and cloudy.
I would not go on a long-awaited trip to middle or Northern Italy in March. April-May much better, with everything greening up. Are you going to do the Cinque Terre? That is my dream when I go back.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...QEwAg&dur=1079
Attached Thumbnails
Italy for 10-12 days? Advice? Opinions?-vernazzacolor.jpg  
 
Old 10-21-2012, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,280,038 times
Reputation: 3935
I have more suggestions than I know what to do with! I appreciate everyone responding, I'll be sure to look up quite a few places!

I'm buying our plane tickets this week and will likely book the hotel rooms as well. I had a conference call with my siblings earlier this afternoon to make sure we're all on the same page. We've made a democratic decision that it'd be best to get separate hotel rooms instead of trying to share rooms...it's just not going to work as we all have radically different types of schedules and biological clocks. I'm trying to figure rough estimates for everything so I can get a baseline of what expenses we're going to incur, if anyone can give me some information about the "?" ones I'd be appreciative.

PHX-FCO and VCE-PHX = $1050/ pp or $6300 total
_____________________________________________
$6300 total for air travel

St. Regis Rome = $470/ night, five rooms $2350, five nights total- $11,750
St. Regis Florence = $760/ night, five rooms $3800, four nights total- $15,200
Westin Europa & Regina Venice = $380/ night, five rooms $1900, two nights- $3800
__________________________________________________ _________________________
$30,750 total for accommodations

FOOD I figured at $80 per person per day? Roughly $500 total per day?
__________________________________________________ __________
$6000 total for food for 12 day visit? Accurate?

Museum passes? Not a clue
High speed rail between the cities? No idea.
Other expenses I'm not thinking of?

Dad wanted a base amount of what I figured the trip would cost, after flight, hotel, and food...I'm thinking of between $45K and $50K for the six of us for 12 days in Italy. Sounds realistic to me albeit a bit more than I originally thought.
 
Old 10-22-2012, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,410,486 times
Reputation: 6895
If you want a Starwood property in Venice, I would look to the Hotel Danieli before the Westin. A regular guest room is perhaps ~$100 more a night, but worth the difference, though view rooms and suites are significantly more expensive, though perhaps not as expensive as the Cipriani-Vendramin or some of the Bauer Hotel rooms.

For train travel, book through Eurail where you can buy passes for the number of days you need. You can book Italy only, which will allow you to be able to go to side trips via rail, should you wish to do so when in Italy. DO NOT travel anything other than First Class on the trains, however, as the other classes are more suited to adventure travel than a relaxing experience. A 10 day pass within two months in Italy is somewhere around $500 for First Class, so it's not a bad deal, overall, especially since you have flexibility to be able to go to side destinations. If you are all traveling together, you may even be able to get the group rate on the trains, but if some want to go to one destination, and others to another, it's easier to have individual passes.

Also, do not forget travel insurance, including emergency medical insurance/evacuation. It can be a great help, and sometimes it's better to pay extra for the service than to depend upon a free benefit from a credit card, I have found. It's a nominal expense, and much less expensive than pay and claim for medical services that are covered under the policy.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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