All in the Family

Feb 24th, 2004, 08:46 AM
  #1  
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All in the Family

Thanks in large part to the treasure trove of information gleaned from countless fordorite postings, my wife and I had an outstanding vacation last summer in Italy (Florence-Lungarno, Venice-Ca'Pisani, Tuscany-Villa Fontelunga). This year we decided to return to Italy in early June, but this time we are taking the kids with us (boys ages 11 & 14). I would greatly appreciate any info regarding places that they in particular would enjoy and restaurants that tend to the informal. Our itinerary is as follows:

Fly into Naples
Positano (5 nights Villa Franca)
Rome (4 nights Albergo Del Sonato)
Venice (3 nights Savoia & Jolanda)
Verona (2 nights Hotel Victoria)
Lake District (4 nights Hotel des lles Borromees)
Fly out of Milan

Except for the Rome-Venice train trip we will have a car.

P.S. - Although not the most exciting topic, I have a feeling that doing laundry for four of us could become an issue (we are trying to pack light). Besides the hotel service, I don't remember seeing many places to do the wash.

Thanks in advance from a 1st time poster.
BelTib is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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You should be able to find a laudromat in Rome and possibly in Venice or Verona. Some will say, "Why waste your time doing laundry?" However, our laudromat experience in Paris was a real adventure and a great memorable moment of that trip.
HowardR is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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I would suggest a coin laundry where you use the machines yourselves. I took my clothes to a cleaners that also washed clothes in Sorrento and they came back smelling horrible, and stiff as boards, like they had washed them in a tub with someone else's dirty smelly workclothes. I complained and the woman ushered me out of the store, I figured it wasn't worth wasting vacation time pursuing it any further.
It took about three washings when I got home to get my tshirts, sweaters and pants wearable again.
Natalia is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 10:25 PM
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You might want to try using the yellow pages on the web to find laundromats. That's what I did last year for France, and discovered that only one town had a laundromat and planned accordingly.
Michael is online now  
Feb 25th, 2004, 04:33 AM
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This company, Wash & Dry Lavaparido, has locations in various cities/towns including 4 in Rome. http://www.washedry.it/_eng/dove_siamo.shtml

I did a quick search for "lavanderia" and the first posts are for Positano. Also search for "laundromat" and you will get good posts. (If you search for "laundry" you'll get too many posts that won't be specific enough for you.)

For Venice, Rick Steves' Italy 2003 book gives directions to one self service place near the train station, and two full service places elsewhere - one in the San Marco area.

You might also try asking on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum and at SlowTalk.
Rookie is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 08:57 AM
  #6  
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Thank you all for responding so well to my incidental laundry question.

I must say I was hoping to hear more about the travel experiences in Italy of other families--i.e. kid friendly activities, restaurants, private tour guides who relate well to children...etc.



BelTib is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 09:18 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi Natalia,

I think the washerwoman starched your underwear.
ira is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Guess we took too much for granted that you would have already searched for "(city) AND kids". Here's Grinisa's trip report from Rome last Easter with her family. Its full of ideas. http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...2&tid=34416372

Enjoy.
Rookie is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 01:14 PM
  #9  
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Rookie: I am well aware of how to use the search engine on this site. In fact, a couple of months ago I read Grinisa's trip report with great interest. However, I don't think that your comments should discourage, nor preclude one from posting these types of questions. They may actually elicit new information from people out there who haven't as yet posted. As you probably know, searching this site can be very time consuming and tedious (and very entertaining/helpful). I don't believe it is realistic to think that all new postings will have unique, never before asked questions.
BelTib is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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HI
I note you're not staying again at the Ca'Pisani in Venice. I'd be interested in your assessment of that hotel.
elaine is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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The concierge at the Savoia & Jolanda was very helpful WRT our laundry...it came back fresh and clean hours later. Cost more than doing it ourselves, but not THAT much.
mr_go is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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Elaine: The Ca'Pisani, which is located on a nice quiet street near the Accademia Bridge, is one of those ultra modern, "designer/boutique" hotels that one either loves or hates. The interior is very chic, a sharp contrast to most of the old-world type hotels of hotels we stayed at on our trip; like the Baglioni and Hotel Continental properties in Bologna and Sienna. Our split-level room was not very large, but adequate for the two of us. To get to the bedroom area one has to negotiate a glass/chrome stairway that took a little getting used to. If you are a techie/gadget-type person you will enjoy figuring out how to use all of the switches that operate the various things like the stereo/lights/curtains/shutters/plumbing. I thought the place was totally cool, my wife kept saying how there is no way her parents would even be able to get in the shower, much less figure out how to operate it. The breakfast, which can be taken inside or on the street level was very good, not as good as the Baglioni, but I enjoyed the self-serve cappuccino machine very much. Although the look and feel of the hotel is a little L.A., the staff was as helpful as any hotel we have been in.

