Just back from 2 weeks in Italy!!

Nov 3rd, 2000, 07:44 AM
  #1  
Roxanne Ortiz
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Just back from 2 weeks in Italy!!

I just returned on Tuesday from 2 weeks in Italy with my husband. I decided to post a message because I received help from many Fodorites (Maddy, Paulo, Richard Vicek, etc). Thanks a lot to everyone.

We flew to Rome and were there 4 nights. We stayed at the Hotel Trevi, a comfortable and charming small 3 star hotel 2 blocks from the Trevi Fountain. The staff was very friendly and helpful...though the rooms were small. In Rome, we saw the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and went to Piazza Navona for dinner on the first day. Day 2 was a tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basillica. Day 3 was an all day tour to the island of Capri and Day 4 was spent touring Ancient Rome. The day we left by train for Florence, we saw the Pantheon and Via Veneto in the morning. Rome was awesome. It was very safe, tons of police at all the tourists sites and most everyone spoke english and was helpful. The weather was nice and it wasn't too crowded.

We took the Eurostar (1st class, though 2nd seemed fine) to Florence. There is no need to get the tickets ahead of tinme this time of year becuse the trains wre not full. We arrived in Florence and saw the Duomo, Baptistry and Bell Tower. The next day we took the train to Pisa and were back by the late afternoon. We saw the Uffizi (make reservations ahead of time...you can walk right in) with the sudio guides (tapes) and shopped at Ponte Vechio. The Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace are beautiful...one of my favorite lunches...overlooking the garden. The Academia was closed due to a strike so I missed it. We went to Assisi for a day...one of my favorite places and then toured the rest of the time in Florence...plenty to see. We stayed at the Hotel Unicorno...a small 3 star. It was o.k....close to the train station whick was convenient. In Florence it really doesn't matter too much where you stay because everything is so close.

We were in Florence 5 nights and then took the train to Venice (3 hours on the Intercity train). We stayed at Hotel Kette...beautiful place. Our room was recently renovated and was picture perfect with all the amenities...I highly recommend this hotel. It's a few blocks from Piazza San Marco and there's a vaporetto stop very close to the hotel. We were there 2 nights. We went to the island of Murano and Burano (great seafood) and did Piazza San Marco, the Rialto bridge and of course a gondola ride. Venice was great but ridiculosly expensive...be warned!!

After, Venice, we took the train to Milam and were only there 1/2 day because we flew home from there the next day. Stayed at Locanda dei Mercanti...a small hotel near the duomo. Nice room but tiny hotel where the reception closes from 11PM to 7AM...so you have to use your own keys to get into the building and then into the hotel. But...it was clean and only 15 minutes from Linate Airport.

The best thing besides the sites was the food! Italy has delicious food...the antipasto...the pasta...pizza...meat...desserts..pastries...and of course the best cappucinos. I will be glad to answer any questions. Feel free to email me of you need any other info. I think I wrote enough here! Ciao!!

Roxanne

P.S. Do most of the things on your own (unless you want to go to Capri for a day like we did). It's less expensive...not difficult to get around and a great experience. You don't need tours...not even at the musuems because they all have audio guides.
 
Nov 3rd, 2000, 07:53 AM
  #2  
Renee
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Hi Roxanne,

Great info! My husband and I were in Rome this past May and loved it! You're right in that you don't need to take tours in Italy.

I'm actually in the middle of planning a trip to Venice in May. I've heard of the hotel Kette, and it's hard trying to choose a hotel in Venice. I heard that this hotel doesn't have breakfast. Is that true?

Is the Eurostar the main train service in Italy, or is there an Italian train service? We'll be starting our trip in the Lakes region, and then heading East towards Venice, so I think that based on your posting, we may take the Eurostar. Was it expensive to take?
Thanks.
 
Nov 3rd, 2000, 11:02 AM
  #3  
Roxanne Ortiz
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Hotel Kette does have breakfast. They had a pretty good buffet. Hard bolied eggs, ham, salami, croisants, cereal, some danishes, juice, fruit cocktail and coffee. It was actually better than the other hotels we stayed at.

You can take the Eorostar or the Intercity or Eurocity. These are the fast trains. They were both nice. I think the Eurostar is a little more expensive becuse you have to pay for a seat reservation. With the other ones, you don't have to. If it's busy season, I would book the train a few days ahead of time. If not, you can pretty much show up at the station and get on the next train. Go to the information offices at the stations of you have any questions...they were very helpful and spoke excellent english. I think there are also local trains you can take and buy a local pass called a kilometric. The only thing is if you're traveling through the major cities, it might take forver because the local trains stop a lot. The Eurostar, Intercity and Eurocity also do the local cities, but with less stops. Venice to Mialn was 3 hours (Intercity), Florence to Venice was 3 hours (Eurocity) and Rome to Florence was 2 (Eurostar)

Feel free to email with any other questions and I hope you have a great trip!!

Roxanne
 
Nov 3rd, 2000, 11:29 AM
  #4  
Emily
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Roxanne,

I'm going to Rome next weekend (just for 2 days, but flying from London). Did you have any problem getting to ATM machines at the train stations or airports?

