Italy on the Cheap (Mostly), May 2015

Old May 29th, 2015, 10:37 PM
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Italy on the Cheap (Mostly), May 2015

I'm over the jetlag, my cold is gone, and after spending a good deal of time dealing with my dad's health needs, I think it's time to start a trip report!

Here's a link to our pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10725...94803736934033

I didn't take many notes this time, but I hope to be able to give a decent amount of detail without being overwhelming.

Lee Ann
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Old May 30th, 2015, 03:29 AM
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Nice photos. Rome, Orvieto, Siena - that was the trip I just took in March and I'm not even done organizing my photos yet. I'm impressed with your efficiency. Looking forward to the report.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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Lovely photos. However, you said you saw Italy. If you didn't go to Naples, you didn't see Italy!
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Old May 30th, 2015, 02:22 PM
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Lee Ann

I have really been looking forward your TR! Will check your pics first.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 02:51 PM
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No, Waldo, you said I saw Italy. We did what we could in the limited amount of time we had for the trip.

Lee Ann
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Old May 30th, 2015, 06:34 PM
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You are correct, I said you saw Italy, and I stand corrected. It's just that I'm so enamored of Naples that I feel that one doesn't see Naples, one lives Naples.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 06:59 PM
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WTB - have you been to the Fashion and Textile Museum? The BBC has an interesting piece on their current swimwear exhibition - http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/201...rief-encounter - but I had read a not-so-good review of the museum.
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Old May 31st, 2015, 02:05 PM
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thursdaysd, did you mean to post that on WTB's London thread?

Lee Ann
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Old May 31st, 2015, 02:34 PM
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Oops, sorry ElendilPickle - of course, you're right.
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Old Jun 1st, 2015, 06:03 PM
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Elendilepickle,

I'm anxiously awaiting your trip report! It was your first to Italy and we want to know what you loved, or not.

Ciao, dayle
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Old Jun 1st, 2015, 06:20 PM
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We were planning a road trip through parts of the southern US when Fodorite DebitNM posted a link - Emirates Airlines was offering a $400 RT per person flight from JFK to Milan. I called Mr. Pickle, and when we realized we had enough airline miles to fly to and from New York for free, we decided to go for it.

We left April 30th and returned to the US on May 12th. In retrospect, it would have been nice to have had another couple of days in Italy, but we covered a decent amount of ground without feeling rushed.

I flew Delta through ATL to JFK, Mr. Pickle flew Southwest to LGA and took the Airporter to JFK. Delta made me check my carry-on suitcase, but aside from having to carry my Chromebook and knitting around the airport, it worked out OK. It was kind of nice to have all that time to myself - doesn't happen often!

Both of us ended up having to check our carry-on bags at JFK; providentially, Mr. Pickle had packed a daypack in his suitcase and we were able to keep our electronic devices, etc. in it for the flight. Note to self - next time be sure to grab the bag with the chargers too.

The overnight flight to Malpensa was pretty decent. Emirates has good food and free wine and cocktails, and a nice selection of entertainment. Mr. Pickle took an ibuprofen PM and got some sleep, and I dozed a little.

We arrived in Milan around noon May 1st, got some Euros at the airport, and took the Malpensa Shuttle to Milano Centrale station. First stop was the TIM store, where we bought a SIM card for my phone - 30 euros for a month's worth of calls and a decent amount of data.

I'd bought an unlocked phone from eBay to use in Italy. After we got the SIM card installed, we discovered it wasn't completely unlocked; I could use it, but it was only a 2G connection. Super slow, but at least we could (mostly) make calls, and text people.

We found the bus to take to the Airbnb apartment we'd rented for two nights. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4118268 As we rode, I kept trying to call our host, but never was able to reach him at the phone number he'd listed on Airbnb. Someone let us into the apartment building, and Mr. Pickle borrowed someone's cell phone to call Giovanni. He sent a family member to let us in. Unfortunately, the man didn't speak any English at all, and he just let us in, handed us the keys, and left.

The apartment itself was fine - a studio on the 9th floor of the building. Everything was clean and in good shape. However, some kind of written instructions in the apartment would have been very helpful, especially as we were tired and jetlagged. Once I remembered I had the Airbnb app on my phone, Giovanni and I were able to communicate. He had tried to send me instructions by text, not realizing the phone number I listed is a landline. He told us how to use the wi-fi and a couple of other things we needed to know.

