Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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The Italian Job – Travel Plan 1.0

Posted by Rishiray on March 3, 2008

Hola mi amigas,Well then I think we have the 4 that are going to Italia for 9/10 days.I am pretty sure you all know each other, since everyone has met at one point or another.So tentatively, I am planning the trip from the 17th to 27th of July…. We leave on a Thursday night, because it will be cheaper… call in the sick the Friday JWith a three month window, you have enough time to plan and ask for your time off.I travel with a specific “highlight” itinerary in mind… 


Please see the travel index map there…..now we won’t be able to do all the Gold Wonders (Yellow dots) listed here, but I would like to do as many of them as possible. Beth can tell you from previous travel experience with me, that this won’t be a walk in the park. I sleep very little on the road (wake before dawn or at dawn and sleep by 11 or so, unless we’re drinking…lol, but I try not to drink much on the road, since it kills my traveling…I can drink at home, where time isn’t something to see). However, I am an excellent travel partner, so be prepared and I push the limits, we can sleep on the trains, between cities and when we get there. I have been to Milan and Napoli and Venice years ago… but I would like to do it with my camera and new photoshooting skills.

Personal note here…this trip should work because Beth and I have traveled together, Amanda and Andrea are BFF’s and the BFF’s love me and trust my judgement J Beth is a great traveler, easy personality and makes good decisions and more importantly… GOES WITH THE FLOW … we have no set patterns or itinerary and we have a 9 day Italian Travel pass and if you look at the map below, the BFFs… well I know you girls will go with any flow…but we’ll have dinner etc twice before we all go so I can gauge the group dynamic… and see if there are any issues…. But I am almost 100% sure, everyone will get along….9-10 days is a long time to spend with people who you are not accustomed to spending that time with.


 You will see that side trips to Croatia, etc are possible with the Ferries. So a thought to think about J So things to work on from now

  • Budget –
    • Flight will be about $895 – $1100, unless we get a special discount flight, this is the expected fares.
    • Hotels, we can stay at budget hotels or so, but in Europe, you get small rooms, with little amenities…I also have special rates with the Starwood/Marriott/Hyatt chains as you know, however my first travel love is the Starwood
    • This is the Italian Index of the hotels… don’t worry about the prices, I get better rates and this is just a rough guide..to help in your travel planning, always better to overbudget expenses than underscope.   FYI – I don’t do shared hostels OR open floor hostels. Sharing a room with 3 people in a hostel is hell on earth… I don’t care what people say… those people are hippy, non bathing students … I am not doing that…sounds harsh, but this helps me keep my sanity on the road, anyone have issues with that, should bring that issue up VERY early in the schedule – but from my experience it is better to spend a little more to be very happy than cheap out and be very miserable.

    • Visas/Passports – All Canadian residents, have no issues – just make sure you have your passport.
      See section 4 of the documentA Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Italy, and it should be valid for at least three months beyond the date of the expected departure from this country.Canadians may be asked to prove the reasons and duration of their stay, as well as proofs of sufficient funds, accommodation and/or a return ticket. Travellers should have more than one source of funds (i.e., cash, traveller’s cheques, credit card, client card with a four or five-digit PIN code).Tourist Visa: Not required (for stays less than 90 days)
      Business Visa: Required
      Work Visa: Required
      Student Visa: Required 
    • Railpasses : http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/passes/eurail_italy_saverpass.htm
      Best way to travel…although there was a mixup on my last trip with the saverpasses – so the options for the saverpass… where we all have to travel together or everyone gets their own travel pass are listed… the saver pass saves everyone between $50-$70 per person … since Beth and I will have the same flight plan, because of the possibility that the BFF’s will be there previously a week before… we should discuss the options.
      Italy Saverpass
Price List:
  1  adult 
1st Class 
1  adult 
2nd Class 
1  Child 
1st Class 
1  Child 
2nd Class 

