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Countdown to Venice

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

Countdown to Venice

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T minus 5 days.

Aside from Venice, I've got about a week's vacation to screw around in Italy for. I'm flying space-available, out of either Milan or Rome.
Questions, then.

Anything in particular you think I Absolutely Must go see while in Italy?
Anything you would say wasn't worth the bother of going to see?
Anyone out there actually surprised that apparently there is not a single Starbucks coffee shop in Italy (the world travel souvenir for a few years now has been a starbucks mug from city of visit)?
  • Must do: long walks at night in Venice. Totally different city than during the day. Much much better.

    Try to book a "secrets of the doge palace" tour. I don't know if English-language tours run at all, but I guess that's the type of stuff you could like.

    If you plan on visiting museums a lot and taking vaporettos, get the Venice Card (you'll still have to stand in lines but you can save money overall). The lady and I got the orange one for the 3 days we where there and it was perfect.
    • Long walks at night in any city that I visit are a must-do. I am too much a night-owl.

      The Secrets of the Doge's Palace tour is definitly something I was considering. Do they run them in French?

      And the Venice Card. I'll look for that.

      Thanks a bundle!
    • Apparently they do do the "secrets of the doge's palace" tour in english like 3 times a week, so figure it out right when you get there if you can: I didn't, & did not get to do it. Oh well. The Doge's Palace is awesome anyway. Have a great time!

      P.S. Gondola rides are hella expensive but we took one at night, and it was just really cool. They get you off the Grand Canal & through all the little back canals. It's pitch black.
  • Anywhere in Italy? The only part of Italy I've been in was Naples. It has some nice churches. But Pompeii was really cool. naples isn't /too/ far from Rome.
    • Oh, and I've heard relly good things about the Blue Grotto. That's in capri I think, also down near there.
      • Sadly, the Blue Grotto has apparently been closed for a while. It was when we went in 2001; they said it likely would be for some time (in years). Rising water levels have made it less safe for boat traffic.
    • Yeah, anywhere: the idea is I'm spending a week in Venice, then some time in Florence, and then I am gonna hare off on my own, winding up @ Milan or Rome to go home.
  • About the Starbucks thing: apparently Italians have the good taste and sense to keep them out of their damn country. Plus, I'd rather have a REAL cappucino any day. :)

    If I was on a trip to Italy and had some time and cash to wander around, I'd go to Nice and see the Tower of Pisa. I'd probably also spend a few days in Rome, doing the tourist thing. I'm a sucker for monuments, though; St. Peter's Basilica might not interest you as much as it interests me.

    Have a great time, and I'd love to see pics!
  • ROME, man! ROME! Go and feel the sidewalks for me.

    In the city love way, not in the sidewalk fetish way.
    • I'm thinking Venice->Florence->Rome, yeah; even though it's backtracking, well... Rome is more intriguing to me than Milan.

      Though Milan has the advantage of a coworker's family...
      • It's a very alluring city, isn't it?

        At the risk of food_porning on you: anywhere you go? Definitely eat at neat local places. I'm sure you know the travel rule of thumb: any hole-in-the-wall with a full parking lot is good.

        Or a druglord meeting place. But that was just the one time.
        • I learned the travel rule-of-thumb in Costa Rica.
          Best restaurant I have ever eaten in in my life. Bar none. Utterly none.
          And so cheap!

          Cheap is good- accomodations are going to be like $100/night. Yow.
  • Assisi, in central Italy, is tranquil and very chill, in an old world cobblestone way. at least, it was 10 years ago.

    go to Bologna for the food.

  • You're not going to Florence, are you? Because the leather shops there make some pretty stuff. On the other hand I haven't been there in over 20 years, waah.

    I remember Milan as having absolutely wonderful boutiques and things. Of course you should see the Colosseum and the Vatican etc...the Vatican museum zomg. I was 14 and sick as a dog, so I can't remember as much as I'd like to.

    Italy!!! *sigh*
    • Florence is indeed next stop after Venice, so I know now to look for a good leather shoulderbag. :D
      Everybody seems to think Rome is a priority, definitely.
      • Italy sounds great, but it's the Florence bit that's making me especially envious of you right now.
        • What about Florence is inspiring envy?
          • (great icon btw)

            It's just someplace I've ALWAYS wanted to go but haven't gotten around to doing so yet. I'm a huge Florentine Renaissance geek.
  • I'd personally be seeking out modern troupes performing commedia dell'arte, or at least some stock character masks to admire.
  • Rome.

    The Capucine Church or The Bone Church
    Via Veneto near the Metro stop and Piazza Barberinin

    Goth club full of hawt Italian boys who like Bauhaus and Bowie:

    The catacombs of Saint Sebastian:
    Via Appia Antica 136, Rome, Italy
    * Tel: 06-785-0350
    (yep, he's really down there)

    Santa Maria
    gothic church on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva
    probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

  • (no subject) - gblake
  • Save a day for St. Peter's and the Vatican museum. It's right there, and more interesting than most people think. Of note, in the museum, take a look at all the Greek and Roman sculpture that is about as far from Catholic as one can get. Note: Do not eat in any of the tiny cafes that are also right there unless you believe spending $35 for two iced teas, one glass of water, and a small ham sandwich is a part and parcel of a good time.

    Rome has awesome flea markets. They're 90% crap, but that 10% is made up for in vintage clothes of all kinds, and people passing through from all over the world to sell things like antique Indian silver jewelry (the stuff we saw was museum quality, no exaggeration, and priced very reasonably), medals from all over Europe, Russian military uniforms, bizarre antiques -- you name it. That 10% is worth a few hours wander.
  • In Milan, I have enjoyed very much the white marble Duomo (cathedral); anyone who maintains any sort of interest in the gothic will like its gargoyles, if not the cool, dark splendor of its interior and the wedding-cake-on-drugs external architecture.

    Also good are the collection of medieval arms and armor in the Castello, the fashion street (blanking on the name), and the little 4th century church of Saint Ambrose (sant'ambrogio) complete with corpse in the crypt. His hands, face, AND TONGUE are miraculously preserved, and the reliquaries on display look garish and childlike until you realize that that 3-inch-wide cabochon is not plastic, it's actually a ruby, and those ones next to it are emeralds and sapphires.

    Rome is Rome; have some violet-flavored gelato at the Piazza Navona and think of me.
    • Oh, yeah, the Milan train station. Try to scare up an excuse to be there. I had my first ever cappucino there and it remains the benchmark by which all others are judged.

      (Starbucks. Jesus. You philistine.)
  • Be sure to attend the Changing of the Stick in Silvio Berlusconi's ass.
  • We found that there was maybe two days worth of stuff to do in Venice and that's it. Milan was pretty much a waste, we wish we had gone nearly anywhere else in Italy.

    Much preferred France in general, but I've heard from others that northern Italy just ain't up to snuff and Rome/central/southern Italy is tons better.
    • I'm figuring I will likely do some day trips out from Venice, yeah. I'm already booked there for a week.
      Thanks for the input!
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