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Awe inspiring on the Amalfi Coast....an Albergo "Clash of the Titans"

Awe inspiring on the Amalfi Coast....an Albergo "Clash of the Titans"

Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 12:09 PM
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Continuing to follow your adventures!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 12:59 PM
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My husband and I are leaving for Rome and Amalfi in late Oct for my 50th! Also a "trip of a lifetime". That being so because we are going first class all the way and trying not to think about the money - too much... Although, true to form, even though it is expensive, I am getting the best prices I can negotiate! And we are going coach, not business or first (I wish I had that kind of money or points!) Thanks so much for posting your trip experiences! As I was reading your "blog" I thought, this woman could be my twin... although I could not give up my morning diet coke while I am on vacation.

I was hoping for your recommendation on a couple of items... First, We are spending the first 5 days in Rome at the St Regis and then at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento. We are not sure how to transfer from Rome to Sorrento. We know that we want to visit the archaeology museum in Naples and then stop at Herculeaum and then our hotel in Sorrento to make the most of the travel southbound. I bring a fair amount of luggage when I am on vacation. Usually I have two suitcases and my husband brings one. We like to dress for dinner and also need clothes to get us through the days sightseeing, and I like to have lots of choices. Also, with it being shoulder season, we may be in need of both summer and fall wear. (As an aside, I asked this question in another post and got some snarky comments and replies from people who actually gave me a hard time about the amount of luggage I bring. Why would anyone make comments about our choice? You would have thought that I had just walked into a planned parenthood. Why are people so darn judgy! Get over it! I would never ever dream of bringing only a 21 inch bag on a 5 week or more trip to europe - hygiene and fashion anyone? But I would not judge them Back to my question... My husband is a little hesitant about driving a rental car in italy but that may be the best way to go unless we hire a car service to take us through the day - between 600 and 800 euros. Can you share your car rental and driving experience please? Cost, ease, translation of road signs, drop off point for rental... grazie!

Second question, What was the name of the store where you purchased the hand made shoes?

Thanks so much! You are a sweetie! Loved reading your post! Especially laughed and related to your dismay at being near children on vacation or at a restaurant (am I assuming too much?) I have had two of my own, now grown, one in college and one graduated and in the workforce, and I can tell you that as soon as I see little kids, unless they are one of my friends or relatives children, I RUN the other way. Excuse me hostess, can you please seat me at a table away from any kids.... Totally get it. Been there, done that.

Kind Regards, Jen PS - Happy 50th! We only live once!!!!
PS - we are pretty well heeled travelers - US, Europe and China
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 08:36 PM
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Jen...we took a car service between Rome and the AC both ways. We did not drive.

We used Francesco Marrapese from FCO to Positano and Tiber Limo from Conca dei Marini to Albergo del Senato in Rome. Both services were very good. I know the driver we had from FCO to Positano lives in Sorrento. Both of the services will arrange sightseeing on the way, if you wish. I liked the convenience of using a credit card with Tiber limo. Francesco only accepts cash.
http://www.francescomarrapese.com
http://www.tiberlimo.com

In Positano, the sandal store was Safari. It is very close to the main beach. If you are walking up the narrow street leading from the beach (beach is behind you), the sandal shop will be on your left. We found it easily.

http://www.safaripositano.com/index_eng.php

Don't let the snarky comments get to you. it's your trip and you can bring as much or as little luggage, as you like. I hope your trip is wonderful....ours certainly was. Beautiful corner of the world. And happy 50th (and fabulous) to us both!
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 01:46 AM
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wow what a great report from a rich American.

Relevance to anyone else - zero.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 02:16 AM
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That's not very kind, Blueeyedcod, and not even accurate. Surely there is room here for everyone, and I have certainly gained a lot from Denise's TR's over the years, even if her style and budget are not mine.

