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Italy Itinerary Advice - Aug 18 - Big Ticket Attractions

Italy Itinerary Advice - Aug 18 - Big Ticket Attractions

Old Oct 17, 17, 3:36 am
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Italy Itinerary Advice - Aug 18 - Big Ticket Attractions

Hi all. I am needing itinerary advice for an Italy trip in August next year. I am looking at about 2 and a half weeks. I am very open about what to do. I am looking at the big ticket items and cities - Rome, Venice, Florence, Pompeii I guess.

I like to travel slowly. If everyone says a place will take 4 days, I like to take it in 6. I don't like to be on the go non stop. I might do something in the morning/early afternoon then relax in the afternoon by the pool. Holidays are about seeing things but also about relaxing and recharging batteries. I would prefer to see cities in depth rather than just breeze through a large number to say I have visited each.

Does anyone have any suggestions.

Also, in Rome, where do you suggest I stay. What area.

Thank you
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Old Oct 17, 17, 11:16 am
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I'm trying to be ahead of Perche for the first time!

August is about the worst time of the year to visit Italy. Not only are 90% of Italians vacationing (in other words, lots of closed restaurants and stores), the country is absolutely full of tourists and the weather is simply hot with almost zero clouds to make it sort of livable.

Think about that, seriously!
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Old Oct 17, 17, 12:22 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I'm trying to be ahead of Perche for the first time!

August is about the worst time of the year to visit Italy. Not only are 90% of Italians vacationing (in other words, lots of closed restaurants and stores), the country is absolutely full of tourists and the weather is simply hot with almost zero clouds to make it sort of livable.

Think about that, seriously!
I agree. If you can delay your holiday until October, you will have a much more rewarding experience and will not have to deal with the nightmare of hot weather and hordes of tourists.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I'm trying to be ahead of Perche for the first time!

August is about the worst time of the year to visit Italy. Not only are 90% of Italians vacationing (in other words, lots of closed restaurants and stores), the country is absolutely full of tourists and the weather is simply hot with almost zero clouds to make it sort of livable.

Think about that, seriously!
Hah, hah, hah! Everything you said I agree with 100%. The country of Italy is pretty much closed down for the latter two-thirds to one-half of August.

To OP, don't think of Italy as a place with, "Big Ticket Attractions." It's a country with a unique culture, not a theme park.

Two and a half weeks is good, as long as you don't make the, "best way to ruin my trip" error of trying to see "every attraction," from the Leaning Tower of Pisa on down, and it is great that you said you prefer to stay at just a few places.

If you are going in the early part of August it is better, because around August 15th Italy closes, except for some tourist shops. I've had the "pleasure" of having to spend the whole summer in Italy, including August a number of times.

There is an Italian word called, "Arrangiarsi." Arrangiarsi means, "to arrange one's self." The complete saying is, "Un Italiano sempre puo arrangiarsi." It more or less translates as saying, "an Italian can always make do, no matter the situation," or "An Italian can always adapt, and arrange things so that they work out."

August is a tough month, especially if it is the latter half, but we can help you arrangiarsi. What part of the month are you going? Start building an itinerary. I like that you don't want to squeeze in a bunch of cities to see everything all at once. My suggestion would be to not think of "attractions," and think of experiencing life in parts of Italy.

Since August in Italy is so dreadful, especially during the latter half of the month, you are going to have to avoid the beach towns, because that's where all of the Italians who closed their shops are, as well as tens of thousands of Germans and Austrians. Nothing against anybody, but during the summer when I'm near the beach, any shop that I walk into, instead of greeting me in Italian, they start speaking German to me. No matter how many times I say, "No sprechen zi Deutsch," shopkeepers can't stop speaking to me in German. I've had my DNA analyzed. I have no German blood in me. It's just the way it is. It's like Sorrento, near the Amalfi Coast. Try walking into a place where they won't automatically speak english to you, even when you are answering them in Italian. When you call them on it, they apologize (in English), and say, "Sorry, it's just that almost everyone in Sorrento is a tourist from the UK. Any place with a beach is out of the question in late August.

In medium size towns, if it is the latter half of August, you can starve. I can remember walking all over Bologna one August in search of an open restaurant, and another late August, walking all over Modena, and pretty much starving. You can always find one, but it's not easy. I remember being stunned to find an open restaurant in Modena during August. The only person more stunned than me was the owner, who couldn't believe he had a customer. You can make your way to the train station and always find an open bar and get a sandwich, but KLouis is right on, Italy starts closing down in August, and is basically closed around or after August 15th, except for a few places.

