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new trip to Italy...let the planning begin

Today's post is my 400th post!

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), 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 was not able to come up with a plan that was working out. Then last night, after I plugging in a few new different train combinations on Trenitalia, it all sort of fell together with an open jaw ticket option.

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
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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
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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
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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.


*6 nights in Stresa (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
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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
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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.

Comments (19)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, wow looks like a fantastic trip so far! I had not heard of Stressa before, that place looks awesome! It's cool that you'll be visiting your friends again. I can't wait to hear more about your trip! I'm with you, I think we need to do the things that we love. I say go for it!!

Congrats on your 400 post! Let the planning begin is right . . .

menehune:

This sounds heavenly! I'm totally jealous -- did I miss how long you plan to be there - two weeks? Sorry I don't have any recommendations to give you for lodging but I second Lucca and Orvieto -- I only spent a day in each place. Super itinerary -- I spent sometime in Northern Italy and especially loved the tiny town of Garda.

I agree that you never know what life will send you so DO IT NOW! We'll look forward to reliving it with you in future posts/photos.

Anne:

Sounds wonderful!! I'd be jealous except that I am SO looking forward to my own trip to Newfoundland this summer :) I really want to visit Arezzo one of these trips, I almost went as a daytrip from Florence last October, but didn't for no particular reason other than that I was enjoying my journey of wandering the streets and hills of Florence too much to go anywhere (other than my visit with Maria in Venice, of course.) Look forward to sharing in your travel planning.

It all sounds fabulous!

sandrac:

Yay Girasoli, this sounds like a fantastic plan!!!! (And I owe you an email to talk further!)

Your itinerary sounds just wonderful. I was really impressed with Arezzo on my short day trip last September and would love to go back. (for what it's worth, two years ago I took the trains directly from Rome's airport to Cortona and I can tell you what routing I worked out. I think Arezzo and Cortona are quite closer neighbours on the same rail line.)

And since you so clearly love Bologna, I'm very happy to hear that you're returning there as well -- it sounds so wonderful.

I really liked Lucca as well and Dana's blog has got me fascinated with Stresa, perhaps next year I'll see it -- it looks so beautiful in photos. And its wonderful that you'll get to see your friends in Coccaglio again.

I think it's wise to occasionally throw financial caution to the wind. I have the impression you live quite simply all year (as I try to do -- no fancy car or big house) and our reward is a nice trip to Italy. You will have such a wonderful time planning and taking this trip!

Yay! I'm thrilled to see you planning a trip and throwing caution to the wind. I'm on the verge of doing that myself...

I'm looking forward to the planning. It sounds like an amazing trip on the making. I went to Arezzo and Lucca eight years ago but they were both day trips. It left me wanting to stay longer. Never been to Orvieto and Stressa so I'll be taking notes on both. And it's wonderful that you'll be visiting your friends in Coccaglio. What a perfect way to spend the last days on Italian soil!

Congratulation on your 400th post!

Barb Cabot:

This phrase comes to mind and by the way I'm shouting it"
YOU GO----OOOO GIRL!"

Yippee, you're going to Italy! Lovely! I'm so happy for you.

Marcia:

I really like your itinerary for this trip and am so glad someone is going this summer, really. We are staying stateside for various reasons, mostly family events, and I have the Italy itch even as I type this. Living vicariously, drinking Italian wines, will have to do me for awhile. And a lot of pasta.

A great decision IMHO! I am jealous of your lucca time. Perhaps the good folks at B and B LaRomea could give you the collection of Cds we left in the red room last year! LOL

sheri:

I, too, am glad that you are doing this . The trip sounds wonderful No big trips for us this year, so Iwill look forward to your planning & trip!

Jane:

The planning is almost like being there--well, almost. And I think the decision to go this year is a good one--and next year, too. When is this happening? I wonder if it will coincide with when we are there--it would be good to GTG.

Congrats on 400 posts. I've been blogging since 2005 and am not there yet--guess I had best do better. :)

nancyhol:

Woo Hoo! I am so happy you have made the decision to go back to Italy this summer! And your itinerary so far looks great!

So exciting . . .

You are all so sweet to be so excited for me. Sadly at the moment I am not a very happy camper about this trip.

Palma:

I love your itinerary. I really want to hear about Stressa! We seem to love the same places in Italy, so I trust your opinions completely. Everyone seems to love it. Of course, I will be picturing you in the lovely garden and breakfast room of San Mamolo too, and I'd love a couple days in Lucca for some of my favorite shops!

You will find a new good fare!

Love it, girasoli!

jgk:

In preparation for St. Patricks day--I'm GREEN, with envy.
jan

I am late to the party but this sounds like an amazing trip! So many cool places! Arezzo indeed looks lovely.

Girasoli, this looks like a wonderful trip. I like your approach of mixing old favorites and new places and also staying on the water.

And I'm glad you did get your airline ticket-- though that's just awful about the sale ending early. BAD Continental!

I lost track on this post with my commenting....sorry for the delay.

Palma, I do find it interesting that we have been to so many of the same places. I also follow the places you stay hoping to visit someday as well. I am sort of wavering about Stresa a little right now. Not finding hotels I am happy with. Those breakfasts at the hotel in Bologna were wonderful. I loved the way the guy making the coffee knew just what I wanted by day two.

candi, glad you approve :)

jan, does that mean you are not going this year? I hope you are able to plan another trip soon.

Chiocciola, I am really excited about Arezzo!

kaydee, I am glad you like my itinerary. I am still very upset at Continental. You would think with all the trouble the airlines are in, they would try not to piss off customers, but it seems that is what all of the airlines are doing these days.

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