Who has been to Italy? My husband and I want to go for our anniversary and would welcome any input. We don't want to go on a tour. We would like to go to southern Italy and just rent a car. Thanks for any suggestions.
I'll give it a go. I've been to Southern Italy - Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Positano, etc. It is absolutely beautiful. From Sorrento you can catch a water ferry over to Capri. This is a very serene, expensive island. Think Nantucket with a European flair. You are very courageous to want to drive there. In Sorrento there are no traffic lights and traffic is about as crazy as New York - of course a lot less but as hectic. The motor scooters are out of control. Each section of Italy is unique. The Tuscany Region - Siena, Florence, San Germinano, Lucca - is very picturesque. The Northern Region of Italy - Garda, the Dolemites, etc. are more typical of small towns with a European flair - think SOund of Music. Roads I have traveled through Northern Italy are mountainous, curves, narrow. And of course, there are the metropolitan cities of Rome and Milan where you wouldn't want to drive. You could spend your entire time in Rome and still not see everything. Such a wonderful choice to have to make. Let us know what you decide. In answer to your question, if I were to drive, I guess I would consider the Tuscany Region - so much to do and see but did not seem as congested as the other areas. But then again, the Amalfi Coast is truly worth seeing.
I second all of that- the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place I have ever been. I have pictures from there that I have blown up as posters and they are absolutely amazing.
I spent an entire week in Rome and did not see everything I wanted to see. Spent three whole days in the Vatican alone. Loved Villa Borghese (big fan of the scupltor Gianlorenzo Bernini, his best stuff is on display at Villa Borghese). Can't wait to go back, one of these days. I really liked the people in Southern Italy, very warm and friendly. Food is awesome.
I have heard the Island of Capri is really nice, I didn't fit in myself when I was there (on my list of things to do). I did visit Pompeii (Roman city buried in volcanic ash when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, uncovered in the 1800s), which was fascinating(including some very risque art work on the walls of the home of a couple of bachelors).
Sicily - beautiful and if you can stay away from Catania, beautiful.
I leave March 18 for Rome, Amalfi Coast, Florence and Venice with a tour group. We will be there 11 days. I need advice on what kinds of clothes to pack. I was thinking pants and sweaters since it will be cold. Do I need anything dressier? Most of us on the tour are casual folks from Oregon and Northern California.
Linda in CA, I don't think you need anything dressier. We were there 2 years ago in the summer and some tourist were being turned away from the churches because their legs were exposed. Even the men couldn't go in with shorts.I know you won't have this problem in March.If you wear a skirt, make sure it's down to you ankles!
Tennessee, Why don't you want to take a tour? They are so informational.And you will establish amazing friendships. DH does like to drive when on vacation in the states, but in Italy I wouldn't do it unless my Italian was fluent.
Have a great trip.
We went to Tuscany last spring, 11 days in the Chianti region and 3 days in Florence. We rented a villa in chianti, and we were within under an hour of so many interesting villages to visit....
agroturism is quite common in tuscany, farm houses renovated for rental, placestostay.com has a lot of pictures to show you. We ended up reserving through our agent anyway....
As for Florence, busy and fun city, very fashion oriented, you know who the tourists are, wearing cotton casual shorts and white sneakers; I wore my more city looking clothes while I was there, black pants and tshirt, my husband wore pants instead of bermudas, maybe that's just me but I like to fit in the spirit of the place I'm in; whereas in Tuscany, it's more casual during the day. And the nights in the countryside are coolish, early mornings also... we went early may, eventhough the days would be very warm, I only had one warm sweater and wore it a lot....
I brought a casual long black skirt with a long zipper in the front, I found I could dress it up or down. I'm talking more about clothes than sights; if someone wants my list of favorite restaurants in florence and tuscany, I can copy and paste it....
I took a car trip from Milan, North to the Austrian border and down through Sienna, Venice, etc. The driving was EASY. The big trick is to stay away from sizeable cities, most especially Rome. I almost had a heart attack just getting to our hotel in Rome with the rental car. They don't have traffic rules!
But there are plenty of places where you can drive around and have the very best time ever. People are so friendly and the food is great everywhere.
Try to get to Rome. The Vatican is beyond belief, the Spanish steps, and Borghese Park on the weekend (it's like Central Park in NY). I thought I would hate it but I loved it the MOST!
I was just looking at this post again (because I love Italy). You know what you could do? You can contact a local tour guide once you are actually in Italy and they can arrange little tours just about anywhere. I did that when I went to Rome on my honeymoon for my first marriage back in 1995. I used Vastours, I don't know if they are still around. It was pretty reasonably priced and they had all kinds of different possibilities. The bus then picked you right up from your hotel and dropped you off at the end of the day. In fact, it was my hotel that made all the arrangements, they just gave me a brochure, I picked which tours I wanted, paid for them at the hotel and off I went.
I have also used Citirama when I was in France, they might have offices in Italy.
We are leaving for Italy and France in October. We are leaving with a group, then breaking away and doing our own thing after the first few days. We are hiring the tour guide planning the trip for the large group, to help plan our trip including exactly what we want to see etc. She will also book our hotels etc. This is something else you may want to think about doing (if you haven't already gone!).
Rome - What a surprise! I never thought I would enjoy it so much. You cold spend five days there and have a ball. Don't miss Borghese Park on Saturday or Sunday! What a beehive of activity and so beautiful.
There are gorgeous fountains everywhere and tons of gorgous things to do and see, including the Vatican and its museum.
Try not to lose too much time traveling from one place to another. This is a good reason to spend a bunch of time in ROME!