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1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Bella Vista...
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1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Hello! I'm coming to the experts as you all made my trip to Alaska one of the best!

My husband and I are finally taking a trip to Italy. We are using a friend who books trips to Italy specifically to book our accommodations and transfers but he has asked us what we would like to do each day and we have no idea. It will be March and still cold, yes? What can we do and see during your "winter" months? We love to walk and our friend convinced us not to pack in too much each day so that we can experience the "real" Italy.

Here is our itinerary:

Day 1-4: Tuscany based in farmhouse in Cortona w/day trip to Chiusi and Florence

Seeing David statue and Accademia and have cooking class scheduled

Day 5-7: Rome based near Spanish Steps

Seeing Vatican, Ancient Rome etc. Also visiting a shoemaker

Day 8-10: Venice based near Sestiere Castello

Seeing Doge's Palace

Day 11-13: Lake Como based in Lenno w/day trip to Milan

Seeing fashion district and Last Supper.

My husband loves animals so zoos and aquariums are not off the table. He wants to visit the Hot Springs in Tuscany but that is as far as we've gotten with our planning. We rode bikes in Alaska so we are not opposed to biking in Italy. We love looking at waterfalls, nature, scenery. Leisurely is the key!! We will have to save Southern Italy and Sicily for our next trip when it's warmer and we can enjoy the beaches. We love the beach! Thanks in advance!!

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Province of Arezzo, Italy
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Province of Siena, Italy
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13 replies to this topic
Orlando, Florida
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1. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

My initial thougts.

Get a Rick Steves guidebook. It’s like a bible for first timers.

In my opinion it would be better to stay in Florence and possibly day trip to Cortona. Much more to see and do in Florence.

Lake Como is probably going to be very cold in March so again I would opt to stay in Milan and go take a boat ride on the lake one day.

Just food for thought. It all depends what you are trying to do.

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Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Milan
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2. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Cooler in March but even so the temps can get to 70 degrees, 50 degrees is normal and some rain. Don't let that dissuade you however.

You say Day 1-4, does that mean 3 nights, if so you only have 2 full days, if you really mean 4 full days then you are in good shape. Day 1 arrive, day 2 and day 3 see sights, day 4 travel, or, arrive, day 1-4 full, depart day 5. So, be sure you are making the right arrangements for the time you have.

Seems like if you are in Cortona you should try to spend some time in Siena which is close by. Of course Assisi is close by as well and many great towns, like Montefalco, in Umbria. Lots of wineries there as well.

In Venice two things, 1) buy a multi day vaparetto ticket, it will save you a ton of money getting around, and, 2) go to Isola San Giorgio Maggiore and take the lift up the campanile (bell tower) for spectacular views of the Venice lagoon and the city itself.

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Province of Arezzo, Italy
Siena
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Province of Siena, Italy
Assisi
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Province of Perugia, Italy
Montefalco
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Province of Perugia, Italy
Umbria
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San Giorgio Maggiore
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Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

The best place for anything "Rick Steves" is in the bin.

Avoid like the plague or everything that you will do / see, you will be surrounded by other American lemmings.

As for the "real Italy".....looks like you have a lot of tourists sights mixed in with a bit of real Italy.

Italy is not known for zoos but the Bioparco di Roma is worth a visit.

There are some pretty waterfalls in Italy.....but you will have to seek them out.

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Saint Marys, Ohio
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4. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Get a good guidebook such as the DK Eyewitness Guide-Italy and take a look through it to see what interests you. It has a lot of very good photographs and information.

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5. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Forgot to mention Marmore waterfall in Treni. They turn it on for an hour then off. Check the schedule.

Bella Vista...
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6. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

Thank you all for the suggestions and thanks Jerry M for the book suggestion. I haven't heard of the DK travel books and when I looked it up online, it seems a great way for me to see what is available to see in each region I'm in.

RGS011, our friend also said to count our days as nights so my numbers are for nights as the travel days will be for travel. Do you think we should spread our time differently? Too many nights in Tuscany? Too much time in Venice? What do you recommend for time allotted? Also, thanks for the suggestions. We are writing them down. How does one turn a waterfall "off?"

Datthecoast, is there a reason you don't like the Rick Steves book? My sister went to Italy a few years ago and she said it was the best book. It had tips for travel using the train system, restaurant recommendations etc and most reviews online say to get both the DK book AND Rick Steves. I'm asking because I have watched his tv programs and frankly I find him rather dull so I was wondering if the book was the same way. For Alaska, we used the Frommer's and Fodor books. Great information.

All:

Are there things that you can read about seeing but are NOT good to see in March? Our friend said that the coast is not as picturesque in the winter months (like all the pictures you Google) and that was part of the reason we are saving southern Italy for another trip. I want to see it when it's most beautiful. We are definitely beach people and my husband is NOT a wine person. We lived for many years in Northern CA near the Napa vineyards. Are there beaches that would be picturesque in March or no?

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City of Venice, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
Orlando, Florida
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7. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

I think it is important for you to decide what you want to experience on your trip. Is it art, architecture, history, food etc? That will guide you. Also do you plan to return. I didn’t go to Rome on my first trip because the priority was Tuscany and the smaller Hill towns.

For 13 days I would consider keeping it to 3 areas because checking out traveling and checking in eats up time. You can always day trip from a place.

You can find guide books from many sources and everyone will have an opinion about them. Buy a few and tear out the pages that you want to take with you. Happy planning.

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Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
St Paul, MN
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8. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

I spent a week in tuscany in Volterra, the first week in March this year. At the beginning of March everything in Volterra was open except the Etruscan Acropolis. Compared to where I live, it was like spring there. pictures.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

Edited: June 14, 2018, 5:59 am
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Volterra
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Province of Pisa, Italy
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9. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

We were in Florence in mid April 2018 and it was very warm. We packed for cooler weather and were pleasantly surprised. But is springtime so you can never be sure. One day we did a Vespa tour in the wine area that included lunch at a farmhouse. They do these tours year round so that might be something to consider?

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Florence
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Montepulciano, Italy
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10. Re: 1st trip to Italy in March, what to do

"We were in Florence in mid April 2018 and it was very warm."

I knew this would happen. It is very important to remember please that April 2018 was the warmest April on record in Italy, it was an anomaly, and should not be taken as an example of what the weather is normally like. You were very fortunate and I'm delighted for you but most years it's 10 degrees C cooler and often very wet. Ditto March. It very much depends when in March for, like October, it's a month that can be very different at the beginning than at the end (beginning still being winter, end possibly early spring). It's also one that usually sees at least a snow shower or two. You say you are reading about places in guide books and wondering what they are like in March? May I be extremely blunt? I personally reckon the towns are a safer bet at that time of the year (especially if you are coming early) for the countryside doesn't always look at its best and country houses can be cold, damp and hellishly expensive to heat. Make a base and day trip, Florence works well for this or even Siena.

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Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Italy
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Province of Siena, Italy
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