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Travel Newbies to Italy

For years my husband and I (we are late 40’s) have been traveling to all inclusive tropical islands where they take care of everything. It’s getting a bit boring. For years I have been dreaming of Italy but fearful. I mean, how would we know how and where to go/do... Originally, I thought I would book us a all inclusive Italy tour so we could just show up. Then I realized it probably wouldn’t be ideal. We don’t love rushing, waiting for people and having to follow the group. Museums are not the most appealing but I understand some are a must. What draws me to dreaming of Italy most is the culture through their people, food, wine, the ocean, scenic views, walking to see what we want, when we want. Staying at a bistro for an hour or hours enjoying food, wine the peoples company. I have always really wanted to go to the Sorrento area, Amalfi, and visiting Capri. We love water. One night after a few glasses of my favourite brunello (Is it obvious I love wine), I made my dream come to somewhat reality. I got brave and booked flights to and from Rome for September 2020. Yep, liquid courage....I did it! I figured if I didn’t, I would continue to dream. The Brunello inspired me not care much that we will be leaving our four young adults/teenage children at home (our kids who will likely be having their own type of vacation while we are gone). I made the executive decision that my husband and I deserve this. I mean we have four kids and made it through getting them to young adults/teens years. That’s worth the holiday alone. We got great prices on direct flights and I have nearly a year to plan all the scary stuff. I got this, right? I have zero clue where to stay, how to travel to the places e.g. should we take trains, rent a car, can you return rentals at different drop of locations like you can in Canada.... Did I mention we DO NOT have the greatest sense of direction. Yes, I am a female who admits this. My sense of direction, terrible. My husband thinks he does have direction, he doesn’t, trust me, worse then me. I just ordered my Rick Steves Italy book and will read it many times I am sure. Biggest concern is how on earth could I go to Italy and not visit Tuscany. I am a huge wino!!

So we only have 14 day. However, I really consider this 12 days because we will lose 2 from flights travel to start. Is it possible to see Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi & Tuscany in a short 12 days? Rome actually sounds least appealing to me. We really don’t love touristy places. So far the only thing we must do is arrive to Rome and leave from Rome. I am open to all suggestions. I love the idea of the fast train. Regional trains and buses intimidate me in my own town as I get lost easily.... We could rent a car but did I mention we love wine. Private transfers so super expensive... I really have a clean canvas hear to plan on. Any help would be so appreciated.

Posted by
7737 posts

Oh, sister, you are putting the cart before the horse. You ordered the RS Italy book. GOOD FOR YOU!! You would be amazed how many people will try to plan a vacation to someplace new without turning to a good guidebook as a start. But you're so excited about your trip (GOOD FOR YOU!) that you just couldn't wait so you had to come here and ask the broadest of questions. (BAD FOR YOU!) The RS book will give you an excellent start. READ IT FIRST! Then come here with follow up questions.

Happy travels. And again, GOOD FOR YOU FOR PULLING THE TRIGGER. Now stop trying to drink from a fire hose. (^_^)

Posted by
2055 posts

If you're not that into museums, it's no crime to skip them and focus on food and wine, the ocean, and scenic views. Really, there is no need to rent a car. The trains in Italy are easy and convenient.

With that said, Florence is really nice, and makes a convenient base for day trips into, ahem, wine country. Check out Tuscan Trails for a great Chianti tour.

I've never been to Sorrento or the Amalfi coast, so I can't offer any guidance there. But go where YOU want to go. There is no such thing as a must see.

Posted by
5010 posts

OK, so first...good on you for taking the leap. You can do this, you will be fine. BUT you have to invest sometime and effort, researching, tweaking, planning. You've already started, so keep doing that.

Stop worrying about your itinerary right now. Give yourself some time to browse and check things out. It actually would be better to do some itinerary planning before you books flights (often it's more efficient to fly into one city and fly home out of another, aka "open jaws"), but, sounds like you got a good deal on the flights, so make you peace with that, don't look back, don't kick yourself because the flight deal may not have been absolutely perfect from an efficiency standpoint.

Read the book. Read the forum posts, you will see many people asking the same questions you have. You will pick up tidbits you can apply to your own trip. Watch the Rick Steves videos on Italy (there are several), watch them a couple times. Seek out and watch his general videos on "how to travel", this will get you all kinds of useful practical info. Look at the suggested Italy itineraries in the book and posted here online, for inspiration, but be careful: as a first-time, independent traveler, you probably can't maintain the same frantic pace as on a tour, where lots of tasks are done for you (see below about pace). Keep doing all the above, iterate, and things should start to gell. Come up with a rough plan, but do NOT start booking anything just yet...first, post your planned itinerary and you will get lots of feedback.