Where was your hotel in relation to Old Rome? What is the average price for a decent room there?

Did you have trouble finding people who spoke English?

If you had to do your 4-day trip in 2 days, what would you recommend as must sees?

Thanks!
Emily
 
Nov 3rd, 2000, 12:56 PM
  #5  
Roxanne
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Emily,

Don't worry about ATMs...they are evrywhere. I really didn't look for them at the airport or trains...but they are all around. The airport has a place to get change if you want to get Lira. Go to the information center at the airport and ask for the closest ATM machine.

My hotel was about a $5 or $10 taxi ride to the Colloseum. I think my hotel cost about $160/night. I don't know about the cost a hotel in Ancient Rome, but I did see a hotle called Hotel Forum by there and it looked really nice but I don't know how much. Do a search on this site for Rome hotels and you should get a lot of suggestions.

Pretty much everyone spoke English. Learn some basic words like Bonjourno (Good Morning), Grazie (thank you), Dove (where is) and Per Favore (please) and the Italians will really appreciate your effort.

You must see Ancient Rome...go to the Forum and the Colloseum. Next, I would recommend Vatican City. Go see St. Peter's Basillica there and the Vatican Museums which end in the Sistine Chapel. If you want at night, you can see the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. You probably won't have time for much more.

Enjoy! And email if you have any other questions. Ciao!

Roxanne
 
Nov 4th, 2000, 01:42 AM
  #6  
ev
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Sounds like a wonderful trip, Roxanne.
Did you leav from Rome to Capri? How long did it take? Was it a tour? How much?
Hotel Kette - was it very expensive?
Thanks for the help.
 
Nov 4th, 2000, 10:07 AM
  #7  
donna t
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to Emily..I just booked Hotel Caravaggio
in Rome for Thanksgiving, great rate($65.00) looks to good to be true. Check it out and if you stay there e-mail me [email protected] and let me know what to expect! Their site [email protected] or www.venere.it/it/roma/caravaggio/location.html. Have a good trip.
 
Nov 4th, 2000, 11:26 AM
  #8  
Barbara C.
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Read your email and responses with interest. I am traveling to Rome in May 2001. I have a trip lined up to fly to London from CA, three day in London, then Eurorail to Paris for three days and then on to Rome for 5!! I took a two day extension since 3 days didn't seem like much time to see Rome! I have never traveled to Europe and haven't a clue what to expect. I am a single women and the group I am going with seems pretty cool, as I can travel with them on tours (some included in fee and some additional), or I can venture out on my own. I think I will try to concentrate on the arts, since I have so little time.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Places to go and not to go! What sights, food, night time fun for a single (by the way I am no kid, I'm 52 & will be 53 by the time I take this tour).

Just decided not to wait any longer before going to Europe, I'm not getting any younger. I want to be able to walk all over, eat all the great food and enjoy myself while I still have good health.

Thanks for your help!!
 
Nov 4th, 2000, 07:22 PM
  #9  
Anne, Australia
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Roxanne, I was very interested to hear about your trip to Italy. My family is heading off there at the end of December for two weeks. We are spending a week in Rome at an apartment near the Spanish Steps. My husband and I have been to Italy twice, but this time will be with our two daughters. Delighted to hear how nice the Hotel Kette is as we have booked there for two nights.

We are going by rail to Florence, Venice and Perugia and then back to Rome. We are going to purchase a Kilometric ticket which is a very economic purchase for the four of us.

This chat site is superb as there are many hints to be observed.
 
Nov 5th, 2000, 06:05 PM
  #10  
Roxanne
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Hotel Kette was 450,000 lire per night (approx. $210/night) with the current exchange rate.

We took a day tour to Capri with a tour company called Appian Line. It's a 3 hour bus ride top Naples...a ferry to Capri...a ferry back to Sorrento and then a 3 hour bus ride back. the tour left at 7:30AM and dropped us at our hotel at 9:30PM. Pretty exhausting. Mainly you just see Capri because Naples and Sorrento you just drive through (they only gave us 1/2 hour in Sorrento. The trip was very rushed but Capri was beautiful. If the weather is nice, you get to go to the Blue Grotto which is absolutely gorgeous.

Enjoy your trip!
 
Nov 5th, 2000, 06:12 PM
  #11  
Roxanne
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Barbara,

You are going to love Rome. 5 days is plenty of time. My advice is to buy the Eyewitness travel guide to Rome. It is a great book (they sell it when you get there also). The book is full of information about the main travel sites...with tons of pictures. It will help you get a good idea of what to see. Ask for help on how to get around at the hotel and get a good map. In Rome, everything is a short taxi ride away.

Basically, we were too tired at night to much besides dinner and walking around. We ended our evenings at around 11PM and were pretty tired by then because of all the walking. GET A GOOD PAIR OF WALKING SHOES!! That's probably the best piece of advice I can give. The streets are uneven and cobblestone so it's hard on the feet!

Enjoy the trip and feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions! Ciao and have fun!
 

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