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11th Century Streets & a 21st Century Car - Italy the second time around!

11th Century Streets & a 21st Century Car - Italy the second time around!

Jun 5th, 2000, 06:15 PM
  #1  
Dayle
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11th Century Streets & a 21st Century Car - Italy the second time around!

Just back from heaven...detailed report for anyone who cares...

Flew Lufthansa LAX, Frankfurt, Milan - clean plane, on time, excellent service, food not very good. Frankfurt is a BIG airport! Make sure you have enough time for international connections. Express train from Malpensa to Milano Cordona station - 45 min. Return trip Venice, Frankfurt, LAX. Venice is a very nice small airport, a breeze, literally. Much more fun to go to the airport via boat!

Milan - entirely skippable (which we already knew). Duomo big, but not nearly as beautiful as others we saw. Never could get through to the phone number for Last Supper tickets either before the trip or during. Hotel: Antica Locanda dei Mercanti, pedestrian only side street near the Duomo. Excellent staff speaks perfect English (if this is of concern to you), good prices for Milan. 200,000L double for their std room. VERY small, but high quality. Awarded: most comfortable beds and linens, best hot chocolate. FAX: 02 805-4090. Interesting fact learned: Milan metro stops running about 7:30pm., but very easy to use.

Lago Maggiore, Isola dei Pescadore: Fantastic! We stayed at the Hotel Verbano on Isola dei Pescadore. Ask for a room on the terrace. We had a gigantic terrace right on the lake shared with only 3 other rooms. Dead quiet at night, the last public boat service stops at 7:00pm. Only hotel on the island. Owners very gracious, restaurant excellent, views unforgettable! e mail: [email protected] Highly recommend visting all three islands, but save the best for last, Isola Bella. Very interesting palazzo of the noble family, Borromeo (SP?) and wonderful gardens. Stresa - one of the gelato sampling highlights and a very charming town. Also visited Villa Taranto and other towns along the lake. Rail from Milano Centrale 1 hr, very easy.

Chianti - Hotel Residence San Sano. Paradise found! We both agreed this was the best overall. I almost hate to recommend them. San Sano is a tiny and very old stone village up on one of the many hills in Chianti. Chianti area was more mountainous and forested than further south around Montepulciano area. Hotel serves wonderful buffet breakfasts and incredible dinners in the front garden. Complete with lavendar bushes, grape arbor, herb garden, etc. We had a large room, since we were two persons, two beds and it was wonderful. Village also has a tiny family-run, "locals" tratorria with food to die for.

Part two to follow.....
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 06:28 PM
  #2  
Dayle
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Part two...interesting fact learned: if you get car sick, get a patch or something before you go. Roads quite twisty. My friend was not a happy camper. Allow lots of drive time. Hoten Residence San Sano FAX: 0577 746165. After driving around Chianti for 3 days, we felt we could not have picked a more perfect location than San Sano. You need a detailed map for it to show up. Lunch at La Badia di Coltibuono was excellent, also their Classico was the best we tasted. Reservations required, on the expensive side but definitely worth it. Great views too. Tasting at Brolio, very good, especially their Classico Reserva. Skip the castello, not worth it. Only the gardens are open and they are completely unremarkable...

Another interesting fact regarding Lago Maggiore - if you want to catch an early train, you need to arrange in advance for a private boat to Stresa. Really interesting fact: there are no taxis at the dock early - arrange in advance or be prepared to RUN a few block to make your train (we did).

More to come...happy to answer any questions. Italy is full of American tourists this year, but the countryside was all Californians (including us).
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 07:42 PM
  #3  
Ed
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How do I find out about the Hotel San Sano?








 
Jun 6th, 2000, 05:01 AM
  #4  
Frank
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Dayle, following up on Ed's question, what was the cost of the Hotel Residence San Sano, and how long in advance did you make reservations there? What town in Chiani is it near? We leave a week from tomorrow (!) and I still need to fill a two-night gap in the schedule somewhere in rural Tuscany. I have some interesting leads, but your very informative report makes this one sound pretty appealing. Grazie!
 
Jun 6th, 2000, 09:08 AM
  #5  
lisa peretz
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Dayle, I have to respectfully disagree with you about Castello di Brolio. My husband and I drove up the curvy, woodsy drive in awe and it continued upon pulling up to such an amazingly imposing castle with breathtakingly high walls. We pulled the bellrope and knew in advance that only the grounds were open to us, but non-the-less, were inspired by the private family chapel and it's beautiful frescoes, as well as the terrace and view of the garden and vineyard. We went early in the day, no one else was around and the weather was beautiful. I would highly recommend this. And I agree with you about the very informative tasting at the facility at the bottom ogf the hill. It was great too.

We also went to Badia e Coltibuono for a fabulous lunch and a tour of the abbey's wine cellar and garden. It was a trip highlight.
 
Jun 6th, 2000, 10:27 AM
  #6  
Frank
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Dayle, I just tried to send you an e-mail with a couple of specific questions about San Sano, but it came back, apparently because the address wasn't a real one. I'd like to ask the questions but hestitate to take up space on the forum to do so. Can you send me a private e-mail with your e-mail address, so I can pick your brain a bit more? Thanks.
 
Jun 6th, 2000, 10:54 AM
  #7  
Gail
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I just have to echo the kudos for Antica Locanda dei Mercnti in Milan! Delightful small hotel. My daughter and I were put in the "annex" because we wanted two beds. It was nice and quiet, with a table, where we had our breakfast in the morning. Nice sized bathroom and a kitchenette, which looked in need of renovation. The most fun was the 4 keys needed to get into the place. One for the door to the room, one for the door to the door to the room, one for the iron gate to the door to the door to the room, and one for the main door, which was locked at night.

The best thing about the Duomo in Milan is walking around the spires on top and getting the amazing view of the Alps on a clear day, which we had.

Phone number for the Last Supper - Cenacolo - at Santa Maria delle Grazie, is 02-498-75-88. We had reservations, and it was wonderful to see! Groups of about 30 people are allowed in every 15 minutes, and 15 minutes is all you get.

Also we went to La Scala - both to the museum and the opera - fantastic!
 
Jun 8th, 2000, 05:48 PM
  #8  
Dayle
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Frank, Hotel Residence San Sano is listed in Fodor's "Small Hotels & Inns of Charm - Italy" San Sano is 20 km north of Siena off the main Chianti road, I think it's S222? Also about 17 km south of Radda. E Mail me if you have further questions, but I need to limit personal e mails at work. We made our reservations 7 months in advance. I would imagine they get pretty booked, I believe they only have about 15 rooms. Buona fortuna!
 
Jun 8th, 2000, 05:51 PM
  #9  
Dayle
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Frank, PS: our room was 230,000L a night. Breakfast included, dinner extra.
 
Jun 9th, 2000, 05:46 AM
  #10  
Frank
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Thanks for the information, Dayle. I'll look forward to checking it out.
 

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