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Rome & Venice Trip Report (3 generations)

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I'll be posting this in sections as its a bit long.

First, I would like to thank all of you who provided assistance with the various facets of the trip planning. From the more general questions to the very specific, I copied all of the help provided into a word document that became my information log for each city.

This trip consisted of 1 week in Rome and 1 week in Venice. Hubby & I have previously been, and we were playing the part of guide to my mom and niece. This was a VERY BIG deal for my mom. She is 71, and has battled through Stage 4 NH Lymphoma & Leukemia and suffers from severe asthma. With help from Fodorites, I was able to locate a wonderful nebulizer that was compact, and multi-powered on all electrical currents for her use. She purchased a Pari Pak portable nebulizer, see www.AlllergySupply.com, although not from Allergy Supply, we found a brick & mortar, local store that would order this and instruct her on usage. This served her very well.

My niece, who is 14, has not traveled without her parents and this is her first time outside the US. From having read posts on the board, we obtained notarized letters from her parents granting each of us permission to take her out of the country and to make medical decisions as necessary.

The planned itinerary included one or 2-day trips while in Rome, they would be Orvieto and perhaps Florence. At least 1 day trip while in Venice, either Padua or Verona.

While in Rome, we rented an apartment near the Piazza Novana area, Palazzo Olivia, Via dei Leutari 15. There website is: http://www.palazzolivia.it/page.asp we choose the Figaro apartment on the fourth floor. The apartment had two bedrooms with two bathrooms, a necessity with three females. I arranged for LimoServiceRome to meet us at FCO upon our arrival. The location of Palazzo Olivia is such that the Limo shuttle could not bring us to the front door of the apartment but only to the corner of Via del Corso and via dei Leutari, this is because Via dei Leutari is so narrow and many vespa’s park here that no vehicles can go down this street. Our rate for 7 nights was 1680 euro.

A few tone setters to note: Mom has already packed too heavy. Before we left our home, I pulled out some clothing. By the time we left our bags with the Palazzo Olivia management (we arrived early in the a.m., prior to the apartment being available), she had shown signs of inability to handle her luggage. Warning: keep your packed luggage weight within 20 lbs.
I was approaching day 3 of a migraine, felt exhausted and quite shaky. Hubby knew I was not well, but not the others. At O’Hare, Mom & Niece were already starting with the questions (a sign of things to come), “what are we doing first”, “can we go to Florence”, “what time is our flight”, “how long does it take”, “what time will we get there”, etc. Oh boy!

I told myself that this will be fun and this is “all about mom”. Niece had a list of things to do from her girlfriend who had been to Rome. This included: meet the gladiators, eat gelato daily, see the coliseum, etc.

I had planned our meals for this trip carefully, which I had not done previously. Utilizing the Michelin Roma Atlante Tascabile book (very similar to the Paris book of arrondisements), I noted all of the restaurant recommendations I had obtained with Post-It’s. I also arranged our days based on area’s of the city with the recommendations for Lunch and Dinner and the appropriate map page. This helped tremendously and resulted in significantly improved dining experiences versus 4 years ago. Nearly all of our meals were excellent.

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    Here are some of the restaurants visited:

    Hosteria L’Orso
    Via Del’Orso #80
    Hrs: 1 – 3:30 & 7:30 – 11:30
    North of Piazza Novana
    Excellent = we would visit again
    We have the House Special Antipasto for four, tea, water, Coke & Peroni. The antipasto was excellent and as previously described by multiple posters, a plethora of platters, including: 2 types of eggplant, zucchini, fennel, buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto, meatballs, beans, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, melon, celery with parmesan.


    Enoteca Cavour 313
    Via Cavour 313
    Tel: 06.6785496
    Wine Bar
    Near Forum Entrance
    Excellent = we would visit again
    2 Salads, Cheese Plate, 2 bean soups, 2 desserts, water, 2 beers, 3 wines, coke = 68,50 euro


    Ristorante Del Pallaro
    Largo Del Pallaro, #15
    South of Piazza Novana, behind San’ Andrea D. Valle church
    Family Style, non-menu restaurant
    20 euro/person
    Excellent – we would visit again


