Backpacking Italy

posted 3 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
Member
5544 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

Book ahead tours on any major historical site that will let you. The lines for St Peter’s and the Sistine are hours long very quickly. As is an ancient Roman site. Pompeii is epic and one of a kind,  and go to Florence and Tuscany,  lots of little farm b&bs that would be incredible to stay at and Tuscany looks like what most of us think of when we think “Italy”. In Venice,  the Doge’s palace,  prison and main cathedral are awesome,  go see them make Venetian glass somewhere,  ride a gondola,  and be done. It s kind of a nasty city and also ridiculous expensive. It was my absolute least favorite place in Italy and is a serios distance from everything. Sorrento is where we stayed when we took the ferry to Capri, the island itself pretty much closes if you are there in the off season,  which we were. But there is a place called like Caesars Garden,  it is way on the far side of the island from the harbor and it overlooks the two old lighthouse rocks and the Med Sea and its incredible. The blue grotto is supposed to be cool but again,  closed in the winter. 

I will have to find my.pics,  even in winter it was gorgeous! You can tell in parts there is serious economic issues,  Naples looks rough in a lot of places and driving across to Venice was ugly. But the tourist areas are still nice. Also get out of the biggest cities and into the country (some places, like Tuscany) and its nice too. If you’re going alone,  learn some Italian as not that many people outside Rome and tourist sites spoke any English,  I spoke enough Spanish to be able to read some and that helped but Italian would be been much better. 

Post # 4
Member
2341 posts
Buzzing bee

@Pappy8:  How freakin’ exciting! I would recommend busabout – it’s great because it provides transport to most major cities, from memory a bus departs/arrives at each stop once every 2 or 3 days. I loved it & it worked for me!

Post # 5
Member
2903 posts
Sugar bee

I would just say that I would plan your more southerly trips for the beginning and work your way north. It can be quite cold and the extra week or two might be just what the weather needs to cooperate. Also, don’t be afraid to pack a carryon and just fly something like Ryanair if you want to get around cheap and easy without spending a lot of time on transportation.

I’ve not been to Italy, but I live in Germany and am dying to go, so I’ll get back to this post when we visit in a few months!

Post # 6
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

I love Italy – it’s such a beautiful country and so diverse.

Have you decided where you’ll be flying in to? (Rome?) 

How do you plan on getting around? 

Bus? Train? Rental car? 


I agree that it might be a good idea to start from the south and make your way up north…


Here is my opinion: 

Venice: Very touristy, very busy, very confusing (i am usually good with maps, but in Venice you’ll just get lost at some point) … I’d still go there because it would be odd not to go. 

Capri: very pretty (but also very touristy); i agree with pp go up to the top to get a beautiful view; if you go to that area you might also want to add Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius to your list; Naples is not a nice place.. it is very busy & loud… But maybe if you want an authentic feel still go there for half a day (although you’re not missing out by not going there) 

Rome: a must see and there is so much stuff to experience there: colosseum, forum romanum….and it’s not far to the vatican from there 


I’d add

Florence -> beautiful city with lots of history and art 

Verona -> you’ll find Juliette’s balcony there (Romeo & Juliette), it has a beautiful ancient arena where you could watch a opera, if you’re into that kind of thing


Places you might want to add:

Milan -> fashion capital, thus very fancy

Turin -> used to be very industrial, is a very intersting place, great combination of culture and history; i loved the Mole Antonelliana (it hosts a museum and you can go up with a transparent elevator which is very unique). Fun Fact: Mole Antonelliana is on the 2-cent-coin from Italy 

Vinci -> the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci; it is embedded in the beautiful landscape of Tuscany and hosts a museum (his birth house?) where you can learn a lot about all the things he discovered / came up with

If you wanna go see the leaning tower, add Pisa (but there is not really anything else to do). 

I also like the Lago di Garda area; lago di Garda is the largest lake in Italy & you can do nice bike tours etc. there. 

I also think the landscape of South Tyrol / Alto Adige in the very north of Italy is very pretty. Mountains yay! Bolzano is the capital of that part, this is where you can visit Ötzi the iceman, if you’re into that kind of stuff. 

 



Post # 7
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

South Tyrol in fall: 

Post # 8
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

Post # 9
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

my previous post is to get you interested in the Lago di Garda / verona area: 

The top two pictures are Lago di Garda; 

the following three are Verona (view from the arena over the city; juliette’s balcony; view of the river) 

Post # 10
Member
919 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Pappy8:  I really liked Florence and Verona. Venice wasn’t bad either but the gondola thing was overrated for me. Didn’t care too much for Rome and Piza (sp?). If I ever have the chance to go back to Italy I would love to visit Cinque Terre. Just google image it, it looks so pretty.

