I want to treat myself to a trip to Italy. It's for my 55th Birthday. I am going by myself. I am open to suggestions. Should I book a pre arranged package trip, or be adventurous and take it day by day? I want to spend about 3 weeks there and see as much as I can. I am on a 5K budget. Any help is appreciated. I have traveled to Spain, France , England and all but 7 of the US states by myself. That isn't an issue. I meet people wherever I end up. Please be kind but honest. if 5K isn't enough then I'll wait till I have more $.
Sounds like you are going to have a great time !!! I live and run my business in travel for tourists here in Sicily and we love this Island.
Yesterday I was in the Aeolian Islands and it was truly beautiful as always...... where would you like to visit?
the south and Sicily are my faves but then I am biased I suppose..
Your budget of 5 k should be fine and I would say book some of your stuff in advance as it takes away the headache of finding when you get there.
Sicily should absolutely be on the list of places to see.
here to help
Siciliangems Aka Debs
Sorry this is so long. I get a little carried away when it comes to Italy...
What a wonderful birthday present to yourself! As long as your tastes aren't too extravagant, $5,000 should be plenty. I spent 4 weeks this past March and April traveling around Italy - there were 4 of us and we did it for $8,000 total (traveling from Arizona, US).
I would not book a package trip. Going on your own adventure is much more fun, especially if you are outgoing and usually end up meeting people anyway. No matter what you do, make sure you have really good maps of each of the cities you will be visiting - especially Venice. You might also want to purchase a Rick Steves book on Italy. We found ours to be invaluable.
My suggested itinerary for you:
Week 1: Rome (fly into Fiumicino and take the train to the Termini train station - walk to your hotel)
Stay at Hostel Rome des Artistes (www.hostelrome.com - tacky website, but great place. They have a nice terrace on the roof). If you aren't up for a hostel, stay at the Hotel des Artistes next door (same website, just click "private rooms"). Don't miss these sites: Vatican Museum, Vatican (be sure to visit the Popes' tomb downstairs), Pantheon, Forum, Coliseum, National Museum of Rome, and the Appian Way. The Pantheon and Coliseum can easily be done in one day, but be sure to plan an entire day for the Vatican Museum.
Week 2: Florence (via train from Rome)
For about $110 a night, you can book a small apartment. We went through www.florencehousing.it and the experience was great. Ana and Lorenzo run the business and they are wonderful people. One of the great things about having an apartment is that you can save a lot of money by cooking your own dinner at "home." Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner at restaurants. Take a day trip by train to Lucca and Pisa (Lucca is beautiful - rent a bike walk the old wall surrounding the center of the city). Skip Pisa if you want to, but don't miss Lucca! Siena is also a great day trip, but you'll want to take the bus there since it's a pain to get into the city via train.
Week 3: Train to Venice for 3-4 days, then take the train again back to Rome for a few days before your departure
I highly recommend staying at Locanda Conterie on Murano Island www.locandaconterie.com. It is a LOT cheaper than staying in Venice (I think we paid $70 per night for a double room). Beautiful little hotel, very good service. Murano is charming and it's just a 5-minute vaparetto ride to Venice. (Vaparetto are boats that function as city buses around Murano, Burano, and Venice). Be sure to get a vaparetto pass near the train station when you arrive. You will save a lot of money that way. If it interests you, visit the Jewish Ghetto in Venice near the train station. There's a small museum and you can tour a couple of the synagogues. I found it very, very interesting. Wander as much as you can all around Venice - you never know what you'll find!
Spend your last couple days in Rome. Go to the sites you missed during your 1st week or just walk around and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds. Enjoy!
My advice is to start your journey in Venice...a most unusal and fun place to start. Allow at least 4days and then head south toward Naples with the Almafi Coast, Pompeii, Almafi,Salerno,Sorrento etc....and the if you have time a trip to Sicily.
Lucky lucky you. Italy is the most beautiful historic artistic stylish - need i keep going.
Needless to say I adore Italy. If you can I'd recommend flying into Venice and maybe home from Naples? Not sure if that would add huge expense the the cost of the flight but it would prevent the need to double back on yourself.
3 weeks! I've been to Italy more times than I can remember and still don't feel I have scratched the surface.
If it was me and I wanted to see as much as possible - rest when I get home, this would be my plan.
Venice - get away from the crowds, wander the streets
Verona - take in an opera in the amphitheatre, pay homage at Juliet's balcony
Florence & Pisa - The Uffizi, not to be missed, The Leaning Tower (surreal)
Sienna - one of my favourite cities, soak up the atmosphere
Rome - as above, ancient rome and the vatican ( if you want to save time I'd recommend getting on a tour - save you wasting time in the mammoth queues.
Naples & Almafi Coast - "see Naples and die"! Day trip to Capri, hire a scooter and drive the amafi cost with your heart in your mouth (crazy drivers)
Even the above is not enough, you will be addicted after 3 weeks and will need to return.
Alternative would be to fly into Naples - head inland and spend three weeks in an old borgo, using public transport to see the surrounding area. This way you'd avoid the mass of tourist everywhere else and get a true taste of Italian life.
This link brings you to a town called Calitri an hour and 20 inland of Naples. I love it here. The natives are so utterly friendly, no extortionate tourist prices.
You can also take cookery lessons, pottery, wine tasting, learn italian etc.
Let me know how your trip goes.
Best of Luck.
First off all Happy Birthday
If it's about Italy we could sit here and talk for days about what you should see
You should see Tuscany (my beloved Tuscany) and I can advice you a place out of the ordinary where I spend a wonderful holiday: http://www.locandalapietra.it/ You'll need a car to arrive there but every penny will be spent good.
And then there's Sicily, my new home. I found a site recently with a lot of information -snip- It's gonna help you have a beter idea about how beautiful Sicily is.
Let me know if I can help you further and have a great holiday,
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]