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Thread: Travel to Italy

  1. #81

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    Grazie mille!

  2. #82
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    °_° OMG. I have been away one day (doing make up & baby sitting on a frankly terrifying number of tiny dancers from a friend's dance school - 4years old & up - I'm still exhausted!) and how many things have already been fixed!!!
    Now I know which day you'll be arriving... let me drink a BIG cup of coffee and I'll do my part of planning what we'll do on those days!

  3. #83

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    Angel,
    Let me know when you'll be ready to receive info on local tickets, transport and organized tours (Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Florence/Tuscany, Venice).

    I have Rome and Sorrento/Amalfi/Pompei/Capri ready. So anytime you have a window from work....

  4. #84
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    Tinami, you are amazing.
    If this is to end in fire
    Then we will all burn together

  5. #85

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    Hi Tinami,

    We had our end of term excursion yesterday (thank God that's over!) and it's all still busy from here on out - I work on the day I leave as well!

    My friend in Rome had a travel agent send me a .pdf of things for each place (tours), but I don't have time to put them into here yet. Some of them involve cooking lessons though

    Here's a basic list:
    • Tour“1 “AM – IN THE HEART OF ROME– (Morning, 3 hrs approx)
      St. Peter’s Square ( visit inside), Navona Square, Pantheon ( inside visit ), Trevi Fountain
    • Tour “1 Bis” AM – ST. PETER’S BASILICA, TREVI FOUNTAIN & SQUARES OF ROME–
      Walking tour (Morning, 2.30 hrs approx ) St. Peter’s Basilica ( inside visit – except on Sunday ), Navona
      Square, Pantheon ( inside visit ), Trevi Fountain
    • Tour “2” PM – ANCIENT ROME - (Afternoon 3 hrs approx)
      Colosseum ( visit inside), Roman Forum ( inside visit ), Palatine Hill ( inside visit )
    • Tour“2 B”PM – COLOSSEUM AND THE ETERNAL ROME – Walking tour (Afternoon, 2,30/3 hrs approx )
      Colosseum (inside visit ), Palatin Hill (inside visit ), Roman Forum (inside visit )
    • Tour “3” AM - VATICAN MUSEUMS, SISTINE CHAPEL & ST. PETER’S BASILICA – (Morning, 4h00 hrs approx)
      Vatican Museums (visit inside), Sistine Chapel(visit inside), St. Peter’s Basilica (visit inside)
    • Tour “3 B” PM - VATICAN MUSEUM & SISTINE CHAPEL - (Afternoon, 3 hrs approx)
      Vatican Museums (visit inside), Sistine Chapel (visit inside)
    • Tour “3C” AM – VATICAN MUSEUMS SISTINE CHAPEL & ST.PETER’S BASILICA –
      Walking tour (Morning, 3 hrs approx )
      Vatican Museum (visit inside), Sistine Chapel ( visit inside), San Peter’s Basilica ( visit inside – except on
      Wednesday )
    • Tour “3C” PM – VATICAN MUSEUMS & SISTINE CHAPEL - Walking tour (Afternoon, 3 hrs approx )
      Vatican Museum (inside), Sistine Chapel (inside)
    • Tour “4” – CHRISTIAN ROME & CATACOMBS (Afternoon, 3 hrs approx)
      Basilica of St John in Lateran (visit inside), Holy Stairs, Catacombs (visit inside) St Mary the Major Basilica (visit
      inside)
    • Tour “5”AM - TIVOLI AND IT’S VILLAS (Morning , 4 hours approx)
      Villa Adriana, Villa D’Este ( visit inside )
    • Tour “6”PM - WINE TASTING & ROMAN COUNTRYSIDE ( CASTELLI ROMANI ) (Afternoon , 3 hours approx)
      Panoramic visit of Castelli Romani area, visit of a vineyard, wine and olive oil
    • Tour “8” - ROME BY NIGHT PANORAMIC TOUR (Afternoon 2 hours, approx )
      Illuminated Rome by night tour with stop at Trevi Fountain ( walking ),
      Capitol Hill, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Janiculum Hill, Castle St. Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trastevere
    • Tour “9” - ROME BY NIGHT with dinner in ‘TRASTEVERE’
      Panoramic tour by bus & dinner in a typical Italian restaurant located in a traditional popular area.
      Stop at Trevi Fountain ( walking ), Capitol, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Viale Trastevere, Janiculum Hill, Castle St.
      Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trastevere
    • Tour “10 “ - PAPAL BLESSING IN CASTEL GANDOLFO - (Morning tour, 3,30 hrs approx)
      According to the Pope’ summer stay in Castel Gandolfo
    • Tour “11 “ - PAPAL AUDIENCE - (Morning tour, 4 hrs approx)
      Public Audience of the Holy Father
      At the Pontificial State’s discretion, the audience might be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square or in the Nervi Hall.
    • MBINED FULL DAY TOUR in Rome with entrance tickets, pick up and drop off, local guide, lunch included
      “1” HEART OF ROME + “2” ANCIENT ROME Operated every days – except on Wednesday
      NET RATES: € 96,00 per person, net to us Rack rate € 109,00 per person
      “1” HEART OF ROME + “4” CHRISTIAN ROME AND OLD APPIAN LINE
      Operated every days – except on Wednesday
      NET RATES: € 90,00 per person net to us Rack rate € 102,00 per person
      “3” VATICAN MUSEUMS AND ST.PETER + “2” ANCIENT ROME
      Operated every days - except on Sundays and Religious holidays
      NET RATES: € 120,00 per person net to us Rack rate € 137,00 per person
      “3” VATICAN MUSEUMS AND ST.PETER + “4” CHRISTIAN ROME AND OLD APPIAN LINE
      Operated every days – except on Sunday and Religious Holidays
      NET RATES: € 110,00 per person net to us Rack rate € 128,00 per person
      “1” HEART OF ROME + “3BIS” VATICAN MUSEUMS
      Operated every days – except on Sunday and Religious Holidays
      NET RATES: € 97,00 per person net to us Rack rate € 110,00 per person
    • Tour “12 “ - CAPRI ISLAND ( 1 day ) – with lunch
    • Tour “13 “ - NAPLES & POMPEII ( 1 day ) – with lunch
      Panoramic tour of Naples city centre & visit of excavations in Pompeii
    • 8
      Tour “15“ - ASSISI – PERUGIA or ORVIETO ( 1 day )
      Discover the charming, Medieval Assisi, Perugia or Orvieto
      Once on the bus, the majority of participants will decide if stop in Perugia or Orvieto.
    • Tour “16 “ - NAPLES, POMPEII, SORRENTO, CAPRI (2 days / 1 night )
      Visit of the centre of Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, Capri. 2 days, 1 night in Sorrento HB
    • Tour “17 “ - NAPLES, POMPEII, SORRENTO, CAPRI ( 3 days / 2 nights )
      Visit of the centre of Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, Capri. 3 days, 2 nights in Sorrento HB
    • Tour “19 A“ - FLORENCE ( 1 day ) with lunch
      Accademia Gallery – St. Maria del Fiore – Piazza della Signoria – Piazza Santa Croce
    • TOUR “M 4” GOURMET & ART EXPERIENCE (Morning, 4 hrs approx)
      Navona Square, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, cooking lesson with chef - Lunch included.
      Learn how o make three different kind of home made pasta, main couse.
    • EXCLUSIVE COOKING LESSON & GROCERY TOUR (Morning, 4 hrs approx)
      Half day activity in Rome City, visit to the typical local merchants; cooking lesson with chef: preparing Italian
      pasta: meal and wines included; in a fine location into he heart of Rome
    [QUOTE=Tinami Amori;3585711]Angel,