Caution: most first-time independent travelers yield to the temptation of trying to "see it all" in too-short-a-time. You have 12 days (maybe 11 usable days, as your first day you will be jetlagged). There's so much to see in Italy, you will be tempted to zoom from every one-night-stand to the next. Don't do that. Limit your trip to maybe 3 or 4 locations (one night stands wear you down and often don't give you enough time to actually enjoy the place). Post your proposed itinerary here and you'll get lots of feedback on it. Embrace that and sort out your priorities before you start booking things.

You'll do fine, don't worry!

Posted by
27 posts

HI Kimberley...Good for you for taking the plunge to try something new! My husband and I also like to go to Hawaii or Mexico once a year, more independently staying at Airbnbs mostly, and do not see ourselves as "tour people." We like to have a lot of independence and flexibility when we travel. However, it was a life long dream of mine to travel and see Europe, so we bit the bullet and did the 21 day Best of Europe trip with Rick Steve's Travel this last fall. It was the best trip of my life and in my opinion, for us, the best way to see Europe for the first time. All of the details that you mentioned were taken care of, regarding traveling, where to stay, what to see, and even where to eat for many of our group dinners. It was so stress free for us, which left us free to sit back, enjoy the views and take it all in, knowing we would have an easy check in and time ahead of us. Although we had many group activities, we also had at least several hours each day (sometimes even a whole day) to do whatever we wanted to. We had plenty of time to just sit at cafes and wander aimlessly. We loved our group dinners (about half) with our tour mates and having a built in group of friends to travel and share with. Everyone got along so well and our excitement about what we saw each day was amplified by being with others equally as excited. I realize you only have two weeks or less with travel time, but might I suggest you look at the Best of Tuscany trip (12 days) or Best of Sicily (11 days and lots of water!) ) or Best of South Italy (13 days) . The one that my husband and I want to do next is the Village Italy (14 days) with some extra days at the beginning and end to relax and be by ourselves...a great compromise for us. It costs more for the tours but in our opinion it was worth every penny. We could probably travel much easier in Europe on our own now, but we still look forward to doing another Rick Steve's tour for the expertise, the ease and the camaraderie with others. Have fun planning and dreaming about your trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Wow so fast with your generous help. Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate this. I will read the book and come back for sure. Yes, I do put the cart before the horse often and get so excited.

Posted by
256 posts

Our first trip to Europe was in our 40s to Italy and was about the same length as yours. Pre-internet, so I planned it all on my own with guidebooks (mostly Rick Steves) and minimal help from a local travel agent--all she did was help with the car and one hotel reservation. I agree with what everyone says about using guidebooks to explore your interests--you don't need to nail down the details of your itinerary for a while yet. To keep from overdoing it you might consider Rome and either Tuscany & Florence or Rome and Amalfi Coast. Since you love water, you could easily spend 4 nights on the Amalfi Coast and a night or two on Capri. But it's all up to you and how much time you want to enjoy each destination. Assume you will return. For our trip in our 40s we focused on northern Italy including Tuscany, and for our second trip much later we focused on Rome, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast. Each trip was 14-15 nights in Italy, excluding travel.

As others say, come back when you've had a chance to read more and focus your questions.

Posted by
28 posts

As another poster noted, the place to start is a thorough read of the Rick Steves guide books. Take notes and highlight a lot. Don't let preconceived notions of what you're supposed to enjoy in Italy control. Like you, we aren't all that into museums and we have a limit on the number of churches we can see, but we loved Italy. We focused on the food, culture, and history. Where else can you see ancient Roman aqueducts, an American World War II cemetery, and eat fabulous pasta or graze an open-air market.

As you read the guidebooks, think about what you want to focus on. Florence and Tuscany are great and you could spend a week or more just there. In the other direction are Sorrento and Amalfi and could also take several days. While I agree that Rome is a big touristy city it's worth spending a couple of days to see major sites.

Take a look at Bologna. It's an hour north of Florence by fast train. If you want to understand Italian food, it's the place to go. Also nice is the fact that it's less touristy than other big cities.

In the end, it just might be that you'll have to save some things for another trip.

Another observation, the Italian trains are great -- local or fast train. Don't be afraid to get out and explore. Driving in Italian cities or large towns is crazy. Save yourself the aggravation and take the train.

