Italy Trip report August 24 2007 – September 4, 2007
I am finally posting this overdue trip report.
We returned from our relaxing 10 day vacation to Italy including 4 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Capri and 3 nights in Positano.
I'd like to personally thank everyone on fodors.com for your insight and guidance which made this spectacular birthday vacation memorable.
You can also view this report WITH pictures at http://www.licinifamily.com/Italy_August_2007.html
Lufthansa airlines 9PM flight delayed! My husband and I were considering upgrading to business class to make our ride more enjoyable especially since we were going to be severely delayed for our connection. After speaking to the woman at the gate (her name was Fatima – love her), she mentioned she would see what was available after bookings were closed. To our surprise when we checked with her again she handed us two “free” business class tickets seats 10d/e. We were ecstatic as you can imagine. I was so happy I could hardly fall asleep on our flight. I wanted to stay up and enjoy the amenities. Our good fortune was truly enjoyed. However, due to the two hour delay we missed our connection. We arrived in Frankfurt to hear we would not only miss our 12:10 flight by “minutes” but they listed us on a 9:45pm flight to Rome which was incredibly upsetting. After some negotiation at ticketing, we boarded a 4:45pm flight to Rome. It was a long day!
We landed about 6:30pm. This was our 2nd arrival at FCO airport and as usual it was easy to navigate. We took a 40 euro cab to our hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel De Russie near Piazza del Popolo. Arriving at De Russie I was surprised to see how contemporary it was. The gardens were breathtaking. Check in was smooth (although they did comment how cheap our “internet” rate was including breakfast). We arrived at our hotel room with a complimentary chocolate mousse birthday cake and card since it was my 29th birthday. We were happy (I adore chocolate mousse)! Our room was a classic double queen about 30 sq meters, room 326. It was beautifully decorated including a neutral colored marble bath. It was the decent size room but again the amenities, décor and location did make up for the room size. We had a great blow dryer (which was a relief since my converter and adapter didn’t work again). They had a towel warmer in the bathroom, slippers, robes (of course). Due to TV limitations on our last trip we purchased a portable DVD player and rented Six Feet Under as well as Bones. We also purchased an ipod docking station so that we could enjoy our music on this trip. We also enjoyed using the in room internet service to surf the net and email back home. This trip was going to truly be a vacation of sleeping in and doing everything at a relaxing pace.
RESTAURANTS and EVENING adventures:
The FIRST night we ate at our hotel at Le Jardin De Russie (The Garden). It was a very enchanting and romantic candle lit outdoor restaurant. It was unplanned but due to our missed connection we were happy to have dined there. It was good and pricey, I enjoyed red snapper and Chris had steak. We returned to our room and watched Six Feet Under then ordered room service just for fun. We got ham and cheese which wasn’t very good, pizza and yummy ice cream. We put our breakfast order on the door knob which we always have SO much fun doing. Breakfast was included in rate. We really enjoy filling out the breakfast order and putting on the door. I don’t know why, but we do!
The SECOND morning, Sunday August 26th we enjoyed room service at 9:30am. We ordered poached eggs, scrambled eggs, proscuitto, delicious coffee. We took all morning enjoying ourselves and finally headed out to go shopping on del Corso (the main road). There were great affordable clothes at Sisley, I got Miss Sixty jeans (omg tiny). They were so incredible and sexy. I actually wore them to dinner with a purple/blue tube top. The concierge recommended “Gusto” a fun and trendy restaurant. We mistakenly ate upstairs/inside which was very hot. I ate beef filet sliced thin. It tasted like steak-ums which I love. We took a leisurely walk home and ordered room service yet again. This time at 1am. We actually had saved the proscuitto from breakfast and stored it in the mini-frig so I could eat it that night.
The THIRD morning, Monday August 27th was my 29th birthday (21st birthday plus tax). We ordered breakfast for 9:30am but didn’t wake until 11:30am to cold/edible eggs. We finally left our room about 2:00pm to go shopping. Found Bvulgari sunglasses in the mall which I loved, but couldn’t justify buying since I had an incredible pair from our honeymoon (in Rome) by Roberto Cavalli. We shopped most of the day and ended up seeing gorgeous rhinestone shoes at Re Michelle by Baldini. I got a gold pair and black pair. Both were incredible. They were my birthday gift (as if the trip wasn’t gift enough). Chris finally gave in and bought a pair of white loafers which were so nice. On our honeymoon in 2006, one of our best meals in Rome was outside the Pantheon. So we returned on my birthday to recreate the magic. We ordered gnocchi and carbonara pasta our favorite dish. We had a great waiter! Later we found an internet café, bought a few more DVD’s for our player and look for a Michael Bubble CD (Irresistible/Crazy). We returned to our hotel to watch Six Feet Under and have dinner at Mirabelle another favorite restaurant in Rome. It was a magical birthday from start to finish. We had a lovely outdoor table on the rooftop. To my surprise, they had the Michael Bubble CD playing in the background and ACTUALLY played my favorite song “Crazy” twice during the 3/4 hour evening. I was in my glory! I ordered 30gm beluga caviar which is absolutely my favorite appetizer in the world. We enjoyed ravioli and steak. It was delicious. We had chocolate mousse cake for dessert. IT was funny, there were 3-4 birthdays that evening and the restaurant was not very full. Luckily Chris didn’t tell them, it was mine! hehe
The FOURTH and final day, Tuesday August 28th we planned to meet Angelo Frattini our driver from our honeymoon. We met him in our lobby and drove over to Hotel Exedra for drinks. I had a bellini and enjoyed extra large capers and nuts. He told us that his favorite hotel in the city was the St. Regis and Cavalieri Hilton (which we visited on our honeymoon, but thought it was TOO far away). We had gotten a few small gifts for Angelo’s son and daughter. Of course I underestimated his daughters’ age, but we tried. I think his son’s name was Carlo. Angelo called a few restaurants for us to dine at, many were closed or booked solid. We finally ate at a charming restaurant and headed home. We finished watching Six Feet Under and proceeded to order the next “season” online and requested shipment to our hotel in Capri. Hey you never know!
