Subject: Re: Guided tour of Italy - good Idea?
Julie, Ah Italy! What a fabulous country to explore. We'v been there about a dozen times, travelling all over. Last year we rented a car to travel from Rome north to Venice and the area around it then across to the Cinque Terre region - all in a week. Then we settled into a lovely farmhouse which we rented for two weeks in San Casciano dei Bagni and explored Tuscany and Umbria. We have been everywhere in the country including Sicily, Sardinia and many of the Aeolian islands.

>From my experience of Italy - by car, by bus, by train and by boat - I'd advise you to buy a few Michelin maps, one of the country and a few of the particular regions, which are well worth the investment and spread them out on your dining room table for a few weeks. Get a few good guide books from the library and start your research. Italy is one of the easiest countries to get around on your own. Italians are very friendly and hospitable and with a good phrase book you can travel all over on your own. Sure, a tour will give you a lot of highlights but your time is not your own.

I'm sure there are many Ziners who have lots of advice on travelling in Italy and they'll be pleased to share their experiences.