Hopefully the book will come and you can spend a long Thanksgiving weekend curled up planning a great trip to Italy.

Posted by
11734 posts

Oh, sister, you are putting the cart before the horse.

Love that. HA! But yes, you're getting ahead of yourself. The best way to deal with this trip is to break it down into palatable bits instead of trying to take in the whole enchilada at once. Starting with the guidebook is a great plan!

Yes, you absolutely deserve this trip. 🙂

Italian trains are great. Love 'em. You can have that wine and then climb aboard with no worries about getting behind the wheel. We can help with rail once you figure out where you're going. Seriously, if this directionally challenged chick can figure out the trains, ANYONE can. Relax.

Rome actually sounds least appealing to me. We really don’t love
touristy places.

Nooooo! Please don't think of The Eternal City as a "touristy" place just because lots of visitors go there! It has a very, very old and important history, and tons of fascinating things to see. THAT is why it's such a big tourist magnet. The Amalfi Coast and Florence will be very busy in Sept. as well, and can be considered JUST as 'touristy" if your definition is based on sheer number of bodies to contend with.

Is it possible to see Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi & Tuscany in a short 12

You should count your NIGHTS on the ground versus days as it's more accurate. Tuscany encompasses a sizeable region so you'd have to narrow that one down but as previously mentioned, Florence is an excellent base for that city's own treasures (!!!) plus some easy day trips. Lucca, Fiesole, Pisa, Siena... all are popular and affordable day trips from Firenze by train or bus.

Without knowing what the nights-on-the-ground count is, you might be able to pull this off:

Fly into Rome and take a train directly to Florence: spend 4 nights. You may need to make 1 train change but it depends on what trains are available at the time you arrive in Rome. Most of us do not recommend making advance seat reservations in case your flight is delayed. Spend 1 day exploring Florence itself (although it really does deserve more than that) and take 2 days trips.

Take rail (will involve at least 1 train change) to Sorrento: spend 4 nights. Explore the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Pompeii by ferry/bus/train.

Take rail to Rome (will involve 1 train change); spend 4 nights

IMHO? I wouldn't get too hung up on the wine thing. While good wine will certainly be available everywhere - and best types will change per region - you don't want to miss those things that cannot be as easily obtained at home! 🍷

Did some editing. :O)

Posted by
3283 posts

I would look on this website for the RS tv shows pertaining to Italy to see what peaks your interest. We just came back from our first trip to Italy. We had a bit over three weeks and ended up skipping Venice. Its all just personal preference. And I can relate to a love of wine. You might consider a wine lesson before you leave. Total Wine does wine tastings for Italy. We listened to some Great Courses DVDs about wine--pretty dry but informative.

Posted by
5 posts

Kathy, I love you! Your reply is awesome, thank you. We will actually have 13 nights of hotel stays. Does that help.

This forum is so amazing. I am so happy that I found this. My book should arrive by tomorrow.

Posted by
4150 posts

Kim, my husband and I are museum junkies. We love them all: Art, history, archeology, and the downright quirky. And I tell you this: no museum is a "must." As others have suggested, read the book, then sit back and think about what it is you really want to do. If you want to choose a couple of towns and just wander around, stopping at interesting looking bistros and bars, then do it. You'll find tasty wine everywhere. It may not be "good," based on a wine club standards, but it will be pleasant and enjoyable, especially if you stick to local varieties. You'll find some wonderful and inexpensive wines that you've never heard of. And it is almost impossible to find bad food in Italy.

You're probably too young to remember the group the Mamas and the Papas, but one of their songs is ringing in my ears right now: "You gotta go (go!) where you wanna go; do (do!) what you want to do." Google it.

And happy planning.

Posted by
127 posts

As you are a foodie/wino consider taking a couple of nights in Rome at the beginning of your trip and taking one of the incredible food tours available in that city. A wonderful introduction to Italian cuisine it will help you navigate menus for the rest of the trip. There are a number of offerings, Eating Europe is popular on this forum, offering a four hour progressive meal (my description).

You say you don’t want a touristy place but then talk about going to the Amalfi Coast which is lovely but Uber touristy, IMO. If you want to get away from the crowds there are some smaller villages which may meet your needs. As well as a good guide book, get a good map and make good use of Google to find the tourist info sites for the towns or regions. Most will come up in Italian but there is usually a British or American flag to click on to change the language.

Have fun, planning is all part of the fun of traveling to a new country.

