Rome: Hotel Romano, opposite entrance to Forum. Clean, air conditioning and ceiling fan. Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, Via Madonna dei Monti 16 - family place. There is now an entrance fee to the Forum. No line at the Vatican Museums at 12:15 p.m. Thursday.
Pompeii: EnjoyRome shuttle. No cameo factory stops. Right amount of time at the site: 10:30 to 3:15.
Florence: B & B Peterson, 5 room guesthouse, friendly and clean, no breakfast. Ristorante Al Vecchio Carlino on Vialle Fratelli Rosselli - local favorite.
Castelfiorentino: Hotel Boscarecce (east of town, off the beaten path) Incredibly romantic and relaxing. Wonderful hostess, excellent restaurant. Call Susanna for directions. Within 1 to 1 1/2 hour of Florence, Lucca, Volterra, San Gimignano
Reservations thru Venere.com (great service), with recommendations from Ira and ParadiseLost!
Good surprises: cold water from Rome fountains. Easy to purchase train tickets at station kiosks.
Not so good surprise: Holiday Inn Rome-EUR Parco dei Medici. No food at hotel in afternoon. One mediocre restaurant across the street.
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