(Closed) Advice about Italy?

posted 7 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 16
Member
280 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

Florence and Capri were my favorite!  Find a local and ask about resturaunts.  The non-tourist ones are the best.  

Post # 17
Member
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

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MrsGatito:  Most people spoke English and many menus will have a description of the food in English (some even had entire menus in English). I knew a little Italian and could pick out words here and there. My husband doesn’t know any Italian and had a harder time but we managed just fine. If you travel to a more remote area then English might not be spoken but in the cities it seemed like everyone knew English. 

Post # 19
Member
877 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

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MrsGatito:  For the record, I also really enjoyed the Duomo. 😛 I found Rome quite walkable though, especially if you stay in the center of town. From the Termini area I happily walked to the Pantheon, Colosseum, etc. I just loved going down little side streets and finding random ruin sites from 2,000 years ago.

Language barrier is fine. Most people in tourist areas speak some English, and the only time I had an issue was when I accidentally got on the wrong train and had to ask 3 people before someone could tell me what line I was on.

Be on the lookout for scammy people in Venice particularly though, I heard a lot of stories while I was there. One group had their whole hotel (20+ rooms) get robbed during dinner.

Post # 20
Member
160 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m on holiday in Italy right now…total of 12 nights. We are using airBNB for cheap lodging right in the heart of the city which has been awesome. We started in Napoil and visited Sorrento/Positano/Amalfi coast, Pompeii, and walked around the city (do not miss the archeological museum!!!), spent two nights in Tuscany (Panzano in chianti) and drove to Montepulciano and Siena, and are in Firenze now; we leave for Roma tomorrow. Firenze is a mess of tourists (compared to Napoli and Tuscany) but we are enjoying the museums. If you feel comfortable driving manual and are interested in wine, staying in Tuscany is amazing! I would probably recommend staying closer to Montepulciano or Siena (but not necessarily in the cities due to the ztls). The rick steves guidebook is great! I’m also a huge opera fan and we have seen two fantastic shows at the Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli as well as Opera Firenze. 

Post # 21
Member
1742 posts
Bumble bee

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MrsGatito: The vast majority of people in the major tourist cities will have enough English for you and your husband to get by, but like @Kir32 said, English ability can drop off rather quickly (even in the outlying suburbs of Rome it is not uncommon to find people who really only have a few basic words of English). 

The Italians have the reputation of being much kinder than, say, the French (though I feel the French are unfairly maligned on this and many other points) when it comes to foreigners bumbling through their language, and in a heavily touristed area like Venice, even the most basic attempt to respect both the language and the Italian sense of timing and sense of regionalness will go a long way toward warming the hearts of the staff.  With respect to the last point–there’s a generally well-regarded restaurant in Venice that has a blunt “No lasagna, no pizza, no tourist menu” sign on the front, and sometimes you see reviews complaining that the proprietors of that establishment are unkind.  They have always been extremely (and I do mean extremely) generous to me–and this was back when my Italian was really terrible–and to my colleagues who have actually lived in Venice for a time (which I’ve never done), but they do get frustrated by people who refuse to respect the most basic boundaries of regional tradition.  At the best places you need to trust the owners, who take a lot of pride in what they do.

I will say this–if you can’t speak the part, try to look the part: the difference in treatment that you receive if you walk into a restaurant conservatively and stylishly dressed, with good shoes, and minimal accessories (just a purse, no camera or guide, etc.) versus walking in there with your shorts and your sun hat and your sneakers is absolutely mind-boggling.  This is not to say that people will necessarily treat you rudely in the latter case, but they will treat you even better in the former.

Post # 22
Member
7935 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

 

MrsGatito:  DH and I went to Italy on our honeymoon in October 2013.  Perfect weather.  We started in Venice for 2 nights, Florence for 3 nights, Rome for 3 nights, and Naples for 2 nights.  However, we only slept in Naples, we spent 1 day in Capri and 1 day in Pompeii/Almafi Coast.

Our trip was amazing.  DH planned it and did a fabulous job.

 

Here are some food highlights from each city that we enjoyed that I recently sent to a friend.  If you have anyother questions, I’d be happy to answer.

