Thursday, 13 December 2007

Italy - our trip to Italy

This post is all about our trip to one of the world's special country 'Italy'. Our trip to Italy is an interesting and a memorable one.

Going on a holiday generally means taking break and relaxing at one place (unlike us). This is what most people prefer to do.Our case was totally different.We just had 6 days and we had to plan our trip.

I was very particular in going on a trip by our own rather than through the trips organised by agents.This gives us a chance to explore the place more.Also, whatever we do, if we do it by ourselves we will never forget it.

I started exploring and e-mailed a couple of B&B's(Bed & Breakfast) and they suggested to choose one place in Italy and spend time there.But I was not very convinced with that. I am a kind of person who enjoys travelling and loves to visit more places rather than being at one place.Hence I decided to cover as many places as we can in the given 6 days.

First task was to find out the famous cities or in other words most interesting and worth seeing cities in that country.There were lot many reviews on the internet about each famous city in Italy.The list I obtained from it was Rome, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Naples, and Milan.

It is not feasible to cover these many in just 6 days and doesn't make sense too.

Now comes short listing the cities. How do we do that? How do we decide which one to go and which one to drop out?

I made a list of possible cities and the distance between each of them and the possible transportation (as well as feasible).We also had our priority list...Rome and Venice. Each of it needs a minimum of 2 days .So 4 days ruled out in 6 days. What do we plan for next 2days ? We added Pisa ( next in our priority list - Leaning tower )...then we figured that, to get to Pisa from Rome we need to go via Florence. Also, there was nothing major to cover in Pisa other than Leaning Tower of Pisa, which would not take more than 1/2 a day (this is to just see the place and not spend time over there).So 4 1/2 days. Since we need to get to Pisa via Florence, we added Florence too. The remaining 1 1/2 days in Florence.

Finally formed the Itinerary. Rome-Florence(just pass by and no stopping)-Pisa-Florence-Venice.Having confirmed the itinerary we went ahead and booked our flight tickets.

Next task was to book the rooms (as most of the B&Bs and Hotels are always fully booked - if you don't get to do it early).How do we know where to book?

Since the local language is not english and it is our first time, we need to have more information about the country.

Again started searching in the internet for more information about the city/country.The real good thing we learnt was 'Italy is highly connected by public transportation'.Also there were reviews stating that most of the cities can be best seen by foot (esp. Rome and Florence).

Now we had to figure out the main rail station or the bus station in the city (to get around the city).We learnt that Roma Termini is the main rail station (bus station very next to it) in Rome and it is very easy to get around the city from there.Also, there were direct trains from Airport to Termini station.

I decided to look for Hotels/B&Bs that is near to Termini station, so that we need not have to waste time in getting back to room every time.

Then we started searching for Hotels/B&Bs that were near to Termini.Read reviews about the hotels/B&Bs and short listed few based on the rating (also had to check if availability was there).Some hotels/B&Bs have it in their site saying -'Very near to Termini', but we will never know the actual may not be very near in terms of foot.

So I started checking the actual the Post code of the hotels, went to and starting checking one by one.Found the least distant one (that had availability too ) and had it bookmarked (finalize everything and then go ahead booking).

Did a similar search for Florence and Venice and got the list of B&Bs and booked them.

Plan overview...detailed plan will follow.
Day 1: Rome
Day 2: Rome
Day 3: Start from Rome - Florence - Pisa - Visit Leaning Tower of Pisa - Return to Florence by afternoon and visit Florence.
Day 4: Florence
Day 5: Venice
Day 6 : Venice

Now we had to find out the important places to visit within Rome, Florence and Venice.

Things we had to have in mind while making this list.
1) How important the place is ?
2) Distance between each
3) Open dates and timings - This is very very important because certain attractions are closed on weekdays. You might end up seeing a closed door.

Again did a bit of search and shortlisted the places.

Other things we did was,

  • Booked the local journey online, as we did not want to waste time in buying tickets/ searching for counters etc
    Online booking was not available for Florence-Pisa-Florence as the distance between them was very less. But frequent trains were available.
  • Purchased entrance tickets to whichever applicable and possible. Few places like Vatican City does not allow pre-booking.
    This we did to avoid queues.

Everything ready, all done ...what next? Our experience in Italy...wait for the next post :)