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  1. #1
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    Advice on going to Italy?

    First mrs wanted to go to NZ then somebody told her it's all sheep and fields which put her off. Then it was Singapore, but that does not have much bragging rights, so now it's definitely Italy. She does not know where it is or what the capital is, but it does have shops!

    Now I have never been there so am a bit stuck, packages from Thailand are outrageously expensive so that means booking everything separate, which is OK and the air fares are not too bad.

    Really looking for advice from anyone who has been a few times, she wants to see Rome and Venice, she's seen these in magazines. Any suggestions for tours hotels and what to look out for?

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat klong toey's Avatar
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    Not been for a while was bloody expensive then probably even more pricey now.
    We used Bergamo as a base to see the lakes nice place to explore from has a nice little funicular railway to save walking up the hill as well.
    Bergamo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Portale Turismo Bergamo

    Last edited by klong toey; 02-07-2013 at 10:27 PM.

  3. #3
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    Venice is the most stunningly beautiful and atmospheric city on the planet.

    It is also horrendously expensive and horribly crowded with tourists in the summer.

    No roads, so youll need good walking shoes, but its small. Walking outside the tourist centre is as rewarding as tramping the main sites, with hidden palaces, churches and courtyards little changed in hundreds of years. Its a visual treat, especially if youve an eye for historical buildings.

    Shops and restaurants are very expensive. Best to graze on takeaway pasta and pizza as you walk, or load up a rucksack with bread, cheese, ham and fruit from the markets and eat when you want during the day.

    Some world class hotels there, but no shortage of decent cheaper hotels either, especially if you stay off the main island, say behind the railway station, its only a short walk and a short ferry ride to the centre from there.

    Some good early morning food markets to explore, and the beach resort across the lagoon is great, half an hour by boat from venice, guest houses, hotels and b and b accomodation.

    Its best visited in winter when its much less crowded,but it can be cold.

    Cant recommend it highly enough, but even doing it budget it can be pricey.

    Four or five days is enough for a decent exploration, a week if you are really into the history and architecture.

    An appreciation of rennaissance art and architecture and italian history will certainly enhance the experience enormously, but the magical beauty and irresistable charm of the place speak for themselves.

    Murano and burano, two outlying islands, should also be visited, both can be explored in a day, glassware and arty souvenirs fill the shops there, some of it quite beautiful.

  4. #4
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    I was in Verona last month and can't recommend it highly enough. There are a couple of decent free car parks within walking distance although I recommend travelling there by train and staying in one of the less expensive hotels inside the city. My (Thai) wife was completely enthralled by the place and we stayed far longer than intended. I had made alternative plans, depending on the weather and her appreciation, to visit various locations on Lake Garda (Sirmione, Boschetti,Malcesini etc) as well as Venice.

    Venice...as above...

    I love to go to Lucca in Tuscany as well and this allows a visit to Pisa and to Florence, another place that is an absolute must. Hire a car here and pop down to the vineyards of Chianti, stopping off in Siena. Best in late August to mid September when the grapes are ripening/harvested.

    Are you thinking of hire car, trains, planes or a mixture of all?

  5. #5
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    I've been all over Italy and Sicily.

    Like everyone says - you will find it very expensive in the big cities.

    Roughly speaking the North is the business hub (Milan). Don't waste your time. The south is where it's at

    I would suggest flying into Rome for a few days, then hire a car and head south to Naples. Take the ferry over to Sicily. The islands of Stromboli and Vulcano are awesome.

    It's much cheaper outside the cities - same as anywhere.

    Taormina in Sicily is one of the coolest place I've been to.

  6. #6
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    head a tad west and you'll arrive at the Côte d'Azur

    which is about as close to Italy as you want to get ....................

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies guys, Rome and Venice it is I think.

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    Try London instead.

  9. #9
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    Be careful of all the gypsy pickpockets around the attractions.

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    Thailand Expat Humbert's Avatar
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    On a trip to Italy I would not miss Florence. The architecture, art and food is fantastic.

  11. #11
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    All roads lead to Rome- it's a magical city. Try the Frommers guide- found some wonderful cheap restaurants- much better than lonely planet.
    But would hope the Mrs likes stamping about ancient ruins and is interested in a bit of history.
    Florence is also great, stunning city and a bit less packed than Venice.
    Have a good time where ever you end up.

  12. #12
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    those canals in Venice can stink a bit in the hot summer months. Still,

  13. #13
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    I used to work out of Brindisi & Bari two cities in the heel of the 'boot' of Italy. Lovely area to see and excellent food. The train is the best way to travel just about anywhere in Italy.

    Besides the Spanish, you can't find a more hospitable people in Europe.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Every one I know that's been there say its a great destination.

    They all have a cry at the size of hotel rooms though. Not much chop unless staying at top end gaffs.

  15. #15
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    Dont you have a kid on the way?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Dont you have a kid on the way?
    Good god no we are both too old for that lark. Some good vids on youtube, will get frommers.

  17. #17
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    It is adviseable not to bring counterfeit merchandise such as Gucci, Louis Vitton etc.

    Italian customs are known to crack down hard on this resulting in very heavy fines.
    They make random searches at popular tourist destinations.

    Have a great trip. Italy is lovely.

