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1st trip to Italy - itinerary input appreciated!

1st trip to Italy - itinerary input appreciated!

Old Jul 30th, 2004, 04:13 PM
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1st trip to Italy - itinerary input appreciated!

Hello!
I'm a double newbie (posting on this site and going to Europe!). I'd really appreciate some input on my itinerary. My husband and I are going to Italy from October 22 to November 4, and here's the plan so far:
- fly into Venice from Detroit
- 3 nights in Venice at the Locanda Orseolo (great reviews on TripAdvisor.com)
- train to Florence
- 4 nights in Florence (with a day trip to Sienna). Not sure where to stay - willing to spend up to 600 euro/night here (hotel savoy? the grand? hotel lungarno?)
- train to Rome
- 3 nights in Rome (want to stay in either Via Veneto area or Piazza di Spagna -- not sure where yet)
- train to Amalfi Coast (to which city should we take the train?). We will be in the AC from the 1st to 4th of November, should we be concerned about weather? The hotels we are interested are still open, but we cannot decide between Le Sirenuse in Positano or Santa Caterina in Amalfi. Both look amazing, but we can get a Jr. Suite at the SC, only a double at Sirenuse.
- Early plane from Naples to Rome
- Fly out of Rome and go home

Again, any input on this itinerary would be more than appreciated! This is our first trip to Europe and we really want to do it right
Thanks much!
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Old Jul 30th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Good start on a very nice trip. One change--go to Amalfi coast from Florence and save Rome for last--since you fly home from there. I would always opt for Positano on that coast.
In Florence, the Lungarno is hard to beat. In Rome, you really need to be closer to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Look at Albergo Cesari and the del Senato. or the Minerva if you want to pay the price. Good luck !
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Old Jul 30th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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Hi huntington,

Good advice from Bob.

>...train to Amalfi Coast (to which city should we take the train?). <

Naples. From there, I suggest you hire a driver to take you to your hotel and back to Naples.


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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 06:51 AM
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HUntington,
We stayed on Via Veneto in Rome at the Westin. We walked everywhere (incuding the Pantheon and Navonna). ANd also walked to Villa Borghese.

Bob,
Which Lungarno? The hotel or the suites?? Is it nicer than the Savoy or Exclesior? Or JK Place?


Have fun!

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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 09:14 AM
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bobthenavigator -
I like the idea of doing Rome last but we were thinking Amalfi would be more laid back than Rome, so it may be a nice end to our trip. I will definitely look into the hotels you suggested for Rome.

I was talking to one of my friends last night who's been to Rome and Florence - she suggested rather than doing 4 nights in Florence, spend 4 in Rome because there's more to see...?

ira -
Do we have to hire a driver in advance to take us from Naples to the AC?

Thanks for the suggestions so far!!
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 09:16 AM
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huntington:

I am flying in Rome from Detroit on September 19 with a stop in Venice. I only have nine nights total. Email me at [email protected] and maybe we can share info directly???
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 09:31 AM
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ira
 
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>Do we have to hire a driver in advance to take us from Naples to the AC?<

Yes.

We used Renato Cuomo
www.cuomonet.it [email protected]

Others can give you their favorites.
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 02:19 PM
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LauraD -
I'm looking into the Westin in Rome and it looks really nice. From your post, it sounds like it's in a great location, too. Do you have any Florence hotel recommendations?

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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 02:48 PM
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We liked the Westin. It is a very large hotel though. Beautiful room, excellent concierge. No complaints!

I have never been to Florence. I am debating hotels myself. Looking at Savoy, Excelsior or Grand, Lungarno, and Villa San Michele. We are only there 3 nights and are arriving in 2 weeks. So....it will be HOT!
Thinking it might be a little cooler in Fiesole in the hills and only 10-15 min drive into town.....

What are your thoughts on FLorence??

Laura
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 03:26 PM
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LauraD: It is true that it may be a few degrees cooler up in Fiesole than in central Florence.

If you drive (not a great idea, in my opinion, as driving in Florence is maddening due to the many one-way streets and parking there is well-nigh impossible -- I am speaking from my one experience with a car in Florence; the six or seven other times I was alone and walked everywhere), driving time between Florence and Fiesole may be about 15 minutes.

If you have to take the bus, however, it will take a good half-hour and, in my experience, will be hot and crowded. In addition, the No. 7 bus that goes to Fiesole is the "pickpockets' favorite" in Florence.

I know this is the second time that I have rained on your parade today, and I'm sorry -- but everything I have said has been based on the experience accumulated in numerous trips to Florence and is intended to give you as much useful information as possible.
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 10:00 PM
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Have stayed in Positano and Amalfi---REALLY preferred Positano. La Sierenuse looked fab--we stayed closer to the town. Would suggest a side trip to Ravello (high in the hills-home of Gore Vidal)...didn't find Amalfi all that appealing. Have a wonderful time! If you end up in Positano, there is a great little restaurant--Tres Sorellas (three sisters) FAB!!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 05:51 AM
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huntington,

We stayed at the Hotel Eden on the Via Veneto a couple of years ago, and didn't really like the location at all. It is a LONG hot walk from many of the sights you'll want to see ( Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, to name a few)
and difficult to get taxis back and forth from restaurants in Piazza Navona or Trastevere at night.