3 days in 2 months $225.00 $179.00 $113.00 $90.00
4 days in 2 months $251.00 $202.00 $126.00 $101.00
5 days in 2 months $280.00 $225.00 $140.00 $113.00
6 days in 2 months $306.00 $247.00 $153.00 $124.00
7 days in 2 months $334.00 $272.00 $167.00 $136.00
8 days in 2 months $362.00 $294.00 $181.00 $147.00
9 days in 2 months $390.00 $315.00 $195.00 $158.00
10 days in 2 months $416.00 $338.00 $208.00 $169.00

Italy Pass

Price List:
  1  adult 
1st Class 
1  adult 
2nd Class 
1  Child 
1st Class 
1  Child 
2nd Class 

3 days in 2 months $265.00 $211.00 $133.00 $106.00
4 days in 2 months $296.00 $239.00 $148.00 $120.00
5 days in 2 months $329.00 $265.00 $165.00 $133.00
6 days in 2 months $360.00 $291.00 $180.00 $146.00
7 days in 2 months $391.00 $318.00 $196.00 $159.00
8 days in 2 months $424.00 $345.00 $212.00 $173.00
9 days in 2 months $456.00 $371.00 $228.00 $186.00
10 days in 2 months $489.00 $397.00 $245.00 $199.00
Rail Protection Plan $12.00 $12.00 $12.00 $12.00

No Responses Yet to “The Italian Job – Travel Plan 1.0”

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. rishi said


    Peak Season Pros & Cons | Off Season Pros & Cons

    In planning my “adventure,” I came to the conclusion that the best way to avoid many of the pitfalls of a first time backpacker is to travel in the off-season. Most backpackers travel between the months of May-September (peaking in July). I decided the best time for my trip would be during the fall months (September, October, and November). The early spring months are also a good time for this type of travel (March, April, May). Not only are there considerably fewer tourists during this time period, but also many off-season discounts are available to travelers (especially in the months November-March).

    One potential problem with traveling during the off-season is that some attractions are closed or have restricted hours. This I believe is only a minor setback, however, and can be easily overcome with careful planning.

    In planning your trip make sure to note when attractions/sites will be open (most guidebooks will supply you with at least some of the information you will need for this type of scheduling). If don’t have the time to thoroughly organize your trip, then try to be flexible with your time table (thereby avoiding the disappointment that will come when you find that the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace will not take place the one day you have allotted yourself to spend in London).


    Pros and Cons of Peak Season Travel (May-Sept.)


    1. All attractions are open; many even have extended hours.
    2. All hostels are open; many have extended curfews and open hours.
    3. Frequent trains and buses.
    4. You’ll meet lots of fellow backpackers/travelers.
    5. The weather is warmer, depending on where you travel (swimming and sunbathing!).
    6. You won’t have to pack heavy winter clothing.


    1. Attractions are crowded.
    2. Hostels are crowded and usually cost more.
    3. Crowded trains and buses, and costs more than in the off-season because some seat reservations will be needed.
    4. You’ll meet lots of tourists.
    5. The weather will be warmer, depending on where you travel (prepare to sweat!).
    6. You will probably have to do laundry more frequently (sweaty clothes–yuck!).


    Pros and Cons of Off-Peak Season Travel (Oct.-Apr.)


    1. Most popular attractions are open and less crowded; many have a reduced price.
    2. Hostels are less crowded and often have a reduced price.
    3. Less crowded trains and buses (less money to spend on reservations!).
    4. You’ll meet lots of world-wide and domestic travelers.
    5. The weather will be cooler (not as much sweating carrying that heavy pack).
    6. You shouldn’t have to do laundry as often, if you aren’t stinking up your clothes with sweat.


    1. Some attractions are closed or have restricted hours.
    2. Not as many hostels are open and sometimes curfews are earlier.
    3. Less frequent trains and buses.
    4. Not as many backpackers–more groups of rowdy school kids in hostels and at museums.
    5. You’ll need warmer/heavier clothes, which can be bulky to pack.
    6. You’ll need to bring more clothes so that you can layer up for warmth.

