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27-05-2019, 06:18 PM
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When in Rome...

After studying, planning, saving, and dreaming, I am finally going to Italy for nearly four weeks on a cruise with several days on either end to visit Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Taormina, Venice, Verona, Milan, Lakes Como and Garda, and the Dolomites region The trip also includes several days in Croatia.

I am expecting to make the best of massive crowds, litter, traffic, and lines (queues) planning to see all it all through rose-colored glasses

If any of you has a don't-miss-out-of-the-ordinary suggestion, I would appreciate hearing from you. I'm also interested in any blundering mistakes to avoid.

In general the plan is to:

Book the major museums at night, when possible, so as to avoid crowds
Rent a car only in the Dolomites
Wander, but not waste time shopping
Dress respectfully and well
Mix adventurous days with relaxation days
Avoid the beaches (we have enough of those here)
Not get bogged down in food/wine tours
Try to use rudimentary Italian when I can (which, if nothing else, will be the source of entertainment)

Grazie mille!
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27-05-2019, 06:54 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

As you are also going to Lake Garda, I strongly recommend, if possible, a visit to the house of the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, the house being called Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, which is at Gardone Riviera, on the West Bank of the Lake. You can get to it by boat from any of the other towns on the lake.

I had never heard of D'Annunzio, but my Italian teacher recommended I go, and I was so pleased she did, because it was incredible! Such a wacky place! It was the highlight of my visit to Lake Garda.

I googled D'Annunzio and he was as wacky as his house! He was very popular, and so Mussolini had to keep him sweet!

When I went, several years ago, you had to book a time to see the house, as you go round with a guide, so check in case that's still the case. Even if the guide is speaking Italian, you can still go round with the group plus your own guide book, and still see all the wonderful things!

Don't miss the gardens, because they are just as wacky; in one part there is a concrete battleship!


Your holiday sounds wonderful, and gives you plenty of time to soak up Italy!
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27-05-2019, 07:00 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Depending on how long you have in Florence, I also recommend a visit to the little mediaeval village of San Gimignano, which has buildings dubbed 'mediaeval skyscrapers!
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27-05-2019, 07:10 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Are you going to Pompeii?

It will be very crowded and very touristy but you still have to see it! If only to snap the "cave canem" sign, and see the Roman fast food shops, the communal lavatories, (complete with communal bottom-washing sponge-on-stick in lieu of toilet paper!), and the brothels!

Herculaneum, just down the road, is a lot smaller than Pompeii, but in some ways more interesting, as the buildings are more intact and intimate.

Plus it is worth a trip up Vesuvius, and have a peak into the smoking crater. It is well overdue to erupt, but don't let that put you off!




Oh, and regarding Sorrento, if you are in the market for coral jewellery, be very careful. Very little of it now is local, and if it is it will be very expensive.
Cheaper jewellery could well be white coral bought in from abroad and dyed.

I have an original coral necklace left to me by my mother, from the 1940s. When I went to Sorrento about 20years ago, the coral, apart from that in antique shops, was far lighter than and nothing like the deep red of my necklace. It could have been plastic, for all I knew.
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27-05-2019, 07:39 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Hi, Pyxell. Wow! What a lovely response! Both Pompeii and Herculaneum are on the list. I wouldn't miss the cave canem mosaic for the world! It's artifacts like this one that make our ancestors seem more endearing and not so very different after all.

I'll also be sure to check out Gabriele D'Annunzio's house.

That was good advice on the coral. From what I've been reading, it's now threatened anyway, so I will shy away from that.

San Gimignano looks incredible! That is exactly the kind of place I was hoping to find, and I would have missed it otherwise. Thank you SO much!
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27-05-2019, 07:51 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Originally Posted by Surfermom ->
Hi, Pyxell. Wow! What a lovely response! Both Pompeii and Herculaneum are on the list. I wouldn't miss the cave canem mosaic for the world! It's artifacts like this one that make our ancestors seem more endearing and not so very different after all.

I'll also be sure to check out Gabriele D'Annunzio's house.

That was good advice on the coral. From what I've been reading, it's now threatened anyway, so I will shy away from that.

San Gimignano looks incredible! That is exactly the kind of place I was hoping to find, and I would have missed it otherwise. Thank you SO much!
Prego, signora! Di niente!
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27-05-2019, 07:57 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

The Rome catacombs are interesting and worth a visit.



Other than that, protect your bum and don't trust anything the Italian waiters tell you.
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27-05-2019, 08:00 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Originally Posted by Longdogs ->
The Rome catacombs are interesting and worth a visit.



Other than that, protect your bum and don't trust anything the Italian waiters tell you.
Sadly, I don't think that at our ages our bums need protecting.



Seriously, though, Italian men do seem to be a lot better behaved now than they used to be!
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27-05-2019, 08:04 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Oh my ! Lucky you.

Rome.. amazing place. It's difficult to know how much time you will get at these places.

Obviously the Colosseum will be on your list so if you can include the Roman Forum. That is extremely interesting and only across the road from the Coloseum.

How it works for you I'm not sure whether you are provided with tour guides .

I went independently of tour companies and rather than waiting in queues to get into the Colosseum we decided to take a guide, as they tout outside for business. Best thing we did, as they took us straight in, and then continued over to the Roman Forum too. Check out if they are doing both as a joint guided tour. Roman Forum extremely interesting . I think it cost about 70 for the two of us, possible more now.

The Vatican museum was incredible and the tour included the Sistine Chapel, but it took hours. We saw the Pope and his Papal Audience was on Wednesday mornings. Thousands of people but very orderly . Papal Audience free and he travelled around in his Pope mobile, blessing everyone. Vatican an amazing beautiful building, and makes one feel like an ant.
Vatican Museum has an entrance fee.

Trevi Fountain.. which despite all the hype I found quite , (in fact very) disappointing. Loads of people sitting around it and loads of litter when we were there. Plenty of fountains. around the city, designed by the famous of the time.

So much to see and do in Rome , I suggest you get yourself a good guide book asap and read through the historical points of interest that appeal to you most of all. Far better to know what things are about before, rather than searching the history afterwards.

There is a lot of walking in Rome too. Lots of steps to climb about the city. Take some decent shoes and watch out for the pick-pockets.
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27-05-2019, 08:07 PM
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Re: When in Rome...

Originally Posted by Pyxell ->
Sadly, I don't think that at our ages our bums need protecting.



Seriously, though, Italian men do seem to be a lot better behaved now than they used to be!
Is that what they told you?
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