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 get going!
   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 Italy.
   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 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.

 Barry & Debbie at the Duomo, Florence
Piazza del Campo, Siena
The Duomo, Florence

The Grand Canal, Venice


  1. It is so lovely to see photos of your first trip.. there will be many more of course. I smile every time I remember how many questions I asked you about our trip to Florence, and you made it so easy for my family and I to reserve museum passes, travel using local transport and just about everything else, even the grocery store.
    I'm so happy to see you blogging about your adventures with Debbie.

  2. Thank you so much happytowrite. It was my pleasure. We were such rookie travelers then!


Please leave your comment or ask a question.