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Apr 6, 2008, 7:11pm   #61
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by [coco]
Now someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there is a Gucci outlet and maybe even a Fendi (or is it Prada) out let in Florence?? It's hugely discounted gucci at like 60% off.... I'll post back here - I have a friend who is flying specifically for the outlet later this year. I'll let you know!!
Really want to see where these outlets are!
Apr 6, 2008, 7:12pm   #62
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by Swanky Mama Of Three
we went 3 yrs ago and are going back in May
You're getting great advice.
We loved visiting Murano and Burano while in Venice
Bought lots of beautiful handmade lace there.
thanks Swankymama! Did you find the same items from Murano and Burano on the mainland as well?
Apr 6, 2008, 7:14pm   #63
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by Blue824
Vivoli's in Florence for gelato - I think it is near Santa Croce? But I could be wrong, lol... haven't been there for a while. In Rome, I second Giolittis! It is near the Pantheon, so you can hit a bit sight and get a great snack. The trick I was always told was don't eat gelato from a place that doesn't serve fresh banana gelato - it should be gray, not yellow.

The outlets you may not be able to fit in if you are on a tour that only gives you brief bits of free time. It is a bit of a drive but there are places that charter buses to take you to all the designer outlets - BV, Gucci, Prada, Tods, D&G, etc - from both Rome and Florence. Something to look into if you find you have enough time.

I hope you have a great trip!
That would probably be possible to take a charter from Rome to some of these places actually. I would LOVE to do this! But DH would roll his eyes and say something sarcastic like "we didn't come to Italy so you can shop" LOL
Apr 6, 2008, 7:15pm   #64
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by elle tee
I've only been to Venice and it was so much fun! We went to Murano and I would say it was worth it. However, don't spend much money on getting out there- our hotel had a free water taxi deal- and don't buy glass in Murano! Take a tour of the factories and watch them blow glass, but be aware that glass products are priced a good 30% or more above Venice city prices on the island.
Very good to know!! If I find something on the mainland - how do I ship it home?
Apr 6, 2008, 7:18pm   #65
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by ricky11
so excited for everyone visiting italy! i lived in rome for a semester in college and have visited a few times already this year. if anyone has any questions, i love giving my two cents! as for the itinerary...

Rome- eat in Trastevere. every night. the restaurants here aren't the fanciest, but this is where roman people actually live and eat. the food is great everywhere in this area and reasonably priced. it is not a touristy part of the city. after dinner, walk around and visit piazza santa maria in trastevere for a gelato. my favorite museum ever is the galleria borghese. beautiful collection of bernini statues. if you are visiting the colosseum, buy your ticket at the palatine hill ticket office. these two are combined, but no one will tell you that. the ticket office is just uphill of the arch of titus in the forum. that is the single arch. it will cut about an hour wait at the colosseum because the long line there is for tickets, not the actual entrance. major shopping is all around the spanish steps and via dei condotti. because the dollar is so weak, you won't find any great prices but it's fun anyway. for nightlife, if you want to get crazy, go to testaccio. it's a little area of the city with lots of clubs. places there stay open all night while the rest of the city closes down at 2am. i could go on and on about rome....

vence- i really recommend the peggy guggenheim collection if you are at all interested in modern art. it is in a beautiful area of the city which is a nice break from the tourist crowds everywhere else.

tuscany- the outlets are about a half hour outside of florence. i haven't been there since 2005, but there were definitely some good deals. the prada outlet and the dolce and gabbana outlet are not at "the mall" where the others (gucci, fendi, YSL, ferragamo, marni, etc.) are. if you have a day and would like to go, it's really fun and accessible by train (and a short cab ride) from florence.

florence- the best gelato is at Vestri on Borgo Albizi. my favorite dinner was at a place called La Maremma (Via Giuseppe Verdi, near Santa Croce). i only had a few days there, so i don't know much else to recommend.
Wow fantastic recommendations!! Ricky I will definitely be PM'ing you...if you spent a semester in Rome...I need a lot of evening / dinner recommendations there!!

I want to go now! haha
Apr 6, 2008, 7:20pm   #66
lovekoobabags's Avatar
Originally Posted by carolynscheiber
Your trip looks good for a first timer-overview.
About Venice--Since your time is so limited skip Burano.
You get a great free boat tour just riding on the 1 or 82 vaporetto.
Venice is notorious for tourist trap-restaurants and shopping. It can also be the most magical and romantic place on earth. Most fun--getting lost! Our favorite restaurants--http://www.fiaschetteriatoscana.it and al Paradiso. Make reservations!
Thank you~I wonder where non-touristy shopping is. I don't want to get ripped off LOL...those 2 restaurants...when do you make reservations? When I get there or from home?
Apr 6, 2008, 7:27pm   #67
lovekoobabags's Avatar
I knew I came to the right place!!

