I'm going to Italy – tips/advice please!!

posted 3 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee

@futuremrsgo:  When I am in Italy at that time of year I generally wear either a dress that is made of light fabric but still has some structure to it, or linen trousers or a skirt and featherweight sweaters.  You will stand out as a non-Italian, but if you wish to blend a little bit, I would avoid: the shorts/t-shirt/Nikes look; any hiking-style or other large backpack; baseball caps; t-shirts or other paraphenalia with a sports team/college logo; any convertible/all-weather clothes made of a special nylon, etc.  Obviously if you actually do go hiking then the expectations are different!  You will have more freedom to wear shorts without drawing snickers than your husband (contrary to popular belief, Italian men, especially younger Italian men, do occassionally wear shorts in the summer, but the shorts are impeccably fitted and tailored) and a “city” backpack would not look out of place, though it might prove attractive to nuisance pickpockets. 

With such a short visit you’re going to have to pick which Rome you want to focus on–Classical Rome, early Medieval/post-Imperial decline Rome, Renaissance Rome, or Baroque Rome?  (You can, of course, see things from all of these iterations of Rome, but I would recommend picking one of these lenses to help you organize the city, as it is overwhelming.) 

In Venice I would be sure to reserve at least two full days.  Spend one day braving the cruise/day-tripper rabble and see the major things like the Palazzo Ducale, the Basilica, the Accademia, etc.  Spend the other day doing nothing but walking around (I would select the sestieri of San Polo or Cannaregio for this).  Even though it is expensive and you will be surrounded by other tourists, I would still recommend an evening of drinks in Piazza San Marco; the live music and the setting atone for a lot of other sins.  Perhaps my posts in this thread would be helpful as well. 

In general, do you wish to focus on seeing important museums/churches/sites; focus on dining/lifestyle; or see some natural sights?  That would help me make some recs for a stop between Rome and Venice.

Post # 5
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Ohh how lucky of you!! For Rome I would deffinetly recommend you packing some clothes that cover your thighs and shoulders if you are planning on visting the vatican since they won’t let you enter otherwise. Also as PP mentioned, you do need to pick on what you want to check out and plann it out since it is overwhelming and it just gets easier if you do so. And I do agree about the dress code, most of the people there dress a bit more chic, so just don’t try to dress as the stereotypical tourist and just think as if you are going to a big city. Just think nice summer dresses, cardigans skirts. You can always google something and I’m sure you can get more ideas as well.  Wear comfy shoes since you will be doing a lot of walking.  

The best way to move around in Rome I think its the Metro A, it might be a bit confusing at first but it is easier and there are big places to visit in almost all of the stops. If you like shopping then I would suggest going to the Spanish steps regions since most of the big stores are around that area. The vatican and its museums I think are must see even if you are not religious. There are soo many things to see inside there. The Coloseum is another must do- there are paid tours you can go on or you can just do it on you own. 

 

In venice I was there for less than a day and I would say it was just enough for me.. We walked around the city, which can get confusing since there are a lot  of little streets and alleys, and got to see some of the big places. There are A LOT of churches for different saints, some of which still have their bodies preserved in glass caskets. Here I think you are a bit safer with what you wear since most of the people are tourist and either way you will stad up. Theri italian is also different than in Rome since here it is actually a dialect, but you can always communicate well in English. 

 

Just my two cents here and just try and enjoy it, I’m sue you’ll have a great time both places are beautiful!!! 

 

 

Post # 6
Member
6073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@futuremrsgo:  So excited for you!  I think we are going in 2015.  I want to hike the Dolomites so badly – as in the hut to hut hiking trip!

Post # 7
Member
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Make sure you go to eat where all the italians go in rome – trastevere.  I would wear summer dresses, also chic 3/4 trousers with a nice top. It will be very hot. Sandals and big sunglasses 🙂 

Also, a lot of stuff is walking distance – piazza di spagna, piazza navona, Pantheon, trevi fountain, shopping area both cheap and designer. There is a metr stop just outside of the colosseum and another one a street away from the vatican. If you want to go up on the vatican’s roof, and you are not in shape, please pay and take the elevator or else you will have a heart attack going up lol!.  I would choose a hotel in or near piazza di spagna (spanish steps). I once went to a hotel called san carlo – very very small but nice and clean and not expensive when you consider it is a 2 min walk from spanish steps and in front of baby dior :O 

Post # 8
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@futuremrsgo:  we honeymooned in italy for 11 days in october.  it was amazing!!!!

we stayed at hotel artemide in rome, our favorite hotel of the trip.

restaurants, go to angelina a trevi,

 

actually i’m just copying a message i sent to a friend recently:

Venice:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1314824-Reviews-Arte_Della_Pizza-Venice_Veneto.html  – hard to find but very good, owner doesn’t speak English

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1056096-Reviews-Ristorante_Al_Giardinetto_da_Severino-Venice_Veneto.html (recommended by our hotel when the place we wanted to go was closed on that particular day.  Very good meal.  Chris thinks he ate here also)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1034686-Reviews-Osteria_Ca_D_Oro_La_Vedova-Venice_Veneto.html  –(giada from the food network recommended, everything we had was delicious)

 