We took a taxi to the train station and headed to Naples, Italy.
ARRIVAL in Capri:
I can’t remember what time we actually departed but we did get an older train, not the fast newer one. We bought two first class tickets but it really didn’t feel like better accommodations. We spent most of the 90 minute ride watching Bones since we had finished Six Feet Under. We sat across from an American couple on their “delayed” honeymoon. We arrived to Naples and navigated the train station cautiously. I kept asking Chris to stay behind me since we heard about thefts, but he kept leaving me in the dust lol. We took a taxi from the train to Molo Beverello Port. The taxi driver was so nice and friendly. We took the hydrofoil instead of the ferry since it was quicker to Capri. While on the first line to buy tickets, I noticed a girl who was told this was not the line to buy a ticket to Capri. So I followed her to a 2nd line (of many) and finally to a 3rd line. We actually spoke because she was unsure where to go and I had been to Capri on a day trip during my honeymoon. Her name was Koren and she was on her honeymoon with Adam without luggage because hers never arrived to the airport in Rome 3 days prior. I felt so bad for them. We immediately made friends and grabbed a snack while waiting for our hydrofoil to depart. During the boat ride over, we became fast friends as did Adam and Chris. We exchanged hotel information and promised to be in touch. I offered to lend her a change of clothes since she hadn’t gotten much new things in hopes of finding her luggage. We arrived at the port and someone from Grand Hotel Quisisana was there to greet us and take our luggage. We took the ride up the mountain to our hotel and met a lovely woman and her daughter.
Walking into our hotel was exciting. It was a glamorous and elegant Mediterranean hotel. We had a deluxe room on the pool side for three nights. It was 550 euro including breakfast (although the menu was scarce). The bed linens were all Egyptian cotton. It was definitely one of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in next to Villa Feltrinelli. The room was enormous. I could not have imagined a larger room. It had a large king bed, white sofa, desk and chair and plenty of space for a 3 more couches. It was spacious on the ground level. There was an outdoor terrace the size of my kitchen with a table and 2 chairs, plus another 2 large lounge chairs. It was incredible and better than I imagined. There was in room internet which we used often.
Afternoon and DINNER:
Wednesday August 29th, our first day in Capri (FIFTH total)
We called Koren and Adam and planned to meet them later in the afternoon. We went to lunch poolside at the Quisisana. I had this delicious lobster salad. During lunch we were sitting just beside guests by the pool and couldn’t help but hear talk of a big wedding taking place this weekend. Apparently season one of the Apprentice winner Bill Rancic and Giuliana Depandi were getting married. Bill was apparently in the pool talking about how difficult it was to fly over with all the heavy luggage, including suitcases filled with menu’s and wedding supplies. Giuliana is originally from Naples and wanted to get married here. Bill had mentioned she was in the spa getting her hair done while he was relaxing poolside. It was quite interesting to have such a close seat to hear Bill as he talked about his bride and her prior work experience. After lunch, we met Koren and Adam. I gave her an outfit to wear and we proceed to go shopping for her. Capri was probably the most expensive place to buy clothes but she really needed a few things bathing suit included. We had dinner together (cant remember where), and we enjoyed lemoncello. Afterward, we had a nice buzz and walked past this small alleyway to discover music coming from “Qube Café”. We ended up dancing the night away in this TINY bar with fun dance and rap music. I learned Koren’s “gun show” where she flexes and kisses her bicep. I joined right in on that fun! It was a great night of vodka martini’s and my rendition of Borat (Sasha Baron Cohen). I was hissing and clawing and many other embarrassing things which I vaguely remember. I paid the price dearly the rest of the trip (stupid me).
