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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok.. i'm planning my ED vacation in Italy. I'm going to be picking up on May 18th. Then I will have 5 days to explore. I'm thinking about driving to Italy and visit Florence and Venice.

But which route should I take? What's scenic along the way? Maybe Innsbruck, Como, or Salzburg?

I'm trying to find a beautiful drive along the way and maybe somewhere to stop for a small break.....

ANY IDEAS?

THANKS!
-wajih
 

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Its all good! :) I did ALL those two weeks ago but substituted Lago del Garda for Como. I'll have some pictures shortly.

I added Rimini and Pisa, opposite sides of Italy with Florence in the middle. With all of that we did 1992 miles.

Get a map. Salzburg is a bit out of the way. Try MapPoint Europe for great road maps for planning. We went to Regensburg for the factory tour on the day of pickup, and my burned Nav DVD was not working. Once near Regensburg, all the looking at the MapPoint map came in, and I drove us right to the factory with no outside help. Its a great tool.

Definitly go Brennero... wonderful views, fast and easy. Lago Del Garda is more a Euro place, Italians and Germans, rather then the more widely know Como. Garda is Italys largest lake, and 1/2 hour from the main road (Brennero) from Munich -> Venice.

wajiheffendi said:
Ok.. i'm planning my ED vacation in Italy. I'm going to be picking up on May 18th. Then I will have 5 days to explore. I'm thinking about driving to Italy and visit Florence and Venice.

But which route should I take? What's scenic along the way? Maybe Innsbruck, Como, or Salzburg?

I'm trying to find a beautiful drive along the way and maybe somewhere to stop for a small break.....

ANY IDEAS?

THANKS!
-wajih
 

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e36M3r said:
Get a map. Salzburg is a bit out of the way. Try MapPoint Europe for great road maps for planning. We went to Regensburg for the factory tour on the day of pickup, and my burned Nav DVD was not working. Once near Regensburg, all the looking at the MapPoint map came in, and I drove us right to the factory with no outside help. Its a great tool.
I whole-heartedly agree about MapPoint Europe. I got a volume-licensed copy from a buddy here @ work, and it's an invaluable European mapping tool. I'm considering picking up a small Tablet PC to use as a nav system while I'm over there. I don't like built-in NAV. But I like versatility of a map program, I've grown accustomed to planning my route before-hand, since I travel so often for work. Plus, a Tablet PC has the advantage of faclitating WiFi access at cafe's, etc.

I found a good WiFi directory, they even list some free hotspots in Munich:
http://www.jiwire.com/browse-hotspot-free-germany-de-bayern--munich-1910174.htm

-Brendan
 

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bjacques said:
I whole-heartedly agree about MapPoint Europe. I got a volume-licensed copy from a buddy here @ work, and it's an invaluable European mapping tool. I'm considering picking up a small Tablet PC to use as a nav system while I'm over there. I don't like built-in NAV. But I like versatility of a map program, I've grown accustomed to planning my route before-hand, since I travel so often for work. Plus, a Tablet PC has the advantage of faclitating WiFi access at cafe's, etc.

I found a good WiFi directory, they even list some free hotspots in Munich:
http://www.jiwire.com/browse-hotspot-free-germany-de-bayern--munich-1910174.htm

-Brendan
If you don't mind my asking-would your friend be able to sell me a copy?
 

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Don't drive in Florence

wajiheffendi said:
Ok.. i'm planning my ED vacation in Italy. I'm going to be picking up on May 18th. Then I will have 5 days to explore. I'm thinking about driving to Italy and visit Florence and Venice.

But which route should I take? What's scenic along the way? Maybe Innsbruck, Como, or Salzburg?

I'm trying to find a beautiful drive along the way and maybe somewhere to stop for a small break.....

ANY IDEAS?

THANKS!
-wajih
if you can help it. Italian drivers define the word aggressive, and Florence has a complicated street plan. Easy to make mistakes and get yourself in trouble. I felt safe there otherwise, but was white knuckling it the whole time I was behind the wheel.

If you have to drive, park in the underground lot by the train station and walk from there. Clean and safe, with decent sized spaces.

Have a great trip and check out Siena if you get a chance. It's a kinder gentler city than Florence....
 

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wajiheffendi said:
Ok.. i'm planning my ED vacation in Italy. I'm going to be picking up on May 18th. Then I will have 5 days to explore. I'm thinking about driving to Italy and visit Florence and Venice.

But which route should I take? What's scenic along the way? Maybe Innsbruck, Como, or Salzburg?

I'm trying to find a beautiful drive along the way and maybe somewhere to stop for a small break.....

ANY IDEAS?

THANKS!
-wajih
I think e46M3 would agree that the Lakes region is a good place to de-jet lag. We loved our time in Como the first few days. Most time was spent with prolonged breakfasts then leisurely cruising the lake by ferryboat, getting off wherever looked interesting. Really a great relaxing sightseeing opportunity. I'd imagine Garda offers the same.
Having said that, either Brenner pass (toward Verona) or Splugenpass (toward Lugano/Como) will be some of the most awesome driving you've ever done. Brenner is faster obviously if you're going to Venice early in your trip, but maybe not as close to the Lakes for getting over the jetlag.
I would suggest coming down from Munich one way and then going back the other.
Verona might be worth seeing if you're in the neighborhood, but it is most definitely "city".
 

