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Another first timer

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Minnesota
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Another first timer

I too am going to Italy for the first time with my sweetheart of 27 years. While I love going to Mexico and planning everything on our own, it seems like it's a bit more of an undertaking planning Italy. Our plan is 10 days give or take and not trying to cram the whole country into one trip. Rome, Florence and Venice are of course the first places that everyone thinks of. The thing that worries me is getting to Rome for 3 days and standing on the corner like an idiot because we can't converse and don't have a clue as to what we're doing ( basicly looking like a dumb tourist!). Any thoughts?

Ravenna, Italy
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21. Re: Another first timer

To add to jonny's remarks. Italy has everything that the US or UK does. people still pack TP, Kleenes, laundry soap, shampoo, etc. We too live in the 21 century and our super makets have all the things used in a civilized country.

Whitehouse, Ohio
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22. Re: Another first timer

My wife and I celebrated our 25 anniversary with a trip to Italy. I strongly agree with one suggestion someone posted about a day trip to Florence. We spent 2 days there and it was too long. One or two day trips from Rome will get it done in Florence. Do not worry about looking like a dumb tourist, learn a few words/phrases and you will do fine. Another poster mentioned to travel light, we did "carry on" only on the way over and checked 1 bag in on the way back (for souvenirs). I can't stress this enough....travel light, my wife said it couldn't be done. After she saw many dumb tourists hauling way too many/too big bags in railroad stations and down streets, she remarked "we still brought too much"! Get a good map, I suggest The Rough Guide Map, it has great detail and like many maps now, made of indestructible/waterproof material. IF you need more info try www.virtualtourist.com and if you do a name search for guitarstan you will find my travel pages with a great hint for a inexpensive gondola ride. Italia.....Bellisimo! Ciao

Oregon
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23. Re: Another first timer

Dear Minnekid,

My husband & I travel to Italy almost every year and love the people, food and the beauty of the country. I do hope you don't get stuck in the Rome-Florence-Venice rut, because you will see nothing but fellow-tourists and experience none of the real dolce vita of the country--just traffic, long lines and high prices for everything. First of all, don't worry about the language. Almost everyone in the tourist areas (and many of the small towns) can say a few words in English and can understand quite a bit. You should familiarize yourself with words commonly seen on signs etc. and to ease travel anxiety, get your train tickets and arrange other travel details with a travel agent in the US before you leave. Since it takes me about a week to fully recover from jet-lag, I hope you can stay for at least two weeks to do justice to the difficult journey to get to this wonderful place. Try to do only a small area (Chianti, Dolomites, Alamfi Coast, Southern Tuscany, Umbria are some my favorites) and REALLY explore it. You may need to rent a car, but it is worth the trouble to see the really wonderful parts of the country. Maybe concentrate on Siena and hill towns nearby including the Chianti area. I could spend two months here myself. Buona fortuna (good luck)

Ravenna, Italy
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24. Re: Another first timer

Dear minnekid,

Stick to your original plan. Do the big three. They are the big three for a reason. They are the three most important cities in all of Italy!

Any place you go you will see tourist! Why not? You will be one yourself!

Buy a good guide book. I like Access to Rome. Then I also have Access to Florence and Venice. They are easy to read books. Read the books and you and your wife select what is important to you!

I agree with the poster who suggested that you go to a travel agent and buy your train tickets ahead of time. If you have been married for 27 years you are not a kid with a back pack. Avoid standing in the lines at the train station to buy a ticket.

Just be sure that before you get on the train that you put your ticket into the yellow box found all over the stations. You have to valadate the ticket before you board the train..or you get fined by the conductor!

Rome/Florence/Venice are all one level stations. Which makes lugging the cases easy. Places like Bologna have steps from the train to the station and then it is a real nightmare.

I loved the suggestion of your wife packing her case and taking it around town for a week. What a great idea :)

When I travel with my husband he has one golden rule. If I pack it I have to carry it!

