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Purple Spoon
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Member since Feb 2005
12268 posts

So how about Italy??
Looking for a anniversary honeymoon we never could afford befor type trip with the wifey. We’ve never been across the pond.

What’s the best place to go? Milan seems to be my speed but I’m just guessing. What is travel like in the cities?

Any help would be awesome. TIA


Fun Bunch
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re: So how about Italy??
quote:

Milan seems to be my speed but I’m just guessing.


Why do you say that? Milan is pretty different than a lot of the rest of Italy, so we would need to know what "your speed" is.

Train travel is easy between all of the cities, as is flights between the major ones. I personally really loved Florence, Cinque Terre and Tuscany. Not so much Rome which was definitely not my favorite place.

The major cities have varying degrees of public transportation, and the tourist areas are generally very walkable.

One simple thing you can do is go to youtube and watch all of Rick Steves's Italy shows. He has one on pretty much every region and city in italy. See what you might be interested in after a little research.


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50
hungryone
LSU Fan
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Member since Sep 2010
10467 posts

re: So how about Italy??
quote:

Milan seems to be my speed but I’m just guessing. What is travel like in the cities?


Milan is meh. Just a big city, with crap air quality much of the year. There are more charming, scenic, quaint, exciting, and interesting places in Italy.

What most interests you? Food, wine, cured meats/salumi, olives/olive oil, art history, ancient Roman history, scenery, countryside, small towns, slow pace, fast pace, etc? Seashore or inland? Mountains?

Italy is pretty diverse, and you can certainly find some part of it that will make you happy if you can ID what you're seeking.

For a first timer, I'd encourage you to go to at least one of the Big Three (Rome, Florence, Venice), with some time in smaller towns or countryside for balance.


Purple Spoon
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re: So how about Italy??
I’m into history and food. Rome would seem to be a natural choose but waiting in long lines and tripping over tourists the whole time would suck ass.


Fun Bunch
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re: So how about Italy??
quote:

I’m into history and food.


Florence. For sure.

Another option would be doing 2 or so days in Rome (which, again, I disliked greatly but others love), then traveling South, seeing Pompeii and all that, and then maybe doing Amalfi.

But I would do Florence, at least for a 2-3 days.

Edit: You're going to get tourists in any major city in Italy. It is what it is. Rome and Venice are the worst for this but its going to be the case.
This post was edited on 3/19 at 2:38 pm


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hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
10467 posts

re: So how about Italy??
quote:

I’m into history and food. Rome would seem to be a natural choose but waiting in long lines and tripping over tourists the whole time would suck ass.

Rome is great, in the off season. IOW, don't go at Easter, or during the summer. Fall, winter, and early spring are fine.

But if you like food, consider Bologna, Modena, and Parma, all in the Emilia-Romagna region. It's the land of bolognese sauce, of real balsamic vinegar, of Parmesan cheese. All are within easy train rides of Florence....you could start there, spend a couple of days, and take the quick 35 min train ride to Bologna. From Bologna to Parma is maybe another hour, and Modena is on the way.


Purple Spoon
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re: So how about Italy??
This is good stuff. Thanks.

How hard is the language barrier? I could properly learn some basic phrases by the time I go.


Fun Bunch
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
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re: So how about Italy??
Language barrier is non-existant in the big tourist cities.

once you venture out it gets harder.

I did spend a day in Bologna and liked it, but I do not think Bologna requires more than a day.


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Civildawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since May 2012
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re: So how about Italy??
Sounds like you need to go to Florence (my favorite city in the world so far) big city with a smaller feel. Go on a wine tour


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60
hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
10467 posts

re: So how about Italy??
quote:

How hard is the language barrier? I could properly learn some basic phrases by the time I go.

It's not hard at all, in major towns/cities. A few basic phrases: please, thank you, good day/hello, goodbye, check please, and numbers (for counting, prices, telling time etc) are key. In major tourist areas, you will find plenty of English speakers. Remember that Italy has been a major exporter of its people to the US, so lots of people have US cousins/family. Tourism is a huge part of its economy, so generally speaking, tourists are treated well.

A self-guided trip through Italy isn't very hard to plan, even for someone w/limited Italian. Most regional train routes do not require advance ticket purchases (unless going at a peak holiday or similar), and you can use an automatic ticket machine at a train station with onscreen instructions in English (or about 8 other languages).