Florence:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1008597-Reviews-Trattoria_4_Leoni-Florence_Tuscany.html  –get the pear ravioli, make a reservation (our favorite meal)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1109457-Reviews-Trattoria_dei_13_Gobbi-Florence_Tuscany.html   – on the expensive side.  Was told we needed to get the steak Florentine in Florence.  We had gnocchi in lobster sauce which was delicious and I don’t even like seafood.  Jason thought the steak was the 2nd or 3rd best he ever had, I wasn’t as impressed.  I would still rank this in top 5 restaurants on our trip

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1155597-Reviews-Gusta_Pizza-Florence_Tuscany.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187895-d195018-Reviews-Mercato_Centrale-Florence_Tuscany.html (like lexington market but better)

 

Rome:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d2085094-Reviews-Angelina_a_Trevi-Rome_Lazio.html (my second favorite meal)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d1016936-Reviews-La_Carbonara-Rome_Lazio.html  get the pasta carbonara

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d1011663-Reviews-Della_Palma-Rome_Lazio.html (best gelato)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d3611100-Reviews-Gelateria_Giolitti-Rome_Lazio.html ( a close second)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d2425217-Reviews-Antico_Forno_Marco_Roscioli-Rome_Lazio.html (try the potato pizza, but everything is delicious. We tried 2 different pizzas and 1 panini)

 

 

We ate at the Eat Pray Love pizza place in Naples and I wasn’t impressed.  Jason loved it. Naples was where our hotel was, but from here, we took the ferry to Capri for the afternoon and the next day a day trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi coast.  Make sure you see Positano.

Post # 9
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@futuremrsgo:  as far as clothes, everyone said wearing sneakers makes you stick out like a tourist.  i wanted to be comfortable since we would be walking all day every day.

in the end, i opted for sneakers during the day and boots or flats at night.  i was very happy with my choice. 

it was 65-75 every day when we were there, cooler in the north, warmer in the south.  i wore slacks and tops, i wore a dress 1 night when we were in rome when we went to a nice restaurant.  it was pretty casual overall, we did not do the club scene.

i’d be happy to answer any questions, everything is still very fresh in my mind.

Post # 10
Member
1169 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m half-posting to help with my own suggestions, and half-posting to follow because I’ve only ever spent a day in Rome several years ago and can’t wait to go back 🙂

On our honeymoon this past October, we spent 3 nights in Venice, 2 in the Cinque Terre, and 4 in Florence. If you decide to include either of those places, I can offer some suggestions, but since you mentioned Venice, I think you should check this stuff out for sure:

  • Palazzo Ducale (takes a bit of time to walk through the whole thing, but worth it)
  • Basilica di San Marco — the inside is stupid gorgeous, but I found the crush of tourists to be pretty overwhelming. Definitely sneak upstairs to the musem, which I thought was the best part. Even if you’re not into all of the history (but seriously, you can stand *thisclose* to the original Horses of St Mark’s, I geeked out so hard I almost died!), you get to walk through the second floor of the basilica and get some amazing views that most of the tourists miss.
  • The Frari Church — I am not a big art or church buff, but I found it really awe-inspiring to see so many beautiful Renaissance masterpieces in the setting they were designed for… you don’t really get that in a museum.
  • L’Accademia museum
  • Go up the Campanile for a city view and great pictures
  • Leave some unplanned time for wandering/getting lost off the beaten path — Venice is very fun to get lost in, and the Dorsoduro neighborhood is great for this — and also some unplanned Grand Canal cruising 
  • Don’t forget to do a couple of the silly touristy things — we had fun enjoying an overpriced Aperol spritz on St. Mark’s Square while we listened to the dueling orchestras, we did a sunset gondola ride, etc.

Definitely get a vaporetto pass if you’ll be in Venice for a couple of days — they pay for themselves quickly! Also, Venice is not big on amazing food because (a) tourists and (b) island, but we had the best luck just following our noses, not guidebooks. We found some real hidden gems! (this place stands out in my memory as being pretty fantastic and affordable: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d716268-Reviews-L_Incontro-Venice_Veneto.html) In general, avoid food in the main tourist drags and any menu with pictures of food on it, lol.

We stayed here (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187870-d646507-Reviews-Oceano_Mare_B_B-Venice_Veneto.html) and loved it. Tucked off the main drag in the Arsenale area. We were not after the super-swanky “honeymoon suite” experience, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea because it is not fancy, but we thought it wascomfortable, homey, and lovely. The owner, Nicola, is awesome.

It will be hot. PPs have covered the issue of clothes, but definitely pack comfortable (but chic) shoes, a couple of light sundresses/maxis, a wrap or cardigan to cover your shoulders in churches, etc. A floppy hat and some sunscreen are also musts.

Try not to cram too many cities into your trip. There is the temptation to see absolutely everything, because the airfare is so expensive, but you’re short-changing yourself if you spend too much time traveling and not enough time soaking up each city’s personality!

Everyone has romantic ideas about renting a cute little Fiat in which to zip around twisty Italian roads, but just… don’t. No cars if you can help it, especially if you’re spending most of your time in the major cities. The train system is fast, cheap, and generally very reliable (just be on the lookout for train strike days, which are often posted in advance). We packed light and planned our itinerary so that our last hotel had a washing machine, which made train travel much easier. Resist the temptation to overpack! If you forget something, you can always buy it over there.

Also, a day trip to Pompeii is a great idea if you have time. I found it very fascinating and moving. One of the best experiences of my travels anywhere!

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