Posted by
6524 posts

Kathy outlines a really manageable itinerary. ( you could do the reverse routing if you wanted)

Just be sure to be in Rome at least for the night before your flight home.

Trying to get to Rome on the day of flight from either Florence or Sorrento is like holding a wet soapy grenade with the pin pulled out.

One little oops.......

Posted by
1008 posts

A couple of good places to gather information would be to check out The man in seat 61 online for everything you need to know about train travel.
Another is to download Rome2rio app and check distances between each destination you want to visit. I use that app to see what transportation options are offered. I don’t use it for buying any hotel, train or air tickets. Price and time should be used for a general information only.

Posted by
669 posts

Just my 2 cents. :) You are in the first stage of the planning phase. For my wife and I, planning is everything. We start planing at least 8 months out. We have also learned that a trip is much more enjoyable if you pick one area of a country and concentrate on that area, instead of attempting to see many areas. If you like water and views, Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast will satisfy that interest. You can certainly spend two weeks there and not feel like you've missed anything important to your goal of experiencing food, wine, - in this case Lemoncello- people and local flavors. For a two week vacation, think of only staying at most three places, preferably one or two.

Do not depend entirely on a RS Guide book. Go to a second hand book store and get what ever you can find on the Amalfi Coast. Watch all the armature videos on YouTube. I like these, as they are not trying to sell you anything. Create a stack of index cards with the sites of interest and reference to which book and page the info is from. Take those sites and google them to see if they are still active. Rick's guide books are excellent, don't get me wrong, but people may have interests that differ from his, and he and his co-writers can't suggest everything. They can suggest highlights, but those are all opinion of what a highlight is: Many places are over rated, and many places are under rated. And the best place you will ever experience will be the unique one that isn't in any guide book, and you got there entirely by accident, but yet it was perfect.

We buy our airfare first: Usually 4 months ahead, and book it directly with the airline, not Expedidia, or any other ticket consolidator. Then we secure the lodging, also as direct as possible. Get at least one confirmation of the booking directly from the hotel in an email. Lodging is always very near the train station or near a metro. Expense of lodging is entirely up to you. We've rarely paid more than 130 Euro, and mostly much less, since the lodging is just a place for us to sleep, have a private bath and store our stuff. We've stayed in one star hotels, up to four star hotels and at a BnB. The two and three star hotels work for us. You are going to want at least a staff, and a reception desk if this is your first trip to Italy. A three star hotel will know everything you may need to ask, like your own private TI center: A four star will buy your train and /or ferry tickets for you and just add it to the bill. A two star, no so much, and a one star, you are on your own. Never stayed at a 5 star, I guess they have spas. :)

Don't even think about renting a car if your interest is in the Amalfi Coast. The Italians drive like crazy people there. Something in the air? Its different than driving in Canada and there are many unwritten rules of the road. Or should I say, there are no rules to the road.

You are starting on a grand adventure. Be flexible, and have three plans for any particular day. Cause there is the day you planned and then there is the day Italy will present to you, and then there is your emergency back up plan when all else fails. :)

Posted by
31076 posts


You've received lots of fantastic suggestions so far, and I'm sure that's helped to clarify things a bit. I'll add just a few comments tonight as it's getting late and I'm not focusing well at the moment. Is there any possibility that you could get slightly more than 14 days? Also what is your home airport?

"I thought I would book us a all inclusive Italy tour so we could just show up. Then I realized it probably wouldn’t be ideal. We don’t love rushing, waiting for people and having to follow the group."

Perhaps not on this first trip, but on subsequent trips you might consider a Rick Steves tour. Trust me, there will be subsequent trips! RS tours are not like most tours and if you want to learn about the people, the foods and the culture, I can't think of a better way to do that. Rick's guides are the best and the groups are smaller (no more than 28). You've got lots of time, so have a look just to see what might interest you - .

Twelve days is a very short time frame to see Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi and Tuscany, so IMO you'll need to pare the list down unless you can add more time. That's an average of only 2.4 days in each place or about a day and a half of actual touring time, with no allowance for travel between locations. Once you've narrowed down your list of destinations, the group here will be able to help put together a workable Itinerary. In planning your travels in Italy, keep the "slow travel" concept in mind and also the phrase Il dolce far niente - . As others have mentioned, plan on the basis of nights in each place, rather than days.

Try to minimize your location changes, as each move will require at least a half day of your valuable holiday time, when all is considered - checking out of hotel, getting to & from stations, wait times, travel, and then checking into next hotel.

