Subject: Italy via tours
Well I have to take a somewhat opposing view here on whether to take a tour to Italy for a first time visit. I did it. I took a Cosmos tour of Italy but it didn't seem as rushed as the Trafalgar one described here. We had two nights in Venice, in Marghera and took the bus into Venice on our own on the first day. We had a night in San Marino and one in Assissi. We stayed 3 nights in Sorrento though the day we drove from Assissi to Sorrento was long and mostly highway driving with a lunch stop at a highway truck stop style restaurant but it was actually pretty good. Three nights in Sorrento included a day trip to Capri. We went to Pompeii on the way to Rome and stayed in Rome 4 nights. There were optional extras you could pay for and some we took and some we didn't, spending some time on our own. The only drawback to this stay in Rome is that the hotel was not in central Rome. We stayed a night in Siena and two nights in a town near Florence with a one day trip there.

Now the only gripe i have with the budget tours is that often the hotels aren't central in the main cities so i would look into the first class tours, Trafalgar or Globus instead. If your tour starts or ends in Rome, stay a few extra days. Ours started in Venice and Ended in Florence and we could have stayed a few extra days on either end there too, changing to a central hotel. Two weeks on a tour bus is about as much as you will want as it gets tiring getting up and changing cities every day. We really enjoyed the 3 and 4 nights we stayed in one hotel.

Indpendent travel isn't to everyone's taste just as tours aren't for everyone but I've taken two to date. They are a good way to get an overview of an area or region so you know where to return on your own. Most tour companies don't force you to go along with the herd if you don't want to as long as you are back at the bus when it's ready to depart. Use the bus as transportation and the hotels as your base and go on your own with a guide book if you like.

I have a travelogue i wrote of my tour to Italy if you are interested, that will take you to my main travel page where there are links to my travelogues. Use the 1996 link under the Italy section to go to the beginning of that tour. Diane