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Old 11-19-2013, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
281 posts, read 713,286 times
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The wife and I would like to go to Italy next year. I've been once before with a bus tour, my wife has never been there. We know we want to enjoy lots of the local food, visit Rome, Pompeii, the caves in Capri, etc. I have no interest in going to Venice, the Vatican, or any historic churches.

Does anyone have vacation packages they could recommend? It would be great to find an easy way to book hotels and travel. I would consider a tour, but it would have to meet our needs.

I'd love to hear any input you can provide.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:26 PM
 
Location: SW France
14,253 posts, read 14,140,845 times
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We organised our own trip last time we went, booking hotels directly after consulting TripAdvisor.

We sorted out our flights, going in to Venice and flying back from Naples (horrible airport).

Travel around the country- Venice to Florence, Florence to Naples (and on to the Amalfi coast)- was by train which proved to be a good way to get around.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:06 PM
 
2,593 posts, read 5,291,302 times
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I suspect that any organized tour that goes to Rome is going to go to the Vatican. One of the big reasons for going with an organized tour is that it gets you into the Vatican with less waiting. So you may want to organize this yourself.

The train from Naples to Pompeii- and then onwards to Sorrento- is more akin to a subway than a real train. Despite the melodious name (Circumvesuvia). Don't be surprised. For a more upscale experience take the boat on the return. Even so, Pompeii is not to be missed.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,536,769 times
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We flew into Milan and rented a car which we drove around for three weeks. I booked a hotel in Lago Maggiore for 2 nights and then rented an apartment for 2 weeks at a place called Prato Verde:
Prato Verde, Lucca - Restaurant Reviews - TripAdvisor
...which was on hillside in the Tuscan countryside between Lucca and Viareggio. From there we took day trips into Lucca, Florence and elsewhere. At the end we drove to Venice, turned in the car, and took a 1-week Royal Caribbean cruise from there to Greece and Croatia and back. We then took a train/bus back to the Milan airport, and flew home from there. I booked it all myself directly through the businesses where we stayed using google searches and review sites to guide my choices. It all worked out well and wasn't too hard. The driving was a challenge at times, but it was also the most fun part in many ways.

If you're looking for everything rolled into one package, you'll probably need to do a tour or a cruise. Or you could work with an agent (online or in person) and let them help you get it all figured out.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:40 PM
 
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The caves in Capri? You mean the blue grotto?

I have been on Capri no fewer than six times and have never seen the blue grotto. You need to be there when the water is at the right level, the tide is right and the weather is right (and there isn't too long of a queue). So it's a gamble.

If you are interested in Pompeii and I assume one of your reasons for going to Rome is to see the forum and other ruins (given that you aren't interested in the Vatican or any historic churches, which is generally the main reason people go to Rome) you may want to be aware that several churches in Rome and Naples do have fascinating Roman ruins tucked away in their crypts and basements.

Italy is easy to travel around. Book your flights. Book hotels via booking.com. Take trains from city to city. From your list you may want to focus on the south of Italy, flying in/out of Rome and traveling to Naples and the Bay of Naples environs. Naples isn't to everyone's taste but it probably has the best (and best priced) food in Italy. The Amalfi coast is lovely and easily reachable from Naples via the ferries.

By the way, may I ask why you have no interest in Venice? Forgive me for saying this but it sounds like a harsh dismissal. You may have already seen the place but your wife may enjoy it and it's hard to pass up if you've never seen the city before. Venice is truly unique.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyzbo View Post
The wife and I would like to go to Italy next year. I've been once before with a bus tour, my wife has never been there. We know we want to enjoy lots of the local food, visit Rome, Pompeii, the caves in Capri, etc. I have no interest in going to Venice, the Vatican, or any historic churches.

Does anyone have vacation packages they could recommend? It would be great to find an easy way to book hotels and travel. I would consider a tour, but it would have to meet our needs.

I'd love to hear any input you can provide.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
281 posts, read 713,286 times
Reputation: 303
We are honing in on Rome and southern Italy. There are pre-set vacation tours that hit these areas, could anyone recommend a tour company or travel agent?
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:24 AM
 
12,292 posts, read 18,409,613 times
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You really don't need an organized tour for Italy unless you enjoy traveling with senior citizens or visiting shop after shop where the tour guides get their commission. I would strongly recommend going on your own. I mean, this is western Europe we are talking about, very easy (the Middle East and some place in Asia I can understand, but not Europe).

For beginners to "do it yourself" there are some guides that give recommended routes and walk you through it all. Such as Rick Steves. You will have a much more rewarding experience I promise you. Don't rent a car, they are useless in Rome, use the train and public transportation, which is very easy to figure out.

I think your plan is otherwise good - focus on Southern Italy for a week, circle down to Capri and the Amalfi coast, and also you can make it up to Florence. It's really a shame that you want to avoid the Vatican however. I do not know why you would want to miss that. Forget about any religious significance if that's your issue. The artwork alone makes it into the "do no miss" category. I would almost say if you don't want to do the Vatican or some of the other very beautiful or historically significant churches, why are you even going to Rome?
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
304 posts, read 857,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
You really don't need an organized tour for Italy unless you enjoy traveling with senior citizens or visiting shop after shop where the tour guides get their commission. I would strongly recommend going on your own. I mean, this is western Europe we are talking about, very easy (the Middle East and some place in Asia I can understand, but not Europe).

For beginners to "do it yourself" there are some guides that give recommended routes and walk you through it all. Such as Rick Steves. You will have a much more rewarding experience I promise you. Don't rent a car, they are useless in Rome, use the train and public transportation, which is very easy to figure out.

I think your plan is otherwise good - focus on Southern Italy for a week, circle down to Capri and the Amalfi coast, and also you can make it up to Florence. It's really a shame that you want to avoid the Vatican however. I do not know why you would want to miss that. Forget about any religious significance if that's your issue. The artwork alone makes it into the "do no miss" category. I would almost say if you don't want to do the Vatican or some of the other very beautiful or historically significant churches, why are you even going to Rome?
Excellent advice! My wife and I just got back from our first non-UK trip to Europe and stayed in Florence and Rome. We were apprehensive about not doing a guided tour but we picked up Rick Steves' guides and were absolutely fine getting around in Italy by ourselves. When we used short Italian phrases the locals smiled that we were at least trying to speak the language but most everyone knew English and was extremely friendly. And yes, if you do decide to go guided tour most everyone in it will be in their 60's or 70's and/or Russian (especially in Rome). Honestly, just get a Rick Steves or other guide book, pick a couple things you would like to see each day and EXPLORE ON YOUR OWN!
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:03 AM
 
Location: SW France
14,253 posts, read 14,140,845 times
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I echo the advice about not requiring an organised tour.

We didn't and at the time non of us spoke Italian.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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I actually just got back from Italy, did the 'Best of Italy' tour with Trafalgar: overall it was good since we had limited time and we saw a ton of the country, but it does go to Venice and you do go to a lot of churches. You do go to Capri but don't get to see the Blue Grotto. Considering the price of accommodation I don't think it was too expensive but I don't know what you'd think. If you book ahead it shouldn't be too hard to organise it yourself. It sounds like you'd probably want to focus on Rome and the Naples area, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi coast.etc. In that case perhaps fly into Rome and then go to Naples and travel in that region.
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