Italy 2012 August – Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between

 

I am starting this narrative [2012-08-06 MO 15:40] a few days before the actual trip.  The idea is to place here all the itinerary materials that I prepared in Excel to be available online (instead of paper).

 

Gather your Things – Stiamo andando a Roma (we are going to Rome)

First, let me present a sequence of preparatory steps:

May 2012 – Picked a destination – Hot Rome instead of an Olympic London
5/21/2012 – Request a long vacation at work
6/15/2012 – Rosetta Stone Italian (Level 1, 2 and 3)
7/8/2012 – Bought direct tickets to Rome – kill me now! – $3,473.20
7/12/2012 – Rick Steves guide books reviewed in detail
8/1/212 – Schedule Anniversary notices to be sent in our absence
8/8/2012 – Bills paid ahead of usual schedule

Here is our itinerary, as it was just before departing for Rome:

 

Date Location Night KM Time Description
8/9
Thu
Boston Last Updated: 2012-08-09 15:24
8/10
Fri
Boston 17:10 Leave Logan – flight AZ 615 @ 17:10 Terminal E ($3,473.20)
8/11
Sat
Fiumicino 0
07:10 Arrive Fiumicino Terminal 3
8:00 Get FR1 train €8 tickets to Ostiense (about 25 minutes).
9:00 Pyramid – Protestant Cemetery
10:30 Fermata CAVE ARDEATINE – Linea 280 (MANCINI) – per 16 fermate – Scendere alla fermata VITTORIA COLONNA
12:00 Leave bags at L’Hotel Sant’Angelo
12:15 Reserve Borghese Gallery
12:30 Perilini in Prati – €8 lunch buffet
13:30 Vatican – €15
19:30 La Rustichella – €7 single trip buffet
20:30 Back to hotel
8/12
Sun
Rome 1
11:00 Colosseum: just register a ticket – €12
11:00 Foro Romano (p.110),
12:00 Monte Palatino (p. 124)
13:00 Lunch
15:00 Colonna di Traiano – free – near VEM
15:15 Traijan Market – free
16:00 Via del Corco
17:00 Borghese Gallery – Roma Path holders reserve +39-063-2810 €12.50 / €8.25
19:00 Scalinata Spagna
20:00 Ужин
21:00 Back to hotel
8/13
Mon
Rome 2
9:00
10:00 Terme di Caracalla – €6/3 – open MO – near M Circo Massimo – bus 81
12:00 Colosseum – open on MO – actual visit
8/14
Tue
Rome 3 Musei Capitolini €8.50 – 9:00-20:00
Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo – €7 /€3.50
8/15
Wed
Rome 4 Car Reservation @ Fs Stazione Termini
92 1:26
Viterbo The Palace of the Popes
Macchina di S. Rosa – rebuilt every year
Parco dei Mostri
31 0:36
8/16
Thu
Bagnoregio 5 Forgotten on the border shell of a town – 2012-06-24 SU – mentioned by Rick Steves
42 0:54
Orvieto Underground city
84 1:23
Castiglione d’Orcia In constant need of repair, steep narrow streets, Fountain – 1618
55 1:10
8/17
Fri
Sienna 6 Shell shaped Piazza del Campo, Park Hotel. Aug 16 – avoid Palio di Siena – horse race
41 0:49
8/18
Sat
San Gimignano 7 Bike tours stop in here Voltera to San Gim. = 31km
50 0:55
Arcetri Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest (Via del Pian dei Giullari)
7 0:15
8/19
Sun
Florence 8 Uffizi – €11+4 – 13:45 conf # 88021
Academia €11+4 – 16:45 conf # 88033
8/20
Mon
Florence 9 Santa Croce – €5- tombs of Galileo Galilei, Niccolò Machiavelli and Michelangelo (9.30-17.30)
8/21
Tue
Florence 10
66 1:03
Collodi 2 parks, stepped streets. Carlo Collodi wrote Pinocchio (1881)
15 00:23
8/22
Wed
Lucca 11 Rick Steves: complete walls that one can bike. Puccini house – Corte San Lorenzo, 8 – re-opened in Sept. 2011
79 0:58
8/23
Thu
La Spezia 12 Base for exploring Cinque Terre
47 0:45 No driving is needed
Levanto -47 Rialroad and Walk Day Trip to Cinque Terre
47 0:45 No driving is needed
8/24
Fri
La Spezia 13 -47 Back to Base after a day trip
64 0:49
Villa Puccini Villa Puccini a Torre del Lago Puccini – Viale Giacomo Puccini, 266
19 0:27
Pisa Tower €15, Duomo €2, Field of Miracles €10 (to Villa Puccini 18km or 0:28) (from Coloddi 48km or 0:48)
110 1:20
8/25
Sat
Piombino 14 Parco Archeologico di Baratti e Populonia – €12
To Elba: Portoferraio has 2 Napoleon museums
103 1:26
8/26
Sun
Scansano 15 Hotel Antico Casale di Scansano
43 0:49
Pitigliano Rising on volcanic tufa peak
37 0:37
8/27
Mon
Canino 16 Very small village – Cerrosughero Hotel
184 2:21
8/28
Tue
Latina 17 Just a middle point on the way back to Naples
193 2:22
8/29
Wed
Naples 18
27 0:35
Pompeii 35 min (860m) path to the top. Crater tour (€6.50) includes a guided walk
30 0:41
8/30
Thu
Sorrento 19 Base to explore the Amalfi coast
18 0:45
8/31
Fri
Capri 20 Gorky on Capri:
(1) 1906-1909 – Villa Krupp – Viale Giacomo Matteotti, 12 – villakrupp.com
(2) Mar 1909 – Feb1911 – Hotel Ercolano / Villa Spinola / Villa Behring or red house – corner of Via Longano and Via Sopramonte
(3) Feb 1911- Dec 1913 Villa Pierina or Villa Serafina – Via Mulo.
34 1:09
9/1
Sat
Positano 21 Amalfi Coast, Ravello
147 2:02
9/2
Sun
Cassino 22 Just a middle point on the way back to Rome
148 1:29
9/3
Mon
Ostia Antica 23 Near Rome Fiumicino
9 0:11
Fiumicino Flight to Boston AZ614 11:00 Terminal 3
Arrive to Logan 14:20 Terminal E
9/4
Tue
Boston
Total 1728 28:25

