The Hard Facts (for those who don’t like long, winded, detailed trip reports)
Rome - 5 nights
Gualdo Cattaneo (Bevagna) - 3 nights
Pienza - 3 nights
San Gimignano - 1 night
Vernazza - 2 nights
Florence - 3 nights
Venice - 3 nights
Summary of Accommodations
Rome: Falegnami Apartament http://www.sleepinitaly.com/files/apt_falegnami.html
(130Euros/pn for three persons + cleaning fee)
This was our first experience with an apartment rental. It worked out very well. The apartment had a lot of pros but one big con. The location was great and I thought that it was accurately portrayed in the website. It was quiet, well lit and comfortable. The problem was that the small bedroom stank of sewage. This was not a disaster because we closed the room and DD slept in the living room sofa bed.
Gualdo Cattaneo (Bevagna): Le Case Gialle http://www.lecasegialle.it/indexGB.htm
(110 Euros/pn - Il Giardino Apartment)
This is a beautiful little place. It is very well kept and the apartment was immaculately clean. The garden was gorgeous. Bread and Newspaper delivered in the morning. One bedroom apartment with a sofabed on the living room. Has a neat little terrace on the side. The pool was a big plus as the area was experiencing unseasonable heat. The only con is that it’s still a drive to go anywhere. I thought that I would cook, but I did not so that added a bit of driving for dinner.
Pienza: Piccolo Hotel La Valler http://www.piccolohotellavalle.it/index_uk.htm
(130 Euros/pn for a triple)
Loved this place. The triple room was a tad small for us plus luggage, but other than that the place was perfect. The view from the terrace was breathtaking. The breakfast buffet was the best of the trip (possible exceptions the ones we provided for ourselves). Hotel is just outside the walls of Pienza, 2 minute walk to the gate, and has parking and very easy access by car. 100% Recommended!
San Gimignano – Hotel Bel Soggiorno http://www.pescille.it/belsoggiorno/spedisci_en.php
(150 E/pn for a two-bedroom triple)
I had always wanted to stay in San Gimignano for a night, to see if the magic of the place really came alive after the tourists left (you will have to read all the TR details to find out if it did). The room was very basic but large and comfortable: one room with a double bed and huge closet, another room with two singles and the bathroom. It wins the #2 spot for best hotel-room-window-view ever. (#1 is in Ronda, Spain – but that was another trip report). It is the first hotel once you enter the gate so the walk from the #2 Parking is not bad (less than 10 minutes).
Vernazza – Gianni Franzi http://www.giannifranzi.it/index2.html
(120 E/pn for a triple, minus 10% cash discount)
There are 99 steps (we counted twice) from the piazza where you check-in to Room #41 – 3. This includes a spiral stair with 18” wide steps. Try to get luggage up those! The room was small with three separate single beds. Bathroom was recently renovated but had only lukewarm water in the shower. This is the type of room that would be considered luxurious by backpacker standards. No breakfast. I would not stay here again.
Florence – B&B Peterson http://www.bedinflorence.it/home.htm
(72 E/pn for a triple)
Good value for the money. The best part of the location is that it has a bus stop in front and a bar next door. The neighborhood feels safe but is not inviting. Not inviting at all. I would walk it (quickly) by myself late at night but would not let DD do it (all you moms know what I mean). Double bed (two singles pushed together) and a folding bed. It was spacious enough to lay our luggage comfortably. Bedspreads are really worn and were a turn-off for me; actually the overall room is beginning to look pretty worn too they need to do something soon. Bathroom had great pressure and lots of steaming hot water. It was quiet. No breakfast, but the bar next door makes great coffee.
Venice - Corte 1321 http://www.corte1321.com/en/sent_request.htm
(177 E/pn for a triple, minus 10% cash discount which we inquired about, it was not advertised, they were surprised at being asked and accepted after a brief consultation)
Considering the current prices of hotels in Venice and the fact that we were there during the Biennale opening weekend, this was the best hotel value of the trip. We stayed in the Yellow Room and LOVED it. Big double bed (two singles pushed together), a single bed and a day bed (sort of a futon). We were able to put the luggage over the spare bed. Best bathroom of the trip. Breakfast was included: coffee (not cappuccino), rolls, jams, yogurt and juice. It was an easy walk from the San Zacharia vaporetto stop (no bridges to cross) and the instructions were easy to follow (but you do need to pay attention). I would certainly and gladly stay with them again.
Summary of Restaurants
I will briefly list the restaurants, I will discuss them in great (read: too much) detail further on. For those that will not go through the details the prices I list are for three persons, usually include a primi and secondi for each, at least a liter of water and house wine, no dessert and sometimes coffee.
We did not have a single bad meal in 21 days, a few could have been better, some had a single amazing dish while the other plates were ho-hum. There were occasions were I was too tired to seek out a specific place which resulted in what I call ‘okay’ meals and a few slightly overprized one (in one predictable instance, very overprized).
Pizza Ré - great pizza, but what can be bad on arrival day to Rome. 45E
Ditirambo – Very good meal, would certainly eat there again. 77E
Der Pallaro – Most entertaining meal of the trip. Food was solid, hearty and abundant. I was not crazy about the dessert. Fixed price of 25E pp =75E.
Osteria del Pegno – One of the best meals of the trip, certainly on the top 5. 88E
Da Baffetto – Really good pizza. Seeing the waiter manage the crowd was an experience. 43E.
L’Alchimista – Variable quality and taste over the meal, great primis, somewhat disappointing seconds. The ambiance was not vibrant (or maybe we were a bit tired). 69E
Le Coccorone – Solid meal, interesting amouse bouche and prosecco included with the coperto. The terrace did not have a view but was very cozy. Did not have a few of the things in the menu but that is almost common on a Tuesday evening. Would return. 88E.
Locanda del Teatro – This was one of the very few sit-down lunches that we had. Great antipasti platter. 42E.
La Farafalla – The rain decided this restaurant for us. We had lunch so were not too hunger, adequate Pizza. 42E
To be continued…….
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The Hard Facts (for those who don’t like long, winded, detailed trip reports)