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Helping my sister and BIL with their first Italian vacation

Helping my sister and BIL with their first Italian vacation

Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Helping my sister and BIL with their first Italian vacation

I've been several times and am now helping my sister and her husband with their first. They have 10 days (inclu travel) and wish to see the "big 3-Venice, Florence, Rome" on the first time over.

I have lots of information on museums, trains, what to see and do but I would like some updated information on everyone's favorite hotels and restaurants. They'll be spending about 300 euro a night..definitely need a hotel with a nice bar/lounge.

Since they'll be coming from DFW I'mm not sure if it would be better to fly into Milan and take the train to Venice or fly directly to Venice and out of Rome. They want to fly Business class.

Anyway - thanks for your help in providing some new favorites of yours to make my sister's first trip as special as mine was.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Hi,

I am so happy for your sis and bil.
I have been to Italy 4 times and love it so much.

with limited time i think it is best to plan wisely leaving time to just wander and savor. less is always more.

have them get tickets to anything they can over the internet before hand. no standing in lines.

I have flown into milan, taken the train to venice, then train to florence, then train, to rome and flew out of rome. no problem for me.





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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:49 AM
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Thanks! That route was exactly what I did on my first family trip too. Do you have a favorite restaurant or higher-end hotel you can share?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:58 AM
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10 days including flying time means 7.5 days on the ground. Not much time to recover from jet lag and make 3 stops. So they should fly directly into Venice and out of Rome. Don't waste any time in Milan.

I'd consider dropping Florence from the itinerary, unless they love Renaissance art and architecture.

Check www.tripadvisor.com and maybe www.venere.com for hotel reviews.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:49 AM
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I agree with Mimar- fly into Venice and home from Rome. Check kayak.com for flight options. I doubt that flying into Milan will save them enough money to justify the lost time in getting from Milan to Venice. It sound like they can afford a water taxi from the airport to their hotel in Venice. This would be a great way to arrive in Venice.

I would either skip Florence or, if that is not an option, play it by ear and perhaps make it a day trip from Rome. Can they add more days to the itinerary? This would allow time for visitng Florence.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:59 AM
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i concede to the other repliers.

flying into Venice is probably the best option with their time line.

we had 10 days on the ground for our venice/Florence/Rome part.

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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Hi Sandi!

Although it has surely been mentioned often on this site, I will say here that Pensione Accademia is a marvelous hotel with a lovely bar-sitting area where guests gather in the late afternoons and evenings. The location is wonderful--in Dorsoduro near the Accademia bridge, so easy to walk to every part of the city And the price will fit their budget.

Coincidentally, my sister and her husband have just asked me to plan part of their stay in Italy this spring!

http://www.pensioneaccademia.it/


Are you going to recommend "our" B&B in Florence to them?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 11:55 AM
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We fly out of DFW also. Fly into Venice and out of Rome.

We always stay in apartments so I can't help with hotels. But for restaurants: In Venice we always like Casin dei Nobili in the Dorsoduro area. In Rome our favorite is Pierluigi's close to Piazza Navona.

I know your sister will have a fabulous trip!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 12:02 PM
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Awesome!

We loved the Empire Palace in Rome. It was within walking distance of the train station and most of the major sites, but far enough off the main drag that it was a quiet neighborhood. The room includes a fantastic breakfast (the best I had in Italy) and the staff were wonderful. There were a lot of little stores and markets near by.

One of favorite restaurants (we ate there 3 times) was Holy Cow. It's family owned and had the best homemade meat sauce.

We also enjoyed Tullio. The food was really good and full of Romans. We were the only tourist there.

I hope your sister and BIL have a wonderful time.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 12:25 PM
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Agree with others, keep a stop in Milan out of this. Into Venice, out of Rome, stop in Florence if you must (but don't try to make it a day trip from Rome.)

In Venice check out Violon d'Oro for hotel, also Locando Orseolo. For sure try to have a lunch at Corte Sconda and a drink on the floating dock at the Westin Europa Regina.

If they stop in Florence have them consider the Hotel Minerva by Santa Maria Novella church, and dining at Cantinetta Antinori, and Trattoria Garga.

In Rome, we liked the Hotel Adriano. The individual rooms were nothing special but location was great and the bar and public rooms were very nice. Maccheroni near the central market is a nice casual place to eat.

Hope this helps.
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 04:31 AM
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I will echo many others here and cast a vote for this hotel; they have a bar/lounge area with computer off the lobby; the location is prime and they can have a room facing the Pantheon. Rates are far under 300 euro for May:



http://www.albergodelsenato.it/

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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 04:56 AM
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Book Locando Orseolo in Venice as soon as possible. It is the best place to stay with the nicest most helpful people in the world.

http://www.locandaorseolo.com/en/
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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Wow, I just double checked the tripadvisor reviews for Locanda Orseolo since it has been several years since we stayed there. It has 856 five star reviews (the most) and no reviews of anything less than that. That has to be some kind of tripadvisor record!
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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Thanks all for the replies! The piazza della rotunda happens to be my most favorite space in Rome so Albergo del Senato was on the top of my recommendation list from Rome. EK-I remember how much you liked this hotel. I will show them the others recommended here too.

