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I have decided on a whim to travel to Italy for a few days before a conference in
Germany in early October. This will be my very first time there.
I will be flying to Florence, arriving there on a Thursday afternoon and staying
through Monday. I have 4 and 1/2 days there.
Since this is my first time, I am eager to see as much as possible. Is it a good idea
to catch a train to a different city so that I can see some of the Tuscan countryside?
If so, what would you recommend? Pisa? Siena? Or maybe some village nearby?
Or should I stay put in Florence if I only have those few days?
Also, any recommendations for a clean place to stay for under $100 a night?
I'm always in the minority on this one (at least compared to
other Americans) but I
lived and worked in Italy for a number of years, living and
traveling all over the
country. Florence is OK but the rest of Tuscany is so
under-rated I prefer to spend
my time in a place like Siena rather than battle the all-year
around crowds in
Florence. For me Florence was worth it only on someone else's
dime and in low
season (which is basically the occasional rainy Monday in the
My two cents: I would spend one day in Florence to see the
Uffizi, the Battista and
spend the rest of the time in Siena. Rick Steeves has a pretty
good Italy book. (We
went back to Italy last summer and his book was a great guide
to restaurants and
lodging). You can also look on VRBO for lodging. We went were
a family, so that
made more sense for us - you might just want to look into
alberghi (hotels) or B&Bs.
Or if you want the ''real'' Italian experience, go to one of
the hill towns and stay
there the whole time. (after your one day at the Uffizi, of
just my biased opinion!
What a great decision! I spent four days in Florence and will
always remember them!
Avoid Pisa. It is a tourist trap. Siena is lovely, and works
perfectly for a day trip. Florence has enough to occupy you
for the other days, especially if you take a bus to Fiasole in
the hills above Florence.
I highly recommend Rick Steves' Italy, especially for the
hotels (pensiones) and the Places to Go recommendations. The
restaurant recs - not so much. (Unless you want to be eating
with a roomful of Americans with Rick Steves books!)
have a great time!
We are going to Sorrento and Florence in March for a week each
with another family. There will be 4 adults and 2 toddlers.
Anyone have recommendations for places to stay that are family
friendly? We will probably spend quite a bit of time at the
villa/apartment so want a nice place with a full kitchen and at
least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. (The archive for Florence
was for hotels.) Thanks!
We stayed near Sorrento in a lovely villa 2 years ago. I found
the place on a website called rentvillas.com. You can contact
the owners via e.mail and work out the logistics once you choose
a place. Lots of details and pics given on each villa. The
place we stayed at was overlooking and had private access to a
beach, it had 3 bedrooms/4 baths with wonderful gardens. Most of
the places we considered were near whatever given town but not IN
town. We did alot of walking and chose not to rent a car. I
would recommend a car if you have kids and plan to do alot of
sight seeing in and around the Amalfi Coast. I thing it cost
$1200.00 for a week.
My husband and I and our two kids just spent part of my
maternity leave in Florence with our 2.5 year old and 3 month
old baby (crazy?, yes, but also wonderful). The apartment we
stayed in would be too small for you, but I can recommend an
agency. We worked with a woman named Adriana at an agency
called Tuscan Feeling. You can find her contact info at
www.tuscanfeeling.it. She was soooo nice, very helpful, very
professional, and she speaks English quite well. If you contact
her, tell her that you got her name from Kim and Adrian.
Otherwise, I found her just by searching the web for apartment
rentals in Florence; there are many sites and agencies. My
unsolicited advice is that you think carefully about whether you
want to be in the City (Florence), or out in the country.
Driving in Florence is not easy. Basically you have to park on
the edge of the center, and then walk in. If you really want to
take in the City (and there is so much to see and explore), I
suggest that you just prepare for an urban experience, and rent
in the City. You will have so much more time to see everything,
and the you will get the full feeling and flavor of that
magnificant place. On the other hand, if you really want more
of a just-sit-in-the-Italian-sunshine-and-relax trip, with only
a few brief forays into the City, then rent in the countryside.
We have done both, and I recommend both; it is just hard to
combine them, especially only in one week. Have a great trip.
If you want any other info (like where the playgrounds are in
Florence), you can email me directly.