  3. rishi said


    Highlights of Italy
    10 days

    Trip Overview

    The perfect introduction to Venice, Florence and Rome — “must-see” sights for the first-time visitor.

    Included Tour Features

    Includes all of the traditional favorites: Venice, Florence, Rome and two nights in the Tuscan city of Siena

    Romantic gondola ride in Venice, the perfect way to see the city

    Comfortable first-class rail travel between Venice and Florence

    Freedom of choice to dine at one of A&K’s recommended restaurants in select cities

    A private visit and wine tasting at a Chianti wine cellar

    A private visit to a Sienese Contrada Museum to learn about the tradition of the Palio horse race

    A stylish end to your trip at the luxurious St. Regis Grand in Rome — ideally located near the fashionable shopping district

    Personal headphones provided to ensure perfect communication with your guide in large areas

    Tour Itinerary

    DAYS 1-2: USA or Canada/Venice, Italy
    Depart on an overnight flight to Venice. On arrival, transfer by private launch to your prestigious hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel. Hotel Bauer D

    DAY 3: Venice
    Walk with your specialist local guide this morning and admire the sights of this astonishingly beautiful city: St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bell Tower and the Doge’s Palace. This evening, after a romantic gondola ride, dine à la carte in your choice of recommended traditional trattorias. Hotel Bauer B D

    DAY 4: Venice/Florence
    Transfer by private launch to join the train to Florence. With a specialist local guide, see the glorious Renaissance palaces, statues and churches of this beautiful city with a visit to the Accademia Gallery, housing Michelangelo’s famous David. Helvetia & Bristol B L D

    DAY 5: Florence
    Today is at leisure. Helvetia & Bristol B

    DAY 6: Florence/San Gimignano/Siena
    Drive through the Tuscan countryside to the picturesque town of San Gimignano. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Chianti for a private visit to a wine cellar and wine tasting. Grand Hotel Continental B L

    DAY 7: Siena
    Spend the day exploring the highlights of this enchanting medieval city, including a private visit to a Contrada Museum. This evening, dine à la carte in your hotel. Grand Hotel Continental B D

    DAY 8: Siena/Assisi/Rome
    Depart by coach to the Umbrian hill town of Assisi, famous for Giotto’s magnificent frescoes. Explore the town and have lunch before continuing to Rome for an evening at leisure. St. Regis Grand Hotel B L

    DAY 9: Rome and Vatican City
    Begin your visit to Vatican City at St. Peter’s Square, then explore the magnifificent Vatican Museum, including the Sistine Chapel with its famous frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo. After lunch, visit the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at your hotel. St. Regis Grand Hotel B L D

    DAY 10: Rome/USA or Canada
    After breakfast transfer to the airport to board a homebound flight. B

    Upgrade your room to a Palatial Panoramic Double with Grand Canal view at Bauer Il Palazzo from $640 per person per night.

    Extend your stay in Rome or continue to the Amalfi Coast

    Departures & Rates

    Dates Priced from
    05/06/2008 to 05/15/2008 $7,620
    05/20/2008 to 05/29/2008 $7,620
    06/03/2008 to 06/12/2008 $7,620
    09/09/2008 to 09/18/2008 $7,620
    09/16/2008 to 09/25/2008 $7,620
    10/14/2008 to 10/23/2008 $7,620

    The price shown is in USD. Price is per person, based on double occupancy.
    Departures are limited to 24 passengers.
    PRICE PER PERSON (land arrangements)
    Double occupancy…..$7,620
    Single supplement…..$2,210
    * Holiday surcharge will apply. Call for details.
    Departure dates, prices and availability may change at any time.

    Prices and departures may vary from what is displayed on this web site. Please call us at 800-942-3301 to confirm the latest pricing and departure information.

