Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 16 to 26 of 26
Like Tree10Likes

Thread: Tell me about Italy

  1. #16
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    2,263
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeylady View Post
    Beware pickpockets in Venice and particularly Florence. In my opinion, you'd be wise to use a cross body bag--not a backpack as an EDC.

    Have fun!
    Check out notmensa's suggestions in the Locking Zippers on the Synapse thread. I hook split rings through my zipper heads and pass a mini-carabiner through the rings (like the second method displayed in that thread.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jannilee View Post
    Yes, no problem with sim cards. Check out the various providers and what they offer before you leave (in English). Verona seemed like quite a small place so don't know what the selection of providers will be like there. Venice was just getting public wifi when i was there about 4 yrs ago and coverage for that was very spotty! I think there are regular buses from florence to Siena as well as day tours if you are into that. I LOVED x 1000000000000 Florence so i would work it to maximize time there.
    You might remember to bring the small tool included with your iPhone to pop out the Sim card. I set one of these aside, but forgot to pack it when I traveled to Sweden last month. (I did get a local phone store to pop the Sim card out for me -- they seemed to have lots of people buying iPhones with various data plans there, but it's easier if you remember to bring this along.) The Clear Organizer wallet is a good place to store this tool, along with the sim card and small cables. I also keep a set of short cables that can connect to my iPhone and other devices in the wallet, protected by the Ultrasuede dividers.

    Have a great trip! It's been a while since I was last in Italy, so I don't feel like I can improve on the suggestions. we can all travel vicariously through you!

    moriond

  2. #17
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    286
    Italy was great! I got back yesterday and am still jet lagged, so I might as well start posting pics! I fell in love with Venice. I loved Verona, and loved Siena. I'd go to all those places again. Didn't love Florence as much. But the David was mind blowing. People told me he's better than you can imagine, which is the reason I decided to go to Florence, and they were right. But Venice was the star of the trip. It exceeded my expectations, wasn't too busy, and the Biennale was amazing. I'd love to go back there.
    Here's the useful travel tray checking out the view in Venice. Right below was a canal, and way to the right was the campanile of St Marks. I loved that view!!
    Name:  IMG_1462.jpg
Views: 434
Size:  567.0 KB
    canals
    Name:  IMG_1496.jpg
Views: 432
Size:  618.8 KB

    The canal out my window. I got to know the voices of the garbage men pretty well!
    Name:  IMG_1521.jpg
Views: 499
Size:  859.7 KB

    My Synapse 25 did great as my one bag. I sort packed it like Tetris. I packed my sandals and a strap in a packing cube shoulder bag, my clothes in a medium TriStar packing cube, and both those things were packed in a Western Flyer packing cube backpack, which surprisingly fit in the main compartment of the Synapse 25. I used the PCSB as a day bag. I love that bag! I carried my organizer wallet clipped to the O ring and never worried about pickpockets. I also carried my iPhone, which became Italian with a TIM nano sim card. Italian 3G is great! Better than what I have at home. I carried maps and such every day too, and could unload my scarf or sweater if it got warm. The PCSB handles everything!
    I packed the Packing Cube backpack so I could lighten the load and check it on the way back with purchases and things I picked up.
    Last edited by Rocks; 11-10-2013 at 09:50 PM. Reason: edited for typos and jet lagged clarity

  3. #18
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    286
    Here's my Synapse 25 packed for 2 weeks on the vaporetto from the train station.
    Name:  IMG_1457.jpg
Views: 363
Size:  528.2 KB