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Since you only have 5 days you need keep in mind the distances and travel time. Munich to Venice via Innsbruck/Brenner Pass is a 6 + hours via freeway/tollway. Venice to Florence is about a 2 1/2 + drive on the Autostrada (tollway).

To fully visit Venice you need to spend a couple of days there and in Florence about 3 days. I was there that amount of time during ED and I would have loved to have spend more time in each city. So you need to plan accordingly.

Are you still planning on dropping your car off in Italy?:dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LDV330i said:
Are you still planning on dropping your car off in Italy?:dunno:
I really don't wanna drop it off there, so I might drive it back to munich...i'd rather drive it back than have someone else drive it back!

but of course, that adds more driving time...maybe i'll just lounge around the lakes region for a couple of days and then head to venice for a couple of days...

any recommendations for hotels in venice or the lakes region?

and I just got MapPoint Europe..great program!

thanks for everyone's help so far! :) :thumbup:
 

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wajiheffendi said:
I really don't wanna drop it off there, so I might drive it back to munich...i'd rather drive it back than have someone else drive it back!

but of course, that adds more driving time...maybe i'll just lounge around the lakes region for a couple of days and then head to venice for a couple of days...

any recommendations for hotels in venice or the lakes region?

and I just got MapPoint Europe..great program!

thanks for everyone's help so far! :) :thumbup:
As much as Venice is a nice thing to see once in your lifetime - Florence is a real city with real people and not just tourists. I'd break the trip in half by staying at either Como or Garda and the rest of the time in Florence given your time constraints.
Or, and this would be my personal choice, I'd skip the lakes altogether and devote the whole time to Tuscany. Stay in Florence and do some great day trips to Chianti region: see San Giminiano, Siena, maybe even Cortona and Montepulciano and Montalcino. You really don't have enough time to do all you're planning. You'll be on the road the whole time and not see much.
 

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Your original plan to see Venice and Florence is a good one on such a short trip. I have traveled to Italy over 20 times and other places throughout the world and getting on a vaporetto (boat) and traveling through the grand canel is an experience always remembered. Verona is also a great city as there is a small version of the coleseum and of course that's where Romeo & Juliet's story (fictional), so you can see the balcony and touch the breast of Juliet on the stuatue in the small plaza. You could stop in Pisa but you only have to see the tower of pisa and the surrounding buildings ( 1 hour and you can be out of there). Florence is certainly worth seeing and if you have time it's not that far from Rome, especially driving a new bimmer. Throw a coin in the Fountain of Trevi (this makes sure you return to Rome) and see the Coleseum and St Peters. Rome can actually be walked from St. Peters all the way to the Trevi Fountain. I saw the post about parking in Florence, park by the train station as there is underground parking and waltk to city center (it's close) In Venice you drive across the bridge, park and then take the boat. After driving many times in Italy you will appreciate the Italian drivers as if you ever want to see people defying physics in driving cars around turns, through tunnels, just watch. I live in Florida and they actually passed a law to ticket people holding up traffic if they are driving in the left lane, even if they are gioing the speed limit, you won't have that problem in Italy. I only wished American drivers were as good as the Italian drivers on the Autostrade!! Now in town driving is another story and I suggest you drive aggresive otherwise you will be in trouble. So if possible for a first trip Venice, Florence, Rome but without a doubt go to Venice, no city like it in the World! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ok...so i'm cutting it down to venice and florence...and maybe a day trip to Pisa....

I have been to rome and i love it, but I want to experiance other areas/cities of italy.

I'm trying to book hotels for Venice (two nights) and Florence (2 nights), but everything is soo expensive. Any ideas on where I should stay? I could always stay outside both of the cities and just commute into the cities, but i would rather stay in the cities and explore without worrying about driving everyday...

THANKS!!!
-wajih
 

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We just got back from 9 days in Europe in March and toured many of the cities and roads you are looking at. We hit Munich, Regensburg, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Venice, as well as many small towns in between. Downtown Regensburg and Munich are great to walk around, see sites, and grab some good bier. In the Alps, we really enjoyed Salzburg and thought there was much more to see and do than in Innsbruck. Innsbruck has many nice palaces which were fun to go through. Both cities are similar, so I would hit one and skip the other. The lakes surrounding Salzburg are gorgeous also. Venice is a very unique city and is most likely like no other city you have ever been. If you get the chance, I would definitely spend a day there. There are several expensive tolls on the way to Venice from Munich, so save your money.

As far as roads. If you are short on time, I would suggest using the Autobahns as much as possible. They are so much faster than the backroads, even if the distance is longer. If you have some time to spare, take the backroads and enjoy the scenery of the surrounding Alps, vineyards, an lakes.
 

