Italy vacation thread

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,711
    The bad......

    Some Hotels, while cheap, do not offer the same amenities others do. For instance, we stayed at one that had no soap, no hot water, the shower was in the same area as the toilet. Yeah, you literally took a shower standing over the toilet.

    Their signage is horrible. Don't expect signage like you see here in the states. Most public bathrooms charge and are not open all the time. So go to the bathroom as often as you can when you have one available.

    They have also the same street vendors hocking their cheap indian or Chinese wares. Some of these people can be very bold and you have to learn to have a stiff response. Some even approached us while we were eating lunch or dinner at outside cafe's. You can imagine what my response was.

    People are not as warm and friendly as one would expect Italians to be. This might put off some people, I simply paid it no mind. Taxi's can be hard to find after 7 in the evening. If you have a hotel call you a taxi, it will cost a few euros more. Most stores close early too so get what you need by around 5. If you smoke, they have certain stores that sell smokes, but are only open limited hours. They have a few stores like what we would consider a convenience store to buy smokes at too but again, after 7 and you may have trouble finding one. One day I had to walk to the next town over to find an open one. Cool store though, they sold smokes, wine by the glass or bottle, fresh sandwiches and Gelato of course.....I stayed awhile. lol
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,711
    The ugly....

    Driving tops this list....do not drive in Italy.

    Customer service at the modes of transportation and Hotels was great, but don't expect good service at many places to eat. I've noticed many under staffed. No ice, luke warm Coke and bottled water. You can ask for ice and it's hit or miss if you'll get it. Customer service from the car rental people was deplorable.

    Attitudes, they simply don't care and it shows. Not all places mind you, but certainly way more than one would expect in a country that depends on tourism.

    The plane ride there and back. Going there....warranted an email of dissatisfaction to American airlines when we got back. The plane had way too tight seating and only 4 monitors for tv in the whole cabin with no choices for anything. This plane should not be used for overseas trips. Coming back we had British Airways, way more room, monitors for every seat built in with all free movies and tv to watch. Blew American away in every aspect.

    If you can afford to do so, fly direct. We used miles we accumulated and they gave us connecting flights from Heathrow. This added way too much time onto our travel schedule with more security to go thru and layovers of up to 4 hours. With the time difference, feels like your traveling for 24 hours and your ready to pull your hair out just to get outside an airport.

    Tours.....specifically the Vatican. They crowd you in like cattle, hot....can barely take a picture without someone bumping into you or a selfie stick hitting you in the head. Their info on where to meet for these tours isn't specific enough either. If you don't buy your tickets before you go, you'll pay more there. If you have no tickets at all, prepare to wait in line 3 hours.

    Allow extra time when traveling around. It takes more time than you'd think or are accustomed to here in the states.
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,711
    edited September 2016
    All in all, it was a fantastic trip and one I'll soon not forget. In spite of the negatives I pointed out, one can't help but feel overwhelmed by the size and scope, beautiful scenery, culture and historical aspects along with the food. I would encourage anyone to go.

    That said, I can see why so many left for the states. Taxes are very high for these people and their socialized medical.....well, good luck finding a hospital or care unit like we have. They have very little industry to employ mass amounts of people, pay isn't all that great either. Tourism....if your not working in that industry or related industry chances are, your not working.

    You have to remember too, after the war they didn't have the tourism they enjoy today. America was the place for opportunity as most of Europe was destroyed. Yes, they have homeless people like we do. You can see them along the rail lines and under bridges with make shift housing. Graffiti too, it's everywhere except at the heart of the touristy places. You go outside Rome, you'd think you were in Cuba or some other third world country. Garbage and graffiti all over, over grown landscapes and houses falling over. Funny though, they have a penchant for all things American. Coke being one, they love their Pringles potato chips and French fries, American cars, and roads that you can actually return on instead of every road there being one way. I hope some of what I laid out here in this thread is of help to anyone who may go for the first time and not know what to expect.

    While we both loved our trip, I must say it was nice to be back in the states. This is home, family....where our roots are laid. Going to other countries certainly makes you think about things. Like why can't we do that....or....make you more appreciative of what we have here. Believe it or not, some other countries do have or do certain things better than us. I have no idea why we can't cherry pick some of these ideas and incorporate them here.

    Like in the Wizard of Oz....there's no place like home.
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    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

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  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,855
    Wow... just wow. Some of the pictures are breathtaking. Loved reading all of your reviews Tony. Thank you so much for sharing. Italy tops the list of places I'd like to visit in my lifetime, and I'll surely refer to this thread if and when we are able to make the trip happen!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,711
    Like I said earlier, pics just don't do it justice. The wife and I constantly turned to each other and asked how we could ever explain what we saw to others back home. We can't, it's just one of those things you have to see for yourself.

    We kept putting this particular vacation off, always something else to dedicate the money to. We finally said screw it and saved for a year to make it happen. You keep making excuses and you'll never do anything. Just make it a priority and you'll get there.

    Remember my previous posts about all the parties, when we were suppose to be saving for the trip ? Yeah, you may get side tracked along the way but keep your feet to the fire and make it happen. Whatever your destination may be.
    HT SYSTEM-
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    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
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    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

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    Tad 803 speakers
  • lakersgirl25lakersgirl25 Posts: 1
    edited December 2019
    hey yeah Italy is beautiful. We stayed there for a few weeks (mostly the northen Italy , like Milano and the Como lake) before we went on with our trip and went to Eastern England (Suffolk, Cambridge, Essex). We rented this beautiful cozy holiday home in the valley. Supper pretty. It's pet friendly and the nature reminded me of the Napa Valleys. You can check them out here https://www.idyllicsuffolk.com. It's not Italy of course bit it does come pretty darn close
    Post edited by lakersgirl25 on
  • verbverb Posts: 8,838
    edited December 2019
    Well well, another spammer! But, I was glad to have gone through the memories of your trip @tonyb ! Looks like it was an amazing trip! The Mrs and I spend a few days in Rome, and absolutely loved it! :smile:
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  • maximillianmaximillian Posts: 2,091
    Nice pics. Can't wait to spend more time there myself. I get there occasionally to visit relatives at the end of a work trip. I am due to take the wife back though.

    I love driving in Italy. Yes, difficult and parking is horrendous. Customer service for car rentals is hit and miss. I have had both great and terrible service. Yeah, they often don't care. Same goes for government and banks.

    Italy can be dirty and is probably getting worse. They took in about a million immigrants over the past few years and homelessness and violence is on the rise. I had an immigrant once bug me for money inside a restaurant. I told him to leave my family alone and he yelled at me. Fortunately he left after that. Restaurants sometimes don't do anything to avoid violence. Laws there often protect them over normal folks.

    It's a beautiful place. Springtime with flowers blooming is gorgeous. Many small towns are simply astounding to walk through. The Vatican & its museum is a site to behold but so touristy. Laid back lifestyle. But it's hard to live there unless you are retired or rich. America is such a blessed place. It's home for me too. Welcome home.
  • verb wrote: »
    Well well, another spammer! But, I was glad to have gone through the memories of your trip @tonyb !

    This spammer was beneficial because I missed this thread when it was first published. Excellent matter-of-fact style trip review. Thanks Tony.
    tonyb wrote: »
    Going to other countries certainly makes you think about things. Like why can't we do that....or....make you more appreciative of what we have here. Believe it or not, some other countries do have or do certain things better than us. I have no idea why we can't cherry pick some of these ideas and incorporate them here.

    We can't because to do so would be messing with some influential person's, organization's, or corporation's money. There is sometimes a lot of profit wrapped up in doing things the old, inefficient way (or not doing it at all).



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