  4. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    My Synapse 25 did great as my one bag. I sort packed it like Tetris. I packed my sandals and a strap in a packing cube shoulder bag, my clothes in a medium TriStar packing cube, and both those things were packed in a Western Flyer packing cube backpack, which surprisingly fit in the main compartment of the Synapse 25. I used the PCSB as a day bag. I love that bag! I carried my organizer wallet clipped to the O ring and never worried about pickpockets. I also carried my iPhone, which became Italian with a TIM nano sim card. Italian 3G is great! Better than what I have at home. I carried maps and such every day too, and could unload my scarf or sweater if it got warm. The PCSB handles everything!
    I packed the Packing Cube backpack so I could lighten the load and check it on the way back with purchases and things I picked up.
    This is very similar to what I'm hoping to do with my Synapse 25 for an upcoming trip! I'm surprised you were able to fit both the packing cube shoulder bag and the medium TriStar packing cube inside the WF packing cube backpack though - the listed dimensions lead me to believe they wouldn't fit in there, since the medium TS PC is wider than the WF PCBP (12.8" vs. 12.25") and if you turned it, then combined with the PCSB (12.8" + 7.75" = 20.55" - actually, even not turned, it'd be 11.3" + 7.75" = 19.05"), it'd be taller than the PCBP (18"). Is it because they're flexible and weren't too stuffed?

  5. #20
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Puget Sound region
    Posts
    761
    So glad you had a great time! How could you not?
    I'm interested in your packing list, if you wouldn't mind posting it. I'm seriously considering using my S25 as my main carry for 16 days in Ecuador and Panama in February. And I know my Ipad mini, noise cancelling headphones, camera, and binoculars won't also fit in without significant impact on clothing list. Still looking for a secondary bag solution. I, too, love the PCSB and will be taking it along for a lightweight carry in some situations. Did you carry a secondary, smaller bag? And what did you carry in it, if yes?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  6. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    107
    Yes, I'm interested in the packing list as well - I'm also especially curious to hear about fitting the PCSB and Tri-Star medium PC inside the PCBP, since I'd love to do something similar in my Synapse 25. Seems from the dimensions that the TS PC shouldn't fit in there.

  7. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    I'm leaving soon! But pizza, pasta, and gelato are all things I love!
    After Venice I head to Florence for two days. I very much want to see, and might stay a night, in Siena. I fly out of Florence.
    Tell me everything, fellow travelers! I've done some research, but clearly not enough!
    Warning. My wife is italian, my 2-year-old kids only speak italian, but I am American.

    TIME. You have not allotted enough time. Consider lengthening your trip, particularly in Tuscany. And missing Rome would be a shame.

    FOOD. There is no such thing as pepperoni. There is no such thing as spaghetti and meatballs. There is no such thing as alfredo. Chicken does not go on any kind of pasta. Do NOT EAT pizza in Venice. Ever. Pizza is not part of Venetian cuisine. Do not eat pasta all'amatriciana: this is a Roman pasta and has nothing to do with Venice. It's like eating tacos in canada. You are eating food for american tourists.

    In Italy the key is to eat the local cuisine. Venice has a unique cuisine different from the rest of Italy. Seek it out. You won't find it anywhere in the main tourist traps: you have to go further afield to get anything decent. Try the salted cod in Venice. Try the seafood risottos. Do not try the pizza.

    Buy (1) Rick Steves and (2) Lonely Planet and read both of them completely. Both have good food suggestions, but Rick Steves has uncannily good local food recommendations, bizarre given the simplistic nature of his books. My wife is always shocked by how good his suggestions are. Also follow Steve's instructions to the letter when it comes to getting into the galleries and museums in Florence: it will save you many *many* hours of waiting in line.

    WHERE TO STAY. Always do small apartments or B&B-style places in Italy. Use Cross Pollinate (Apartments and B&Bs in Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Barcelona, London, Lisbon & Istanbul) and thank me later. These people know what they are doing. They specialize in Florence and Venice.

    In Tuscany, strongly consider staying at least once at an Agriturismo. These are farmhouse B&B apartments, usually on working farms just outside the towns. It's helpful to have a car in that case.

