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12 days in Italy

My daughter and I are going to take a trip to Italy - arriving on July 4 in rome and Leaving on July 16 from Milan. Our very first trip. We have not made a single reservation as of yet. Our hope is to relax and enjoy but also to explore!! I have been told not to miss Cinque Terra and to consider Sorrento and Capri. (I know Italy ain't cheap, but we are hoping to do this on a budget... any advice?)

Posted by
320 posts

Arriving in Milan gives you a great chance to spend a couple of days in the lake country at the start or end of your trip . . . .Lake Como is beautiful and loads of options there - even on a budget.

I would see the Cinque Terre but you'd be lucky to get reservations now.

Emilia-Romagna (Parma-Modena-Bologna) is close by with GREAT food - not a lot of the museums and cultural stuff though.

Use a good map and the internet to plan (along with a Rick Steves guidebook) and you'll do well. Have fun!

Posted by
705 posts

I assume you will make some reservations soon as Italy generally is really popular in summer. I travel to Rome for work usually in the low season and still have problems getting the hotels I want.

Cinque Terra is super popular and as Jon says you may be too late. I also endorse what he says about Lake Como - just superb. If you go don't miss Bellagio, it's just beautiful. Take the train from Milan to Como. Other personal favourites are Florence and Sienna. I also went to Venice on my last trip and it is amazing but soooooooo expensive. Not so much the exchange rate but they have a captive market and just charge what they like. Close to $US20.00 for a very ordinary bowl of pasta.

On a first trip just choose a couple of places and do them well - don't try to do too much or else you'll feel like all you have seen is train and airport terminals. I'm sure what ever you decide you'll love. It's a great country.

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I will be there arriving in Rome on July 5. We arrive and depart from Rome. I did a circuit tour of Italy last year and based on that I would try to work a couple of days in to go to Florence. We will be taking the train - cheap and reliable.

Posted by
151 posts

We will be crossing paths as we are starting in Milan and planning to wander to Rome at virtually the same time. Last time we went we only reserved the first and last nights of the trip before leaving. We stopped in at internet cafes and booked a day or two ahead. If you have a specific dream plan that but otherwise be spontaneous. We loved Siena and of course Venice but you will spend more there (it's almost part of the experience.)We had a 100euro a night budget for hotels and managed to mostly stick to it. Bigger cities can be harder and as the trip wears on and you get more tired the nice cushy bed can be worth the extra expense. Best of luck!

Posted by
83 posts

I have to repeat the "book now" advice. I'm going at the end of May and good things were getting hard to find (ie. the beehive). was the best source for budget accom. that weren't hostels. in rome, i hear prati is a good neighborhood if you don't want to be near the hustle-bustle near termini station.

good luck!

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks all.
Okay, I am thinking of this.
Rome /3 nights
Florence /3 nights
Cinque Terre /3 nights
Lake Como /2 nights
Milan /1 night - fly out of Milan the next morning.

Two questions..
Where in the world would you recommend staying in Lake Como on a budget?
How do you recommend getting to Lake Como from Cinque Terre?

Posted by
241 posts to get around? train train train. or bus. You said the dreaded word 'budget' Car rental in italy is expensive. You are there at very peak season. This trip will break your budget but is worth it. Find accomodations asap.

Posted by
25 posts

You might consider staying only two nights in Florence and adding a night in Siena instead. We really appreciated this small town in the midst of all the big citys and it was a beautiful place to see. The bus to Rome ( I assume you would take the bus from Rome to Siena though) was even a beautiful route through the country.

Posted by
705 posts

Take the train from Cinque Terra. I stayed in Chiavari which is just up the coast and got the train from there to Milan and then changed trains in Milan to get the train to Como. From the station get a cab or I think there is a bus to the ferries to take you to your accommodation. The day i arrived was pouring with rain and so i took a taxi to Argegno and it cost me 50 Euro. You have to pay for the driver to get back to Como so it's double the metered price. I stayed at Villa Belvedere which was reasonably priced and one minute from the ferry stop. Hope that helps.

Posted by
683 posts

We were in Italy for 34 days in 2004 and for about 2 weeks in 2006. We did not make reservations from home but always found places to stay. We usually, during the second time, used computers to make reservations a day or two ahead. Altho we had trouble in Firenze(Florence) in 2004, we eventually found lodging.
As you will be in Italy for such a short time, we'd advise not to go so many places. CQ will be crowded with half of Germany and a third of England.
Verona, in the north (only 90 mins from Venice), is a lovely city with oodles of charm and history and some fascinating buildings plus gorgeous countryside surrounding.
Venezia is unique and is best seen in late afternnon when many tourists have packed it in and at night, when the romance of the place doubles.
Milan is a waste of time- go to Varenna on Lake Como. only 45 miles north.
Save southern Italy for the next trip--more time in fewer places is always better