Italy Trip Report

Jun 28th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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Italy Trip Report

Ciao amici

This is a little late , but just joined Fodor's forums and wanted to leave my insight. I'm a young 28 y/o italian certified specialist, and while its been almost a year (last august)...I wanted to share with all you my insight and thoughts...

This trip was escorted by Globus, with a few pre days in Roma.

Day 1 - Arrive Roma FCO on time on DL from CVG nonstop, got all the way down to passport control before I realized I forgot my passport in my seat pocket on the plane, mamma mia stupido! I had to wait 2 hours at airport C.S. desk before someone finally brought it down to me, all this time my driver waited for me!! grazie mille! I couldn't believe it. My first hotel was the Hotel Ponte Sisto. (great, above average hotel right across the street from the ponte sisto, nice but basic rooms, bathroom marble very nice) From here is about 10-15min walk up to Piazza Navona. So anyways day 1, walked across into trestreve and got lost looking for Santa Maria di Trestreve, eventually found it, spent the afternoon walking the streets between my hotel and Piazza Navona. Evening took a Rome by Night escorted tour that stopped at Trevi Fountain and then ended in Piazza Navona, had dinner at Tre Scalini (overpriced and not worth it! - salad & mineral water 20,00E!), spend the evening wandering around on way back to hotel)

Day 2 - Morning Jet Lag, called tour operator cancelled my classical rome tour, I can walk to all those sights anyways! Wake up about 9:30 have hotel breakfast (decent) then hire a cab to the Borghese...had reservations for 11:00, the Borghese is stunning! I loved it, my first taste of italian art over the next 2 weeks! bellisima! Bernini was a master at his craft! So moving along, walked through the Borghese Gardens, great/peaceful/quite! Sat down and watched the locals in the park and on the little lake...very enjoyable...then came out at the other side of the gardens in Piazza del Popolo, lovely piazza, meet with a industry friend at the Hotel dei Russie for lunch and suites tour. (what a place!) oh wait before that shopped the streets just of Piazza del Popolo for Monica Bellucci DVD's (I have a international dvd player) ....anyways then lunch, then hired cab back to ponte sisto just in time for pickup for an afternoon tour of Christian Rome. These churchs are stunning! (Santa Maria Maggiore, St. John in Latern, and the Holy staircase) Highly recommend seeing them! This evening had dinner al fresco al a little place in trestreve...forget the name, was only about 2 blocks in from the piazza. veal/chianti/salad 23E, better priced!

Day 3 - More shopping this morning made may way over to La Fertinelli (I know I spelt that wrong) its a book/cd store in piazza argentina, picked up Paola e Chiara's GH CD, browsed other shops then back to hotel for checkout...now i have to change to the tour group hotel, transferred over to the Crown Plaza, dammit, now I'm not in the centro storico anymore, spent the afternoon at the pool, evening walcome reception with tour group and then into town for welcome dinner...think the place was Mario's over near the train station somewhere. Live music, wine flowing, lots of people...was nice. Then back to hotel.

Day 4 - Tour group does Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel/St. Peters Basilica e piazza, then over to foro roma e colosseum! (I have some peeves about this day #1 In the vatican our guide completely skipped the raffaele stanza >:/ stupido! #2. We just walked up to the top of the foro roma and got to view it, we did't even walk through it! what the #$*%! The Vatican was amazing, same with the sistina cappella e San Pietro of course! We back to hotel - dip in the pool - then late afternoon back into town for a really enjoyable walking tour with the same guide..we started up at the top of the spanish steps and made out way through the via condotti, down to the trevi, pantheon, piazza navona again. My 4th time in this piazza already. I should just set up shop here I guess...lol. Then dinner on own & back to hotel.

Day 5 - travel day - up to Pisa (not impressed to many damn merchants ripoffs) then on to Firenze, Hotel Grand Mediterrano (Please! What an old hotel! again not impressed! "Since my complaint to Globus, they dropped this hotel grazie Globus!) Hotel dinner this evening.

Day 6 - Walking tour with guide Accademia (great), down to the duomo, giotto's bell tower, then down via dei calzaiuoli to piazza signoria and over to piazza santa croce. (great walking tour!) then afterwards broswed around on my own, bought some armani shades and browsed the shops. 2:00 meet at Ufizzi for a different guide walking tour (I loved it) After enjoyed the rest of the day just exploring around, went into Santa Croce! Everyone should see the inside of this church! Don't skip it!
had dinner in piazza signoria, enjoyable experince! What a great day, had a great time.

