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May 25, 2009 07:04 PM

12 Day trip To Italy: Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome, Positano/Sorrento, Capri. Where do I start???

Hello all,

First of all, I should tell you that I have been dreaming of going to Italy ever since I was a little girl of hearing stories from my grandmother. I get goosebumps sometimes just thinking that I am going to be there one month. I am so excited!! I hope to get lost in the streets and find some great oserias/trattorias but also want to have a guide of some great restaurants to try. I dont want over the top fancy but more authentic italian restaurants that have great atmosphere, wine, and...wonderful food.

We have a 12 day trip planned for Italy and visiting the following cities: Venice, verona, florence, rome (drive down to Siena on way), naples (lunch only), positano, sorrento (maybe ravello) and capri.

I need lunch and dinner reccs for all cities. I dont even know where to start. I need the following:

Venice-lunch and dinner 2 each
Verona-a must try for dinner before opera
Florence-lunch and dinner 2 each
Siena- 1 lunch only
Rome-2 lunch and 2 dinner near Patheon/Spanish Steps/Piazza Navona/Coll.
Naples-1 lunch only
Positano/Sorrento/Ravello-lunch and dinner 3 each
Capri-1 lunch and dinner

I have been searching previous posts but still lost. I would hate to ask you guys to repeat yourselves. Please let me know what I should do and thanks for helping me plan my dream trip :)

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  1. With so much traveling, I am not sure you'll have much time to eat. I would search this board for Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples as these cities have been covered extensively. Below is a link to a recent thread on Verona.
    If you have specific questions, I am sure knowledgeable posters will answer them.

    1. Your post raises an ongoing problem. Generally, the folks who regularly post here believe in a less is more philosophy. That is, we largely believe that more time in fewer destinations results in a better experience. So, how do we respond to your post? Do we press you to re-think your plans based on our point of view or do we simply answer your questions. After all, your interest in art, architecture, and history may be such that a frantic dash through Italy may be just what you are looking for.

      Based on my most recent trips to Italy, here are some restaurants for you to consider in Venice, Florence, and Rome. (There has been an excellent and recent thread about Verona.)

      Venice: Vini di Gigio (dinner), Al Mascaron Osteria (lunch)
      Florence: Osteria dei Benci (lunch or dinner), Quattro Leone (lunch or dinner)
      Rome: Fiammetta (lunch or dinner), L'Angoletto (lunch or dinner), La Piazzetta

      Osteria di Benci is located around the corner from an excellent gelateria -- Neri. Other gelaterias in Florence: Grom, Vivoli, Perque No, and Vestri.
      Carrabe, near the Accademia, is better known for its wonderful Sicilian lemon granita than for its gelato.

      If I were in your situation, I would travel no further south than Rome in a twelve-day trip. Nevertheless, I do have recent recommendations for restaurants in Naples and on the Amalfi coast. If you want this information, just check out my trip reports for those two destinations.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Indy 67

        To answer your question or concern, I am covering a lot of ground in 12 days. I like to think of it as a taste of Italy. Spending mostly 1 1/2 - 3 days in the cities. Some more time than others. I understand how you may think that this is rushing but for my first trip I would like to see alot and then come back to spend more time in the cities where I loved the most. I appreciate your rest. reccomendations and will check out all of your recc. places and the recent post on Verona.

        1. re: Indy 67

          Indy 67 this is excellent advice that you are giving. I have travelled heavily to Italy for almost thirty years, annually with trips that involve six or seven cities in six or seven days all over the country (and then into another country). Every night a different hotel, every night arriving often at 8 or 9 in the evening and leaving early the next morning. When I first started doing this I was obsessed with trying to survive and learn my way around. Without speak Italian, with the absolute necessity of being on time for a business meeting I had no room for an error. In short, I hated the trips.

          Pressure. The pressure of time, of having to move on, all while trying to find your way around. Today, it is different for me. I drive everywhere without a map; I've probably been on almost every mile of autostrada in the country. When my wife and I return for an annual vacation it is different: we stay in the same hotel for three or four nights or longer before moving on. Or we use a base to explore from.