We are taking our 2 boys to Florence, Italy this summer for 2
weeks and staying in an apartment rather than a hotel. The
younger one will be just over a year old and probably very
mobile if he continues in his present path. Does anyone know of
a business in Florence where we can rent a crib for the 2 weeks
that we are there? We do not co-sleep with either of our
children, and the beds are only doubles. Besides co-sleeping
with a jet-lagged, restless child seems not likely to be very
restful. I would appreciate any other suggestions people have
for how to manage this issue.
Check out http://www.babysaway.com/. They only rent baby
supplies in US, but they may know of international
organizations who do same overseas...
If you are renting the apartment from an agancy, you may want
to check with them. We spent a couple of weeks in Rome this
past Fall, and our apartment rental agency arranged everything:
apartment, crib, airport transfer, etc. Enjoy your time in
We stayed here. It's quite nice and central (a few blocks from the Duomo). I
think it was more in the $150 a night range, though.
Name : Hotel Casci
Address : Via Cavour 13
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax n. : 055-2396461
Phone n. : 055-211686
We researched and booked our Italy hotels through the Internet using these
It's really easy to make reservations this way, and you can also look at
pictures of the rooms, etc.
We were quite pleased with our stay at this hotel. It was listed in
several guide books as well as this online reference (great for hotels
throughout Italy): http://www.italyhotel.com
Hotel Cimabue - Via B. Lupi, 7, Firenze
Fax n.: 055-475601
Phone n.: 055-471989
Hotel Porto Rosso...simply wonderful, like going back in time. I have no idea
of the price. The rooms are small but it is the best! Poregan1
We liked our stay at the villa carlotta.which is near the Boboli gardens,
so not in the center of the
city but easy and pleasant walk to all the sites. It's a modernized 19th
century palazzo so sound
travels...but we had no problems. A 15-20min bus/taxi ride away from town
we stayed at pensione
bencista in Fiesole which we loved. Both are decribed in the book Access
Florence and Venice.
We made a three-month trip to Italy with our 18-month old several years
ago, and are now
getting ready for a summer trip back with TWO little girls, 4 and 6. And it
has been and will be a wonderful experience, so don't have any doubts about
the wisdom of your plan! We
stayed in Fiesole, a short bus ride outside Florence. There are a number of
pensiones in the village, and in October, you should have no trouble
finding a reasonable and attractive place,even without reservations. If you
plan to stay a week or more, and would like to nail down an apartment or
villa ahead of time, try looking through www.vrbo.com, a site that lists
Villas for Rent By Owner; lots of nice places, at prices that can make the
trip affordable. Buon viaggio!
My husband and I were in Cinque Terre (which includes Vernazza) about 3
years ago, before
the birth of our daughter. I can't tell you enough how much we enjoyed that
area. In fact
we recently we're planning to head back there with our 2 year old, but
cancelled only because
we didn't want to make the transatlantic trip with a restless 2 year old.
Terre is fantastic. It's so beautiful, and the food! The food is out of
this world! We
stayed in an apartment in Vernazza that cost us about $60/night. Monterosso
the town furthest north in Cinque Terre) has more hotels and may be a
better place to
stay with a youngster as there's a nice beach--something the other four
towns lack. A
friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Italy and had nothing but
to say about Sestri Levante (about 45 minutes by train north of
Margarita Ligure (just south of Portofino) is also very cute and has a nice
can't say much about driving times, as we only traveled by train when we
The train is an excellent mode of transportation for the coastal towns in
car access can be difficult--I don't think you can even drive into Vernazza
is very small). If you want, I can try to find the name of the person we
apartment from. Just email me if you want it or want to ask me any more
about the area.
My husband and I have taken several medium-term trips to visit
Florence over the last 5 years (from 2 weeks to 2 months) and have had to deal with finding an appropriate
place to stay. This time we were especially concerned, since we were traveling with our 2-year old. We had
such a wonderful experience that I wanted to share it. The agency is called YAIF (Your Agency in
Florence); the person we dealt with is Luca. It is a small operation. Luca has a good number of VERY
reasonably-priced apartments, is very responsive on email, accepts credit cards (so all transactions can be
done on the web), and provided excellent service once we were in Florence (including a cell phone, free of
rental charge). The website, www.yaif.it, has lots of information and photos about the apartments that are
offered. If anyone would like more information about our experience, feel free to contact me. Miriam
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