Italy from an Asian base


Apr 30th, 2016, 04:23 PM
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Italy from an Asian base

Late last fall, while we were in Thailand, when I received an offer from Emirates Air for a deal for two persons from NYC (JFK) to Milan—I did not even know that this route existed. About $1100 all in for 2 persons. DUH, I was all over it.

While we now live in southern NH this would mean a to and from NY connection as well. I decided to drive as the departure time was 2230. I found parking 4-5 miles from the airport at $8.95 a day, ½ of the Boston off airport prices. Park King was the parking place.

So on April 13 we left NH by car. Not before an emergency visit by our Geo-Thermal (furnace) man.
We stopped in Hartford (Vernon) for a yummy lunch at Reins Deli, also taking a sandwich for later at JFK.
We arrived at JFK about 5ish, found the parking easily (GPS) and were about 1st to check in for this flight. A manly smile to the clerk yielded us 3 seats, so an empty between us. YEA!!! The plane was an A-380, simply the best plane on the market today---quiet, comfortable, even roomy in coach. Great audio/visual although I do not use it.

We were a tad late taking off but the pilot made that up. The chicken dinner was actually quite delicious.
The flight was about 8 hours and we arrived at milan about noon.

I had a Hertz one way, one day rental with a dropoff at the venice airport. 94E—very reasonable--- Audi A-4 wagon. The drive was 3+ hours. Tolls cost almost as much as the car.

I had pre-booked a water-taxi for 100E from the airport to within 50 yards of our Airbnb on Giudecca Island. There is only 1 pier on our local canal and it is right by our apartment.

I should note that my mobilization is not fantastic so this saved me a lot of problems.

Our little apartment, on the ground floor of a newish building was perfect. A kitchen/living rm/office combo with a large bedroom, and huge bathroom was more than perfect for the 2 of us. There is also a large walled patio, which we rarely used, but in warmer weather would have been perfect. It was 60-70F during our visit, but windy. We stayed a week.

We took the boat to Murano one day and enjoyed poking around. BTW, we did buy a 7 day boat pass for 80E each.
We took many many boat rides, so we got our money’s worth from the pass-we bought it at a tobacco shop on Giudecca, thus avoiding the lines at the airport and train station.

My wife ventured out to the main island, visiting La Fenice Theatre for a tour (7E), San Marco square, and other venues one day. I enjoyed a quiet day at the apartment. BTW, we have been to Venice many times before.

We had great food, mostly on Giudecca (mostly fish or fish related dishes). A few good restaurants are:

La Palanca on the quay, breakfast and lunch only
Trattoria Al Cacciatori, also on the quay—excellent
Trattoria Altanella, 268 calle delle Erbe, just off quay
Very attractive, fish only, we went X2
Doi Mori Pizzeria on quay—we had pizza lunch
B Restaurant in a courtyard on Murano—excellent lunch

Most dinners were 60-70E with wine for 1 plus bottled water and delicious desserts.

When our week was up I hired a local water taxi to take us to the train station—60E.
I had pre-booked business seats to Verona on a fast train—1 hr 10 min ride. 38E for 2. Our car was almost empty.

We took a taxi to our Airbnb where we were greeted by a rep for the owner. A tiny elevator lifted 1 at a time to our 3rd floor abode. We were right in the middle of the city and less than 1 block to Erbe Square. The apartment was very nice but we found the bed to be too soft.

BTW, both apartments were in the $100-125 per day range… so reasonable for these cities.

We ate well here again—our best meal of the trip was at Maffei Restaurant, located in a lovely old mansion at the top of Erbe Square. It is a bit formal looking, but don’t be put off, the staff are friendly and charming… AND the food is amazing. 118E.

We also ate at a simple restaurant, caffe le Fogge in an alley almost across from the alley to our apartment. Lunch: pizza and sandwich—yum.

We had gelato twice at Amorino, almost next to Maffei.

We did a hop on hop off bus to get a sense of the other areas of Verona. We started late so we only had time for 1 of 2 legs offered, although we did that leg twice.