          I must also add that your itinerary is really interesting: why are you skipping the area around Lake Como? Or Bolzano? These are the two most beautiful parts of Italy. But they are typically not as heavily travelled by Americans so they are not written us as frequently. I would use Verona as a base with one day to Como, another to Bolzano, another Asola and Basseno in Grappa. I agree: go no further south than Rome. At least on this trip.

          You are going to spend all of your time trying to find your way around without the opportunity of acquiring any familiarity or comfort with an area. You are also not going to see much of an area either. This is not a cruise ship where you are dropped at a port and you can take cabs, a bus or walk and explore. You have to get from one city to another. Yourself.

          Still, if you absolutely insist on doing this, at least consider for Venice:
          Verona: Osteria La Fontanina is a Michelin starred temple to wine that is one of the most unique restaurants in all of the country. It is rearely mentioned on boards or travel books because few Americans have yet discovered it-it is the far side of the river.
          Florence: Sostanza (for bisteca Fiorentina), Il PIzzaiola, Cibreo
          Rome: Baffeto (great Roman crust pizza), Agate y Romeo for a blowout-Michelin star.

          By the way, I would suggest an alternative to the structure of your trip: only have half of your itinerary planned. Leave the other half totally up in the air. My wife and I often do this for several days. Literally, we will leave in a rental car and drive and get lost. Literally lost. Eventually, we'll find some place that is interesting and we'll find a place for the night. Or two nights. Even three on occasion. But we also have the self confidence to be able to do this and this kind of self confidence usually only comes from a level of familiarity with independent travel. I apologize for my comments because I don't know your values but the area running north from Verona is truly extraordinary. Exquisitely beautiful. If you limited yourself to Rome, Florence and then Venice with nights in each of them for two or three nights and then added another three or four nights running north from Verona (which is only 90 minutes west of Venice). I'm also suggesting discovering smaller towns such as I noted above along with Soave and the area in the Italian Alps.

          Italy is our favorite country on earth. We've been going-for pleasure, not for business-for a long, long time. We still can't get enough of it. Your trip just reminds me of my business trips. They are different.

          Good luck.

          1. re: Joe H

            Garda is beautiful too, except maybe the flat eastern part and closer geographically to the zone you are suggesting, Joe. Especially for a trip in the summertime, the north is going to be a lot more appealing than Campania.

        2. Hi nytransplant:
          I agree with the previous posters that this is an overly ambitious itinerary given your interest in 'getting lost in the streets' and making your own discoveries. I understand the motivation to see it all on your first exciting trip, but while you may be able to get a taste of Italy you will have no time to digest it.

          Check out for another approach. Since you are imagining yourself in Italy again in the future, why not 'see' less and 'be' more. I think that you will get much more out of your holiday and will have time to really enjoy those meals.

          And now a recommendation for you: go for cicchetti (pre-dinner drink and snacks) in Venice at Al Portego, Calle della Malvasia.

          Happy travels.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sinjawns

            Thanks for your wonderful suggestions :)

          2. In Rome, go for the lunch 'buffet' at either Casa Bleve or Obika. They are on the expensive side. 25 euro for Casa Bleve, and 22 for Obika. I think this is an excellent way to immerse yourself. Casa Bleve is in this wonderful palazzo, and you can buy wines to take home. The food is excellent and i wish i can have lunch this way every day (leisurely 2 hour lunch, glass of wine or bubbly).

            3 Replies
            1. re: ms. chow

              I really liked the Sunday brunch at Obika too-- mozza madness.

              1. re: sinjawns

                is this the place i heard of with the mozzerella bar? My friend told me about a place that was in Food & Wine mag. What area is Casa Bleve?

                1. re: nytransplant

                  Yes Obika is the mozzarella bar. There is one in NYC i heard. Casa Bleve is a few streets off Piazza Navona.

            2. verona- tre marchetti before opera