    Ciccia Bomba
    Via del Governo Vecchio #76
    Between via Corso & Piazza Novana, on the same street as Da Baffuto Pizzaria
    Good/Interesting Cuisine Argentinean/South American
    Hubby & I would eat here again. Mom & Niece do not have as an adventurous palate. Mom had fish (she thought it was somewhat fishy); my niece was realizing that not all pasta had red sauce. Dinner included 1 antipasto, 2 fish/seafood, 1 pasta, 1 meat, beer, wine, water, coke & bread = 93 euro with tip. The preparation of the meat dish I was considering was boiled with a Verde sauce ("Ick" were my 1st thoughts, but the waitress convinced me to give it a try), it was delicious. It was tender, cooked to a level of preparedness of medium to medium-well; the sauce (green), had a slight taste of fresh cut grass, but that quickly faded. It was not basil pesto. Very good. Throughout our trip, we reminded each other that this was an adventure, even at the table.

    Antica Taverna
    Via Monte Giordano #12
    Tel: 06 68801053
    Between Treve River & Piazza Novana
    Excellent = would eat here again
    All enjoyed; dinner consisted of 4 antipasto’s, 1 pasta, 3 secondi’s (2 lamb dishes, 1 chicken), 1 vegetable, 2 desserts, coke, water, wine, beer, with tip = 110 euro

    Da Baffuto Pizza
    Del Governo Vecchio # 114
    Near Chiesa Nuova church
    Pizza was excellent = would return
    Had 3 pizza’s, 1 salad, coke, beer & ¼ house wine, water = 30 euro

    Taverna Le Coppelle
    Via delle Coppelle, #38 –39
    Tel: 06.68806557
    Hubby & I ate here twice on our previous trip to Rome and it had been my introduction to fried zucchini flowers, which I had talked up to Mom & Niece. When we finally made it here, we ordered the zucchini flowers, as well as stuffed olives, & zucchini. I will be the first to admit the flowers were not so good. Over battered and not the delicately battered flowers, I’d remembered. The batter was heavy, and it was very oily. However, the stuffed olive’s, a new item for us, were good. I’ve no receipt from this restaurant but I recall my niece had pizza, Mom had meat cannelloni (seems that is all that we found in our dining experiences in Rome), Hub had veal (?) and I had veal with lemon (too lemony for me), ½ btl wine, water, beer & tea = 60 euro

    Caffe Leonardo
    Piazza Mignanelli, #21A
    Piazza di Spagna Area
    Tel: 06.679.7310
    Good = Right at Spanish Steps, but in its own secluded courtyard; relaxing atmosphere; would return, but would also seek out other restaurants in this immediate area. Prices reasonable
    3 Lasagna Bolognese (I wanted to compare theirs to my recipe; was it the true taste of Bolognese sauce? Answer: No. It was good, but not true Bolognese. Niece loved it = tomato-y); pasta fagioli, water, coke, ½ btl wine, bread, antipasto = 62,20 euro

    Lunch, while day tripping In Orvieto:
    Trattoria La Pergola
    Via dei Magoni #9/B
    Tel: 0763.343065
    Very Good = would return
    This establishment had an interesting set-up up. From one entrance you came into their “inside” room, and could go into their outer courtyard, which had a large canopy protecting from light rains. Another entrance brought you directly into the courtyard, which had been structured as an outside room. Lunch consisted of bean soup, pasta carbonara (ah, the Niece did not like, as it had no red sauce, so a switch was made for the bean soup), 2 secondi dishes, one of which was sole (delicious), a cheese platter, 2 caffe latte, water, wine, and a charge of 8 euro for bread (nice) = 59,50 euro.

    Although it was very warm in Rome, when we reach Orvietto the winds brought the temps down quite a bit. We were not appropriately dressed for the temperature difference. My intention was to lunch at the recommended “I Sette Consoli Piazza Sant’Angelo 1A”, but I did not think everyone would appreciate it as much as Hub & I. The train ride from Rome to Orvietto passes through quite a number of tunnels, which may cause pressure on your ears. We had 2nd class tickets, where the windows are not as sealed and the pressure changes hurt my nieces ears terribly. (This was not repeated on the same route to Venice via 1st class Euro star).

    Mom made a decision not to bring her nebulizer on the day trip; however, upon reaching Orvietto, she realized she’d forgotten her inhaler. After our lunch, she wanted to find a Pharmacia, but a large portion of the shops were closed, including all Pharmacia’s until 5 pm. This really got to her, and I confess made me anxious.

