Italy Initiation Itinerary (24 Days)

This itinerary covered a three-week trip to mostly Central and Northern Italy, where Julie and I traveled alone. The basic philosophy of our trip planning was that we sought to minimize the driving whenever we were spending time at any of the metropolitan cities - Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, and Milan, where we relied on mass transit and bullet trains. We also did an escorted tour for the Amalfi Coast so I wouldn't be overwhelmed with the narrow roads while at the same time getting adjusted to driving in Italy. Our self-driving stretches covered Naples to Florence, which allowed us to self-tour the very rural Abruzzo as well as the medieval regions of Umbria and Toscana. The other main self-driving stretch covered Venice to Milan, which allowed us to cover the regions of Trento, Alto-Adige (Sudtirol), and the Lakes region. We were even able to do a day trip to the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland. Given the complexity of our rental needs, Julie booked with Auto Europe to secure a car with zero deductible at a cheaper price than going direct through Europcar. Finally, since this trip was at least three weeks in duration, Julie had us buy travel insurance in order to have some piece of mind just in case the unthinkable happens (e.g. we both did suffer from food poisoning on this trip though we luckily didn't need to file a claim).

In order to prepare for this trip, I spent upwards of 5 months self-learning Italian with books and CDs while on the train or driving in the car. While the language is distinctly different from both Spanish and French, I had enough of a working knowledge of both languages to essentially jump start my Italian learning. By the end of the trip, I was proficient enough in the language to carry on a nerve-wracking dialog with an elderly lady related to the owners of the bed and breakfast we were staying at as I tried to arrange for a ride to-and-from that accommodation and to the Fiumicino Airport.

Day Overnight Activity
1-2 Rome, Italy
Travel, Spanish Steps, Fontana di Trevi, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori
3 Rome, Italy
Vatican and Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Il Palatino, Roman Forum, Central Historical Museum, Il Palazzo di Vittorio Emanuelle
4 Naples, Italy
Starhotels Terminus
Castelo di Capuano, Porta di Capuano, Castel di Nuovo, Galleria Umberto I, Piazza del Plebiscito, Views of Mt Vesuvius, Castel dell'Ovo, Naples Historical Center
5 Positano, Italy
Hotel Reginella
Amalfi Coast Escorted Tour, Pompeii, Ravelo, Villa Rufolo, Amalfi, Positano
6 Positano, Italy
Hotel Reginella
Capri, Gardens of Augustine, Arco Naturale, Positano
7 Isola del Liri, Italy
Hotel Ristorante Il Cavalier d'Arpino
Car Rental Pickup, Cascata del Rio Verde, Lago di Barrea, Cascate del Liri, Arpino
8 Narni, Italy
Torre Palombara
Arpino, Civitavecchia, Cascate del Liri, Cascata delle Marmore, Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi, Narni
9 Montepulciano, Italy
Camere Bellavista
Cascata del Sasso, Cortona, Montepulciano
10 Montepulciano, Italy
Camere Bellavista
Montepulciano, Pisa (Leaning Tower), Lucca
11 San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy
Agriturismo Il Rigo
Val d'Orcia, Siena (Duomo, Piazza del Campo)
12-12 Florence, Italy
Hotel Club
Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Acero, Cascate del Dardagna, Car Rental Return, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria (Loggia dei Lanzi), Piazza del Duomo
13 Florence, Italy
Hotel Club
Il Duomo (Campanile), Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale di Michelangelo, Piazza della Signoria (Loggia dei Lanzi)
14 Venice, Italy
Palazzo Cendon
Galleria dell'Academia (David), Travel, Venice (Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco), Burano
15 Venice, Italy
Palazzo Cendon
Venice (Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, Campanile, Basilica di San Marco)
16-16 Bolzano (Bozen), Italy
Residence Fink
Car Rental Pickup, Bolzano (Bozen), Cascata di Parcines (Wasserfall Partschinser)
17 Bolzano (Bozen), Italy
Residence Fink
Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers), Cascate di Riva (Reinbachfalle), Cascate di Barbiano (Barbianer Wasserfalle), Barbiano, Bolzano (Bozen)
18 Trento, Italy
Grand Hotel Trento
Cascata di Nardis, Cascate di Lares, Trento (Piazza del Duomo, Centro Storico, Castello di Buonconsiglio)
19 Riva del Garda, Italy
Hotel Sole
"Cascata di Trento", Lago di Ledro, Cascata del Gorg d'Abiss, Cascata del Varone, Riva del Garda (Waterfront, Bastione)
20 Lenno, Italy
Albergo Lenno
Riva del Garda, Bellagio, Lago di Como, Lenno
21 Locarno, Switzerland
Ibis Locarno
Villa Balbionello, Lenno, Lago di Como, Lago di Lugano, Cascata di Bignasco, Cascata di Foroglio, Locarno
22 Milan, Italy
Holiday Inn Express Milan-Malpensa Airport
L'Orrido di Sant'Anna, Cannobio, Lago di Maggiore, Car Rental Return, Milan (Il Duomo, Piazza del Duomo, La Galleria, Navigli)
23 Rome, Italy
Fiumicino Airport B & B Deluxe
24 Home Travel

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