Heavenly trip to Italy

Oct 21st, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Heavenly trip to Italy

I'm back and thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Italy, especailly our 5 days in the hill country of Tuscany....... I will post a trip report as soon as possible, but just wanted you all to know how fabulous it was....
bblount is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 06:51 AM
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We will be waiting !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 27th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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OK, here goes......... This is just a short version, but wanted to say a couple of things about advise I got on this forum........
Flew into Rome, then onto Venice..... No problem getting a vaporetto, didn't take that long to get to our hotel and is much cheaper than the water taxis... I thought Venice was nice, but I think because there were so many tourists, 6 cruise ships a day dropping off tourists, that it really took away from the beauty... We spent most of our time out in the local neighborhoods, which was really nice. Stayed at Ca' Del Dose, an inexpensive, but very clean hotel and the people who run it were very nice and helpful in their recommendations for local places to eat.........

On to Florence by train.... I know people say not to book your train tickets ahead of time, but I did, 1st class, and was really glad I did.... When you are first time travelers, it helps not to have to worry about getting tickets. And the lines at the ticket booths were very long... Don't expect a meal, even though they tell you there is when you book the tickets, because there isn't.... Just water or juice and cookies... Sort of like airlines...haha...
We stayed at Antica Torre right on the main fashion strip, and it had a roof top terrace which was really nice at night.... I enjoyed Florence alot... Be sure to get reservations thru your hotels for the Uffizi and David tours.. It only cost us 3E to get into the Uffizi that way and the David was only 6E.......
Rented a car out of Florence..... Wasn't as bad as I thought getting in and out of Florence.... You just have to be able to read your map quickly because of all the turns......Didn't feel we needed a GPS with our car rental, and we were right..... Mapping it was just fine......I bought those little pop up maps for Venice, Florence and Rome, and didn't even need them. The hotels give you all the direction maps that you need......
We spent 5 days in the hill country of Tuscany at 3 different B&Bs. They were all very nice, but next time I would research their locations a little better. One that was near Monterrigiano was way up in the hills on a one lane road... It just took a lot of our time getting there......
I took a cooking class with a famous Italian Chef (Claudio), at the Torre Guelfa in Figline Valdarno...... It was fabulous.... And we went to lots of the little towns, San Giovanni, Greve, Sanalunga, Pienza (loved it), Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Castellini in Chianti, Trequanda, Monterrigiano, and (my favorite) San Gimignano..... Drank lots of wine and ate wonderful paninis and pizzas, as well as 5 course meals....But actually lost 3 pounds from all the walking we did...... Best investment I made was the Softspot Supremes that I bought to walk in..... My feet didn't bother me a bit, and I have problems with my hips and feet..... so that was great......
On to Rome.....Really enjoyed the Vatican... Did the Angel Tours, which was ok, except that we still had to wait in the long line to get into the Vatican. I guess they don't have the pull they tell you they have..... But I still liked the tour and only cost 25E per person. It was about 2 and a half hours long, which was plenty for me... It was really warm that day, and lots of tourists..... I especially liked the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.. We also toured the Colleseum and Forum on our own with the Past and Present book that we bought from a vendor.. Enjoyed the Spanish Steps, although the whole front of the church is covered with scaffolding.... Trevi Foutain was beautiful and the Pantheon was nice......... Walked to the Campo di Fiori, but there was a protest going on there against, guess who? USA, so we just left. We spent quite a bit of time at the Piazza Novano, just watching people and listening to the musicians, and eating Gelato..... We must have eaten Gelato every day. It is to die for......... One note, I spent a lot of time writing down names of restaurants from recommendations that I got from all kinds of sources before we left, and that was a waste of time, because trying to find the restaurants took up way too much of our time... We finally found one that was in the Piazza Novano and it had changed owners, so it wasn't even the place we were looking for..... So, I would just suggest getting your recommendations from the hotels........
One last note, I was so parinoid about someone stealing our money, that I about drove my husband crazy...... We wore money belts the whole time in the big cities, and I felt better doing that, but I think too much emphasize is put on thieves. We never saw any gypsies or kids stealing.... And, I almost ruined the whole trip on the last day because I put our passports and credit cards in my purse to go to the hotel restaurant befoe we left for the airport, and left my purse hanging on the chair..... We went back to our room, and when I realized my purse was gone, I almost had a heart attack..... Luckily, the purse was still hanging on the cahir when I went back to get it........ That would have for sure ruined the whole trip, not to mention we wouldn't have been able to get on the plane that day.......

Anyway, that was our trip..... It was absolutely amzing, and I'm already looking forward to planning another one, next time to southern Italy....... I hear it is fabulous.......
If I think of anything else, I'll write more.......(so much for the short version) haha
bblount is offline  
Oct 27th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Maybe you left your purse on your chair so you wouldn't be able to leave Italy!

Congratulations on losing 3 pounds in Italy. Maybe you could get rich publishing a new diet book:

The Tuscan Way to Lose Weight:

Eat, eat, eat and walk, walk, walk!
nessundorma is offline  
Oct 27th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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Hi Bblount,
Love to hear more about your trip. Can you tell us more about where you stayed in Florence? I'm wondering if this is where I've booked for next spring. Also, we'll be renting a car in Florence and driving to Tuscany. can you tell me where you rented(and agency)? Was it difficult to get out of Florence, etc. thanks!
Tuni01 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2006, 09:19 PM
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Hi bblount, I always lose weight in Italy too due to all the walking. Isn't it wonderful to eat and eat and yet lose weight LOL.

I never ever thought about leaving my purse somewhere right before it was time to fly home..that indeed would be a good way to extend one's time in Italy as nessundorma suggested. But also a bit of a hassle I would imagine.

When you feel rested I too would love to hear more about your time in Italy..and how nice to hear your trip was wonderful.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 07:26 AM
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Can't do it right now, have to get to our wine store to work today...
I'll post my hotel info and car rental info ASAP..... And I'll share more of my fabulous trip.......
bblount is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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Look forward to hearing more...thanks
Tuni01 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:51 AM
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We stayed at the Antica Torre in Florence... Here's the website.http://www.tornabuoni1.com/indexeng.html. The roof top Terrace was wonderful.... We got the last room available when I booked, so it was probably the smallest room, but it was just fine for us....It is real close to the River, and we walked across the bridge into the local neighborhood to have dinner at a quaint little restaurant....It isn't very far from the Auto Europe location that we rented the car from.... (We actually walked to it with our luggage)... It wasn't that difficult getting in and out of the city from that location. Auto Europe gives you a map and highlights the route in and out of Florence to the Tuscany area.... No problem at all.....
bblount is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 08:49 AM
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Mmmmm, "heavenly" sounds like the right descriptor for your trip. Thanks for sharing the details. It whets my appetite for my own trip, which begins this Thursday!

earthchick is offline  
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