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northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 01:51 PM   #1
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northern italy travel expereinces

A query for those travelers among you...

We are starting to put together a two week itinerary for northern Italy in late May time frame. We are interested in several of the obvious - Florence, Tuscany, NW coast, lakes, maybe Venice, maybe Milan. We certainly won't be able to do it all the way we like to travel (we prefer slower travel when touring - a few days in each place - with a liesurely sightseeing/travel day in between - as opposed to being constantly on the move). We also like the idea of an out of town home base (agritourism) for day tripping into more urban or tourist center locations where feasible, and prefer apartments or small hotels with local color to international chains. Does anyone have any suggestions or stories to share on good ways go with this - e.g. out the way places not to be missed, good sources for in-country travel arrangements, interesting local accommodations, etc? Any suggestions would be appreciated. It'll be our first time there.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 02:04 PM   #2
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces


I've traveled a bit through western Europe and some through Asia, and I've found Portofino, Santa Margarita and the Cinque Terra to be the most enchanting places I've been. Nice, and Monte Carlo are not far and worth it for the spectacle, but these cities are beautiful, friendly, great food, and just warm in every way.

devo
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 02:10 PM   #3
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

See http://crookedtimber.org/2007/02/28/...ed-in-firenze/ for a list of Florence-specific suggestions.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 02:26 PM   #4
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

My only suggestion is to mix up the cities with the countryside. Both Florence and Venice are fantastic, each in their own way. But when we traveled we did them both back to back. We spent several days in Florence and nearly ran ourselves into the ground seeing all the palaces, museums and cathedrals. We then took a train up to Venice and saw . . . palaces, museums and cathedrals. A better trip would have done one or the other city along with the countryside.

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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 04:48 PM   #5
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Many may disagree but I prefer Siena to Florence. Yes, Florence is a must-see but I wouldn't spend more than one night there. I thought it was overcrowded and overpriced. Siena was magical.

Stayed in a wonderful agriturismo in Tuscan countryside. Restored 15th century farmhouse with panaoramic views of hills and vineyards. With a nice pool which also had views.

Enjoyed Umbrian hill town of Assisi. Beautiful frescoes at St. Francis of Assisi cathedral. Enjoyed stay at Hotel Umbria... ideal location.

Italy is my favorite vacation destination. Enjoy.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-03-2007, 10:55 PM   #6
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Thanks, all, for the pointers and recommendations. The coastal towns are high on our rader. The Firenze thread looks helpful, as well as suggestions on Siena and Tuscan countryside. Pacing ourselves across varied locations will be in keeping with our style. I'd like to put together a managable loop, of varied pace, between rail and a car rental.

Califdreamer, did you have recommendations or use an agent to find/book your agriturismo? Or do you self-plan and use online site like agriturismo.com?

Thanks again for the replies and suggestions.

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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-04-2007, 12:18 AM   #7
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

If you stop overnight in Assisi, I would highly recommend this hotel. http://www.ilmaniero.com
They have a fantastic open restaurant in the back next to a very clean open pool. It's not too far from St. Francis, although you need to drive down a long dirt road to get to the hotel. It's a hidden gem.

If you want to travel around Tuscany for a few days, make your headquarters in San Gimignano. Then take day trips to Siena, Pisa, Florence, and a few others. I would recommend any dish with wild boar which is a local specialty.

If you go to Venice, don't forget to visit the islands of Murano and Burano as well. Venice is a 3 or 4 day visit if you really want to enjoy your visit. The gondola rides are expensive at about $150 an hour, but if you can find 5 people to go with you, it's not too bad split 6 ways.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-04-2007, 04:03 AM   #8
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Quote:
Originally Posted by stw

Califdreamer, did you have recommendations or use an agent to find/book your agriturismo? Or do you self-plan and use online site like agriturismo.com?
We were very fortunate to find this particular site by visiting a Tourist Information office in Tuscany on the same day we stayed at the agriturismo. This was in early June a few years ago. If you're going later than that during high season it may well require more advance planning. I've always found agriturismo lodging at tourist info centers and have been very pleased with the results. Of course, this is for travel in May and June typically. Could be whole different story in July and August.

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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-04-2007, 09:30 PM   #9
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Thanks for additional replies. Just locked in flights to arrive in Venice and leave from Milan. Itinerary yet to be fleshed out, but now thinking a couple nights in Venice (to get our legs back); several days at a Tuscany home base for day visits to countryside, Siena and Florence; on to Cinque Terra (or nearby coast) for a few days; with one last stop in Milan (or somewhere yet TBD, but near enough for easy morning ariport run on departure day). You can see some of your comments reflected in the above. Thanks again for the advice.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-05-2007, 12:45 AM   #10
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

My sister was studying abroad in Italy and she had a 'fall break.' My Dad decided that rather than have her running around Italy, he'd pay for me to head out there and spend 10 days with her.

She was studying in Florence, so I spent a few days there. Met her Italian boyfriend who sold me some nice Italian leather goods at a nice price, and we went to a wonderful gelato place.

I liked Milan. Of course that is biased by the fact that we had 7th row tickets to see Diana Krall.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-05-2007, 07:34 AM   #11
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peaceful_Warrior
My sister was studying abroad in Italy...
Every time I go to Italy I study a broad.
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces
Old 03-05-2007, 12:31 PM   #12
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Re: northern italy travel expereinces

Just one? I couldn't stop studying almost everywhere I went!

Quote:
Originally Posted by retire@40
Every time I go to Italy I study a broad.
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