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Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Napa, California
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Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Hello all! Looks like a pretty helpful board here, so I thought I would ask a few questions. We (a couple in our 30's) have been traveling around the world for nearly 10 months. Rome will be our first venture into Europe on May 28th. We have approximately 3 weeks to spend in Italy and speak no Italian. We love off the beaten path things and love wine and good food!

Questions:

1. Arriving from the airport at 9:30pm from Hong Kong can we take the metro at that time then a taxi to our hotel L'antica Locanda Dell'0rso? The hotel has quoted 55 Euro which seems very high, but after a full day traveling is it worth it?

2. We currently are planing 3 nights, 2 full days in Rome. What would be the best use of our time to experience the most? Should we try to do it on our own or a tour? We aren't really tour people, but we may be able to see more?

3. Looking at getting a Roma pass. Where can we purchase this?

4. After Rome we plan to head to Naples. There appears to be three trains. With our luggage is it nessasary to book one with a seat or do we risk standing?

5. Originally we planed to head all the way south, but there is so much we want to see north! Is it worth it in 3 weeks to try and do south and north or should we just focus on North?

Look forward to any advice, tips and responses!

Thanks in advance!

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Missouri
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1. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Sounds like you are having the time of your lives! If you can afford it, I would do the private transfer offered by the hotel. Your plane lands at 9:30; add about an hour to clear immigration and get your bags and it's pretty late by then. Knowing a person is waiting for you is comforting (to me, anyway).

As to your second point--is there any way you can stretch your time in Rome? You will barely scrape the surface of the wonderfulness in 2 days. I don't think tours are necessarily the way to go--upload a Rome guide app on your phone and use it to get the high points of what you are seeing.

Point 3--sorry never used the Roma Pass.

Re the trains, the fast ones have assigned seats; in fact I don't think they have "standing" trains any more (I could be wrong; the "regional" trains may. I haven't used the trains much in over 30 years).

And finally, north vs south. It really depends on what you want to see of Italy. There is beauty and great food and wine all over. With the super fast trains now, you can get around quickly (Venice to Rome is under 4 hrs), so you may be able to see quite a bit. I hope you can stay in Rome at least 4 or 5 days, though.

Happy travels to you!

Le Marche, Italy
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2. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

A regular Rome taxi costs 48 euros to go to any place in central Rome. I'm not familiar with that hotel, and you didn't give an address, so I don't know if that applies to your case. The hotel's transfer price is reasonable compared to a taxi. There are trains from the airport to various parts of central Rome; once again, an address would have helped.

I agree that two full days don't even allow you to scratch the surface in Rome. However, that would partly depend on your interests. Why don't you tell us what sorts of things you enjoy and specific interests you have.

"north" and "south" are rather vague terms. Are there some specific places or things you wanted to see in each direction? You might be able to go both north and south, depending on how ambitious your wish list is.

Napa, California
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3. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Thanks!

We aren't fans of big cities, so we thought 3 nights in Rome to start was good. We can always stay longer if we love it!

As far as what we like:

we love food and wine

Short hikes and being outdoors

Quiet towns where you get to know the locals

History, especially ruins

Jason's a landscape photographer so good natural landscapes are high on the list

We hate overly touristy places and those packed with tourists :-)

Places we are considering

North

Cinque Terre

Portofino

Genoa

Langhe valley

Bologna

Reggio Emilia

Florence

lucca

Venice

Dolomites

South

Pompeii/Naples

Amalfi coast

Sorrento

Far south

Puglia

Bari

Lecce

Gargano promontory

Islands

Sicily

Sardinia

Rome, Italy
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4. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

You've listed a very wide variety of about 20 places for just a three week period. I'd suggest you get a guide book about Italy and narrow down your choices considerably, perhaps to just 4 or 5 places, including considering what you can get to by train and what train routes make sense (also, will you be heading to other parts of Europe afterwards, so that you want to work in a particular direction?) You need to do research on what interests you the most and make some decisions. If what you really want is quiet towns with no tourists, maybe you should not be going to Rome, Florence, or Venice at all, particularly since this is high season. And, if you want to "know the locals," then perhaps you look for a small town as a base and stay there a week or so at a time, doing some day trips. Visiting a place for one or two days will not let you "know the locals," all you will do is get from the train station to the hotel, see a few sights, and go back to the train station to leave.

As for the Roma Pass, there are a TON of threads on it if you do a search on this forum. To see if it makes sense, you need to figure out what you want to see (and in what order) and estimate how often you will be using public transportation. The Roma Pass website is http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=2 . You do not need the Roma Pass to "skip the line" at the Colosseum as you can but tickets directly, and it does not apply to the Vatican Museums. If you are genuinely only staying two days in Rome, I would say pick only one, maybe two places you want to see; spend the rest of your time wandering, strolling, exploring the numerous free sights such as the beautiful churches, fountains, and piazzas, having some nice meals, and enjoying gelato.

