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Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Austin
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Need help planning 30 days next May/June

I posted another post in order to seek help but it was so long that I probably got what I deserved...no responses. This one too is a little long...but broken into numbered questions. First a brief intro....

I want to plan a second trip to Italy for myself and the wife. This trip will have some repeat of the first. How much repeat is a hard question. The trip will be approximately 30 days from early/mid May...lasting into June of 2014. I'm really overwhelmed at the possibilities. We loved Rome and will spend the first 6 nights there yet again. I am interested in ending our trip where we can swim. Sardegna was in the running last time but ruled out due to swimming being questionable in May. My wife really wanted to go to Sardegna...but now she's not as convinced. (we saw a travel video of both Sardegna and Sicily....and it really dampened our enthusiasm a bit) Perhaps we just saw a poorly shot video?)

Our last trip was in May 2009: Rome 6 - Venice5 - Tuscany7 - Positano5 - Rome2 - Home. We visited many towns in Tuscany....with a quick trip to Assisi. At the coast we also visited Amalfi and Ravello.

So...here are few questions...

1. After we start our trip in Rome and visit other cities/towns...we would like to once again visit a coastal area. We want to be able to relax and swim....while still having the ability to do some exploration away from the beach. We could repeat the Amalfi area, (LOVED the Walk of the Gods!) it was breathtaking and the swimming great during an unexpected heat wave. But, it may that a new place would make more sense. Would Sicily, Sardinia or some other place be a better choice? (early to mid June) Also see #3.

2. If you had already visited Florence (for 1 day), Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Volterra and Assisi...where would you go next? (specifically within the same central part of Italy as these other places)

3. Aside from the options mentioned in #1 I'm also very interested in the area just below Amalfi. Possibities would include places like Paestum, Agropolis, Palinuro, Camerota, Scalea and Matarea and others. All look like they might fit the bill for both a beach vacation and the possibility to explore new towns.Do they compare well with Sicily and/or Sardegna? What about as far down as Tropea?

4. This is a free-for-all request for ideas. We haven't visited Bologna, Verona, Parma, Perugia, Orvieto, Pisa, Lucca..in addition to countless other places such as the Le Marche area. Any thoughts on these places? How do they compare with what we have already seen?

5. Health issues may prevent our dream of living in Italy...but we still cling to a remnant of this dream. Are there any places that we might want to take a look at during our travels? (Rome and Florence are already primary considerations) We want a town large enough to have several shops, piazzas, restaurants bakery's, churches, doctors, and of course history. (The smaller places we visited probably wouldn't work...might be as little too sedate for daily life. (Assisi, for example, is a favorite town...but may be on the bubble as far as size)

Help will be much appreciated.

Milano
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1. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

I try to answer to your questions based on my personal preferences.

1. I love Sicily especially the south western part (Siracura-Ragusa. If you rent a car you may enjoy the sea and the amazing baroque towns there.

2.I have recently been in Umbria and qould strongly suggest to return there (Gubbio, Spello, Orvieto, Todi etc) or even to Marche that has amazing villages in the hills and a coast that is not bad (even if Sicily is better)

3. South Amalfi is nice but Sicily may offer more in my opinion, if you stay in Noto (huge baroque town) you may go swim in ten minutes by car and enjoy the town in the evening

4. As in point #2 Marche worth a visit, as well as Bologna-Verona-Parma, in Pisa the Piazza del Campo really worth a visit, Lucca is also a really nice town.

5. In Italy we have a very good National Health Service especially in the north. I do not know how it will be for extra-European people, for sure emergencies are granted but if you plan to live here it would be better to ask at our Embassy.

Is is quiet difficult to choose where to live, Milan is nice but may be stressing, Bergamo is huge but too much province for a foreigner. I would choose a medium-size town in the center-north (better Health Services).

Austin
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2. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Francescomare....thank you for the replies!

I realize that I asked a lot of questions in one post and that this can be exhausting....even for me. :-) I woke up today with a little more clarity and realize I'm stressing and that no one can answer for me much of what I have asked. My original trip, in 2009, was going to be way too hurried with too many locations. People here on TA convinced me to simplify. What I ended up with was an amazing trip. Now...after dreaming daily for 5 years...it's hard to plan the return. Too much rides on it. I feel it could be my last trip to Italy, my wife's health, etc., and the loaded weight of the dream of living there...and that the dream may not happen... all charge this trip with too much emotion. I want to go back to every place I visited...but I also want to see the places that I've missed. It's simply impossible.

I am curious...can you say what you mean by Bergamo being "too much province for a foreigner"? And...can you give an example of what a medium sized town in the center-north would be? Is it something like Florence or Perugia? Thank you!

