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Public Transportation vs Tours

Smyrna, Tennessee...
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Public Transportation vs Tours

Ok good people, I am in the budgeting phase of my planned trip to Italy this Sept/Oct, and I wanted to get everyone's opinion. I am looking at several tour options (Viator, Walkabout, WalksofItaly, etc.) and looking at trains/bus prices. What do you all think is the best way to go for taking day trips, museums, sites, etc. We will be Italy for 11 nights (Sun, Sept 29 - Thur, Oct 10) visiting Venice - 3 nights, Florence - 4 nights, Rome - 4 nights. I am interesting Cooking classes, wince tasting/buying, Uffizi, Pisa, Siena, Chianti Town, Typical Roma Tourist Sites. I guess my main question is, is it better to go through say Walkabout for the Best of Tuscany Tour, or just train/bus to Pisa/Lucca, Siena, San Gimi, etc? Also, is it better to buy direct tickets through the Uffizi or buy (at a higher price) through Viator or other Tour operators? Do they offer something better than just buying directly, and having an audio guide. Just to let you know, my wife and I arent huge art fanatics, but we would like to view some for the experience. Thanks in advance!

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Florence
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21. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

Portia:

Thank you for that information. Please give us a bit more information: Did you download it from the Fodors site, from Amazo, itunes, or what? Thank you.

Chicago, Illinois
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22. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

It would depend on your platform. Portia had an ipad, which means any downloads are from itunes.If you had a different type of device, that would dictate where you download it from.

Florence
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23. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

I asked because I checked the itunes store, and they do not sell the full version of Fodor's or Frommer's guides to Florence.

I also checked Verizon, and they don't sell them for Kindle.

Finally, I checked the Fodors and Frommers sites, and they don't sell them.

Chicago, Illinois
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24. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

I think you have to get stuff for the Kindle from Amazon, not Verizon, but may be wrong. I don't think there's any way to get anything for an ipad other than through the apple itunes store. That's how apple works.

Just checking the itunes store now, and there's an ipad and iphone Fodoers app and a number of Fodors guidebooks. Same thing with Frommers.

Florence
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25. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

Verizon was a typo. I meant Amazon. Sorry.

The Fodors apps and electronic guides do not include the standard guidebook to Florence.

Same with the itunes store.

Burlington, ON
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26. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

We did get it from iTunes as Wes shared. I just did a comparison to a 2010 version of the Fodor's guidebook I have and with the exception of not having as many photos and maps the content is the same. The names of the books are slightly different. The hard copy is Florence, Tuscany & Umbria while the iTunes version is Florence and Central Italy.

Florence
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27. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

I haven't looked at Fodor's or Frommer's for the past year or so, but traditionally, the books that covered just Florence had more information about this city than any of their guidebooks covering broader areas - such as central Italy, or Tuscany, or all of Italy.

If you compare the amount of information in the books just about Florence with any of their other publications, it really is like comparing apples and oranges. At least that's the way it used to be.

New York City, New...
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28. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

I had the Frommer entitled "Frommer's Florence, Tuscany & Umbria" as well as the "Frommer's Portable Florence" and they seemed to have all of the detail of the complete Frommer Florence book. I also had Fodor's Florence and Central Italy, which seemed fairly complete. (Fodor has quite a bit of history, culture and background in a separate section at the end.) Another book I had in Kindle format that I did not mention before is Mary Testa's An Art Lover's Guide to Florence-not an on the go book but, I thought, a very good integration of the art and history.

Part of the problem is that (as i think I said before) different people have different interests and different levels of interest so no one book is going to satisfy everyone. The same issue arises with guides: I sometimes eavesdrop on what they are rattling on about and am thankful I'm not on that tour, and yet at other times, I hear things that I'd never thought about. On my last time in Florence, my travel companion was an artist, who looked at works very differently than I do, being more interested in technique than history per se. I try as best I can to absorb as much as I can from all.

And to the person complaining about only one person being able to use the IPAD-I am certain they will sell you a second one if you ask nicely!

Smyrna, Tennessee...
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29. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions for guide books! I have marked all of your suggestions as favorites, and plan on looking into the digital versions of these books where possible! October can't get here soon enough!

Smyrna, Tennessee...
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30. Re: Public Transportation vs Tours

I didn't want to start a new thread for this, but my question is about my budget for this trip. Is $5000 USD enough money for 12 night trip to Italy (Venice, Florence (tuscany touring), and Rome)? The hotels I have booked all provide breakfast, so that is one meal taken care of. So will this amount be good for food, transportation (trains & taxis), entrance to the major sights, possible Tuscany tour, shopping, etc? I'm really trying to figure out a meal budget per day, all the other things are easily found online, and I have recorded most of the costs for the other things. Thanks in advance forum...