Denise - I hope that you follow your own advice and ignore the blue-eyed amongst us.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 04:28 AM
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Terrific report/travelogue, denisea! Makes for a very enjoyable read.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:13 AM
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Densiea, Great trip report, please ignore the blueeyedcod among us. I can't wait to read about your day in Rome as it's our favorite city. We will be in Positano and Rome next August and really looking forward to it.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 11:41 AM
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Day 10 ----breakfast with Yvonne and return to Roma

As always, I rolled out of bed (which was super comfy at MSR), to see the sun climbing and check the view. There was rain during the night and it felt much cooler outside. We decided to have breakfast on our terrace, to enjoy that one last time.

We needed to finish packing for our return to Rome and I had an ulterior motive, as well. I thought about the fact that we always got milk we didn't use for Chaz' coffee and I wanted to take some down to Yvonne. The skinny little girl needed it, so why waste it? At least I could try to get her to drink some. So, I had to pitch that idea to Chaz. He is quite patient with me and my desire to help an animal, so he agreed to be accomplice in coaxing Yvonne to breakfast. He didn't really think she would drink it but was willing to go along with my little plan. Nothing to lose.

So, we headed down to the pool area with a silver creamer full of milk and a small dish. On arrival, one of the pool attendants thought we were there to get chairs and Chaz explained that I wanted to give Yvonne some milk and asked if he had seen her. He hadn't and assured us that she is taken car of but left us to finish his work. We called her a few times and walked around the pool area looking for her, but no sign of her.

After a few minutes, I knew Chaz would not stay down there too long before wanting to give up (before other guests started to show up and we did need to finish packing which was getting even more difficult with the additional goodies we got from MSR). I was really motivated to find her and at least attempt a feeding. And suddenly she appeared on the path toward the pool. She was yawning and stretching but came right up and hopped up on a large beach "bed" base. She just sat there watching us and she has such pretty eyes. This was my chance and I hoped that moving toward her would not scare her off. I poured a little milk into the dish and slowly stepped her way. She stayed put and went right after the milk. Success! We did not want to make her sick but she lapped up the small amount I gave her so quickly, I had to give her a bit more. It was a total happy moment for me to watch her and I just wish I had done it the previous days but better late than never. She finished that up and she started to groom her self a bit and stretch some more. I had to resist giving her all the milk but we definitely did not want to make her sick, so we decided to say Arrivederci to her and finish our packing. The pool attendant asked if we found her and we told him we did. I am sure he thought we were crazy to be so focused on feeding a stray cat but I didn't care, at all. We thanked him for his help during our stay and said our good byes.

We were glad that we had chosen to use a car service to get back to Rome. Until the wildfires and road closures, we had considered taking the shuttle to Amalfi and then the ferry to Salerno and the train from there. However, between the road issues, the now very full bags plus an additional tote and the lack of a train option that didn't leave too early but still got us into Rome by early afternoon (a lot if criteria, I know), we went with a car for the sheer ease of it.

I finished packing and wandered the halls looking at the furniture, the confessional and the art in the halls. We had not really looked at the corridors of the hotel, so it was a good way to spend the last moments at the hotel. I occasionally would look out at the pool and spot Yvonne wandering among the lounge chairs around the pool. She has found herself quite a spot to call home at Monastero Santa Rosa!
We checked out and reception told us they would call the room when our driver arrived.

The driver arrived on time even though she had to figure out an alternate route to get to the hotel as the closest road was still closed. She was the best dressed driver I have ever had. We loaded up and the bellman rang the monastery bell at the front for us to say goodbye (a tradition for departing guests).

Because the road was closed we drove up the mountain rather than down. So, we saw more if the scenery from way up high. We lost some time, but there was nothing that we could do about that and it was nice to see some of the villages that are on top of the mountain. We drove through the Monti Lattari parc where there are tons of olive trees growing. Very pretty, lush surroundings for the drive and our driver pointed out Vesuvius to us. We drove down through Pimonte and then finally on to the autostrada toward Rome.