You do NOT need a tour to enjoy Rome: some research and a decent guide book are enough. That being said, the one place I think really benefits from a guided tour is the Roman Forum, because it is a very large, complex, multi-layered and amazing site, but to many it looks like a lot of rubble. And, if you have such limited time, a tour of the Vatican Museums gets you to some of the traditional "treasures" like the Laocoön, then to the Sistine Chapel. Otherwise, the Vatican Museums are enormous and packed, and the tour gets you through some highlights and out in a few hours.

Napa, California
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5. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Thanks for the insight. I am well aware that the list is not phesible in the time we have. I was asked for a wish list and that's what I included. Hoping to get some help in narrowing down the list. We have been traveling non stop for the last 10 months so I am well aware of needing time in a place to truly get to know it. After spending a month in China I am also aware that not knowing the language has huge limitations so I am hoping for some help narrowing down the list based on that as well.

We likely will not go with the Roma Pass and have ruled out the need for a guide. We will have another 3 months in Europe after leaving Italy.

Le Marche, Italy
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6. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

If you hate places that are touristy and packed with tourists, you're not going to enjoy the Cinque Terre.

Rome, Florence, and Venice are pretty packed with tourists as well, but for good reason. I can always manage to get away from the crowds in all three cities, but I wouldn't recommend skipping, for example, the Pantheon in Rome just because it's packed with tourists.

Lucca gets its fair share of tourists, too. The places that are least touristy on your list are Genoa, the Langhe (a hilly region, not a valley), Bologna, and parts of the Dolomites. I don't think Lecce is very touristy, but I've never been there, so I can't say for sure. I know that lots of Italians go there to see the Baroque architecture, but that's not a style I care for very much. I've also never been to Reggio Emilia, nor do I know many people who've gone there to visit. What do you want to see or do there?

In the south, Pompeii, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast have a lot of tourists.

I've been to Bari a couple of times; it's certainly not packed with tourists, but I wouldn't consider it worth a long detour. It's not near any of the other places you want to visit. Sardegna is beautiful. I haven't been to Sicily, Lecce, or the Gargano. I think you would probably enjoy Le Marche, where I live, as well as Umbria and Abruzzo, three beautiful regions with hills, mountains, and little walled towns, which don't get anywhere near the number of tourists that Tuscany does.

In some of the places you've mentioned, you would really need a car to get around. Rome, Florence, Venice, Lucca, the Cinque Terre, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast are all easily reached by train an bus (or boat).

Missouri
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7. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Here's another vote for Abruzzi. If your husband likes landscape photography, Abruzzo is it. Gorgeous big mountains, lovely beaches, lots of hilltop villages. Research around Gran Sasso and La Maiella, the 2 tallest peaks in the Appenine range. There is also the National Park of Abruzzi, where there are supposedly bears! The only tourists you're likely to encounter are Americans visiting relatives and Germans at the spas. Here's a lovely photo--hope the link works. www.photographybb.com/community/index.php…

Napa, California
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8. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Thank you so much! We will check out the places mentioned. And have narrowed the list based on your suggestions. Crossed off Cinque Terre, we were on the fence anyway. The picture of Abruzzi looks amazing! Would we be able to get there by train or bus from Say Naples? Since this area may not see many tourist would it be hard to get around not speaking any Italian?

Any recommendations on sites to find an apartment for short term?

The stop in Reggio Emilia is to see the schools, I am a teacher.

Missouri
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9. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

Not sure how direct the route is from Naples--it's east of Rome. You can get from Rome to the Adriatic coast in about 2 hours by car; it's longer by train because of all the stops. We always stayed with relatives in the Maiella foothills; there are some bigger towns around like Chieti, Pescara (which is really big), Sulmona. I'm not sure about finding apartments in the smaller towns, although there is a thermal spring called Caramanico Terme that's up toward the mountain. Very popular with tourists, might be some apartments for short term lease there, and they probably speak more English there, as well.

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

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

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: Rome and Italy itinerary advice needed!

There are regular buses from Naples to Pescara, stopping in other towns in Abruzzo. Here are the schedules:

arpaonline.it/arpaonline/it/izi/77-pescara-n…

Sulmona, one of the places they stop, is a very nice town, and there is bus service from there to some other towns. However, getting around by bus in rural Italy can be an exercise in frustration, as service is scanty and mostly geared to the needs of students who go from the small towns where they live to larger towns that have specialized high schools. This means they tend to run towards the bigger towns very early in the morning and back to the smaller towns in the early afternoon. It's hard to find any town that makes a good base to take advantage of these schedules. Buses rarely run on Sundays at all.

Part of the Gran Sasso national park is in southern Le Marche. There, Ascoli Piceno isn't a bad base. There are buses from Ascoli Piceno to Rome that stop in some of the little mountain towns along the way.

Both Sulmona and Ascoli Piceno are on train lines. The line to Ascoli goes to the Adriatic coast, while the line to Sulmona goes to Rome's Tiburtina station. The station in Sulmona is some distance from the town, and you might have to take taxis to get there. In Ascoli Piceno, the station is nearer the center of town.

It would be much better in these regions to have a car, as public transportation is scarce in areas that aren't densely populated.