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Thread: Travel to Italy

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    versperholly - thanks! Do you have a link of the hostel?

    Any idea on how much to budget for 3 weeks (including transport and accommodation)?
    Mona Lisa Hostel: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldet...tel/Rome/13489

    The price might be more since my trip was 4 years ago. Definitely book ahead, they have a main hostel where the kitchen is, and a secondary one that's just rooms, the main hostel is better. Only two bathrooms in the main one but I never waited to shower. They provided breakfast (milk in a box!) and the reviews say dinner but we always ate out.

    I took about $300 for spending money for the week (excluding hostel $ which was paid for in cash on arrival) and it was plenty for food, tickets and a few souvenirs. We usually had lunch from a street cart or small cafe, and then had a restaurant dinner (mostly around the 25 euro mark). But at that time, the euro was $1.54. Now it's 80 cents

  2. #22

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    IMO you can visit Milan and Como in one day (one for each city of course). And I don't recommend to go to Siena during the Palio because it's going to be a complete mess. You could go a few days after it, the city is not messed up any more but you can see the flags hanging in the winning Contrada, and its contradaioli wearing a pacifier hanging arounf their necks
    You can skip Sirmione IMO.
    A useful tip: remember to bring your own bottle of water while citysightseeing. A touristic city such as Florence, Rome or Venice has usually higher prices for everything, including water. It can cost around 5€ in very touristic areas (Vaticano, for example). If you bring your own bottle of water you can save a lot of money.
    A grumpy Canadian will always be nicer than a polite Milanese

  3. #23

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    I'll look through these posts more carefully later, but I have to at the posts relating to crowds. I live in Beijing, I know crowds. I've ridden buses and subways in peak hour and waiting 4 hours in line many times...

    I am willing to take domestic flights. I'd also be open to organised trips. I do not want to drive myself (I have driven twice in 10 years, and neither times were delightful experiences, even though I used to love driving, Europe is not a place to get back to it!)

  4. #24

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    I love the Como region. Be sure to go to Bellagio, take a cruise on Lake Como, if you go there.

    Have a great time!

  5. #25
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    Tinami should write her own travel guides.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  6. #26

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    My favorite part if Italy is the Dolomite mountains in the north, but understand that I really love mountains. Been there six times, and want to go again. If you put this area in your itinerary, let me know and I can give details.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    I'll look through these posts more carefully later, but I have to at the posts relating to crowds. I live in Beijing, I know crowds. I've ridden buses and subways in peak hour and waiting 4 hours in line many times...
    I have friends who live in northern Kamchatka, and I have yet to convince them to go to Iceland, even during summer...

    There are few organized tours you can take for 1 or 2 days. Some are group tours with guides, and some are not much than just "transportation" to and from an attraction/place of interest. Are you willing to go on a pre-set tour with a guide? It may not be a bad idea, actually to do it, and have some company for few days, if you're travelling alone.

    The more popular ones are:

    - Ex Sorrento to Pompei.
    - Ex Florence to Cinque-Terre
    - Ex Florence a bus trip to one or two wineries in Tuscany.
    - Ex florence to St. Gimignano and Sienna.
    - Ex Rome to Tivoli Gardens and Haidrian's Villa.

    etc... Again, some are fully guided tours, and some are just for a group of people who want to share transportation.

    - You should sign up for a tour of Vatican NOW, since it is VERY hard to get single entry tickets at the door during summer.

    - You should buy tickets to Uffizi, Pitti Palace and Academia NOW on line, and even now there is no guarantee you will get the dates you want. Don't wait.

    (Sorry, you're too lake to see Last Supper in Milan; the sign up is 3 to 6 months in advance).

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by KCC View Post
    My favorite part if Italy is the Dolomite mountains in the north, but understand that I really love mountains. Been there six times, and want to go again. If you put this area in your itinerary, let me know and I can give details.
    My secret hiding place is west of Dolomites... Bormio and its hot springs - Bagni Vecchio swimming pools perched on the mountain cliff http://www.verdenetwork.it/vncms/sto...0.23902400.jpg - the mineral pools inside the caves.http://static.b-travel.net/img/hotel...gni-vecchi.jpg - and ancient roman bath they dug up further below in the labyrinth of caves http://photos.hotelsclick.com/I/BRMI/106695/136.jpg

  9. #29

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    I've managed to change my flights so I am now flying into Rome and out of Milan

    Tinami Amori - where do I buy tickets for stuff?

