8.07.2013

italy trip tips!

We have had some great adventures this year: Greece, Portland/Seattle and Charleston next weekend... but I am ecstatic about our upcoming trip to ITALY. It has been on my wanderlust wish list for a few years and I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do (pesto, pasta, gelato - repeat!) but, I would love your advice, where should we do? see? eat?! we're visiting Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice and we'll be traveling for two weeks!
  
images via, via, via, via 

Do you have any Italy trip tips? Things to do (or avoid?!) grazie!
xo, 
Jillian
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19 comments

  1. I am heading to Italy in October. Doing research now on it.

    Enjoy!

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  2. One of the best meals of my life was in Florence...went to dinner with my cousin who was studying in Florence and she raved about it. Name of the place is La Giostra. Service was amazing and the food was out of this world. It's best to make a reservation if I remember correctly. It is owned by a Prince, no lie...and he works alongside everyone. Definitely add it to your Florence list!

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  3. Aw, yay!!! Almost the same as our vacation! Here is my review on Rome: http://www.birdietobe.blogspot.ie/2013/08/trip-to-italy-rome.html Florence and CT to come next week!

    Also, I found the pesto is best in Cinque Terre since it comes from Genoa (just north of CT). The best pizza of my life was in Florence at Gusta Pizza.

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  4. Enjoy your trip! I will be taking notes on what you do as I have never been to Italy! If you were going to Germany or Austria, I could've helped.

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  5. You're going to have so much fun! We did that trip for our honeymoon. The food is unbelievable. Make sure you don't eat near tourist attractions. There is such a huge difference between tourist restaurants and native restaurants.

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  6. Italy is just amazing...the food...the weather....ah I love it there! It's worth a trip to Siena if you can fit that in too.

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  7. I lived in Florence and it was incredible-- especially the food! Some restaurant suggestions for your research: Za Za's Trattoria, the Oil Shoppe, Gelateria de Neri,and Acqua al 2.

    And walk up to San Miniato al Monte... my favorite view of the city. Enjoy!

    --Anne
    www.aasquaredblog.com

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  8. One of my favorite places!!! In Florence check out Za Za's for dinner. And Vivoli for gelato. Cinque Terre is amazing the hike from Monterroso to Vernazza is amazing and a must! Matt proposed on that hike! :)We had a really good seafood dinner at this restaurant called Belforte...really good. Pirate is good too!

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  9. We had an amazing two-week trip recently that included parts of Italy! If you go to my blog you can click the "Rome" and "Florence" labels on the right sidebar to bring you to my recaps.

    Florence has a gelateria called Perche No! that was recently featured on the 10 top places in the WORLD to get gelato ... so I'd say going there is a must! I had a mix of canteloupe and lemon that was to die for. :)

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  10. You are doing almost the same trip we took, except when you go to Venice we went up to Switzerland. You're going to love all of it. I would suggest that you get a tour(I usually hate tours) for the vatican/associated museums because the tour guides get you to the front of the line and you just walk in, instead of waiting in line, saves times. In Florence if you want to do the museums, buy your tickets ahead of time, saves time from having to wait in line to get the tickets and then get in, if you already have a ticket the line to get in is MUCH shorter. Agree with Andrea, if someone hands you a flyer to go to their restaurant, DON'T GO, we made that mistake and didn't go to another tourist place again. See all the major sites in Rome at night, everything all lite up is amazing. In Florence, look up Ibiketuscany.com, we took a biking tour and it was the most awesome experience. A little wine tasting, a little bike riding through the hills, and the guy comes to pick you up in florence and drives you to tuscany area, so you get to see a lot that way. Totally worth it! A must do, although it might be hot for you, I would still consider. You'll love Cinque Terre, our favorite part of the trip really. Try to hike all the villages, each walk is different and beautiful. Have fun! Can't wait to see pictures and live being there all over again.

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  11. In Rome, take the Twilight Trastevere Food Tour- it was one of the highlights of our 2 week Italian honeymoon. The guide takes you off the beaten path to some places you'd likely just walk past- it was 4 hours of awesomeness, and you'll meet cool people along the way! http://eatingitalytoursllc.rezgo.com/

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  12. Three cheers for Acqua al 2–I'm still thinking about it years later! Sounds like it's going to be an amazing (and delicious!) trip!

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  13. I am so jealous! You know I'll be checking back and following your lead. Italy has always been a dream of mine.

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  14. Here's a brain dump - we did almost that exact itinerary for 2 weeks last summer!