For Rome, I would not recommend staying around the Pantheon, which is usually the most central place to stay, because it will be August. I'd recommend staying in Rione Monti. Hotels, and even weekly rental apartments there are generally very affordable. In the latter half of August it might be a little like a ghost town, with most things closed, but it wouldn't be far to walk to places that are always wonderful to see, and with places to eat no matter the time of year. Rome is such a big city that it really cannot close down completely, even in August. Monti would be good because it is off the beaten path, but still close enough to anywhere you want to go if you are a decent walker. You won't be surrounded by crowds.

Venice in August is awful. But even then, there are work arounds. Like Rome, Venice doesn't completely close in August. Venetians will tough it out during the Italian national holiday season that extends from mid-August to the end of August, because there are so many tourists to sell to that if they stay open they can close during the harshest part of winter, and spend it on the beach in Cuba.

The key to making it through Venice in August is to stay in the Castello district. Avoid San Marco and the Rialto Bridge areas like the plague. Go there only very early, or very late in the day. You don't need much in the way of entertainment in Venice. The city itself is so beautiful, that just taking walks is all the entertainment you need. And you will find places to eat, and the museums will be open. And there will be music. Just stay in Castello. Except for very early or late in the day don't head towards Piazza San Marco, or the Rialto Bridge, head in the opposite direction.

Like Rome, Venice will have a lot of closures, but their business sense recognizes that there will be a lot of tourists, so enough places will stay open. If it gets to be too much, take a vaporetto to one of the outer islands, like Burano. One note of caution, as soon as you start your walk, you will get lost. Walking and getting lost in Venice is one of the best things about it. Venice is practically designed to get you lost.

Just head out and get lost in the outer reaches of it, and you won't be stuck in crowds. You'll find places to eat, have coffee, pastry, a glass of wine, even in August. And Venice is small, so even though it might seem that you are so lost that you will never find your way back to the hotel, you always will.

To me, Florence in August, where Dante is from, would be like staying in his ninth level of hell, but I'm sure that PWMTrave can find a way to help you arrangiarsi there too!
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Old Oct 17, 17, 12:59 pm
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Unfortunately I own my own business and have no choice about when to go.

Apologies for how i described wanting to see the main cultural/historical thibgs all tourists want to see. Thanks for telling me it's not a theme park. I would never have known.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 7:52 pm
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A poster comes here asking for advice-which is freely and plentifully offered. Poster then responds with a sarcastic response.
I wish the poster the best of luck getting more advice.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 9:49 pm
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I was reading about the suggestion in the Wiki to stay in the Pantheon area. Unfortunately whilst the other area sounds great I am not a big walker. I am recovering from an injury so can't walk long distances. I did like the idea of being close to main sites. I guess we can just cab it around.

My husband though, likes to head out and get lost as you say and he has a fabulous time exploring cities that way.

Last edited by Annalisa12; Oct 17, 17 at 9:59 pm
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Old Oct 17, 17, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
I was reading about the suggestion in the Wiki to stay in the Pantheon area. Unfortunately whilst the other area sounds great I am not a big walker. I am recovering from an injury so can't walk long distances. I did like the idea of being close to main sites. I guess we can just cab it around.

My husband though, likes to head out and get lost as you say and he has a fabulous time exploring cities that way.
Wishing you a complete recovery, Annalisa12 I have little doubt that you will find very good advice on this forum which will please you and your husband.As you scroll through the Italy Forum, view the topics which interest you and I am sure you will find helpful suggestions as to where to stay, visit and dine.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 10:26 pm
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Wishing you a complete recovery, Annalisa12 I have little doubt that you will find very good advice on this forum which will please you and your husband.As you scroll through the Italy Forum, view the topics which interest you and I am sure you will find helpful suggestions as to where to stay, visit and dine.
Thank you. Yes I am reading those and enjoying them.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 9:17 am
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It's worth asking - how much walking can you do? That might influence which cities would be better to visit, skip, etc. For instance, Venice is really tough if you can't walk much - there aren't cabs. Florence is great if you can walk ~1 mile because it's a small historic center and things are close by, but if you can't walk much at all, taxis are more limited. Rome might be the in-between. It's larger and things are more spread out, but taxis everywhere and generally available.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
It's worth asking - how much walking can you do? That might influence which cities would be better to visit, skip, etc. For instance, Venice is really tough if you can't walk much - there aren't cabs. Florence is great if you can walk ~1 mile because it's a small historic center and things are close by, but if you can't walk much at all, taxis are more limited. Rome might be the in-between. It's larger and things are more spread out, but taxis everywhere and generally available.
Thanks for that thought. I'm pondering what to do. On a good day I can go slowly for half a day with rests.

How spread out are thr things to see in Venice?
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Old Oct 18, 17, 2:45 pm
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We were just in Rome for a short visit, right at the end of September, early October. I found the weather perfect, usually 21-23c during the day.

