Anyone ever been to Italy or live there?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rick snagwell, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. rick snagwell macrumors 68040

    rick snagwell

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    #1
  2. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #2
    Italy is amazing, (it is one of my favourite places) steeped in history and culture, a land of fantastic food, coffee & wine, and - simply reading your possibly planned itinerary - that sounds like a great & really interesting trip. If you take it, you will be seeing three of the most incredible cities in the world - let alone Italy.

    Value wise, I can't really judge, as I'm not sure of flight costs from the US, but it seems like a pretty good deal, and you are getting plenty of time in each place, not just a rushed afternoon, or day trip, which some guided tours offer.

    Re advice, I would suggest that you plan for the climate; northern Italy is cold in January & February, and Rome will also be pretty cold, so take plenty of warm gear with you.

    Have a great trip. Cheers
     
  3. BEN779 macrumors 6502

    BEN779

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    I was born in Italy, Sicily, and that is a very good deal. I don't pay anywhere I go since I got family in Sicily and friends in Rome and Milan, but If I ever planned a trip I wouldn't mind paying those rates. It's very expensive to go and stay anywhere in the north, especially Florence.
    I fly on standby most of the time to save money, but if you're going with your girlfriend that's taking a chance, even thou that time of the year you shouldn't have problems finding a seat.
     
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Italy is my favourite destination in the world. Absolutely gorgeous country - you couldn't have chosen a better spot to go. :)

    The deal sounds pretty good. Keep in mind you'll probably double that figure with daily expenses like food, tours/entrance to attractions, and shopping. ;) But it's absolutely worth it, Italy is amazing.

    I'd also suggest you think about what kind of vacation you want. This sounds like an awesome vacation. Companies like Trafalgar and Globus do bus tours of Italy. They're a lot more rushed, but you see a lot and they include a lot of attractions you'll have to figure out for yourself going this route. I did a tour when I was in Italy and really enjoyed it... now I want to go back and spend more time in each place.

    It just depends on what kind of trip you want! :)
     
  5. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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  6. wpotere, Dec 21, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011

    wpotere Guest

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    #6
    All wonderful locations! That is a great package to be honest. I have been to all three locations when I was living in Germany. I almost moved to Italy (Vicenza) but changed my mind at the last second.

    In Florence we found a great restaurant that you should try to visit.

    http://www.ristoranteilprofeta.com/

    Super food (local cuisine) with great staff.

    FYI, watch your wallet around the train station in Florence, you will be targeted as a tourist and they will try to pick your pocket. They also have a thing where lots of kids surround you and pick your pockets as well. (This also happens in Rome but I though it was worse in Florence).
     
  7. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    I've been to those cities, and more, but I would love to be able to retire to Sorrento. :cool:
     

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  8. rick snagwell thread starter macrumors 68040

    rick snagwell

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    #8
    all good information...thanks guys!

    im worried about not coming back home if we go!

    and about the $$ in italy...i live in san diego, california. everything is high $ here...im used to it.
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    A reasoned concern. :p

    Good. Just put on your Canadian flag pin, wave your money about, and you will be treated like a god. :rolleyes:
     
  10. rick snagwell thread starter macrumors 68040

    rick snagwell

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    #10
    my other option is going to whistler for 5 nights. same amount of money!
     
  11. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    No contest. To Italy you must go.

    Whistler = trap. Go to Jasper, and ski Whistler mountain.
     
  12. 0dev macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #12
    I can't tell you much about that deal, but I've been to Italy multiple times and it's an amazing place to visit. Just don't go in the summer, far too hot!
     
  13. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #13
    To be honest, I love Italy but I'm not a big fan of those style tours because the amount of time in each area is very limited. However, I can appreciate that if you're on the tight North America work schedule (2-4 weeks of vacation per year) that some sacrifices have to be made.

    I've been maybe 6-7 times to Italy over the last 2-3 years.

    4 days in Rome isn't a lot, 4 days in Florence (FI-SI area of Tuscany) is a tiny amount (more time is need here than Rome) and 3 days in Venice is perhaps too much.

    If you go in Jan, you avoid the summer months, which is nice, as it will be between 30-40C (around 90-100F) with no A/C or good airflow anywhere. It will also be jammed with sweaty tourists. However, in Jan, it will be quite cold (sometimes down to 0F) but you'll avoid the standard tourist rush of the summer. Fall (late Oct early Nov) is really optimal.

    Also, I don't find it so inexpensive (1700+airfare seems kind of steep).

    Let me propose an alternative:

    1. Agrotourismo in Tuscany (you can rent apartment/villa, usually a renovated farmhouse for roughly 200€/week with a full kitchen so you can cook what you want ... throw in a car rental for a week and you're still only around 400€ with very nice accommodation, better than any hotel, our last "apartment" was 70m2 or about 700 sq ft in the foothills).

