3 Places to See on Your First Trip to Italy

March 20, 2012 · Posted in Europe · Comment 

Wondering what to see on your first trip to Italy? I recommend these three wonderful places: Venice, Florence and Rome. Those cities are the three biggest tourist destinations in Italy, and for good reason.

If all you have are seven days, I would suggest two days in Venice, two in Florence and three in Rome. In Florence you can book a Tuscany bus tour which will take you to Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa in a day. This is a great way for you to check out the Tuscan countryside (Florence is situated in Tuscany).

It is easy and fast to travel by train between Venice, Florence and Rome. You can make Rome your first destination, from there you take the train to Florence and spend your last two days in Venice. You will be spending only two hours maximum on board a train on any leg of your journey. You can also make Venice your first stop, then Florence, ending with Rome.

Italy train tickets can be booked and paid for in advance online. Do an online search for “trenitalia.com” and you will be taken to the official train website. Here’s a tip if you’re booking your train ticket online: choose the principal train station for each city, not one of the outlying stations. So in Florence you’ll be looking for “Florence Centrale” and in Rome it’s “Rome Termini”.

Get a B and B or a hotel near the train station Florence so you can walk from the train station to your accommodation (this is only recommended if you are not taking along a lot of luggage). If you want to look up recommendations for bed and breakfast accommodations and hotels, TripAdviser is a good place to do your research. If you’re thinking twice about spending two days of your travel time in Venice, don’t. Venice is a beautiful city that only a true-blue spoilsport can’t admire.

Go here for more tips on places to visit in Italy, including Venice, Florence and Rome on a budget.

Explore Italy with Rick Sleves’ Audio Tours

January 31, 2012 · Posted in Travel · Comment 

A friend suggested the Rick Steves’ site when I first wanted to go to Italy. I listened to her and downloaded some free Italy audio tours, including sights in Venice, Florence and Rome. Rick Steves also wrote a guidebook and these tracks are taken from that great book about Italy.

It’s like you’re having a private walking tour — the audio tours truly work! It’s also a good idea to listen to them in advance. these audio books represent a perfect mixture of history, architecture and regular life.

And what cities are covered with these tours? At this point, Venice, Florence and Rome are the cities that Rick Steves has visited and recorded tours for.

The Rome Audio Tours are amazingly good and will take you to Colosseum, Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Trastevere Walk, Jewish Ghetto Walk, Ostia Antica, and Pompeii. Rick’s Venice Audio Tours show you the magnificence of Grand Canal Cruise, St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Frari Church. The Florence Audio Tours will take you on the Renaissance Walk, Accademia and Michelangelo’s David, and Uffizi Gallery.

It’s easy to get these audio tours. Just use any podcast service (such as iTunes) or use the Rick Steves Audio Europe app. It’s probably the best way if you own an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android. I got them onto my iPod Touch right from the RickSteves.com website.

If you prefer podcasts, just subscribe to Rick Steves’ Rome Audio Tours on iTunes, Amazon or the equivalent Android store.

You don’t have to own an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android device, at all. Your mp3 player will do the trick also. Just download the mp3 files RickSteves.com and transfer to any mp3 player, or play them on your computer.

There are two disadvantages to listening to the audio tours on your mp3 player as opposed to a device like an iPhone. First, you won’t see the pictures. But frankly, you won’t be missing much because the audio tours actually don’t include many pictures; they just have the occasional still photo to illustrate the audio. The second disadvantage is that the chapter breaks and subheadings may not show up. But other than, it will work just fine.

Get all the information you need about amazing places to visit in Italy before you go there. Stop by Barbra Sundquist’s site where you can find out all about great places for Italian holidays.

Six Great Attractions in Florence Italy

August 8, 2011 · Posted in Europe, Travel · Comment 

Today, I’ll give you six great attractions to see when you’re visiting Florence, Italy. When you visit Florence, bring some great walking shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking throughout the often-crowded city. Also, try to visit in the spring or winter, which are cooler months. Read more