Test out the theory of making eye contact while crossing the road.
Any of you fools been?
Any MUST DO's besides the regular turisty stuff?
I'll be in Rome, Amalfi, Capri, Florence, Pisa and Venice..
Only COOOOL thing I have planned is to ride Mugello with Rehms Racing days.. some german track day company.
I've only been in Venice out of those places so my only advice is that you must avoid staying in Venice proper if you can. The attractions are limited and the place is usually overrun with tourists. Unless you like getting fleeced hard. Venice is basically an Italian themed Disneyland. Everything there is meant to appeal to your childhood expectations of the place and use that to rob you.
I stayed on the outskirts, on the eastern pennisula that forms part of the laguna surrounding Venice. I was there for two weeks, took a ferry into Venice 2 or 3 times for the day and saw everything that there was to see. I ate once in Venice and it was expensive and crappy. Rest of the time I spent in the countryside, go-karting, chillaxing on the beach, bbq'ing. Way better than spending outrageous amounts of money on a cramped hotel and on overpriced food.
Pisa you need about half a day to see everything worthwhile there, you can head to Lucca as well for the second half of the day to see another really nice town that's about 30 min by regional train to the north. Florence you can do in two days, make sure to buy your tickets in advance for the galleries (you can do this online), or else you'll be stuck waiting in line. Amalfi coast is beautiful, but Napoli is a garbage dump - stay away. Rome? Eh. Venice you can do in a day. Skip the gondolas, you can get a ride on a water taxi around the lagoon that's much nicer, the downside is that the water taxi is expensive. Other option is to buy the day pass for the public ferries. You will get lost trying to navigate Venice on foot, and in May it's going to be crowded as all hell. Skip Basilica San Marco, it's hideous.
Two wonderful towns worth checking out are Siena and Orvieto. They'll be close to where you'll be. Also, anything south of Ravenna on the east coast isn't really worth seeing.
If you're driving, Autostrada tolls are expensive, gas is expensive, and your best bet w/r/t rental cars is to get a compact diesel, something like a Focus or an A3 TDI, anything smaller is a true penalty box that is really inefficient at Autostrada speeds (130kph = 80mph, give or take).
Eat all the food, drink all the wine. Repeat. Enjoy.
That's funny, I am too leaving to Italy on Monday. If I survive leaving Rome in my rental car, then I should be fine for the rest of the trip.
But beware of the "Zone a traffico limitato" - if your hotel is inside of the ZTL, you must provide them with your license plate number so that they can advise the authorities your entry is legit. Plan carefully your trip, because if you cross the ZTL several times because you're lost, you'll be fined several times.
If you're going to be in the area for more than a week, a campsite might be a good alternative. It's what all the pro vacationers from Germany do I swear, 90% of the guests at that place were Germans. If you have a car, it's not too much trouble to stay at a campsite or elsewhere on the outskirts instead.
It probably sounds weird, but try tuna pizza if you get the chance.
I drove from France down to Pisa and then Florence several years back. Pisa is very touristy and compared to Florence it's kind of dull. It's neat to see the tower and all but Florence is downright amazing.
Look out for mopeders in Florence, they are EVERYWHERE. They were 4-5 side by side in one lane regularly, weaving in and out etc.
Not sure about car-related stuff but if you are into historical sites/tourist stuff there are great museums and shops in Florence, enough to keep you busy. Lots of historically significant buildings that are set up as small museums in that you can walk in and look around. I forget where in Florence but we found an elevated plaza overlooking most of the city by the water, had lunch there sitting on a stone wall and it was pretty amazing taking all of that in. Cool feeling being surrounded by so much history.
Ponte Vecchio is a famous bridge that still had shops and art dealers lined up on it. It was incredibly busy when I was there so I didn't stay on it too long, just enough to get a good view of it and take some photos.
The Piazza della Signoria is a popular tourist area. Lots of amazing buildings there. They have a replica of the statue of David out there to look at. Not sure if you're into it but I like architecture a bit so it was pretty amazing seeing these great old buildings with tons of character and history.
Most of all though I took an afternoon and just wandered the streets mostly aimlessly with my camera, and that was probably the most fun for me. There's enough stuff in that city to find museums or significant buildings without really looking for them.
It's been too long since I went, I wish I could remember more to recommend to you because there is so much. As someone else said above, enjoy the food and the wine, and enjoy the views too. I miss Italy!
Make sure you go to Modena, north of Bologna, to Ferrari museum. Right beside it, you can rent one for $100 for around 20 min. Drove 458 Italia last summer……AMAZING!
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A couple more things: When you're taking the train (except for the high speed rail), make sure you validate your tickets by sticking them into one of the yellow boxes on the platform. These print a timestamp on the tickets. If not, you will be yelled at by the conductors - it's a common tourist mistake. High speed rail has assigned seating and you do not need to do this.
If you go to a bar, pay for your drinks first at the register before giving your receipt to the bartender, who will then make your drink. Same holds true for some caffe/pasticcerie.
Italy really is a third-world country trapped in a first-world economic and political union. Expect the train workers to go on strike. Expect the truckers to go on strike. If you expect an American level of convenience, you will be disappointed. Don't expect stores to be open at all hours, or even most hours. Your food/drink will not be made in a timely manner, but it will be done right.