Thursday August 30th (SIXTH total)
I woke up feeling just awful, but luckily room service was waiting. Koren and Adam came to our hotel to lay poolside for the afternoon. I was so glad, because I was not in great shape and needed to lay out and relax. We order lunch poolside and drinks to rejuvenate my system! Later we went to her hotel to change for dinner. When I got dressed Chris made a few comments about my short green tube top dress. Which was not very nice. The four of us were shopping for sunglasses for Adam. We ended up getting this hot pair of prada sunglasses. I ended up shopping unexpectedly for myself and purchased exquisite gold rhinestone sunglasses made by Sospiri (found in Italy), which immediately cheered me up. I found this little boutique store which sold jewelry, belts and bags. I got a few things there as well. The owner of the sunglass store had recommended this lovely Cliffside restaurant for dinner, which we all enjoyed immensely. It was a great night!
Friday August 31st (SEVENTH total)
Our last day in Capri, we were determined to see the Blue Grotta with Adam and Koren before heading to Positano. However, the choppy weather didn’t allow for visitors by boat. Since I don’t swim, we didn’t end up seeing it. Sigh! I’m hoping it’s a great reason to return in the near future. It was a little cloudy so we went to “back” to lunch and this little restaurant which had the most delicious gnocchi. They were as good as the gnocchi’s we had in Venice. Koren and I ordered it and nick named gnocchi’s yummy’s since it’s easier to pronounce. We took a taxi to Anacapri and walked around shopping. It was a nice area, but we preferred staying in Capri town over Anacapri. It was charming and very casual. I love the chic upscale atmosphere in Capri better.
Later we went to her hotel room and as a joke I told her to lay in her bath tub and I would photograph her. And later I would photoshop gnocchi in the bath tub as a joke. Which I did as you can see below.
I would love to return again, staying three nights was a incredible, but next time 5/6 would be better!
Three days in Positano: We stayed at Le Sirenuse in Positano, Almafi Coast.
Waking up was quite difficult because I had gotten a bit of a cold (so I thought). Koren and Adam knew I was under the weather and offered to come with us to Positano and help with our many pieces of luggage (which was incredibly kind of them). After a visit from the hotel doctor at the Quisisana, we took the hydrofoil to Sorrento and a taxi to our hotel. This was arguably the nicest room on our trip, with a cliffside terrace, including an incredible view of Positano.
Arriving at Le Sirenuse was just as we remembered. We visited both Le Sirenuse and Il San Pietro during our honeymoon and were excited to come back and stay in Positano for a few nights. The lobby was filled with million dollar antiques and million dollar views of the Almafi Coast. The front desk was much friendlier than the Quisisana. We checked in and they took us to our room number 59 which appeared to be the largest on the floor (based on the map below). We settled in briefly and took a walk down to the beach to have lunch at Chez Black (where we had eaten during our honeymoon in 2006). It was a lovely beachside restaurant with delicious gnocchi. Koren and Adam took the ferry back to Capri and we proceeded to climb the 100+ stairs to return to our Cliffside hotel. I think this exhausted me because I ended up feeling quite sick the next day. We decided to dine in that first evening, since I was under the weather (and quite possibly pregnant). We dined on our terrace and watched movies which we borrowed from the lobby. They had an excellent selection.
Waking up was quite difficult again because I had gotten a bit of a cold (so I thought). The hotel doctor visited again and prescribed medication. It is very convenient to have the doctor come to your room and concierge pick up medicine and deliver it. I wish I could have similar care at home! Fortunately Koren and Adam had planned to return to spend the day with us which worked out well since I was not feeling good. They all enjoyed an afternoon by the pool with lunch and drinks. Koren and Adam spent most of the afternoon with us and took the last ferry back to Capri. They really enjoyed seeing Positano which was not originally in their plan during their honeymoon vacation. We dined in yet again that second evening, since I was under the weather. Chris was so sweet and we watched movies all evening.
I woke up feeling much better. Chris and I enjoyed the afternoon poolside which was a nice treat. I got some much needed sun and we read and relaxed the entire day. The pool is on the cliff with spectacular views of the Almafi Coast. The clear blue skies were magnificent and breathtaking. Chris and I had lunch by the pool overlooking the town. We enjoyed the entire day basking in the sun. Our last night, we dined at the Champagne and Oyster bar. We met a lovely couple from NY and ended up having drinks with them until late in the night.
I would really love to return to Capri and Positano again!
We took a taxi to Naples Airport for our early afternoon flight. Navigating the roads to/from the Almafi coast are scary but luckily we weren't driving ourselves. The streets are incredibly narrow. The staircases are incredibly long and narrow. Fortunately our drive was smooth to Naples Airport. We decided at the last minute to upgrade to business class and took Eurofly USA airlines since it was also a direct flight into NY. We originally booked Lufthansa with a connection. Since I wasn’t feeling great, this was a terrific option. Unfortunately, the affordable business class rates offered by Eurofly accompanied poor service, poor seat functionality, limited in flight entertainment and horrible food. However, comfort was our first priority and our seats did work after we moved to another row altogether. We landed on time to JFK. Our trip was relaxing, memorable and magical!! It was the perfect way to celebrate my 29th birthday and pre-baby moon.
Thanks for reading.
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Italy Trip report August 24 2007 – September 4, 2007