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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    We love Italy...

    I third Il Latini in Florence. Just get there early...people line up to get in.

    In Rome, try Il Baffeta...it is a pizza place and so good. About five minutes walk from Piazza Navona.

    As for "pegging you as a tourist", DH and I read about this so we dressed nicely the whole time. Several times we were asked if we were from Switzerland, England, etc. We really felt like we were treated better...I know it sounds bad but some American's aren't the nicest tourists.

    The gypsy situation is bad. Don't even make eye contact! Especially in Rome, they will hand you a rose and say "its a gift" and then front off your man about paying for the compliment. It can get pretty ugly.

    I also agree with going to Murano in Venice. It is very interesting.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005


    Hmmm, gelato sounds so good right now! I was just in Italy earlier this month for a vacation/cruise - we had such a great time.

    In Venice, we stayed at the Palazzo Sant Angelo, it's on the grand canal between the Rialto and St. Marks, very close to a bus stop. Very nice hotel in a great location. We did all the main tourist things in Venice, plus we did the Secret Itineraries tour at Doge's Palace. It was really cool. We loved Venice.

    We also visited Rome, Florence, and Pisa - all great. Rome was really crowded though and we weren't able to see the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican (the line was ridiculously long).

    You may also want to consider visiting the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. The Amalfi coast is so beautiful, DH and I will definitely return there. Pompeii was really interesting as well - you can easily spend a whole day there.

    Have a great time!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Los Angeles, CA


    I second the recommendation about the Amalfi Coast. I've been all over Italy, and it's my favorite place. Positano at night has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

    If you don't want to look like a tourist, don't wear white tennis shoes.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    First suggestion: Take me with you!!!!

    OK, you're probably not going to go for that. But just in case....

    I'm going to echo what the others said: Rick Steves is a god. Love his books. I personally didn't like 5 Terre. A bit more climibing than I wanted to do on a vacation.

    Wear a waist wallet. Period. That way you won't have to worry about anyone stealing from you. I keep my day's money in a change purse that is safety-pinned into my pocket. So if some one does grab it from my pocket, they're taking me with it!

    If you don't want to go further south than Rome, hit Ostio Antica. Rick talks about how to get there in his Rome book. You can get there from Rome via subway. It's Roman ruins like Pompeii, but much closer! You have the run of the place. Really cool.

    Gelato: eat some for me!!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Default Italy, anyone?

    DH and I are going to northern Italy for a week this May (we tend to be last-minute planners!). We're thinking of doing Venice, Florence, and either Lake Como or the Cinque Terre (leaning more towards CT). Any tips or thoughts? Anything else in the region that we should see instead/in addition? Thanks!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Here's a big thread on Italy and one with a lot of Northern Italy specifics. Have fun!
    She'd be his wife and make him her husband 5/03Ds1 12/22/09...Ds2 8/31/12

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Thanks, Seb's Kitty! I forgot to search

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default Italy

    Seeing as I just got back from my solo adventure, I thought I would drop a line. I did the North to South route...Milan - 5 terre - Florence - Rome - Pompeii (all in a week, so it was very rushed)

    In 5 Terre, I stayed at an awesome place Hotel Punta Mesco (only 65 euros) and close to the beach in Monterossa. I did the 4.5 hour hike from Monterossa to Riomaggiore, though I did it a bit early in the morning and it was misty and overcast.....very exhilarating I must say, though I that thought I was fit, had my legs shaking by the end. (I guess because I did not really pause in the towns on my way through).......(Followed Rick Steves book all the way!)

    In Florence stayed at Hotel Pensione Maxim, which was very basic, (nice and clean) but was right on Via del Calzaiuoli, next door to the Duomo, a walk away from the Uffizi and the Accademia (have your hotel make your reservations) and the covered market and street market.

    In Rome, stayed at Hotel Italia, just off of Via Nazionale , (small rooms, but good location). I followed Rick Steve's Night Walk tour (Piazza Novona - Pantheon - Trevi Fountain - Spanish Steps) on my first night.

    Tips: Vatican City: well, I got there quite early around 8.00am, and there was a queue for groups and individuals, and was sent from one to the other, only to find out that they let the queue for groups in first b4 the one for individuals....was quite peeved about that......and after the Sistine Chapel, take the exit in the corner on the right.....it will lead you right to St. Peters.

