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So i'm going to Italy -- what are the musts?

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So i'm going to Italy -- what are the musts?

Old 03-10-05, 07:16 PM
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Eat as much Pizza Margerita as possible for me (when you're down south or in Rome, any way). I ate that almost daily when I studied over there and it's the best thing Italy has to offer. Yeah, the pastas, fresh meats and cheeses and everything else they serve on a plate are wonderful too.

10 days... you could spend that entire time in Rome and not see everything. But be sure you get to St Peters, Castle San Angelo and the Pantheon. If you're a history buff, the Roman Forum is a must. If not, it's a bunch of rocks.

Florence is too confusing to me. Pick a couple things you want to see there, then get to the main bridge and the Cathedral in the middle of town and get out. Don't waste your time to see David if the lines are several hours long. There's a nice copy outside any way.

When you're down south near Pompeii, you might try getting out to the Island of Capri or the Amalfi Coast. Beautiful places.

Venice will take care of itself... the city itself is a marvel to walk through and enjoy. You'll see the main square, some boats (often too expensive to merit a ride, but it may depend on the season) and the canals.

Pompeii... again you don't need much planning here. Pick up a little guide when you're there and you will see all you need to see.

I'm going back in May... let me know how they treat you as an American over there right now and stay away from large gatherings in the streets.
Old 03-10-05, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
let me know how they treat you as an American over there right now and stay away from large gatherings in the streets.
As a Canadian you mean?

Thanks for the tips so far boys (and gals).
Old 03-10-05, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by The Ferret
As a Canadian you mean?
All you North Americans look the same to me.

Old 03-10-05, 09:40 PM
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If you go to Venice you park in the Tronchetto lot, and get a water taxi to St Marks Square, or as they call it there Piazza San Marco. And when you get off the taxi, take a right unlike us who took a left, and spent 2 hours trying to find it.

The parking dudes will try and get you on there buddy's Taxi as opposed to the one the locals use, and thats way more expensive.

They have a day pass which is great value, it will get you over to the place with the glass that escapes my mind, we got a chandelier over there and they shipped it back to the states. was about 400 or so but the same one would cost 1200 at anthropologie.
Old 03-11-05, 08:45 PM
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Oh boy, flight got cancelled. I now have to be at the airport (toronto) by 6am instead of 6pm. Taking a bus all the way to New York, planing(new word) it to England, and then planing it to Italy. It'll be a long day tomorrow, this is happening in like 7 hours from now.

How important do you find some kind of music player to be... my friends think it's a must, but i'm kinda lazy to brush the dust off my mini-disc player and put a bunch of songs on.
Old 03-11-05, 09:10 PM
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Why do you have to take a bus from Toronto to New York? Surely there are many daily flights, and if they canceled yours they should reaccomodate you on another flight.

A music player is extremely important, particularly if you are going to be on a bus. The audio channels might be okay on the airplane. More important are noise-canceling headphones.
Old 03-11-05, 11:49 PM
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I bought my Ipod initially on the fact that I had 4 SF to Uk/Irl flights in 03, it more than paid for itself.
Old 03-12-05, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson

When you're down south near Pompeii, you might try getting out to the Island of Capri or the Amalfi Coast. Beautiful places.
Thor,

Given the choice would you do Pompeii or Capri? I am in that situation...one or the other in June.
Old 03-12-05, 09:27 AM
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I've done both also. I'd choose Capri, by a wide margin.
Old 03-12-05, 10:05 AM
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Definitely Capri

http://www.capri.net/
Old 03-22-05, 10:12 PM
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Shit, what a beautiful place. The food, sites, yada yada, all great.

I went to both Capri and Pompeii and definately go to Capri. Pompeii wasn't bad, but Capri is just incredible. The clubs were great too.

Not much else to say except that I had an incredible time!
Old 03-23-05, 07:07 AM
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Stay out of Naples.

Try Orvieto, one of my favorite places in Italy.
Old 03-23-05, 10:06 AM
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Glad you enjoyed it. Yah, Capri is much nicer. Sorry I didn't see your question sooner, but you got to do both.

Pompeii is good for the historical significance, but certainly not anything social or "fun."

Glad you have a great time. I go in about 2 months.
Old 03-23-05, 10:41 AM
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Thanks for the info guys....Capri it is ... glad you had a good time Ferrett.
Old 04-18-05, 02:00 PM
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bumped for more replies. I'm going in 12 days! Specifically, can anyone recommend memorable restaurants in either Rome, Florence or Venice?

Grazie mile!
Old 04-18-05, 02:29 PM
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There's a good restaurant in Rome in the Campo Dei Fiori near the Hotel Del Sole. Great pastas. There a good pizza place down an alley off the Campo as well.