Our 2nd night we ate at a place in front of our apartment, Giulietta and Romeo, Corso S. Anastasia, 27. We each had the 18E menu. Most of the patrons were locals. Again the place was very friendly. 47E. great deal—2 courses plus desserts, plus good wine and bottled water. A good find.

BTW, we had dinner reservations at every restaurant on this trip, mostly made earlier in the day.


I had an Avis car rented for the rest of our trip. We were given a Fiat 500 wagon.
After leaving Verona we went to a wine shop, Signorvino, on the outskirts of town on the recommendation of a staff member at Maffei Restaurant (they also select their wines from there—there is one near the Colosseum as well.

What a great place—we bought a case of white from the area E. of Verona, a few bottles of red, several bottles of Prosecco and some rose---22 bottles in all.
Oh yes, 2 bottles of local olive oil too.

Emirates allows 2 checked bags each, so we used this option.

We had a fab lunch on the terrace of Signorvino overlooking some vineyards. I had a gigantic antipasto (25E) served on a massive platter---4 meats, 3 or 4 cheeses, pickled veggies and warm focaccia.. oink, but god was it good. K had pasta with meat ragu.

We drove on heading for the lake district, specifically Lake Maggiore, about a 3 hour drive north, 35 min. past Malpensa airport.
We love this area and returned to a B&B in the town of Baveno, 75 yards from the lake. Locanda Nelia---#1 on TA when we visited there a couple of years ago. They also own a restaurant in the same building---Posta Ristorante, P.zza Dante Alighieri, 16.
We had reservations there all 3 nights… average cost for 2 courses with prosecco and wine and water 60E. Simply fabulous cooking.
We had a lovely return lunch up in the hills in Vezzo at Ristorante Locanda Verbena one day, and another on a terrace by the lake.
We had a leisurely drive to Malpensa on our final day---flt in late afternoon. Had a horrible lunch in the airport…

We were given, upon request, our two aisle seats plus another seat for me and 2 for K. Flight was delayed---get this---the Italian air controllers had lost our flight plan and another had to be requested from Dubai--- 2 hour delay, on the plane.

Flight itself was perfect, again with good chicken for dinner and pizza before landing—fair.

Quick move thru immigration---we are global entry.. worth every cent ($100). I also use a wheelchair in airports so we luckily get head of the line….
No question about the wine, so we paid no duty.

We waited 5-10 minutes for the car park people. Our car was running when we arrived at the lot and right up front.

We stayed the night at Spring Hills Suites in Bellport, NY after a quick Burger King stop.
The next day we had a 1PM res on the Cross Sound ferry from Orient Heights to New London.

Our NH daughter had us for dinner—roasted chicken---yum, yum, yum.

We will be returning to Italy in October for a week prior to a transatlantic cruise from Rome to Miami on the Reflection. We look forward to it all—Bari. Naples, Amalfi Coast, Capri and Rome, preceded by a week in England and a few days in Dubrovnik.

This was a great “short” trip and we enjoyed it all at age 72.

rhkkmk is offline  
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May 1st, 2016, 08:30 AM
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Welcome home, Bob and Karen. It sounds like a fine trip!
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May 1st, 2016, 10:22 AM
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You guys live the life!
Lolazahra is offline  
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May 2nd, 2016, 04:24 PM
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we need to get global entry.

why am I hungry now after reading this? I need a trip to Italy soon. Are you renting a car for your fall trip to Italy?

Really Burger King for your first meal back home...jeeez

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May 3rd, 2016, 05:48 AM
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Welcome home Bob and Karen. Was the Emirates flight direct to Italy... ie. no connection in Dubai?
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May 3rd, 2016, 06:06 AM
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Just noticed that the flight was 8 hours, so I guess it was direct.
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May 3rd, 2016, 10:51 AM
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direct, then it continues to Dubai...
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May 4th, 2016, 07:56 AM
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Nice report - sounds like a great trip...
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May 5th, 2016, 05:47 PM
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I only now see the Asian connection. Should' this report be on the European

My question was not answered kind sir
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May 6th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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it is on both, kind sir II
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May 6th, 2016, 09:35 AM
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Global entry is awesome! Yes, HT, you need it!
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