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Clueless in Italy

Finland
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Clueless in Italy

Hey all,

We booked a 10 day trip to Rome bit ex-tempore and we still have no clue what to do. I know there are lots of things to do and see in the eternal Rome, but we never really fancied the museums etc. Of course we are going to visit the colisseum, pantheon, Vatican etc. but 10 days is bit too much for sightseeing.

So here's where I'm asking your help. Where should we go? I've been considering Florence but it's bit of the same than Rome - museums and sightseeing, Milan is bit too chilly in this time a year.

So what I've been thinking is Amalfina coast, Sicily and/or Sardinia. Ryan air provides cheap tickets to almost anywhere in Italy so there's lot of options.

The point is that I really don't know which one is worth to visit, especially in late october. We would love to go on some nice beaches and maybe diving and yes, I know the weather is not as hot anymore, but we are finns (used for cold weather and definitely colder waters).

It would be also nice to get in touch with the local people and fellow travelers for example a pint of beer in front of you. :)

So... any suggestions for must see and places to go?

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1. Re: Clueless in Italy

I spent time in Positano (Amalfi Coast) the full last week of October last year and had lovely weather. Most people weren't swimming though some were - maybe you would be okay with the cold water. I would suggest going to whichever coastal town or island first before Rome, so you have a better chance of not only warmer weather (which may only be marginally warmer as you could have cool/rainy weather) but in those areas, hotels and restaurants shut down as of November 1. There are always some places still open but most close down for the season.

If you speak Italian, you should have no trouble with meeting the locals - especially if in small towns. Most people working in the tourist industry do speak English (ranging from a little to very good) but a lot of people who live there just speak Italian for the most part.

You need a guidebook - you will need when you are there anyway, so you should get it now so you can figure out what to do/see, when things are open, etc.

Check the Sardinia and Sicily forums here for some information - just read back a few days for threads; there is a world of information already posted on the forums about all there is to explore.

Florence, by the way, is nothing like Rome.

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2. Re: Clueless in Italy

Thanks for the helpful reply!

It's good to know that at least some places are open till November.

Unfortunately I don't speak italian at all and the lack of english skills by the locals is my main "concern", but what I learned and like to think, is that you get far by being nice and polite.

The guide book is great idea but I thought that I get prepaid 3g sim-card for my tablet, so that should cover that.

And yes, I know that Florence and Rome is not the same. I just made a crude comparison of the activities of both cities.

I'll check out the forums you pointed out. Though I'm still open for any suggestions, not just the previously mentioned places.

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3. Re: Clueless in Italy

We don't speak Italian and we have never found that to be a problem in Italy. Many Italians can speak some English and you will be able to get along just fine.

In Rome, I would advise you to take a tour of the Colessium and Palantine Hill on one day and a tour of the Vatican on another day. Of course, you could spend a month in the Vatican and never see all of its treasures and that is why a good tour will give you an overview. Take the elevator/stairs to the cupola for a fantastic view of St. Peter's Square.

Rome is a very pedestrian friendly city and you can easily walk to the Pantheon, Piazza Narvona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Campo de Fiori, etc. The nice thing about going in October is the crowds will be thinned out and it won't be so hot. We were there in August this year and it was 30+.

Florence has some nice museums, if that is your thing. If not, you could always take a train to Lucca or Sienna and see a bit of Tuscany. Or you could go in the opposite direction and visit Sorrento or the Amalfi coast.

Sicily is one of our favourite destinations. The seaside town of Cefalu is lovely, as is the hilltop town of Taormina.

Italy is a fabulous country and Rome is one of the most vibrant, and yet intimate, cities in the world. Enjoy your trip!

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4. Re: Clueless in Italy

My comment about the locals and English was about the OP's comment in his first post about wanting to "get in touch with the locals" - My experience is that in larger cities, most of the Italians I meet do speak some English (some very very good English) but that in smaller towns and villages, it is not always as common and I wouldn't expect to be hanging out with them in that case.

Overall, not speaking Italian will not be a problem at all in your travels -

For places to stay (lodging) you can try www.venere.com - you can sort there by budget, needs, location.

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Clueless in Italy

Momcat is correct. Even those Italians who speak English at the hotel and restaurant level may have great difficulty with social conversation. The young people are more likely to speak English, but even they have usually learned only the grammar of the language. I've met many teachers of English at the high school level who can't speak the language at all. I've met other teachers of English who were excellent, even at the elementary school level, but it's really hit or miss.

Finland
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6. Re: Clueless in Italy

Thank you all for the insight.

To be honest the language barrier has never been an issue. You always find someone who speaks English.

As for the otterskins suggestion, maybe we'll visit in Sienna or the Cefalu at Sicily. At this point we still have freedom to choose and have the time to check the weather at different areas.

For the accommodation, we are not going to stay in the hotels (in Rome). There are several websites where Romans offer houses and flats for rent.

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7. Re: Clueless in Italy

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Here & There
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8. Re: Clueless in Italy

Rome with Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast logistically makes more sense than Sardinia or Sicily, and offers great diversity of experiences.

But if you become tired of museums, you might enjoying trekking Mount Etna!

Vagabonda

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9. Re: Clueless in Italy

Spanishstepapt, those are amazing ideas! Thank you for those.

Vagabonda, that is also what we are looking for! Fortunately we have the option to wait and see how the weather turn up to be.

Btw, if some fellow traveler is at or going to Rome during 19-29. Oct. and wants a travel company. - post here. Especially if you are seasoned traveller in Italy. :)

We are couple at 30.

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10. Re: Clueless in Italy

Hey Pekka

we are in italy on those days. landing on 19th moving out on 30th from milan...

travelling with a kid of 5.. couple at 35.. but as clueless.. covering Bologna

verona

Venice

Ferrara

roma

still figuring out... stay/ travel etc..

may be we bump into each other..

ciao..

piyu

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