I would highly recommend, as others have, the area immediately around the Pantheon. The Minerva and Albergo Del Senato are excellent suggestions, and very well-located.

For Florence, I've heard great things about the Lungarno from friends who are often in Florence for business. We're going there in a few weeks, and I'd be happy to post a report about it at the end of August.

As for the Amalfi Coast, I probably wouldn't go there in early November. Don't get me wrong-- it's one of my favorite places in the world-- it's just that many services and restaurants begin to limit their services at that time of year. Also, the weather can be rainy and cool. However, if I haven't dissuaded you, I would definitely recommend basing in Positano instead of Amalfi. Positano is much more beautiful, and Le Sirenuse is right in the middle of town, so you'll be able to walk to everything.

We've used Giovanni Gargiulo many times for transfers and day trips along the coast. He's a great guy,very charming, reliable, and funny. He can be reached at: tourofitaly.com

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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 06:23 PM
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OK, so it sounds like Positano may be a better choice of hotel location in the Amalfi coast. I'm concerned about the weather & places/services being shut down But I really want to go!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 06:48 PM
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I have been to Rome five times and stayed at the Eden, Inn at the Spanish steps, Someplace near the train (I don't even remeber the name)and Santa Chiara. I love the location of Santa Chiara! You would want to stay at the Grand Minerve next door. My friends were there last year and loved it. Yes, you can walk from the Spanish step and Via Veneto anywhere or cab it or bus, but if you stay near the Pantheon EVERYTHING is right there for you. And I must say it is very cool to walk past the Pantheon every night just before you go to sleep.
We had a driver meet us at the Naples train station. It worked out very well.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 07:25 PM
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huntington,

Just a thought. Could you reverse your trip and fly into Naples, out of Venice? That way, you'd get to Positano almost two weeks ahead of your original schedule. It MIGHT make a slight difference weatherwise and in terms of limited schedules with ferries, restaurant/shop closings, etc.

So what I'd recommend is:

Fly into Naples ( you can do this by connecting through London or Paris)

Private car to Positano

Train from Naples to Rome

Train from Rome to Florence

Train from Florence to Venice

Fly home from Venice

Good luck!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 08:42 PM
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Weadles -
We already booked our flights to fly into Venice and out of Rome - so we're stuck with that. I really appreciate all of your input so far!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 10:49 PM
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Positano is definitely cuter and more romantic than Amalfi. But remember these are vertical towns slanting down to the sea...if it was rainy weather think of sliding down slippery steep walkways and steps...eek, I don't think I'd like the whole Amalfi area in rainy weather...Also if it's not clear the views along the Amalfi coast wouldn't be the same...Maybe you should look at the weather predictions and based on that consider more days in Rome with day-trips from Rome...there are some cute little towns near Rome as day-trips. We had 4 nights in rome and we didn't want to leave, we were just falling in love with Rome!
 
Old Aug 1st, 2004, 11:04 PM
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Forgot to add...I can also recommend our driver, Giovanni Benvenuto...www.benvenutolimos.com He was reliable, on time, and thankfully a careful, safe driver. Also speaks excellent English. He was good about answering all my thousands of e-mails with questions prior to our trip.

We had 2 weeks in Italy and our most memorable dinner was in Rome at the family-run Ristorante der Pallaro, on Largo del Pallaro, 15. Easy walking distance from the Pantheon. For 20 euros each you get a full 5-course home-made dinner including wine and dessert! It was great fun. We ate inside, and so had a better view of the interactions of a family-run ristorante in action. Mostly Italian-speaking regular customers were eating inside with us. Food was the best meal we had in Italy, for the best price, and we felt very welcome. Mario Fazi is the proud owner.
Oh, if you want to find the Ristorante der Pallaro you need a Streetwise Rome map. Plastic-coated map with a street and piazza index. The street, Largo del Pallaro, will appear on the map as "L. d. Pallaro", and you will find it south of the Piazza Navona.

You won't find anything in Rome without a good map! We found we needed 2 maps wherever we went...the map provided by our hotel, in addition to the Streetwise Rome map I brought from home...found it in a bookstore.
 
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 12:39 PM
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The Pantheon location sounds the best staying in Rome. Does anyone have a favorite hotel right near there?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 08:33 PM
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zee123,

There are quite a few excellent hotels right around the Pantheon. Two that are consistently recommended are:

Albergo Del Senato
Santa Chiara

In the higher end, there's
Minerva, which I think is basically next door to Santa Chiara?

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