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Critical Comments Sought On Italy Itinerary

Critical Comments Sought On Italy Itinerary

Old Feb 12th, 2005, 03:45 AM
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Critical Comments Sought On Italy Itinerary

To the many posters on this board with deep experience on travel in Italy, I seek your critical comments on/personal experiences with the following itinerary for a two week swing through Italy. This is our first such excursion and we would appreciate also your recollections of memorable dining experiences in the cities listed. As always, many thanks, Gradyghost:
Rome--Hotel Nazionale a Montecitorio
Florence--Hotel Lungarno
Verona--Hotel Victoria
Milan-- Hotel Spadari al Duomo
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 04:03 AM
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Hi gg,

>...memorable dining experiences...<

In the "search this forum" box enter "restaurant and (name of city)" for lots of suggestions.

Also see Helpful Information: Italy http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34443340


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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 04:32 AM
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Ira: Thanks for the suggestions, fair enough. I used the word "memorable" to eliminate the laundry lists of ok places that appear on many threads.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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We had a wonderful stay at the Hotel Lungarno last August. It's an outstanding hotel in a great location for seeing the sights of Florence.

We requested ( also sent a follow-up e-mail) two rooms overlooking the Arno River, and got them. I'd recommend you do the same, since the streetside rooms are not nearly as nice.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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For a first trip to Italy, I would suggest the traditional "Big Three" -- after all, there are good reasons why they ARE the Big Three.

So how about the following:
Rome -- with a day trip or two, if interested; Ostia Antica or, further away, Orvieto
Florence -- with day trip(s) to Siena and San Gimignano
Venice -- with day trips to Verona and perhaps Padua and/or Vicenza

I've heard only good things about the Nazionale a Montecitorio in Rome and the Lungarno in Florence, but I have not stayed at either.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 08:15 AM
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Hi gg,

In Florence, we liked Il Ritrovo
Via de’ Pucci 4/A 055.281688 Best food for the price Has fish. Full dinner w/wine abt 40E pp Closed Monday
From Pzza San Giovani (NW corner of the Pza del Duomo) walk one blk East to Via dei Martelli. Go left to Via dei Pucci. Turn Right. Look very carefully on left. No sign. Door could be locked. Ring bell.

Are there reasons for going to Verona and Milan and skipping Venice?
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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Hello Ira: You make the restaurant sound like a throwback to the speakeasies. I like the intrigue. We'll try it. We're doing Verona to attend the outdoor opera; Milan just for a couple days at a small hotel so as to remain decompressed for the trip home. Not the time to return to Rome. My wife nixed Venice for fear of mosquitos in July; she really suffers from their bites. I really don't know whether that is a true concern; perhaps you can shed light. Furthermore, I believe that I have read on this board that the canal water is not exactly pristine. Finally, with my bum knee, I'm not sure about negotiating the entry and exit of gondolas; falling in after a few wines surely would not ingratiate me with the gondolier.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Hi Grady,

Venice - really a pity to miss it on a first trip to Italy!!!! No one is going to force you to ride in a gondola. I've visited Venice twice and haven't done it yet. Also haven't encountered any mosquitos (March or May). I can sympathize with your wife, mosquitos LOVE me too, but there is such a thing as bug spray. Didn't find the canals smelly or dirty either. It's truly a unique city with so much history, art, and atmosphere.

Milan - having spent 3 nights there, I would put it at the BOTTOM of my priority list.

Life is short. How about "decompressing" on the plane on the way home. Or, how about Maggiore or Como for a nice relaxing finish? Venice would also accomplish this.

Personally, I'm a big fan of balancing a trip with cities and countryside. It gives you a better overall picture of the country.

How about this?

Fly into Rome
4 nights Rome

train to Umbria or Tuscany, pick up car
3 nights, visit hilltowns

drop car
2 nights Florence

1 - 2 nights Verona

3 nights Venice
fly out of Venice

You could easily do this in reverse, depending on whether you want the intensity of Roma at the end or beginning of your trip.