    Thank goodness for the shuttle bus that is available on Orvietto, as without it we could not have gotten around. During this trip to Rome, Hub & I realized how little Mom can get around. Too much walking hurts her hip, and stairs really do a number on her (oh boy wait till Venice).

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    The hip issue is a revelation to us and after 2 days in Rome attempting to take buses, we realize without a proper map, they are a bit more complicated than I’ve read on Fodor’s. On Sunday, almost all Tabac shops were out of tickets and the one we found with tickets only would sell us five. Fine, we bought them and Hub said, going forward use taxis. So we had about 9 taxi rides from Monday through Saturday morning, most of which were about 6 – 7 euro. Our trip from the apartment to Termini was 18 euro with tip. Only on one occasion did we have an “approved” taxi, obtained at a taxi stand, from the Vatican that tried to rip us off with a “surcharge”. If it was only Hub & I, we would have learned the bus system, but with Mom &Niece in tow, forget it.

    I confess that I did not keep up with my daily trip diary in Rome. Looking back, I can see this is problematic and the next trip, I will at least write down the dishes on the receipt. What I am diligent about is expenditure tracking. For me, this is more important, as it helps me build the next trip budget, and keeps us from “leaking” withdrawal. One thing I have noted is the exchange rate is kinder on cash withdrawals via our ATM (Citibank) than our credit card (also Citibank). Go figure. This trip we did much more through cash than in the past. We also noticed retailers willing to lower pricing for cash purchases (nice).

    Some things that I had Mom & Niece do:
    Scavi Tour = they loved it and were glad they went
    Private Vatican Tour for 4 with Scala Reale/Context Rome with Liz Lev (on same day as Mom & Niece’s Scavi Tour)
    Note: Liz ran ½ hour late at meeting point, but sent daughter to contact us. In addition, Tom Rankin checked in on us (nice touch). Once Liz arrived and I made sure all was fine and calmed down we proceeded. Tour was fantastic. My only disappointment was that I felt it was very rushed. I requested a private tour specifically for the concern of my mother’s ability to keep up. I had asked Liz to slow down a few times. Having been ½ hour late, I had expected a ½ hour extension, but this did not happen. That is all I will say about this. Would I use this tour company again? Yes, but I would contact Tom Rankin personally first with any special needs, similar to those I felt I had in this situation.

    Coliseum on our own did a 10-euro each tour with one of those tour guides hanging around, I THINK, it was Romaround Tours. They were going to cover Coliseum & Palatine Hill. No way could Mom do both. It was an amusing time, fun for Mom & Niece as it was light hearted, allow photo ops with the gladiators (which they loved) but the guides were of substandard quality. I say this from the perspective that my only other experiences with Rome tour guides having been with Scala Reale/Context Rome. I’d asked the guide why the walking platform over the coliseum was closed to the public, and he answered that he did not know, it’d been closed since the Paul McCartney concert?????? Huh? What would that have to do with it? Would not an informed tour guide know why they closed the catwalk over the coliseum?

    This concludes the Rome portion.

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    VENICE TRIP

    The apartment we ended up with for Venice was obtained through www.sleepinitaly.com
    As in Rome, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment was needed, and I’d initially wanted to stay in the Dorsoduro sestieri. We had initially secured a week with within Dorsoduro, circumstances arose that prompted a move and I choose to work with Anna Trevi of sleepinitaly. Our apartment was in the SanMarco sestieri, specifically the Campo S. Maurizio apartment. Although advertised as having daily cleaning, breakfast and air conditioning, it had none of these appointments. This is a beautiful apartment none the less. However, I will caution anyone that does not appreciate the potential of constant opera singing, or piano concerto’s or hearing the horn section practicing. The apartment opens onto Rio del Santissimo di S. Stefano and the living room and our bedroom (with a walkout balcony……pure heaven), face this canal. From here, you could here Opera being sung, piano practice, horn sections, as there was a concert venue at the end of the canal in St. Stefano’s church. Additionally, the music academy was not far from this location. This could be problematic for some folks, however, for us, it was heavenly. If this location had a 1 bedroom and Hubby & I return to Venice, we would definitely rent here again.