    Bus Tours:
    • 1.a FLORENCE CITY TOUR with Academy Gallery: morning
      Piazzale Michelangelo, Duomo, Accademia Gallery
    • 1.b - FLORENCE CITY TOUR with Uffizi Gallery: afternoon
      Fiesole, S.Croce, Uffizi Gallery
    • 1.a + 1.b FLORENCE CITY TOUR: full day with Accademia & Uffizi Galleries
      Piazzale Michelangelo, Duomo, Accademia, Fiesole, S. Croce, Uffizi
    • 1.a + 1.b FLORENCE CITY TOUR: full day with Accademia & Uffizi
      Galleries with Lunch
      Piazzale Michelangelo, Duomo, Accademia, Fiesole, S. Croce, Uffizi


    Florence Guided Walking Tours (I prefer walking to buses)
    • 2.a MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE FLORENCE
      San Lorenzo, Duomo, Piazza Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Pitti
    • 2.g +M.1 THE MAIN SIGHTS OF FLORENCE WITH ACCADEMIA GALLERY
      Academy Gallery + the most famous monuments and the most suggestive views of the heart of
      Florence with the touching beauty of Venus by Botticelli
    • 2.g + M.2 THE MAIN SIGHTS OF FLORENCE WITH UFFIZI GALLERY
      The most famous monuments and the most suggestive views of the heart of Florence with the
      touching beauty of Venus by Botticelli + Uffizi Gallery guided visit
    • 2.g + M. 1 + M.2 THE MAIN SIGHTS OF FLORENCE WITH ACCADEMIA + UFFIZI
      GALLERIES – LUNCH included
      The most famous monuments and the most suggestive views of the heart of Florence with the
      touching beauty of Venus by Botticelli + Accademia + Uffizi Galleries guided visit


    Florence Museum Guided Tours
    • M.1 - GUIDED VISIT TO THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY
    • M.2 - GUIDED VISIT TO THE UFFIZI GALLERY
    • M.1 + M.2 - GUIDED VISIT TO ACCADEMIA + UFFIZI GALLERIES
    • M.1 + M.2 - GUIDED VISIT TO ACCADEMIA + UFFIZI GALLERIES WITH LUNCH


    Excursions from Florence
    • 3 – SIENA, SAN GIMIGNANO & CHIANTI AREA - Landscape tour
    • 4 – PISA – Half day excursion
    • 5.a – DISCOVERY CHIANTI Tour with luxury wine tasting
    • 5.b – THE CHIANTI Best experience with Wine tasting and Typical dinner
      All the enchantment of the Chianti - Wine tasting in a castle - Visit the scented vineyards in the
      provinces of Florence and Siena - Pop into the Medieval villages of Greve, Castellina, after
      which relish the delights of a typical Chianti dinner in San Donato in Poggio
    • W.1 HIGHLIGHTS OF TUSCANY TOUR with wine tasting & Lunch
      Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti and Pisa
      Enjoy the rich history and the art of the most spellbinding sights in Tuscany in a single
      memorable day with a scrumptious lunch including wine tasting!


    Outlet Shopping Tours from Florence
    • 8.a GUCCI & PRADA luxury Outlets
      This tour takes you to the outlets of the most prestigious designer labels in the Italian Fashion, renowned
      throughout the world as expression of style, refinement, and luxury. The outlets will allow you to buy with
      solid 30% to 50% discounts.


    Tuscan Cooking Tours in Florence
    • C.1 TUSCAN COOKING COURSES with Dinner
      On this course you can learn to cook a classic Tuscan meal. In a top class cookery school you will be able
      to make a four-course meal (starter, first course, second course and dessert) under the expert guidance
      of a multilingual chef. The course will be followed by dinner with the dishes you have prepared,
      accompanied by a good Tuscan wine and a fun and friendly atmosphere.
    • C.3 TUSCAN COOKING COURSES with Visit to the Market and Lunch
      On this course you can learn to cook a typical everyday Tuscan meal, starting off by choosing the
      ingredients in season. Under the expert guidance of a multilingual chef, you will visit the historic San
      Lorenzo central market, where you will select the ingredients that you will then use to prepare a fourcourse
      meal (starter, first course, second course and dessert) in a top class cookery school. The course will
      be followed by lunch with the dishes you have prepared, accompanied by a good Tuscan wine and a fun
      and friendly atmosphere.
    • C.4 TUSCAN HANDMADE PASTA & DESSERT COOKING COURSE with Lunch
      On this course you can learn to make your own real fresh pasta following ancient Italian traditions using
      flour, eggs and other ingredients. Under the expert guidance of a multilingual chef, you will learn how to
      make pasta, both using a rolling pin and a pasta machine. You will make three different types of pasta
      with three different sauces and a typical Italian dessert. The course will be followed by lunch with
      the dishes you have prepared, accompanied by a good Tuscan wine and a fun and friendly atmosphere.


    Dinner and Show in Florence
    • 2.B TYPICAL DINNER AND CONCERT IN THE HEART OF FLORENCE
      Italian Opera arias and Neapolitan songs
      An evening in genuine Italian style, devoted to discovering Tuscan cuisine and the most celebrated
      Italian opera arias and famous Neapolitan songs. Our assistant will take you into an ancient and fascinating
      neighbourhood in the old city centre. In a characteristic restaurant, you will be served a typical Tuscan
      dinner with excellent Chianti wine. Talented singers will be awaiting you after dinner in an intimate, old
      setting (the Anglican church), to perform the most beautiful arias from the operas of Puccini, Verdi,
      Rossini and other renowned Italian composers, in addition to world famous Neapolitan songs. You will be
      reserved front row seats so you can fully enjoy this absorbing spectacle.
    • 2.D REMAISSANCE BANQUET IN FLORENCE
      The magic of an ancient night at court in a XVth Palace
      Experience an unforgettable renaissance evening in the magnificent setting of the ancient halls of a
      noble residence. You will be involved in the typical atmosphere of a Florentine fifteenth century
      banquet gladdened by the sound of a harp and flute, the sweet voice of a soprano and dances of the
      period. Waiters, musicians, dancers and the jester, all in beautiful Renaissance costumes will make
      you feel part of the evening. If you wish, you can also try their typical costumes and learn some fifteenth
      century dancing steps. At the end of the evening, that will have a duration of around two hours, each guest
      will receive a personalized parchment with the emblem of the palace to certify the participation in this
      magical "Ancient Night at Court".