  4. rishi said

    Ok girls…
    Sample Itinerary based on direction….
    we must either start in Roma and end up in Venice or the reverse..
    but I think this is the best way..to cover the most ground….
    Toronto – Venice (2 days) – Liguria (Portofino) (1 day) – Florence (2 days) – Campania (2 days) – Roma (2 days) – Toronto

  5. Beth said

    Love the itinerary! I think we’re covering pretty much everything that I wanted to see in Italy so I don’t have much to add here. Except maybe to suggest staying a day longer in Rome(so much more to see there than – say Venice?) and try to cut down some time from the others???

    A well thought out plan otherwise, Rish! Thanks for working on this. Can’t wait!:-)

  6. rishi said


    Italy The First Time – Flying Into and Out of Rome
    Rome – 3-4 days 1
    High-speed train to Florence (2 hours)
    Florence – 2 days 2
    Rent a car 3
    Tuscany – 3-4 days (or skip Florence, stay a week at a villa or farm, and visit Florence from there)
    Drive to Venice (4 hours) and drop off car 4
    Venice – 2 days
    High-speed train to Sorrento (6 + 1 hours – change to local train in Naples) 5
    Amalfi Coast and Capri – 4 days
    High-speed train to Rome and overnight in Rome
    Taxi or private transfer to the airport

  7. rishi said


    1- Consider your first day mostly wasted, as you will at best have half a day, and you’ll probably be pretty tired for most of it too. So you might want to add an extra day here. Also, take travel time into account as you plan the rest of your itinerary. For instance, if you have to travel from Venice to Sorrento, that is not a day in Venice or Sorrento – it’s a day of sightseeing out the window!
    2 – Be sure to make advance reservations for the museums! Click here for information.
    3 – If you rent a car through In Italy Online, there is no drop-off fee when you return it to a different location. We strongly urge you to rent a car for your time in Tuscany. Because of the hills, there are almost no direct train routes from anywhere to anywhere, forcing you to waste valuable time waiting for connections, and most of the stations are in the ugly modern part of town, which means you have to then take a bus up to the ancient hill town. Click here for the lowest car rental rates in Italy.
    4 – Of course you know you can’t have a car in Venice! You can drop off your rental car in Piazzale Roma, across the Grand Canal from the main rail station. From Piazzale Roma you can take the vaporetto (public water bus) to any location in Venice.
    5 – If you wish to avoid driving on the Amalfi Coast, you should stay in the town of Sorrento (make sure your hotel is not on the outskirts of town). From there you can visit Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Capri by boat, and take the commuter train to Naples (well worth the visit!), Pompeii and Herculaneum.
    6 – The coast of Liguria is one place you do not need a car, because the trains and boats are so well organized. A great way to include this incredibly picturesque part of the country in your trip is to fly into Pisa, because there is a train station very near the airport, and you can be in the Cinqueterre area within an hour of landing. Or train to Lucca, only half an hour away and a perfect base for this itinerary.
    7 – The ferry service to Sicily is one of the best organized things in Italy. There are public ferries and private ferries – the only difference is that trains literally ride inside the public ferries, which cost slightly less than the private ferries (but both are inexpensive). Both take cars or walk-on passengers, are easy to find in Villa San Giovanni and Messina, and leave every 15-20 minutes, 24 hours a day. No advance reservations are accepted, but except in August, you will rarely have to wait in line to get on.