    As in the pre-trip planning of restaurants and other sites on the Rome map, the same had been done on the best map of Venice I’ve encountered so far. Through a posted recommendation via NYCFC, I purchased “The Illustrated Venice Map” by Magnetic North, after having goggled the Internet. Again I had indicated restaurants, wine bars, shops, etc. that we wanted to visit. This was immensely helpful. I have worn this map out on all the folds and have purchased a new one while in Venice (in San Marco Sestieri, at Libreria SanSovino, San Marco Piazza #84). If you are in Piazza San Marco, walking away from the Basilica, at the right hand side of shops, turn into the last little “street” and it is on the corner with the cross street of Ramo Del Selvadego (it is identified on the Illustrated Venice Map detailed portion). According to this map, this Piazza inlet is not named. The replacement cost of the new map was about equal to the amount paid for the original map = 8.50 euro.

    Our train from Rome to Venice was at 8:55 am, we pulled into Venice 4 ½ hours later. After disembarking from the train with the luggage, I quickly grabbed a cart and placed Moms, Niece and all heavy items on the cart and handled the loaded cart and let mom walk without any luggage concerns. As we walked through the station, anticipation built in me as the moment Venice could be presented to my family. I wanted them (i.e. Mom & Niece) to see Venice with the glory of how different this city was: old, from a different time, a forgotten world. Life revolved around the water on which she was built. Life moved more slowly as a result. A reintroduction was made for Hubby, as this was his second time here, my third. Our first time together was anticlimactic. The buildings were dingy, the sky’s were gray, we were constantly getting lost. The food was a disappointment. I knew is would be different this time. My second trip surprised me; while on business in Milan, we did a day trip to Venice and I was shocked at the change. It seemed someone had taken a toothbrush with pearl drops polish to the buildings and the sun shined and gleamed over everything.

    We stood for a few moments on the landing of the train station before descending the steps, letting it soak in. Letting the memory build itself, as this is how I must create it. Observing the sound of the water, the smell of it, and the glistening of the sun, reflecting into my eyes. The music from the South American Indians coming across the fondamenta, with their haunting sounds, yet life giving. This is my memory, my picture.

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    Off we go, purchasing waterbus tickets, and onto the but to our stop. Unfortunately, our stop was a #1 only, thus, catching a #1 bus requires stopping at nearly all stops before you get to yours. We had quite a ways to travel and mom was pretty beat. She had slept for nearly the entire train ride, and needed some more. We finally got to our apartment around 2:30 pm, dropped off our luggage and venture out for some food. All the restaurants in Campo S. Stefano (San Marco Sestieri) were no longer accepting patrons and we were nearly resigned to a sandwich shop when I spied some chairs down Calle de Boteghe (off of Campo S. Stefano). I went down to see, the Trattoria was closing but she indicated their Osteria portion was open. So in we go, saved from sandwiches.

    Again I will list restaurants visited, but only if I have all pertinent info. What I found to be critical for pre-trip planning and on site in Venice was knowing the Sestieri & street address of the restaurant. When attempting to record the location of a restaurant on the map, I often found multiple streets in several Sestieri’s. For example, Crosera is in Dorsoduro, San Marco & Castello. This occurred about 3 times for restaurants I wanted to seek out. Therefore, a recommendation for Venice is: provide the sestieri and street address for all restaurant & shop recommendations.


    Tratoria Da Fiore
    Calle de Boteghe (# non recorded)
    (San Marco Sestieri)
    Tel. 041.5235310
    Excellent = Would definitely return, tried to go back but were closed on that day.
    Phenomenal fried zucchini flowers, the batter was very light, as an accompaniment to the flower, highlighting it, not hiding it. The food choices here were similar to Vino Vino (for those of you familiar with this Wine Bar), in that you chose the items you wanted, and they were served to you as appropriate (i.e. hot / cold). We had fried zucchini flowers, an assortment of zucchini, eggplant, roasted potato’s, Hub & I split liver & polenta (he didn’t realize it was liver, but ended up liking it, figuring it was a result of liking pate). Mom & Niece had lasagna, Mom = asparagus lasagna and Niece had traditional (red sauce) lasagna. Water, coke, beer & ½ wine. Total = 48 euro (very reasonable indeed).


    Pizzeria San Savino
    Calle Zuguri # 2628 (San Marco Sestieri)
    Right off Campo S. Maurizio
    Average cost/pizza = 6 – 7 euro
    Excellent pizza; take out only; ate here several times. Sell by slice or by the whole. Best sausage I’ve ever tasted, and I do not eat sausage pizza at home.


