September 9, 2008

France and Italy 2008: Updates on Planning and Preparation Part 1

I thought I'd give you updates on planning and preparing our forthcoming trip to Paris, Florence and Rome. Over the last few days, I was busy booking airline tickets, making hotel reservation, completing requirements for visa application, creating detailed itinerary, researching about Florence and Rome, etc. While I'm not yet done with our pre-departure preparations (we haven't submitted our visa application yet!) - I already booked tickets for Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, Medici Chapels Museum and Bargello Museum in Florence! Apparently, you need to reserve tickets for Accademia and Uffizi ahead of time (at least one month before for Uffizi) to avoid wasting time in long lines. Plus, these four museums implement timed entry for visitors so reservation is really necessary.

I will submit our visa application to the French Embassy tomorrow. We just completed our visa requirements. My husband got his employment and salary letter only today, which is one of the requirements for visa application. I'm already worried because of the tight visa schedule. Given the 15 days processing time, we should be getting our visa on the 25th of September (that is a Thursday - end of the week here!). Our flight is on September 27th, Saturday; therefore, so we must have our visa on the 25th, otherwise, we won't be able to leave.

In the next days, I will be completing our detailed itinerary. Meanwhile, here's the overview of our itinerary.

Day 1 - Arrive Paris
Day 2 - Paris
Day 3 - Paris
Day 4 - Paris
Day 5 - Paris; depart for Florence - evening Train
Day 6 - Arrive Florence
Day 7 - Florence
Day 8 - Florence - side trip to Siena
Day 9 - Florence - side trip to Pisa
Day 10 - Florence - side trip to Assisi; evening train to Rome - sleep in Rome
Day 11 - Rome
Day 12 - Rome
Day 13 - Rome
Day 14 - Rome; evening flight - fly out

Do you have any travel tips for visiting Paris, Florence and Rome? How about tourist traps to avoid?


Anonymous said...

sarap naman! Ingat sa byahe! and have a great trip!

Nina said...

Libre lang ang ticket from Qmiles :)

Anonymous said...

visit castel san angelo first in rome. from there, take via conciliazione going to st.peter's square. it is one of the breath-taking views i've ever seen. it is known as the road to Vatican. Go at night when the lights are on, but the day view is good too.

of course, try the gelato. there's a religious store (rosaries, calendars, etc) on via conziliazione (left side if you're facing st. peter's) where a friendly pinoy works.

of course, don't forget the gelato, the mouth of truth, museums et al.

in florence, drop by the basilica di santa croce at piazza di santa croce near the duomo (sabi 800 meters).

have fun. italy is great.

Nina said...

Thank you for the tips, anonymous...

Anonymous said...

oops, hope you don't mind that i'm back. buy from the vendors on the street in italy, and do what we do in pinas: bargain as hard as you can and pretend to turn around if they don't give you your price.

as always, just be very careful with your stuff especially with what they call gypsies.

i deliberately used only one italian number "due" which is 2 in haggling. if they offer me cinque (five) euros for one item, i say "no, no due". that's how i got a lot of scarves for pasalubong.

the store with the pinoy employee is galleria aurora.

last time i was there may '06, a can of pepsi was 3 euros. better go to a supermercato (supermarket) and buy in bulk. it's hard to find one in rome. bottled water is less expensive though people say the water from the public fountains is safe to drink. i saw some people filling their bottles.

in florence, there are great leather and jewelry stores at piazza santa croce specifically Misuri where 2-3 pinoys also work. they gave us discounts, but just be careful in giving tips. have small change with you. they can also direct you to a cafeteria. hopefully, sienna is not as crowded as it was during the late spring i was there.

taking a table is more expensive than eating on the counter/on the go coz you get slap taxes, etc., unless the view is great.

if you pass by venice, hotel san angelo has pinoy staff. and so does sheraton firenze.

i almost went back last year, but my parents didn't want me to go with it's probably true that if you toss a coin into the trevi fountain, you're bound to revisit rome.


Nina said...

Thank so much anonymous for your tips. Your tips are helpful and much appreciated :) Any suggestion for accomodation in Florence?

Anonymous said...

hi. we stayed at sheraton firenze, but i don't think you can reach the duomo by walking from that hotel. there are other good hotels within the duomo area so you save on time and energy (very important) check out

i've even seen b&bs within the piazza. try (

in rome, i can highly recommend cicerone (where we stayed) and starhotels michelangelo. cicerone offers hot breakfast plus it's 5 mins. walk to castel san angelo. starhotels is right behind st.peter's.

check out the city of san gimignano, i think between siena & florence, it's beautiful. in assisi, i can recommend hotel san francesco which is across the basilica. it's quaint but they serve chocolate, vanilla and pound cake for breakfast, among others.

i think cakes are regular breakfast fares (venice, assisi, etc.) but i don't remember in rome. but they all serve cold meat: prusciuto, bacon, sausage, cereals, etc. yummy.

in all the places i went to, even the smallest stores sell italian sandwiches, pasta (which you will have for b/l/d). so when i saw mcdonald's in venice, i said hallelujah. bring baon for variety.

PS: in rome, if you're facing the spanish steps, turn right and go straight ahead (pass the Immaculate Conception monument) to the mcdonald's store. it's cool and was featured as the #1 unique mcdo resto. too bad i didn't take photos. there's an italian salad bar, is 2-stories high, and just very ancient. you'll have to pay for the condiments, though.

i'm sure it's going to be lots of fun 4 u. enjoy!

Nina said...

Thank you very much for all the tips. I'm so excited na.