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Old 06-11-2007, 12:38 PM   #1
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is it necessary to bring a compass and a map for italy? also, what would be better for me to use, a streetwise map or a general map of italy?
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Old 06-11-2007, 12:55 PM   #2
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I guess really it depends on how you're planning on seeing Italy, and what parts you're going to.

If you're sticking to towns and cities, and you're getting public transport between places, I'd maybe take a street map for the main places if you feel so inclined, but I personally wouldn't bother with a compass (that's probably because I'm so dense, I don't know how to read a compass!). Some hostels I've stayed in - not in Italy, admittedly - provide free local area maps, so you might get lucky there. Or just go to a tourist office once you get there, so save you having to buy a load of stuff.

If you're planning on driving to different cities, you'll most likely need a general map with all the main roads in it.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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I always bring a small compass.

Trust me, streets in the EU are often very poorly-marked and twist all over the place. If you have a compass, you can at least be heading in the right direction until you finally recognize where you're at.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:25 PM   #4
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you shouldnt need to bring a map though. I was always able to get something from the information desk at train/bus stations, etc
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:47 PM   #5
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I don't think you need to bring either for Italy unless you are heading to the Alps. Italy has some fantastic maps and street signs so you shouldnt really get lost (unless you have had a few beers!).
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:36 PM   #6
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I was in a goofy mood when I packed for my last trip, so I ended up bringing a compass and I ended up using it quite a bit. I think it's handy, and you can always get a teeny one that slides on your watch strap or backpack. It's one of those things that you don't NEED, because we all muddle through when we're confused, but it made things easier, and is also a good "just in case" item to bring. I used it with guidebook maps, though, nothing intense.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:29 PM   #7
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I agree that it definately does not hurt to bring a compass. I have also found an occassional section of some European cities to be very confusing when looking for a specific place due to twisty streets, round-a-bouts, etc. Not all the time, but all it takes is one time to need that compass to make things a bit easier and it will have been worth it.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:20 AM   #8
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I always bring a small compass.

Trust me, streets in the EU are often very poorly-marked and twist all over the place.
Agreed. Europe hasn't gotten the hang of this yet. Not only are the streets frequently unmarked (even large intersections) but if you are lucky enough to have a sign, it isn't even lit at night! I always relied on freebie maps from tourist information or my hostel.

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Old 06-12-2007, 05:41 AM   #9
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Lol it must be because im a geography teacher i know my directions! Or that im European?
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:24 AM   #10
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Agreed. Europe hasn't gotten the hang of this yet. Not only are the streets frequently unmarked (even large intersections) but if you are lucky enough to have a sign, it isn't even lit at night!
Exactly, in the States, streets are all well-marked with actual signposts at the ends and at intersections.

In the EU, many are unmarked or the signs are on the corners of buildings where you have to hunt for them. They are not consistent-looking, either. Or, you might have a multi-spoke * intersection where there's a clusterfuck of signs in the middle that it's hard to tell which sign is for which street exactly.

So a small compass can help a lot. Don't bother with maps though - as you can get those at wherever you're at when you get there.
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:17 PM   #11
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Lol it must be because im a geography teacher i know my directions! Or that im European?
It must be that you are European but we won't hold that against ya

Next time you come to the States you will see what we are talking about. Even London which is easy to navigate has this problem. I don't understand how they could create one of the easiest, most efficient, extensive metros in the world (the US doesn't have anything CLOSE!) and not have/light the street signs.

In fact, in Tokyo, where their metro may barely edge out the tube, is even less labeled (directions sound like, walk past the temple, on the right there is a building, go until you see a tree, make a left, and look for the neon lights). I wonder if there is a correlation between the superiority of mass transit and the inferiority of signage

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Old 06-12-2007, 01:00 PM   #12
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As a tried and true American traveler, I just use the compass in the handle of my Rambo knife.

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Old 06-12-2007, 09:07 PM   #13
 
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Bring a small compass for the hell of it and maybe you'll need it, it cant hurt! If you're using a guidebook it should have some maps in there, and every hostel will have maps and most train stations should have a "tourist center" where they give out maps among other info.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:00 PM   #14
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I have absolutely no sense of direction (which doesn't actually bother me since I kind of like being lost...) but it bothers my dad quite a lot, so he got me a little compass that I can just attach to my backpack or daypack so that it's there just in case I need it. :D
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Old 06-24-2007, 05:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
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As a tried and true American traveler, I just use the compass in the handle of my Rambo knife.


Dude, I've always wanted one of those! But I guess I don't really need one in LA. Although a 9mm would be useful out here from time to time .


Pamelaann, bringing a compass is really like a .99 cent decision when it comes down to it. You can buy a fancy US Army kind but really a small inconspicuous keychain .99 cent store type will do. I use them a lot on the road, so I get my moneys worth. But it definitely can't hurt.

As far as the maps, like voyd said, many popular cities will have information booths that have free detailed street maps with all the famous city sites for easy navigation. You'll be fine getting one when you're there.
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:22 AM   #16
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Lol i was talking to my Year 7's about this before i left and they said you should practise using the compass with an OS map first (or any map that you may have!) because if you dont know how to co-ordinate your points with the directions on the map your pretty much screwed anyway (lol some comfort i am sure). Its surprsing how many adults dont know how to read a map.
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