Today's post is my 400th post!
Since I started this blog by sharing my trip to Italy two summers ago, what better way to celebrate my 400th post than to share my plans for my upcoming trip to Italy this summer.
If you asked me last week what my plans were, I would have told you that I had no idea. For a couple of months now, I have been going back and forth over whether or not to return to Italy this summer. With the economy the way it is, talks of a possible cut in our pay or an increase in the amount of our share of monthly insurance payments (which basically is a cut in our pay), and even the threat of taking away the medical benefits we have been promised for decades to receive when we retire if we don't retire by June 30th this year (which would mean I would need to seriously consider retiring now and would be out of a job), I kept thinking that I should be the responsible adult and wait until all of this is settled before making any plans. Yesterday, I decided *screw it*! You never know what the future will bring. The airfares are a little more reasonable at the moment, the exchange rate is better than it was last year at this time, and I am dreaming of Italy again...
Although I am always thinking about my next trip to Italy, I have been pretty undecided for months now on just where in Italy to go. Train schedules are usually a deciding factor in how I plan my trips. For some reason, I just could not come up with a plan that was working out. Then last night, it all sort of fell together after finally realizing that an open jaw ticket would work best and after plugging in a few new different train combinations on Trenitalia.
This is what my plan looks like at the moment...
*Flying into Fiumicino Airport outside of Rome. Taking the train into Rome and then hopping on another train to Arezzo.
*4 nights in Arezzo
Although I am a little tempted to stay in Rome a night or two I think Arezzo would be a better place to deal with my jet lag. I visited Arezzo two years ago on a daytrip. I really enjoyed my short visit there and knew then that I wanted to return for a longer stay in Arezzo some day. If it works out, I would like to do a daytrip to Orvieto while in Arezzo. I spent a few nights in Orvieto many years ago and have always wanted to return there again, even if just as a quick daytrip. Now that I have a digital camera, I would like to take more photos of Orvieto.
So far, I have found one recommended hotel in Arezzo, the Hotel Continentale Arezzo. Venere.com gives it good reviews. I also found one recommendation for this same hotel on Slow Travel. I would greatly appreciate any other recommendations anyone might have on hotels in Arezzo. Many of the hotels seem to be located just outside of Arezzo. I will be traveling by train and would prefer to stay in the city center.
*6 nights in Lucca
During my very first trip to Italy, I spent two nights in Lucca. That was 10 years ago. I think about that trip often. The above photo of Lucca hangs on my wall to remind me of my time there. I have been thinking of returning to Lucca for a while now. I almost went to Lucca last summer but could not work out the train arrangements. I was having the same problem this year until Arezzo popped into my mind. I checked with trenitalia and the train times and connections sealed the deal. Arezzo ended up being my key to Lucca.
I emailed the B&B La Romea last night and am so excited that they still have a room available. I now have a reservation for the green room at this beautiful B&B with rave reviews located inside the city walls of Lucca. While in Lucca, I plan to do a daytrip to Pisa and finally climb La Torre Pendente di Pisa (the tower of Pisa).
*5 nights in Bologna
How could I not visit Bologna again after all my recent blog posts, dreaming about the food in Bologna, the beautiful buildings, and all I have yet to see there. I emailed my favorite hotel, Hotel Porta San Mamalo, and they are saving me a room. While in Bologna I plan to do at least one daytrip, maybe two. I am not sure if I will return to Ferrara, Parma, or Modena or visit somewhere new. I have been thinking about maybe Reggio Emilia.
I always try to go to at least one new location each time I visit Italy. I also usually plan at least one of my stays as a location on the lake or the sea. This year, thanks to Dana's Stresa Sights blog, I have been inspired to spend some time in Stresa, which is located on Lake Maggiore. I stayed in Locarno, Switzerland, which is located on the northern part of this lake, back in 2003 but have never been to any of the Italian towns on Lake Maggiore. I am still working on finding a hotel for my stay in Stresa. Dana has been very helpful, asking friends about hotels in the area and helping me with location suggestions. I would greatly appreciate any other recommendations anyone might have on hotels or B&Bs in Stresa.
*A few nights in Coccaglio
My last stop will be a visit with my friends Katia & Guido in Coccaglio. I can't wait to see Katia & Guido and their new house they have been building. They are supposed to move in by the end of March, but of course there have been many delays. Diana's blog posts about construction in Italy will help you understand the craziness of construction in Italy. Click here to read one example of her numerous construction nightmares.
My final night will be at an airport hotel and then I will fly out of Malpensa Airport near Milan. I will probably stay at the First Hotel again. I stayed there last year and was happy as one can be at an airport hotel. I still need to do a review on this hotel.
Now I just need to purchase my airline ticket (which makes this trip real) and renew my passport or I'm not going anywhere.
I have not forgotten about Bologna and will finish my 10 reasons later this week.