I have lived in Italy for many years. I am more than happy to help you anytime!

Agatha

rome
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25. Re: Another first timer

minnekid, tell your wife to pack light cause.........she'll be wishing to buy nice new clothes when in Italy. This should work with any woman.

I think you were given good advice already. Florence, as said, can be done in 1 day (1.30 by train from Rome to Florence Center). Venice you need at least a couple of days.

Good luck, enjoy your trip

Ravenna, Italy
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26. Re: Another first timer

I am sorry and I don't mean to be mean but you people cannot have visited Florence in one day the poster who said two days are too much...and another who said Oh you can do it in one day.

Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance!

Centro Storico the historic centre 14/ and 15th century buildings.. Decorated by Giotto and Michelangelo.

Santa Maria Novella

the essential part in the discovery of Renaissance.

San Lorenzo the district as a result of the impetus given by the first Medici.

Santa Croce this is the leather district and also the resting place of Michelangelo.

Santo Spirito the left bank. 13th century. Palazzo Pitti. The area of antique dealers and artisans.

San Miniato the area of silver smiths and book binders. Piazzale Michelangiolo the place to go to see all of Florence at your feet.

if you can take the morning train from Rome and do all of the above and take the 5 o'clock train back to Rome

Then you belong to the "Been there, Done that" club

My son was once waiting for me outsie a shop in Florence. A woman came up to him and very nicely inquired if he could point her in the direction of the Renaissance.

We always thought it was sweet. At least she had a clue it was there some place!

Sorry for the rant. But, you cannot "do" Florence in a short day...

Read the book written by King titled "Brunelleschi's Dome " It is in paperback and explains the building of the Duomo in 1420.

Book a 3 hour tour with "Walking Tours of Florence". They are not expensive and in three hours you can get an over all view.

They also have a tour "Highlights of the Uffizi"

Agatha

Minnesota
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27. Re: Another first timer

Thanks to eveyone. There is some great advice from all. It's looking like we will do Florence on a day trip. I am going to start another thread concerning hiking in Italy. We are going to try to add some of the beautiful countryside to the cosmopolitan flair.

Thanks again!

Ravenna, Italy
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28. Re: Another first timer

Minnekid...

You have started my day off with a laugh. We have all given you suggestions on packing light and not having a heavy suitcase! Now you want to go hiking!

I don't hike but I assume one needs boots and equipment to do that!

Try the Cortina forum. That is where people go who hike..

Minnesota
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29. Re: Another first timer

Dear Agatha,

You are right, I'm all over the place trying to figure out the perfect itinerary. Actually the hiking we do only needs a good pair of boots, no other technical equipment. Those boots are probably the most comfortable shoes I own and will be well used even in the cities. I'll check out the Cortina forum. Thanks for all your other advice and also to your mother who said "1/2 the clothes and twice the money". Hilarious!

The hiking theory is only to make sure that we see the countryside of your beautiful country as well as the cities. I am glad your day started with a laugh!

Ravenna, Italy
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30. Re: Another first timer

Dear minnekid:

Cortina is a very beautiful part of Italy. The lakes are also very beautiful. You only have 10 days. One of those will be lost upon arrival because you will suffer from jet lag and need to go rest in your bed! Now you are down to 9 days. You say you think you will be three days in Rome. Now we are down to 6. Minnekid you really dont have time to hike this time!

If while you are in Rome you want to have a day out to really see something beautiful take the Vastours one day trip to Naples, Capri, Sorrento. You leave Rome on a bus at 7.30 and return to Rome at 7.30. That part of italy is unique. Capri is incredible and unforgettable.

You have lunch in Ana Capri the very top of the island. You get to visit the famous Blue Grotto.

If you don't want to go to Capri the same tour group has a trip (one day) to Naples, Pompei, and Sorrento.

IMHO this is the beautiful part of Italy. The one you see in all the guide books and in every Italian restaurant in the US.