    Minivan Tours
    • S.0 THE ‘GRAND TOUR’ OF FLORENCE AND ITS HILLS
      Michelangelo square, Fiesole and the whole city centre
    • S.1 THE TUSCAN JEWELS IN ONE DAY: Siena, Monteriggioni, S. Gimignano, Pisa
      Along the line of history, through the territory of Chianti in the cities that are the symbol of Tuscan art
      worldwide, seduced by the beauty and flavour of this land
    • S.2 THE ESSENCE OF TUSCANY: Chianti Classico, Montalcino, Montepulciano
      Following the scent of the Great Wines through the most stunning landscapes of Chianti, Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana
    • S.3 ART AND SCENT OF THE SEA: Pisa, Lucca, Viareggio
      The great Art Cities near the coast and the famous Versilian Sea
    • S.5 THE TREASURES OF UMBRIA: Perugia and Assisi, Trasimeno Lake
      The charm of nature, the seduction of art and the irresistible call from the spiritual heritage in
      the heart of Italy
    • S.6 A DAY IN VENICE
      The most romantic art city in the world
    • S.6 A DAY IN ROME
      A taste of eternity in the monuments, in the streets and in the squares of one of the most beautiful cities of the world


    Two walking tours of Venice
    • Visit the landmarks and historical sites of the city centre (exteriors only)
      This walking tour features all the most significant monuments that stand in testimony to the glorious past of Venice.
      Discover the thousand-year long history of the Serenissima, and learn how this island city became a cross-roads of
      civilizations and the Queen of the Seas.
      highlights
      • St. Mark’s Square, description of the history of the main monuments: St. Mark’s Basilica, The Doge’s Palace, the
      Campanile, the Clock Tower, the Procuratie
      • S. Maria Formosa, with its lively "Campo", one of the most popular squares in Venice
      • The Church and Campo of SS. Giovanni e Paolo - the "Pantheon” of Venice, the great charitable Scuola and the
      heroic deeds of the famed Captains of fortune
      • Marco Polo’s house and Teatro Malibran - where ancient and recent history meet in this wonderful corner of Venice
      • Back to St. Mark’s through the famous Mercerie, once the commercial lifeline between Rialto and St. Mark’s and
      today Venice’s main shopping district
      Duration
      Approx. 1.5 hours
    • Between art and nature - Venice and the lagoon islands
      The excursion starts from the St. Mark’s waterfront and circumnavigates the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its
      Palladian architecture, skirting Lido, the 12km long resort island separating the lagoon from the open sea. The
      enchanting islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello are just a short distance away, in the heart of the northern lagoon.
      highlights
      • From San Giorgio Maggiore to the Biennale Gardens and the Island of Sant’Elena
      • From Sant’Elena towards Lido, Venice’s beach resort, and the island of Murano
      • In Murano visit to an artistic glassworks with a spectacular glass blowing demonstration at the furnace
      • Proceed to Burano to visit the island famous for lace-making and the vividly coloured houses. 30 mins stop
      • From Burano a short boat ride to the Island of Torcello, the earliest settlement in the lagoon and home to Venice’s first
      cathedral and its Byzantine treasures
      • Return to St. Mark’s
      Duration
      Approx. 3.5 hours


    What do you think? Obviously some of the excursions aren't applicable since I'm actually *going* to those places but I think it all just looks so fabulous!

    I'd love to ride a horse - anyone know where that is possible in Italy? Is there a "riding though the Italian countryside" excursion?

    alhrayth has Milan and the lake regions sorted for me

  6. #86

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    Angelskates, I know you'll be busy working between now and the time you leave, but if you have time for checking out another website, this one seems to have lots of information on Italy, much of it from folks who travel there frequently and/or spend extended periods in rented apartments and get to know their destinations in way that most tourists don't. I've found it very interesting to browse there even though I have no immediate plans to go to Italy (which I last visited over 15 years ago).

    http://www.slowtrav.com/

  7. #87
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    I know this is very generic, but I HIGHLY recommend any tour that is Rome at night. Everything is stunning, especially the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. My absolute favorite picture from my trip was taken in front of the Colosseum at night (thank you, random guy with a DSLR).

    Again, I found the Vatican museum tres boring and I would've been happy with St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel.

  8. #88
    waiting for Spring :(
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    we spent two fabulous weeks in Italy last two weeks in July last year and it was AMAZING.. we stayed in agri tourism places - our villa was so reasonable - less than a cottage here and it was a working winery and little animals too.. just ten mins in the hills from the train station just outside of Florence in Tuscany.. 50 acres of heaven.. a pool, horseback riding.. free internet up at the cafe/bar on site.. restaurant.. fresh bread each day.. The villa/farm.. very reasonable and close to Florence - you can catch the train in locally.. also great places to go for day trips in Tuscany - my brother stayed the year before us too last year and loved it.. rustic (not luxurious, but really authentic).. although close to the trains.. you would need a taxi or ride to the villa - (we had a car).. we took lots of day trips from there (manyof places mentioned on other posts)

    http://www.castiglionchio.it/default_eng.asp


    2. Cinque Terra - this is the place that is now a unesco heritage sight, it had terrible landslides here after we left but now is back on track and train goes here too.. the water taxi's between the villages are so much fun..

    http://www.cinqueterreonline.com/villages.htm


    3. Rome Hotels - Artemede Hotel & Hotel Diocleziano - both good safe locations and really nice and they fill up your mini bar each day!! More money than the villa but great hotels..

    http://www.hotelartemide.it/en/home.html
    http://www.hoteldiocleziano.it/index.html

    Next year my daughter and I are backpacking through Europe for a month using the trains.. and then the year after my hubby and I are going to do Sicily and southern Italy... can't wait!!
    Thanks to PI .. I discovered I'm actually a Nontheist

    "Love is better than Anger, Hope is better than fear" Jack Layton 1950-2011

  9. #89

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    Hallo Angel,
    My big "sorry" for not replying. I will be back in my office this evening and will send the info (it's on my desk computer vs. lap-top). Cheers!/TA

  10. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by acraven View Post
    Angelskates, I know you'll be busy working between now and the time you leave, but if you have time for checking out another website, this one seems to have lots of information on Italy, much of it from folks who travel there frequently and/or spend extended periods in rented apartments and get to know their destinations in way that most tourists don't. I've found it very interesting to browse there even though I have no immediate plans to go to Italy (which I last visited over 15 years ago).

    http://www.slowtrav.com/
    Thanks, I'll take a look at it!

    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    I know this is very generic, but I HIGHLY recommend any tour that is Rome at night. Everything is stunning, especially the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.
    It's on my list, for sure!