  18. #18
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    I lived near Napoli (Naples) for three years (back in the mid-70s). I love Italian food. August is the month when the entire country goes on holiday.

    If you love beaches you should find some nice places all along both coasts. Most will have topless women and some are totally nude.

    Rome and Pompeii are both great places to see a lot of historical ruins and classic art. I would recomend the Vatican (two days to do it halfway proper) if you and the missus like to look at priceless artifacts (stuff the Romans looted from the rest of the ancient world).

    Naples also has some great museums and such.

    A good friend went there last summer for 4 weeks with his girlfriend. They spent a few days in Rome and then spent the rest of the time in a little hotel near the Malfi coast. They were into a simple existence with good, homecooked Italian food, daily swims in the ocean, and romatic nights. They loved it, but spent well over $1500.00 USD a week, and this was totally relying on public transportation (trains and buses).

    They were both amazed at how expensive it was (plan on close to $90.00-100.00 USD for a typical dinner for two in Rome).

    If your Missus is dead set on shopping - Rome is where its at, but bring plenty of baht.

    As mentioned, petty crime is everywhere (especially in Rome and Naples and major tourist attractions). Purse snatchers and pickpockets are very slick.

    Viva la dolce!

    Ciao,

    RickThai

  19. #19
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    gtr666's Avatar
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    Take her to pizza hut , a much cheaper option in my books

  20. #20
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    Hi

    I`ve visited many times, mostly the northern Como( lakes) region, very near Bergamo previously mentioned.

    I think the country is great, good food, find most of the people to be friendly.

    The warnings of pickpockets in built up tourists is valid though, need to be a bit alert.

    This website lists a lot of accommodation options, link is to the Como area but covers all of Italy, might be of use to see what is available.

    Como Hotels: 25+ Hotels with 2180+ Hotel Reviews | Venere.com


    Enjoy your trip.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile View Post
    Venice is the most stunningly beautiful and atmospheric city on the planet.

    It is also horrendously expensive and horribly crowded with tourists in the summer.

    No roads, so youll need good walking shoes, but its small. Walking outside the tourist centre is as rewarding as tramping the main sites, with hidden palaces, churches and courtyards little changed in hundreds of years. Its a visual treat, especially if youve an eye for historical buildings.

    Shops and restaurants are very expensive. Best to graze on takeaway pasta and pizza as you walk, or load up a rucksack with bread, cheese, ham and fruit from the markets and eat when you want during the day.

    Some world class hotels there, but no shortage of decent cheaper hotels either, especially if you stay off the main island, say behind the railway station, its only a short walk and a short ferry ride to the centre from there.

    Some good early morning food markets to explore, and the beach resort across the lagoon is great, half an hour by boat from venice, guest houses, hotels and b and b accomodation.

    Its best visited in winter when its much less crowded,but it can be cold.

    Cant recommend it highly enough, but even doing it budget it can be pricey.

    Four or five days is enough for a decent exploration, a week if you are really into the history and architecture.

    An appreciation of rennaissance art and architecture and italian history will certainly enhance the experience enormously, but the magical beauty and irresistable charm of the place speak for themselves.

    Murano and burano, two outlying islands, should also be visited, both can be explored in a day, glassware and arty souvenirs fill the shops there, some of it quite beautiful.
    gonna visit Italy recently and thx bro for your info and useful suggestions.

  22. #22
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    This Thread is 2 years old but in case anyone is still interested in the Italy travel .... Siena has been left out .
    If I was planning an absolutely perfect trip I would most certainly do the big ones - Venice , Florence , Rome .
    But I'd time it to get to Siena for the Palio .... which is just fantastic.
    And you can stay near Siena in the monastery that was used in the film " The English Patient ".

    All the advice about pickpockets is spot on . In Florence I got surrounded by about 6 kids all just grabbing for pockets and its hard to fight it off if you're carrying two bags .
    Put a bag down and someone will run off with it .

    But then again you can end up on a terrace in Vernazza or in Capri drinking a chilled beer and taking in the sun .

    That's just 100% wonderful.



    W.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat david44's Avatar
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    Wonderful food scenery if you can afford it.
    Can I add some of N East which many ignore Bolzano and Merano Lago di Caldero (Kaltnersee in Sud Tiril dilaket) The Dolomites ,Padua,Abbano Terme ,The Vila Stra neary probably finest House in Italy and Trieste cradle for Kames Joyce Blarney.

    If you have anothe rmonth less known Marche and Perugia Spoleto Assisi the delights are deeper than my pockets, If I was a millionaire Id live on Etna wih a helipad for when it erupts
    Originally Posted by HuangLao
    Those with lesser cognitive reasoning should refrain from commentary.

  24. #24
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    If you go to Venice take lots of money. The prices are eye watering

  25. #25
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    If you're in Venice in Saint Mark's Square and you go into a coffee bar and stand there for a coffee it will cost you £12 !!
    Sit at a table outside and it will be £22 !!!

    But stroll along the waterfront to Via Garibaldi where there are no tourists - sit out in the sunshine - and a coffee will be £3 .

    Honestly - millions of tourists never see anything except Saint Marks Square and the Rialto .

    If I had a Lotto win I'd buy in Venice --- with another place in Vernazza .

    Vernazza



    W.

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