    Now that I'm flighting out of Milan, does it change where you think I should go? I have people I want to visit in both Rome and Milan.

    My top places to go are Rome, Milan, Pompeii, Almalfi Coast, Sicily, Venice, Tuscany and Florence, and maybe Naples.

    I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but I am vegetarian, don't really drink, don't want to drive and hate cycling with a passion

  10. #30

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    Angelskates - two things to carry around on your travels: toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Train station bathrooms are not always well-maintained. I learned this the hard way.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  11. #31
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    You already have quite a few suggestions, still, adding some more as a few smaller Tuscan cities might be worth visiting as well. Volterra is famous for its alabaster, Carrara for its marble. And then there's the tiny community of Monteriggioni. It's a medieval town and when I was in Italy, ages ago, they had a medieval festival at least one night but I think it was more than that. With your food you got a clay bowl and clay jar and a carved, wooden spoon to eat with which we still have!

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    Angelskates - two things to carry around on your travels: toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Train station bathrooms are not always well-maintained. I learned this the hard way.
    Since I live in Beijing, I am never without either of these in my bag all the time.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    (your travel palns)
    Great news about flying into Rome and out of Milan! now if you only would give up Sicilia…. . You can visit Sicilia, but it will cut days from other places. You will have to fly to and from Sicilia. You do not drive, and will be limited to public transport which will get you to 1 or 2 places other than Palermo, given you have only 2-3 days for that location, in view of all other places you want to see.

    So here are few route ideas including Sicilia. I’ll be glad to give more details for each location covered, if you like, once you chose the dates and locations.

    June 20th – arrive Rome.
    June 21, 22, 23rd – in Rome
    -----------------------------------------------
    June 24th – Train to Naples to Amalfi Coast/Sorrento/Capri (more details if you chose this opetion).
    June 25, 26, 27th – Sorrento/Pompeii/Amalfi/(Capri?)
    June 28th – back to Naples/flight to Palermo/Sicilia
    June 29, 30th – Sicilia
    July 1st – flight ex Palermo to Florence.

    Or

    June 24th – flight ex Rome to Palermo
    June 25, 26th – Sicilia
    June 27th – flight ex Palermo to Naples.
    June 28, 29, 30th - Sorrento/Pompeii/Amalfi/(Capri?)
    July 1st – to Naples train station – train to Florence.
    ---------------------------------------------

    July 2, 3, 4th – Florence/Tuscany Towns
    July 5th – train ex Florence to Venice.
    July 6, 7th – Venice
    July 9th – early morning train to Milan (~ 3 hrs), see central Milan/Duomo afternoon.
    July 10th – trip to Lake Como/Bellagio – exhausting last day.
    July 11th – departure ex Malpensa/Milan

    Again, you’re taking up 4 days, basically, to spend 2 full days in Sicilia, with limited mobility outside of Palermo. To see Sicilia well, all the interesting places, takes at least 1 week, and with a car.

    I would take these 3-4 days and add 1 to Rome, 1 to Florence/Tuscany area, and 1 to Venice or Milan/Lake Region – it would be wonderful to spend 1 night on Lake Como in Bellagio or next adorable town Varenna, 10 minutes by boat instead of rushing back to Milan that same day. Lake Como is CHARMING at night!

    But… that is only IMHO. Do what you heart tells you.

    Now few notes/info/suggestions on individual locations.