    Quote Originally Posted by 4rkidz View Post
    we spent two fabulous weeks in Italy last two weeks in July last year and it was AMAZING.. we stayed in agri tourism places - our villa was so reasonable - less than a cottage here and it was a working winery and little animals too.. just ten mins in the hills from the train station just outside of Florence in Tuscany.. 50 acres of heaven.. a pool, horseback riding.. free internet up at the cafe/bar on site.. restaurant.. fresh bread each day.. The villa/farm.. very reasonable and close to Florence - you can catch the train in locally.. also great places to go for day trips in Tuscany - my brother stayed the year before us too last year and loved it.. rustic (not luxurious, but really authentic).. although close to the trains.. you would need a taxi or ride to the villa - (we had a car).. we took lots of day trips from there (manyof places mentioned on other posts)
    My hotels are all booked Agri-tourism would have been a great option, I'm hugely into the Slow Food movement, which originated in Italy, but agri-tourism in Italy is not really within my budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    Hallo Angel,
    My big "sorry" for not replying. I will be back in my office this evening and will send the info (it's on my desk computer vs. lap-top). Cheers!/TA
    No problem, TA, you've already done so much! I just finished my 100+ pages of reports today (only about 15 pages to go) so I'll be set pretty soon and just preparing for summer camps, which should be easier...and then I should have more time...hopefully...

  11. #91

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    Hallo Angel,
    (My “comments” will be in Blue, my “questions” will be in Red).
    (I may switch between “names of places” from English, to Italian, to “Russian translit as we pronounce it in Russian”…. It’s too hard to keep track of language when typing foreign names).

    I think the list of tours and day trips provided by your friend’s tour-agent is excellent, and covers all the sites and locations that are worth seeing and visiting. Of course, a lot depends on how the tour/trip itself is organized and handled, the size of the group, the knowledge of the guide, the time allocation to each element, etc.

    I would not be able to evaluate the quality of the listed tours by data given below. I have not been on an organized tour more than 2x in my life, and each time I went (for sake of my travel companions) – I’ve suffered, since traveling in groups, being time-restricted, and “led from place to place” is not pleasant for me.

    However, there are big advantages in joining organized tours:
    - such as convenience of pre-arranged transportation between hard to reach and/or distant locations.
    - Quality commentary and historic narrative by a professional guide (vs. reading a guide-book).
    - Priority access and hard-to-buy tickets into sights and attractions which otherwise may take hours to enter, or require very advance planning and purchase.
    - And last but for many people not least – security of traveling in a group, and temporary companionship of other tourists.

    If “traveling in a group” and “time constraints in each place” is an issue, there is a solution: One can always stay through the tour, and during or after the tour, leave the group and continue to walk on his/her own (in the museum, historic site, park or villa).

    Any historic site that is open to public, both groups and single-entry visitors, allows a person from the group, to continue his/her sight-seeing alone without the group.

    The only 2 sights that limit time inside and require one to stay with the group, as far as I know (in Italy), are the “Last Supper”/Milan, and Sistine Chapel/Vatican. All other places – leave the group if you like, stay till closing time.

    So keep that option in mind, in case “being dragged through a museum too quickly” or some other site is a concern.

    Also take into consideration “how” you want to enjoy a specific site, location, architecture, art work…. Do you want to be on your own and enjoy it through the prism of your own knowledge, perception, emotions….? Or do you want “specific information” about the leading events, the history of a place, the artists, their motivations, the meanings behind it all….. ?

    For example, let’s take P-za Navona, a “must see” in Rome. Navona has a lot of things going there…. 3 Bernini fountains, several pieces of historic architecture, many side-walk cafes and out-door restaurants (some were featured in many famous movies), and a plaza FULL of street artists and painters with their own art-stands…. So what do you want to do? Listen to history behind Bernini fountains and then move on to the next location? Or read up on the fountains in a tour-book, and enjoy the atmosphere, have a cup of coffee, people-watch, check out the works of the street artists? Not to mention the small narrow streets to and from P-za Navona are quite charming and interesting……

    So, here are my 2-cents on the listed tours (the ones I like by the basic info listed).

    ROME:
    • Tour“1 “AM or PM – IN THE HEART OF ROME– (Morning, 3 hrs approx)
    St. Peter’s Square ( visit inside), Navona Square, Pantheon (inside visit ), Trevi Fountain

    I personally think 3 hrs is not enough time to see St. Pete’s, Navona, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Trevi is 5 blocks from your hotel. It is also wonderful at night, and you can read up the history of it in 2 paragraphs. But it is not a bad “in-nut-shell” tour….

    • Tour “2” PM – ANCIENT ROME - (Afternoon 3 hrs approx)
    Colosseum ( visit inside), Roman Forum ( inside visit ), Palatine Hill ( inside visit )

    • Tour“2 B”PM – COLOSSEUM AND THE ETERNAL ROME – Walking tour (Afternoon, 2,30/3 hrs approx ) Colosseum (inside visit ), Palatin Hill (inside visit ), Roman Forum (inside visit )
    This sounds like a very good tour, and 3 hours is enough. But don’t you already have “Roma Pass” which gives you entry to Colosseum and Roman Forum? (I am not sure).

    • Tour “3” AM - VATICAN MUSEUMS, SISTINE CHAPEL & ST. PETER’S BASILICA – (Morning, 4h00 hrs approx) Vatican Museums (visit inside), Sistine Chapel(visit inside), St. Peter’s Basilica (visit inside)

    This sounds like a good tour. 4 hrs is MINIMUM one can spend seeing most of Vatican main attractions. If what you see is not enough, you can always a) stay behind in Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, and then enter St. Pete’s after, it is free entry at any time.
    (I would not take the afternoon Vatican tour, if you want to stay longer, you’ll be up against closing times. And I would not take “Vatican tours” which are listed @ 3 hours total – not enough time).


    But I do recommend at least 1 tour in Vatican area which guarantees you tickets into Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, which are otherwise very hard to get.

    • Tour “4” – CHRISTIAN ROME & CATACOMBS (Afternoon, 3 hrs approx)
    Basilica of St John in Lateran (visit inside), Holy Stairs, Catacombs (visit inside) St Mary the Major Basilica (visitinside)

    …….. CATACOMBS and Christian sites…. I don’t know ….. unless you are very interested, on this trip I think they are VERY optional… and may cut into time for other sites. You already have 3 tours for 3 days (Vatican, Ancient Rome, Walking Tour of Famous places) and the 4th day I strongly recommend to go to Tivoli/Haidrian’s Villa (listed below)

    • Tour “5”AM - TIVOLI AND IT’S VILLAS (Morning , 4 hours approx) Villa Adriana, Villa D’Este ( visit inside )

    TAKE THAT ONE! !!!! Tivoli and Haidrian’s villa (or Adriana villa) are worth seeing. Nice 1 day trip out of busy hot Rome, into the hill-site.

    • Tour “8” - ROME BY NIGHT PANORAMIC TOUR (Afternoon 2 hours, approx ) Illuminated Rome by night tour with stop at Trevi Fountain ( walking ), Capitol Hill, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Janiculum Hill, Castle St. Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trastevere

    • Tour “9” - ROME BY NIGHT with dinner in ‘TRASTEVERE’ Panoramic tour by bus & dinner in a typical Italian restaurant located in a traditional popular area. Stop at Trevi Fountain ( walking ), Capitol, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Viale Trastevere, Janiculum Hill, Castle St. Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trastevere

    NIGHT TOUR is a good Idea, but all depends on how the tour company sets it up. If they drive you on the open top bus and you can sit and enjoy the light play on all ancient buildings – then it is worth it for 2 hours!

    On the other hand…. From your hotel Trevi Fountain (which looks great at night) is 5-6 blocks and there are plenty of people in that area on the streets at night… The other locations look great at night, all light up, but you can see them by walking around..

