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We are going to what?
Old 03-09-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
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We are going to what?

Thank you for all your responses to my previous thread. Now, I need some MAJOR help planning. We are going at the end of November/ beginning of December. We will be in Italy 14 days and traveling 2 days for a total of 16 days. Our budget is around $8,000 but I can save more if needed (within reason...$8,000 can't become $12,000).

We love food and wine. We think we can stand to do 3 half days of museums and the like. We don't mind looking at things but not for 14 days straight. I am thinking at least one food tour and one cooking class. Visiting some wineries of course. I am nervous about the winery visits because we don't like long visits. We are pretty quick. I guess in general we are not "stop and smell the roses" type of vacation people and I have an attention spand of a 10 year old. It seems like so much is go to this museum, go look at this statute. Please help plan a great trip! I really appreciate your help and advice!

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Old 03-09-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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I would suggest you get Rick Steve's book on Italy. It's probably available in your local library if you want to check it out before buying.

He's a LBYM kind of traveler, prefering to experience local life than spending a ton of money on expensive hotels and food. He has good reviews on which museums are worth your time and money and which to pass by.

When we did our last Europe vacation we stayed in a grandma's house in Florence, a monestary in Prague, and a funky old B&B in Rothenburg, Germany, all for very little money and all thanks to Rick Steve's book recommendations. It's the only way we'll travel now.

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #3
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Great decision, you'll remember your trip to Italy forever!

I posted in the last thread, for a 14-day trip I'd choose from (in order):
1. Rome
2. Venice
3. Florence

4. Milan

Though I'm not current so I'd be pouring over guide books, Rick Steve's would be a good one, and lots of online searches.

Are you more inclined to organized group tours, traveling completely independent or something in between? Makes a big difference IMO...

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #4
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We prefer to travel independently. Thanks for the tips. We do have a copy of Rick Steve's.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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The weather will likely be damp and chilly (if not cold) so be prepared. We were in Rome in late October one year and expected it to be much warmer than it was.

If you are there once Advent starts (December 1 this year) you will probably find some Christmas markets which would be interesting - great places to shop for unique gifts.

Enjoy! Look forward to reading your posts about the trip when you return in December.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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Not sure if this is a "once in a lifetime" trip for you. Obviously, you can't see all of Italy in one trip (unless you stay there for a year).

You should see Rome and Venice, but I would recommend Tuscany.

Fly into either Rome or Milan. Here are some options:

If you fly into Rome, go to the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, etc.

If you fly into Milan, go to the Duomo, and book a one-day tour to see one of the many cheese and prosciutto factories in Parma, take a one-day trip to Lugano, Switzerland (one hour from Milan), go to Bergamo and Stresa. If you have a few more days, visit "Cinque Terre."

Rent a car and drive to San Gimignano for your a base camp.
From there you can visit Siena, Pisa (just to see the Leaning Tower, otherwise, nothing else to see), and other neighboring towns.
You won't be disappointed with any dish with wild boar. It's the specialty in Tuscany.
Have a gelato every night.

Venice would be good if you still have time and are not exhausted. Visit the islands of Murano and Burano while you are there (1/2 day to 1 day per island).

I didn't even mention Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, etc.

Remember: You can't rush Italy.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
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Go to this website Slow Travel Italy - Vacation rentals, villas, reviews, hotels, restaurants, travel information and start reading.

If you would rather relax and let someone else do all the planning and getting you around to the right place at the right time, I can offer no higher recommendation than Country Walkers Country Walkers | Award-winning travel | Vacation ideas | Worldwide destinations | CW . The basic idea is that you walk from inn to inn, and they transfer your bags. Most meals were included. I really enjoyed seeing the area from a very human perspective -- ground level and at a pace that allowed me to fully absorb the look and feel of the land. We used them for our first trip to Italy (around the Lakes).**

The guided Country Walkers trip gave us the confidence to make subsequent trips on our own. That's where the Slow Travel site comes in. It has everything you could possibly want to know about where to go, what to do, eating, finding a place to stay, how to drive in Italy, etc., etc., etc. That was the foundational site for all my trip planning. Another helpful site for finding a hotel is Venere.comŽ | Hotels, B&B, Vacation Rentals: Hotel Deals and Reviews

My own preference is to stay in one relatively small area for a week at a time. It minimizes the time needed to pack up and check out and travel and check in and unpack. You really get to know a place if you get to spend all of several days there. Last year, we spent the whole week in Rome, and there was still plenty we did not see. The year before, we spent a whole week just in Florence. We need to go back again to see the rest of Tuscany. We spent a week around the Bay of Naples (Naples itself, Capri, Sorrento, the Amalfi coast). We also once spent a week driving around Sicily.

One big tip -- if you want to go to the big museums, such as the Uffizzi or the Accademie in Florence or to the Vatican Museum, buy your tickets on-line before you go. The lines are horrendously long if you don't. Here is a site from which we have purchased many times. Italy Travel and Vacation Packages - Buy Tickets Online for Museums, Trains, The Vatican, Uffizi and More.

** if you don't want to (or can't) do a walking trip, I also highly recommend R. Crusoe & Son We used them for a trip to Peru and could not have been more pleased. It was a private tour with just the young wife and me. They pampered us from the minute we arrived until the minute we left and we got to see the specific things we wanted, on our own schedule. It was expensive, but worth every penny.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tnj2tnj2 View Post
Now, I need some MAJOR help planning. We are going at the end of November/ beginning of December.
If you get there before the 24th try to go to the biennale.

La Biennale di Venezia - Entry page per l'arte

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