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May 13, 2013 11:02 AM

Italy Trip

First I have a question about traveling to Italy has anyone used any of the military bases in Italy for any kind of tickets or discounts?

We have 4 couples heading to Italy the second week of September for a week and need some help we are all first timers. We really haven't set a
schedule yet except that we would like to visit Rome, Venice and Florence. We have rented a Villa In Foiano Della Chiana Tuscany or the Cortona Area. What we really like to do is explore the different vinyards and different types of food along the way. Also we will be flying into Rome picking up a van and either staying there for the day or driving right to our villa. Any help or suggestion would be great.

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  1. You really should spend 10-15 minutes scrolling thru the many, many threads & posts that are already here. Rome, Venice & Florence get discussed here almost daily and you can find dozens & dozens of helpful suggestions and recommendations already here for you to review.

    Alternatively, you can go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do searches for any of the towns & cities you are thinking of visiting. There have been threads discussing Cortona, Pienza, Montalcino, etc.

    1. Rome, Florence, Venice, renting a villa and exploring the different vineyards and different types of food is a lot to pack into one week. It is more like the amazing race than a vacation. If you plan to pick up a van and drive right to your villa in Tuscany after your flight lands in Rome, where is the visit to Rome fit in? Personally, I would make a less ambitious itinerary such as saving Venice for another trip. Even that would make a very full week.

      5 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        We haven't set a date for Rome yet or should we skip Rome and Florence and do Venice which would be the best city to visit?

        1. re: Scottaka

          I would not feel comfortable suggesting which city to skip, but in terms of having a vacation vs racing between the cities all in one week - I'd pare it back. Maybe do the villa thing and pick one other city? A few years ago we did Northern Italy ... in 10 days. Venice - Italian Alps - Lake Como - Milan - Didn't feel rushed as we spent 2-3 days in each city/town.

          1. re: Scottaka

            I think if you are flying into Rome, you should definitely visit Rome - save it for the end of your trip though so that you are not too jet-lagged. You may want to save Venice for another time as it is pretty far away. As mentioned by others, you don't want to do too much racing around. Since you rented a villa, you should enjoy it! Spend some time tooling around the small villages in the countryside - since you are near to the border of Umbria, you could also consider exploring that region. You are very close to Lake Trasimeno which is great for a day trip, also the Etruscan city of Perugia is worth a visit!


            1. re: Scottaka

              Italy is a regional country, and I'd recommend exploring it by region. We did our 25th anniversary there and spent 3 or 4 days in each of Venice, Como, Montalcino, and Florence. Flew into Venice, took a car to the rest, and the train back to Venice to fly home. Along the way we explored.

              Advice for Venice, when dining stay as far from the Grand Canal as possible, chose a restaurant that does not have an English menu or pictures in the window, and be willing to stand to eat at the counter for a better price at lunch.

              Unlike here in the US, many wineries in Italy require reservations. There are some you can just drop in on, usually the very large (Banfi) or very small.

              I'd also recommend looking at the website Slow Travel Italy ( and look at the write-ups by Dean Gold. Dean owns an Italian restaurant here in DC and probably knows everyone and everywhere in the food scene in Tuscany, Venice, etc.

              1. re: Scottaka

                Each city and the Tuscan villa rental on your itinerary are all wonderful. It is not matter of setting a date but the length of and where you plan to fly into. If you are flying into Rome, I would definitely spend 3 days there which barely scratch the surface whereas 3 days in Venice might be enough for many. Then head off to your villa for the rest of the stay. Enjoy the villa and use it to explore the nearby towns. That would be my one week vacation. There is more written about Rome, Florence and Venice than one can read in a lifetime. Depends on what are your interests and what you want from your vacation. A car is useless in Rome, Florence and Venice. You'll just be paying for the rental and storage.

            2. You didnt say how long you had rented your Villa FOR. Is the the whole week or do you have days at the beginning or end? With only a week, you can day trip from your homebase in Tuscany and nearby Umbria, to Florence, Siena, etc and smaller hilltowns and other places in the country or even head over to the coast for a day. Venice is too far, unless you want to spend all your time on the highway (not a very interesting activity).There will be lots of places for you to stop and buy wine, bread, cheese, meats vegetables etc to prepare at your villa, Vineyard visiting isnt the same big buisiness in Italy that it is say in California - there have been some previous posts on this so it would make sense to search. One place not far from your homebase is Pulcino near Montepulciano - a big touristy country restaurant that sells their own wines, grilled meats and grilled bread covered with their fresh olive oil. Certainly not the greatest food destination in Tuscany but it could be enjoyable.

              Hopefully you will have time at the end to visit Rome when you are rested.