    I don’t know about tours like “Papal Blessing, Christian Rome, etc”. I would not pay to be led to Papal Blessing. You can lead yourself, on the days when he is there, and just stand in line…… .

    I would not do ANY combined tours “Rome Site-seeing AND Vatican/Sistine Chapel” – it will be a RUSH tour.



    • Tour “15“ - ASSISI – PERUGIA or ORVIETO ( 1 day ) Discover the charming, Medieval Assisi, Perugia or Orvieto Once on the bus, the majority of participants will decide if stop in Perugia or Orvieto. Assisi, Perugia or Orivieto are very charming hill-top towns, and maybe a substitution for the day in Tivoli/Haidrian’s Villa, if for some reason you’re not inclined to go to the later.

    FLORENCE
    - I am not sure (looking at the tour-agent’s list) if what they are offering is a driving trip from Rome to Florence, or the tours below are offered once you’re in Florence?

    - If these are tours once you’re in Florence, then some will suite your purpose.

    - The two “must see” museums in Florence are: Uffizi and Accademia. Others are great but optional during a short visit.

    - The two “must see” Churches are: Duome and Fiesole S. Croce.

    Florence Guided Walking Tours (I prefer walking to buses).

    - I think you are going to be walking, even if the tour states “bus”…… I can not imagine how a BUS can be driven between the listed sites in the Old/Historic Centre. It is simply NOT physically possible to drive a bus on those streets (you’ll see what I mean when you get there), so that means the bus will be driving on main roads around the historic centre….

    I would take walking tours of famous sites (without museums included in that schedule). And separate Museum Visits. And do not take tours which offer lunch, unless it is full-day tour..


    • 2.a MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE FLORENCE
    San Lorenzo, Duomo, Piazza Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Pitti.

    This one is PERFECT, if the tour ends at Pitti Palace, just buy a ticket and go into Pitti Palace to see if anything – the Boboli Gardens inside the Palace.

    Florence Museum Guided Tours
    - Any of the choices are good! All depends if you want to see 2 museums in the same day.

    • M.1 - GUIDED VISIT TO THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY
    • M.2 - GUIDED VISIT TO THE UFFIZI GALLERY
    • M.1 + M.2 - GUIDED VISIT TO ACCADEMIA + UFFIZI GALLERIES

    Excursions from Florence
    - Also, all sounds good, unless you want to take public transport to Siena one day, and St. Gimignano the next day, and wonder on your own.

    • 3 – SIENA, SAN GIMIGNANO & CHIANTI AREA - Landscape tour

    Outlet Shopping Tours from Florence

    - if you’re interested in Outlet shopping – let me know. It does not require advance planning, but some Discount Outlet Shopping Malls will take a 2-hour bus ride going up north. EVERYTHING THERE IS STILL EXPENSIVE.
    - If you’re in Florence – many street vendors sell great leather goods right inside the Old centre, for reasonable prices.


    Dinner and Show in Florence

    - I don’t know anything about those arrangements. Dinner and music may be fun….. Historic theme dinner in a palace maybe fun…..

    In conclusion on Florence, I have questions:
    - Do you want info on how to get to Siena and/or St. Gimignano on your own? I recommend seeing both places 1 day each, not all in 1 day.
    - Do you want Uffizi and Accademia Museum web-site so that you can order tickets on-line and go on your own?


    VENICE

    Two walking tours of Venice (given on your lists)- Both tours are great! And will occupy both of your days VERY productively.
    - Since the first tour is less than 2 hours, and does not provide tickets inside the Museums and main Attractions, you can take the walking tour, and 2nd part of the day buy tickets and go inside the main attractions.
    - The “tourist must sees” are: Galleria Accademia (next to your hotel), San Marco Basilica, The Doge’s Palace/Ducale.

    - The trip of the local Lagoon Islands is a great trip…..


    QUESTION: do you want websites on how to get tickets? Or will you enjoy Venice by walking? One can enjoy Venice just by walking around….. without going inside of any paid venues…. All churches (except St. Marco Basilica) have free entry when open to public.


    So, to sum-up Rome, Florence and Venice:
    Some tours are worth taking.

    Do you want web-sites to museums in Florence and Venice to go on your own? Or have you made up your mind on going on a tour with a group?

    Once you reserve the tours, and still want my advise, I can make suggestions how to allocate your time between the remaining attractions and areas not covered by tours.

    (Next section will be on Sorrento/Capri/Amalfi Area, which is not covered in the above).

  12. #92

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    So, the last segment not yet covered – Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi/Capri. At the end of your stay in Roma you’ll be getting on a train to Naples

    … and this is about the right time to use few clichés about Petty Crime in Italy, in Naples, in crowded tourist places and while using trains and public transport - aka: pick-pocketing, luggage-purses-jewelry snatching, money exchange and other minor swindles.

    Cliché 1: Petty crime is not specific only to Italy, but in Italy it exists on a notable level.
    Cliché 2: Petty crime in Italy is not specific only to Naples, but in Naples it is slightly higher than in other major areas (in-spite of official government statistics which try to dispute this fact).
    Cliché 3: Petty crime is not specific to train stations/trains, bus-stops/buses, busy tourists spots, but those are the areas where it commonly occurs, and with greater ease, due to many factors.

    Most travelers know the basics: keep money and passport in a pouch inside your clothes, wear over-the-shoulder purse, don’t let your foto-camera lay loose or on a thin string, don’t take out the whole wallet, have small bills ready, don’t wear expensive looking jewelry when on public transport or stations, don’t leave luggage unattended, be discreet with information with strangers, trust your instincts, etc..

    But, because the above information is now so easily available on many travel websites, and most travelers do take is seriously, the petty criminals are getting wiser and their schemes become more elaborate. It’s no longer young Italian lads on Vespas who yank your purse, or bare-footed boys who surround you while one is aiming his hand at your pocket, and it’s not longer just “Italians”.

    There are many variations of schemes and schemers… . Women or men, dressed as wealthy tourists or business travelers, with suitcases or briefcases, who may sit next to you and strike a conversation. They maybe after your luggage or purse, waiting for you to let your guard down; they have accomplices, they will not be the ones to run off with your stuff, they will keep on a pleasant conversation maintaining an eye-contact with you to make sure your head is facing them, while their partner slowly pulls away your bag or purse from the other side.

    They may simply ask you to “exchange just a small, maybe 5 or 10 euro bill” and give you a counterfeit.

    There are older children and teen-agers pretending to be lost or in some kind of distress, or starting a fight under your nose …….. There are adults wearing what looks like a uniform (which may very well be some old obsolete uniform) who will try to sell you the use of a luggage cart for 1 euro (while carts are free in most train stations and uniforms), or some other ticket or service logical to the venue or location, but it is a fake….. There are “taxi cab callers” who will appear official, but will lead you to a car that is not an official taxi cab, and you have to guarantee of a fair rate…

    Just remember, at a train station, for example, it is enough for you to let go of your luggage handle for 2 minutes and turn away 180-degrees, and you suite-case may be gone.

