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First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

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newark, nj
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First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

In July or August timeframe I plan to take a Euro trip with my family. We will have 5 people total. Last time I went to Switzerland I really enjoyed Grindlewald so I plan to take a few days (2-3days) then travel by train to Italy and spend the remaining time in Italy (7-11 days).

First I would like to know is there any part of Italy that is similar to the Swiss alps with the cable cars, activities, and hiking, etc. If there is then I might skip the Switzerland portion.

Secondly I'd want advice on where to spend the remaining 7-11 days, most likely 11. Ideally I would like to go to Rome and one or 2 other cities. I was thinking Venice would be the other, is this a good choice?

Lastly would like to visit possibly beaches or mountainess areas with nice scenery and views to get away from the hustle of the city for a few days.

We are interested in the typical sightseeing, my parents are italian heritage and will be first time visiting. Also interested in authentic italian foods, and getting some fresh homemade foods, (mozzarella yum) and great wine. Will august be a bad time for getting authentic food because of the closings? Possibly some good italian live music, not much into the bars and clubs scene.

Any suggestions or help/ideas for my trip would be greatly appreciated!!

Forestville, CA
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1. Re: First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

Firstly I would suggest purchasing at least one up-to-date travel book and especially smaller ones that focus on "highlights", i.e. Lonely Planet publishes one called "Encounters". It is wonderful to make your own itinerary and then, if you still have questions, pose specific ones on TA.

Secondly July and August are just teaming with tourists and tour groups. If you can do it at all, pick a shoulder travel month like October and you'll enjoy slightly cooler weather and a bit less crowds.

Well, the northern Dolomite mountain range is close to Switzerland....check it out in a book and you might decide to pass it over. For 11 days, first time, I would choose towns in EITHER Tuscany or Umbria & Lazio or southern Italy around Naples, the Almalfi Coast and Sicily. Don't try to "do it all" by jamming in Venice, Florence, Rome, etc.....11 days in Tuscany will bring you LUCCA, FLORENCE and SIENA. Those three cities are completely different from each other and offer authentic incredible things to do, see and eat. You won't be sorry....read up on them! Lucca is a musical/literary town with opera in churches and outdoor book stalls. It has a fabulous wall around the city that you can bike or stroll....3 days. Florence is a powerhouse and one should spend at least 3 days there, even if you don't visit musuems...but why wouldn't you see the great masterpieces (although I wouldn't want to go into them during summer)...if you do visit museums, get tickets online before you go (print them out) or you will stand in line for 5-6 hours. Siena is a medievel town, magical. Again, 3 days. You've got 2 days left and can take the train down to Orvieto....have a great time and I hope this helped a wee bit.

newark, nj
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2. Re: First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

Wow not what I expected at all, so you are recommending to skip Rome altogether?

If I goto the cities mentioned below can we survive with trains or need to get a rental car?

After looking at the time it takes to travel from where I want to go in Switzerland (grindelwald) back to Italy, I'm thinking of skipping Switzerland as it will be a hassle to make the train switches

New York
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3. Re: First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

Why is it not what you expected? Everyone has their own idea of a great trip according to their own likes and dislikes which is why it's important you get a guidebook and plan places that interest you. Everyone will have their personal idea of what a great itinerary is. I think Rome is fabulous as well as a zillion other places in Italy. For me though I would not go in July and especially not in August because the heat in the cities will be extreme and the beaches are packed. In the middle of summer the last place I want to be is anywhere near Florence, Siena, or Lucca walking around all day wishing I was swimmming somewhere in the gorgeous sea.

Edited: 25 April 2013, 17:51
Norwich, United...
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4. Re: First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

Rather a case of swings and roundabouts!

August may be slightly hotter, and it's still when Italians like to head out of the cities to the beach or hills for their own vacations... leaving Rome - for example - delightfully quiet....

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/romeaug08

... and, with government and business likely to be out of action, some good hotel bargains to be had?

As downsides, that's when accommodation at the coast will be at its most expensive - and resorts at their very busiest!

If wanting to do some ancestor-tracing, perhaps not the best month to choose?

But if you do go then, try to avoid travelling, and almost anything at all complicated, on August 15th...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferragosto

Peter

5. Re: First Time to Italy, in July or August, Advice needed

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