The free wi-if in the vehicle was nice to have, so I looked up the street Roscioli is on as our goal was to head there for pizza pomodoro when we got checked in. We had a dinner reservation that we decided to cancel as we didn't want to be rushed in Rome and we were honestly looking to do something simple like carbonara or cacio e pepe without a big production. I checked the hours for Maria Sopra Minerva, as that was the one thing I wanted to see for sure.

We eventually wound our way through Rome and the closer we got to Albergo del Senato, the slower we went. There were hordes of people around the Panteon area and none of them are concerned by a car behind them. A construction project forced the driver to chart a new course to get us to ADS but we got there at last.

We checked in and the desk clerk told us we would change our mind about staying only one night once we saw our room. We asked if the rooftop bar was open that night and he indicated it was but that we had our own terrace, so might not need the bar. We made our way to the top floor and entered the room. Very beautiful and well done in a rich red color. Two rooms plus a bathroom...small but nice with white marble. We had a small terrace overlooking the massive Pantheon.

We went back down after cleaning up and asked for a dinner rec. the gentleman was very helpful and fun. I told him we would like something close by and nothing too fussy, just good carbonara or cacio e pepe. His reply, very tongue in cheek, "in Rome????", with a wink and a smile. Love it.

He gave us a card for a near by place and wrote the second rec out on a piece of paper, in calligraphy, no less! He showed us on a map where both restaurants were located.

We thanked him and trekked toward Campo dei Fiori and to Roscioli. Well, best laid plans. While our memory kicked in quite well and we got to Campo dei Fiori easily, both Roscioli and Forno were closed. Sunday. Dang!

Well, plan B. The cooler weather had also made it to Rome and it was spectacular. Rome was quite warm when we visited a few years ago, so this weather was a nice surprise. We decided on a restaurant near Piazza Farnese. I had to have gnocchi one more time and Chaz had a salumi pizza. Both were good and we heard thunder get closer and closer but it never started raining. We split a half bottle of white wine and enjoyed being back in Rome. I was glad we decided to spend the day in Rome and not at a FCO area hotel.

We also decided that we needed to buy a small suitcase to check and make the packing for home easier. We headed back toward the Pantheon and were on our way to Tazza d'Oro for Chaz to get some espresso. And so was everyone else in Rome. The line was out the door and we decided to get an espresso at another spot. Just counter service and Chaz downed a double quickly. Next, how about some gelato? It seems that every other shop near the Pantheon is a gelato place. And they all were busy...that's a whole lot of gelato. We had some amazing pistachio gelato at Le Sirenuse, so I didn't want to get pistachio....didn't think anything could out do it.

We stopped in at Venchi. I got ciocco crema and Chaz went with pistachio both excellent. Ciocco crema looked like a richer base than straciatella but both are a version of chocolate chip, it seems. I barely finished mine by the time we got to the elephant obelisk in front of Maria Sopra Minerva. I shoved the paper from the cone in my pocket before entering the church and gave some change to a woman out front, on my way in to this gothic church.

The church is lovely and we paid to turn on some of the chapel viewing lights, which drew other visitors "like ducks on a junebug"!

We strolled and admired the Michaelangelo statue and lit a candle for a friend, as we always do when we travel. This is a great church to visit and with far fewer visitors than the nearby Pantheon.

Next, we headed to Piazza Navona. We knew Trevi fountain has scaffolding on it and decided to skip it. On the way, we ran into a band playing in the square at San Eustachio. Kinda fun....not sure what the occasion was. They made their way all around the area around the pantheon that afternoon. We headed on to Piazza Navona....packed as it was great weather, Sunday pm and Trevi is being renovated. I love the fountains, so Rome is a fun city for me and you really can't get better than the Bernini Fountain of the Four Rivers and also the Fountain of the Moor.