But then... you're gonna find good eating all over the place, honestly. Almost any place will use fresh ingredients. The Campo area is the area I usually stay in, so I eat there. I don't remember a place in Rome that I wouldn't recommend, though I'm sure there are some misses in there. Avoid anything that looks like it's there just for the tourists. "Johnny's Italiano" or something. Though the Americanized bars aren't a bad place to catch a beer if you're into that. Same goes for espresso shops / cafes (knows as "bars" over there)... they are everywhere and they are almost all very very good. <B>Get the cappucino</B>, you'll thank me. Just take a 5 minute break once in a while as you're walking around and stand at the bar and sip one of these (the price will go up if you sit down ).

For restaurants, it's not like America where you need to find a good place to get Italian food. It's Italy. As long as the place is clean and the people who greet you are friendly, go for it. Otherwise just walk half a block and try another. Also, tips (or service charge) are almost always included in the price so you don't have to leave anything, but leaving a small amount isn't insulting. Leave some change at a bar, and maybe a buck for a waiter if you are so inclined.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 04-18-05 at 02:38 PM.
Old 04-18-05, 03:52 PM
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Thanks for the words of advice, Thor. My wife mentioned it costs more to sit down, what a gyp. I have no idea where Campo Dei Fiori is, I'll have to look it up on the map. We're staying just west of the Tiber about 3 km from the Spanish steps.

I can't wait to get my hands on some real capuccino, and espresso, and all that good stuff.
Old 04-18-05, 04:07 PM
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Get Gelato, its the most HEAVENLY CONFECTIOUS Ice cream thing ever. You've never had anything as delish. I recommend the lemon, its glorious.

Speaking of lemon, you absolutely need to try a can of Lemon Soda if you like things tangy/sour. I have spent weeks fruitlessly trying to find a case in the U.S. Its absolutely amazing, and only available in italy
Old 04-18-05, 04:14 PM
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Don't go to Ibiza. It's a tourist trap and hasn't been hip in the last five years.

When I went to Rome I found it underwhelming and did not mind staying only a day. I think the Amalfi Coast is where you will get the best bang for your buck. When you're there, check out Pompeii, Sorrento, and Positano. Positano has some awesome "cliff diving" (you dive at about 30 feet in the air, or higher, if you can climb higher).

If you are in Tuscany, Firenze (Florence) is nice, and Pisa is only a day trip away. Pisa can be done in half a day. Do it when you get there if you want, it's not really worth a full day's trip. Do go about the countryside in Tuscany and visit wineries, if you wish. San Gimignano is nice, and also a good day-trip. To ge there, go to Poggibonsi and take a bus to the town. It also happens to have a very good gelatto place.

I personally really liked Napoli -- enough that I decided to stay there for a whole week. If you are someone who doesn't mind hostels, I really really recommend 'Six Rooms' who is run by an Australian. I can't find it online, so it might closed now.

I have heard non-stellar things about Milano, Bologna, and Genova. Sort of like visiting Philadelphia if it's the first time you're in the US. Good, but not a highlight.

If you are going to hit the north, Verona is an amazing city. I personally recommend it over Rome because you get a lot of the same type of touristing from it (ancient plazas, history, relics), but you do it with much less crowds, in a much more beautiful city.

Venice is an obvious choice.

The place I wanted to go to but could not was Cinque Terre. Apparently it's just beautiful and there is a lot of nature.




Pogibonsi


San Gimignano


Verona


Cinque Terre
Old 04-18-05, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rabbit77
I have no idea where Campo Dei Fiori is, I'll have to look it up on the map.
It's right by Piazza Navona, which you'll want to visit. Lots of info here:

http://www.cityfacts.it/Rome_Campo_dei_Fiori.html

It's a pretty good area to fnd a Ristorante if you're in the area, and a nice place to visit during market hours. It's about 20 minutes from the Spanish steps (on foot of course).

Another tip, anywhere in Rome... lots of pickpockets and gypsies so watch your wallet/purse. I've seen them mostly around Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. These guys walk around with strings and ask you to put your finger in them, like it's some kind of game. They appear very friendly. Just shake your head and walk away. I've heard that at times, their buddy will rob you while your fingers are restrained by the other. Best just to ignore these requests or any similarly unusual requests for things, no matter how public a place it may seem. I keep my wallet in my front pocket at all times, or an inner zipper of a jacket. Then I can walk around freely without being concsious of my wallet all the time and it's far more enjoyable.

Stay out of dark allies that are largely unattended and if there are ever protests in the streets, just steer clear. Don't go in to get a look at what's going on.

