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convents and hotels, 2 week itinarary, Visiting Paestum from Sorrento

convents and hotels, 2 week itinarary, Visiting Paestum from Sorrento

Jul 1st, 2005, 07:15 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1
convents and hotels, 2 week itinarary, Visiting Paestum from Sorrento

I recently went to Italy with my mother and while our itinarary was very busy at times, we saw a lot of different places and met some great people.

We flew in to Milan and spent one night at the Hotel Gritti. It was clean and a nice place to recoup from the plane ride (noisy at night as people were coming back from the clubs, but I'm a sound sleeper and didn't hear anything). For an easy dinner near the hotel, walk out of the front door, turn left and Bar Beltrade is next to the hotel. The waiter we had, Luis, was young and loved trying his english on us and the food was good too!) Quick walk to the main piazza and a short subway ride to the train station... very managable with luggage.
Our next stop was Padova where we spent 1 night at the Casa del Pellegrino right next to St. Anthony's. The hotel was AMAZING, we stayed in the Dependenza (the newer building). It was clean, quiet and modern and located next to the church, and within easy walking distance of everything in Padova. Check out the Botanical Garden if you have time - if you're an art lover, the Scrovegni Chapel is a must, but book in advance!!
After Padova we traveled by train to Ravenna and spent one night at the Hotel Diana. Again it was clean and quite and a short walk from the mosaics. The best part about the hotel was the breakfast on the covered terrace. One night there and we visited San Vitale, Galla Placidia and San Appoliare Nuovo (do the combo ticket). Ravenna was off the beaten trail for most tourists, which is why it was nice to visit, and the mosaics and buildings are absolutely amazing!!!
On the 4th day we went via train to Florence. We stayed 2 nights at a convent 2 blocks from the cathedral (Istituto Oblate dell' Assunzione at 15 Borgo Pinti 30 euro per person per night). I've stayed there twice and the rooms are large, quite and there is a beautiful garden on site. Breakfast is included, but they don't speak any english there. Reserve by fax (01130 055 234 5291). The do have a curfew though, so if you plan on staying out late, dont' stay here. There is a great small place to eat near the convent at Via Matteo Palmieri called Pizzaria Mastro Ciliegia - try the pesto lasagna. We didn't do any of the top sights in Florence because we'd both seen them all, but if you like art, visit Casa Buonarroti (Michelangelo's family house). I love Sta. Croce, so we went there again.
From Florence we took a bus to Siena and rented a car there. Spent the afternoon in Siena and went to the Civic Museum. *We rented our car through Auto Europe and used Avis. We were supposed to return it to Orvieto and only after we signed to pick up the car that we were told that the office in Orvieto was closed and that we would have to make other plans... the guys at the car rental place were no help at all and were quite rude, but auto europe helped us take care of it*.
From Siena we drove to San Gimignano (a walled town about 45 min. outside of Siena. We were originally going to stay right in Siena, but I'm so glad we didn't. San Gimignano gets crowded during the day, but after 5 it is only the locals, and is a wonderful town to just walk around and relax in. They have a small church which was neat to go in to, as well as a civic museum. And make sure to eat the Gelato at Gelataria de Piazza. We stayed at the Monastery of San Girolamo and again, quiet, clean, large rooms, and a view to die for. No english spoken here, breakfast was 2 euros extra (a total of 27 euro per person per night), and they have free private parking!!
2 nights spent in San Gimignano before heading to Cortona. We took the scenic route, and beware *Montepulciano and Moltaccino (I know I can't spell) are very busy and touristy and over crowded! In Cortona, we stayed at the Istituto Santa Margherita (I think thats the name), another convent located right in the city. Some english is spoken here, and they too have private parking. We ate at the Antica Trattoria right in the Piazza Signorelli. Welcoming people and delicious food!
From Cortona we drove to Orvieto via Assisi where we spent most of the day. It was touristy and crowded (and I was sick), but a beautiful town none the less. In Orvieto we stayed with Valentina in "Valentina's Rooms", a little bed and breakfast. Eat at Pizzaria Paoleri Marco (sp?) at Corso Cavour 49. Its a family run place right on the main road. Make sure to visit the cathedral!!
From Orvieto we got back on the train (after taking the funicular down the steep hill). Don't use the ATM at the train station... It didn't work! Hopped on the train down to Naples then took the hydrofoil over to Sorrento. Stayed 3 nights at the Settimo Cielo. About 3 minute bus ride out of town on Via Cappo, but well worth it (lower prices, better view of the water and Vesuvius). The staff was amazing and extremely helpful in planning our days. We took 1 day and went to Positano (get to the bus station early to get a good seat on the trip). On Thursdays, a tour group takes people from various hotels to visit Salerno and Paestum. Its pricy, but comes with a tourguide, transportation, and saves you tons of time and money and aggrivation trying to juggle train/bus schedules. One tip- when he breaks for lunch, don't pay 20 euro for lunch with him... walk around and find something cheaper. There are plenty of options (although he'll try to scare you with stories of 15 euro gelato!). In Sorrento we ate twice at Pizzaria Aurora on Piazza Tasso, and once at a restaurant on Piazza Sant'Antonio (you go through the Piazza and it is a restaurant up a flight of stairs... I will look it up and find the name of it, but you eat under real lemon trees!).
Our last day we went to Pompeii on our way back to Naples. Leave your baggage at the train station, and eat lunch there too! Visited the site and back on the train to Naples, were we stayed at Pinto Storey. We had an early flight out the next morning and the staff helped arrange a taxi to the hotel.
A wonderful trip (hectic at times, but well worth it!). The convents we found were all in a book called Convents and Monestaries in Italy. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the convents/hotels/restaurants or anything I wrote about. [email protected]
ItalianChica is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 05:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,113
A very interesting trip, becky. Thanks for sharing.

ira is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,170
Thanks for the monastery and convent reports. I'll be considering the ones you mentioned.
WillTravel is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,562
Isn't Ravenna glorious? Thanks for a fine report of a lovely trip.
smalti is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 398
Great report. I'm really glad to hear about the convents you stayed in. We have thoroughly enjoyed our experiences at Fraterna Domus in Rome.
Sally is offline  

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