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Old 10-11-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,313,908 times
Reputation: 3936

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I'm in the initial planning stages of a trip to Italy and just wanted to get some advice from some forum members about traveling to Italy what to see/do/eat/etc?

My three siblings and I are all between our late 20's and mid 30's and our parents have been on a kick to take a family trip together. We've been going back and forth for about a year deciding when to go, where to go, what dates work, how long to go, and we finally decided on a destination and time that works for everyone. The consensus is Italy for between 10 and 12 days in early March of next year. I've never been there and two of my siblings haven't either; we figure a trip like this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as a family.

Basically leave on Friday March 1st and come back on March 11th or March 13th depending if my brother can get two days more off work. The tentative plan is seeing the three main cities in Italy- Rome, Venice, and Florence; Rome for 5 days, Venice for 4 days, and Florence for 3 days with possible side excursions to other cities like Vatican City, Pisa, and Verona if we have time. I'm the unofficial family travel planner so I've been tasked with setting up the trip and wanted to reach out to the forum for advice.

Where should we stay? Where did you stay when you went?
Where to eat?
Where to shop?
What to all see?
Any excellent websites for Italian travel?

So far, it sounds like my brother can get two days more days off for a total of 12 days to explore the country.

It's all being paid for generously by my parents so money isn't a big issue; it's about family bonding time more than anything.

Anyone who has traveled to Italy for an extended period please chime in! I figured a tentative cost analysis of somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 for 6 of us including airfare, transportation between cities, hotel rooms, food, museum admissions, etc. Is this reasonable for a 12 day Italian trip or should I budget a bit higher? Anyone that has gone, what did you end up spending in total if you remember?

Thanks

Last edited by SpeedyAZ; 10-11-2012 at 11:06 AM..

 
Old 10-11-2012, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,609 posts, read 11,134,260 times
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Wow. Lucky you. Up front, you'll want more time in Rome. At least I do when I've gone. Vatican City is really in Rome, so it's not much of a side trip, as a visiting spot out of your Roman base.

Italy has great transportation systems, and the train is by far the easiest way to go from place to place.

For me, one of the most under-rated places to go is Naples. If it was me, in March, I'd go south instead of north. In Napoli you have Pompeii, Herculaeneum, Capri, Vesuvius, Amalfi and food to die for. There's new high speed rail to Rome from Naples.

Your budgeting is solid, there's a ton of hotels of every stripe, and you really have to decide what you want, and there'll be something to match. As far as food and where to eat, follow the locals. There's not much Italians love more than food, and there's endless opportunity.


As the grand planner, get a good tour book. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy: Adele Evans,DK Publishing,Ian O'Leary,Susi Cheshire,Elinor Hodgson,Gillian Arthur,Reid Bramblett,Roberta Kedzierski: 9780756684051: Amazon.com: Books is one of my preferred ones, mostly because I'm a map geek and like knowing physically where everything is, and finding my own way. Get together with everyone and have a discussion about what THEY want to see (you included) then, piece together your trip from that. With a good book, you can then fill out your itinerary from that.

Use Tripadvisor.com for decent, generally unbiased reviews on hotels, and the best advice I can give, don't live and die by a schedule. If you decide you want an extra day here, or leave early from there, do it.
 
Old 10-11-2012, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,544 posts, read 9,973,509 times
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For the length of time you are going, I don't know that I'd want to set up shop in three different locations. I'd pick two places and split the time. There are still plenty of things to see in each place, and easy day trips if you wan to try something different. Last March we stayed 10 days in Florence and didn't get tired of it. The only thing we set in stone was a Tuscan wine tour (which was great) - the rest of the days we could wing it. We did day trips to Lucca, Siena and Fiesole.
 
Old 10-11-2012, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,313,908 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Wow. Lucky you. Up front, you'll want more time in Rome. At least I do when I've gone. Vatican City is really in Rome, so it's not much of a side trip, as a visiting spot out of your Roman base.

Italy has great transportation systems, and the train is by far the easiest way to go from place to place.

For me, one of the most under-rated places to go is Naples. If it was me, in March, I'd go south instead of north. In Napoli you have Pompeii, Herculaeneum, Capri, Vesuvius, Amalfi and food to die for. There's new high speed rail to Rome from Naples.

Your budgeting is solid, there's a ton of hotels of every stripe, and you really have to decide what you want, and there'll be something to match. As far as food and where to eat, follow the locals. There's not much Italians love more than food, and there's endless opportunity.