There are some potentially expensive caveats to be aware of when using trains or other public transit in Italy. Be sure you do some research on that or your holiday will become considerably more expensive. If you need more information, post another note here.

"Regional trains and buses intimidate me"

Don't be too concerned about the Regionale trains. Those will be the only choice on some routes and they'll get you to where you're going. You can use the Trenitalia or websites to research rail solutions. Note that there will be a schedule change in December and again in June, so you won't be able to see solutions for your actual travel dates. To get a "ballpark" idea, just use a date in the next week or so on the same day-of-the-week that you'll be travelling.

Is this your first trip to Europe? If so, you might also want to read Europe Through The Back Door prior to your trip. You should be able to find a copy at your local Library. It's good to hear that you have the RS Italy book on order. You might want to pack that along for reference on the trip.

As the others have mentioned, don't try to do it all in one trip. As Rick says, "assume you will return".

Posted by
1023 posts

Museums are not the most appealing but I understand some are a must.

No - they are only a must if YOU are interested in them.

I made the executive decision that my husband and I deserve this.

You deserve it so much!

I really consider this 12 days because we will lose 2 from flights
travel to star

You are cleverer than most :-)

should we take trains, rent a car, can you return rentals at different
drop of locations

I would take trains from city to city (Check and, but rent a car to visit Tuscany (outside of Florence). And yes you can return at a different location; you just pay a fee.

Did I mention we DO NOT have the greatest sense of direction

Get a smart phone with a GPS and maps. I use Google maps, but there are others. Remember to download maps while you have wifi, so you don't use data.

Check out

Tour your local library for books.
Try if you can get a copy of
It doesn't matter if the books are a few years old. Use the internet for up-to-date information.

Enjoy your planning and our trip :-)

Posted by
11734 posts

Regarding the time you have for this trip, I'm always in the "Slow Travel" camp but we've seen folks with far less than 13 nights wanting to do what you are wanting to. Shoot, I thought you only had 12 nights so that 13th is bonus!

IMHO (for whatever that's worth), I think the key to keeping your wish list AND your sanity is to make as few hotel moves as possible. You will also want to end your trip in Rome, so as to be close to your airport of departure. How you want to split your 13 nights depends on your personal interests but I would keep that Florence>Sorrento>Rome order so that you are working with just 3 bases: get there, find your hotel, dump the stuff, go out and play.

Just noodling:
Night 1: Fly into Rome, train to Florence
Night 2: Florence
Night 3: Florence: day trip to Lucca
Night 4: Florence: escorted wine tour, Tuscany
Night 5: Florence: day trip Siena or more exploration of Florence itself
Night 6: Sorrento
Night 7: Sorrento: explore Amalfi Coast by ferry and bus
Night 8: Sorrento: day trip to Capri
Night 9: Sorrento: day trip Pompeii
Nights 10-13: Rome

One additional note about museums? No, you don't need to spend more time on them than you want to! At the same time there is so much important art and architecture in Rome and Florence that can be seen just from the streets and inside the churches (and almost all of those churches are free: HUGE bargain) that there's no need to tramp room after room of paintings and sculpture to get a healthy dose. In fact, I often prefer the artwork in old Italian churches as it's often still in the places - after many centuries! - it was originally created for. It's a context thing, if that makes sense? Painted or sculpted figures of the donors of side chapels and whatnot are usually portrayed in the fashions of their respective eras so another reason I find them so interesting (but I'm admittedly sort of an art geek.)

Anyway, just walking about with eyes open + popping in and out of some of the better churches is really all you have to do to take in some of Italy's priceless cultural patrimony. Read up on some of that in your guidebooks, OK? :O)

Posted by
14039 posts

More helpful even than the Italy Guide will be Europe Through the Back Door. Read it early and often. It will give you a much better picture of what to expect and what to prepare for.

To be quite blunt, September is still high season and all the places on your wish list are big tourist destinations. You can go that route, or you can choose an alternative route to visit small towns and enjoy the food, the wine, the ambiance and hopefully interact with some of the people. There are many wine regions in Italy. The Mediterranean is not the ocean. It's usually pretty calm. Italian beaches are mostly very small and often pebbly rather than sandy.

Just as an example, Bologna is a rail hub so you could spend a week there and day trip to a different town (all with historic centers and interesting sights) every day. It's a walkable university town with a well-preserved medieval area and relatively few tourists. Bologna is known for its food - take a cooking class. Return from day trips and dine in a different Bolognese restaurant every night.