We took a nap for a couple of hours, decided we were too tired to go far for dinner, and ate at the Chinese/South American restaurant next door to the apartment. It was tolerable.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 2nd, 2015, 08:33 PM
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Saturday, May 2 Fun in Milan

After a good night's sleep, we were ready to see some of Milan. We weren't able to get Last Supper tickets when they went on sale, and considered going there first thing in the morning to see if anything was available, but decided it wasn't a high priority for us.

It had been cool and rainy when we arrived, but we had sun with cooler weather - really nice for walking around.

Our apartment was about 15 minutes from the Duomo, with a handy tram stop right outside the front door, so we made that our first stop. We bought tickets for the roof and took the elevator up.

The views are really incredible from the top, and we enjoyed all the intricately carved marble sculptures. This was one thing I'd really wanted to do in Milan, and it worth the price and the wait.

When we came down, we thought we'd go ahead and look around the cathedral, but we hadn't realized we needed to pay for a different ticket to go inside so we skipped it.

Since we were trying to travel inexpensively, we set a daily food budget of 60 euros per day, and we were able to stick pretty close to that on average. We'd read about a little place close to the Duomo called Luini where we could get an inexpensive lunch. http://www.luini.it/ They make delicious panzerotti - baked or fried bread with fillings. We tried a couple of different savory fillings and a sweet strawberry and ricotta filled bread.

After lunch, we walked to La Scala to visit the museum, which was really interesting. http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/di...um/museum.html We watched an opera rehearsal for a few minutes. I don't remember what they were rehearsing; it was modern, with people walking around with suitcases looking up at message boards and dropping f-bombs. Not our cup of tea!

The museum currently has a really nice Turandot exhibit - scores, art, costumes, etc. - which is worth seeing.

Our last stop for the day was Castello Sforzesco http://www.milanocastello.it/ It has quite a lot to see - ancient Roman sculpture, frescoes, a musical instruments museum, a Michelangelo Pieta, and more. We spent a couple of hours here, but didn't try to see everything since we were still a little jetlagged and tired.

I had bookmarked a good-sized list of things to do and places to eat in each place we planned to visit. Since I'd done it in Google Chrome, I thought I would be able to find all my bookmarks on my Chromebook. But nooooo! they weren't available, so we ended up winging it for most of our meals. Thankfully, we only ended up with one mediocre dinner.

We had dinner at Farinella, just down the street from the castle. www.farinella.it The weather was just right for sitting outside and people watching as we ate. We both ordered a pizza - mine was sausage and broccoli, and was very good - and split a salad. If we had realized how big each pizza was, we would have split one, but we ended up with leftovers for Sunday morning's breakfast.

Time for our first gelato stop of the trip at Van Bol and Feste, next door to Farinella. I had some really good chocolate/hazelnut and coffee. http://www.vanbolandfeste.it/ They had some delicious-looking pastries and cakes, but we didn't try those.

We walked back to the Duomo piazza and walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II before catching the tram back to our apartment.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 2nd, 2015, 09:02 PM
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I'm glad you mentioned your report on the other thread, Lee Ann - I'm excited to keep reading! Sad we never actually crossed paths.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 01:01 PM
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>>Sad we never actually crossed paths.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 01:13 PM
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Just spotted your trip report, bookmarking to enjoy later this evening!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 02:41 PM
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Poor Mr. Pickle - that must have been the worst feeling! Good for him for shaking it off - that must have been tough.

M and I ate at Naumachia on our 2011 trip thanks to a Fodorite recommendation - I vividly remember the cacio e pepe and the ricotta with honey. That was my first cheese + honey and it is now one of my most favorite things ever.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 08:30 PM
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Jent103, there's a picture in our Siena photos that perfectly depicts how he felt.

I should have kept better notes, but I think we split a pizza and salad at Naumachia. Both were delicious.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 07:56 AM
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Haha! I love it. Your captions are awesome.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Hi all new to all this well was wondering if anyone can help me out with some info.....I will be arriving into FCO Ter 3 at 1700 aprox and need to get to Naples which is the best way to do this??
Thanks
Mario
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 03:35 PM
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Hi Mario, you will get answers to your particular question if you click on "post new topic" and place your query there. Otherwise it will get buried, this thread is actually someone's trip report.
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