Hope this helps.
BelTib is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:30 PM
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BelTib:

I noticed that you stayed at Villa Fontelunga last year. Did you like it? As we are considering it for our trip this September. Thanks.
cleo22 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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cleo22:

Villa Fontelunga was one of the unexpected highlights of our trip last year. After spending two weeks staying in hotels located in well touristed cities such as Florence, Venice, Bologna and Siena, Villa Fontelunga instantly became our relaxing home away from home. The setting is a restored, casually elegant, 100-year old villa located in the Val di Chiana. The views overlooking the valley towards Cortona, especially at night, are breathtaking. The grounds which include a terrace, nice landscaping, swimming pool and olive groves are typically Tuscan; picture a perfect place for an outdoor wedding. What really makes this place special, however, are the owners Paolo and Philip, who obviously were born to be in the hospitality business. At breakfast and at the two dinner parties they throw on Tuesdays and Fridays, all of the guests (maybe 12-15 people) get to know each other over great food and wine, especially if Paolo's mother is cooking. All meals are taken al fresco under a series of huge umbrellas over looking the valley.

As far as rooms go, we stayed about 30 yards away from the main house in our own private bungalow (the only one of its kind), which used to serve as a dove cottage. It was beautifully restored by Philip, the movie set decorator, in a style I would call elegantly eclectic.

You might not want to arrive at night, since the villa is rather hard to find...it took a cell phone call to Paolo to guide us through the final few kilometers. Discovering the tiny towns in the area was fun, although we enjoyed Cortona the most.

I could go on and on as the memories are all coming back to me now, but I better stop now. Obviously we enjoyed the Villa immensely.
BelTib is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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cleo22:

My editor (and wife) has told me that the views at SUNSET are breathtaking and the views at night are pitch dark
BelTib is offline  
Mar 5th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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Hi BelTib,

What a pleasure to hear about your experiences at Ca'Pisani and Villa Fontelunga. These are two places we are staying at for our upcoming trip!

I know laundry was not a main topic of your post but were you able to access this service while in Venice or Tuscany?

Also, at Villa Fontelunga, did you have to pre-book for the dinner? and what were the appoximate costs?

Lots of questions, I know...but I haven't been able to find people who have stayed at these two places until now. THANKS!!!
myps is offline  
Mar 5th, 2004, 10:09 AM
  #17  
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Hello myps:

Food at the villa: When we were there, all meals were served outside (why not, Tuscany in June!). Breakfast is simple, but fresh i.e. home-made breads & pastries, cereals, juices, fruit, espresso etc. During the day there is always something to drink, or nibble on (our room always had a small carafe of local vin santo). No, you don't have to pre-book the twice-a-week dinner, which is a 3 course, pre-fix menu (about $30 w/wine). At some point Paolo, Philip, or Simon will ask you if you would like to join them for dinner. On most nights they booked dinners for us at restaurants in the various nearby hill towns. Villa Fontelunga is a very flexible and accommodating place to stay.

One night we were simply tired of going out to restaurants all of the time, so we asked Paolo if the cook could throw something together for us. We had a great impromptu dinner under the stars, in total privacy since the other guests were all out on the town. Moments like these are what make the hassles of travel worthwhile.

You asked about laundry....Oh, I'm sure they can take care of it for you. We did wash a few items in the sink and let them dry discreetly on the side of our cottage under the Tuscan sun. You can't do that at the Ca'Pisani....
BelTib is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experience at Villa Fontelunga. It sounds perfect for our honeymoon in September.
cleo22 is offline  
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