The Internet is a great tool to find information. On this occasion we've been able to find out about an overnight train from Holland to Northern Italy that takes motorcycles (and cars) as well as having sleeper cars. It's only once a week service and there is a British agent RailSavers that take bookings.
So this years plan takes us further afield allowing us to explore parts of Italy that would otherwise be too far for us to get to without slogging along far too much motorway to get there.
Our original thought was to travel the length of Italy then catch a ferry back from Sicily to Rome. Sadly this particular service got cancelled and the alternatives made the timings difficult.
Plan B is to spend a week traveling, a week based in a hilltop town in central Italy and take a series of day trips and then another going perhaps as far as Naples and then returning to catch the train.
Overall it's been a frenetic week as we only returned from the Wanaka trip 6 days ago.
We're also going to try Air New Zealand's Onesmart card. This is a debit card you preload with the currency of your choice (Euro's in this case) and then use without further transaction charges. The exchange rate they offer is a little poorer than we directly get from the bank but the convenience factor (not needing to take so much cash) and costs should be lower. It's hard to imagine a bank doing a deal if they don't need to but we shall see.
It also seems that you can buy Italian SIM cards on the spot [link] so we'll be giving that a go. No point in being robbed by the telco's if we can avoid it.