    Florence:
    -It's easy to get around on foot, but get a good map. The roads are winding and it's easy to get lost.
    -Make sure you're around to see the Duomo lit up at night. It's one of the most beautiful things I've seen, and I've seen a lot of old architecture.
    -We took a walking tour that included entrance to the Ufuzzi and the Academy of Art (David statue) and we didn't have to wait in line
    -The old food market is cool, so try to plan a lunch time visit and you can assemble a picnic

    Venice:
    -It's hard to find a restaurant that's not an overpriced tourist trap. We did not succeed, and I wish you better luck than we had.
    - The Guggenheim museum is really cool and interesting
    -We actually skipped some of the main sites because we were there for a day and the lines were outrageous (it was May)
    -Do not try to visit Murano on a Sunday. Everything is closed.

    Pompeii/Capri:
    -We actually stayed in Sorrento, but in case you go to Pompeii, you can take the Circumnaveria train but allow lots of time. It's slow, but easy to do. Wear tennis shoes to Pompeii (not sandals or thin soled shoes) - there are sharp rocks and sand and you literally jump from rock to rock sometimes. That said, it's totally worth the trip.
    -If you get a chance, book a tour to Capri. It's the most beautiful place I ever been, I think. We didn't get to go into the Blue Grotto since the water was too choppy, but hopefully you can.

    Rome:
    -I second the Eating Italy tour. We took a daytime tour of the Testaccio neighborhood and it was amazing. I recommend doing it early in the trip so you know where you want to return.
    -There's a pizzeria called Tsa Tsa Tsa that's cheap and delicious, and sells liters of yummy house wine for 6 euro. It's pretty centrally located
    -Book the Colosseum tour that includes the underground level where the gladiators were kept. Only one company does it, but it's worth it and not too expensive.
    -Check and see what nights the Vatican is open late. We got a nighttime entrance ticket, and got to see everything with fewer crowds. You don't miss out, since the art isn't exposed to daylight anyway, and we got there early enough to see the gardens before the sun went down anyway.
    -Palatine Hill is sort of boring, and there's not much to see.
    -This restaurant was amazing, but you'll need a reservation (they speak English)
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d786085-Reviews-Spirito_Divino-Rome_Lazio.html
    -Check out the Porto Portese market if you have a free morning. However, it's HUGE and most of the stuff is geared towards locals (used furniture, etc) but you can find some cool cheap vintage things

    That's all I can think of at the moment - sorry to write a book! :)

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  15. Oh. My. Gosh. ALL OF IT! I love ALL of Italy! But definitely eat gelato every single day and visit cinque terre!
    xox
    giedre

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  16. Best trip ever. In Rome - take the underground Vatican tour - sign up now because it's very limited; and eat at the markets as much as possible. Take a pit stop to the Pisa just to take a picture - if you take the train from Rome to Cinque Terre, you have to stop in Pisa anyway. I also highly recommend the train - from Pisa to Cinque Terre, there is honesty one of the best views I've ever head when you come out of the tunnel. In Venice, bring a map - everyone gets lost; see an opera (they have so many running all the time); and stop by Murano. In Cinque Terre, go out to eat at night in Manarola- it's the real culture as the tourists have all left; and walk up to Grapo to see how they live.

    Enjoy and drink a lot of wine!

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  17. I was in Italy last September, Florence is Amazing. While there, I HIGHLY recommend buying a Firenze card http://www.firenzecard.it/index.php?lang=en This will get you into the museums without appointments and you get to go in either immediately or with the next queue going in. It made seeing the David exceptionally fast as well as so easy to see the Bodicelli's, which were lovely.
    I can honestly say I did not have bad gelato anywhere. I would definitely agree on going to places that are more off the beaten path where locals eat rather than where tourists eat, the food is exceptional.
    I think you might really love looking at all the shops on the Ponte Vecchio.

    Have sooo much fun! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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  18. only eat pesto in cinque terre - it's from that region and is so delish on pasta or with fish, with a glass of white wine, of course. if the weather is good, hike between the towns and spend time at the beaches.

    get up into the hills for an incredible view of florence, order the steak trio at acqua al due, buy something leather - the best kind of souvenir!

    go off the beaten path in rome - try hole in the wall restaurants, wander in the neighborhoods, eat a cornetto con crema for breakfast.

    the churches in rome (all of italy, really) are incredible - two of my favorites are Basilica San Clemente and San Pietro in Vincoli.

    enjoy!

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  19. Check out my Travel Tips board on Pinterest and my Corinna B's World blog. I travel to Italy every year and blog about it extensively with all kinds of traveler tips on where to go, what to do and what not to miss, plus tons of secret tips and places that most tourists miss. Make sure you read the Venice series - it is fantastic!

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