Planning Trip to Italy - Need some advice and suggestions!

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GTaudiophile

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
29,776
31
81
score! what are the accommodations like? Do you have a public hallway bathroom? That is uber cheap, so it makes me wonder if it is updated, or more traditional.

It's a complete apartment! All to ourselves. Look at listing 1163094 on AirBnB.
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,705
117
106
score! what are the accommodations like? Do you have a public hallway bathroom? That is uber cheap, so it makes me wonder if it is updated, or more traditional.

I was able to rent a few apartments when I was traveling in Massa Lubrenese. It's pretty awesome and not that expensive. Hotels cost an arm and a leg though.

You can also find apartments at

http://www.hostelbookers.com/

That's where I found most of mine.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,436
3,549
126
For the credit card were you talking Sapphire Preferred or just the Sapphire? The Preferred has no foreign transaction fees while the regular does. 3% can add up fast if you're using it alot. I believe the limits on things like travel insurance, lost\delayed baggage are higher as well but I could be mistaken. The Preferred is my favorite of the no ETF fee cards

For ATM withdrawals consider getting a Charles Schwab bank account. They reimburse you for any and all ATM fees charged worldwide if you use their Schwab Bank Visa Platinum debit card. No minimum balance either

http://content.schwab.com/m/q310/schwab_bank_high_yield_investor_checking/ELC44427C-02.html
 

Annon2255

Senior member
Oct 20, 2011
228
0
0
We got the preferred card. I need to check out what the ATM fees will be like. I'm sure we'll just take out a large amount at once so we don't rack up the fees.
 

amdskip

Lifer
Jan 6, 2001
22,530
13
81
Rome is great. We went there last summer before and after our cruise. The subway is excellent and we walked everywhere outside of that. I cannot find the first hotel we stayed at but the second we were at Hotel Robinson. Both were within walking distance of Termini. We used a credit card for the hotels but they asked for city taxes in Euros so keep that in mind. We went to the ATM for Euros. I wore a money belt the whole time.

The Spanish Steps were full of gypsy's. Gypsy's attempted to work us on the train but the cops later arrested them so that was cool. Gypsy's will try to help you buy train tickets too when it's easy to change the kiosk to english. They will try feeding your euros in and keep the change for themselves. I'm sure there are other scams but that is what we had to deal with when we visited.
 
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AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,705
117
106
The Spanish Steps were full of gypsy's. Gypsy's attempted to work us on the train but the cops later arrested them so that was cool. Gypsy's will try to help you buy train tickets too when it's easy to change the kiosk to english. They will try feeding your euros in and keep the change for themselves. I'm sure there are other scams but that is what we had to deal with when we visited.

Some guy tried to help me with my train ticket (You have to get your ticket punched). I held onto my wallet and spoke in Italian to him and he walked away LoL.

Btw I would not stay anywhere near Termini. Its pretty sketchy around there. I lived in Prati but Trastevere is a nice place to stay.
 

holden j caufield

Diamond Member
Dec 30, 1999
6,324
10
81
so both my gf and I have tmobile. Since they now have free international roaming, we don't need to do anything (no extra sim card) to get our phones working in europe? What about text or internet?
 

Annon2255

Senior member
Oct 20, 2011
228
0
0
Hey All. Thanks for all the help so far. Here is what we've decided upon:

Landing in Florence ~Noon on March 25. Staying at the Hotel Santa Maria Novella. While in Florence we are going to go on that horseback tour Keeper recommended. We'll be checking out on the 30th of March and are going to take a train to Venice.

In Venice we're staying at 3749 Ponte Chiodo. We're staying 2 nights in Venice (March 30 and 31) and we'll be hopping back on the train and head to Rome on April 1st.

In Rome we're staying at Cibele Bed & Breakfast. We're staying in Rome from the 1st through the 7th, and will be flying out of Rome around noon.

Now we have a couple of questions. Has anyone purchased the Firenze Card for Florence or the Roma Pass for Rome? We're thinking these look like pretty good deals and will allow us to see quite a bit. Does anyone have any experience with either of these cards? Would it be cheaper to just do everything a la carte?
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,705
117
106
34 euro isn't bad for the Roma card but I never used it.

Forgot about this.

http://www.atac.roma.it/

Use that to find the bus/metro routes to places you want to go to. Technically I never paid for the bus once. The ATAC police check only once a month near the beginning/end of the month. You'll notice guys in blue jackets jump on and tons of people jumping off lol. Bus tickets are only good for 100 minutes after punch and metro tickets (same as bus) are only valid one way on metro.

I would not get the Florence card. The city is so small you can walk everywhere.
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,705
117
106
I was thinking it might be worth it as it would give me free admission to all the museums and whatnot.

Actually it might be if you're planning to hit a bunch of them up since you get front of the line. The wait is huge there for the museums. The only museum I went to in Florence was the Gucci museo.
 

Tango

Senior member
May 9, 2002
244
0
0
Rome is great. We went there last summer before and after our cruise. The subway is excellent and we walked everywhere outside of that. I cannot find the first hotel we stayed at but the second we were at Hotel Robinson. Both were within walking distance of Termini. We used a credit card for the hotels but they asked for city taxes in Euros so keep that in mind. We went to the ATM for Euros. I wore a money belt the whole time.

