On this blog, I hope to give folks some inspiration and hints for traveling to Italy especially if that is a lifelong dream. We had no trouble reserving flights, buying train tickets, booking a tour or two and finding perfect lodging on our own. Be sure to click on all of the high-lighted links for a lot more great information. We have made four 14-17 day trips to Italy since 2011; we planned each trip from start to finish.-Barry DeCarli
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Plan Your Own Trip To Italy
So you’re beginning to plan your first trip to Italy,
finally hoping to see Tuscany and many other wonders of this fantastic country.
There is no reason to feel daunted by perceived difficulties of choosing an
itinerary, currency exchange, when to buy plane or train tickets or where to
stay. The Internet age has made it so much easier to research everything for
your adventure. If you feel more at ease using a travel agent, go ahead. Just
When Debbie and I planned our first trip to Italy in 2011,
we were far from being international travelers. I had spent a month in Europe in 1974 when I was 26 traveling everywhere by train with my Eurail pass and my
copy of Europe on Five & Ten Dollars a Day. We had also visited Ireland
twice in 2006 and 2007, once spending a week in Kenmare in a wonderful self-catering cottage and another week in Doolin, also in a nice beautiful ocean view cottage. Both of
those trips we planned on our own, from choosing a cottage, purchasing plane
tickets on Aer Lingus, renting a car and choosing an itinerary. All went well. Those
trips did give us more confidence to fulfill our mutual dream of going to
There are a multitude of web sites to help you plan your
trip. Our favorite from the beginning has been TripAdvisor for advice about
restaurants, sights to see, lodging and transportation. For finding a great
apartment, cottage or villa rental there are many web sites. We have been
successful with FlipKey and Booking.com. The key to using these sites for us
has been reading as many traveler reviews as possible before making a choice.
Rick Steves' web site is also particularly helpful on a lot of different levels
from what to see and what to avoid.
In 2011, our 16 day stay in Florence was just wonderful. We
did not rent a car, but instead used city buses, regional buses and trains to
get everywhere. We are in good physical shape, so we actually walked a lot more
than taking the bus, averaging about 8 miles a day. Our day trips, mostly by
train, took us to Lucca, Greve in Chianti, San Gimignano, Siena (take the “rapida”
bus), Fiesole (take bus #7), Pienza & Monteriggioni with friends by car,
Cinque Terre on a bus/walking/ train/boat tour and we even took the fast train
to Venice for a day!
You can do it, too!
I hope you’ll enjoy some of the photos from our first trip.