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Old April 30, 2012, 11:43 AM   #1
JackieD
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Italy questions-- Rome & ??

This would be a non timeshare vacation (unless there's a miracle ) but I trust Tuggers for great information to start this process. I will also be searching other travel websites too (tripadvisor, frommers, rick steves). Looking to go in November (me, dh, 19 yo, 16,12) for 8 nights. We will go to Rome for sure and looking into another city. Right now sort of interested in flying into Florence and flying out of Rome. We are open to the something other than Florence. If airfare prices for all other cities were the same as Florence, is there another city which would be better for sights, culture, transportation, hotels? I looked at Siena and Lucca and they both look fantastic too. I just don't know about this time of year and convenience for transportation and weather. And so many more questions I have but this is a start so I can book airfare

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Jackie
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Old April 30, 2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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Resorts: 1 Aquamarine Villas, 1 Fxrun, an MP and now 2 EOY Waterside - and that's all (until the next time.... I promised)
How about Venice? We stayed in this apartment http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/Ita...rea/p63751.htm and it was lovely
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Old April 30, 2012, 12:05 PM   #3
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In my opinion, there is no better place (in Italy) for art, culture, history, tourism infrastructure (besides Rome) than Florence. We have found, however than airfare is cheaper using Pisa. The train to Firenze is cheaper than a taxi into Florence itself from Florence's airport and the train leaves from the Pisa airport. Couldn't be more convenient. You can day-trip to most of Tuscany- or stay a day or 2 in Siena, or Montepulciano, or Assisi, rent a car and see more. Don't drive in Florence- Parking is a nightmare.

Venice is also a possibility- but in Nov. can have high water.

Why not get a good Italy guidebook and let the kids have a hand in the planning?

Sounds like a great adventure for the teens and a lot of fun!

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Old April 30, 2012, 12:18 PM   #4
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Much of the year, I would pick Venice over Florence, although I like both cities. The time of year you are going, though, would make Florence probably the better pick. As to guidebooks, I have always prefered Lonely Planet and Rough Guide over Rick Steves, although I like Rick Steves ''through the back door'' philosophy of travel. The problem with his guidebooks is that they tend to be too opinionated, like a guided tour in a book. I like to get a fuller range of information and chose my priorities for myself. I would suggest going to a Barnes and Noble and checking out each of the major guidebooks, remembering that it is information not pretty pictures, that matter most, then chose the one that seems to suit best.
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Old April 30, 2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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if you choose Florence, there is a fabulous day trip that goes to Sienna, San Girmagno (sp). and Pisa. You can book it via Viator.com. The lunch at the farmhouse is great! Everyone from my 67 yr old Mother to my 8 year old loved this trip. It is very hard to get to these cities without a car--so the bus trip is perfect. If you base out of Florence, you could also easily do Lucca and Pisa in a day trip via train.
We stayed at a Best Western in Florence. It was very nice-great location. We got 2 triple rooms--which cae be hard to find. The superior triple room has a separate morning room with a bed--so more private for teens.
HAve fun. Elaine
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Old April 30, 2012, 08:52 PM   #6
JackieD
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Thank you everyone for your thought filled responses! I think I will focus on Florence and Rome. I looked into Pisa and it was about $150/pp more x 5 is $750 for some convenience. I am REALLY mad at myself because I lost what I think was a good airfare I just wasn't mentally ready to plop down almost $5,000 on airfare I wasn't sure of what area yet....I can see a DH argument coming

Barb: Thanks for the Venice info. I looked into Venice and it's intriging too but I think that may have to be another trip during a spring or summer.

Elaine: funny, I looked into viator.com before you mentioned it and it looked great. I'm hoping I'll be able to do that.

Really don't want to rent a car for the city (after experiencing driving in Paris & Madrid) but maybe for the countryside.

Jim & Carolinian: I already have some books you mentioned on hold at the library to pick up this week and I'm sure I'll be pouring over them. Then I can decide which ones to purchase to take. My kids are excited to go especially my 19yo whose a history major in college. We'll all be making touring decisions for priorities once I get transportation things hammered out.

Thanks again!
Jackie

Last edited by JackieD; April 30, 2012 at 08:55 PM. Reason: added info
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Old April 30, 2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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Venice is a MUST! We have been to Rome and Florence as well and although these are interesting cities nothing beats the canals of Venice, Italy has a great train system (and very affordable) so use any city as your base and take day trips using the high speed trains if you don't want to travel from hotel to hotel. We used Venice as our base and took both day and overnight trips. We left most of our luggage at our Venice hotel and only took an overnight bag on the overnight trips to Rome and Venice.
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:40 AM   #8
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A place in Rome

Check out this VRBO: www.vrbo.com/371978. The listing states Spanish steps but it is actually on Via Giulia not far from the Tiber and Campo de Fiori. We have it booked next month for 3 nites and are looking forward to staying there!
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Old May 1, 2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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I don't know if this will be your first visit to Italy. I guess all the tourists have to see the big cites like Rome, Venice and Florence. They are all great of course, but they are very much tourist places nowadays.

