I have always wanted to travel to italy, ever since I can remember, and pictured myself being swept of my feet surrounded by all things beautiful. Instead, I was recently swept off my feet in my own country, but am planning to get over to italy for 16 days in September. I will be meeting up with my boyfriend over there (as he is travelling elsewhere to begin with) who will then be joining me to travel from Rome to Venice (Rome, Abruzzo, Umbria, Sienna etc)
In the time we have together there, (which isn't long I know) I would like to see the most beautiful and wonderful things. If anyone has suggestions on the best cities/countryside/food/art etc, and the amount of time that would be reccomended in these places it would be a massive help when trying to plan this trip! Please note - i am travelling on a very shoe-string budget.
Rome is one of the most amazing cities in the world in my view, I have been back twice because I just couldn't get enough of it on the first trip of 4 days. For having someone you love, if you want a romantic time go to Venice. On the travel and living channel it was voted the most romantic place in the world (Paris was 2nd).
If you could stretch your budget a bit to splurge on one of the nights in Venice, you could go on a Gondola ride having dinner with your boyfriend. That looked so romantic, but it certainly wasn't something that you could afford on a very shoe string budget. Italy really isn't the place to go on a shoe string budget, because it aint at all cheap infact it is amongst the most expensive places I have been especially in Venice.
Try to book your accommodation in Venice in advance, because budget places are few and far between and budget in Venice means expensive by most places standards. I was stuck having to pay 80 Euros a night for this crappy 2 star hotel room with double bed. The room didn't even have an inroom bathroom or toilet and it was 80 Euros! It was basically a hostel room but getting a double bed to myself and that was dirt cheap by Venice standards. Even the tourist maps which are usually free in most places cost 5 Euro when I was there in 2005, so it may well have gone up even more like Rome had done.
Have a great trip.
I second the Gondola ride - it may be stereotypical, but it's really quite beautiful. It's a bit pricy, though - we managed to deal the guy down to 50 Euro for a shorter ride. But he was great! He had us two girls blushing all over the place. Ask for Mauro, if you can find him!
If you can, stay a few days in a villa in Tuscany. It can be a nice, quiet spot to eat and drink and walk and enjoy the countryside for a few days. There's tons of places available to book - a quick online search will find you something.
For places to stay in Rome and Venice, we booked through Cross-Pollinate. We stayed at Ca' Maria - a small but gorgeous appartment - for about 50 Euro each per night. (I keep plugging the place, but it really was wonderful!) You can aso check out the accommodation section here on TP.
Have a great time!
16 days in Italy & if you want to get a overall appreciation, why not take a tour!! I know .. I know you are on a budget but if you can rake up about AUS $1800 each, you can take an 11 day tour of all the main cities, with the main attractions included. You will have a bed, breakfast each day and some meals.
My other suggestion is to select only a few locations and do justice to them.
Rome - 1 week easily... get a weekly transport ticket (use this on all trains, trams, metro & buses). Many of the attractions in 'Old Rome' are free. Go to Ostia Antica - accessible on the Roman suburban train line.
Pompeii can be a day trip from rome about 2 hours South.
Firenze (Florence) - The Ufizzi gallery is a must, you can spend a day there also, Ponte Vecchio is a short stroll from there. Pisa is easily accessed from Florence as a day trip.
Venice - Not easy to find accomodation in Venice itself so maybe Mestre (on the mainland) is a better option. And, you can acess Venice easily.
The Lakes - North of Milano (Milan) - lovely location and i noticed they have caravan parks there this is avery tourist oriented area.
But there's more so I suggest a tour (think about Cosmos or Trafalgar Cost Saver but there will be others!).
I'll be going back Sept 2008 for about 6 weeks (not on a tour this time) - It's a fantastic country but the food was unexpectadly ordinary !!
It's a fantastic country but the food was unexpectadly ordinary !!
Oh no! I don't know where you ate, but most of our meals were wonderful. Mind, I found the meals in small towns and at the Villa we stayed in to be the best. Maybe just stay away from big-city "tourist" places. I do remember one plate of pasta that I couldn't even take a bite out of, it was so ick. Oh, and the grand-daddy of all bugs in our basket of bread at the beach restaurant. After our meal, my friend watched the owner take the basket away, spot the bug, shake it out, stomp on it, then put the basket on someone else's table. Buon appetito!
Tway, you're right the big city was a tourist trap as a far as food was concerned. Pizza & pasta was the predominant fare!! And the variety of Pizza was non existant the only choice was Margarita with little variation. Also, don't eat anything that is served from a wheeled vehicle - dry bread, limp lettuce a chewy chicken.
We had the best meals by creating our own - by purchasing the bread, sundried tomatoes, eggplant, cheeses and cured meats - yum and of course the vino was always a treat.
I'm sure the countryside would have been better, we intend to find 'mammas cooking' next time (Sept 2008).
I forgot to mention that if anyone is in Rome, you must try to check out the Excavations under the Vatican. Awesome experience but you must book in advance - limited vistitor numbers each day - here is the site.
Everyones pretty much covered any suggestions I had
If you want a romantic retreat of sorts then get yourself to Lake Garda and visit the towns along its shores, especially Sirimione and Riva. Really beautiful plces to just chill out and do nothing except gaze at each other! Also, consider San Gimignano as a side trip from Florence.
Venice has that magical something about it that makes couples go weak at the knees. It is pretty cool just wandering the weird little streets late at night.
Rome's still my favourite city, but maybe less intimate than Florence or Venice. Depends on what you're looking for I suppose. You can find romance anywhere. My parents got married in Rome and then renewed their vows int he same church years later on Christmas Eve with us (their children) there. How's that for romantic!
I'd need a few pages to tell you what to do and where to go in Italy. It's just fabulous, and it really gets under your skin.
Time-wise, my opinion is that you coulld need weeks and months to discover Rome and Florence with their vast art collections and architecture. Venice, I felt, was somewhere you could spend one to two weeks and have seen it all.
If you have the time Verona is lovely. (Go to the opera). And one of my personal favourites is a little town called Bergamo just outside Milano.
If you have the time Verona is lovely.
Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet
You two should head to Via Capello where Juliet's house is located. There you will see the infamous balcony where Juliet called out to Romeo (In reality, they were fictional) But it's worth the trip if you indeed head to Verona with your boyfriend.
You should also look at the Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast for some of the most breathtaking views of Italy. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned. Just picture, brightly colored homes perched along steep jagged cliffs overlooking the bluest sea and clearest skies (you could insert clouds if you'd like haha). If that isn't romantic then I don't know what is. Just google these locations and you'll see what I'm talking about.