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Traveling to Italy

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I'm planning to go to Italy in May of 2008. I'd like to go to Rome, Florence, and Venice. I'm also thinking about making stops in Zurich, Switzerland and Munich, Germany.
13 years ago, September 28th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #20164  
I'm planning to go to Italy in May of 2008. I'd like to go to Rome, Florence, and Venice. I'm also thinking about making stops in Zurich, Switzerland and Munich, Germany. The amount of time I stay is pretty flexible and I can stay from 10 days until 21 days. My biggest concern is seeing as much as possible in a cost efficient way. Here's what I need help with...

How many days should I stay in each city?
What's the best way and cheapest way to get around Italy? and between countries?
Any recommendations on cheap hotels? hostels? bed & breakfasts?
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in (near public transportation, inexpensive and safe)?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
Reply to this

13 years ago, September 28th 2007 No: 2 Msg: #20166  
Firstly, May is a great time to visit! Secondly - you want to know how many days in each city - a bit like asking how long is a piece of string! It really depends on your interests and expectations.

You could spend a month in Rome and still not see everything thoroughly. If convenient and affordable, I would opt for the 21 days. Try something like this:

Rome 7 days (evening train to Florence on the 7th day)
Florence 3 days (afternoon train to venice on the 3rd day)
Venice 3 days (get a night train to Zurich)
Zurich 2 days
Munich 2 days

The spare days allow for travel and delay.

The cheapest way to travel around italy is by pullman bus. However, trains are not that more expensive and I would recommend them to save precious time; for ideas and prices see:

TrenItalia

Since you want to visit cities, it is pointless hiring a car since (a) city driving is very difficult (b) parking is non-existent or expensive.

Again, the best way to travel between countries is train - while you can get cheap flights between some of these cities, you miss the spectacular scenery from the plane. You can buy walk-on tickets in Italy (or TrenItalia's site allows you to book if you must).

Don't have much on cheap accommodation. In Venice I stayed in a convent which was slightly less expensive. You're better off staying on the mainland and getting the train to Venice from, say, Mestre.

For more information on Italian transport please visit my site:




You are most welcome to mail me through my 'contacts' page on this site.

Have great fun planning!

Peter
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13 years ago, September 29th 2007 No: 3 Msg: #20220  
As a frequent traveler of Europe, I recently went on a tour with Contiki Holidays and came out of it with a great experience and many friends! They know the perfect places to stay, the areas to visit, and how long in each city. It was specifically for 18-35 year olds that are willing to have fun and experience new and interesting things! I would definitely suggest their Simply Italy tour, but they also have other tours that hit the places you are interested in!! Go ahead and visit www.contiki.com for some other great tours!! Good luck and have fun on your trip! Reply to this

13 years ago, October 4th 2007 No: 4 Msg: #20473  
personally I think that staying longer in one place is more worthwhile. You could easily manage Rome, venice and Florence in the 21 days and still only scratch the surface. In Italy there's now a big move to staying in apartments and it's a good and economical way to experience the cities. I've used these people before rome apartments and venice apartments In rome I would stay either in Trastevere or Campo dei Fiori and for venice, Dorsoduro or San Polo. Florence is pretty small so anywhere central would be suitable. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 4th 2007 No: 5 Msg: #20481  
Hi, I just came back from a trip to Italy staying in Venice and Rome and loved it!

I'm all about the cheap holiday, so if you really want to go cheap I'd recommend Venice Rooms for Venice (found it on hostelworld.com). It's actually off the island of Venice and you have to take about a 20 minute bus there, and it's quite hard to find if you arrive at night, but despite all that it's fine and it's cheap. Plus, it has a really cheap supermarket next door and you can cook at the B&B. Apart from buying coffees and lunch while in Venice itself, my friend and I spent less than 5€ a day eating and 2€ a day catching the bus back and forth which made it much easier to spend 80€ on a gondola ride!

Enjoy!! Reply to this

13 years ago, October 5th 2007 No: 6 Msg: #20485  
Thanks for all your helpful advice!! Reply to this

13 years ago, October 7th 2007 No: 7 Msg: #20568  
My wife and I went all over Italy on our honeymoon several years ago and loved it...was actually in May also, and the weather was great the whole time except when it rained for two days in Venice...

