Subject: Itinerary for Italy
Hello Ziners!

Just wondering if anyone would be able to give me some advice about this itinerary I have come up with for the trip my mother and I will be going on in January. Our travel agent has recommended some accomodation for us but we're not sure what these places are like. I have been reading through the posts and found that a lot of small places (the ones which are open), especially in winter, can be pretty friendly and will allow you to get a better glimpse of what Italy and Italian people are like. I have a feeling that some of the places the agent has recommended wont give us this experience. We are trying to be budget conscious as well though.

I have been doing some research into where would like to go and we have come up with this itinerary. We will be starting in London and then spending a few days in Paris first though.

10th - 11th Jan - Paris (by Eurail) - our travel agent recommended we stay in the Des Artes Hotel (any comments?)

12th Jan - Chateau De Brecourte - Normandy (A suggestion by our travel agent - any comments?)

From here our travel agent recommended that we travel from Paris to Venice via train. I looked the travel time up online and found it would be about 12 hours. We thought that instead we could catch a train to Torino (Turin) which is 5 and a half hours and then stay there overnight. Then over the next day stop in Milan and Verona for a half day each before getting to Venice. Is this feasible? If so, is there any accomodation recommendations for Turin?

15th & 16th Jan - Venice - The agent recommended Hotel Panada for our stay here. Is this a nice place or are there any other recommendations for a nice place to stay but not too expensive?

From here our agent recommended we hire a car and travel from Venice through Tuscany to Rome.

Our plan for this is.

17th & 18th in Florence - The agent recommended we stay at the Toscana Hotel.

19th - 21st - staying in Sienna and travelling to the smaller cities/villages in the area - This was our idea, our agent's itinerary allocated 2 days for this, staying at the Palazzo Dei Priori Hotel. Which length would be better? We would like to see San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Montalcino and Cortona

We also discovered that this was a Best Western hotel. We were kind of hoping to stay in a smaller, more "Italian" or "Tuscan" hotel. Is there any suggestions?

This is where it starts to get difficult.

22nd - From here we were thinking of dropping the car off in Rome and then catching the train to Naples to see a bit of the city as well as a 1/2 day trip to Pompeii. Our agent recommended a whole day for a trip to Pompeii but this was before our trip was cut down by 2 days. I will have to talk to her about the shorter tour but does anyone know of any? We are still interested in going to see this city.

23rd - Amalfi - Perhaps staying in Sorrento for the night and the day but we are not sure.

24th - 25th - Rome - Our agent recommended we stay at the Kennedy Hotel near Termini Station. Is this a nice place or is there recommendations for somewhere else?

26th - Leave for home at 10 am

This is just a preliminary itinerary that probably needs a lot of tweaking to make it work. I would really, really appreciate any suggestions that anyone can make on it to make it better. Is it going to be rushed?

Anyway. Thanks to everyone in advance.