Planning the Trip

Get out your calendar to see exactly how much time you have to spend in Italy. I tend to travel at off peak times — from October through April (the airfares are great or are at least better than at peak travel times, you don’t fight the summer tourist crowds - think long lines, too many people, heat and you can stay in some of the best hotels for an off peak price — p.s. the weather is great off peak and even if it does rain — IT’S ITALIAN RAIN). You’ll usually arrive the day after you leave (I deal with first day do’s and don’ts in the Travel Tips section), so plan on staying in the city of your arrival or somewhere nearby on your first day. Next, buy your ticket — knowing the day of arrival and the day of departure gives you the ability to fill in the gaps — and it’s my job to help you fill in those gaps! If there are cities you know you must see, put them on your itinerary, I’ll give you an idea of how much you can see and how much time you need to spend in each place (keeping in mind that you cannot see all of Rome in 2 or 3 days, but that may be all the time you have to spend there on your first trip and still include Florence and Venice). If you’re unsure of just what to do, I have set itineraries that can give you a good start and a good base to start making your memories……..

Not enough time or patience to do it yourself? Not sure of your options? Want some recommendations? Let us plan your trip.

BOOKING YOUR HOTELS PRIOR TO THE TRIP:

Here’s an easy room request form that you can copy and fax or email to the hotel (you’ll be surprised how quickly you get responses) — You can also do this in English if you are more comfortable (someone at the hotel usually speaks English):

#1: To request a price and availability of a room.

TO: Hotel Name

FROM: Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. Name

DATE: The Date (spell the month out completely)

Buon Giorno.

(Hello).

Vorrei una camera per una -1/due-2/tre-3/Quattro-4 adulti.

( I’d like a room for 1/2/3/4 adults).

You can also add children (bambino/bambini) if you have them.

Con doccia/bagno e gabinetto.

(With shower/bathtub and toilet).

Con una letto-due letti.

(With one bed-two beds).

Data di arrivo______________________.(Date of arrival).

Data di partenza____________________.(Date of departure).

Resteremo una/1 notte-due/2 notti-una settimana.

(We’ll be staying one night-two nights-a week).

Per favore mi dia il prezzo con servizio incluso e tassa incluso.

(Please give me the price with service charges and taxes included).

Per piacere conferma nostra prezzo a fax/email: (your fax or email address).

(Please confirm our price via fax/email).

Molte grazie.

(Thank you very much).

#2: To confirm a price and reservation of a room.

TO: Hotel Name

FROM: Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. Name

DATE: The Date (spell the month out completely)

Buon Giorno.

(Hello)

Per favore confermare una camera per due adulti con due letti.

(Please confirm one room for two adults with two beds).

________________lira.

(the cost).

Data di arrivo______________________.(Date of arrival).

Data di partenzo____________________.(Date of departure).

Resteramo una notte.

(We’ll be staying one night).

Per piacere conferma nostra prezzo a fax/email: (your fax or email address).

(Please confirm our price via fax/email).

Molte grazie.

(Thank you very much).

Once you have the rates and the confirmation — you’re all set. I take a spiral notebook and staple the correspondence (requests, responses, confirmations) and use the extra pages as a journal for the trip. This is just extra insurance that you won’t get to a hotel and find you have no room or get told the rates have changed etc. Frankly, I’ve never had a problem as long as I’ve had my trusty "booklet" with me.

APPROXIMATE DRIVE TIMES IN ITALY

I do a lot of driving in Italy….the following list of "drive times" are my best times….I usually add about 20 minutes (for getting lost-getting started-and reading the map)….I have a tendency to turn right when I’m in doubt — sometimes that’s not the way to go….so, use these times as a general reference point.

Rome to Alberobello — 5 hours
Rome to Amalfi - 3 hours
Rome to Assisi - 3 hours
Rome to Bari — 4 hours and 20 minutes
Rome to Bologna - 3 hours and 40 minutes
Rome to Cortona - 3 hours
Rome to Deruta (pottery) - 2 hours and 30 min.
Rome to Florence — 2 hours and 45 minutes
Rome to Frascati — 30 minutes
Rome to Matera — 5 hours
Rome to Milan — 5 hours and 30 minutes
Rome to Naples — 2 hours and 20 minutes
Rome to Orvieto — 1 hour and 30 minutes
Rome to Perugia - 2 hours
Rome to Pompei — 2 hours and 20 minutes
Rome to Portofino — 5 hours
Rome to Scanno — 1 hour and 45 minutes
Rome to Siena — 2 hours and 40 minutes
Rome to Sorrento - 2 hours and 30 minutes
Rome to Venice — 5 hours
Rome to Villa San Giovanni (ferry to Sicily) — 6 hours and 30 minutes
Florence to Amalfi — 5 hours
Florence to Assisi - 2 hours