    Vino Vino Wine Bar
    Calle Del Sartor Da Veste #2007/A
    (San Marco Sestieri)
    Between La Fenice and Rio de la Vest
    Excellent = am a repeat customer
    We had a mix of lamb, roasted quail with rosemary, turkey in cream sauce, rabbit, various hot & cold vegetables (i.e. fava beans with onions, pasta’s, spinach, etc.), water, coke, wine = 81 euro

    San Trovaso
    Fondamenta Pruili (Dosoduro Sestieri)
    Off of Rio De S. Trovaso
    My notes are very sketchy here but I remember a positive experience.


    While looking for the Banco Giro wine bar, we came across this restaurant, which we choose, as Banco Giro was closed.
    The receipt and the business card do not have the street address so I will describe as best I can utilizing the map.

    Antica Trattoria “Ai Tosi”
    I believe it is on Soto de la do Spado (San Palo Sestieri).
    If you are coming from the Rialto area, walk to and through Campo Delle Becarie toward C. de la scrimia, but after you cross Rio dell Ponte delle Beccarie, make a left and it should be in front of you.
    Tel. 041.5241086
    Excellent = would definitely return
    3 of us had lasagna Bolognese, truly a Bolognese sauce. Hub had a seafood/ mixed fish platter, he was in 7th heaven, with 2 full fish, 2 or 3 large shrimp, langoustine’s, several small shrimp, mussels, and some other items. Cokes, water, tea, wine, side vegetable and antipasto. I think this one was around 100 euro.



    Ristorante da Raffaele
    Ponte delle Ostreghe, #2347
    San Marco Sestieri
    Tel: 041.5232317
    Excellent = ate here twice
    Negoroni, cokes, water, beer, ½ btl orvieto, pasta fagioli, chicken, Hub & I chose a fish dish for 2 = Rombo del Giorno, sole prepared with kalamata olives, capers, green olives and oil (it was fantastic), and 2 dessert (crème carmel and a panna cotta with mascarpone). The bill reflected a 12% service charge, total bill = 163 euro

    Lunch on our last day at Londra Palace
    Riva degli Schiavoni #4171 (San Marco Sestieri)
    On the Grand Canal outside terrace
    3 club sandwiches, Asparagus Tagliolini, 2 latte’s, waters & cokes = 100 euro
    The atmosphere was appropriate for our last day, perhaps we could have experienced a similar setting or better at the Cips Club restaurant that I’d wanted to try but never got to. I do not regret this experience. Lunch was good.

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    As we stayed in an apartment, we had gone to the Billa supermarket in the Dorsudoro sestieri, on the Zattere, after a late lunch on the day of arrival in Venice. Mom went back to the apartment and we brought our secret transport bags to the market. We purchased these specifically for hauling goods back home. One was the large Baggatelli brand I’d read about on the board, the other we found at The Container Store, which was a wheeled cart that folded into itself, similar to the Baggatelli. This we used to transport all liquid items from the store (very heavy) and transport all wines and lemoncello back to the states. We were able to bring back quite a bit more than previous trips. Hub purchased Duck Tape in a hardware store and secured all bottles together so no individual bottle rolled out of the bag, as the bag had only 1 snap closure. We’ll modify this for future trips.

    These were the “sights” we saw:
    Mom & Niece went on the Secret Itinerary tour, only 3 tickets were available, and as Hub & I had already been, we thought it important enough to send them alone. They both enjoyed it and remarked at their new found knowledge and respect for Venice knowing their place in history.

    La Fenice
    Palazzo Contarini Del Bovola (VERY Tricky to find, even with a good map)
    San Maria Della Salute Church
    Piazza San Marco
    Saint Marks Basilica

    Refreshments at Florians on Piazza San Marco (this was my requirement and Hub & I picked up this tab). I am very glad we did this and it was well worth every penny. To sit here and enjoy the sun, the orchestra music, the ambiance, and order whatever you want. Mom & Niece each had gelato concoctions, water, coke, Hub & I started with drinks, then he tried a Negorino and I shifted to Prosecco. At the end, it was over 100 euro. My mom & niece freaked, and could not believe the coke was more than the Prosecco. Funny how one can assume that a non alcoholic drink is less an alcoholic one. But Hub & I loved it.