    Colosseum: definitely buy your ticket at Palatine Hill (10 euro).....even though you are walking up hill past the Colosseum. When you get back to the Colosseum walk past the queue to the front and just slide your ticket into the turnstile.

    Train tickets: don't get them before hand, as chances are you will want to catch an earlier or later train (The screens on the station show the trains 2ce: Arriving and Departing, I found this confusing for a while) Also, I was told to validate my tickets in the machines on the platform before hand, so make sure you do.

    Pickpockets: They are everywhere, just don't carry anything of value in your backpack. I carried everything in my inside pockets and zipped my jacket all the way up.

    All my reservations were made via email

    Pompeii....(day trip from Rome) this was awesome, though I got frazzled trying to follow so many different maps, so eventually tagged onto an american tour group.

    Wow! I have written a book....sorry! Let me know if you need any further info....

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Brandon, FL


    I went to Rome in Nov2005. LOTS to see there. I only got to stay there overnight for 1 day b/c I was going on a cruise that left out of Rome. We did the Colosseum and a bus tour. There was SO much more that I wanted to do but with the time restraints that I had, I couldn't. I just need to go back!

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    I haven't been north of Rome yet, but figured I'd post my trip review from southern Italy in case it might help anyone who's headed to that area. This trip was in 2003.

    Trip Review: Rome and Positano

    If you're planning to go to Italy, I highly recommend the following websites:

    Fodors.com- Great info about Italy and very helpful message boards
    Italyby.com- You can book your hotel here. Lots of options with photos!
    Venere.com- Another site where you can book your hotel. They have good budget options here, too.
    Frommers.com- Great planning website
    The Honeymoon Bio- Trip reviews and photos from brides who've honeymooned in Italy. Great tips even if you're not on your honeymoon.
    TripAdvisor.com- Don't book a hotel before you check reviews here!



    Hotel Romano- I stayed two nights here in a single with private bath. (80e /night). The room was very small, but also clean and secure. The best part of the Romano was the location (right next to the Forum at the end of Via Cavour) and the staff of the hotel (all the people at the front desk spoke English, were very polite, gave restaurant recommendations, lent umbrullas when it rained and hailed cabs for me). This place isn't fancy, and there are no elevators so you have to carry your bags up the stairs. I wouldn't recommend it for a romantic trip, but if you're traveling on a budget, this is a good option.

    Mecenate Palace Hotel- I stayed here three nights in a triple room (after my friends arrived in Rome). This was a bit of a splurge for us (279e/ night) but I just loved this hotel! It's in a wonderful location (right next to Santa Maria Maggiore, a 10 minute walk from the train station). The hotel is very elegant, our rooms were large and furnished with beautiful cherrywood furniture (the bathroom was enormous and really luxurious). The service was outstanding. There is a rooftop restaurant/bar/patio here with great views that we really enjoyed. The hotel is also close to the Metro. I'd definitely recommend this as a hotel for a romantic getaway.

    RESTAURANTS (from 2003)

    Sabatini- This is a great people-watching restaurant in Trastevere (Piazza Santa Maria). You definitely want a patio seat at night. However, we thought it was really overpriced for the quality of the food. My pasta dish was great, but my friends had other meals that were just average). If you don't mind spending the money, it's a scenic place to sit outside. But we had better food in Rome.

    Ristorante Cleto- We stumbled into this casual little place entirely on accident and it ended up being the best meal we ate in Rome. It's tucked into an alley off of Via Cavour about a block and a half from the end of the street (near the Forum). It's got a tiny outdoor patio. The chef came out and greeted us personally and made dinner recommendations. The bruschetta here was the best we had on our whole trip, and the pasta Arrabiata was wonderful.

    Antico Caffe Della Pace - This was another wonderful restaurant (Near Piazza Navona) where we had an outstanding lunch. Tucked into a quiet and scenic little alley near Piazza Navona, this café has outdoor seating and some really great paninis and salads. If you're in the area, I highly recommend it.

    Tudini- Tudini is on Via Cavour, only a few blocks from the train station. The prices are very reasonable and the pizza is great.

    Caffe Sant' Eustachio- This is a little coffee shop and was a tip from the people at Fodors.com. It turned out to be one of my favorite places in all of Rome. I ended up going here for capuccino every day! It is in Piazza Sant' Eustachio, right near the Pantheon and the cappuccino here is just exceptional. It's always crowded with Romans and a few smart tourists. The cappuccino recipe here is so guarded that the staff actually turns their back to you when they make them, which is funny. Be sure to buy a bag of the coffee beans and bring them home! Also, the chocolate covered espresso beans make great gifts.