    VENICE. Venice is an enormous, crowded tourist trap. It has been this way for hundreds of years. In Venice it's particularly important to get out of the standard tourist areas. Visit them once (Rialto, San Marco Square), and then avoid them or anything near them. For example, go to the Jewish ghetto, which is popular with the locals. Get out into the periphery of the island, where the locals live. Definitely visit Peggy Guggenheim's home. Shops in Venice do not make authentic masks, because they do not make authentic anything. Gondola rides are for tourists only. Understand and accept this about Venice: Its entire economy is based on tourism.

    SIENA. Siena is wonderful and beautiful. But there really isn't all that much to do there. You will like Lucca much better. Lucca is the only italian medieval town that still has all its ramparts. Rent a bike in Lucca and thank me later.
    Last edited by feijai; 03-25-2014 at 05:09 AM.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

  8. #23
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Badger State
    Posts
    1,417
    Warning: I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and have a very strong idea about what constitutes good travel advice.

    Also: Rocks already went and came back.

    I agree with many of your suggestions, but I'm not sure I agree at all with the idea that tourists should not do touristy things. If you've always wanted to take a gondola ride, who honestly cares if no venetians are on the gondolas? The gondolieri are an iconic part of Venetian historic culture, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to experience it. I would do it and thumb my nose because the regret of not doing it would likely outweigh the possibility that I would be shamed by being scoffed at by an expat. This is an example. In real life I find gondolas terrifying and vertigo-inducing. But let's face it. There is no way for a tourist to not look like a tourist. Locals shouldn't expect tourists to behave in the same way they do, but tourists should demonstrate an awareness that they are vacationing in someone's everyday life and to get out of the way so people can go about their business.

    I also think it's important to take the realities of people's limitations into account when offering this type of advice. If the OP is only traveling via train and bus and doesn't want to spend whole days getting to day trip locations, I don't think it's helpful to say "here are these awesome things to do that are out of your reach." And honestly, I've stayed at agriturismi and they really aren't for everyone. The food is good but not everyone is into food, as much as it pains me to say that (Rocks isn't).

    To reiterate: I agree with the general wisdom of your advice. But in the end I think it's most helpful to give advice based on how people are and what they state their needs to be.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    jmoz likes this.

  9. #24
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    286
    I actually do regret not going on a gondola in Venice. I imagine the perspective of the canals and foundations would've been really cool. Plus, I love any sort of boat and all water. But I'll go back for that! As for food, Italy converted me. I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in pasta, and it was all excellent. The purpose of the Venice trip was the Biennale, which included a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. I liked the garden more than her collection. I left a stone on her grave. I ambled through the ghetto, too.
    I loved Siena. I really got into the history of the contrades (guilds, I think) and their neighborhoods.
    There was no way I'd be mistaken for anything other than a tourist (but I was proud when an Italian guy asked me what street we were on in Verona, and many took me for English). I eventually embraced that, and learned to consult maps in public unselfconsciously. Every other tourist was doing the same thing!

  10. #25
    Registered User terayon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Posts
    175
    We spent a couple of days in Venice on our honeymoon. The gondola was a highlight for me. Otherwise, we spent most of our time wandering around without much of an agenda and just absorbed the atmosphere and novelty of a city in which water is a key part of the landscape. We enjoyed it tremendously. We ate lots of gelato and pasta, and yes, pizza too.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  11. #26
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Also: Rocks already went and came back.
    :-(

    If you've always wanted to take a gondola ride, who honestly cares if no venetians are on the gondolas?
    I didn't say that you shouldn't ride a gondola: far from it. I just said that gondola rides are for tourists only, and you need to be aware of it up-front. Just like the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park: but who wouldn't want to ride one? Likewise the shops, particularly in the San Marco area, have very little that is authentic. Many of the masks aren't authentic (some are), and much of the Murano glass is actually made in China. As long as you know what to expect, you can have a lot of fun: Venice has been this way for hundreds of years. [BTW, there are obviously lots of stores which sell high-grade authentic stuff, though not much in the San Marco district: an easy way to verify is via Promovetro | Consorzio Promovetro Murano ]
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0