Buon viaggio!



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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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About Venice: If you're staying in Venice, you won't really need gondolas, although you might want to take one ride just to experience it. My recollection is that the gondoliers help the passengers enter and exit, so I don't see that your bum knee would be much of an issue.

We did not find that the canals were particularly smelly.

If you were staying elsewhere, (Lido, for example) you'd take vaporettos ( water taxis) back and forth, and these have fairly level entrances and exits. Again, I don't think the knee would be a problem.

As for mosquitos, just make sure that you have a hotel with decent air conditioning, so that you can close the windows at night. Also use bug spray and cover up at dusk when the mosquitoes are feeding. My family of four visited in July, and except for an occasional bite, did pretty well.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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I agree with the above, gg.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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PS,

Don't visit Venice as a daytrip. It will ruin it for you.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 10:32 AM
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You didn't mention how many days in each locale, however, here are a few humble suggestions to tweak this trip:

* Since this is a first trip, drop Milan in favor of Venice...without a doubt. I don't know that a city like Milan would be the best place to decompress anyway.

* Four nights in Rome
* Three nights in Tuscany
* Two nights in Florence
* Two nights in Verona
* Three nights in Venice

I, too, am a believer in balancing the cities with the countryside. And in my mind, the countryside is the best place to decompress...meandering drives, relaxing dinners, charming towns, amazing vineyards....especially in the summer. The cities can get very, very hot as they do here at home.

As for Venice, it is one of the most, if not the most, charming and beautiful and magical cities in the world.

If Venice is definitely out, then I would add another night to Tuscany and consider two nights in Umbria. Any way you look at it, you will be in Italy having a wonderful time!


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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Drats! Just when I thought I was getting the hang of trip planning, I put it out there and invite, heck no, actively solicit, criticism, and you folks did not let me down. I can see that I need to rethink some of these plans. Great comments and arguments, and thanks to all. Gradyghost
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Gradyghost, you'll love the Hotel Nazionale a Montecitorio, classy hotel with a fantastic location. We spent 4 wonderful nights there in Rome. I can give you dining suggestions within walking distance of the hotel. Write to me if you want more detailed info. [email protected] Please mentioned Hotel Nazionale a Montecitorio in the subject line because I pre-screen all e-mail by subject and delete any that look like ads.

Okay, you said you don't want a "laundry list", so here's our number 1 restaurant choice in Rome, and our favorite restaurant in all of Italy: the family-run Ristorante der Pallaro. Type that name in the subject line for more info or write to me.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Gradyghost, also one excellent restaurant in Florence within walking distance of your hotel: Ristorante La Maremma near the Santa Croce area on Via Verde 16r. Had a wonderful home-made noodle dish with zucchini and snapper when we ate there. My friend always eats there when he travels to Florence.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Ira is on target as he usually is. Don't visit Venice as a daytrip. The physical layout of the city and the major sights make daytripping an ordeal and ensures that you will see all of the worst of Venice in addition to the major sights.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 03:38 PM
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Gradyghost, we visited Venice in June, and did not find any mosquitoes whatsoever. (And they do love our fair Irish skin, but I swear we didn't find even one mosquito.)

You might be pooped on by a bird, however. They missed the whole family entirely except for pooping on my son's head 5 times!!!

The canals smell fine, no problem there. The only time they have any unpleasant smell is if you run across a smaller side canal that has been closed off for some reason, then it will have that smell that standing water can get. But all the other canals, which are inter-connected, smell fine. (And I do have a keen nose.)

I also agree Venice as a day-trip would ruin it. Venice needs time for wandering about leisurely on the many smaller walkways and canals.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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gradyghost

I would skip Milan. Would you consider spending your final two nights in Como? You could be at the lakeside, eat well, take a boat ride, and have no trouble at all getting to Milan if that is where you are flying out of.

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