The Spanish Steps were full of gypsy's. Gypsy's attempted to work us on the train but the cops later arrested them so that was cool. Gypsy's will try to help you buy train tickets too when it's easy to change the kiosk to english. They will try feeding your euros in and keep the change for themselves. I'm sure there are other scams but that is what we had to deal with when we visited.

Are you sure it was gypsies (who are Romanian) in the train station? I am curious as I have never seen this. I do see quite often north or western African immigrants in the Florence or Milan stations helping foreigners or old people with the kiosks hoping they will then give them an euro or two, but never seen gypsies using it as a pick-pocketing scheme.

Gypsies are not a big deal. They are so easy to spot given their traditional clothing I never really understood how could people be victims of them. Maybe if you do not know who they are...

Also, I think you are the first person I ever heard calling Rome subway excellent. Usually people consider it useless or annoying at the least. I guess you had low expectations. :)
It's probably the worst place in the world to build underground infrastructure, as you basically instantaneously hit an archeological site and are forced to stop. Hence, they cannot extend the system. They did some updating and extending for the 2000 jubilee, encountering major problems.

In my opinion, if one does not want to go the moped route, walking is king.
 

Tango

Senior member
May 9, 2002
244
0
0
Also, I advise against visiting 5 terre right now. Because of the very particular geological situation they have, they have been hit very hard by the floods/landslides/storms that the country has experienced in the last two months and a lot of roads/railways/paths are blocked.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
13,651
2,200
126
In Rome we're staying at Cibele Bed & Breakfast. We're staying in Rome from the 1st through the 7th, and will be flying out of Rome around noon.
well aren't you lucky. im in rome from the 30th to the 5th, so if you want i can babysit you a bit. having a UK friend over as well so we'll do all the classic tourist things.

im from rome btw, and i posted *extensively* about rome trips .. in a forum post which is now gone.
damn.
nm, found it
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2251355&highlight=italy&page=2
i dont know that one BnB in particular, but that area is THE perfect spot for a roman holiday.
Are you sure it was gypsies (who are Romanian) in the train station?
yes.
 
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Fern

Elite Member
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
173
106
Hey All. Thanks for all the help so far. Here is what we've decided upon:

Landing in Florence ~Noon on March 25. Staying at the Hotel Santa Maria Novella. While in Florence we are going to go on that horseback tour Keeper recommended. We'll be checking out on the 30th of March and are going to take a train to Venice.

In Venice we're staying at 3749 Ponte Chiodo. We're staying 2 nights in Venice (March 30 and 31) and we'll be hopping back on the train and head to Rome on April 1st.

In Rome we're staying at Cibele Bed & Breakfast. We're staying in Rome from the 1st through the 7th, and will be flying out of Rome around noon.

Now we have a couple of questions. Has anyone purchased the Firenze Card for Florence or the Roma Pass for Rome? We're thinking these look like pretty good deals and will allow us to see quite a bit. Does anyone have any experience with either of these cards? Would it be cheaper to just do everything a la carte?

I'm another not too thrilled with Venice. To touristy for me and worst Italian food I ever had.

Kind of an inefficient route, I think. Venice is North from Florence, then you'd have to travel all the way down South past Florence and on down to Rome.

Allow me to mention Sorrento. It's South of Rome and offers quite a bit, plus it's a very beautiful area.

I stayed in an apartment right behind the Foreigner's Club. Here are pictures of views etc from there. I stopped off daily at the club for a cafe or a beer. Great veranda/terrace to hand out at: https://www.google.com/search?q=for....sorrento-restaurants.com%2F%3Fp%3D26;350;200

Scroll down and there are pics of Sorrento.

From Sorrento it's easy to get to the Amalfi coastal towns. IMO, it's terrifically beautiful. You just take the bus from Sorrento, it practically cost nothing and is the coolest bus ride you'll ever take.

Here's some photos of the Amalfi coast: https://www.google.com/search?q=ama...ivate-jet-charter%2Famalfi-coast%2F;1600;1200

There are several really fun places built up right on the water (Positano, Amalfi etc.). You can just hop off the bus, hike around, have lunch or a drink etc.

We did Amalfi as a day trip from Sorrento.

Also from Sorrento you can see Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius etc as a day trip.

Another day trip you can take is (ferry from Sorrento) to Capri and hike around the island etc. and/or visit the little towns. Here are some pics of the island: https://www.google.com/search?q=cap...K80AHNyIHoCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=624

I don't think there's a more beautiful part of Italy and, IMO, much more to do there than in Venice.

Fern
 
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bigrash

Lifer
Feb 20, 2001
17,653
28
91
Thanks for all the advice in this thread. I'll be visiting Italy (Venice, Rome and Florence) in a couple of weeks and there's some great suggestions in this thread.
 
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DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
13,651
2,200
126
glad someone can make use of this thread :)
also, you picked a good time to go. the weather will be decent and you won't be swamped with tourists.