Two weeks ago, while sitting on our patio, my wife Debbie and I started talking about returning to Italy for the 5th time in 10 years. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that we visited Tuscany for the first time in 2011, and then again in 2014, 2015 & 2016. Each stay averaged 17 days. We are fortunate to be retired and able to lengthen the duration of our trips. This time we began talking about 30 days, or so. The only thing holding us back on a trip that long was our feeling toward the end of our 2016 trip of a bit of weariness and a desire to get home to our dog, Sandie. Everyone has a set of circumstances to consider and/or barriers to overcome when travelling away from home. In our case, the situation with our now aging and ailing dog, sadly, makes it likely that she will not be with us much longer. With that in mind, we have decided to plan for a 20 to 30 day adventure. Sadly, our adopted English Setter, Sandie passed away in July. She was almost 15. We were heartbroken.
|Our patio in Massachusetts|
As in past trips, we'll stay mostly in self-catering apartments with all the amenities of home. So, the first order of business is to choose our itinerary. We have favorite cities we have visited that we'd like to see again like Florence, where we have made a few Italian friends over the years and Bologna which we also loved. Both are fantastic places to use as a base for day trips, as well as offering a multitude of attractions like fabulous museums, churches, restaurants, etc. Florence & Bologna are also very walkable, but also, both have excellent, easy to use as long as you follow the rules, public transportation systems. We have never rented a car during our 9 plus weeks in Italy. Train travel in Italy, is so efficient and economical.
|Debbie & Barry in Florence, 2014|
Our first quick attempt at choosing places on our 2022 itinerary with the number of days() in each place looked like this: Milan (1), Varenna (4), Florence (5), Cinque Terre (7), Venice (3), Bologna (5), Venice (3) and back to Milan (1), for a total of 29 days. Another itinerary had us spending several days in Sorrento and the Amalfi coast (again), but we took that off the list to spend more time in places we haven't gone before like Verona and Cortona.
Today, two weeks later, our more finalized itinerary has changed to a big loop of these cities, in order of visits: Milan (1), Verona (5), Venice (2), Bologna (3), Cortona (5), Florence (4) and Milan (1) for a total of 21 days. These day totals don't include flight days. We eliminated Cinque Terre, which we loved on two previous trips, to reduce the pace and a couple long train trips. We're trying for a leisurely stay. Attempting to do/see too much often is not a good thing.
We're looking at an April-May 2022 trip. We are hoping that the last vestiges of COVID19 will be gone by then. Since we've been in Italy in the months of June, July, September, October and November, we thought that experiencing spring time there would be a beautiful change. Maybe, there will be a few less people like us (tourists) and the temperatures will be more moderate than in other months.
What we haven't included on our itinerary, so far, is a definite list of day trips from Verona, Bologna, Cortona and Florence. So far, ideas include Desenzano at Lake Garda, Padova, Arrezzo, Fiesole (again & again on Bus #7) and Parma (again). More on the day trips in a future post.
|Porticos of Bologna|
Right now, we're searching Booking.com for accommodations, because it gives us a chance to reserve apartments now without paying a deposit and free cancelation of reservations up until a week or two before arrival date. It is necessary to give Booking.com credit card information. We used this in 2016 and it worked so well. ( I do not receive any compensation or benefits from any sites I favor on this blog).
Another thing we're considering is flying Business Class as a major splurge, something we rarely do. We have always flown Economy. This may well be our final journey to Italy; we'd like to be a lot more comfortable getting there and back.
More to come as our planning develops. Peace, and remember "Italy is Waiting for You - Get Going!
|Here we are in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre|