Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taking My Dream Trip

Piazza di Spagna, Spanish Steps
Photo from
Hi, guys! I could use some advice, especially from my international friends and avid travelers.  I am planning a trip to Italy, which has been one of my top travel destinations for the past ten years pretty much my whole life. Unfortunately, I only can go for nine days, not two weeks like every recommends, but I figure it's better than nothing.  

We are going to stay in Rome, but want to visit some other cities as well.  We are having a hard time deciding upon which ones to visit though and this is where you come in. If you have traveled to Italy, please let me know what I MUST NOT miss.  I don't think we will make it to Venice, Sorrento, Tuscany or Pisa this time around, but we have our sights set on a few possible excursions to Florence, Naples/Pompeii, Frascati (for wine tasting) and the island of Capri.  I am not sure we can do all of those excursions, so which places do you recommend? Capri over Naples/Pompeii? Florence over Venice? Or is Tuscany a must? HELP! 

Trevi Fountain
Photo from
Also, which places in Rome must I absolutely see? Rome will be our home base so I plan to hit up the usual tourist attractions, but is there anything that I should visit that is off the beaten path?  I don't want to fill this vacation up with too much running around; I just want to hit up what is essential. I still want to have time to sit at Piazza Navona, eat some gelato, drink some wine and marvel at the beauty of Italy. The Italians call it the sweetness of doing nothing....."
il dolce far niente."

Let me know what you think, friends! I could really use your advice and guidance.  I need to start brushing up on my Italian now. Good thing I took a few years of it in high school, so at least I can ask the basics like "dove è il vino."  :) Thanks in advance for your help!

Let me know what you think and have a great weekend,


  1. You HAVE to go to Venice. It's beautiful!

  2. I honestly wouldn't know which to pick between Venice and Florence. I've been to both and they are such amazing cities.

    As for Rome I can't think of any places in particular that you HAVE to see but I can give you one tip. If you plan on going to the Vatican/St. Peters/Sistine Chapel get there EARLY! When I went there was a line that went around two blocks away from the entrance.

  3. You absolutely have to go to Florence, it's a pretty short train ride from Rome and you can walk around all of it and admire the beautiful architecture. It really should not be missed.

    Pisa was a bit of a disappointment for me, outside of the leaning tower, there's really not that much to see there and if I was going again, I would skip out on it altogether and visit another city.

    Venice I adored, it really should be on your list as well. It's a stunning city, and the canals are amazing. I never made it Milan, so I can't help you there.

    For me, Naples wasn't all that spectacular. It's a much more modern looking city, and doesn't have quite the same character as the northern cities.

    I spent 5 weeks in Florence and would highly recommend spending at least a day or two there, and make time for Venice. Rome, Venice and Florence were my favorite experiences:) Hope that helps!

    Oh, and I agree with Emilie on getting to the Vatican early. Check on times for The Sistine Chapel too, it closed early the day we were there and we missed it:(

  4. I went to Rome a few years ago to visit a close friend who was studying there for a semester. We went to Florence - go the Uffizi and Academie for sure!

    But in favorite place was the Church of San Clemente. It's only 2 blocks from the coliseum but it isn't a huge tourist attraction.

    My friend wrote an entire email for me about her favorite places (including info on our favorite restaurant which is tucked away in a residential neighborhood and as such is extremely inexpensive while being completely delicious...they don't get any tourists there!)

    I'll dig up the email and forward it on to you. I'm so excited for you!!!!

  5. Izzy- I will have to see if I can go there -maybe instead of Naples. Thank you for your feedback!

    Emilie- Thank you so much for your tip. I really appreciate the heads up. I will see if I can hit up Venice as well. Thanks again!

    Jenny- Thank you so much for this advice. Maybe I will skip Naples/Pompeii and hit up Venice instead. I will definitely hit up the Vatican early- I cannot miss that. Thanks for your advice.

    Veronica- It's great to hear from you! I hope all is well with you and Anne! I will have to absolutely check out Church of San Clemente. I love finding things that are off the beaten path. I look forward to your email with tips. I really appreciate it. THANK YOU!!

  6. Oh Wow! This will be amazing! I've always wanted to go to Italy too, and hope to get to Rome soon. I will report back to you if I get there before you. haha!

    I was thinking of an Italian trip combining Rome and Florence a few years back, but in the end I went for a Slovakian/Austrian/German trip instead, which was also amazing!

  7. I've never been so I can't say. But I do dream of going. I want to see Tuscany, Venice, and Verona :) Good luck!

    PS I like the new cleaner look :)

  8. I love your new look!

    I never been to Italy, sad face. I live in Europe and I never been there. Hopefully next year...but you really should visit Rome. Oh My, you are going to love it. For sure.

    Lucky you!

  9. I surprised myself by not loving Venice. I was so excited to go there... but found it over-commercialized and filled with pigeons (keep in mind, I'm terrified of birds ;) and pricey gondolier rides. I would definitely check out the Vatican City! Pisa was kind of like 'Oh, there's the tower...', and other than that I wouldn't go out of my way to visit it this trip. I really like Florence, though, almost as much as Rome. I've never been to the Church of San Clemente that people are talking about-- it sounds so cool! Also never been to Southern Italy, so no help there.

    I hope you have an awesome trip! Good for you for brushing up on Italian! :)

    Buon viaggio!

  10. Leanna- Your trip sounds amazing- Slovakia and Austria have always interested me. I have a cousin that lives in Slovakia.

    JuJu- I swear- I could spend two months visiting Italy. It's so hard to narrow it down to only 9 days. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Nina- I hope you can get there soon! Thanks for stopping by.

    Kat- Thank you so much for your feedback. I am leaning more towards Florence than Venice. Thanks for the advice.

  11. I ditto Izzy VENICE is a must!

    Exactly when is it for?? We went during August. Be very careful of pickpockets. The Subway line in Rome is super simple: it's just one line! A or B. You can walk it from Spanish Steps and see all the great fashion houses. The Trevi Fountains at steps away from Spanish steps.

    Food fantastic, gelato all the way. Go to the tourist sites early to avoid the rush, seriousl.

    You have to get up super early for Vatican and you don't need the tour groups just go at the crack of dawn to avoid the lines ups. One thing for Vatican visit you have to either have trousers and no spaghetti straps (sorry). They have a request that no shorts be allowed in that area (pants for men). People bring pants and t shirts and then whip them back into their nap sacks.

    Give me a shout at if you need other info.

    PS Careful at the Rome's Central train station : don't leave bags since they will disappear at a snap.

  12. I spent a couple days each in Florence, Rome, and Venice, all of which have totally different feels to them.

    Rome is very fast, everything happens at lightening speed, there's tons of people there, it felt very hectic (think NYC).

    Florence was very laid back, even though it's a big city, the pace was slower, it wasn't as go go go as Rome. Florence might be a nice break from Rome, to have a chance to slow down a bit. (Can you tell that Florence was my favorite?)

    Venice felt very "Eastern European" to me. The architecture was different, totally different feeling from the rest of Italy.

  13. Thank you SOOO much for your feedback, guys! I really appreciate it and have made a note of all your recommendations!


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