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Trip Report My June 2006 Very Overdue Trip Report for Venice, Tuscany and Cinque Terre!

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Thought I would finally put together a trip report from my Italian Honeymoon back in June 2006 now that I am planning my second trip to Italy for this September! Hope some of this info is helpful to those planning Italy trips as I have found the message boards so helpful in planning my trips!!


Plane tickets = $2154.40 via Travelocity ' air france

Sun June 4th 2006
5:30 pm flight from Boston to Charles de Galle, France

Mon June 5th 2006
6:15 am arrive in Paris

7:20 am flight
arriving in Florence at 9:15 am

Airport shuttle outside airport to train station, bought ticket on bus for 4 euros

Train tickets From Florence to Venice 37,50 euros

vaporetto #52 from Santa Lucia station to hotel

Hotel: Pensione la Calcina, $684 for 4 nights w/breakfast on south end of Rio di San Vio in dorsoduro district on canal near two vaporetto stops. amazing hotel. room was always neat and clean. bathroom was a bit small but fine. fridge in room was a nice surprise! great staff in lobby. very helpful! free internet in lobby was lifesaving for booking vineyard tours for later visit to Tuscany. breakfast was good, they even made us omlets to order, etc.

Tues June 6th 2006 ' Thurs June 8th 2006
Sights we saw in Venice:

Piazza San Marco
-Basilica San Marco
-Campanile ' San Marco bell tower, went to the top for 6 euros, so worth it!
-Other in square sights ' Correr museum, Clock tower, cafes, pigeons!
-Walked past Bridge of Sighs and Doges Palace
-Basilica San Giorgio Maggiore on it's own island
-Basilica S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari 2,50 euros
-Rialto bridge and shops
-Murano Island ' went to glass blowing factories and shops.
-Academia area and bridge
-Gondola ride ' from Santa Maria Formosa square in the center of Venice for less money
-Ca' d'Oro ' viewed from canal
-Peggy Gugenheim Collection ' viewed from canal
-La Salute Church ' viewed from canal
-Harry's Bar- drank their famous Bellini

Food:
-Caffe Florian ' Piazza San Marco ' awesome sandwiches, wine and music. so worth the money for the experience and ambiance.
Bill from Caffe Florian:
Musica 11
Club sandwich florian 14,50
Club sandwich vegetable 12,50
2 glasses valpolicella 16,00
Total 54 euros

-Shopped in market near hotel on Rio di San Vio
-Gelateria Nico ' yummy gelato on Rio di San Vio
-Pizzeria ai Sportive - awesome pizza and bruschetta in Campo Santa Margherita
- Discount to eat in canalside restaurant owned by hotel ' La Piscina.
-Murano: Amazing lunch a little canalside restaurant filled with locals. Best sweet wine and S shaped cookies to dunk.
-everytime we ate calamari in Venice it was amazing! tastes different and so much better than anywhere else in Italy or the US.

Tips:
bought awesome Venice map that came with a useless guide book in a book store near campo. Made by Demetra S.R.L. essential for our many long walks around Venice!! we loved just walking around

Top 10 Venice DK ' awesome supplement guidebook for Venice plus Rick Steves Italy was our Bible!

Fri June 9th 2006
-Rented Car from europcar ' $537.75, silver Volvo S60
-Drove from Piazzale Roma in Venice to Montalcino, Tuscany
-Great sandwiches at rest stop on Autostrada
-Great Map for driving' Michelin 563 regional Italie, Toscana, Umbria, San Marino, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo
-Stayed at Il Giglio ' 90 euros/night, parking, awesome views from bathroom. great room. clean and comfortable. staff was wonderful. they parked our car for us in a lot they had nearby for free.
-Visited La Fortezza
-Wine tasting at Enoteca la Fortezza di Montalcino (inside fortezza), wine tasting was great!
Some wines we tasted:
La serena 2001
Rosso tassi 2004
Supertuscan siepi 2003
Capanna ris 1999
Cerretalto cru 2000
Campo del drago
-Ate at Trattoria Sciame renamed Trattoria L'Angolo ' on Via Ricasoli 9, our first wild boar and first truffle sauce. amazing!!

Sat June 10th 2006
-11:30 am - Poggio Antico, in Montalcino ' great cellar tour and tasting of their Brunello and Rosso. booked in advance via email.
-2:45 pm San'antimo Abbey, outside Montalcino ' saw Gregorian monks do their daily chanting, beautiful
-Drove on S2 ' S146 to Pienza
to left of the church (while facing it) a lane leads up to the best viewpoint, a promenade overlooking tuscan countryside. Bought amazing Pecorino cheese.
-Continued driving on S146 to Montepulciano
-Montepulciano Piazza Grande: Clock Tower, Duomo, Contucci Palace
-Contucci Cantina, inside Contucci Palace, Via S. Donato, 15 '
www.contucci.it , met Adamo (in Rick Steves book), down a small lane, hard to find, great wine tastings. lovely Italian man!
-great pizza right near the hotel!
-Dinner at Taverna Grappolo Blu, Via Mazzini, absolutely amazing! I would eat there everynight if I could!!! we had wild boar with polenta, a tuscan soup, pasta, etc
Bill 67 euros
Brunello 26
3 Primo 23
Secondo 13
coperto 4