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chuckster said:
Your original plan to see Venice and Florence is a good one on such a short trip. I have traveled to Italy over 20 times and other places throughout the world and getting on a vaporetto (boat) and traveling through the grand canel is an experience always remembered. Verona is also a great city as there is a small version of the coleseum and of course that's where Romeo & Juliet's story (fictional), so you can see the balcony and touch the breast of Juliet on the stuatue in the small plaza. You could stop in Pisa but you only have to see the tower of pisa and the surrounding buildings ( 1 hour and you can be out of there). Florence is certainly worth seeing and if you have time it's not that far from Rome, especially driving a new bimmer. Throw a coin in the Fountain of Trevi (this makes sure you return to Rome) and see the Coleseum and St Peters. Rome can actually be walked from St. Peters all the way to the Trevi Fountain. I saw the post about parking in Florence, park by the train station as there is underground parking and waltk to city center (it's close) In Venice you drive across the bridge, park and then take the boat. After driving many times in Italy you will appreciate the Italian drivers as if you ever want to see people defying physics in driving cars around turns, through tunnels, just watch. I live in Florida and they actually passed a law to ticket people holding up traffic if they are driving in the left lane, even if they are gioing the speed limit, you won't have that problem in Italy. I only wished American drivers were as good as the Italian drivers on the Autostrade!! Now in town driving is another story and I suggest you drive aggresive otherwise you will be in trouble. So if possible for a first trip Venice, Florence, Rome but without a doubt go to Venice, no city like it in the World! :)
Ambitious, but a great way to get acquainted with his new car.
 

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wajiheffendi said:
ok...so i'm cutting it down to venice and florence...and maybe a day trip to Pisa....

I have been to rome and i love it, but I want to experiance other areas/cities of italy.

I'm trying to book hotels for Venice (two nights) and Florence (2 nights), but everything is soo expensive. Any ideas on where I should stay? I could always stay outside both of the cities and just commute into the cities, but i would rather stay in the cities and explore without worrying about driving everyday...

THANKS!!!
-wajih
My biggest concern was always finding a hotel with parking. In Venice I decided to stay in Lido, which the barrier island across from Venice. I did not want to leave my car parked in the giant pariking garage at the entry to Venice. I took the car ferry from Venice to Lido. There you can actually drive the car on Lido island. I stayed at Hotel Biasutti . It is pretty pricey but so is everything else in Venice but got a discount by prepaying through Travelocity. From Lido you take the vaporetto (water bus) back to Venice. It runs 24 hours a day. You should read this thread.

In Florence I stayed in hills overlooking Florence in the town of Fiesole. The hotel name was Villa Fiesole and had plenty of parking. The city bus stopped in front of the hotel and in 15 minutes you were in downtown Florence. Check this post and this one.
 

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LDV330i said:
My biggest concern was always finding a hotel with parking. In Venice I decided to stay in Lido, which the barrier island across from Venice. I did not want to leave my car parked in the giant pariking garage at the entry to Venice. I took the car ferry from Venice to Lido. There you can actually drive the car on Lido island. I stayed at Hotel Biasutti . It is pretty pricey but so is everything else in Venice but got a discount by prepaying through Travelocity. From Lido you take the vaporetto (water bus) back to Venice. It runs 24 hours a day. You should read this thread.

In Florence I stayed in hills overlooking Florence in the town of Fiesole. The hotel name was Villa Fiesole and had plenty of parking. The city bus stopped in front of the hotel and in 15 minutes you were in downtown Florence. Check this post and this one.
Lido is killer! You will take a boat across to San Marco and Venice proper that is a great way to see the Lagoon! Otherwise your baby stays near you as opposed to in the orphanage that is the main Venice parking garage.
 

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On my ED trip last month, I visited both Florence and Venice. If you love culture, you will fall in love with these cities although Venice is a bit more touristy.

As LDV330i pointed out, there can be no better place to stay other than Villa Fiesole in Florence. Plan for two full days atleast in both places. Villa Fiesole was extremely comfortable, correctly priced(you can call them on the phone to get better rates), well located and refreshing. They even had towel warmers. Thanks LDV and others who recommended this place to me. I only wish I had stayed longer there.

In Venice we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast owned by a family(another recommendation from a fester). This too was very comfortable and gave us the feeling of staying in someone's home. It was located in Mestre (about 15 min by bus) and your car was parked inside a locked compound.

While driving from Innsbruck to Florence, I had a very ackward experience. I would not say this to be aggressive but wierd. We took an exit in Modena which took us to a round about. At the round about, the guy ahead of me suddenly stopped and started to reverse. Guess why. He missed his exit. :mad: I had to reverse and so too the guy behind me. I still fail to understand why this idiot could not go around the circle once again rather than create a possible accident. Anyway if you are careful, you will have fun and share these strange experiences too.

If you are visiting these cities make sure you have plan ahead. Make reservations on the web to the museums. It is well worth the extra $...every cent of it. Also remember these museums are closed certain days of the week. Check their websites.
 
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