    Ca’ Rezzonico
    Piazza Santa Margarhita…enjoyed sitting at the Green Pub, sipping Negorino’s
    Riva dei Partigiani = La Donna partigiana (Castello sesterie)
    Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (mom was napping)

    We had 5 full days in Venice plus the day of travel. There was much more I wanted to do, but there really was no time as our pace was slowed down quite a bit. The planned daytrip to Padua or Verona did not occur; my personal need to explore Rome & Venice wine bars was not fulfilled, but I realize this really could not happen once the trip was on its way. I am glad for the wine bars experiences I did have, and I was able to obtain some valuable information. Hub & I have discovered, what for us, is a new varietal, Pinot Nero and its blends. We have purchased some and recorded others. I’ve obtained some wine bars menu’s for ideas on foodstuffs. These are good things.

    We did secure a water taxi bring us to Marco Polo airport for our 6:50 am flight. The taxi picked us up at Calle Del Dose Da Ponte, we had a beautiful ride to the airport, and arrived close to 5 am. The driver secured a luggage cart at the dock and Mom was able to move a bit more freely. The Porters were readily available, at 25 euro, however, we took a pass, thinking that we shouldn’t have any issues getting to the terminal.

    From where we were dropped off, the way was not clearly marked. We managed to find our way, by Gods providence, walking through the parking garage (I had a sinking feeling we screwed up), and came upon flight attendants and pilots. Inquiring as to “Dove l’areoporto”, they signaled to follow them, which then held promise and brought us in sight of the airport terminal. If it was just Hub & I, it would have been a bit disconcerting but no bit deal. With mom, this was an issue. It was too long of a walk, too early and up a pretty good incline. This is the point of view forth is opinion: 71, cancer remission, asthma, with hip problems (previously unknown to us). Mom, who’s usually very self sufficient in her comfort zone, was out of her comfort zone on this trip.

    I do want to thank those who were patient with my inquiries regarding this area of trip planning. It did help Hub & I to have an idea of what to expect, as I’d copy/pasted the various questions/responses regarding dock drop off & terminal walk into my documents. Hub had read this as well and we were on the same wave length. So, we would have been completely laughing, and as it was, tried to make light of the discombobulated nature of it.

    One last item, relative to cell phone usage and service while in Italy. Hub purchased an unlocked Motorola V600 quad band phone from a local supplier. His current service provider is Cingular, which he wants to keep as he is grand fathered into an extremely attractive nationwide package no longer offered. We obtained the necessary doc’s to purchase a TIM card if necessary, however, he also wanted to obtain International service via Italy for 1 month, which coincided with our trip. Because of the frequency of phone usage, we never purchased a separate time card. Having the Cingular service (4.95/month) allowed for text messaging between my brother and hub and a few phone calls between Niece and parents. We hade about 2 or 3 1- minute calls within Rome/Venice to make reservations & contact the apartment management. The purchase of an Italy TIM card did not make financial sense in our situation. However, we were prepared to do so, if deemed appropriate.

    This is rather long already, so I’ll sign off.


    Thank you again, dear fodorites.;;)

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    I really enjoyed your report and can relate: My sister and I took my mom (age 81) three years ago to Italy. I realized at our first stop, Venice, that I was going to have to slow everything down. I had most of our hotels close to the sites and ended up using taxis. In fact we gave my mom the nickname: Kay"where's the taxi"! Despite the limits, we have an unforgetable trip and mom is ready to go again. Even though it was hard, you will always cherish the memories.

    Thank you for the report,
    MichelleY

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    delvino, I have thought of you and wondered how your time in Italy was so how nice to see your report today.

    I understand how touring with your mother slowed you down as some family members took their stepfather with them to Europe (he was about 80 at the time and getting wobbly legs). They had a beautiful time but like you they discovered they did not get to see and visit everything they had intending on. And they spent a lot of money on taxis too, where they normally would have been walking to most places.

    But what a beautiful gift you gave your mother delvino. And I can't help but think how fortunate your niece is, a trip with her grandmother thanks to a wonderful aunt and uncle.

    Your report is so imformative. And the zucchini flowers in Venice. I was drooling, LOL. One of my very favorite dishes. Also love the Venice liver.

    Take care, and hope your mother is doing alright. She certainly will have a lot of beautiful memories.

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    delvino, Thanks for a lot of good information. I do have a question about the Doges Secrety Itinirary Tour. I was a bit surprised that your mom went on this, as there were a couple of threads here recently indicating that it was not for someone with mobility problems, or probably not with asthma, since there are not only a lot of stairs, but they move along at a pretty good pace. Just wondered whether she had any problem with that tour. Thanks for any insight.