  8. rishi said

    Rail travel times!!
    Travel Times:
    Milan – Reggio Di Calabria: 11 hours
    Milan – Venice: 2 hours 45 minutes
    Rome – Turin: 6 hours 11 minutes
    Rome – San Remo: 6 hours 39 minutes
    Rome – Venice: 4 hours 33 minutes
    Rome – Ancona: 3 hours 7 minutes
    Rome – Lecce: 6 hours 13 minutes

  9. rishi said

    See that in Roma…
    We have to go to the Vatican City, so I guess an extra day in Rome 🙂

  10. rishi said

    Tips from Rajeev and Sona Sharma 🙂


    Walking is the best way to see the city, combine walking with the tram
    Do not buy tickets at the machines near tram, they sometimes eat your money; tickets are sold at tobacco stores; get a tram map and schedule
    Taxis are expensive and many don’t take dollars; hard to find a taxi at night

    trevi fountain:
    there is a smaller fountain on the right side of main fountain, you can drink water from it
    on left side of fountain, there is a row of stores, the gelato was good at the one with wood paneling, christiano is the owner, tell him we referred you

    convert to euros, very few places take dollars

    grocery store (Mercado) near Spanish steps good place to get water, coke cans

    for late night snack – take out a pizza and get pannetone from the grocery store


    Sistine chapel:
    Get audio guide – just as informative as a tour guide and you can see things at your own pace
    Only one line takes credit cards
    Student discount – need id
    Free on certain Sundays, check its website, but extremely long line then

    St. Peter’s Square:
    3 separate lines:
    chapel, top of dome, underground tombs
    all worth seeing
    steps to top of dome are narrow, don’t go if claustrophobic
    extra charge for going to top of dome

    Tour guide was expensive but need something for background, audio guide or book

    When walking in rome, have chestnuts from street vendor – no bargaining

    dinner on via veneto at pepereno – sea bass Sicilian style was delicious
    don’t get desserts and coffee at restaurants – better and less expensive at cafes and bakeries that are on every street
    ask for tap water, they will always charge you for bottled if you don’t ask
    most restaurants added a tip, they may still ask you for a tip thinking you didn’t see the added charge; bread is always an extra charge; many include a table charge (like a tip)

    Spanish steps is a good central location – many expensive stores and restaurants

    good to have a phrase book – italians don’t like speaking English

    pantheon :
    closes for mass certain hours; ask to go in and sit during mass

    walk in piazza venezio; walk along tiber river
    get a city map and just walk everywhere

    went to trastevere to see a different neighborhood – not worth it

  11. rishi said



    Tickets for the train can be purchased at vending machines located inside the Domestic, International, and Arrival terminals as well as at railway stations. The train schedules are posted at the railway stations.

    Please be aware that schedules may vary on holidays and on Sundays.

    There is a non-stop train that runs hourly from the Leonardo da Vinci Airport to Roma Termini Station between the hours of 7:38am and 10:08pm.

    Trains also run between the airport and Fara Sabina every 20 minutes, from 6:28am to 12:13am. The train stops at:

    Ponte Galeria
    Villa Bonelli
    Roma Trastevere
    Roma Ostiense
    Roma Tuscolana
    Roma Tiburtina
    Roma Nomentana
    Nuovo Salario
    Pianabella di Montelibretti
    Please be aware that from 9:15pm to 11:55pm the last train stops at Roma Tiburtina.

    BY BUS

    If you happen to arrive at the airport at night and the train is no longer running there is no need to fret. You can take a bus into town. The buses that run from the airport into Roma are call CO.TRA.L. The bus stop is located near the International Terminal arrival area. They will take you from the airport to Roma Tiburtina. They run from 1:15am to 5:00 am and take about one hour. Tickets must be bought on the bus.


    We highly advise you to only use the yellow and white licensed taxis that have meters. These are licensed, public taxis and the drivers will give you a fair rate. Surcharge fees are added for baggage, nighttime transfer, Sundays, and holidays.

    From Downtown Rome to the Airport


    Click here for information


    Non-stop trains leave from Roma Termini Station hourly between the hours of 6:54am and 9.22pm.

    There is also a train that runs between Fara Sabina and the airport every 20 minutes, from 5:29am to 9:59pm.

    The train stops at:

    Pianabella di Montelibretti
    Nuovo Solario
    Roma Tiburtina
    Roma Tuscolana
    Roma Trastevere
    Villa Bonelli
    Ponte Galeria

    BY BUS

    The buses that run from Rome to Leonardo da Vinci Airport are Co.Tra.L., and take 60-90 minutes.