Sun June 11th 2006
-Check out of Il Giglio
-Drive to Siena
-Hotel Chiusarelli ' E112/night w/breakfast ' had parking lot
-Explored Siena
-Il Campo ' main square (tower, city hall, fountain of joy) had sandwiches from bar Paninoteca San Paolo ' Vicolo di S. Paolo, on stairs leading down to il Campo
-Duomo 3 euros
-Front of baptistery
-Santa Maria della Scala medieval hospital
-Church of San Domenico ' St Catherines head and thumb
-Sancturary of St Catherine
-Bini Bakery, Via dei Fusari
-Enoteca Italiana in Medici Fortress, Italy's national wine museum
-Osteria la Chiacchera ' cheap, so good, authentic food. Had Panzanella and Riboletto. Chris had amazing pork ribs. Cosata di San Antonio 4
-Ristorante Guidoriccio Via G. Dupre, 2 - steps below Il Campo, had steak and grilled veggies, pasta, amazing owner/waiter came over to talk with us and recommend foods/wine. helped us plan our trip to Chianti.
Bill example:
2 coperto (cover charge) 6,00
1 vino 18,00
1 acqua (water) 2,00
1 Primi 7,00
1 Primi 7,00
1 secondi 16,00
1 contorni 4,00
1 contorni 5,00
Total 65,00


Mon June 12th 2006
Volterra
-Etruscan Gate ' Porta all'Arco
-Pass thru gate, up Via Porta all'Arco, 50 yards, climb left up Via Labertini to a view point. Continue uphill unitl Vicolo degli Abbandonati deposits you on Piazza San Giovanni
-Duomo
-Roman Theater ruins
-Stroll Via Matteotti ' Main St of town, visit alabaster shops.
-bar tavernetta 2 on via guarnacci, 2 awesome pizzas for 12 euros

San Gimingnano
-Piazza della Cisterna
-Duomo
-Piazza
-Rocca fortress
-Façade of san Francesco
-viewpoint to see all the amazing towers

Tues June 13th 2006
Chianti Day ' drive SS222
-Ipogeo di montecalvario, 6th century tomb, 4 passages

Castellina in Chianti
-rocca fortress
-via delle volte, tunneled roads from WWII

Radda in Chianti
-ate lunch
-Castello di Volpaia, Tasting E5, Wine E17

Greve in chianti
-Villa Vignamaggio: tasting E18 each
made the first chianti, real Mona Lisa was born at this villa, filed much ado about nothing in the courtyard. Great tour. Delicious tasting with foods, desserts and 6 wines. Booked in advance via email.
-Le Cantine di Greve in Chianti: wine tasting facility and museum. Over 150 wines to sample at stations. Olive oil tasting stations. Preloaded cards with money to buy tastes.


Wed June 14th 2006
-Drive to La Spezia
-Return car
-Bus to La Spezia train station
-Buy 3 day Cinque Terre cards for 2 - E26, park admission, train
-Train to Manarola, 2nd town in Cinque Terre
-stayed at La Torretta B&B ' E110 w/ breakfast and awesome view. breakfast was really good. room was beautiful!
-Manarola Beach ' wonderful rocks, no real beach area, no sand, deep water swimming. amazing experience
-Walk of love trail from Manarola to Riomaggiore
-Dinner at Ristorante la Lampara ' trofie also called trenette (flour/potato pasta designed for pesto) with pesto for me. Spaghetti al Cartoccio ' spaghetti with seafood cooked in foil for Chris.

Thurs June 15th 2006
-Breakfast at La Torretta ' by far best hotel breakfast in Italy!
-Train to Monterosso al Mare
-Explored Monterosso
-Hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza ' lots of stairs! Great views
-Lunch on main square in Vernazza, with back to water, on right hand side, outdoor seating, fantastic pizza, we had one with pesto and one with proscutto.
-Hiked from Vernazza to Corniglia.
Over 400 stairs leaving the top of Corniglia from the ttrail.
-Train back to Manarola ' beach, sleep
-Dinner in Vernazza at Gambero Rosso ' Chris had fish ravioli, I had pansotti (ravioli with ricotta and spinach and a nut sauce)

Friday June 16th 2006
-Beach Day!
-Train to Monterosso, walked around town
-Beach all day
-Dinner in Monterosso at Ristorante al Carugio,Via san pietro 9
Amazing huge crock of Mussels, pasta with walnut sauce and Sciacchetra ' sweet wine. amazing food!!


Sat June 17th 2006
-Leave Cinque ' train to La Spezia, bought 4 huge yummy foccacias for ride
-Train tickets From La Sepezia to Pisa E12,50 And then from Pisa to Florence E10,20
-Arrive in Florence
-Hotel Globus ' E216/2 nights w/ breakfast
-Explored Florence
-Went to huge open air market Piazza Mercantile
-Duomo
-Baptistery doors
-Dinner at Ristorante Acqua al 2 ' on Via della Vigna Vecchia. delicious!

Sun June 18th 2006
-Ponte Vecchio bridge and shops
-Vivoli ' best in Florence, rice gelato
-Fake David
-Academia Museum with real David only saw outside.
-Ate at restaurant across Arno River Trattoria da Sergio ' on Borgo S. Frediano. delicious!
-Walked along Arno River, outdoor music

Mon June 19th 2006
-Early morning visit to the central market
Enoteca Lombardi store inside the central market that we bought cheese, cinghale, oil and wine to bring home.
-1:05 pm flight from Florence arriving in Paris at 3 pm
-3:55 flight from Paris to Boston missed due to flight being late from Florence and Air France being beyond rude! They put us up at a hotel overnight in Rosse. It was awful. We flew home the next day. Luckily it didn't cost us anything, but we were miserable without bags, etc.

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