 

I did a cost estimate for the trip.  This 3-week-trip will cost us more that 10K, and a one cent jump in a cost on Euro (€) will change the estimate $55 up or down.  This estimate is done with 1€ = $1.25 equation:

 

Largest expense is air tickets.  Next are accommodations.  As you can see, this estimate is done based on average €100 per night for a hotel.

 

How to make a reservation for Uffizi and Academia in Florence

(1) First, pick an open date and time slot using http://www.firenzemusei.it/
This site will redirect you to http://www.b-ticket.com.  Switch to English.  As you can see on the picture bellow, in August 2012 openings are available only 9 days from todays date (August 7):

 

 

On the right site, there is information on availability by hour and quarter of an  hour.  Pick your desired time slot, and now you ready to make a call.

(2) Next, call on Skype to Italy -039-055-294-883 ($0.023 a minute from USA)
Call several times, if you get disconnected.  They will ask your desired date and time to visit, and your last name.  No credit card information is needed.   Write down your reservation number and note your pickup gate number.  Expect to pay €15 per person in cash upon arrival.   You will pay €4 per person extra for reservation. Normal tickets without a reservation are €11.

While on the call, also make another reservation for Academia 3or 4 hours later (or earlier). Once again, expect to pay €15 per person in cash upon arrival.

This is as close to ideal as possible.  You do not pay any money upfront – what if your travel plans to change.  And you only need to use your reservation (and pay extra €8), if there is a long “live” line to enter.

 

 

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

It appears a bit easier to reserve a ticket for a Vatican visit.  But you have to actually purchase nonrefundable tickets and the price is €19 (€15 + €4). You can get a reservation for a next day. This is how Vatican availability looks at 8PM European time on August 7:

 

As you can see you still can make a reservation for August 8.  Taking all this into account, and the fact that we will stay very close from Vatican, we will (1) try to avoid paying any money now, and just get in line or (2) reserve right from our hotel room in Rome.

 

 

Currency Wars

If you hold your money in a small bank, you are not obligated to exchange money only there.   Usually, the smaller the bank, the more unfair is the exchange rate.  As of today – 2012-08-09 TH – the official published exchange rate is 1€ = $1.2338.

If you call your local bank, they might wave any fees (you feel warm and cozy now), but they will “kill” you with an astronomic exchange rate – $1.3229. That is over 7% premium on a simple no-brainier transaction.

No, thank you. I better use an ATM with $3 fee and 3% over published exchange rate. On a €1000 transaction this difference turns out to be just under $50.

 

Let’s fly to Rome now.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Navigate through the List

  1. Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2017/09/19)
  2. Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2017/09/23)
  3. Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2017/09/27)
  4. Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2017/10/01)
  5. Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2017/10/05)
  6. Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2017/10/09)
  7. Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2017/10/13)
  8. Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2017/10/17)
  9. Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2017/10/21)
  10. Aug 19 SUN - Firenze - Day 2 - Uffizi Gallery (2017/10/25)
  11. Aug 20 MON - Firenze (Day 3) - Collodi (2017/10/29)
  12. Aug 21 TUE - From Pescia to Lucca (2017/11/02)
  13. Aug 22 WED - Lucca (Toscana) - La Spezia (Liguria) (2017/11/06)
  14. Aug 23 THU - Cinque Terra [... in progress ...] (2017/11/10)
  15. Aug 24 FRI - Torre del Lago Puccini - Pisa and Agriturismo (2017/11/14)
  16. Aug 25 SAT - Agriturismo in Pitigliano [... in progress ...] (2017/11/18)
  17. Aug 26 SUN - Road to Napoli [... in progress ...] (2017/11/22)
  18. Aug 27 MON - Napoli - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2017/11/26)
  19. Aug 28 TUE - From focused Napoli to havenly Sorrento (2017/11/30)
  20. Aug 29 WED - Capri - Day 1 [... in progress ...] (2017/12/04)
  21. Aug 30 THU - Capri - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2017/12/08)
  22. Aug 31 FRI - La Dolce Far Niente [... in progress ...] (2017/12/12)

1 Comment

  1. Alex-
    This travel plan is great! i am actually planning on doing a similar trip. Perhaps less stops but your insight is fantastic.
    Thanks for posting

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