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"Travel hints for Italy?" Topic

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Arteis0204 Jan 2017 10:51 p.m. PST


When we go overseas to the UK during March, my wife and I (both 60) are thinking of spending a few days in a side-trip Italy. Coming all the way from down in New Zealand, we are new to travel in Italy, and so are trying to figure out how best to do it!

We were thinking of possibly flying into Rome, spending a couple or so days there, then by train to stay two or three days in the Cinque Terre area of the Italian Riviera.

We were thinking of using Expedia to book our air travel from UK to Italy and back, and our accommodation. An alternative to Expedia accommodation is to perhaps check out AirBNB, but we don't know much about how that works as yet.

Does anyone have any hints or advice about travel in Italy, about either accommodation, transport or places that you recommend to see in either Rome or the Cinque Terre area if you had just a few days like us?



Zargon Inactive Member05 Jan 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

Don't drink the water:) drink the wine and enjoy.

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jan 2017 6:45 a.m. PST

Guard yourself against pickpockets. Last time I was in Rome I was swarmed by a bunch of little gypsy kids, and when they all ran away, my wallet was gone also. Cops do nothing but shrug their shoulders when you tell them.

JLA10505 Jan 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

Yeah, the pickpockets in Rome can be a problem. Just keep your 'situational awareness' up.
If you decide you want to see the Vatican, you can purchase tickets ahead of time online and go directly inside instead of standing in line all morning, a real time saver.
If you want 'real' Italian food, avoid the places on the main streets, esp if they have menus posted outside in English. Walk a little further down the side streets and eat where the locals do, they'll treat you well and the food is MUCH better.

Who asked this joker05 Jan 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

Rome and the surrounding countryside is probably a good and interesting place to start…and for a few days may be all you can fit in. Venice is nice as well but I would not spend more than a day or two there.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2017 3:58 p.m. PST

Pickpockets – don't loiter, don't flash cash, phone, camera. Keep your hand on your cash, or better have it in a travel pouch. Don't be distracted – I saw an American filming the little kids chasing pigeons outside the cathedral in Florence. When they vanished so had everything except his camera – wallet, passport, travellers cheques (it was a few years ago!). If someone's being cute in a crowded place, then let your alarm bells ring.

Having said that – Rome is a wonderful city and you'll have a great time. My top sights – well The Forum, Collesium, Trajan's Column, The catacombs on the Appian way.

There are so many churches it's hard to cite just one or two – I like San Giovanni in Laterano, but it's not most people's first choice.

Personal logo TheWarStoreMan Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Jan 2017 6:35 p.m. PST

They did the "Hey, can you hold my baby?" thing to my son in Rome. He tossed the baby back to mom and back hand slapped the little kid reaching for his wallet.
Proud of my boy.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

Learn to say, "Io non sono un Americano" when shopping.

Prices will drop by 50%

Repiqueone06 Jan 2017 8:31 p.m. PST


Cinqueterra is magical. If you are in good shape,the treat of a lifetime to start at a Monterosso with breakfast and hike the five city path through Vernazza for a snack and then on to Comigia for lunch, on to Manarola ( get an Affogato)and finish at Romaggiore. Catch the boat there for a trip back up the coast to see where you hiked from the sea. It's a 14 mile hike, and the first segment from Monterossa is a steep path, but the views and the beauty is incredible. Each of the cities a different tiny gem. Have dinner in Monterossa to celebrate your day.

My wife and I did the hike with my daughter and it was one of the great days of our lives.

Rome is wonderful and a city scaled to a human on foot. The gypsies and pickpockets are throughout Europe and seldom a problem to experienced travelers and tend to concentrate around the most touristy locations at times when large tours are underway. Try not to look too much like a rube from Omaha ( lose the fanny pack, white socks with sandals, baseball caps, and shorts( they won't let you into the Sistine Chapel wearing shorts).
Carry wallet and passport in a front pocket. Minimize the crap you are carrying. Look like you know what you're doing and where you are going.

Enjoy the food and the Italian nature! Learn a few words in Italian.

Repiqueone06 Jan 2017 8:48 p.m. PST

PS the trains in Italy are excellent, and a good means of travel. Not at all hard to use. Renting a car is perfectly doable, and driving is not a problem except in the center of big cities. Get an international driving license.

In March the rooms in Monterossa are quite inexpensive as are b&b's throughout Italy. Still wise to book ahead, but, in March, not absolutely necessary. A surprising number of people in areas with tourism speak good English. A litltle Italian doesn't hurt.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2017 10:53 p.m. PST

BTW museums etc *may* not be opened when you want them to be.
Italians run opening & closing times to suit themselves.

On my first visit, I made a point of travelling to Chieti (in Abruzzo) to see the museum which houses (evidently!) some fabulous Etruscan artifacts. I'd budgeted only a day there & needed to be somewhere else the next day.

Who knew that mid-morning on a Tuesday, they'd be closed (someone's birthday)? Don't let me get started on using banks.

Check times on the internet & even then, cross your fingers. I've been back to Italia many times but "Piano, piano" (roughly, "slow down"/ "things happen in their own time") is a concept I still have some problems with.

Arteis0207 Jan 2017 11:58 a.m. PST

Hey, guys, thanks everyone for the advice!

@Repiqueone – something like that walk is exactly what we want to do, so now you have given us an actual route to take and the boat back – perfect!

I have also been checking out monastery stays in Rome – not that I'm religious, but it just sounds so Italian!

Repiqueone07 Jan 2017 12:52 p.m. PST


Temperatures in March are in the 50s with some chance of rain, but the again temps have been slightly higher lately, and you might just get a very nice day. Either way you sound like the type that will be just fine. Eat a good breakfast and start by 7 AM. Have a rain jacket just in case. Enjoy!

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