Posted by
5 posts

You are all so amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. Chani this really does sound like more of my style for sure. I will need to get that book to. I am taking all your tips while reading my first guide to Italy book. Its creating so many more questions which I would love help on, eventually. I will post these once I have got through the book(s). I realize I picked a busy time. Sept is really the only month that I can take 2 weeks off work aside from summer months. I picked the latest in Sept as possible. I love Kathy’s idea of a few places to stay instead of hotel hoping. I hate hotel hopping.

Again, everyone, every single tip on here has been so helpful. Thank you all so much!!!!

Posted by
364 posts

12 days is just fine.
Someone above said it was 2.5 days per location BUT several of those spots are in the same location.
Don't scale back yet.

If you aren't going to see the HOT tourist sites, you don't need to pre-purchase tickets super early.
You may be able to delay booking hotels until June - gives you lots of time to read the book.

Also, Rick suggests how to spend your time if you have x number of days. Here's his list:
4 days: Rome, Florence
6 days, add: Venice
8 days: Cinque Terre
10 days, add: Siena
13 days, add: Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast
16 days, add: Milan, Lake Como (Varenna)
19 days, add: Padua, Volterra, Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio
21 days, add: Dolomites, or slow down

So he would say you can do your top sites: Rome and Florence (4 days) + Sorrento, etc (3 days) = 7 days
Add days in an area based on your whims - wine tours, etc

Posted by
11734 posts

So he would say you can do your top sites: Rome and Florence (4 days)

Not meaning to be critical of you at all Evan, but I wish our Host would measure his own suggested itineraries in NIGHTS instead of days as they can be misleading. For instance, 6 days for Venice, Florence and Rome? If one of those is arrival day, that's just 5.5 sightseeing days, plus subtract the better part of 2 additional half days that will be eaten up in location moves. That doesn't leave a whole lot. :O(

First-timers aren't always able to just hit the ground running in a new city either; it can take a bit of time to get their bearings, figure out the transport systems (if intending to use them), etc.

Posted by
4 posts

All - this forum topic is so similar to what my husband and I are experiencing and so helpful. We share many of her wishes and travel destination plans. When we found out a nephew is getting married in Capri on 6/4/2020, I told my husband that, after years of dreaming, we are going to Italy for the wedding as my 60th (ugh!) birthday (last Friday, 11/29) present (very extravagant!). We traveled to Europe (London, Amsterdam, Rhine, Zurich) in 2016, so am somewhat familiar with scheduling a worldwind trip! Due to many reasons, we are booked to fly & arrive in Florence 5/27 am, travel to Rome on 5/31 and arrive in Capri on 6/3, where we will also explore Amalfi coast, leaving 6/6. IK - too short of a trip!

My main question is about Florence/Tuscany. We've decided to spend more time here than in Rome. My brother inlaw & sister inlaw are joining us. They did an Italian cruise from Barcelona a few years ago and wanted to explore more of Tuscany/Florence vs Rome (as we'll be joined with more family by then) and we think this is a good idea too. WINE! I've read/watched Rick's and many youtube videos and am still confused about where to stay as "home base". I'd like to stay in a central location and take tours. Rather than stay in Florence, I've currently booked us in a historic villa in Chianti (San Casciano Val di Pesa, Firenze) so we can travel to Florence for a day and then do 2 more days in the country/vineyards/small towns. I figure we may want to visit Pisa and would love to visit Cinque terre too, but feel that might be way too much packed into 3 days. I guess my question is, is the location I've booked a good area as a home base or should we stay further south like Siena or should we stay in Florence? Should we book a car for this part of the trip or can we get around via tours and/or trains? Would love to hear everyone's suggestions as to where to visit and will continue to follow Kim's plans. Thanks so much and Kim, your trip sounds amazing so far!

Posted by
11734 posts

hi goddingb and welcome to the forum!

A gentle suggestion? Even though you're seeing some similarities in this topic and your upcoming trip, it would be best to start a NEW thread with your questions. Reasons being, Kim doesn't really need to read through posts that aren't about HER trip, and only people who've been active on her post will see yours so some other helpful folks might miss out. Make sense?

Editing to add: As suggested, you've since started a new discussion about your special trip (well done!) so I've deleted some previous text. :O)

Posted by
4 posts

Kathy - thanks for the feedback...all very helpful and I will start a new forum.

Kim - Sorry for hopping in on your discuss. Good luck!

Posted by
5 posts

No problem and thank you all. Once I get through some research I too will be asking for some nice hotel suggestions in Florence so stay tuned. I am so happy I found this forum. :-)