As the grand planner, get a good tour book. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy: Adele Evans,DK Publishing,Ian O'Leary,Susi Cheshire,Elinor Hodgson,Gillian Arthur,Reid Bramblett,Roberta Kedzierski: 9780756684051: Amazon.com: Books is one of my preferred ones, mostly because I'm a map geek and like knowing physically where everything is, and finding my own way. Get together with everyone and have a discussion about what THEY want to see (you included) then, piece together your trip from that. With a good book, you can then fill out your itinerary from that.

Use Tripadvisor.com for decent, generally unbiased reviews on hotels, and the best advice I can give, don't live and die by a schedule. If you decide you want an extra day here, or leave early from there, do it.
I figured spending the most time in Rome. Maybe 6 days with 3 days each in Florence and Venice.

I wouldn't mind taking a day trip to Naples or Pompeii by high speed rail. We might be able to fit that in.

I don't want a "schedule" per say, I'd much rather have some tentative plan that can change as we see fit.

I'm thinking the St. Regis in Rome would be a safe bet for the brunt of our trip; I haven't checked into places in Venice or Florence yet.

I'll have to order that guide! Thanks!

Quote:
For the length of time you are going, I don't know that I'd want to set up shop in three different locations. I'd pick two places and split the time. There are still plenty of things to see in each place, and easy day trips if you wan to try something different. Last March we stayed 10 days in Florence and didn't get tired of it. The only thing we set in stone was a Tuscan wine tour (which was great) - the rest of the days we could wing it. We did day trips to Lucca, Siena and Fiesole.
We pretty much are set on three destinations; each of these cities are on our list of places to visit and 12 days seems plenty to visit all of them.

Wine tour sounds fun as well!
 
Old 10-12-2012, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,337 posts, read 45,097,188 times
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Being a car guy, see if you can tour the Ferarri and/or Lambroghini factories.
 
Old 10-14-2012, 12:01 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,313,908 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Being a car guy, see if you can tour the Ferarri and/or Lambroghini factories.
Will have to check into that!

I'm really looking for some advice on where to eat, places to see besides regular tourist haunts, and some information about pricing. Anyone have any advice on these matters?
 
Old 10-14-2012, 11:41 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,738,173 times
Reputation: 13024
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Being a car guy, see if you can tour the Ferarri and/or Lambroghini factories.
Not going to happen. If you don't OWN a one of those cars, you ain't getting in. You are welcome to tour the museums.
 
Old 10-14-2012, 11:55 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,738,173 times
Reputation: 13024
I like the Rick Steves Pocket Rome. Gives you what you need but not what you don't.

Speaking of what you don't, you don't need four days in Venice. Two full days is enough, and that will still give you time to go to Murano. Take the Doges Palace Secret Itineraries Tour--very cool and worth the Euros.

You can see a lot of Rome in four days, but given the option I'd go for six. Two of those days will be spent in the Vatican City. It takes 4-6 hours to really see everything at St. Peters (and climb to the top of the Cupola--awful but well worth it in the end) and a full six to see the Vatican Museum. The Coloseum and Forum area take a full day.

Pompeii is worth the visit, I'd suggest hiring a guide, the site is huge and can be confusing, even with a map. The highlights can be seen in a full day, it would take over a week to see the entire site.

Florence is amazing, if you've only got two days there you won't be able to visit the Tuscan countryside to visit wineries.

The budget is good, keep in mind that it's a travel day in each direction, so even if your brother can get 12 days, in reality you'll only have 10.

Don't eat in the tourist areas if you can avoid it (all of Venice is a tourist area). We have found the best food in Rome to be in neighborhoods 10-15 blocks from the tourist areas.
 
Old 10-14-2012, 04:51 PM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
905 posts, read 3,073,587 times
Reputation: 712
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.
 
Old 10-14-2012, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Terra
188 posts, read 830,898 times
Reputation: 132
There's lots of info on line, just google italy forum. One of my favorites is slow travel talk Italy, I would post the site info but it will get removed.

I would not plan anything for the first day, when you get get you will want to recover from the jetlag. But I guess that might just be me. Arriving at 8 AM and just flying all night I would just arrive, take a small nap and take a passeggiare in the late afternoon but what the hey, I lived in country for 15 years and wouldn't be in a hurry to do anything.

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.

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.

Enjoy and have fun!
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