May 12, 2013, 02:17 PM
First visit to Italy....general info/advise needed
We are very lucky to be visiting your beautiful country from mid September to early October this year.
Our plan is to take the train from Nice to Florence...is there a scenic route or just one train doing that route?
I would appreciate some info on accommodation as well...we would like to drive through the Italian Alps as we believe they are quite spectacular. If we stayed somewhere near the Chianti region would this be within reach to the alps and central to Florence and Tuscany??
We do not enjoy crowds that much, but love the countryside, good food, great coffees and wonderful wines....
As our exchange rate is so poor (R12 to one euro) would it be cheaper to rent an apartment rather than stay in hotels?
We will probably have about eight days in the Florence / Tuscany area and two days in Rome before flying home to South Africa.
I am really pleased to have found this valuable site, thanks to all for the wonderful information.
Regards from South Africa
May 21, 2013, 04:23 PM
maybe skip Nice and Italian Alps
Ciao Vintage Rose,
It sounds like you will have a wonderful first trip to Italy. There is actually so much to see, and Italy might look "small" on a map but it is very packed with beautiful landscapes, castles, hilltop towns, museums, churches that you have to resign yourself to only seeing a little bit and maybe coming back a second time!
For example, the Italian Alps are along northern Italy and Tuscany is in central Italy. They aren't far if you consider driving straight there - about 4 hours actually if you don't catch too much traffic - but with so much to see in Tuscany, a trip to the Alps for a day or two would not be recommended.
Are you thinking of flying into Nice but then not spending any time in France at all? If you want to fly into Nice to get the driving experience of the Alps as you head into Italy, then know that Nice is very close to the Italian border but along the coast, the drive I believe is through tunnels and not over the mountains so you wouldn't get that experience along that route... you'd need to drive north first and then across toward Turin to get a more scenic route. It would take time as well, so if you want to do that, then consider it as part of your itinerary with stops (intending nights) along the way.
If you're worried about cost of the trip, maybe the best suggestion I can give you is to fly directly into Rome or Milan and head to Tuscany for a week, with the remaining days spent in Rome so you don't have an extra part of the trip to worry about (getting from Nice to Tuscany).
An apartment for the week would definitely be less expensive - if you want to stay in the countryside, I recommend an apartment in a farmhouse or villa. Take a look at these listings just to start getting an idea of what's out there, the Chianti area is very central and would be perfect for exploring most of the region: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...accommodation/
Staying in the countryside would require renting a car.... but if you don't want to do that, they you can also just use trains to move around between Rome and Florence and from Florence do day trips by bus or train.
As far as crowds go, September-October is a great period to visit as there are definitely less people on vacation and so you'll have more space every place you visit.
These are just some thoughts to help you sort out your initial plans - please let me know what you think and how I can help out more as you decide what you'd like to do - and see!
May 31, 2013, 06:15 PM
Re: First visit to Italy....general info/advise needed
Thank you so much for your reply, much appreciated.
Our plans are to take a ferry from the UK to Caen in France, spend a week or so in Deauville and surrounds, then to Annecy for a few days, then down to Provence for another few days.
Then I thought of taking a train from Menton to Italy...but we can also hire a car if need be. I would like to do the most scenic route without having to drive all the time, that's why I thought a train would be a good idea??.....
Leaving Menton should we head directly to Florence?...we might stop off at Portofino as well (depending on time and finances)....
I know there is so much to see and experience in Italy, maybe we will get another opportunity of coming back again one day...
We will be flying out of Rome back to Johannesburg South Africa....
Thanks again for info....
June 3, 2013, 01:03 PM
train is fine!
I think the train from menton to italy would be the best solution, driving across the alps often takes you through tunnels in that area so it won't be scenic at all. from the train you'll get good views of the sea!
Portofino is on the way down to Florence, so you can definitely stop there if you wish for a day or two.
Another great alternative is the Cinque Terre and in late September/early October should be perfect crowd-wise (meaning not too many tourists).
There is a lot to see, but the best approach is to see less to enjoy it more, rather than just try to check things off a list of "must-sees". You will have a lovely time if you go slowly and take in the atmosphere of each place individually, you will have good memories.
I loved Annecy by the way - very lovely town!