Have a look as well at the small Italian places, the countryside of Tuscany and Umbria, which offers great accommodation and very good authentic food. Look at the places Jim mentions. You might like them. And there might be timeshare available, especially in that time of year, which is very low season.

Beware however that November is a cold month in Italy.
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Old May 1, 2012, 10:00 AM   #10
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Venice in November might be more fun (esp for kids + young at heart) than Florence, not in spite of the potential Acqua Alta (high water), but because of!

I'd always wanted to see that and had an opportunity last Nov. (We didn't bring along rubber boots and got along fine, but you might for kids.) Here's our youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyw5POmr00k:

Loved Florence but loved Venice even more, so depends on whether you think you'll be back.

BTW we rented this apt in Rome which says 5 people max, might be a little small for your needs but 2 double BR's + sofa in LR:
https://www.sleepinitaly.com/en/show...d_appartam=247
In any case, www.sleepinitaly.com has some nice apts and decent prices, especially off-season which includes Nov.
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:01 PM   #11
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I've just come back from Rome, popped over for an overnight visit as I'd never been before. I have to say it's a fantastic city, I enjoyed it much more than I expected to and I need to go back and spend longer there. The ancient treasures such as the Collisseum and the Forum kept me captivated for hours yet I could spend many more there. A word of warning though, it's horrendously expensive. 11 Euro's for two coffees is scandalous although that was in a tourist hotspot however even down the sidestreets it is still expensive. I can't comment on Florence or Venice as I've never been there however I've been to Naples and the only reason to go there is to visit Pompeii and then leave as fast as you can.
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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A word of warning though, it's horrendously expensive. 11 Euro's for two coffees is scandalous although that was in a tourist hotspot however even down the sidestreets it is still expensive.
It could have been worse: 12 Euro's for 2 coffees is also common in tourist places in Venice or in Paris.
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Old May 1, 2012, 03:36 PM   #13
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I can't comment on Florence or Venice as I've never been there however I've been to Naples and the only reason to go there is to visit Pompeii and then leave as fast as you can.[/QUOTE]

I have to disagree with the comment on Naples which really pains me. I have been there many times, and I have not seen it all. In my opinion, Naples rivals Rome when it comes to historical and cultural artifacts and monuments. Every civilization which came and conquered, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs, Angevins, Spanish, and Bourbons, all have left their mark. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Capodimonte are two of Italy's finest museums. The food is to die for (after all, it is the city which gave us the pizza), and the people are incredible - friendly and exuberant. To top it all, the cost of living is very low compared to the tourist traps of Rome and Florence. Hotels and restaurants are a bargain. It is a shame that the south of Italy is virtually unknown to many Americans. (However, many Europeans vacation there.) So, please don't write off this magnificent city!
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:59 AM   #14
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Fares just really came down for the fall.

After late August the fares have just dropped. Ours to SIcily is $240 LESS now and we aare booking.
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Old May 2, 2012, 11:56 AM   #15
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It could have been worse: 12 Euro's for 2 coffees is also common in tourist places in Venice or in Paris.
Yes, I was stung in Paris last year. It's the Euro, I can't remember things being so expensive when it was the Franc, Peseta, Mark etc. Having self catered in France last year there is no way i could afford to live a comparable lifestyle with the same wage that I earn in England. As a matter of interest I compared average salaries and they were comparable between France and the UK. I can't see how they do it although admittedly my wine bill would be considerably cheaper in France.
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Old May 2, 2012, 12:09 PM   #16
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Europe is horribly expensive for us 'State-Siders'. Especially those of us not earning a regular paycheck anymore. It just means that a trip to Europe isn't a shopping trip anymore. We still love to experience the culture (much older than ours), and see the architecture.

There was a time when the US dollar was king and we could travel and shop with impunity, sadly for us, it's Europe's turn now. So come to America. See it all. Shop. We'd love to show off for you.

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Old May 2, 2012, 12:13 PM   #17
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Yes, I was stung in Paris last year. It's the Euro, I can't remember things being so expensive when it was the Franc, Peseta, Mark etc. Having self catered in France last year there is no way i could afford to live a comparable lifestyle with the same wage that I earn in England. As a matter of interest I compared average salaries and they were comparable between France and the UK. I can't see how they do it although admittedly my wine bill would be considerably cheaper in France.
Sot on! I was in Germany the day they changed from the DM to the Euro and watched prices jump. Unfortunately, that is quite common in currency changes. The UK got hit with it at decimilization.