    ROME.
    - You will arrive to FCO-Fumicino (l-d-vinic) airport. Find “trains to Rome” sign. There is a speed train Leonardo Express which in 30 minutes gets you into Rome Central Train Station – Termini. The cost of the one way ride is between 10 and 12 euro. (have not taken train in a while, love driving in Rome – my kind of drivers and great chaos like in Moscow!).
    - Hotels in Rome. DO NOT stay near Termini unless you really have to, regardless of the fact that most inexpensive hotels and hostels are in that exact area. Bad area, relatively unsafe at night and is a long walk to “central attractions”. However, there is a metro station inside Termini which will take you to several central locations in Rome. Google Roma Metro – you’ll get many sites with maps and instructions.
    - It’s better to find a small hole in the wall, near Via Del Corso, Pza Navona, Trastevere (northern section along Tiber), Pantheon, C-mpo Fiore, etc…
    - If you feel comfortable to give me your hotel budget, I can make hotel recommendations, as long as you’re not looking for one under 150 euro. Or if you like, show me the addresses of the ones you’re considering.

    - Must places to see: Colosseo, Roman Forum, Capitolii/Museums, P-za Navona, P-za Spagna (Spanish Steps), Villa Borghese Park and Gallery, Vatican, and a lot more.

    I suggest you buy Roma Pass - http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=2
    It will give you 2 free entries and discounts to many attractions (minus Vatican) and free transportation.
    You can order it on-line and will have to pick it up at the designate location (on the website) or at the designated kiosk at Termini (when you arrive from Airport).

    Another card recommendation, which gives you entrance to Colosseo (lines are 2-3 hours otherwise) is Roma Archaeologia Card.

    Here is a website where you can buy all the above cards and few more.
    http://www.ticketclic.it/gb/HTML/mus...rist_cards.cfm

    Tickets to Vatican and other info. Entry into St. Peters is free. Ride up to the room is 7-8 euros, line starts on the right side of the building. Vatican Museum is tricky. Tours are not cheap, but see if you can find what suites you to see Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel,

    This is a service that offers more than Vatican tours.
    http://www.rome-museum.com/?gclid=CK...FegbQgod1VynTA

    This is official site.
    http://www.myvaticantour.com/vatican...FQF6hwodSUVVVg
    To comfortably visit and see all of the above – you need solid 3 days in Rome – MINIMUM!
    If you get the 4th day (by canceling Sicilia), you may consider taking a trip to Tivoli/Villa De Este and Haidrian’s Villa.
    http://www.romaround.com/rome-tours/...FaUZQgodSmBUTg
    or
    http://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Had...d511-2390GRET7

    Keep in mind there are MANY tour companies in Rome offering these tours. If you don’t like the two above, just goodle “tours Villa De Este and Haidrian’s villa”.

    This company Viator is pretty good as far as tours. It attracts nice decent crowd, very pleasant people (not rifrafs).

    Here is a list of all 1 day tours they offer in Italy, scroll all the way down, it lists by attraction and location. Florence, Amalfi, Venice, Milan, etc.
    http://www.viator.com/Italy/d57-vd

    AFTER ROME
    Out of Rome - Option 1 – take a flight to Sicilia. (back to that subject later). And then from Sicilia take a flight to Naples (and do the Amalfi coats).

    Out of Rome - Options 2 – take early morning train ex Rome to Naples. (2-3 hours depending on which train you take).

    Once in Naples, you have few choices how to get to your next destination which will be your “base” for your visits to Pompeii, Amalfi and Capri. And you have few choices on where to “plant your bones” in the area.

    From Naples (port of Naples, short taxi ride ex Naples Train Station) there are frequent ferry boats to Sorrento and Island of Capri.

    There are three major boat/ferry/hydrofoil companies. Tickets slightly cost more than on the train, but I recommend taking the ferry or hydrofoil at this point of your journey.
    http://www.alilauro.it/index.php?lingua=english

    http://www.consorziolmp.it/
    http://www.navlib.it/

    (the last two are not in English, but you look carefully, the Italian words and letters are not that different from English when it comes to transportation terms and names of places. Just don’t block your head with a thought it is a foreign language – start reading and you’ll surprise yourself how much you understand – it’s all latin after all).