How AWESOME are you guys!!??!!??

Seriously, I'm printing this thread out and putting it in my carry-on.

I have just a couple more questions (in addition to my responses in bold above ^^^)....

What kind of bag should I wear in Italy? I always wanted to carry my most fashionable designer bag with me but I've been reading that I shouldn't be wearing anything that draws attention to myself as a person w/ expensive items on me (ie: the bag)....I heard there are a lot of pick-pockets and thieves...wow! Guess I'll have to go bag-less...I'm interested in hearing what the bag-obsessed wear while in Italy!
Apr 6, 2008, 7:44pm   #68
lovekoobabags's Avatar
What kind of carry-on did you bring?
Where are the best dollar---> euro conversions ? The bank?
Apr 6, 2008, 8:26pm   #69
Fendi Girl 07's Avatar
in love with bags
Hey, it's true that in tourist locations there are alot of thieves/pick-pockets w/e you want to call them. Just make sure your bag is one with a zipper and always closed. I would say an LV speedy or anything like that is good. I had a medium sized coach bag, you can throw in all your papers, maps, etc. as well as when your carrying around water bottles or snacks.
I go to Italy every summer, been to almost all of the places you are going to. You will have a great time. And just to let you know, no matter where you go you will find great restaurants and ice cream as well as shopping. I went to Venice once and I regret not buying more things. I absolutely loved all the glass figures, other items, masks(hand panted!), souvenirs. All so beautiful! I didn't buy more because I didn't have space in my bags and didn't think of shipping it home. Shipping would be a better option.
Basilica di San Marco in st. Mark's square is one of my favorite churches. The way the granite floors shifted from the flooding. Ponte dei sospiri.. kiss your love while under the bridge at sunset.
Make sure u have a lot of empty space in your bags!!! Rome, Venice, Florence, Capri.. allll places you will want to bring home souvenirs especially If you don't plan on going back for a while.
At night in the center of Florence, many of the piazzas have delicious restaurants and funny acts to watch.
Someone mentioned this already, in Capri, the grotta azzura is so beautiful, you have to go in the morning before the high tide. Take a taxi ride around the city, it's really cheap and you can ask them to bring you to nice spots for pictures. If you want to go to a beach, probably amalfi would be the best place, if you are going there.
In Florence, climb the steps to the top of the duomo! Check out the gorgeous jewelry on Ponte Vecchio but it is extremely expensive.
hm.. in Rome, since you have soo much time make sure you go to EVERY tourist attraction, from vatican, pantheon, coloseo, roman forum, piazza di spagna, villa borghese, and lastly fontana di Trevi.. throw a penny over your shoulder, supposed to bring you luck that you'll return to that very place. It has worked for me for many years..
have a great time!!
after many years of begging my family, I'm finally going to Milan in June.
Apr 7, 2008, 2:27am   #70
lara0112's Avatar
Originally Posted by [coco]
Now someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there is a Gucci outlet and maybe even a Fendi (or is it Prada) out let in Florence?? It's hugely discounted gucci at like 60% off.... I'll post back here - I have a friend who is flying specifically for the outlet later this year. I'll let you know!!

yep, outside of Florence there are huge outlets, it is called The Mall, and lots of designers have outlets there. I have been wanting to go for ages but never seem to go below North of Italy/Lago Maggiore.

Loved all the places you are going to, but my favs are Rome and Florence, you will be pretty busy but I am sure you already figured that. ENJOY!
Apr 7, 2008, 4:49am   #71
Have a fantastic time on your trips, all the lovely ladies heading off to Italy!!

I second Vivoli for gelati in Florence...hands down the best gelati I came across in Italy! For the major attractions in Florence, try and get tickets in advance (like...now). Otherwise, you may be wasting time waiting in line for the museums.

Speaking of attractions - remember, the churches are not only tourist attractions, but holy places of worship. Therefore, most require that women do not wear "short shorts"...and women and men cannot wear bare shoulders into the churches. They will hand out (or sell) paper shawls so you can adorn yourself while viewing churches, but I'd recommend just bringing a nice little shawl from home for such occasions, should you find yourself wearing a tank top.

