Subject: Re: Seeking opinions on Italy itinerary
Hi, Jack & other Ziners,

Having just returned from a glorious visit to Italy, I would like to chime in with some of my opinions & experiences. First of all, Rome, a city with more charm than I've ever seen or imagined, is not car-friendly. It is expansive, however, and well worth exploring via foot, train, bus, and/or metro. July will be quite warm, from all accounts I've read, so perhaps less walking and more riding.

My travel partner, who had attended a cooking school in the Tuscan region back in 1997, day-tripped with me to Florence via a tour group, and I was surprised how small the city was. My friend was somewhat disappointed with the tour's itinerary, saying that when she visited before with her cooking pals, she saw a more intimate side of it. We were able to see the Tuscan countryside only through the windows of our bus, but my friend continues to talk about how warm and wonderful her experience was there.

As for Vatican City, the line to get into the Museum was frighteningly long, even at the beginning of tourist season. But, it moves very quickly, so don't let it discourage you. Have a gelatto & a little patience; it will be worth it! St. Peter's is awesome, & you can attend mass there one of several times during the day, even if you don't get to see the Pope (who, I've read, may be at another location during summer.)

I urge you to pick up one of Rick Steves' guidebooks weeks before you go. Even if you're not a budget traveler, his series seems to be one of the most informative for independent travel planning. If you are the true explorer type, you might find yourself indulging in afternoon naps, so try not to overbook! I hope you, too, feel as if you are leaving an old friend when your plane departs to return you home.


Lisa in Ft. Lauderdale, FL