My BIL is a doctor so just finding any time that he's not working is difficult but I will try to get a couple of extra days out of them.

If they do stay in Florence, I love the B&B in Piazza della Signoria for the beautiful rooms and prime location but there's no bar/lounge or restaurant. Any recommendations for some place really special in Florence?

Since my company just announce 8,000 jobs will be cut (40% from my organization) my husband and I won't be travelling anywhere very soon. Wish me luck, I'm trying not to panic.
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Looking for a high-end (300 euro) hotel in Florence with a lounge/bar and nice restaurant.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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Hi ST,

With only 7 nights on the ground, I would visit Venice for 3 nights and EITHER Florence or Rome for the other 4 nights.

They could do a day in Florence on the way to Rome:

A DAY IN FLORENCE:

Train to Florence SMN:
The Luggage Office is to your left as you leave the train.

From Piazza d' Stazione, walk up via Nazionale to via d'Ariento and the Mercato Centrale, wander through.

Take any street going NE to Via Degli Alfani and go right to the Accademia for The David.

Take via Ricasoli SE to the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Opera Museum (Originals of the bronzes on the doors)

From the Campanile, take via Calzaiuoli S (do some window shopping) to the Piazza d' Signoria. Look around, take a break.

Continue S to the Uffizi. Visit.

From the Uffizi, walk W along the Arno River to the Ponte Vecchio.

(You can walk up to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens if there is time. Great views of Florence from the top of the Gardens)

If you have time, walk E along the S bank of the river to Ponte alle grazie and cross over to visit Santa Croce.

If not, go W along the Arno from Ponte Vecchio to Ponte S. Trinita and go right. Go left on Via d'Spada to via d'Fossi and go right to Santa Maria Novella. Look around.

SMN is across the square from the train station.

If you have time, take the no. 7 bus (you can find it at the SMN train station) up to Fiesole (0:20 hr 1E) to watch the sunset from the terrace of the Bar Bleu.

Be sure to have lots of gelato (in a cup, not a cone), take some wine breaks and a light lunch.

Train schedules, prices and tickets are at http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
Call center from outside Italy is 39-06-68475475

Bus routes are at http://www.ataf.net/
Buy your ticket before you get on the bus. Stamp it in the yellow box on the bus.

Uffizi and Academia Museum Reservations
The easiest and cheapest way is to call Florence 1010987 (dial around number), 011 (U.S. international access code) 39 (Italy's country code) then 055-294-883 8:30-18:30 M-F and 8:30-12:00 Sat. Florence time. There is a long listing of press 1 for this and 2 for that--press 4 for bookings. You will get an English speaking operator and in 2-3 minutes YOU CAN RESERVE FOR BOTH. This is through the reservation service at the Uffizi and costs beyond the normal entry fee only about 3 euro for the service. This is MUCH cheaper than the commercial booking services.

You will not be charged for the reservations unless you use them.



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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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I cannot imagine why people are advising skipping Florence. I think you would regret it. Plan at least a full day and have your hotel book your tickets for "David", the Uffizi. Just walking the town and seeing the Ponte Vecchio and Duomo is exciting. Two days is plenty for Venice and the rest of the time in Rome. When you book your air, consider how many stops you have to make. From Chicago, we can fly non-stop in and out of Rome, so the last time we were there we returned to Rome from Venice to save the long return trip home. But probably you will not be able to fly non-stop.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Dear friends:

You must be getting crazy, 8 days in Italy going to Venezia, Firenze and Roma it is better staying at home.
Anyway, I would go direct to Venezia (2 days), Firenze (3 days), Roma (3 days).
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 12:42 PM
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First of all, I am not skipping anything. I am helping my sister plan her first trip to Italy. I have been to Florence 3 times and am well aware of the treasures there. As I stated before, I am going to try to see if they can give up a few more days to have more time in these 3 cities. I am looking for hotel suggestions in these cities that are in the 300euro range per night. I have checked Venere and Tripadvisor as well. Any suggestions regarding hotels are appreciated.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Sandi: I am so sorry regarding your news of the job cuts. I hope you will be back on the road soon.

Let us know where they end up and how they fare--and let me know if you want any more food recommendations!

Never mind, here are a few even if you don't ask!! (I think you know some of my Rome favorites, but here are a couple from Florence; take special note of the place we ate twice on that trip)


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34743272


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