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Italy Trip Report- Venice, Florence, and Rome

Italy Trip Report- Venice, Florence, and Rome

Old Jun 21st, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Italy Trip Report- Venice, Florence, and Rome

My husband and I just got back from two wonderful weeks in Italy. Want to thank everyone who helped us plan our trip. As I’m not really a trip reporter this report will probably be one of the least descriptive posts, compared to the fantastic ones that I’ve read here. Hopefully this will help other in some small way.


Venice

We spent the first 2.5 days of our trip in Venice and stayed and stayed at Locanda Orseolo. We had reserved a courtyard room which was smaller than the canal rooms, (we peeked into the rooms as they staff was cleaning) and all the rooms have A/C, but there is no elevator in the hotel. The staff will assist you in taking your luggage to your room. As we’d been traveling for 10 plus hours we decided to take the water taxi which cost us 85 Euros right up to the hotel. There are signs once your out of the airport directing you to them. This family run hotel was one of the highlights of our trip. Everyone was so helpful and truly interested in making sure that we were not only enjoying our stay at the hotel, but in Venice as well. We found the location to be perfect as it was just a few minutes walk to St. Marks Square and many of the sights. We rarely used our map as we just followed the signs that were posted to find our way back.

Although we found the prices in clothing, etc... to be expensive we were much more interested in purchasing Murano glass and Venetian masks. For both of these purchases I suggest if you have time to do a bit of window shopping and make a mental note of where you found the most reasonable prices and you’ll get a better deal. We also took a gondola ride that was wonderful which cost 80Euros and our guide gave us a bit of history as were went thru the canals.

We decided not to purchase the vaporetto pass as we wanted to really explore the city on foot. The only time we used it was to go to the train station our last day. If the water taxi is to expensive for your budgets then I suggest to take the vaporetto from the airport and get off at Vallaresso stop instead of St. Marks for this hotel which is a easier walk. By taking Vallaresso you will avoid, if I remember correctly two different sets of steps and lugging your luggage across the square. You will only have 3 steps going up and 3 coming down as you cross a tiny bridge on your way to the hotels courtayrd. We got on at this same stop for the train station which is about a 25 minute ride. On one of the days we had walked so much we thought we’d take the vaporetto back and since we hadn’t purchased a ticket wasn’t sure if we could get on and pay at the stop. To our dismay we started walking back and for a moment I glanced in the alley way and there was our savior…… a traghetto stop! We paid 1Euro for the both of us and got across the canal. It would be useful to know where these are located and probably take a seat if your not real steady as most folks stand while it crosses.

I know there were lots of posts about using ATM vs credit cards and we decided to up the limit of our ATM withdrawal and use cash for the entire trip to avoid the 3% charge that our credit card would be charging per transaction. The only extra fee we paid was a total of $15 ($5 each time for taking money out of our WF account, no fee from the other bank).

Rome

Off to Rome we go… we took the Eurostar from Rome to Venice which took about 4.5 hours. The only issue we had here was trying to figure out which platform the train would depart from. As we were heading for Rome we looked for Roma, but since the train was continuing on it was noted as Napoli on the board. If you need help there are information desks available. We had trouble purchasing the tickets from the states and the staff at Locanda Orseolo was kind enough to purchase it for us prior to our arrival (we were able to get the 39E per person promotion Trenitalia had at the time for first class seats). Our luggage didn’t fit in the overhead so we parked them close by to our seats instead of the luggage area which was out of sight.


We stayed at Albergo Del Senato for 7 nights. The room and bathroom were much larger than the hotel in Venice and the air conditioning worked great as the temperatures were I think well above 80 degrees. On our first night we went to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the Colosseum and were in awe. The one disappointing sight of our entire trip at least for me was the Spanish Steps. I had seen these beautiful pictures before and as they were doing construction on the church it was covered up and there weren’t any flowers in bloom. It just looked like a bunch of steps.

The next morning we headed out to the Colosseum. We wanted to purchase the tickets at the Palatine Hill as I’d read the lines were shorter, but decided to wait it out. Just then someone walked up to us and said thatthe line would take an hour and if you want to save time join our tour group and we’ll get you guys right in with the English Tour. We fell for it, paid the entry fee and I think an additional 18E per person for the tour and went and stood with the group. Some guy with a thick accent stood up there gave tid bits of information about the building and its surroundings and our group kept getting larger and larger. About 15 minutes had passed and another couple asked when we’d be going in and the tour guide said to ask the guy who sold us the ticket. They asked the guy and he gave them a stupid answer I’m sure because I saw them get there money back. We also decided to get our money back so we approached the ticket seller. He gave us some I’m sure even stupider answer and gave us only the entry fee back and wanted to keep the 36E for the 15 minutes. I basically started raising my voice which attracted some attention (negative publicity for him) and he without hesitation gave us a full refund. We stood in line for about 25-30 minutes and was in. From here we headed to the Palatine Hill, Roman Forum and the Capitoline Museum.

The following day we had reserved a tour of the Vatican with ICON Tours. We met them at the designated spot, gave them the money for tour and we were off. We were happy with the 2.5 hour tour and our guide who was very informative. The one thing that caught us off guard was that while we were waiting at the meeting location for the entire group to arrive, one of the coordinators left and said she’d meet up with us. Come to find out that she had gone to stand inline to save the group a spot with everyone else. We stood inline for another 15-20 minutes to get in. My impression was that they would have the tickets purchased ahead of time. The cost was the entry of the museum plus an additional 25E per person for the tour.

During the rest of the week we visited all the other sights to see, but the two we visited many times was the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum- truly amazing. The Pantheon is located right by the Del Senato hotel so we were lucky enough to see that everyday.

Florence

We took a day trip from Rome to Florence purchasing our ES tickets (1 hr 45 min ride) from Pantheon Travel which is very close to the Del Senato (can’t remember the street name, but the hotel will direct you). We purchased 2nd class tickets, and the only difference from 1st was that there were more seats to a car and they didn’t have a “coffee service”. Other than that the luggage space is the same and you can still go to the restaurant cart.

From the train station we took a taxi to Piazza Michael Angelo to start from the furthest point and work our way back to the train station for the evening. Once at the top you have an amazing view of the city. After roaming around and having lunch at the American Bar we took another taxi down to Ponte Vecchio. There are many stores to see so have fun. It seems to have been a good starting point for the “sights” as you’ll see signs along the way for the museums and churches. We decided in our trip planning phase that we wouldn’t be going to the Uffizi or Accademia, and don’t regret not doing so. After a long day we headed back to Rome.

We did most of our shopping in Venice and Florence as we didn’t really find much that intersted us in Rome. We had gelato every day of our trip and only wished we could bring some back with us.


rohani is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2005, 02:13 PM
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Thanks for the trip report. I'm going in 10 days and my stint in Rome will be at the Albergo del Senato too. We have a balcony room overlooking the Pantheon. Looking forward to it!
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 02:31 PM
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Have a wonderful time. The Pantheon is truly amazing.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 06:05 PM
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Hello rohani, your trip report is very interesting and full of good details. I think you are a good trip reporter!

I love the way you handled the "rip off artist" at the Colloseum. Good for you. And your visit to the Piazza Michaelangelo made me smile, I love the view from the Piazza, as obviously you do to.

Thank you for sharing your visit to Italy. Best wishes
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 06:10 PM
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wsz
 
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We just returned from our trip to Italy and also stayed at LoCanda Orseola in Venice. Like you, we found the accomodations there to be one of the highlights of our trip.

Thanks for the report. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.
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