    Magliana-Airport: The bus stop is located near the Magliana subway station. The buses run from 6.15am to 9:45pm.

    Lepanto-Airport: The bus stop is located near the Lepanto subway station. Buses run from 6:35am to 9:15pm.

    Nightly Service:
    Roma Tiburtina-Airport: The bus stop is located near the Roma Tiburtina railway station. Buses run from 12:30am to 3:45am. Tickets must be bought on the bus.


    If you are driving to the airport there are numerous car parks located at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport.

    The long-term car park is located on the motorway from Rome to the airport. There is a shuttle bus that will take you from the long-term lot to the Domestic and International Terminals. They run every 15 minutes, from 7:00am to 10:00pm and every 20 minutes from 10:00pm to 7:00am. The shuttle bus is free of charge. Valet parking is located in front of the Domestic Terminal. For details about parking, click here.

    Short-term parking lots (A, B, C, and D) are located between the International departure area and the Domestic terminal. Parking spaces for drivers with disabilities are located on the first level of parking structures B, C, D and on the fourth level of building D.

    FS Orari offers schedules for all the shuttle trains between Roman train stations and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport.

    FS Web has useful information in English.

    Click here for Ciampino Airport shuttles.

  12. rishi said

    Great Entry on Rome

  13. A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!

  14. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.You have done a marvellous job!

  15. Thanks very much for sharing this interesting post. I am just starting up my own blog and this has given me inspiration to what I can achieve.

  16. The food in Phuket is yummy and cheap, all the locals we met were very friendly and anxious to advice use. We stayed at Siam Inn- a completely different place to the hectic tourist trap in the east of Phuket City.

  17. Have just come back from a grand holiday to Phuket, stayed at Palm Beach Inn in the northwestern part which is less busy than south areas, great resort and good bays. We rented a big motorbike for only 250 baht per day and would drive around the full region. So many tremendous sites to eat, our preferred spot was Ahan thai Aroy which had the most exceptional view over the beach, the staff was rather nice and the food so delicious, we went for sunset drinks. My wife and I had a great time in Phuket Town and will be back for Songkran.

  18. Rick Johns said

    I took this tour and it was cheap from cittours htp://www.cittours.ca

    Day 1 Rome

    Upon arrival at Rome Airport make your way to your selected hotel. After checking in you are free to relax or explore Rome.

    Day 2 Rome

    This morning enjoy a city tour, which includes a visit to some of the best known monuments of Rome including the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The tour ends with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica where you can admire many masterpieces including Michelangelo’s Pietá. The rest of your day is spent at leisure. (B)

    Day 3 Rome | Florence

    Today travel by first-class train from Rome to Florence. Check in at your selected hotel and the remainder of the day is yours to pass as you choose. (B)

    Day 4 Florence

    This morning enjoy a guided tour of the “Cradle of the Renaissance” – Florence. Start with a drive along the romantic Viale dei Colle up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a fantastic panoramic view of the city. Then a guided walking tour of the historic centre including a visit to the Duomo complex, Giotto’s Belltower and the ancient Baptistery with its bronze door before finally arriving to the renowned Galleria dell’Accademia* to admire the famous David by Michelangelo and other great works. The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you please. (B)

    Day 5 Florence | Venice

    Travel by first-class train from Florence to Venice. After check-in at your selected hotel the remainder of the day is free to shop or explore Venice. (B)

    Day 6 Venice

    This morning’s guided walking tour visits the historic centre of the city and its monuments. Points of interest will include St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Baptistery, the Ducal Palace, the Prisons and the Bridge of Sighs. The tour ends with a visit to a glass blowing factory. Afternoon at leisure. (B)

    Day 7 Venice

    Today marks the end of your tour. After breakfast you may consider one of the many optional tours available through CIT Tours or travel to the airport for your return flight. (B)

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