Book Meals and Sites Before we leave?


Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,323
Take it from a fellow Michigander..if you have two FULL days in Venice you will be fine. I was actually thinking 3 days in Rome was short.

We went for our first time in April and were VERY disappointed by Venice but we had horrible weather. It was cold, rainy and VERY windy, and just not the swepted away romantic place we hoped. We almost did not get to take a gondola ride but it cleared up our last night and so we went. That's when we got to see the romantic, lovely side of the city. We followed it up with a concert in a small basilica and ended on a high note (no pun intended).

Have a wonderful trip!
motor_city_girl is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 05:32 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Thanks Michigan Girl!
Am really looking forward to it!
Just read the latest info about booking on another thread...Ira has all of the numbers! Thanks All!
michiganstacey is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Just yesterday I booked the Doge's Palace Secret Itinerary tour for 20th June, online, using this site : You can choose whether to pay upfront by credit card or not - I did as it seemed less hassle. €15 pp for the full tour in English. I noticed that some dates around then had few tickets left.

I also booked entry to St Mark's basilica (free) using this site :

And a week or two ago I booked & paid for the ghost walk (following recommendations on this board) using this site :

I have not booked any restaurants yet but then I'm not planning on eating at Michelin-starred establishments.

Agree with the poster who said they wished they'd known more Italian on their first trip.

A useful Venice tip I saw on this site only yesterday is that a street name may exist in more than one sestiere, or district, so try to get the street name *& sestiere* of anything you're looking for.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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michiganstacey, we noticed that there were a lot of cats all over Venice. And, to top that off they were the largest cats I'd ever seen in my life. I don't know why this is, other than perhaps the amount of seafood that is thrown out daily. Perhaps they are well fed from the overage that gets tossed?
Statia is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 560
I try to avoid single nights anywhere... but if you have your heart set on San Remo - go for it. I'm not a Venice fan. Llearn if you are - and if so, come back for a week.

I try to research restaurants in every city (it is so easy to eat expensive and crummy food in Venice). I make very few reservations, but I do have a few (we leave for 3 weeks in Italy on Sunday... I have 3 meals reserved).

I definitely think you should have museum reservations where possible - it saves a ton of time (and some places require it). We have reservations for St. Marks, Uffizi, Accademia, The Last Supper, and Borghese. We'll drop into a few other places... From everything I'm seeing, Italy will be jammed this summer - and many museums are booked thru June (for advanced reservations).

As far as the people - I have always found Italians in large cities and small to be amongst the friendliness in the world. I can not give a single personal example of rudeness, etc....

In any event, enjoy...
julie_Colorado is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You've gotten a lot of excellent advice on booking for various sites, but I haven't seen much (under your post) on food/eating/restaurants.

Some of us obsessive foodie types (that's me) book many restaurants (dinner only) ahead of time. But that's not for everyone. You might take along a list (short or long) of restaurant possibilities, to avoid the possibly inevitable search for a restaurant.

But also, keep your eyes open. All restaurants are required to post their menus. If you're passing somewhere and see a place you like, and want to return later, stop in and ask if you can make a reservation for dinner. (And remember where the restaurant is located.)

In Rome, "pizza bianca" is a popular item. It's basically a plain, salted foccaccia, but it's SO GOOD. You can get it from pizzerias, the kind that have pizza by the slice. Oh, and pizza by the slice is great too, with much more variety than pizzas in the U.S. (especially if you like stuff like eggplant and zucchini). You can find those in Siena as well (I haven't been to San Remo or Bellagio, so I don't know about there.) Venice has little bars that serve great lunch food, risottos and the like.

Have a wonderful time!
Lexma90 is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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I do love to I know when we are there...we will hope to choose wisely...I am printing your suggestions!
michiganstacey is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Michiganstacey, have a wonderful trip! I'm excited for you. We all loved our first family trip to Italy last June.

Our only regret: not taking restaurant recommendations with us for every single meal. The best meals we had were all recommended by either frequent Italy travellers on-line, or else they were in the Rick Steves guidebooks to Italy (available in your local bookstore or on his web-site

The best recommendations on this web-site come from travellers who have been to Italy more than once, I found. I had a wonderful 72-year-old man writing to me who had been to Italy 6 times. His recommendations were right-on!

Rick Steves has recommended atmospheric family-run ristorantes with good prices for Italy. We found his recommended restaurants to be better AND CHEAPER than the places we just wandered by and randomly chose on our own!

Fodors guidebook is excellent for seeing the star ratings for the different attractions so you can figure out what you most want to see. We didn't bring the book with us to Italy but I consulted it at home in the planning stage and developed our itinerary while consulting it.

Travel agents often don't know as much as frequent travellers on this fodors site! is also great for Italy info, although they will tell you you are moving way too fast, they still have good info. I have a great AAA travel agent because I love her personality and she gets me good airline tickets when I don't feel like getting them myself. But because of fodors I sometimes know the latest news before she does!

You don't need to book any meals before you go. But you can have someone from your hotel (front desk/or concierge) phone in your dinner reservation if it's a popular place. We would stand there and wait while they phoned in the reservation and thank them when they were finished. We didn't always make reservations for dinner, sometimes we just showed up for dinner.

Oh! I could go on and on. If you want my restaurant recommendations write to me at [email protected] and write Italy or Rome in the subject line (I pre-screen e-mails before deciding to open them.)

Best restaurants in Italy are small family-run places in my opinion! They have the best food and the best atmosphere. They have repeat customers, including locals and returning travellers.

I hope your hotels are centrally located in interesting walkable neighborhoods near some major attractions. This makes a big difference.

Venice, Rome, and Siena are all wonderful! You will never forget your first sight of Venice.

Buon viaggio!
Melissa5 is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 560
I use several sources for restaurants. And while I have a handful of reservations, I have tons of lists (I've probably spent 30 or more hours just on restaurants for this trip). My sources:

1. DK top 10 (top 10 Rome, top 10 Venice, etc).

2. Great Eats Italy (only restaurants, great details including specials, price).

3. City Secrets Rome and City Secrets Florence, Venice, and the towns of Italy.

4. Rick Steves (esp. for those nights where price matters).

5. Restaurant Web Sites (about 1/3 to 1/2 have them) - for those I learn about thru the above. Typically have menus, etc..

I highlight the short list on a map - and then I can quickly see what is in the area as we are travelling and get hungry. I have reservations at La Chuisa, Osteria La Solita Zuppa, and one in Venice but the name escapes me (we arrive fairly late and I wanted to have that first night covered - it's a Rick Steve's recommendation). In spite of the fact that it is very easy to get great food in Italy - it is also very easy to spend a ton of money on poor food. And nothing dissappoints like a bad dinner in Italy.
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