Here is one VERY excited woman....planning the holiday she's waited her whole life to take...six weeks in Italy.
First time there, first time travelling alone, have no firm plans other than four nights booked in Rome when I arrive...after that, it's an open calendar. There are a few 'wish list' destinations...Venice, Florence, Pisa, Tuscany, Positano, Cinque Terra, Lake Como...other than that, I'm open to suggestions, recommendations, directions, assistance....I'm a sponge for information.
I arrive in Rome on July 3 and depart from Rome six weeks later. Should I head south and do the Amalfi Coast first or head to Venice and do the northern part first? I'm on a bit of a budget but am no princess, so not adverse to hostels if need be. Will be travelling by train so any helpful tips would also be greatly appreciated.
This is my very first thread EVER so please be kind :-)
Thanks and I wait with bated breath for someone sweet to answer me and help me have the most amazing trip.
I travelled to Europe from NZ on my very first big trip a year ago (was in Paris this time last year), so I know exactly how excited you are! I spent a couple of weeks in Italy and only got as far south as Rome, but loved every moment. In Tuscany, I stayed on a fattoria (working farm) in San Donato, about 10 mins from the gorgeous San Gimignano - Fattoria Voltrona. It was the cheapest place I stayed on my trip, and a fab breakfast is included - plus they have a swimming pool and dinner is available and is really good. Not sure what public transport would get you there because I drove, but if you can get to San Gimignano (and do try to get there, as it's the loveliest walled town I visited - and there's a gelateria there that sells about 40 different flavours! ) I'm sure there would be a bus or getting them to pick you up might be better as the farm is a bit of a drive down a metal road. Make sure you go to Volterra in Tuscany as well; it's bustling but still an ancient site.
I adored Florence and would go back there tomorrow. If you can stay in the historic centre rather than out further, you'll have more time to see as much as possible. There's SO much to see (don't miss the gorgeous David!) so spend a good few days there. The historic centre's not a large area so you can walk pretty much everywhere without too much trouble. Go across the Arno River on the Ponte Vecchio & drool at the jewellery in the shops on the bridge, then walk up to Monte Alle Croce to the pretty church of San Miniato & enjoy the stupendous view of Florence from up there. There's lots to do on that side of the wall as long as you don't get lost getting to the church like I did!
Also suggest you go to Umbria, especially to Spoleto which is a gorgeous old town in the hills that has a stunning, huge aqueduct across a gorge that you can walk across & do bush walks from, and Roman houses.
Venice will be hot, crowded & smelly, but if you can look past that and the customer service issues, it's so lovely and totally unique. When I was there, I loved going to Piazza San Marco at night where people gathered to listen to live music played by sextets outside the restaurants around the square. People sang along or danced & the friendly buzz was fantastic. I didn't get out to Lido, but I'm told it's good for swimming (you wouldn't do that from the main island - yech!
Just be REALLY aware of other people in the train & bus stations - especially in Rome. If you can get a bag that is slashproof, all the better - and keep your hands on all of your bags at all times. When I tried to buy a ticket for the train to the airport from a machine, twice there were guys who tried to "help" me, so I ended up going to an agent & buying the ticket there. Cost me an extra euro, but at least it was safe. The thieves are really charming so don't accept help from anyone who isn't in a uniform with a badge - and even then they will expect a tip from you if they help with your bags (but won't tell you until after they have helped)! I gave my guy only 2 euros for not telling me first
Best wishes for your wonderful trip, and eat LOTS of gelato - I'm so envious and wish I had 6 weeks in Italy. Have a ball and make sure you keep a travel blog/diary every day (I used travellerspoint & it was really great) so you forget nothing & can relive it.
I agree. That time of the year is not the nicer to travel in Italy, everything is really expensive and a lot of people around. I live in Italy and I leave the country July and August to go away for my vacation. -snip-
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Wow that sounds absolutely amazing!!
I've just booked a trip to Rome too with Railbookers saving about £100 with their current 10% off offer.
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Hi Kitylsea, how are your plans? Have you decided where will you go? There were some very good advices in this thread, but your ideas seemed well-thought as well we're looking forward to hearing about your trip! All the best!