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    Thank you all for your kind replies.

    I wanted to put this trip report together before time passed and it never materialized. SusanP, when I asked Mom about the Secret Itinerary tour, specifically if she had any trouble with stairs or in her ability to hear the speaker clearly. The smiles on both her face and my niece, and the excitement in her voice when she indicated she had no problems keeping up or hearing gave me confidence that she was sincere and not just trying to relax me.

    I recall a story on the boards of a fodorites mom having had some problems, and that was on my mind when we let them go. I reserve their spots, purchased their tickets and seen them through the turnstyle, letting them know when we would meet them in front of the entrance.

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    Ah, an item of interest was our experience with a "quick change artist" cashier. We stopped for breakfast in Rome, ordered latte's and croissants and I gave the girl a 50 euro bill. I watched as she did a switch at the register to a 20 euro in her hand, while also requesting the few cents of small change to allow her to provide easier change. I provided this, but the change she returned was for a 20 euro bill, not the 50 I'd given. I'd indicated that she shortchanged me and she responded with "non capisco". I requested the receipt, which showed the total due, wrote 50 euro and the amount of change due and in bad italian, demanded change for 50.

    At this point she knew she could not get away with the game and angrily provided the correct change.

    Too bad for her, we would have stayed for another coffee as it was raining out and we were in no hurry.

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    A nice read, delvino. Thank you! I like Vino Vino very much as well.

    I make a verde sauce which includes basil, parsley, scallions, capers, garlic, anchovies and olive oil. It is delicious on steak!

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    Thanks for the great trip report. I am so sorry that you had such a difficult time at the Venice airport with your mother. I remember telling you that I had walked between the terminal and the dock with no trouble despite some walking issues of my own, and I am afraid that may have encouraged you to take on a task that was, as you say, outside your mother's comfort zone. I guess the signs were clearer in the direction toward the dock (or maybe we just saw the dock) and it must have been downhill for us so I didn't notice the incline.

    I am glad that despite this, you, your mother, and the rest of your family had a good trip. I enjoyed many of the same restaurants you did in Rome and in Venice.

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    delvino, Thank you for that feedback on the Secret Itinerary. After reading those previous threads, I was a little hesitant. I'm not handicapped and can do stairs with no real problem, but the arthritis in my knees sometimes means I move slower than normal, and I didn't want to hold up a group. From your description, your mom would have had more trouble than I would, so the fact that she didn't is good to know.

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    Michelle,

    The nickname you coined for your mom "Kay "where's the taxi"" is hysterical. Ready some of the responses were folks took 80+ parents who are ready to go again just delights me. Mom's not up for that. Her pace is more the Del Webb Sun City bus trip. Here they take care of your luggage, tell you where to go, when to go and provide breaks. That's ok too.

    My wonderful Hub firmly said, "no more of this bus thing, we will take taxi's. If it was just you and I, fine, but your mom needs taxi's and it won't cost that much in the end". He was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on this trip. He placed himself in the watchdog position, making sure Mom, Niece and I were all doing alright and were always safe. He determined, based on the environment we were in, when Mom &/or Niece could wander a bit. I owe him so much.

    Hubby & Niece bonded, they stayed up late watching movings in italian (i.e. Sleepy Hollow), having pizza parties, etc. They came to learn that they were very much alike. Feed them and it is like putting a quarter in them.

    On the other hand, Niece and I found similarities in our love of art (ort).

    Mom was joyful in the respect shown for her church and the beauty found in each. We visited many as we walked through the various streets to our destinations and all jaws dropped. She took communion at a mass. I'm thinking this probably made her happy.

    There was a concert in the Pantheon during one of our visits. She loved this. Lots of good stuff. Gots to go off to work now...Cioa!

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    Thanks for the great trip report, delvino. The details of restaurants are particularly useful - we are going to Venice in 19 days' time ! Thank you also especially for the tip about duplicate street names in different sestieri : I've never seen that mentioned before.

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    Dear delvino,

    I'm happy you enjoyed "The Illustrated Venice Map" although I shudder to think how some here will interpret NYCFC. I do LOVE great maps and I've always loved the navigation process. I prefer knowing names of streets over landmarks (even though most Venetians will tell you "to take a left at the next bridge and then a right past two churches."

