Author: Grandma Cheryl
Date of Trip: August 2003
Seniors are sometimes hesitant to just take off for places unknown. I have to say I was a bit reluctant myself. Once I put my foot — and my cane — down on Italian soil, I never looked back.
Here are some tips to help seniors visiting Italy:
The number one piece of advice I have, and this applies to all travelers, is to PACK LIGHTLY. Put your belongings in a small suitcase with good wheels.You are not going to need most of what you usually bring and remember, you are not in the desert! If you really need some item of clothing,there are always great shops. You will most likely walk through them anyway.
Buy a ticket for the ON/OFF bus tour system for at least a day. It will take you to all the great sites. You get off the bus, stay as long as you want at the destination and then when you’re finished, you go to the bus stop and wait. It won’t be long before that bus picks you up and you go to the next site. We did this for three days in Rome. We saw it all without any stress.
Pick a hotel located near a landmark and the public transportation system. I found my hotel quite easily since I chose a location very near the Colosseum. You will always be able to locate it. I chose the Duca D’Alba hotel which has an elevator and a great breakfast buffet. It’s one block from the Colosseum, a half block away from two restaurants, and a half block to the subway.
A quick word about getting around…that particular subway will drop you off across the street from the Termani train station. Now don’t get upset. Trains are the same in Europe as our bus systems here in the USA. The only real difference is the much faster ride!I always recommend first class tickets because they don’t cost much more than regular tickets and you will not be crowded by local commuters.
From the Termani train station you can buy a ticket to any city in Italy, walk to your platform and get on your train. Be prompt. The train is. In Florence, for instance, you get off the train and you are moments from the bridge. A quick transfer in Naples and you are on the train taking you to the city of Pompeii. Easy and fast!
If you need help getting around, and trust me on this, the locals LOVE to give directions.
Back to the tips! Be aware that some rules apply to some locations in regards to dress codes. Men must wear long pants and women are required to have a scarf to cover their head in some spots. Not too extreme, but we didn’t get into the Vatican because my husband had on shorts. He could have purchased a pair of covers that were sold outside the door for about twenty dollars but he refused.
Please be very aware that there are gypsy children begging on some corners and through parts of town. Be alert to your valuables and take note that these children often work in teams.
And oh yes..NEVER go to Italy in August. It’s way too hot and the locals close up and go on vacation. It’s too hot to work!