Reply to this

13 years ago, October 22nd 2007 No: 8 Msg: #21306  
N Posts: 6
Hey,

I had some of the questions that you had when I wanted to go to Europe and I ended up going on Contiki and loving it. My trip (European Discovery) actually hit most of the places that you said you wanted to go to. We spent anywhere from 1-3 days in each city and it was DEFINITELY one of the cheapest ways to go. Not only that, but we saw and experienced the best spots in each place we went. Visit the website www.contiki.com, it might help you out a lot. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 23rd 2007 No: 9 Msg: #21307  

along similar lines, trafalgar does italian tours that are pretty reasonable, including one that stops in rome, sorrento/capri, assisi, venice and italian lakes country...you get to see quite a bit without feeling too totally rushed...
if you're planning the trip yourself, i'd like to suggest making the most time for rome--there's just sooo much to see and do there it's unbelievable...venice, in my opinion, can be taken in pretty thoroughly over the course of a few days...
here's a quick piece on rome if you're interested, covering all the basics...

http://www.ehow.com/how_2055436_enjoy-rome.html Reply to this

13 years ago, October 23rd 2007 No: 10 Msg: #21334  
N Posts: 4
Hi there, it really depends on how deeply you want to explore a city because believe me, I am Roman and after 30 years there are still things and places I haven't seen. I would suggest at least 5 days in Rome. Florence and Venice are smaller so I think 3 days will do.

The cheapest way to move around is probably by bus but it is too slow therefore the second cheapest and definitely more efficient will be by train.
www.trenitalia.com for info timetables and prices. You could even buy online sometimes.

Regarding the accommodation: May will be high season therefore the prices would have gone up already but you could find good deals for some B&Bs or guest houses in town. Rome has some places that keep the same price all year round and are really cosy. One suggestion is Residenza al Corso which is located in Via del Corso, few steps away from Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. Renting a self catering apartment could be another cheap and interesting option. www.hotelsonline.it

Florence has a small city centre, therefore you could stay near the train station which is basically in the centre but offers chaper accommodations. Accademia house, near the train station offer budget accommodation with a high quality of friendliness.

Venice would probably be the most expansive in terms of accommodations. When I went myself, I booked a hotel in Mestre, a city close by, anf we travelled to Venice in the morning by train. It's only 15 minutes by train and you save a lot.

Ciao
Federica Reply to this

13 years ago, October 24th 2007 No: 11 Msg: #21416  
Hi there, I'm italian too and I'm agree with Federica that the cheapest way to move in Italy is by train with trenitalia, regarding accommodation I suggest you this site that have a lot of hostels and B&B in Rome, also there is a lot of lovely and cheap B&B in Florence just like Giglio Bianco, Alex House for example. In Venice is really hard find cheap accommodation and the best way to save money is booking in Mestre or Padova.

Have a good trip in Italy!!!

Sila
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13 years ago, October 24th 2007 No: 12 Msg: #21426  

BTW, there are a number of good travel 'how-to' pieces at www.ehow.com on specific destinations such as Florence, Venice and Rome...plus good tips on 'traveling light', 'traveling with a group' and so on... Reply to this

13 years ago, October 24th 2007 No: 13 Msg: #21439  
I don't agree with the whole concept of visiting Italy in this way - trying to see as much as possible in the time available. I have lived in Italy for ten years and have realized that visiting countries like this you end up seeing nothing of the "real" country.

I too visited Italy often with Eurail passes and the like in the past - before I saw the light. I don't like this form of travel.

The best way to see the country is to choose one region as a base - perhaps Tuscany- though I would prefer the less touristed Umbria or Marche and explore that region well. Car or bicycle are ideal options. You can then make excursions for a day or two to visit other cities - perhaps Rome and Venice. Stay in a smaller town for a real taste of the genuine Italy. Agritourism or are good possibilities.