    Last time I stayed here (in Oct it was 250€/week)

    http://en.agriturismo.com/holiday-houses/casa-vacanze-scopeto-casole-d-elsa.asp

    And to be honest, I didn't find Florence so interesting. You should see it BUT Siena was much nicer (about 50 km south on the FI-SI Autostrada). But, both of those pale in comparison to San Giminagno.

    Siena: http://wikitravel.org/en/Siena (much better feeling and architechture than Florence)
    San Gimignano: http://wikitravel.org/en/San_Gimignano (smaller and in the wine-producing countryside)

    You could make an exquisite 11-day trip just around Tuscany alone by car or rail for less money than the package trip. Also, a lot of the Agrotourismo villas are still active vineyards so you can make wine and eat heavenly as well. The food in the cities pales in comparison to someone serving food out of the their house/estate. For example, most of the time we ate without menus, and provided suggestions which were made to order.

    If you really want to jam it full, you could even fly into Venice (2 is enough as it's really tiny) and take the train to Florence and (for 3 days -- or more if you're an art history kind of person) and then into the countryside with a car for the remainder and fly back from Florence. You'll see so much more by car than by bus/train and you'll interact with the locals much. much more, which is an experience in itself.

    Rome is OK if you're religious, but most of great Italian culture isn't in the cities, it's in the countryside, especially in the small town/villages in Tuscany.

    One last thing, Italy is quite cheap once you get away from the tourist areas. Brilliant espresso, better than I've had anywhere else, is 1€, for example, but 5€ if you're in Rome.

    Let me know if you'd like any other suggestions.

    ----------

    One last thing, bring some extra € and stock up on Italian goods.

    I highly recommend:

    these guys for footwear: http://www.fiorentini-baker.com/
    these guys for bags: http://campomaggi.it/
    these guys for espresso machines: http://www.lapavoni.it/home.asp?lang=en

    I found that the prices for these goods in the countryside were half the price in Germany and about 1/3 of the US price (if 1€:1$ when VAT is eliminated). 700 dollar boots (US price) for roughly 200€ in Siena.
     
  14. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #14
    One last, last thing. Do you have a couchsurfing account?

    If not, you may want one, to hook up with local people to show you around. There is an option to "meet for a coffee/drink", which is quite useful if you're traveling somewhere where you don't know anyone.

    Good luck and have fun. Be sure to buy your gf something nice from one of those stores listed above.
     
  15. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #15
    But he'll have to pay VAT..

    and it's still $1.30 to the euro..
     
  16. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #16
    Technically, he can get the money back off of income taxes, or returned in various other ways if he declares the purchases.

    Subtracting the now 23% VAT (didn't it just go up last week in Italy ... or has that not been implemented yet) it's pretty close to 1:1.

    FYI ...

    http://www.reidsguides.com/t_mo/t_mo_vat.html


    This one may be better:

    http://www.agenziadogane.it/wps/wcm/connect/Internet/ee/HomePageEn/VTA+Refund/
     
  17. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    I think by the time he gets there it'll be 1 to 1..I can't see the euro holding on to value to much longer..
     
  18. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #18
    lol

    typical German concern. really buddy, you guys are in the driver's seat of Europe. no matter what happens, even if the € dissolves into an extended Deutchemark (DM), you'll be the best off in the EU.

    ps - i'm headed to southern Germany today (near Memmingen) for a week-long leberkäse, weißwurst and kellerbier binge!

    Schwäbisch food rocks!
     
  19. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #19
    I'm American..I've lived here for 6 years married to a German and work for the Army..

    There is some good Schwäbisch food, but my home and wife are in Bayern were the really good food and beer are!! :D

    **edit** I would say enjoy the Bodensee but it's December
     
  20. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #20
    i'm actually a huge fan of käsespätzle and münchner hefeweizen.

    i'll be staying on the BW/B border for Xmas but flying up to Stockholm right after to party it up for a week.

    out of Munich-West airport

    lol
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #21
    You and me brother..one of the few good german dishes I can eat being vegetarian..

    It is my intent to get up that way next summer with my six year old to do some mountain biking. Not Sweden but Finland, I have a friend and former exchange student that I'd like to visit..
     
  22. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #22
    If you have the time, I'd recommend a quick trip through Poland and the Baltics on the way to Finland. Cycling through those regions is quite interesting to say the least :D
     
  23. rick snagwell thread starter macrumors 68040

    rick snagwell

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    #23
    thank you very much, very informative. printing all this stuff out.
     
  24. 0dev macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #24
    My personal opinion (and this is what I did) is that it's best to take one holiday where you explore a certain area, then take a whole other holiday next year (or whenever your next holiday opportunity is) to explore another. Rome and Venice are obviously completely different places, so you're unlikely to get bored, and you can properly enjoy Italy that way.
     

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