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Forum > Miscellaneous > Have any tips for a vacation in Italy? ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Have any tips for a vacation in Italy?
Planning 2-3 weeks with another couple
Margasweet

Margasweet  Friend of PR
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Member since 2/15/05
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Date: 1/22/13 2:00 PM

I've got LOTS of questions! Starting with WHEN should we go? We've narrowed it down to April/May or September/October. Do you have a preference, and why?

We need to keep costs pretty low, but still want to experience the culture & life of Italy. Both men are 65 and both women about 55. DH speaks Italian; there are other languages among the 4 of us, but he's the only one that speaks Italian.

What we're thinking of: renting apartments whenever we can, rather than staying in hotels. DH either has celiac or is very, very allergic to gluten and, recently, dairy. It'll be easier to feed him, and cheaper for all of us, if we have a kitchen. We definitely want to see Rome, Florence, and Venice, and I'm thinking Orvieto and maybe Milan. Day trips to Naples, Assisi, Siena, and Pisa. I'm thinking a train pass would make sense.

Have I missed something important? Do you know of a reliable way to find apartments to rent? What should we plan for clothes? Can you recommend some interesting and/or beautiful sights that are less touristy, that I'm not likely to find on my own? We've been reading Rick Steves' book... but Pattern Review members are just amazing and I'm hoping to learn from you.

Thanks!

Marguerite

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2007 fabric in: 7 1/2 yards; sewn: 7 yds +1/2 yd
2008 fabric in, 23 yards; sewn 20 yds; given away 6 yds -3 yd = -2 1/2 yd
2009 fabric in 41 1/4 yds, sewn 29 yds, given away 22 1/2 yds -10 1/4 = -12 3/4 yd
2010 fabric in 91 1/2 yds, sewn 27 yds, given away 1 1/2 yds; +63 yd = +50 1/4 yd
2011 fabric in: 55 yd.; sewn: 21 yd; given away: 20 yd +14 yd = +64 1/4 yd
2012 fabric in: 60 1/4 yd., sewn 25 1/4 yds, given away 16 yds, thrown away 3 yds scraps; UFOs completed: 7 +26 yd = +90 1/4 yd
2013 fabric in: 28 yds; sewn 25.7 yds.; given away 5 1/2 yd.s; projects 8, UFOs 4 -3 1/4 yd = +87 yd

2014 fabric in: 40.5 yd
2014 fabric sewn: 23 yd
2014 fabric given away: 10 1/2 yd
2014 projects completed: striped maxi skirt, bl/wh maxi dress, brown/turquoise sweater-knit tunic, rose print rayon dress S1587, faux fur blanket
2014 projects started: turquoise tank dress, sage tank dress, (working on sm. faux fur blanket 2 1/2 yd, suede squares quilt 5 yd, suede lap blanket 2 1/2 yd)
2014 UFOs completed: 9 (5 small gift bags, pieced & quilted table runner, blue/wh maxi dress, silk infinity scarf, blue squares sm. quilt)
so far this year: +9 yd. = must do more sewing!

michellep74
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michellep74  Friend of PR
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Washington USA
Member since 7/19/07
Posts: 3109
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Date: 1/22/13 2:43 PM

I love Rick Steves--we used his books/tv shows for planning our trips to Italy in 2003 & 2009.

Weather will be cooler in October than September. It can still be quite hot and muggy in September. Prices will be cheaper in April and October than September or May.

If you decide to spend a few days in Tuscany, we stayed at a wonderful Agriturismo just outside of Siena for a few days on our honeymoon (in 2009). I can't recommend the place enough, and if you're interested, I'll post a link and tell you more about it.

We rented an apartment in Rome. The apartment itself was okay, but there was a communication mix-up (on their end), and they were several hours late to meet us and hand us the keys. I have to say that the experience biased us a little bit and made us a little less likely to rent an apartment in a non-English-speaking country in the future. (I can totally understand wanting to do so, given your dietary concerns, though.)

Definitely try to spend a few days in Cinque Terre--it's one of the most gorgeous places on earth and the people are super-friendly. If you're worried about the hikes being too rigorous, you can also take the trains or ferry between the towns. Very easy to get around.

We stayed in Rome, Florence, Siena, Cinque Terre, and Venice. If you have questions about any of these cities, I'd be happy to answer them.

You will LOVE Italy. I can't wait to go back someday.

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--Michelle

***
Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

2014 Fabric IN: 153.13 yards
2014 Fabric OUT: 88 yards
2014 Fabric Sewn: 38 yards
2014 Fabric Donated: 50 yards
pre-2014 Stash patterns used in 2014: 7

Elona
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In reply to michellep74 <<


Date: 1/22/13 7:45 PM

Ooooh, ooooh! Outside Siena, did you stay at La Gavina?

Sergio, the host, is a doll, and his wife Lorena is a dynamite cook!

michellep74
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michellep74  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Washington USA
Member since 7/19/07
Posts: 3109
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 1/22/13 7:58 PM

Quote: Elona
Ooooh, ooooh! Outside Siena, did you stay at La Gavina?



Sergio, the host, is a doll, and his wife Lorena is a dynamite cook!

We stayed at Argriturismo Marciano. We did two of the farm-to-table dinners there...definitely two of the best meals I have ever had in my life.

They also operate a winery, and their wines are quite good, too.

------
--Michelle

***
Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

2014 Fabric IN: 153.13 yards
2014 Fabric OUT: 88 yards
2014 Fabric Sewn: 38 yards
2014 Fabric Donated: 50 yards
pre-2014 Stash patterns used in 2014: 7

Margasweet

Margasweet  Friend of PR
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Member since 2/15/05
Posts: 822
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Date: 1/22/13 10:57 PM

Elona & Michelle, did you rent cars? Both agritourismos look beautiful... What did you do while in the area?