Most importantly, relax. Once you step away from the touristy stuff and away from other Americans, just take time to enjoy where you are. The country is relentlessly beautiful.
i envy you, brother.
some things i noted from my last trip to italy:
- obligatory gelato every day
- eat at a local trattoria (cacio e pepe for sure)
- obligatory wine at lunch and dinner
- vaticano if you can, it's touristy, but you must do it
- chill at the spanish steps, see if you can spot valentino pull up in his ferrari(s)
- try out a rest-stop along the autostrada, euro rest stops are way nicer than american ones, especially when it comes to serving up food
- espresso at a bar, cappuccino in the morning ONLY
- Pisa is cool, check out the tower of course, but it's a really touristy place if you're in the plaza
- Firenze is really awesome, the high walls make you feel like you're in another world, check out the statue plaza with David
- Venezia is really something else, even though the gondolas are cheesy, i'd say do it at least once. See the Bridge of Sighs. Explore and find some hole-in-the-wall place to eat. Check out the plaza and see the water slowly flood in throughout the day according to the tide.
Sounds like Modena is another must-go place, esp for Ferrari
Last edited by evosky; 05-03-2012 at 10:35 AM.
I actually really enjoyed Rome...especially all the areas that were being excivated which provided a great glimpse into the histroy of the city (which has effectively been built and rebuilt upon itself time and time again). If you are around the Colliseum near meal time I suggest that you dine at "Wanted". It is a great little place, near the Duca D'Alba Hotel (which is a great place to stay with a really good breakfast and quaint-quiet rooms).
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EAT. eat EVERYTHING. the food is just insane. i ate so much that i just kept eating. lol...makes no sense, but when you get there - you'll see what i mean. oh - drink Peroni Beer - that's their budweiser - it's bangin. see as much as you can - maybe you'll get lucky and watch a girl dump her scooter outside Termini Station like i did!
I have been over there for several weeks on and off sice January, benefits to my new job
I went to Venice in January I found a little hotel right near san marco square for 50 euro a night, small but nice. Price may have gone up since it was not a peak vacation time.. Hotel ai do mori, calle larga san marco, 658 phone: 0415289293
Ferarri in Modena. The museum is awesome. As mentioned above the rentals are fun but can be expensive, I drove a Ferrari California when I was there. I rented from Push Start
5th place in best restraunts in the world is in Modena also. Osteria Francescana. A little expensive but well woth it.
The family lambo museum is close by modena also worth a view, www.museolamborghini.com it is all classics and prototypes, no new cars.
The factory lambo museum is only open during the week.
Rome is awesome along with Florence. Milan has some nice areas too.
I should be making a trip back as early as next week, I'll be in Reggio Emilia for work.
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been there twice and can't wait to go back again. haven't done Modena but will need to get on that!
there was mention of the Amalfi Coast in this thread and you've gotta have some brass balls to do that drive, here's a pic i took from the bus. Definitely limit your time in Venice and the rest of those places on your list sound great. Also check out Cinque Terre if you can.
Been to Rome for 9 days before. It's awesome. Outside of town by about 25 klicks is Tivoli...Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este are both really cool places to stop into. Villa D'Este is a huge complex of fountains and waterworks all powered by gravity. It's a cool little hill town a short train hop or ride from Rome.
I would also make sure to hit the Vatican museum - FYI, show up early, you will have to go through security (metal detectors/bag searches/xray). Lines can be very long. You can easily spend a half to full day there. The sistine chapel is amazing in person.
Campo d'fiori is a really cool downtown market by day and bar area by night...a bit touristy though.
Touring Castel San Angelo is worth it as well. The view from the roof is great.
If you have a decent camera, bring a small/light tripod...night photos at places like the Pantheon, Coliseum, and St. Peters are just awesome.
also, it is socially acceptable as a man to not only ride a moped, but share a moped ride with another man...something that is massively "homo" in america....
some pics. if you have questions about any of them or places they were taken/like to visit, let me know!
Also be very aware of pickpockets. In my 3 weeks touring Italy last year, we caught multiple people trying to pickpocket us. All you have to do is stare them in the eye so they know you're aware of them and they'll leave you alone. If you were resting, they'd lurk around your bags, or try on a busy train or something. One guy in Milan followed us around for 15min I guess waiting for one of us to let our guard down but he eventually gave up.
even spotted this guy stealing change from the Trevi Fountain lol. The guy sitting there beside him was tempted to kick him in but be careful as these guys typically work in teams..
don't carry a wallet in your back pocket. carry a small amount of cash, a CC, and change in your front pocket.
I had one of these...you just run your belt through it, then flip it over so it hangs just inside your waist. put my passport, most of my cash, and my other CC in there. they cost like 10 bucks, a worthwhile investment.
if you do get pick-pocketed, they only get an easily cancelled CC and a few euro...also, make sure you put a color copy of your passport at a location separate from your real one. in case you lose it, its way easier to fix that problem. also, as i understand their laws about knives are generally pretty strict, so if you carry a knife with a clip, ditch it and carry a swiss army knife. you can't take it to the vatican!
Lastly, I forgot to mention, but a great Rome secret is the Orange Grove. a block or so from cirucus maximus. you walk up this little side street, see a tall wall on your right, keep walking! you'll hit a break in the wall and its a phenomenal view of trastevere area and vatican city. http://g.co/maps/mhfzu