I've got limited mobility, so would take the tram in front of my hotel and explore the city on it.

Cabs are fairly reasonable, except Sunday, and after 10pm they charge a bit more. Every time I checked Uber it was more expensive by a large margin, than cabs.

I'd certainly just choose 2-3 different cities. I really liked the high speed trains in Italy. Not too expensive, if you buy the tickets just when they're released (90 or 120 days, I think).

Don't forget to pick up some extra Gelato machine parts while you're there!
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
Thanks for that thought. I'm pondering what to do. On a good day I can go slowly for half a day with rests.

How spread out are thr things to see in Venice?
I'd say you might want to start with Google Maps, pull up Venice, Florence, Rome, and pin some of the things you want to see - and see if the distances work for you. The answer to how far apart things are will vary in Venice and Florence, depending on what you want to see. In Rome, you can safely assume everything to be spread out.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
Thanks for that thought. I'm pondering what to do. On a good day I can go slowly for half a day with rests.

How spread out are thr things to see in Venice?
A few years ago, while in Venice, I tore the meniscus in my right knee. It happened very suddenly and was quite painful and limited my walking. It was the second time I had suffered this injury and I knew immediately what it was. As I normally spend so much everywhere walking while in Venice, I adapted to my injury by relying on a water taxi if I was going to a restaurant or the opera or a particular museum if I felt that the distance would be too great to walk. On the other hand, walking in Venice, even with the bad knee , was still possible. Interestingly enough I found navigating the stairs of the bridges easier than walking on a straight path. On the stairs, I could position myself in such a way that I was putting more pressure on my good knee. I had that knee replaced a few weeks after I returned home. All things considered, Venice is probably the easiest city to get around with a physical handicap than some other cities. It is a small city, people are friendly and helpful and most of the museums and shops are near each other. Also, you will find no shortage of cafes or bars where you can sit down and rest for a few minutes.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
Thanks for that thought. I'm pondering what to do. On a good day I can go slowly for half a day with rests.

How spread out are thr things to see in Venice?
Venice is small. If I don't stop and don't get lost I can walk from one end to the other in a little over 30 minutes. You should be fine. When I am not in a hurry it can take me 4 hours to walk from one end to the other, stopping to eat in bars for cicchetti along the way. And there are the vaporetti (water buses) that can take you pretty close to anywhere you want to go. Most of the bridges are just 5-10 steps, and in many areas they have ramps. There is even a Venetian website that provides directions on how to get around if you are in a wheelchair and cannot walk at all.

Once again, Venice was just voted the most beautiful city in the world. https://www.themeshnews.com/top-10-m...he-world-2016/

You don't go there to "see things." When you are in Venice you are seeing the most beautiful work of art in the history of mankind, which is the city itself. When I am there I might check to see what music is playing at La Fenice, or if there is something interesting at Teatro Malibran, or if there is an intriguing art show, or some good chamber music somewhere.

Other than that, you don't really have to see, "attractions," in Venice. Basically, if you stay away from Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge (except for early in the morning or late at night, you are literally walking around in the best work of art ever made by mankind. You should probably visit Piazza San Giovanni e Paulo, Santa Maria Formosa, Via Garibaldi, stop on to of the Accademia Bridge, and get lost for a little while in Dorsoduro or San Polo.

I would say there is only one, "don't miss," attraction. That is to take the #1 vaporetto down the Grand Canal at night. I don't think there is anybody who wouldn't agree that the Grand Canal is the prettiest main street in the world. Just don't get on it at Piazza San Marco. It will already be full. You must sit or stand outside in order to enjoy it. By the time you get to San Marco it will be full, and they'll just make you sit inside where you can't see anything.

Try to get on at Sant'Elena or Giardini, in the evening, and chances are you can score one of the outside seats in the front of the boat, and will have the most beautiful ride of your life. There are also some outside seats in the back, and they are just as good. Try also not just doing it in the evening instead of the day, and getting on before the crowds pack on at San Marco, but also try to do it when it is not Friday or Saturday to be more likely to get an outside seat. If you do not, then just stand. No matter how many times the person running the boat tells you to go inside, (where you can't see anything), just ignore him or her. If you don't stand in the way, they won't really bother you.

The #1 vaporetto at night is the only, "must do" attraction. The rest is just walking around the most beautiful city in the world, as long as it is in the opposite direction from San Marco Square and Rialto, unless it is before 9AM or after 9PM.

Venice is also ranked as the 11th best city for food in all of Europe, two spots behind Paris. It is, however, loaded with tourist trap restaurants. To eat at any authentic restaurant you must have a reservation. You don't have to worry about that until a month or two before, but keep this in mind.
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