------
2007 fabric in: 7 1/2 yards; sewn: 7 yds +1/2 yd
2008 fabric in, 23 yards; sewn 20 yds; given away 6 yds -3 yd = -2 1/2 yd
2009 fabric in 41 1/4 yds, sewn 29 yds, given away 22 1/2 yds -10 1/4 = -12 3/4 yd
2010 fabric in 91 1/2 yds, sewn 27 yds, given away 1 1/2 yds; +63 yd = +50 1/4 yd
2011 fabric in: 55 yd.; sewn: 21 yd; given away: 20 yd +14 yd = +64 1/4 yd
2012 fabric in: 60 1/4 yd., sewn 25 1/4 yds, given away 16 yds, thrown away 3 yds scraps; UFOs completed: 7 +26 yd = +90 1/4 yd
2013 fabric in: 28 yds; sewn 25.7 yds.; given away 5 1/2 yd.s; projects 8, UFOs 4 -3 1/4 yd = +87 yd

2014 fabric in: 40.5 yd
2014 fabric sewn: 23 yd
2014 fabric given away: 10 1/2 yd
2014 projects completed: striped maxi skirt, bl/wh maxi dress, brown/turquoise sweater-knit tunic, rose print rayon dress S1587, faux fur blanket
2014 projects started: turquoise tank dress, sage tank dress, (working on sm. faux fur blanket 2 1/2 yd, suede squares quilt 5 yd, suede lap blanket 2 1/2 yd)
2014 UFOs completed: 9 (5 small gift bags, pieced & quilted table runner, blue/wh maxi dress, silk infinity scarf, blue squares sm. quilt)
so far this year: +9 yd. = must do more sewing!

michellep74
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michellep74  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Washington USA
Member since 7/19/07
Posts: 3109
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Date: 1/22/13 11:03 PM

We rented a car *only* while we were at the Agriturismo. We hadn't realized how close to town (Siena) it really was and that getting into town would be pretty easy by bus. While in the area, we did one day in Siena and toured Tuscany (day trips by car) the other two days. However, if you wanted to go car-less and still tour Tuscany, you could book a tour. Several other guests at the agriturismo did that, and the owners helped them book.

------
--Michelle

***
Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

2014 Fabric IN: 153.13 yards
2014 Fabric OUT: 88 yards
2014 Fabric Sewn: 38 yards
2014 Fabric Donated: 50 yards
pre-2014 Stash patterns used in 2014: 7

Elona
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In reply to Margasweet <<


Date: 1/22/13 11:27 PM

We spend about three months on the road when we go, always starting in France, so we 'buy' a car through Renault Eurodrive. If you're staying longer than 17 days (as I recall), it's an unbelievable deal, cheaper than your usual rental program, with terrific company support and virtually none of the common restrictions between countries.

Since we usually know some of the language of the country we're in, it's a priority for us to go off the beaten track. To do that, you kind of have to be independent of the railway, so we drive ourselves through beautiful country wherever our B&B hosts say it's worthwhile to explore--lovely little towns with less-known history and fewer tourists. The food and wine in these places--oh, my--and the people you meet!

Tall Mary

Tall Mary  Friend of PR
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Posts: 553
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Date: 1/23/13 1:54 AM

Hi,
Several years ago my husband and I visited Florence and Venice at Easter time for 2 weeks. I am an oxygen dependent patient and found it was a little challenging with all of the cobble stone streets. You definitely need comfortable shoes to walk around. We stayed in a few hotels which have escaped my mind. At that time everyone we ran into spoke English but we were talking with merchants and restaurant staffs in the cities. People were very nice and friendly and it wasn't crowded with American tourists. I had taken Latin in school and enjoyed seeing the Latin inscriptions on the statues and other monuments which I had studied in school. We are not big shoppers although my husband bought a Venetian mask while in Venice and I bought some wool in Florence. Enjoy your trip.
Kathy

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Sewing and reading about sewing are daily pleasures.
I hope to use up lots of stash in 2013.
2011-Sewing from Stash-SABLE

Karin Mantefors
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Karin Mantefors
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Date: 1/23/13 2:59 AM

for apartments try "Wimdu"
Going by train is nice and easy in Italy, get a nice view of the countryside at the same time.
Bologna and Ferrara are favourites of mine

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www.karinskammare.blogspot.com

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to Margasweet <<
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Date: 1/23/13 5:38 AM

DH and I spent two weeks in Italy, this past May. I dressed in layers, which was perfect. The northern part of Italy was cooler than Rome and Pompeii.

I cannot give an opinion on renting a car, since we were on a coach (bus) tour, but . . . you really do not want to be driving a car in Rome unless you have a death wish.

Pisa is rather touristy. You really can pass on that one, unless seeing the tower is a Bucket List "must." I was there eleven years ago and not all that impressed. In May, our tour company pointed out the tower from the highway and explained why we weren't going to spend half a day there. Nobody complained. LOL Too far to walk from the car park, etc.

Rick Steves is an excellent resource for planning your trip. Ron in Rome is another fantastic site.

Above all, keep in mind that pickpockets are everywhere, and they are much smarter than we are. Rome and Naples have some of the best in the world. It took me a while to convince my DH on this, but he finally read some of the articles I showed him and allowed me to alter his pants pockets for maximum security. (he refuses to wear a money belt) We had no problems at all because we were careful.

------
iPad's auto-correct is my enema.

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