It was crowded and Chaz was not feeling great. I think we were both tired, so we decided to get out of the crowd. We headed back to a luggage shop we saw with a discount card designed to get us to go back. We picked up a small hard side rolling suitcase. It was cheap anyway and with a little discount, we were happy to have more room to get everything home. Back to ADS to drop it off and let Chaz take a short nap before heading over to the pantheon before it closed. We wanted to visit as soon as it opened the next day but our taxi to FCO was to arrive at the same time.

One thing we noticed and chuckled at, is the ubiquity of the selfie stick. This is the item vendors were hawking all over Rome! So, if you did not have one you could pick one up anywhere! We also accidentally photo bombed a group of fun, young Turkish tourists who spoke enough English to laugh when they heard me tell Chaz that we photo bombed them. We apologized but they didn't care at all. We saw them several times in the area and they were loving life and having a blast in Rome. They will have lots of photos to upload!

So, a short nap later, a suit case dropped off, we walked into the Pantheon 30 minutes before it was to close. This place stays packed until the very end. It still impresses me a lot. Just massive! And crowded! And I love the recorded Shhhhhh, followed by be quiet, please in multiple languages (to no avail). Sufficiently impressed once again, we headed back for that long awaited drink on the rooftop bar at Albergo del Senato.

We arrived to find several people already there. We snagged a table and ordered. I chose a Moscow Mule and Chaz got prosecco. We got a light shower but nothing major and we marveled at the Pantheon and the crowded scene below. I love Rome and especially in the late afternoon...the warm colors of the stone, tiles and stucco are beautiful. I am sure it's an artist's dream. I love the rooftops (would love more without the satellite dishes)... So pretty to see.

We had olives with our drinks, and weekender, if you are still reading, toasted to you. We found out about this rooftop bar from you and it took us awhile to get there but had to clink our glasses with a nod to you! Grazie mille! Wonderful experience. The views from all around the rooftop are really special and the terrace filled up fast.
We just savored the drink and the moment. We decided that we would get dinner early and turn in early.

I would have loved to stayed another day.....I am not done with Rome.

We visited La Sagrestia for dinner. It is just down a side street from the hotel and was a mix of local's and tourists. The staff there is very nice and don't dislike tourists. They are hard working, friendly and helpful. We had carbonara and veal Saltimbocca. Delish! Would love to sample the pizza there as it looks very crispy.

We chatted with a group of Americans next to us... The two young men were living in Rome, learning/speaking Italian and one set of parents were visiting from San Diego. They also had a daughter at Georgia Tech, so we talked a bit about Atlanta and congratulated the young men on their time in Rome and what a great opportunity they had. They were learning to cook and had made octopus a few night before. I hadn't even tasted octopus at their age. Nice group!

We said good night and headed back to ADS and said goodnight to the Pantheon, still crowded even at 10pm.

What a trip. I was ready to go home and still sad for it all to come to a close....there must be a word for that.

Next-- a last stop in Rome and the journey back home.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 01:27 PM
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Warning sharks in the water <Relevance to anyone else - zero.>

I read trip reports about all sorts of places I may not go. Lots of people read and commented on my trip reports from Syria and Iran even though they probably weren't planning on going there.

Thanks for posting Denisea and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 03:24 PM
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I will add my thanks for this fabulous TR. I really feel like I've been there and we have been trying to do so for many years. You've made the transfers seem a bit easier than my research provided.

That said, we're headed to Paris again in 2 days. After some stressful months we needed something familiar & easy....Paris. I'll say hi to Albano for you, haha!
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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Hello Denisea! Thanks for your reply! Again, it was wonderful reading about your trip. I too am going to go to the rooftop bar at Albergo del Senato upon your recommendation and I will let you know how it is later in the month. I think we will end up taking a car service just to avoid any hassles, stress and headaches.