    Any time you feel that a disturbance around you is unusual, and/or is created for the purpose of taking away your attention – trust your judgment and stay put and calm.

    Practically ALL tickets/tokens for local public transport are sold at newspaper stands, kiosks, tobacco counters located in a terminal or close to the terminal or a bus-stop. Do not buy “tickets/tokens” from private individuals.

    While on a train, try to use rest-room at least 30 minutes before arrival to the next stop, so that you can return to your sit and check if your suite-case is in place. Suite-case snatchers usually grab a suite-case 3-5 minutes before the train arrives to the station, so they ran with it as soon as the doors open.

    Don’t let the thoughts of petty crime dominate the enjoyment of your vacation, BUT do take minimal precaution…. Italy is not a war zone, but Italy, especially Naples area, is known for it’s petty crime incidents.



    And so now you’ve arrived ex Rome to Naples Central/Garibaldi Square.
    The hotel website (the one you booked) posted excellent instructions how to get from Naples Central Train station to the hotel/Sorrento.
    Train: Inside the station you will find the local line, actually a “metro” rather than “train”, "CIRCUMVESUVIANA”. Trains towards Sorrento leave 1 every hour. Just take the escalator and directions towards “Visuviana” or “Circumvisuviana” (I forgot how the signs look).
    From Sorrento metro-stop, you may either catch a taxi, or public bus-direction Sant'Agata. There is a bus that runs from Sorrento business centre up the hill where your hotel is. Hotel website states the same.
    So, now you have this one after-noon, and 3 full days, which you’ll use (in any order) for Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Capri, and use this and other afternoons to explore Sorrento, which (the best of) can be easily seen in 1 or 2 afternoons.
    Just familiarize yourself in advance with a basic map of central Sorrento. Your hotel will have all this, the maps, the local bus and boat time-tables, and even offers of day-trips or excursions.
    Here is the map of Central Sorrento, your hotel is to the left, up Via Capo.
    http://www.kitravel.com/images/produ...rrento_map.jpg
    A Note: The “business town centre” of Sorrento is up the hill. The tourist section, where all the nice walks along the Sorrento cliffs are, all the shops, restaurants, and promenade walking areas is down below near the entry to the Port Marina Piccolo.
    All the “touris fun” starts down towards the water from the intersection of Corso Italia and Via Correale, which is Piazza Tasso.
    Few notes on “souvenirs” and how authentically Italian they are. In case you already know all this, skip the next few paragraphs.
    There famouse “sovenirs” of Sorrento, besides lemons, and lemon-liquiore, are: a) Marquetry/wood inlay pictures, boxes, plaques. b) Cermaics called “de-rutta” (lossley, since de-rutta ceramics come from another area near Florence) or “majolica” which is produced in towns along the Amalfi coast.
    MAKE SURE that “small pieces” of touristy majolica ARE NOT made in China, because they are…. . (Same with small-size touristy “Murano” Glass souvenirs in Venice).
    The silk scarfs, “copies” of Armani, Gucci and other designes, some with “Sorrento Lemons” around the borders which are sold on the streets or in tourist shops for 5-10 Euro, on the stands next to post-cards – are made in Indonesia or Sri-Lanka…
    Small and large “a-la-baroque” tapestries, sold as pillow-covers, or wall hangings – are made in factories in suburbs of Brussels… and there is no guarantee that now they are not “made in China” as well.
    Any souvernirs that are made in Italy, or in Italy by hand, cost more, and are visibily of better quality. But be careful of “hand-made” label too; the item can be very well machine-made, and the only “hand-made” element are two strokes of “red paint” on the edge… technically it is “hand-made”….. .
    Again, if you know all this, sorry for redundancy. But I hate this aspect of globalization. National souvenirs should be made localy, not cheaply over-seas..


    TRIP to POMPEII.
    You have three options:
    - Go by yourself, by Circumvisuviana Train. Once there either walk around the grounds on your own, or join an English-language official tour sold at the entrance to Pompeii.
    -
    - Take a pre-arranged tour with transportation and guide on site, and back.
    -
    - Take a pre-arranged tour, but stay behind to walk the grounds on your own after the end of tour, and get back to Sorrento on the train/bus.
    If you do not require a guided tour, getting to Pompeii on your own is very easy. There will be many many other tourists on the train with you this time of the year.
    http://www.danpiz.net/napoli/images/...suvianaMap.gif

    - Trains leave about 1 per hour. It takes 45-50 minutes from Sorrento to final stop for Pompeii. You will need to do 1 transfer, I believe. Here is the map of the routes, and where to transfer to Pompeii line. Exit at POMPEII SCAVI stop, and the entry into Pompeii grounds right across the street.
    -
    - You’ll buy ticket @ the entrance into Pompeii, buy a good guide book if you don’t have one, and you’re set. If you do not want to buy a book, or carry a book, DO BUY A MAP OF THE GROUNDS (or print one out on line). You will be given a basic map with main attractions at the entrance, but it is very basic, a brochure, not much more.
    -
    - Do make a note which entrance into Pompeii you’ve entered, and exit from the same one. There are several entrances/exits in Pompeii, and the territory is large. You want to exit from Pompeii from gates that are next to train station.
    Or take a guided tour with transportation:
    - ON Tour. Viator can arrange your trips to Pompeii, around Amalfi Coast, and a combo trip Pompeii & Naples.
    http://www.viator.com/Sorrento-tours...f=02&aid=g4820
    My only reservation going an organized tour to Pompeii is limitation of time and freedom of movement, since you have to keep up with the group.
    One can easily spend 5-6 hours walking around Pompeii territory, and most tours are only 3 to 4 hours. It is nice to know what you’re looking at and what certain buildings are, and having a tour guide has advantages, plus company of other people, which is nice if you’re travelling alone, but with a good tour-guide book or some-one’s log, which you can get on-line for free, you may not need a guide.
    I recommend you take a sandwich or lunch and water/juice. Food inside Pompeii is either “junk food” sold at few kiosks, or expensive at a nice sit-down restaurant on the West-North end.
    There are MANY houses on Pompeii grounds, which are still “standing houses” and you can go INSIDE many of them. You can find one which has something to sit on and take your lunch inside an ancient Roman house.

    (next section will be Amalfi Coast and Capri)

  13. #93
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    When in Rome, I would recommend Giolitti for gelato - everyday! They have the best flavors and I would never want to waste my calories on any other gelateria ever again. There are so many flavors to choose from it is a bit overwhelming, plus you can't but help want a repeat of the flavors you love. Fortunately, no matter which size cone or cup you get, you still get 3 different scoops to choose. It's popular with tourists and locals alike, we found the best time to go was around lunchtime. When on vacation, why not a little dolce before your main meal?

  14. #94

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    (continue....... Amalfi Coast ride/visit).

    Same idea as with Pompeii – take an arranged guided tour, or go on your own.

    - the tour offered by Viator, covers transportation and visit to 3 locations: Ravello, Amalfi Town, Positano.

    http://www.viator.com/tours/Sorrento...947-2958AMALFI


    - It would be somewhat difficult to cover all 3 locations in one day on a bus. But 2 locations, Amalfi and Positano, can easily be done.