Day 7 - LONG Day!! - Up to Milano for free time for lunch and browsing the galleria. Then onto Lugano (loved this town in Switzerland!) "Found a sweet pair of D&G jeans in the White Boutique for like 160,00E on saldi! Go to Italia in Agosto for Saldi all over the country, your talking 50-60-70% off all over the place!!! Ok back to itinerary...spend hours in Lugano at leisure before heading to Baveno on Lago di Maggiore. hotel was the Dino (Very, very nice..lakefront with pool!) Enjoyed the evening walking into town where in the main piazza they had a live italiano jazz concert...real enjoyable evening..dinner was at the hotel though but good.

Day 8 - Seeing Isla Bella & Stresa at leisure and return to Baveno, simple, relaxed, enjoyable day! (Love the lake district)

Day 9 - Baveno to Venezia, via stop in Verona for lunch and shopping. Hot Gucci sales donna talked me into a sleek monogram belt for 156E, its hard to resist with her hands all over my waist! lol! But it looks good on me ...enjoyed Verona alot, great shopping blvd! Arrive in Venezia in evening hotel Ambasciatori in Mestre dammit! oh well, nice hotel...we went over to the island for a dinner lagoon cruise and leisure time around San Marco, loved Venezia at night!

Day 10 - Full day in Venezia, morning walking tour into Doges Palazzo, bridge of sighs, Basilisa San Marco...very nice morning...afternoon jumped on the Cipriani free taxi and meet a travel insider for lunch at the Cipriani pool front ristorante...oh my, oh my, I though I was royalty! Back to San Marco walked around Rialto area, browsed shops and then back to Mestre. Oh yeah we did murano to! was intresting.... dinner at hotel.

Day 11 - Venenzia/Ravenna/Assisi.long drive!
Ravenna the mosaics in the church impressive! Then down to Assisi for overnight, was impressed with Assisi to, very charming town..Hotel was the San Francesco right across from the Basilica. Basic but charming..dinner at hotel

Day 12 - Assisi/Pompeii/Sorrento. I crave the ancient stuff so Pompeii was a real cool place to see and walk through. Then we went to our accommodations in Sorrento...hotel Cesare Augusto...I was very impressed with the size of the rooms for a older hotel I liked it. Had dinner just down the street in Piazza Tasso, I loved how the town came alive at night! all kinds of people and good shopping! Was out till 11-12 just enjoying it!

Day 13 - Over to Capri...more great shopping! I can't believe this island! The shopping, the chicness it has...my kinda place. Lunch and Anacapri, villa san michele, boring place but great views from the gardens! Then leisure time before returning to Sorrento. Had dinner at Da'Antonio's or something like that just of Piazza Tasso with a few tour members I came to know, and they wanted to pick up the tab Another enjoyable evening in Sorrento

Day 14 - Sorrento/Rome...stopped in Montecassino, wow, it way up here! But I was very impressed by the place, if you can hit it! the drive up is very intresting! Back in Rome ....hotel...Melia Roma, way outside of town, but we went into town for farewell dinner and of course throwing our coins in the Trevi! Fun last night with some leisure time.

Day 15 - Arrividerci Italia! I will be back!

(I'm returning to Italia now again this Agosto and taking mio mamma con mi, we are traveling independent..look for my pretrip itinerary with the next day or so!

Ciao amici

Let me know your thoughts, feedback, and questions as I am a Italian certified destination specialist.


PradaModo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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What the heck is an "italian certified destination specialist"?
hazel1 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Someone who thinks inserting pigeon Italian phrases into a trip report on Italy gives it more authority.
Grinisa is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Having been to Italy several times, I am afraid you are going to have to SHARE your title of Italian certified destination specialist. I think anyone who has been there can claim it. Have a good one. Halfpint
halfpint is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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not really...requires months of studies and passing exams, also requires passing exam with flying colors and submitting a looong essay. Also requires being to Italia and a superb knowledge. Certification is only available to people working within the travel industry full time with a minimum of sales and experince.
PradaModo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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P.S. - Parlo Italiano, but didn't think anyone on here would understand me!