No doubt you will go to Rome and Italy again. I have been to Florence years ago and LOVED it... I have to bring my husband there to experience it. So many places to go and enjoy! Best to you and your future travels! Keep in touch.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:11 PM
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PS - It was nice to hear about what you did for that kitty. We are also animal lovers. We just had a bit of a tragedy and "lost" our cat last weekend. I was so distraught, and quickly decided to look for a new cat to adopt. The cat who passed, Olive, was a 4 year old shelter cat when I got her. Well, the point of the story and how it is relevant is that I went online looking for a new family member and found a "retired" cat whose name is Romeo... Get it- Rome/Romeo? I felt it was kismet. Well, anyway, we get him a week after we return from la dolce vida! Hopefully, I won't feel compelled to adopt any strays from italia. Best Wishes...
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:34 PM
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Our apt was down the street from ADS. We loved going into the Pantheon early in the am before their were crowds. Such a beautiful building, We had a nice meal at La Sagrestia. Month using to enjoy your travels.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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OMG spellcheck strikes again. "Continuing to enjoy your travels."
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 02:16 AM
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Denise:

I hear you. The rooftop bar was a welcome relief after being battered all day by selfie sticks.
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 03:07 AM
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What great fun to follow along with you, literally. We spent our last night in Rome two weeks ago in the Pantheon area and had dinner at La Sagrestia.

It was my birthday and we had reservations at Ditirambo, which I had enjoyed about 10 years ago, but at that point we were too tired so went to La Sagrestia. I had been a few times before and knew it was good and they serenaded me, complete with guitar!
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 04:00 AM
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Thank you. TPAYT enjoy Paris and Marco Polo...Albano is an icon, isn't he? Such a welcoming host!

Jen, check into the bar. I think it is limited to ADS guests only but you could inquire to be sure. Enjoy your travels and your new family member, Romeo! I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a pet, but the good there is that it opens up a new home for a deserving shelter pet. Both our pups are rescues, so I am always happy to hear about a rescue adoption...great way to honor and celebrate the memory of a departed friend and family member.

Apparently from the replies, La Sagrestia is quite the spot. Great area to stay in and we would love to go back for a longer stay at Albergo del Senato. Louisa you and I really were right there together throughout the trips.

Thanks to all for your interest and replies. I always enjoy hearing from everyone and love to write a TR. We both enjoy reading them again a few years later and reliving the trip. Great way to remember the details later even if no one reads the TR, an extra cherry on top to have your responses!

A little more to come later, the last minutes in Rome, trip home, favorites, hotel comparison and what we would do differently.
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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Jen, the rooftop bar at ADS is limited to guests we were told when we inquired. I even told them how much I wanted to go because when I stayed at the hotel a few years ago in November it was closed. The gentleman at the desk was apologetic and said it was just too small to allow non-guests but he suggested Hotel Minerva (spelled various ways) just down the block.

Drinks were pricey but hey, it was my birthday and the views were fabulous!

http://www.grandhoteldelaminerve.com/index_mobile.html

denisea, can't wait for your final thoughts. BTW, when you went to MSR, we went to Capri for three nights and loved it!
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 06:04 AM
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I've also enjoyed following your travels - from start to finish! Rome is one of my favourite cities and never miss the opportunity to visit the Pantheon, the Bernini fountains on Piazza Navona and yes, La Sagrestia for dinner! The last time my husband & I ate there, the entire front room was reserved for a private party and we were squished together with other diners in a small side room! But we enjoyed the lively, convivial atmosphere & our meals!

The view of the Pantheon from your terrace & the roof top bar at Albergo del Senato must have been amazing, especially at night!

What a special trip this was for you & Chaz. Thanks for sharing this with us!
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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Louisa - we went to the Hotel Minerva for drinks and pricey is an understatement. We were just getting ready to order a second round and couldn't find a server. We finally had to leave for our dinner reservation and did get the bill -- we were very happy we didn't order a second round. But beautiful sunset view and they served some ok apps with the drinks if I recall.

Funny that La Sagrestia is so popular with Fodorites -- it's a good location and good food so why not I guess?
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