    SITA system and other buses leave Sorrento central bus stop (near train station) every 20-30 minutes.

    Your hotel should have the bus-schedule, but if not, here are few websites.

    It’s best to start early in the morning, go as far as Amalfi Town, see Amalfi for 2-3 hours, take lunch there, take bus back towards Sorrento, get out in Positano – 2-3 hours in Positano, and bus back to Sorrento. It is truly easier than it sounds.

    And stating the obvious: going ex Sorrento to Positano/Amalfi – you want to grab the window seat on the right side of the driver, all the sea views will be on the right.

    And on the way back, the reverse – grab the window-seat on the left side, behind the driver or any on the driver’s side.

    Flight for those seats if you have to……. . Sitting on the window side looking down the cliffs is essential EXPERIENCE of the Amalfi Driver….

    Any simple guide-book or internet site about Amalfi Coast will give you info what to see in Amalfi Town and Positano, both places are fairly small and can easily be seen in 2-3-4 hours.

    Amalfi Town has a church right at the entry into Town from the main/beach-front road, you can’t miss it, and then few charming places up the main street which goes up the hill. There are 2-3 side streets, parallel to the main street, they have shops and archway entries into the residential buildings passageways which nestle on the cliffs. To enter one’s home or apartment door, one must walk through a labyrinth of passages cut inside the cliffs. I would walk up few flights to get the “feeling”…

    Positano is basically 1 main street going down about 1 mile (???) from the main road up on the hill down to the water. It is lined with shops and restaurants. Towards the beach there will be few streets branching off to the sides and many souvenir and ceramic shops. At the bottom of the road, just before the beach, there are several sea-view restaurants and eateries. A walk on the beach and taking fotos of Positano hills from the beach is one of the main attractions. There is a Church, and few nice hill-side walks.
    That's about it in Positano itself.... There are few grottos and sites outside of Positano, but you would need a car.

    (next Capri......)

  15. #95

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    TA - is it necessary to book all these things in advance? (I do have a Roma Pass, by the way). I'm really, really busy at work at the moment, and emotional and physically exhausted by some things going on here. Just reading your post has made me tired and worried that I don't have time to get everything done!

    I haven't even thought about packing yet either

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    TA - is it necessary to book all these things in advance? (I do have a Roma Pass, by the way). I'm really, really busy at work at the moment, and emotional and physically exhausted by some things going on here. Just reading your post has made me tired and worried that I don't have time to get everything done!

    I haven't even thought about packing yet either
    Oy! We certainly don’t want planning something as pleasant as travel to become a source of frustration….

    Let’s see…… One thing I have to say: Even if you don’t take 1 single tour, or enter once single museum or a historic building or a site – just walking and looking around in most parts of Italy is a rewarding experience.

    Let’s sum up your trip:

    - You have 20 full days; you wanted to see the major attractions in Rome, Amalfi/Sorrento/Capri, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Milan/Lakes; we already eliminated Sicilia and Ice Show in Dolmatine Mountains.

    - You are left with the following segments and attractions you wanted to see, some of which most certainly can be seen ON YOUR OWN without a pre-arranged tour; few of them DO need a pre-arranged tour, since tickets are hard to buy; and few of them do NOT need a tour at all – you can walk there and see it on your own.

    Rome: You have 4 full days. Allocated as following (in any order).

    a) Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica/Square
    - Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel) – You DO NEED to sign up for a Tour, or it will be difficult or impossible to buy tickets; if you don’t sign up for the tour - you will have to stand in line very early IF there are any tickets for the given day (and there maybe no tickets).
    - St. Peter’s Basilica (the Church of Vatican) and St. Peter’s Square – you can easily go in on your own, when it is open to public (and it is open to public most of the days and time).

    However, since most tours include both, Vatican Museum AND St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s up to you, if Vatican Museum is THAT important to you to see….. You will be able to go inside the Church without a tour.

    b) Art/Fountains/Plazas/Architecture - Major outdoor sites vs. a Walking Tour – Do not need a tour. You can walk to them.

    P-za Spagnia (Spanish Steps), Tervi Fountain, P-za Navona/Bernini Fountains, Pantheon, Campo Di Fiori (Flower Market), Villa Borghese Park and Grounds, Triton Fountain, Isola Tiberia, Old Jewish Ghetto, Monumento Vittorio Emmanuello, Campodollio, Palatine Hill, Banks of Tiber River and Beautiful Bridges …… ALL can be easily reached, visited and ENJOYED simply by walking there without a tour. If you want “history” – you can read a guide book.

    c) Ancient Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Baths of Caracula – If your RomaPass allows entry (check it again), you don’t need a tour to enter the sites. If you don’t need “history” and have a guide book, or without a guide book, you’ll be fine on your own.

    d) 1 day trip out of Rome (if you want one) – To Tivolli/Villa De Este/Villa Hadriana.

    I recommend you taking a tour strictly for purpose of EASE OF TRANSPORTATION. You can take public bus (a hotel clerk will easily show you where the buses to Tivoli leaver from) to Tivoli/Villa De Este, but without a car it will be hard to also see Villa Hadriana.

    You can enjoy Rome without any pre-arranged tours because there is plenty to see just by walking around.

    You can easily (except for Vatican tickets) reach all the major places on your own.

    You can make some tour arrangements when you get to Rome, but there is not guarantee what dates and times will be available during your 4 day stay.

    You can either take time and plan now, or you will have to take time and plan when you get there but then you are taking a chance, or not plan at all and just see where your feet will take you!


    SORRENTO/AMALFI/POMPEII/CAPRI – 3 full days
    (read my info in the previous post – you’ll see clearly which “tour” vs. “on-your-own” options you have.

    - Sorrento – you don’t need a guide. Tourist area is small, easily covered in 2 after-noons.

    - Amalfi Coast/Pompeii - The only reason to reserve pre-arranged tours for Amalfi Coast and Pompeii – is CONVENIENCE OF TRANSPORTATION. Otherwise you can easily reach these places by local transport.

    - Capri Island - does not require a tour. Your just take a boat from Sorrento to Capri – and walk around Capri. By a small guide “walking tours of Capri” at any gift shop at Capri Port (Marina Grande) – take the Tram up the hill – and start walking to all the sites you find interesting.


    FLORENCE/TUSCANY – 4 full days (2 for Florence, 2 for Tuscany Towns/returning to Florence).

    2 days in Florence – Same as Rome, you can easily spend 2 days just walking around the Old Town, looking at architecture, status, fountains, bridges, go inside the Duomo and other Churches.

    Buy a “walking tours/major sites” guide book, or find one on-line, and you will not need a guide.

    Duomo may have a long line, most other churches probably will not.

    Museums: Uffizi and Accademia – you will need tickets if you don’t take a tour.
    Get them on line:

    Commercial site, where you can buy ALL tickets.
    http://www.firenze-tickets.com/?goog...-uffizi-estesa

    Official Museum sites
    Uffizi
    http://www.uffizi.com/online-ticket-...zi-gallery.asp
    Uffizi – Accademia
    http://www.uffizi.com/accademia-gallery-florence.asp


    2 days in Tuscany Towns – St. Gimignano and Sience – you do NOT need a pre-arranged tour IF you’re willing to take buses, there and back. The buses are direct. The trains are not – each destination requires a 1-time transfer.

