Trip planned for May 2012
  • My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy for May of this year. We want to see small town, historic sites and the country side probably mostly in Tuscany and Umbria with trips to Venice, Florence and regions north. We will probably fly into Milan but don't want to spend much time there. Not sure if we will go to Rome because of the number of tourists there and the amount of time but haven't ruled it out. We are thinking we'll travel by train part of the time and will rent a car for part of it. Not sure yet how many days we'll have but probably 12 - 15 days. We are in our sixties so we want to travel at a leisurely pace and enjoy the culture and the people and see some of the best historic sites and architecture. We'd love to hear your travel experiences good and bad to help us plan our trip.
  • Hello ,
    I am a travel consultant specializing in custom planned itineraries for individuals and small groups( families) planning travel in Italy. Italy is my area of expertise and at this point, I limit my planning services to that beautiful country. I have planned many trips for families in various budget categories and I am confident that you will be happy with the trip we might plan together.

    I work very closely with my clients to ensure that they have the type of experience desired within your budget, timeframe, interests etc. We
    would first pin down the time frame and itinerary (where to go and how long in each place) and then I would provide you with accommodation options for the location(s), transportation etc. Once you have made your selection, I would make all reservations including accommodations, car rental, train reservations, museum and guided tours, travel insurance, cell phone rental, etc. Basically everything you might need. I will provide advice for getting around Italy, suggestions for daily activities, restaurant recommendations, sites to see, what to pack, etc, etc. Basically I will help you with any and all your questions and requests.

    I live in a small city outside of Rome for half the year and spend some time traveling around the country every year. I have extensive experience in the country that will be of great assistance in your planning.
    As a travel consultant, I charge a fee for my services and am therefore not tied to commissions paid by service providers. I search for the best value for you based on your desires and budget. While I make all reservations, you will pay the service provider directly and thus know exactly what prices I have been able to negotiate. You will have the confidence of a well planned trip at reasonable cost. I believe that this service will be especially useful this year. Given the dollar/ euro exchange rate it will be very helpful to have the advice of someone who lives there and can provide information about how to get the most value. -My fee would be between $350 and $500 depending on the arrangements needed and that is a flat fee. The consulting fee is a small portion of the total cost of a vacation and my clients have told me that it was well worth it as they were really prepared for the vacation, actually saved money and were able to relax and enjoy it all.

    I should also add that I remain available to you even after the planning is complete for all your last minute questions or needs. My goal is for you to feel like you have a guide even though you are traveling on your own.
    If you are interested in my service I would suggest a preliminary telephone conversation( no commitment necessary) to get some basic information on itinerary, interests, mode of travel , budget etc. I would be happy to call you at some appointed time or you could contact me at your convenience.
    I hope to hear from you soon and that we will be working together.
    Thank you for considering Travel Italy Now.
    Sincerely,

    Ann Masters
    Travel Consultant
    Travel Italy Now
    annmasters@travelitalynow
    212- 749 3793
  • @annmasters - perhaps you would be better off promoting yourself by answering the reader's question and providing some of the information she is looking for. That would be more convincing of the expertise you claim, and also help other readers of this thread in their travel planning.
  • Yeah I agree. We are hoping there are a few individuals out there that can give us a few ideas before we book our tickets so we will know more about the costs, best places that would meet the expectations of what we are looking for and then we'll determine how many days we'll be there. I don't think a consultant would be a bad idea but we'd have to know they had some real expertise and were trustworthy too. Thanks DavidF
  • Hello, I'm Franck, italian tour guide. I'll try to help you to define better what you really can do during your vacation in Italy. First of all, there is much to see out here! They will need to be selective but I guess you already got this point. I do recommend you to visit Rome even if it will not be a "complete" visit of the city it could consist in a basic one, including the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum and Roman forum (do only one of the sites, choosing the ancient times rather than the Museums for example) and experiencing a bit of Roman Dolce Vita, wandering in the narrow streets of the historic center for a full day, visiting the Pantheon and the main famous squares of the city. This ould mean only one or two nights to take it easy and not miss the most emblematic city of all Italy.
    The month of May is ideal but there are many groups visiting the country though. The important thing is to choose well at what time do what and for instance, when in San Gimignano, stay there from the early afternoon the time it takes to stroll in the ancient town until a late lunch on the main square where you can have a delicious salami of the Cinta Senese (a local pig) with a glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOC for example. Considering all the places where you could go is simply impossible but don't miss to visit some of the many wineries if you like wine of course!
    Florence will please you a lot I'm quite sure even because you could mainly do slow walking tours and discover as for Rome the unique monuments it holds for you. Everytime you decide, there are even Museums to visit like Galleria degli Uffizi, Accademia etc. and many gorgeous squares, markets and strolls alogside the Arno river.
    In Umbria, don't miss Spoleto that you could visit on your way to Rome from Florence, driving up and downhill at the very feet of the Apennines, the main Italian mountain chain.
    When you get to the small towns, there usually is a parking called ckeckpoint or whatever, just outside the town. Leave your car there and walk. The car is useful especially if you plan to go for wineries, agriturismi (farmhouses) and to enjoy the landscape.
    By the way before leaving you for now, consider even Milan, at least to climb on the top of the Cathedral, its architecture is really breathtaking! You could even go to the Lake of Como, by car in order to sleep in Brunate for instance where you find excellent quality bed and breakfast and where you can eat Polenta. The following morning, take the small cabin down to thecity of Como where you can feel 100% the atmosphere of the lake and take an hydrofoil to one of the small cute town like Bellagio to get wonderful pictures of the lake.
    I could of course continue but I need to understand better what you really need to know and are your interests. Enjoy!
    Franck

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