Milano
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3. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Firenze and Perugia are not too big but quiet International becouse of the famous Universities.

Around Florence many English established their residence.

Bergamo is really nice, the quality of life really high, close to the rest of Europe (Switzerland is more or less 100 km), to Lakes (Iseo and Garda), the airport is big and other airports are not too far (Milano Linate less then 50km, Milan Malpensa less then 100km) but probably due to the fact that I know it very well I have a better idea and consider it provincial. In any case I would live there if Icould have an house in the upper part or on the hills close to the town.

Last but not least it is famous for its hospital considered one of the best for hearth problems.

Some nice medium sized town in Center-North that are valid (in my opinion): Parma, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, Lucca

Edited: 11:28 am, July 08, 2013
Milano
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4. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

I forgot Bologna

Austin
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5. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Very interesting! When I think of Italy I am drawn to Rome/Lazio area first...followed by Tuscany and Umbria (maybe Le Marche). I always imagine being no more that an hour or two from Rome. With this said...when I look at photos of Verona and Treviso...well...they are gorgeous. Bergamo is also a surprise as I look at the photos and should definitely be on the "list of possibilities". Health care considerations would be very important and play a very big role. Pretty much any place where the historic sections display more shades of yellow and red...we like. Grey cities...not as much.

As far as our trip...I'm really overwhelmed. I'm thinking Rome...and more attention to Tuscany and Umbria...with a trip to Bologna and Verona...possibly Treviso. Finally...a bit less than a week in the Cilento region....Palinuro, Matarea...nice day or two at the beach....and fly home from Naples. This of course if I can bring myself to cross Sicily and Sardegna off the list. We will spend about 30 days and I will be paying for it for years! LOL

Milano
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6. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

You may fly to Milan or Venice and fly back from Naples doing a north to south itinerary.

From Naples there are fast ferries to Eolie, fantastic islands close to Sicilian coasts, the most impressive is stromboli, a still active volcano.

Sicily is so interesting that you need almost two weeks to see the most important things, sardinia has fantastic lanscape and sea but artistically it is not comparable to Sicily.

I would use fast trains to visit cities (booked in advance they are cheap) and rent a car for countryside to avoud parking problems and traffic.

Austin
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7. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Sounds like good advice...we enjoyed the trains and having a car. I don't mind using both modes as they fit better for different locations.

There would be no point in visiting Sicily if it warrants a longer period of time. This especially since we watched a travel video about Sicily and didn't finish with a big desire to go as originally thought. This allows me to narrow down to Sardegna, Cinque Terre or the Cilento region. I think I could probably also eliminate the idea of going somewhere like Rimini. Perhaps a short return to Amalfi with extra days in the Cilento region? This would give us the chance to see Pompeii...or make a visit to Sorrento, Capri, etc....repeat a similar hike to the Walk of the Gods.

Thank you again...at least I'm making great progress with some of the hardest decisions! :-)

Edited: 3:27 pm, July 08, 2013
Milano
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8. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

I am Italian but I have never been to Cilento even if I know from friends it is a nice area.

Cinque Terre are really nice as the close area (Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli, Sestri Levante - I have recently been there), quiet expensive if compared with Sicily.

Rimini is famous for its nightlife as well as the closed area, the sea there is not fantastic but there is a huge touristic organization and quality-price relation is very good. The town is surrounded by nice hills.

In my opinion you should decide your "must do" and then build your itinerary, for example if you would like to go to Sardinia you may fly to Venice, visit the towns direction Genoa and catch a ferry there to the island or alternatively fly there from Verona, Bergamo, Milano. From Sardinia you may arrive to Piombino (Tuscany) or Civitavecchia (not far from Rome) by ferry or fly to the airports that best fits your itinerary.

albuquerque
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9. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Lucca would be a great place to visit in Tuscany. It has all the charm of a hilltown but is perfectly flat and therefore very walkable. It makes a nice base for seeing several smaller towns (Barga, Montecatini, Viareggio, Pisa) and has good train and bus connections. You could also make a day trip to Florence (especially if it's a place you consider for retiring someday). And, I find it much less expensive to stay in Lucca than in Florence.

If you are at all interested in language classes, there is also a first rate language school there - they cater to all levels from beginners to fluent speakers of Italian. Attending school there has been a highlight of 2 of my trips to Lucca.

Austin
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10. Re: Need help planning 30 days next May/June

Very nice idea Cattivojo. While I don't think we will stop long enough for a language course... i think it very valuable to know there is a good school in Lucca. This is especially true since Lucca may very well indeed be a good base to explore options. thank you!