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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    825

    Default Going to Italy!! Need suggestions!

    I would love suggestions on what your favorite places to see / things to do/ restaurants/ hotels:

    We're going to:
    Rome
    Venice
    CinqueTerre
    Florence

    we might to side day trips places so suggestions are welcome!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    2,935

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    I don't know what your budget is like, but if you need a nice, reasonably priced hotel in Venice I highly recommend this pensione: La Calcina . It's really cute, very professional and helpful staff, has an awesome breakfast every morning, and it's walking distance to everything. And it's less than 150 euros for a double, depending on the season.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,525

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    In Rome we stayed at a hotel called Hotel Smeraldo . It was in a convinient area a close walk to the Pantheon. We followed Rick Steve's books when we were there to find out hotels. Here is a picture of the room:



    The bathroom was a nice size for European standards. It had a toilet, bidet, shower, and a/c (which the front desk controlled). I forget what we paid (I think it was less than 100euros), but you get a discount if you pay in cash. The room had a TV.

    If we had more time in Rome we would have done a day trip to Pompeii. We saw the main highlights of Rome. The colosseum, forum, and Vatican. Also did several walking tours.

    In Venice we stayed at a smaller place, it was kind of like a bed and breakfast, but no breakfast. It was called Allogi all Scalla. It is by these famous stairs, which tour groups stop at. It was again a Rick Steves find. The room was nice though basic no TV and an interesting bathroom.

    Here is a picture of the room, ignore the unmade bed we were on our way out:



    If you plan to go to the museums I would recommend Rick Steves Mona Winks Book. It will guide you through the museums though written in a light manner.

    In Venice try one of the bars that serves appetizers, I know I am spelling it wrong but called conchiti or something like that. You can try some wine and point to some of the food for an interesting meal. Also in Venice we just liked to sit in St. Mark's square at night on the steps and listen to the bands at the several outdoor cafes. They charge for a table, but you can sit close by for free.

    You can check out many more of our pictures here . I am sure you will have a great time! When are you going?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    20,270

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    We just went to Italy about a month ago. We went to Rome, Venice, and we spent a week on the Amalfi Coast. Our hotel in Venice sucked, but our Rome hotels were progressively nicer. The first one was Hotel Canova, and the second one (nicer, but more expensive) was near the Piazza de Spagna and it was called Hotel San Carlo. I really recommend getting a hotel with AC in Venice b/c you will be eaten alive by mosquitos otherwise.

    ETA: On food: We were hardpressed to find a bad meal in Rome - breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even restaurants that looked like the biggest dives (and would be here in the US) had fantastic homemade food and great local wines. Venice - not so much. Fill up on sandwiches at lunch b/c the pasta is like Chef Boy Ardee, I swear. Even the pizza is "eh".
    Last edited by laura; 06-27-2005 at 08:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Milan, Italy
    Posts
    4,405

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    Here's a link for B&B's in Rome. I haven't used them but a friend of mine works for the FAO/WFP there and that is the link they use for their consultants.

    As for Cinque Terre, try to find a place in the 5 terre. We stayed in Levanto which was ok, but you can stay in the 5 lands and pay the same or even less than either Levanto or La Spezia. There are A LOT of places that work as B&Bs that don't advertise anywhere. You can just go there, knock on the door and check out the place. I have heard that Porto Venere is really spectacular. You can't get there by train though so you either need a car or you can take the ferry from Monterosso.
    "He who knows he has enough is rich" - Lao Tzu
    --<--@ Tiffany @-->--
    LJ ~ Chart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,013

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    I know a few of the girls have mentioned Rick Steves, but I'm going to bring his name up again and tell you to get his guide to Italy if you haven't already because it will literally be your best friend throughout the entire trip. I don't know what we would've done in Italy if we didn't have good ol' Rick with us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC Suburbs
    Posts
    125

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    We just went in January for our honeymoon and it was really nice!