Post # 13
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

@Pappy8:  

I am sure, you’ll be able to cover a lot in three weeks. Just don’t try to fit EVERYTHING in, because that will just leave you stressed… 

I’ve mostly travelled with a car in Italy. 

Just know that gas is a lot more expensive in Europe than in the US (1,50 Euro or more per Liter), so make sure to add those costs into your calculations. 

There is a Eurail Italy Pass, that allows for travel with the train. (Advantage: you don’t have to go buy  a new ticket for every trip you’re taking; Disadvantage: it is quite a chunk of money): http://www.eurail.com/eurail-passes/one-country-pass/italy

It should also be possible to get around by bus. Not sure though how reliable those services are.

 

Post # 15
Member
715 posts
Busy bee

I did ride in the sleeping coach of the night train on my way from Munich to Florence once. 

So i am pretty sure they are available. 

But, you won’t have that many trips that will be that long where a night train is actually worth it, i believe… 

But I’d definitly consider it for a long trip from the north to the south or vice versa.

 

But other than that the distances are not all that far: 

Naples – Rome: 140 Miles (230 Kilometers) 

Rome- Firenze (Florence): 180 Miles

Firenze  (Florence) – Bologna : 70 Miles 

Florence – Verona: 150 Miles 

 

Post # 16
Member
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Hello, My husband and I just got back from three weeks in Italy for our honeymoon.  We have only been home for a month and reading this makes me want to go back so bad. Be prepared to be ruined by their food. I have italian a couple times since I have been home and it is no where near as good.

Some tips: You get snacks every time you order an alcoholic beverage. Sometimes it is enough to tie you over until the next meal.  General rule stay away from restaurants really close to main attractions. Although there was a pizza place steps away from the colloseum that was yummy and cheap.

The train is awesome and you can basically go at any time and by tickets. There is levels of tickets as well so you can buy the cheaper ones to get around. They have food and drinks available on it but they are a bit more expensive.

So we did Venice, Forence, Chianti region in Tuscany, Rome, Capri and Amalfi. I personally thought that Venice was so different and unique. I liked it alot. But I like boats and water. You probably only need two nights there but as others stated go on the gondala. $80 Euros during the day $100 at night.

 

 

Florence is really pretty. The “David” is worth seeing.  But yes buy tickets beforehand.  We were lucky and paid extra from a group selling skip the line tickets.  The Duomo is better outside then in as far as I was concerned.  To get to the top you have to climb about 500 stairs.  There is also an old bell tower right beside that you have to do the same but it is just as high and you get the Duomo in the pictures.  The Pitti palace is nice but the gardens are what were amazing.  Bring some drinks and food in and have a little picnic. Florence also had the best pizza by far. It is called Gusto Pizza and it is a couple blocks from the Pitti Palace. If it is busy eat and drink outside.  Super cheap too.If you want beer go to Archeo brewery. The owner is super friendly.

 

Tuscany is gorgeous and you should definitely go.  We stayed at a hotel but there was a lot of B&Bs that looked great. It is just beautiful. The wineries are amazing.

 

Rome was filled with history.  There is so much to do there. You need probably three nights to get a good fill of it. Pizza Forum is good and cheap.  Take the city bus or subway here. It is bigger then most places and hot so this will help. Plus it is cheap and easy to navigate.

You will need to cover your shoulders and wear longer shorts/skirt in St. Peters. Guys need to wear shorts to the knees/capris or pants.  It is busy everywhere. If you aren’t going to take a guided Coloseum tour then the Roman Forum includes tickets to get into the Coloseum. 

 

Capri was by far our favourite. It will be more expensive then most places if you stay on the Capri side. Anacapri is less touristy and better in my opinion. We stay in Capri which I loved but make sure to go to Anacapri. Buses are cheap. There is a chair lift up to the top as well. Must do.The blue grotto is crazy busy. If you go after 3 it is open to the public.

 

 

Amalfi coast was nice but a bit older and touristy. Ships drop people off here so everyday there is a new batch to deal with.  I would stay at Positano based on our ferry stops.  Ravello is a cute quiet city at the top which if you have a couple hours you could go to. Amalfi is more of a half day trip to me.

I will be doing a post on here sometime with more info on restaurants etc. So if you haven’t left by the time I do it hopefully it will help.

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