A good and very humorous book illustrating the joys of this type of holiday is
Reply to this

13 years ago, October 25th 2007 No: 14 Msg: #21505  
I don't agree with the whole concept of visiting Italy in this way - trying to see as much as possible in the time available. I have lived in Italy for ten years and have realized that visiting countries like this you end up seeing nothing of the "real" country.

I too visited Italy often with Eurail passes and the like in the past - before I saw the light. I don't like this form of travel.

The best way to see the country is to choose one region as a base - perhaps Tuscany- though I would prefer the less touristed Umbria or Marche and explore that region well. Car or bicycle are ideal options. You can then make excursions for a day or two to visit other cities - perhaps Rome and Venice. Stay in a smaller town for a real taste of the genuine Italy. Agritourism or Farmhouse Holidays are good possibilities.

A good and very humorous book illustrating the joys of this type of holiday is The Lead Goat Veered Off. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 25th 2007 No: 15 Msg: #21509  

I think it all depends on what kind of travel one enjoys. Some people can't stand to sit still in one place and would rather be roaming around trying to take in as much as possible. I personally had a great time on a Trafalgar Tours trip--seeing a huge amount of Italy in only 12 nights. The chance to see Rome, Venice, Sorrento, Assissi, Florence and more was amazing.
That being said, on my next visit I'd like to settle in one spot, either sharing a villa with some people or doing a 'home trade' with someone for a few weeks, and really savor one region.
Depends on what mood you're in I guess, or what kind of travel experience you prefer... Reply to this

13 years ago, November 2nd 2007 No: 16 Msg: #21868  
I agree that it all depends on how you like to site see. When I only have a day or two in a city, I cram in as much as possible and see everything I possibly can by getting up early and being out late. When I have more than a day or two to site see in a city, I am much more leisurely and am able to explore more. Just depends on what you like to do...

I agree with the others above that Trafalgar has some great tours which take care of everything for you. I did one of their 7 country tours September, 2006 and it was very good. Gave me the confidence to go back and do it on my own. I'm actually going back to Italy in a couple weeks as a result. Got a great deal on go-today.com

As far as the cities you mentioned, Munich and Zurich I would say two days in each is enough for you to see the highlights. If you want to explore the off beat, you'd need more time. I was also to Venice and had 1 1/2 days to explore and it barely got me out of St. Mark's Square. Venice is a place you want to spend more time in to see the major stuff. That's why I'm going back...am going to spend three days in Venice, Rome and Florence exploring further. I will be taking the train between cities. With trafalgar, we bused it between spots which was also convenient.

Very excited for you to be making your trip. Not sure how much you travel but you'll find Europe very easy to navigate even if on your own. Just have a map, use common sense as you would in any major city in the States and don't be afraid to ask questions! Reply to this

13 years ago, November 2nd 2007 No: 17 Msg: #21907  

btw, if your time is limited i've written some very brief 'how-to' pieces on Florence, Venice and Rome covering some of the 'must-see' sites...just in case anyone is interested!

http://www.ehow.com/how_2055436_enjoy-rome.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_2094766_enjoy-florence-italy.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_2094771_enjoy-venice-italy.html
Reply to this

13 years ago, November 5th 2007 No: 18 Msg: #22047  
Hi Magpie, cant believe no-one has mentioned the beautiful city of Lucca yet! If youre coming to Italy, I doubt you'll find a more tranquil, easy-access or reasonably priced city than Lucca. Bus/train from Lucca to sea, snow, Florence Siena. check out portal experiencelucca.com ... You can also do house stays-can be much cheaper and more fun!! Happy travels! Reply to this

13 years ago, November 16th 2007 No: 19 Msg: #22621  
What about Piedmont or Le Marche these are two of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Check out the photos on
http://www.my-italy-piedmont-marche-and-more.com/le-marche-photos.html Reply to this

13 years ago, November 16th 2007 No: 20 Msg: #22644  

I think another slightly overlooked area is the Italian Lakes Country up by Switzerland...the towns around Lake Como and Lake Maggiore are very charming, and the foothills of the Alps make it even more dramatic...it's pretty easy to take a side trip into Switzerland too--Lugano is very nice... Reply to this

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