Piedmont, Lerici, Tuscany, Rome: Trip Planning 2006

We did a three week trip to Italy in June 2006.  We stayed five nights in Piedmonte(Acqui Terme), four nights on the Ligurian Coast (Lerici), five nights in Tuscany (Castellina in Chianti) and five nights in Rome.  This was our second trip to Italy, our first was fifteen months earlier when we did Rome, Venice and Florence.  This trip was to celebrate our 20th anniversary, although our kids came with us on the trip.  Our daughter, Lauren, turned fourteen on the trip and our son Michael, was ten.  We had been to London, Paris, Rome, Venice and Florence but this was our first time to do smaller towns.  I was not sure what we would think as we love big cities, but we really loved the smaller towns as well.

We flew in and out of Milan (could not do open jaw with these frequent flier miles).  We rented a car in Milan and kept it until our arrival in Rome.  This was our first experience driving in Italy (or Europe for that matter).   Stephen did all the driving – thank goodness, although the role of navigator, map follower is a tough one too.  A few notes about driving in Italy.  We drove throughout Piedmont, Liguria and Tuscany then Tuscany to Rome.  We did not find it too difficult although we did get lost a lot, particularly in Piedmont, but that may have just been because it was our first location and we got used to the driving after that.  A few pointers – get a good map.  We had the Touring Club Italiano map that was very good, but keep in mind even a good map does not show the exact way from one town to another.  (I originally wrote this before GPS’s were commonplace.  Since then we have driven several times in Europe and a GPS is essential and makes the trip so much easier – and probably keeps the marriage intact too!! =)) Basically you have to follow the signs (which are good).  However, not every town is always listed, so therefore it is important to know in which general direction you are going, i.e. what the name of some other towns are in the same general direction.  Outside of the major cities, there are very few stop signs or stop lights but A LOT of roundabouts.  Rule of thumb:  if you get to a roundabout and the town name you are looking for is not there, your best chance is to go straight.  Also, know the parking rules, white lines are free but there is usually a sign that tells you how long you can park there.  You must use the dial on the right hand part of the front window to indicate when you arrived (we learned this the hard way with a parking ticket!!).  Blue lines mean you must pay at the parcometer and put the ticket on your dash.  Once you get the hang of it, it is great and the diesel engines go forever without having to fill up constantly.

Our past two trips to Europe I had planned by myself (and the helpful fodorites), however I had two big trips within 3 months of each other and I knew it would be difficult to have to do everything myself.  So for this trip I found Megan McCaffrey (www.bellavitaitalia.com) on Slow Travel and she was wonderful.  We planned the Rome part of the trip ourselves as we had been there but she helped us with the rest of the trip, and we also did a boat trip with her to the Cinque Terre from Lerici and a cooking class with her mother-in-law (to be) Rosella which was a highlight of our trip!  More details on those later!

Read the details of our trip here:

5 Nights in Piedmont

4 nights in Lerici (incl. Cinque Terre)

5 nights in Tuscany

5 nights in Rome

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One response to “Murano and Burano – visiting the islands of Venice”

  1. Mom says:

    Great job on this, Judy. I loved the memories.

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