Florence to Bari — 6 hours and 30 minutes
Florence to Bologna - 1 hour
Florence to Cinque Terre — 2 hours
Florence to Lake Como — 3 hours and 20 minutes
Florence to Milan - 3 hours

Florence to Perugia — 1 hour and 35 minutes
Florence to Pisa - 1 hour
Florence to Portofino — 2 hours and 15 minutes
Florence to Rome — 2 hours and 45 minutes
Florence to San Gimignano — 45 minutes
Florence to Siena - 1 hour
Florence to Venice - 2 hours and 30 min.
Milan to Bologna — 2 hours and 15 minutes
Milan to Cinque Terre — 2 hours and 30 minutes
Milan to Lake Como — 45 minutes
Milan to Florence - 3 hours
Milan to Linate Airport - 25 minutes
Milan to Malpensa Airport - 1 hour
Milan to Orvieto — 4 hours and 25 minutes
Milan to Perugia — 4 hours and 25 minutes
Milan to Portofino — 2 hours
Milan to Positano — 8 hours
Milan to Rome — 5 hours and 30 minutes
Milan to Siena - 4 hours
Milan to Venice — 2 hours and 45 minutes
Venice to Amalfi — 7 hours and 20 minutes
Venice to Bologna — 1 hour and 30 minutes
Venice to Cinque Terre — 4 hours
Venice to Lake Como — 3 hours
Venice to Florence — 2 hours and 30 minutes
Venice to Milan — 2 hours and 45 minutes
Venice to Orvieto — 4 hours
Venice to Perugia — 3 hours and 50 minutes
Venice to Portofino — 4 hours and 10 minutes
Venice to Positano — 7 hours and 20 minutes
Venice to Rome — 5 hours
Naples to Amalfi — 1 hour
Naples to Positano — 52 minutes
Naples to Ravello - 1 hour and 30 minutes

Naples to Rome — 2 hours and 20 minutes
Naples to Sorrento - 1 hour
Positano to Amalfi — 15 minutes
Positano to Naples — 52 minutes
Positano to Pompei — 45 minutes
Positano to Sorrento - 30 minutes
Amalfi to Matera — 2 hours and 45 minutes
Amalfi to Pompei — 50 minutes
Amalfi to Positano — 15 minutes
Amalfi to Ravello — 8 minutes
Amalfi to Rome - 3 hours
Amalfi to Sorrento - 1 hour
Amalfi to Villa San Giovanni (ferry to Sicily) — 4 hours and 20 minutes
Ravello to Amalfi — 8 minutes

Ravello to Naples - 1 hour and 30 minutes
Ravello to Sorrento - 1 hour and 30 minutes
Sorrento to Amalfi - 1 hour
Sorrento to Naples - 1 hour
Sorrento to Positano - 30 minutes
Sorrento to Ravello - 1 hour and 30 minutes
Sorrento to Rome - 2 hours and 30 minutes
Siena to Assisi — 1 hour and 40 minutes
Siena to Cortona - 1 hour and 10 minutes
Siena to Florence - 1 hour
Siena to Milan — 3 hours and 50 minutes
Siena to Perugia - 1 hour and 30 minutes
Siena to Rome — 2 hours and 40 minutes
Siena San Gimignano - 45 minutes

SICILY

Messina to Agrigento — 2 hours and 50 minutes
Messina to Caltagirone — 2 hours
Messina to Catania — 1 hour
Messina to Enna — 1 hour and 45 minutes
Messina to Erice — 3 hours and 40 minutes
Messina to Palermo — 2 hours and 30 minutes
Messina to Siracusa — 1 hour and 45 minutes
Messina to Taormina — 32 minutes
Palermo to Agrigento — 2 hours
Palermo to Caltagirone — 2 hours and 15 minutes
Palermo to Catania — 2 hours
Palermo to Enna — 1 hour and 30 minutes
Palermo to Erice — 1 hour and 10 minutes
Palermo to Messina — 2 hours and 30 minutes
Palermo to Siracusa — 2 hours and 40 minutes
Palermo to Taormina — 2 hours and 30 minutes

 


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