As for safety...I witnessed my first pickpocketing in Rome. I was on a crowded bus (most buses headed down to the tourists areas are incredibly packed), and right before a stop, a man leaned down, grabbed a wallet from a woman's open tote bag that she had rested at her feet, and sprinted out the back door of the bus. It's not really violent crime that's a problem, it is more "petty theft" that could stand to waste a few days of travel. I took a tote bag with a zip top, and kept it at my side at ALL times. It's not so much that the tourist attractions in Italy are dangerous, it's just that there are a number of tourists heading through, and you won't believe the precautions that tourists fail to take.

If you do carry a backpack, make sure parts with zippers have locks on them. My dad did that with all the major parts of his backpack, but someone stole his blackberry charger from a side pocket that was not locked. IMO, train stations are the absolute worst places for this.

Oh, if you want to go on a gondola ride in Venice, the prices are cheaper during the daytime (after sunset, the prices skyrocket). Our gondola rider was amazing - he was hilarious, and took us on a lovely tour of some of the side canals, along with a lot of the historical facts about the buildings. It was one of the highlights of my visit to Venice. And if you have the chance, you have to have a Bellini at Harry's!
Apr 7, 2008, 6:17am   #72
lara0112's Avatar
to answer some of your earlier questions:

the Mall is the best outlet around Florence, never been there but hoping to go soon....

as for pick pockets - I guess these are common in all major tourist attractions, like in any other country. I usually don't visit a very touristy area and never had any problems. except Milan, every time they try to open our car boot, because we have a foreign number plate.

I'd say avoid anything too flashy and you will be fine but everyone has their own experiences. for sure keep your belongings close to you.
Apr 7, 2008, 8:05am   #73
IntlSet's Avatar
Originally Posted by lovekoobabags

What kind of bag should I wear in Italy? I always wanted to carry my most fashionable designer bag with me but I've been reading that I shouldn't be wearing anything that draws attention to myself as a person w/ expensive items on me (ie: the bag)....I heard there are a lot of pick-pockets and thieves...wow! Guess I'll have to go bag-less...I'm interested in hearing what the bag-obsessed wear while in Italy!
I am only going for a week and plan to bring my Chanel 2.55 and my Bottega Veneta bag. I don't think thieves target a person due to an expensive-looking bag, but rather, they target people who don't seem that alert. Also, they will CUT the strap of your bag and run away with it... my Chanel has a chain strap, and my BV's is very thick leather and one cut definitely isn't going to do anything to it.

I don't even own any bags that aren't designer except one large Longchamp Pliage which is too big to carry around day-to-day while touring.

Wouldn't worry about it if I were you.
Apr 7, 2008, 2:23pm   #74
Yeah, in my experience, random pickpockets don't really target expensive bags in big crowds; they target inattentiveness. Use common sense - I'd probably not carry a tote bag without a zip top (or if I did, I would put my wallet on the bottom), and I usually walk with a hand clasping my purse strap (it's a natural NYC tendency I've developed over the years). Don't put your bag down on the floor of a crowded bus, etc., etc.

I have spent a ton of time in Milan ... so I'm not sure if this problem is unique to Milan or universal in the main tourist areas. When you would walk up from to the Duomo square, there would be a number of men with friendship bracelets, maps, etc. They will claim that it is for free, and then after they give it to you, the men (usually men...I've never seen a female one) will follow you around, asking you for money. I've found that avoiding eye contact, while perhaps rude, is the best way to avoid this problem.
Apr 8, 2008, 9:18am   #75
We have never had a problem getting a table at either place booking the same day but it wouldn't hurt to call ahead. RE: shopping in Venice, Antique Venetian fabrics byMario Bevilacqua, located at Santa Maria del Giglio near the Gritti Palace hotel. I had a wall hanging made. They do pillows, small handbags, anything you want. For gorgeous gilded lamps and shades made by a couple of lovely ladies, walk the main drag from San Marco toward the Accademia bridge. The shop will be on the right. Sorry, I can't find their card. There are also many wonderful perfumes available in Italy that are not available in the US and many perfume stores located throughout Venice. Ditto for lingerie. In Rome and Venice there are several shops that carry antique prints that can be framed when you get home.

In general I wouldn't bother buying anything in Italy that is available in the US given the exchange rate, duty, the vat hassle, etc. For good info on Italy see http://www.slowtrav.com. Have a wonderful trip.
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