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Thread: I'm so confused!! Trying to plan trip to Italy

  1. #16
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    Oh, this is my dream trip. I've never been overseas, but if I ever go it will be to Italy and Switzerland.

    Can you guys offer specific names of places to stay? A "villa outside of Florence"...what is the name of it? Is it on the internet? How do you make reservations?

    Also, please recommend restaurants in each city.

    I have promised the kids that we will go on this trip in 4 years. I know it's a long way off but we know NOTHING about international travel. How to get around, currency exchange, finding places to stay, the language barriers. We need 4 years to plan.

  2. #17
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    I've never been to Italy, or anywhere across the pond, but I wanted to say Happy 20th Anniversary and I hope you have a safe and amazing trip! Post pictures if you can when you get back, I would love to see them!

  3. #18
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    My friends are honeymooning in Italy right now - I'll ask them to report back and pass it on here, too.
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

  4. #19
    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelbug View Post
    Oh, this is my dream trip. I've never been overseas, but if I ever go it will be to Italy and Switzerland.

    Can you guys offer specific names of places to stay? A "villa outside of Florence"...what is the name of it? Is it on the internet? How do you make reservations?

    Also, please recommend restaurants in each city.

    I have promised the kids that we will go on this trip in 4 years. I know it's a long way off but we know NOTHING about international travel. How to get around, currency exchange, finding places to stay, the language barriers. We need 4 years to plan.
    This is the villa I was supposed to stay at. Villa il Poggiale | Tuscany Hotel in Chianti area, Italy
    They were overbooked when I got there (?) and sent me down the road to a privately owned villa they can use for overflow. I loved it but I don't remember the name of the place I actually stayed in. Anywho, this is about 40 min outside of Florence so you'd have to have a car.

    As for the exchange: do it at your bank before you leave. They may charge you (mine didn't) but from what I hear, it's a lot less than what you get charged in Italy. Are you in the US?

    Language barrier: learn some key phrases before you go but honestly, everyone spoke anough english for us to communicate. They do appreciate you trying though.

    I hear traveling by train is very easy so that might be an option for you instead of renting a car.

  5. #20
    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelbug View Post
    Oh, this is my dream trip. I've never been overseas, but if I ever go it will be to Italy and Switzerland.

    Can you guys offer specific names of places to stay? A "villa outside of Florence"...what is the name of it? Is it on the internet? How do you make reservations?

    Also, please recommend restaurants in each city.

    I have promised the kids that we will go on this trip in 4 years. I know it's a long way off but we know NOTHING about international travel. How to get around, currency exchange, finding places to stay, the language barriers. We need 4 years to plan.
    Great questions! I didn't even think to ask any of them!

    Quote Originally Posted by DeadDwarf View Post
    I've never been to Italy, or anywhere across the pond, but I wanted to say Happy 20th Anniversary and I hope you have a safe and amazing trip! Post pictures if you can when you get back, I would love to see them!
    Thank you! I appreciate that!

  6. #21
    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Ok, this is a restaurant that's about 10 miles outside of Siena that the Bloke recommends (and I hope I copied it down right!):

    Le Pietre Vive
    Strada di Monteapertaccio
    1 53019 Castelnuovo Beradenga (Si)

    www.lepietrevive.it

    Apparently there is no menu to choose from; you turn up and you eat whatever they have decided to make that day but he promises that the food is really delicious and a good choice if you want authentic rustic Tuscan cooking. The guy who runs it is called Andrea and it's near the Monteparte battlefield site, so if you find yourself in the area and want to try it look for the signposts for there.

    Also he says don't bother trying the pizza in Pisa as you'll find better in America and don't allocate too much time for there (if you visit) as after you have looked at/climbed the leaning tower then there isn't much else. He definitely recommends more than a single day for Florence as there's so much to see and to also venture further out than the main square if you want to eat as the restaurants are better. Finally if you like wine and you are in Tuscany don't bother to pay out for Chianti; have the Tuscan table wine instead. It tastes just as good and there's some other reasons that I can't quite remember but have something to do with them all being the same and only a certain quota can be called Chianti or something. I'll take his word for that as I can't drink wine but he loves a glass (or bottle) of a good red now and then.

    I hope that helps but if you want any more I can pick his brains again when we're next together
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  7. #22
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    What do you guys think of tour groups? I found this one:

    Small Group Tours of Italy, Tours of Italy, The Best Tour of Italy, Amalfi Coast Tour, Tour of Tuscany, Italy Tour, Italian Lakes, Italian Food and Wine Tours, Off the Beaten Path Italy

    I know it's super expensive, and probably doesn't include airfare (or does it?), but is this a good way to travel if you are unfamiliar with international travel?

  8. #23
    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    ^^Noooo, no tour groups, that annoying as hell. And they never show you the good stuff either. Plus, it keeps you from meeting people you actually like. It also takes away any romantic moment, as well as all spontaneity. I always pity people traveling in groups, it has nothing to do with the actual adventure of traveling.

    Rome, Tuscany (Bologna, Florence) and the Adria (Venice) is a good trip for ten days. Enough time, if you ask me. Rome, Bologna, Florence, and Venice are not far from each other. You can reach everything by train. Lots and lots of tourists do that particular tour, so it's not like you will wonder around lost and lonely. You can ask other tourists for advice regarding the train tickets. There are tourist information centers, too.

    If you had more time, I would recommend Sicily as well, but that's too much stress.

    Don't waste too much time in Venice and Rome, Florence is a real gem and so is Bologna.

    If you want to play it safe, book a hotel online. It usually cheaper to book a hotel once you're on location, but you can find great deals on booking.com. Many American travelers use that platform. Check the reviews!

    Good luck!
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
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  9. #24
    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelbug View Post
    What do you guys think of tour groups? I found this one:

    Small Group Tours of Italy, Tours of Italy, The Best Tour of Italy, Amalfi Coast Tour, Tour of Tuscany, Italy Tour, Italian Lakes, Italian Food and Wine Tours, Off the Beaten Path Italy

    I know it's super expensive, and probably doesn't include airfare (or does it?), but is this a good way to travel if you are unfamiliar with international travel?

    I thought about doing a tour, but it is expensive & I really don't want to be on someone else's schedule. We did a tour trip one time & it felt very rushed & we didn't get to spend as much time doing what we wanted to get to do, & too much time wasted on crap we didn't care about.

  10. #25
    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Need more input on something...

    I know I mentioned that I would like to go to Lake Como while in Italy. Now, my husband is saying he wants to go to the Amalfi Coast. We won't be able to do both, so for those of you who have done both, which did you prefer?
    BTW, we already realize that we will end up going back to Italy at some point because there are too many places we want to see there & there is no way that we could do it in 10 days (couldn't even do it in 20 days I don't think...)

  11. #26
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    I think costiera Amalfiana is pretty much dead during winter months.More like a full summer destination.Como and the lake villages are more alive.Milano is very close anyway,if you want restos and bars and SHOPPING it is easy to get there.Venice,Milan and Como district are rather close by trains.Add Rome and you,re done.I do love Bologna and Verona too and I think Bergamo is a jewel,look it up.
    "Effie is all kinds of awesome." - Some internet moderator


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