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Italy Highlights. Wish we had spent more than 24 hrs in Naples!

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May 20th, 2012, 02:50 PM
  #1
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Italy Highlights. Wish we had spent more than 24 hrs in Naples!

Still recovering from jet lag, I'll attempt to capture the highlights.....
My husband and I left for SFO after a teary goodbye with our two year old daughter. Intense feelings of guilt and sadness were finally followed by excitement as we changed planes in Zurich. We both needed this adventure and our marriage would benefit greatly from time alone! We landed in Florence around 6:30pm and caught a cab to our hotel, Grand Tour Relais & Suites. Our room was charming (despite a slightly musty smell), the owner of the B&B Christine was lovely. We were well located near the Central Market and walked over to recommended Osteria Pepo. Christine said that we wouldn't need dinner reservations when I inquired over email. I guess she doesn't get out too much.....After an hour wait, 1 liter carafe of the house red, a bowl of ribollita, and some pretty good pasta, we were on cloud nine. I had forgotten how bland tuscan bread is and how magical and cheap the house wine is. I suffer from a ton of allergies--sulfites usually give me major sinus congestion. But with Italian wine, I can drink to my hearts content. Maybe it's time to move to Italy....

To be continued
mgurmie is offline  
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May 20th, 2012, 02:52 PM
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more please!
annhig is offline  
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May 20th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Really, it's just not nice to leave us hanging like this! ;-)
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May 20th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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mgurmie, waiting with anticipation here as I will be in Florence and Naples in the fall.
Can't wait to read the rest!
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May 20th, 2012, 08:59 PM
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Florence Day#2: It was Sunday so both the Uffizi and Accademia were closed which was probably a blessing given the jet lag situation. We stopped by the Duomo but didn't go inside due to massive crowds, visited the wonderful Basilica of Santa Croce, ate delicious panini from l'antico noe, tracked across the Arno to visit Piazza Michaelangelo, San Miniato (which we loved) and a well regarded gelateria, did a little window shopping, and then went back to the b&b to rest our weary feet for an hour before dinner. We decided to walk bak across the Ponte Vecchio and have dinner in the "less crowded" side of town. We luckily asked Christine to make us a reservation at La Casalinga because there were hordes of people waiting outside for a table. There wasn't an English menu which was a good sign. After attempting to translate the menu, our very friendly English speaking waiter offered his help. We had an excellent meal at this no frills trattoria with fabulous Caprese salad, ravioli, beans, and spinach. Now is probably a good time to mention that I'm a Pescatarian. My husband is not; he was a pretty good sport the entire trip sharing food with me, but he occasionally went solo and ordered meat. I don't think his Bistecca at Casalinga was particularly noteworthy. After a peaceful walk home--I love Florence in the evening--we sank into bed.

Florence Day #3: We overslept, missing our 9:45 reservation at the Uffizi, but wandered over around 11:30 and were still able to get in. Phew. We walked back over the Arno, had delicious pizza at Gusto, and basked in the sun in Santo Spirito. We walked to the end of the earth in a seemingly residential neighborhood for a Chowhound gelato recommendation (blanking on name), messed up our feet because we weren't wearing "appropriate walking" shoes and then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for said appropriate walking shoes. None were found. It would be ugly white running sneakers for the rest of the trip! After hobbling home, we decided to stay local for dinner and had a nice but uneventful meal.

General Florence comments: We missed our reservation at the Accademia and decided not to squeeze it in. I'm bummed that my husband didn't get to see David and the slaves, but we can always look on line. It's important to take time to sit in a park from time to time, drink lots of espresso, and have long meals! Also, really wish we had stayed in the Otra Arno. I had tried to find a good hotel but they were all booked. I don't think we'll go back to Florence any time soon but I would highly recommend staying over there to escape some of the crowds. Everything is so close and walkable anyway.

Tuscany Day #4: After a quick visit to the Central Market for breakfast, we headed to the station to catch the SITA bus to Siena.

To be continued...
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May 21st, 2012, 07:57 AM
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love your approach - we missed our time at the uffizi - we'll go anyway. [anyone know the italian for "we overslept?"]

I stayed in Florence for a few days about this time last year and though it was a bit out of the way, I was very grateful to be staying in my B&B north of Santa Croce well away from the crowds. I too found myself drawn to Oltrarno, and walked over there both days - i just loved wandering round those little streets, so dark and quiet.

looking forward to Siena!
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May 21st, 2012, 09:33 AM
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I'm jumping on for the ride with this trip report. Like your travel style.
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May 21st, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement guys! Unfortunately I'm feeling a little under the weather today. Hopefully it's just jet lag or the first day back to work blues. My husband and I did get quite a few ticks while hiking in Tuscany that went undiscovered for some time. So, I'm trying to get in to see the doctor and avoid doing online research that will undoubtedly create hysteria.

Hopefully everything is ok and this just becomes a word of caution to all hikers/ agriturismo goers in Tuscany to use deet, wear light colored long pants, and do thorough tick checks.

Trip report is officially on hold until I can get my head on straight.
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May 24th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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Pescatarian - learn something every day. I thought it was a religion. Maybe an offshoot of a Presbyterian.

Hope you are feeling better soon.
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