PradaModo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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I'm also wondering what an Italian certified specialist is!
However, thank you for posting on an escorted tour - most here only do independent travel, so it's interesting to hear what a tour is like. Sounds like you saw a lot and covered a lot of ground.
Hagan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Everyone is asking so here goes! But I already posted the basics in an above post.

Paste taken from http://www.thetravelinstitute.com/ho...4,85&pageid=15

Destination Specialist Options

Two levels of Destination Specialist designations:

Destination Specialist Designation Criteria (Level 1):


Gaining knowledge about a desired destination, whether through one of The Travel Institute's Destination Specialist courses, or through other educational materials or personal experiences.

Passing The Travel Institute's Destination Specialist test for a destination. DS course enrollees must complete their studies and take the DS test within 12 months of enrolling in the DS course. For a guide on how to prepare for the DS test, please see our DS Test Preparation Framework.

Certified Destination Specialist Designation Criteria (Level 2):






Passing the Destination Specialist test in the country or state for which you are seeking certification.* (see above)

Visiting the destination (independently or on a familiarization trip), and submitting a Destination Visit Report provided by The Travel Institute that will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

Attaining at least one year of travel industry experience (or six months by passing the Travel Agent Proficiency Test (TAP)).

Ongoing certification maintenance every five years, consisting of revisiting the destination and submitting another Destination Visit Report (see above).

* Because the Certified Destination Specialist designation requires a destination visit, one may only attain the designation for an individual country or state not on a world region, such as Europe or Asia

My personal details
I've been in the industry for 8 years now! started early!
PradaModo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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I can't help wondering why someone in the travel industry - a "specialist" yet - would be traveling with a escorted tour group, which is something I've always associated with people who need others to take care of all their arrangements for them.
hazel1 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Ciao Hazel

Very simple & pratical answer

Its FREE!! lol!
You can't beat 14 days in Italia, at no cost!
PradaModo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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So, what's required to add "shopping specialist" to that certification?
Jean is online now  
Jun 28th, 2007, 07:22 PM
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Travel agents (at least for AAA) are required to take one or two tours a year so they know what they're like before they sell them to the AAA customers.
Travelnut is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 07:23 PM
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Sorry PradaModo but I think that you just got elevated from working the DisneyWorld/cruise desk and got excited about your first trip to Europe? How could you pass all these special tests if you never had been to Italy? By the way, I become very fluent myself in Italian after a few glasses of red wine..................
dutyfree is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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Italian Certified Specialist = Globus Tour Guide. Think about it, 14 free days, paid by whom? Globus probably. The trip report sounds like it came straight from the Globus catalog. This is the exact tour I was going to take on my first trip to Italy.

Then I found Fodors and TA and you fine folks talked me into going solo. And am I sooooo GRATEFUL!!!! Now I am retuning for my third trip in two years this October (8 nights in Rome)

Tom
TRSW is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 11:09 PM
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This is a troll, no?
Someone with the slightest notion of Italy should have other 'insights and thoughts...'
baldrick is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 03:54 AM
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HA HA HA...best laugh of the day!!

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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your all funny...but wrong

I work for Ponzio International Travel, an Italian owned agency thats been in business since 1948, I've been working here for 8 years and 99.9% of my business is Italian Independent planning.

I don't work for Globus...I also perfer to travel independent, but took the escorted tour because of sales comps.

On the average year my Italian only sales top $1 million dollars.

Sorry to break it to all of you but I know Italia, no joke.

Regarding language...8 months of courses, written, spoken, reading...it was very hard, your jokes arn't appericated.

I'll know better to share with you next time..

Non lo so perche tu gente sono tutto sgarbato, ma non mi importa.
PradaModo is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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My question concerns geography. Why begin the trip in Rome, drive all the way north to Switzerland, and then to Venice, and then south again through Umbria to Sorrento and Capri??? Who in the world planned THAT route?

Was this your first trip to Italy? Can you give us some details about where you ate..names of the restaurants, dishes, etc?
ekscrunchy is online now  
Jun 29th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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For someone who knows Italy, the comment on Pisa seems a bit uninformed. Yes, the area immediately surrounding the Leaning Tour has always had a lot of "touristy" hucksters around, but that's just a small part of Pisa.
Jake1 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Ignore the critics, I thought your post was interesting as I will be going to Italy in about 6wks. I find it a bit strange that people would attack a post like this
kikitree is offline  

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