There were supposed laws to prevent these massive roundings up. I recall reading a story some years ago about the head of a consumer organization in Italy outraged by all of this who brought a lawsuit against his local cafe demanding that he be charged the euro equivalent of the old lire price for cappuchino. He won his case and to celebrate took a gaggle of media with him to the cafe and ordered a cappuchino. He was charged the euro equivalent of the old price, but when his new media buddies ordered they were charged the new price and told if they wanted the old price they needed to go bring their own lawsuits.
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Old May 2, 2012, 01:05 PM   #18
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Europe is horribly expensive for us 'State-Siders'. Especially those of us not earning a regular paycheck anymore. It just means that a trip to Europe isn't a shopping trip anymore. We still love to experience the culture (much older than ours), and see the architecture.

There was a time when the US dollar was king and we could travel and shop with impunity, sadly for us, it's Europe's turn now. So come to America. See it all. Shop. We'd love to show off for you.

Jim
Yes, I do remember the times when the US dollar was king! We still went to the USA but we were in shock all the time. Even a regular bread was expensive for us. We stayed in Days Inn and thought they were expensive. So we didn't go for a while. But the last couple of years we go every year to the USA and, I must admit, we shop like crazy.
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Old May 3, 2012, 02:39 AM   #19
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So come to America. See it all. Shop. We'd love to show off for you.

Jim
Oh yes, we'll definitely be shopping when we come over in July. We'll be bringing less clothes than we did last time and then hit the outlet's. Bizarrely though breakfast cereals are more expensive in the states than the UK and wine is too even the Californian ones which you would imagine would be cheaper being a domestic product.

As a foodie nothing beats shopping in a French supermarket. I can and do spend hours in them despite the prices.
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Old May 3, 2012, 02:44 PM   #20
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villa/condo in tuscany, and visit cities like florence?
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Old May 4, 2012, 08:13 AM   #21
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Venice is a MUST! We have been to Rome and Florence as well and although these are interesting cities nothing beats the canals of Venice, Italy has a great train system (and very affordable) so use any city as your base and take day trips using the high speed trains if you don't want to travel from hotel to hotel. We used Venice as our base and took both day and overnight trips. We left most of our luggage at our Venice hotel and only took an overnight bag on the overnight trips to Rome and Venice.
Ditto on Venice.
IMO it is a must see.
Been all over Italy and loved all of it. If I had to choose Rome plus one-VENICE.
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Old May 7, 2012, 08:52 AM   #22
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Wow! thanks for all the replies and options. I have been pouring over guide books waiting to jump back onto a good airfare. Hoping this won't be our one and only trip to Italy but ya never know. I just want to cover as much as possible without feeling crazy and also I need to take into account that November will have shorter touring hours and will be chilly. You just never know about weather...last July we went to France (Annecy & Paris) and it rained every day and we needed a jacket most days then we went to London and it was sunny and 85 degrees every day...
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Old May 7, 2012, 09:03 AM   #23
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Think about signing up asap for the AA credit cards (maybe 2 of them, a Visa and an Amex on the same day) where you get 40k miles or more (up to 50, 60, 75, 100 sometimes, shop around) just for spending x dollars. Each 1-way ticket will cost you 20k ff miles. Maybe 2 adults each get 2 cards.

That's how we flew for free last Oct+Nov, got flights into Milan and out of Rome, not that far in advance either. Milan flights were plentiful, Rome not so much but we snagged them in time. Had we had a bit more lead time, I'm sure we could have flown right into Venice.

There are sometimes British Airways cards that are even better.
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Old May 8, 2012, 07:51 AM   #24
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Beware British Airways cards. The taxes per ticket on a U.S. to Europe frequent flyer ticket using their miles are $300.00 or more per ticket--each way.

I got my British Airway card intending to use its miles on American in the U.S. and avoid the British taxes, leaving me free to use my American Airlines miles to go to Europe without the high taxes.

However, it doesn't seem to matter how far ahead I try to use my British Airways miles on American, there are no seats available. I'm figuring my 100,000 British Airways miles and my husband's 100,000 British Airway miles are pretty much useless.
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Old May 8, 2012, 09:25 AM   #25
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Too bad about BA miles, guess I won't feel too bad about missing their deadline for signing up.

Fees on AA miles to Italy were low, even tho a connecting flight was on BA and then we flew home thru London. Off-season flights to Europe on AA are 20k miles, high season (I think May 15 - Oct 15 or thereabouts) as little as 30k economy, so seems like a good option for getting over the pond affordably.
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