    Any hotel will give you info where to take buses to those two towns. Take a bus – get out – walk up the hill – and you’re inside St. Gimignano one day, and Siena the other day.

    Buy a “walking tours/major sites” guide book, or find one on-line, and you will not need a guide.

    VENICE – 2.5 days – same as all other places – You can enjoy Venice just by walking around and seeing major attractions, some just from the outside: San Marco Place, Rialto Bridge, Boat-Bus on Grand Canal, Church S.M.D.L. Salute, Several major Churches, Jewish Ghetto, Narrow Streets and Small Canals, etc.

    You would want to buy tickets in advance to: San Marco Church, Duke’s Palace/Casanova Prison, Accademia Museum, Ca’ D’Or (Palace Museum), Ca Rezonica (Palace Museum).

    Galleria Accademia
    http://www.gallerieaccademia.org/

    Site for all tickets in Venice, Venice-Pass/Card (for museums and transport).
    http://www.timeout.com/venice/featur...tickets-passes


    You can take a regular bus-boat to Islands of Murano (Glass Art), and Burano (Lace Art) on your own and see both Islands in 4-5 hours.

    Let me know if you need more clarifications, or additional info.

    And don’t worry! You’re taking a wonderful trip and all difficulties will be forgotten once you will land in beautiful Italia!

    . (but that’s not all, do read below)

    When you have time, please read what entries you will have and how to use ROMA-PASS. Make sure it covers all the places you want to see:

    • Free entry to the first 2 visited museums and / or archaeological sites of your choice. Free admission includes the exhibition held in the museum.
    • Concessionary ticket to all other museums and / or archaeological sites visited thereafter. The concessionary ticket includes the exhibition held in the museum.
    • Free use of the city’s public transport network. Valid until midnight of the third day inclusive that of the first validation for ATAC public transport (bus, metro and railway lines Roma -Lido, Roma Flaminio Piazza del Popolo-Viterbo, Roma-Giardinetti), within the territory of the Municipality of Rome. All special connections tpl Atac, the railway lines Trenitalia FR, the connection Tiburtina/Termini/Fiumicino airport, the connection Trenitalia “No stop” Roma Termini-Fiumicino Aeroporto (Leonardo Express) and all connections to and from Fiumicino and Ciampino Aeroporto are not included.
    • Discounted tickets to exhibitions, events and other collaborating operators and businesses.
    • Reduced charges for use of the On-call Multi-lingual Medical Service for Tourists (MET Travel Health)
    • Tourist cultural service Roma Informa.
    At the Coliseum a reserved turnstile is available for Roma Pass holders to get direct access to the monument
    In the kit::
    • The Roma Pass card: the card used to visit museums / archaeological sites and on the public transport system as described above.
    • Roma MAP: A map featuring all the Tourist Information Points, Metro stations, museums and other sites of interest (complete with addresses, tel. no’s opening times and nearest bus stops and metro stations);
    • Roma Pass Guide: The guide to all participating museums and sites;
    • Roma News: a programme detailing all the events and services for tourists offering discounts, divided by type: art, dance, music, theatre, reviews, exhibitions, panoramic tours, as well as tourist services at the Lido in Ostia and MET Travel Health
    • Roma Informa: the card that provides details of how to access information on events and other useful services via internet
    How to use it:
    • The overleaf form must be filled with name, surname and validation date
    • the card is valid for three days and is activated at the time of the first entry to the museums/sites, and/or at the first journey on public transport, up until midnight of the third day, including the day of the activation
    • It is validated on the first visited site/museum and/or the first journey on the city’s public transport network
    • Direct access for the first 2 sites. From the 3rd site onwards please apply to the ticket office for concession;
    • It must be produced along with your identity papers when required by the staff in charge

  17. #97
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    Hi Angelskates I just discovered this thread! I admit I haven't read it all (or even half of it) but have discovered 2 things - everyone has their own ideas about what's interesting and exciting to see/do (and so of course that's all we can offer), and Tinami is a breathtaking, astonishing fountain of information.

    As I think you know (from my blog) I was in Italy for 7 weeks last year so here's my 2 cents worth:

    There is a mountain of things to see/do in Italy and I would favour seeing fewer places at a leisurely pace than trying to cram everything in. Make sure you plan some days where you have no agenda and can be as lazy as you wish. I don't mean do nothing necessarily, but let the pace of the day unfold itself instead of rushing off to the next thing on the list that you have to see - e.g. take a whole day in Positano just to laze on the beach (as an example). This way you'll feel like you're having a holiday, not just checking things/places off a list.

    Unless you're really interested in the ancient Romans don't bother with the Forum, the Palantine Hill, etc., but do get yourself to the Coliseum - the size of it alone is amazing.

    My absolute fav places in Italy - Cinque Terre, the hill towns of Tuscany (esp San Gimignano, and Orvieto - which is actually in Umbria), and Venice. Someone earlier said Venice is not worth more than a day or 2, and both Mr alilou and I completely fell in love with it. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post - all of us who've spent time in Italy have our different fav places. If you get away from the usual tourist haunts Venice is a dream.

    Re the Vatican museums - someone up thread said they were boring and I can see why unless you're really interested in art history, though the building itself is fabulous. We were glad we went , but the highlight was the 13th and 14th century Christian art - I guess because I love this period of European art. The sheer elegance of design, and there's an innocence to it, a sense of connection to their God, an untrammelled trust. At least that's how it is for me anyway.

    Re the Sistine Chapel - If you haven't already please read this that I wrote about it, and see the photos I took so you won't be disappointed. I know you're busy so just scroll down to the part about the Sistine. http://alisonarmstrong.blogspot.ca/2011/11/rome.html (well maybe you don't need to bother - it's just a rant about the crowds so be prepared for that when you get there.)

    And finally - have a wonderful time! Stay present. Enjoy yourself

    ETA just read Tinami's post above and it reminded me - you must go to Burano when you're in Venice. It is absolutely magical.
    Last edited by alilou; 06-12-2012 at 01:36 AM.
    My travel and adventure blog http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com

  18. #98

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    Will read through everything tomorrow (I'm seeing Artistry on Ice tonight ) but I love to walk, have asked my friend in Rome for help there, and think I'll wait till I get there before making other decisions. My priority at the moment is preparing for my absence from work so I can actually ENJOY my holiday as much as possible.

    Aside from comfortable walking shoes, anything I absolutely need to pack?

    Aside from good cheese, anything I should buy there?

  19. #99

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    Tinami, you are amazing!

    I'm so excited for Angel's trip from reading your travel guide!

  20. #100

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    guys, i'm also going to italy 15 june - 3 july (so excited!). I've already booked all hotels, vatican & uffizi, but do i need to book the intercity buses ahead of time too?
    here's my itinerary:
    15-19 june rome
    20,21 june siena
    22-24 june florence
    25-26 june lucca
    27-28 june cinque terre
    29-1 july - viareggio (beach)
    2 july - rome

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