Posted by Joe B on July 24, 2002 at 12:56:20:

Italy Aviano Abbreviated Trip Report

Successfully toured Italy during the last two weeks of June. We caught a Space A AF Reserve KC-135 from Tinker direct to Aviano and back. I later found
out that Tinker AFB seldom have passengers because of the infrequency of Space A flights.

We toured and traveled by car around Aviano, Lake Barcis, Venice, Padua, Florence, Pisa, Roma, Pompeii. Since I was traveling with 4 dependants it
appear to be more cost effective then travel by train. The EUROCAR rental at Aviano airport appear to be about $15-20 more expensive then other car rental
places in the town of Aviano. If only two or maye three folks are traveling I would recommend using the train.

We got our car for $30 a day, unlimited miles from a place in town with the name "RENTAL CAR Company" ph 0434 651378. web site
WWW.avianorentalcar.com. They have lower price cars also. The folks where extremely helpful, spoke English, and was very accommodating by allowing
us drop the car off at the base on the last day without fee. I suspect they would come to pick you upon from base on your arrival. A possible negative is that
these folks may be a local private rental. (I was told to rent a car through US car rental agencies from state side can be an excellent and economical way to
go.)

If you are able to drive comfortably in New York, Boston or other big cities on the east coast the drivers in Italy can accommodate you. However the lack of
good signage was our biggest source of stress and strife. After two days of trying to read Italian road signs printed in size 14 font and without any clue what
was the name of the next town in the next bend of the road my stress levels was at it peak. My stress nearly disappeared once we purchased from the BX a
$15, one inch thick Road Atlas of Italy. You really need to understand they of land and the location of cities in order to navigate. In town, be prepared for one
way roads, snaking roads. The further south you drive the more impatient Italian drivers became with road hindrances. We found nearly all Italians very
courteous and helpful off the road.

To travel from Aviano to Pompeii via Autostrada toll roads. Total tolls ran about 40euros one way. A litter of gas was 1.07euro.

Finding readily available and cheap parking is an unlikely event in the big tourist cities. Florence had the most traffic and was our biggest challenge for
driving and parking. Downtown parking fee ran .75 to 2euro an hour. Rome was relatively easy to drive and much more spacious then Florence. Parking in
Venice cost of 20euro per day at a public parking garage. The parking garage at the hotel next to the Vatican cost $15euro a day.

Hotel recommendation.
We found it difficult to keep the cost down. However it was tourist season and we really had no information at the time to work with. Found most of hotel by
driving by. However it is very difficult to local hotels driving by. No big signs on the hotels. Even when you follow an information sign you can circle for
hours trying locate the hotel in the small cities. Highly recommend trying to establish reservation and directions in advanced.

If you have a car and are staying near Aviano I like to recommend the Pra De Plana Hotel, ph 0434 652552. E-mail pradeplana@libero.it This 3 star
hotel/restaurant is about 8km up the mountain from Aviano. Rooms cost about 55euros for a double in 13 June 02. A very beautiful location, quiet, very nice
owners, very nice rooms, breakfast included, and very reasonably price dinner. From the terminal call for direction and help.

Visiting Pompei: We stayed in a very nice, 3 star, Lord Nelton Hotel in the town of Scafati. Get to Hotel Nelton s.a.s. via M. Nappi, 92. tel: 081.8592604 -
fax: 081.8592604, http://www.hotelnelton.it The hotel is 4km away from Pompii site. The hotel has very nice rooms, nice place to dine, free parking, they
even have a swimming pool. The owner/family could barely speak English but that did not stop them from taking great care of us. They were very helpful,
thoughtful and courteous. The fastest way to find this hotel may be to call them once you are in town. I suspect they would come get you or personally escort
you back to the hotel.

Rome hotels appear to be relatively expensive (180 euro/night for a 3 star booked via USO) if you have 4 dependants. Its about half the price for a double. I
would do some internet searching before leaving for Italy if you have time. Florence is also very expensive place to find a hotel. To reduce cost we stayed in
the 14th century town of Pistoia about 20km from Florence at "Hotel Firenze" Via Curtatone E Montanara 42, Pistoia. Owner spoke excellent English.
Information on this Hotel is available at search engine
http://www.hotelroomsplus.com/italy/pistoia.htm
Suggested Links
Italian Insight Info
Aviano Bus Schedule
Ederle Army Lodging, Vicenza IT. Info
Hotel Listings

To all who plan on traveling to Italy

Best of luck and enjoy!
Joe B.