    LOL- we lived off of our Rick Steeve's book! We could not have gotten along in Italy without it! We used the one that was just called 'Italy.' It gave us all the phrases and everything!
    AND in all our travels through Italy- we spotted him! It was hilarious! We were at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and DH said that was him. I pulled out the book and then called his name. He looked over and i held up the book- it was too funny! He talked to us for awhile and here's a pic of DH (on the right) and Rick Steeves...


    There are 2 places in Florence that were a must go for us! The first place is called Il Latini. We had heard about it from a Rachel Ray special (chef from the Food Network) and when we went- it was AMAZING and SO MUCH FUN! The food was great! You have to get there early and wait in line, then the doors open and people charge the door- *make sure that you have a reservation*! It's tough to get in because of the chaos when the doors open and everyone pushing, but soooo worth it!
    The other place in Florence is called Aqua El Due (it says Aqua el 2 on the door). A few people i work with went there (and actual Rachel Ray did too). We got their pasta special which was where they bring out 5 different pastas for you to taste- that was incredible! It's really only enough for one person so we got something else too. The for dessert we got the sampler and again- amazing!

    We went to Venice, Rome, Florence - from Florence we rented a car and drove to Pisa to see the leaning tower and then to Sienna, then we ended our trip on the Almafi Coast. I would highly recommend making your way to Sienna- that was very cool!

    A few things we learned from our trip- 1- buy the blown glass in Venice!!! 2- cappucino is only consumed in the mornings, espresso is at night (one of the restaurants kindly corrected my hubby)! 3- the train station in Rome is crazy- we had SOOOO many gypsy children come up to us- it was actually horrible! We had been warned about the gypsys so we knew- i'd feel horrible if someone didn't know because the kids were really cute! We bought art in Rome by the spanish steps- we talked the guy down in price and the pics were easy to roll up and keep safely in our suitcases until we got home.

    Okay, that's all i can remember for now. Sadly, i almost said that i had a full recap in my newleywed journal but that was on WC!

    Have a great trip and don't forget to buy Rick Steeves!
    Never frown because you never know who is falling in love with your smile (author unknown)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    We had cappucino every night in Italy (?), so I don't know why someone would tell you not to, or that you couldn't. Weird.

    I forgot about the gypsies - the thing I found most bizarre and unsettling were the gypsy women with their babies. My husband's uncle got pikpocketed when one of these women threw her baby at him to distract him, so just be aware. I didn't see any women actually throw their children, but I did see a lot of women with babies basically using them to garner sympathy - very sad.

    There is lots of glass jewelry that is beautiful in Venice. In fact, I am still kicking myself over not buying a beautiful necklace I saw there!
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  9. #9
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    Jun 2005
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    1,085

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    I haven't been back in about 5 years. One piece of advice about Venice, the further away you get from St. Mark's Square, the cheaper things become! I wish I could remember the hole in the wall grotto restaurant we ate at. Cheap and so delicious! We ate there twice.

    Ditto on the gypsy warning! Also, in Rome, for some reason the pickpockets love the bus that takes you to St. Peter's Square.

    And as far as the cappucino thing goes, in Italy, it is considered a breakfast drink, which may be why you couldn't have it or they looked at you strange for ordering it. Anytime someone orders a cappucino, and its not morning, it pretty much says you are a tourist. Learned that the hard way from my relatives!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Milan, Italy
    Posts
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    Yes ordering cappucino after 3pm is a red flag that you're a tourist. Then again, that will probably be pretty clear anyway, so if you want one just order one. I actually went out to dinner with an ITALIAN last month and she ordered a cappucino after dinner. It's more acceptable to order a caffe macchiato (this is an espresso with a drop of milk) after dinner.

    The glass in Murano is absolutely famous. They are particularly famous for their chandaliers. But you will find all manner of glass objects there. You should actually take a trip out to Murano where you can see the factories.
    "He who knows he has enough is rich" - Lao Tzu
    --<--@ Tiffany @-->--
    LJ ~ Chart

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