Trip Planning!

For years Jason and I have talked about going to Italy.

Unfortunately with our schedules when we both used to work in professional hockey, the only time of year we were able to go would have been summer and honestly, as much as I wanted to go, the idea of standing in un-airconditioned museums in the brutal heat during the busy tourist season just did not sound appealing to me (I’m sure you’ve gathered by now if you’re a regular reader that I do NOT do heat well!).

Now that we’re both back in school I’ve been thinking our March break this year may be the perfect time to go!  (I’m sure I won’t have time once I start a 3-year doctorate program, so may as well go now!)

So, time to start planning!

**Note, I’ve actually been to Italy twice with my family, but both times were before I was 13, so I really don’t remember much!**

I began by looking at some of the group guided tours through Italy, and I found a few itineraries that matched the cities we were looking to visit, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about a lot of the day to day itineraries – they were VERY museum and church heavy.

Of course we want to visit museums and churches while we are in Italy, but we want to do other stuff too!

You know, like THIS:

SUP Venice

Did you even know you could SUP through the canals of Venice?!?!

No? ME EITHER!

But I DO know we MUST do this!

This is how I want to see Italy.

I want to paddle the canals of Venice.  Bike ride through vineyards in Tuscany and visit their natural hot springs.  I want to learn to make (and eat!) pizza and pasta in Rome and visit lots of local markets.

And of course I want to go for a run everywhere!  (*I even already downloaded the local route maps from the Westin hotel sites in each city!)

Yes, I want to see the Coliseum, the Vatican and the David, but I think what we realized is that we want to experience Italy in a way that fits our personalties.

An active, outdoors, stuff your face with pizza and gelato kind of way!

So, here’s where I’m reaching out for some help!

I’ve done a ton of research already (and my dad has been to Italy a million times so he’s a fantastic resource!), but I’m trying to piece together our own custom trip and would LOVE any advice/ help/ suggestions!

We’re planning on Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Amalfi for probably about 10 days (that’s tbd).

If you’ve been to Italy and have suggestions of hotels, tours, “must-do’s” or things you’d pass on let me know!

Even if you just have travel or trip planning tips in general please share!

I LOVE researching and planning trips (I already have a guidebook, spreadsheets and a Pinterest board!), but it can be VERY overwhelming so feel free to send any thoughts!

What’s on your travel bucket list?
What is your #1 travel tip?

P.S. – I’m considering making my trip planning into a weekly or bi-weekly series talking about researching each step of the way, booking things and then getting ready to go, does that sound of any interest??  Plus I feel like it would help keep me on track if I’m going to plan our whole trip myself!

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14 thoughts on “Trip Planning!

  1. I have a travel tip for you…PACK ME IN YOUR SUITCASE!

    Otherwise I’m useless as I have never been to Italy. Closest I’ve been is the Italy Pavilion in Epcot…

  2. I have my Italy write ups on my blog if you want to read them. We did so much walking around the city, and the only tour we did was in Milan since we were only there for a day. I’d like to go back with a fitbit to see how much we did walk. Bring maps of the cities so you don’t get lost. The food is incredible and soooo much better than what we get here.

    If you do want to do museums, we got our tickets online well in advance, and they were either sent to us or we picked them up at will call. The lines can be ridiculous, but we avoided all of that. The line we couldn’t avoid was for the Vatican museums, but those were worth it too. The Vatican has so much to see, and you finish the maze inside the Sistine Chapel.

    • I’ll definitely have to check out your Italy posts, thanks!

      I think we are going to do a tour in each city to see some of the highlights with a guide so thankfully that’ll take care of getting into some of the major museums and attractions without a line – we even found one that goes into the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the public which I think we’re going to do!

  3. We have spent alot of time in Italy and paddle boarding through Venice sounds amazing. We biked in Lucca which was really fun and bikes are readily available there. There are also nice places for walks/hikes. In Rome, there are guided walking tours that are really good. I’ll have to dig around to find the company name. And be sure to go to the Vatican first thing in the morning. I can not emphasize that enough. We have visited three times and the last time (afternoon) I though my tiny mother would be crushed. It was very scary. So exciting and you and Jason will have a great time.

    • I actually found a tour that goes into the Sistine Chapel early before it opens to the public – I think we’re going to splurge a little and do that so we don’t have to worry about any crowds there!

      If you think of any other specific tours or recommendations let me know!

  4. Yes, I have been to Italy a bunch of times (a million?) but never like you are doing it… the trip you are doing sounds so amazingly different that I would love to go. Just one suggestion, don’t fall into the canals in Venice…. it may be toxic! 🙂 dad….

  5. OHMYGAWDOHMYGAWDOHMYGAWD I LOOOOOOOOVE ITALY!!! Could you tell, lol! We did Rome and south when we went two years ago and are planning to go back to Rome and head north in 2017. Get with me and I can give you all kinds of great ideas as far as where to eat, what to see, how to see (that can make or break the trip), and where to stay. And March would be a beautiful time to go. We went the end of May and it was gorgeous.

    • I’d love to hear any suggestions you have! When you have time shoot me an e-mail at liverungrow@gmail.com! Right now my general plan is a “highlights” type of tour in each city and then something active (SUP/bike/run) and then maybe a food focused tour. I’d love your thoughts though!

  6. I’m so so so so excited for you and Jason!! I absolutely love Italy. I mean gelato and pizza? 🙂 I need to look at my notes and I’ll send you a separate email on hotels and tours and what not. In Venice you might want to look at the Secret Itineraries tour at the Doge’s Palace.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your post and resources! We had originally planned to go to Naples (I actually have some family there!), but the trip began to feel to rushed, so we decided to stick to Rome, Venice & Florence for this trip and hopefully we’ll be back soon to do the south – Naples, Amalfi, etc.

      Feel free to share and other tips you think of! : )

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