June 28, 2009, 03:04 AM
Our First Visit to Italy
My wife and I will be making our first visit to Italy 9/30-10/16. We fly into Milan and depart from Rome.
We've begun researching our trip and have the following ideas:
* Stay 1-2 nights in Milan. Not sure exactly what there is to see there?
* Take a train to Portofino / Cinque Terre for another 1-2 nights. Does it make sense to travel to the coast during October?
* From there we head to the Tuscany / Chianti Regions by train and rent a car to allow us us more mobility (3-4 nights).
* We then would take a train back to Florence for 2-3 nights.
* We are als[/B]o interested in any other areas you might suggest, or in place of any of these if you feel they don't make sense?
* We would then take the train to Rome for 3-4 nights before departing.
We enjoy exploring new places and I especially like driving, so I anticipate traveling allot of miles during our 2+ weeks.
We are looking to keep our lodging expenses down, so wondered if staying at B&B's make more sense than traditional hotels?
We both enjoy eating local cusine very much and would appreciate any recommendations you might have.
Do I need to get an international driver's license?
Sorry for the long winded & somewhat rambling message but hope you can shed some light on our ideas.
June 28, 2009, 11:39 AM
Seems like you already have a good basic itinerary to go from.
If you are a non-EU citizen you do need to get an international driver's license... it is a paper you get from AAA that accompanies your driving license, attesting to its validity and translating it.
Car would be perfect for Chianti/Tuscany, you'll do a lot of driving in the countryside to get places. You won't really need it while in Florence. What you could do is plan to spend a few more days in the countryside and come into Florence for day trips.
You'll find B&Bs in town often have similar rates as hotels, but this varies a lot so you'll have to look at what you find. If you want to spend less, look into farmhouses that offer either rooms or apartments where per night cost is generally less than a hotel's. October is low season so that should help too.
From Chianti you should definitely go see San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, Monteriggioni, Montepulciano, Montalcino... spread out during your week's stay, of course.
You won't have problems finding good local cuisine wherever you go .
Cinque Terre - not a problem in October, it is still beautiful and you might get good weather. You weren't planning on swimming were you? Will be cold then.
Milan - 2 days there are perfect. You should see the Castello Sforzesco, the Duomo, the Pinacoteca di Brera, the high fashion shopping streets near the cathedral (Via Napoleone I think it is). Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is in Milan, I recommend going to see that!
Hope I've gotten most of your questions, otherwise let me know!
June 30, 2009, 12:09 AM
Thanks so much for your feedback. We'll continue working and let you know if we need any further help.