If you're a novice traveler, Rick Steves is the place to start. His books offer solid, straightforward advice on everything from packing to navigation to simple hotels (not luxury). He's not such a great source on deep history, detailed info on art/architecture, or serious stuff on wine/food, but there are plenty of other sources for those things.


Purple Spoon
Duke Fan
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Member since Feb 2005
12268 posts

re: So how about Italy??
Awesome


WordOnThe Street25
LSU Fan
Member since Feb 2017
38 posts

re: So how about Italy??
Florence 3 days and Rome 3 days. If you have time I would also suggest a few days in Cinque Terre before going to Rome. Take trains between the cities.


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Butch Baum
LSU Fan
The Plains
Member since Oct 2007
1899 posts

re: So how about Italy??
Love Italy and like most have stated Florence is a sweet spot. October in much of Italy can still be quite warm.
But the tourists are fewer, although still prevalent.
I understand why some don't like Rome- big grubby city with a lot going on. But the history and sights are ridiculous. My two cents..


theOG
Oklahoma Fan
Member since Feb 2010
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re: So how about Italy??
I loved Rome, but Florence was on another level.

Also, I don't think you should pass up seeing Venice. One of the most unique cities in the world.


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HollierThanThou
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jan 2012
5368 posts

re: So how about Italy??
We loved Rome, Florence and Sorrento.

Naples is Detroit.

As excited as we were for Pompeii, it was a letdown. Do Herculaneum instead.


PURPLE&GOLDFINGER
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re: So how about Italy??
Amalfi Coast.


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LoneStarRanger
Houston Astros Fan
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791 posts
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re: So how about Italy??
Milan is like an Italian Paris. Not very Italian.

You could park yourself in Florence, save on Airbnb weekly rates, and train travel to a bunch of places. (No more than 2 hours travel to Milan, Rome, Naples. And less for closer)

Do NOT skip Verona.


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VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Oak Hill, VA
Member since Dec 2007
25873 posts

re: So how about Italy??
quote:

I’m into history and food. Rome would seem to be a natural choose but waiting in long lines and tripping over tourists the whole time would suck ass


This is only your second post in the thread and you're starting to sound like "that American" traveler.

Lose the attitude. If you travel to popular places there will be tourists.

Milan (along with Naples) are just about the last cities in Italy I'd want to spend time in other than flying in to them to get to another, better place to go in Italy.
This post was edited on 3/19 at 6:19 pm


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kciDAtaE
Member since Apr 2017
5679 posts
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re: So how about Italy??
quote:

but waiting in long lines and tripping over tourists the whole time would suck ass.


Then why are you picking one of the most tourist filled countries in the world?

You want to go to Italy but not the popular places? Go to another country would be my advice. How do you go to Italy for the first time and NOT spend time in Rome?


theantiquetiger
LSU Fan
Paid Premium Member Plus
Member since Feb 2005
12192 posts

re: So how about Italy??
I’ve never been to Milan, but Rome and Florence are a must. You said you want to avoid the long lines of the major attractions. You could do what we did. As everyone was waiting in the long lines at the Vatican, etc, we toured the smaller cathedrals all over Rome. They have amazing artwork, architecture, etc, and were nearly empty. We visited Vatican City, enjoyed St Peter’s Square, etc, but we didn’t go in. Lines were long, etc, but you can buy passes with a private tour and skip the lines. We did do this with the Colosseum.
There is no language barrier. Most speak English because it is the common language of Europe. Many Europeans speak their native language and English, so in Italy, English is the common language.
Florence is amazing. It has a slight New Orleans feel to it, with amazing street musicians at night, performers, etc.
if you want to see the statue of David, do what we did. The line is normally 45mins-1.5hour wait. We went about 20 mins before it closes. We basically walked right in. They close the door at 6pm (just after we got there, but the museum is still open another hour after the doors close.
Rent bikes in Florence. It is small and easy to get around.
I was a little disappointed in Venice (and that was the city I was most excited about).
As someone already said, Cinque Terre is amazing!!! Probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. I would recommend going there instead of Venice. There is also the Almafi Coast, but you are now talking big $$$$.
If your wife wants to go to Milan for shopping, tell her Rome and Florence has all those high dollar shops as well.

My best advice for Italy, if you walk into a pizza/gelato/sandwich shop in Rome or Florence, and the guy working behind the counter isn’t Italian, leave and go somewhere else.


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