 

Venice:<br />http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1314824-Reviews-Arte_Della_Pizza-Venice_Veneto.html<br />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<br />(giada from the food network recommended, everything we had was delicious)<br />Florence:<br />http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1008597-Reviews-Trattoria_4_Leoni-Florence_Tuscany.html<br />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<br />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<br />http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187895-d195018-Reviews-Mercato_Centrale-Florence_Tuscany.html (like lexington market but better)<br />Rome:<br />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)<br /><br />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 # 23
Member
12265 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We spent about 2 weeks and went to Amalfi Cost, Rome, Florence, and Venice.  I did a recap here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/my-italy-switzerland-trip-recap/#axzz33VXfLCpb.  The only thing I didn’t squeeze in that I would have liked to was Milan, but other than that, I think we hit all the major spots, but we were also on the go go go go go go everyday.  We’re not relaxing vacationers in places with so much to see and do.

Post # 24
Member
2010 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We’re fortunate in (a) living a brief train ride from mainland Europe on the Eurostar and (b) the fact that my DH lived in Italy while researching his doctorate. So we’re regular visitors.

What I’d suggest (and I realise that if you are travelling from the US you want to see as much as possible) is NOT trying to cram all of Italy into your itinerary. And also, if possible, try and avoid the peak summer months when most of the country is crammed with tourists. So don’t try and do Naples AND Venice, say. Venice is a glorious city but far, far, too busy in August and, with respect to a city I love, it isn’t too fragrant in high summer. Naples is not for the faint-hearted. Especially if you don’t speak Italian.

I really recommend Tuscany which I know well. Siena is the most fabulous city and the hilltowns around are divine. Montalcino (where my DH lived), Montepulciano and Pienza are great to visit. Florence and Rome are easily accessible by train. The train services are good value and fast too. So you could fly into one of the Northern cities (Milan, say) and then travel down to Florence, Siena and Rome spending 2/3 days in each. 

As a pp has said, you can expect to get by without speaking Italian in the main tourist cities but don’t expect fluency in English to be a given. Italian is an easy language to learn the rudiments of so at least learn how to interpret a menu! 

Post # 25
Member
2 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: Orlando Science Center

Italy is amazing! You’ll have a wonderful time, no matter what you decide on.

I agree with MarriedToMyWork, Venice is awesome, and is a completely different city at night. Seeing San Marco plaza all lit up and mostly empty as small orchestras duel across the square may be a bit ‘touristy’ – but it is awesome nontheless.

When you are in Florence, be sure to go to Piazalle Michelangelo at sunset for an incredible lookout over the city from a hill. 

I would also recommend checking out the Cinque Terre for a few days between cities to really relax and unwind. All of the sightseeing in Rome and Florence can get exhausting, so relaxing in the small towns is a great way to catch your breath before going back for more.

Post # 26
Member
20 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2014

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MrsGatito:  Congrats on your one year anniversary! I was in Greece, Italy and Spain last summer and had an amazing time. We spent a week in Italy and visited Rome, Florence and Venice. It definitely wasn’t enough time, so make sure you take at least 10 days off.

I would spend 2-3 days in Rome, 4-5 days in Florence/Tuscany, and 2-3 days in Venice. While you’re in Florence, make sure you take a day trip to Cinque Terre. It’s beautiful (as you can see from the picture PP attached above)!

If you’re into designer brands, let me know. I can recommened two designer outlets you can check out near Florence. I got some amazing deals at Prada. Have fun planning your trip!

Post # 28
Member
380 posts
Helper bee

Commenting to follow. Great suggestions in this thread.

Post # 29
Member
877 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

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MrsGatito:  Hooray, good for you! Be sure to report back and let us know what you think! 🙂

Post # 30
Member
1015 posts
Bumble bee

Yay Italy! I have seen quite a bit of Italy and would recommend the following:

 

Venice – I have been 4 times and still love it. Best for relaxed sightseeing and nice meals.

Rome – Very busy place but fun and great atmosphere! Best for extensive sightseeing and exploring.

Lake Garda – Best for stunning scenery, relaxing, nice hotels and restaurants.

Verona – Worth a visit if you are travelling nearby.

Sorrento & Amalfi Coast – I haven’t visited yet but am planning this for our honeymoon.

Islands – If you plan to visit the islands I would recommend Sicily and Sardinia – the latter has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

 

I hope you have an amazing time!!

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