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Trip Report Rome & Montalcino - a mini trip report

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Hi all, just back from a lightning-quick (or so it felt) visit to Rome and Montalcino. Was in Rome with my 76-year-old parents and then in Montalcino with friends. Have spent a good deal of time in both places, but here are some observations from this trip:

1. Holy cow, was Rome crowded. It has been a few years since I visited, but I was really struck by the volume of tourists even at the end of September. Especially at the Vatican and Vatican Museum, which were absolutely mobbed. It was so unpleasant that I told my family that I'm never going back, so if they want to see the Sistine Chapel, they'll need to find someone else to take them.

2. We had outstanding meals at L'Asino D'Oro, Armando al Pantheon, and Matricianella - thanks to everyone here for the recommendations (especially for Armando - it was truly delightful). Dinner at Palatium was not very good at all; the pastas were a real disappointment. I wasn't able to make it to Cesare al Casaletto - next time!!

3. My parents did take the Marozzi bus to Sorrento and had a very easy time of it. Thank you to everyone who suggested that.

4. I had a great marathon training run along the Via Appia Antica. I ran there from Tiburtina through some pretty sketchy areas, but once I was on the road it was excellent. I had to run on some stones, but was mostly able to stick to the dirt paths on the sides. Lots of other runners and bikers were doing the same, and on the way home I realized how easy it was to get there from the historical center. And it was pretty cool to end my run at the Colosseum!

5. Rented a car from Hertz at Termini - it was extremely easy and easy to get onto the A1 from there. Returned the car to Fiumicino - that was less easy since my terminal wasn't very close to the return location.

6. Montalcino and the surrounding valleys were even more beautiful than I remembered and it was fun to be there during la vendemmia. The weather was a little dicey, but I loved the drama of the rain and clouds.

7. In Montalcino, ate at Grappolo Blu twice - the first dinner was perfection; the second was less brilliant. But I would go back again for that pappardelle with porcini and truffle oil . . . . Loved Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle. Basso Mundo near Sant'Antimo was great for lunch. And I really enjoyed having an evening aperitivo at Caffe Fiaschetteria, watching the world walk by.

I guess that's it. I'm already plotting my return to Montalcino for next summer!

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