    Blue Ice- I got lost looking for San Crispino (which is supposed to be one of the best gelato places in Rome) near Trevi Fountain and ended up just buying a gelato here instead. It was very tasty and they have a great selection of flavors. I recommend it!


    We did a lot of wandering and exploring. Saw all of the major sights and lots of other places as well. I'm only going to mention the sights I have specific feedback on, but we saw a lot of other great places as well.

    THE COLOSSEUM- You really get a better sense of this place with a tour, or at least a very detailed guide book. I recommend a tour! English speaking tours start near the front entrance all the time. It should cost you 10 euro or less.

    ROMAN FORUM- I also recommend a tour here. Fortunately, many of the English-speaking tours here are free. Just look around for tour guides when you enter.

    THE VATICAN- It is so, so crowded here. Even on a weekday, even in the offseason. And this is another place where you will want to have a good guidebook or take the audiotour. It helps to know what you are looking at.

    ST. PETERS- They are very serious about covering your shoulders and knees, ladies! We saw several people who were made to stay outside because they were in tank tops. Bring a sweater!

    GALLERIA BORGHESE- A great little musuem at the edge of Rome that I recommend seeing. You need to make a reservation online before you leave for your trip (or have your hotel call once you get there). I got hideously lost taking the Metro to the Borghese and wandered around in the park for 30 minutes. You might want to take a cab, or at least take along a good map and be prepared to ask for directions in the park. Also, you HAVE to check your bags here. They wouldn't even let me carry in my small purse. Still, I thought that "Apollo and Daphne" was worth the inconvenience! This museum is filled with little treasures. The park is lovely too!

    BASILICAS- I was really impressed with Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano. These are both gorgeous churches with lots of detail and interesting artwork/sculpture. They were saying masses in both churches when I went in, and the sound of the mass echoing through the church was beautiful. Neither one is too crowded-- which is nice---and I'd really recommend seeing them.

    TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY- I stumbled across this place and fell in love. If you're an animal person, you will definitely want to stop and check this place out. It's a quick 10 minutes out of your day, but I thought it was cute. I saw a sign here that said they offered tours, but it was never open when I was there.

    THE PANTHEON- I just loved The Pantheon! The domed interior of the Pantheon is very impressive. It was raining when I was there, and the rain falls right into the building and then drains through holes in the floor. The art throughout the Pantheon is lovely, and you'll also find the tomb of the artist Raphael here. Outside the Pantheon is the Piazza Della Rotunda, at the center of which is a obelisk atop a fountain. This is such a pretty area and a wonderful place to have a leisurely lunch.

    PIAZZA NAVONA- This is possibly the prettiest piazza in Rome. Filled with vendors selling posters, scarves and all sorts of things, the piazza is ringed by restaurants. There are three fountains in Piazza Navona. In the center is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, there's also Fontana del Moro and the Fountain of Neptune-- all gorgeous. Also in Piazza Navona, you'll see the lovely church of Sant' Agnese in Agone.

    SPANISH STEPS- Crowded and heavily policed. Still, a great place to sit and people-watch after a long day of walking around Rome. Do not eat on the stairs, though. The police get very agitated about that.

    VICTOR EMANUELE MONUMENT- Climb up to the top for great photo spots! We took some great pictures of the Colosseum and Forum from here. There is no tour or anything here, so bring along a guidebook for the history of the monument.

    SCALA SANCTA (HOLY STAIRS)- The Scala Sancta is a staircase that is supposed to have been walked upon by Jesus Christ and is considered holy and sacred. This is a popular destination for those who come to Rome looking for Christian sites. I stumbled upon it by accident and was fascinated. You are not supposed to touch the stairs with your feet. You can only ascend them on your knees. When you walk into the building, you'll see the staircase right in front of you. Groups of people will be going up the stairs on their knees, praying with their rosaries. Quite a sight!

    In all, Rome was wonderful! There were some things that took a little getting used to (the difficulty crossing the street because Romans drive like crazy people!) but we met so many wonderful people there, saw the most amazing sights and sampled some great cuisine. Rome was just incredible!

    Photos from Rome:

    Rome: Piazza Della Rotunda (at the Pantheon)

    Rome: Trevi Fountain

    Rome: The Colosseum

    The Forum
    Last edited by Rosebud; 04-14-2006 at 02:31 PM.

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