    Your trip report has a "talking" flow to it which allows for your personality to show through. I've enjoyed the read.

    My mother had a similar health crisis that lasted only one year. She died much too young. I was able to show her Paris (before she got ill) but that was it for Europe.

    You accomplished a great deal in a very short period of time and may God bless you for your effort and determination.

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    Hi del,

    Thanks for a very interesting and informative report. Your mother and niece were very lucky.

    >We stood for a few moments on the landing of the train station before descending the steps, letting it soak in.<

    Gets me every time, too.

    >Hub purchased Duck Tape in a hardware store and secured all bottles together ...<

    Good tip.

    >Hub & I have discovered...Pinot Nero

    Now go see "Sideways".

    ((I))




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    Amarena: Please tell us your recipe. It sounds wonderful.

    "I make a verde sauce which includes basil, parsley, scallions, capers, garlic, anchovies and olive oil. It is delicious on steak"

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    delvino, your report is so heartwarming. I love that your husband was active and supportive in traveling with your mother and you both handled it so well. It is so cute that he and your neice bonded over Italian TV.

    I have traveled with an ailing relative and I know tempers can run short, brava to you!

    And that you for the itemized restaurant review, I'll print it for this Fall.

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    SharonG -- My pleasure! It's my alteration on an Elizabeth David recipe.

    In a blender, add 5 cloves garlic, 1 bunch scallions (cleaned & rough chopped), 1 small bottle capers (drained), 2 cups basil, 2 cups parsley, juice of 1 lemon, and 1-2 anchovies (optional.) Begin to blend while slowly adding EV olive oil until smooth and to desired thickness. Season with salt & pepper as desired.

    :-!

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    #o
    Uhg! NYCFoodSnob (NYCFS) that was a fat fingered typo! Sorry about that!
    I'm sorry to read about your mom, but I'm glad that you also had a chance to share Paris with her.

    Amarena, thanks for getting your recipe up here; I was going to ask for it when I got home from work (i.e. now).

    It's so nice to sit here and eat canneloni and have some wine as I "chat" with fellow fodorites.


    Ira, when Hub asked about Duck tape, the gents in the hardware store showed him clear packaging tape. Not being easily discouraged he pointed to something grey and said no, this color.
    The hardware gent said, "Oh, americana tape", as he proceeded to get a ladder, pull a sealed, dusty box from the top shelf and open to disclose.....duck tape! That was a fun episode.

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    Caroline,

    The May 2005 issue of Bon Appetit magazine is a special edition issue focusing on Rome, Florence & Venice. It covers the restaurants, pizzerias, trattorias, hotels, cooking classes, caffes, food shops & markets, wine bars, etc in each city.

    In addition to having some great recipes. This is were I learned of the Negroni cocktail and have since become a fan. If you can still obtain it, try getting a copy (even order a back issue on line).

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    Dear Del:

    Glad we could relate our experiences. My mother is still doing really well at 83. At least mentally. She is just getting slower and less steady on her feet. I really tried to plan our trip for her. I chose hotels close to the city center with elevators. I also limited to size of her luggage to a 22' roll-aboard, even though we all checked our bags. But we also had the problem of having to schlep her bag up & down stairs in the train stations. Originally I was going to do the trip with just her. Thank goodness my sister came along. I couldn't have done it without her. We also went to southern Italy, rented a car, and found relatives. She could speak their dialect, which was great.

    We also used Scala Reale. The guide's name was John. It was very expensive, but worth it. John was very good with my mom, letting her rest along the way. He never rushed us. Plus we got to see the Pope on Wed. which thrilled her.

    I personally wanted to go to Positano, but after reading about all the stairs, I went with Sorrento. Positano will have to wait.

    I hope you don't mind me reliving this. I am one of those people who never wrote a trip report and feel really guilty about it. But I love to travel and help out anyone who asks.

    Take care,
    Michelle

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    Dear all,

    in order to avoid confusion I would like to inform all users of this forum that the company romaroundtours cited in this post is a different company and has nothing to do with my company named romaround (www.romaround.it)

    romaround is a trademark (marchio depositato), and this other company is illegally using our brand name.

    we do not want to express any evaluation about the quality of their services (that will be left to the posters who have used their services) but we feel is important to make this clarification.

    thank you for your attention and most of all ... enjoy your trips !

    Sandra Errichetti

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