    From central Naples there is a local train which runs along the Bay of Naples all the way to Sorrento and back. The same train stops in Pompeii, to and from Sorrento. There are few options which station and how to get there, but that’s later, after you select your route and transports. The name of this train service is Circumvesuviana: http://www.vesuviana.it/web/en/Azienda

    I would like to recommend two options.
    Option 1 - boat to Capri, spend that night and next full day in Capri, then late in the evening, or early the following morning take a ferry/hydrofoil to Sorrento (35 minutes one way).
    Stay in Sorrento for 2 or 3 days. 1 day – trip to Pompeii, 1 day – trip down the Amalfi Coast. I will give tour info and transportation options later, once you pick your schedule.

    Option 2 - Go directly from Naples to Sorrento (by boat or by train Circumvesuviana).
    1 day – local bus to Amalfi Town, moving back towards Sorrento bus to Positano, and again last leg – Positano to Sorrento. Or you can go on an organized tour, more info later.
    1 day – tour to Pompeii during the day. Walk around Sorrento in the afternoon/evening. The best of Sorrento can be seen in 3 to 5 hours. However, if one has special interest in Sorrento – there are 100 interesting little things and places one can do and visit that will take up a week. But are they worth the time away from more interesting places? (that is the question!).
    1 day – boat trip to Capri (full day in Capri, return to Sorrento by boat). Or! Spend the night in Capri, or 2 nights and take boat ex Capri to Naples (so that you can fly to Sicilia). Or return to Sorrento and then get back to Naples to take a flight to Sicilia.

    (the rest tomorrow, got to go, my skype conf call from UK coming in…).

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    Great news about flying into Rome and out of Milan! now if you only would give up Sicilia…. .
    Okay my Italian friend (who also posts here ) agrees with you, so Sicily is out.

    My accommodation budget is more like the one vesperholly posted That hostel has space too...

    Any suggestion at around 150 to 200 Euro per night, since you don't do under?

    I have my ticket/itinerary now! Nothing else, but it's a start!! (I also downloaded the Italy Lonely Planet Guide )

  15. #35

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    When you go to Venice, part of the charm is to get lost! Just wander the streets, turn corners at random, and who knows what beautiful thing you'll find. It's a small place, and an island at that, so you can't get too lost, but it is magical.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingsit View Post
    When you go to Venice, part of the charm is to get lost! Just wander the streets, turn corners at random, and who knows what beautiful thing you'll find. It's a small place, and an island at that, so you can't get too lost, but it is magical.
    I am guaranteed to get lost wherever I go; I have an absolutely dreadful sense of direction. (I also always think "north" is straight ahead!)

  17. #37
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    It's been mentioned a few times in this thread already, but with so many opportunities in Italy, a bit buried, so I must wholeheartedly recommend CAPRI.

    Easy access from the Bay of Naples, close to Pompeii. Playground of royals and other celebrities going back to Roman times. Several good ancient ruins, the spectacular Blue Grotto, charming hilltop towns with plazas, cafes and designer shops, incredible cliffside walks, glimpses of the rich and famous, stunning vistas at every turn.

    We spent part of our honeymoon there many years ago, and it remains, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

  18. #38
    Port de bras!!!
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    Capri was fun but I didn't think it needed a whole day. Make sure to try the local fish--it's to die for, forgot its name. May be Tinami remembers? I recall the food on Capri with fondness.

    In general, food is so important to me when I travel--Italy will not disappoint!
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Capri was fun but I didn't think it needed a whole day. Make sure to try the local fish--it's to die for, forgot its name. May be Tinami remembers? I recall the food on Capri with fondness.
    Really? We were then for about 5 days, and found plenty to fill our days! There are two main towns each worth exploring, several houses and churches of historic or artistic interest, the ride up to the top of Mt Solano for the views, several really interesting cliffside walks, extensive Roman ruins, lovely squares to while away an afternoon at a cafe table, gardens to peak at over walls, the boat tour to the Blue Grotto and around the island, and even shopping, both designer and local crafty stuff.

    As for food, there's the now widely enjoyed Insalate Caprese of course, but I don't recall anything else specific. I do remember that there were lemons everywhere, but no one seemed to drink lemonade!

  20. #40

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    IceAlisa, no fish for me, I'm vegetarian

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