That's it for now.
Old 04-18-05, 04:43 PM
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I'll agree with The Bus.
Bologna was just okay, nothing spectacular at all, we stayed there as it was cose to the race...

Sienna was beautiful, we loved it there, and will go back again. Agree about Pisa, nothing to do there but see the tower and turn around and go back, over run with Fake Rolexes and Vuittons, so bad they follow you into eating places and harass you.

Firenze was also beautiful, I would have liked more time there.

monteriggioni castle was cool, a smaller san gimignano.
Venice is beautiful, and much nicer than I imagined it would be, going in April is great as there are not so many tourists.

We got lost in the back streets of Venice and it was super cool
http://www.monteriggionicastle.com/images/init.jpg
Old 04-18-05, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
It's right by Piazza Navona, which you'll want to visit. Lots of info here:

http://www.cityfacts.it/Rome_Campo_dei_Fiori.html

It's a pretty good area to fnd a Ristorante if you're in the area, and a nice place to visit during market hours. It's about 20 minutes from the Spanish steps (on foot of course).

Another tip, anywhere in Rome... lots of pickpockets and gypsies so watch your wallet/purse. I've seen them mostly around Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. These guys walk around with strings and ask you to put your finger in them, like it's some kind of game. They appear very friendly. Just shake your head and walk away. I've heard that at times, their buddy will rob you while your fingers are restrained by the other. Best just to ignore these requests or any similarly unusual requests for things, no matter how public a place it may seem. I keep my wallet in my front pocket at all times, or an inner zipper of a jacket. Then I can walk around freely without being concsious of my wallet all the time and it's far more enjoyable.

Stay out of dark allies that are largely unattended and if there are ever protests in the streets, just steer clear. Don't go in to get a look at what's going on.

That's it for now.
Generally try not to look too touristy (a million maps, digital cameras out the wazoo, etc.). Another way they get you is a mom will come to you carrying a baby in her arms. She will say, "My baby needs food." etc. --- the arm she has is wooden, and her real arm is grabbing your wallet while she distracts you with the baby/etc.

I had a notebook stolen which I absentmindedly left on top of a phone. I was gone for not more than like 5 minutes, and it was gone. Who the hell wants to steal a notebook?
Old 04-18-05, 05:03 PM
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Strong agreement on the Amalfi coast, if you can get there. Gorgeous. I'll be returning there for part of our trip next month.

<i>edit:</i> Just a note that if anyone in your group has knee problems or other difficulties walking, you should probably skip the Amalfi since it consists almost entirely of stairs. You could probably park them somewhere with a view while the rest of the group enjoys it though.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 04-18-05 at 05:19 PM.
Old 04-19-05, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
Generally try not to look too touristy (a million maps, digital cameras out the wazoo, etc.). Another way they get you is a mom will come to you carrying a baby in her arms. She will say, "My baby needs food." etc. --- the arm she has is wooden, and her real arm is grabbing your wallet while she distracts you with the baby/etc.

I had a notebook stolen which I absentmindedly left on top of a phone. I was gone for not more than like 5 minutes, and it was gone. Who the hell wants to steal a notebook?
We're Asian, so we can't help but look like tourists.

When my wife was backpacking through Italy about 5 years ago, she ran into a gypsy with a fake arm that asked her to look at some scarves of hers. Before she knew it, she actually caught her real arm reaching into her front fanny pack! She immediately smacked her arm away, and the gyspsy shot her a look as if she was the offended one. Luckily she didn't get anything.

Unfortunately the Amalfi coast is too far away from the line we're traveling (Rome to Florence to Venice and back), now I wish I had more time to be there!

Thanks again for all the feedback, and the pictures are amazing, which I'm sure don't even do justice to the real thing!
Old 05-11-05, 11:11 AM
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Okay I got back on Saturday and am back at work so now I have time to post. But since my wife does such a great job of recapping in her online journal I'll just link to hers there.

http://boards.weddingchannel.com/sho...40#post4465140

Rome highlights: The Colosseum, the Pantheon, dinner at Piazza Navona, the gelato, seeing Pope John Paul's tomb, the Sistine Chapel

Florence highlights: Project Gotham Racing 2 deja vu, The birth of Venus at the Uffizi, David, Il Ristorante da Ganino

Venice highlights: The Rialto, all that amazing glass, the whole fricking city itself

I loved riding the trains and seeing the countryside, and all that gelato, and it was great speaking Italian and fooling them into thinking I knew Italian, because they'd just go off and start speaking really really fast.

And thanks Thor, for pointing me towards the cappucino.

Last edited by rabbit77; 05-11-05 at 11:16 AM.

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