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Just back from Rome, Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre...any questions?

Just back from Rome, Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre...any questions?

Old Sep 27th, 1999, 08:32 AM
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Just back from Rome, Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre...any questions?

I had a great vacation and would love to share my travel experience with you if you are going to be travelling in the mentioned areas.

Old Sep 27th, 1999, 08:54 AM
Mary Beth
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We're going to Rome, Venice and the Tuscany area, and would love to hear your recommendations! We're a family of six -- the parents, plus four young people in their early twenties ... and are still in the process of booking hotel reservations ...
Old Sep 27th, 1999, 09:04 AM
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Am also in the planning stages for my trip to Italy next year. Would love to hear about your experiences and any reccomendations. Thanks.
Old Sep 27th, 1999, 11:12 AM
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Nicoletta: I'd like to hear anything you'd care to share about the Cinque Terre. Where did you stay?
Old Sep 27th, 1999, 01:05 PM
Lisa Peretz
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Nicoletta, I'd love to hear what's great in Florence now. Do you know anything about Fiesole or the new La Massa Villa?
Old Sep 28th, 1999, 06:47 AM
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Italy is a beautiful country..great landscape...wonderful people...and terrific food.

My trip started in Sicily where I spent two VERY HOT weeks with my family..if anyone is interested in going let me know and I will e-mail you must-sees.

After the two weeks I headed off to Rome. I was quite fortunate in that I had my sister-in-law living right in the heart of Rome. But look around and you can find cheap accomodations.
I spent almost 7days in Rome and every minute was wonderful. My suggestion is to buy the Eyewitness Travel Guide. It gives you alot of background to the various tourist sites and offers wonderful pictures (so you can remember what you photographed when you came back and you now have over 200 shots!)
Get a CHARTA MAP from the tourist office and spend the day just walking around. I would find myself in a little piazza after about 1hr and just locate myself on the map and then proceed. Rome is the kind of city where you must experience your surroundings...don't just take a picture and leave to the next site...sit down...look around...talk to the people...have an espresso or cappuccino....just absorb the beauty and imagine how people used to live.

You will definitley need at leats 3 or 4 days to really appreciate Rome. You must see St. Peter's Basilica, the Panthoen, the Collisseum, the Imperial Forum, teh Spanish Steps, Fontana Trevi, Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia and Castel Sant'Angelo. Keep in mind that when you go to the churches your shoulders and kness must be covered. AND DEFINITELY climb up the Basilica...it offers a stupendous view of Rome!!

Our next stop was Perugia...we only stayed for a few hours...they have great ice cream and the main square is a lovely place to just hang out in and relax...but if it is out of the way...leave it for your next trip.

We then proceeded to Siena...THIS IS A MUST!! Even if it is out of your way...GO GO GO...it is a beautiful town..especially the Campo...make a point to have a nice dinner in the Campo when it is daylight and stay until it gets dark...it is a stunning picture!

Off to Cinque Terre...the highlight o fmy vacation! Imagine five little picturesque towns stuck on teh side of a hill made of pink, yello, blue, green couloured stucco houses all overlooking the beautiful coast of teh Italian Riviera...BREATHTAKING! We stayed in Monterosso al Mare...it is really the only beach that you can swim at (if you have kids stay in Vernazza, the beach is usually just families). In Monterossso we almost settled for a pensione for L60.000 a night but after asking around we were directed to a woman who rents out apartments. The address is Via Roma, 57 and her name is Graziella Ciochetti. She is the sweetest woman and the apartments are beautiful. Your own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom...she has apartmenst taht fit up to 8 comfortably and she only charges from L40.000 to L50.000 a person per night...very sweet deal.
In order to see the towns...you can either trek to each tonw...which regrettably we had no time to do...or take the train .. which is much faster and make a point to do a dinner, lunch or breakfast in another town so you can see them all. The train costs about L1.000 to get to each town (but nobosy ever checks for a ticket so don't bother getting one).

Finally Venice...what can I say...Venice is just Venice!! Unfortunately we couldn't find any accomdoations in Venice...the hotels were entirely booked so book ealry or you may be stuck sleeping in the train station like we almost did! It worked out anyway because Venice is both quite expensive and quite inconvenient to travel with luggages. You can stay just outside of Venice in the town Mestre and are about 7minutes by train away from Venice...and the trains run 24 hours so you don't have to worry about getting back to the hotel a certain time. If you are going in teh summer...stay in Lido di jesolo which is about 45 minutes from Venice...but this place is beautiful and it is also a beach coast..and there is so much nightlife! OH and DO DO DO go to Murano...you must go during the day if you want to see artisians blowing glass...they end at about 4pm.

Anyways...hope this helps!....feel free to ask anymore questions.

Old Sep 28th, 1999, 07:19 AM
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I also just got back from Venice (and other parts of Europe), and have to weigh in here to disagree with Nicoletta on the idea of staying in Mestre. Mestre is close to Venice, yes, but it's *ugly ugly ugly* and has nothing at all to offer. Part of the magic of Venice, for me, was being *in* Venice...waking up there early and taking a practically-empty vaporetto at dawn to watch the sunrise over St. Mark's Square. Wandering the streets and alleyways late at night with a newfound Venetian friend who told me all about what it's like to *live* in such an unreal world so surrounded by tourists.
Yes, Mestre is only a few minutes away by train, but it's light-years away in spirit and mindset.

The other thing we found was that we really liked having a place to go back to after lunch, when many of the shops and palazzi are closed (generally between 1 and 3 or 3:30).

We stayed in the Casa Gerotto, on Campo San Geremia (near the train station, in Cannaregio, very handy to the vaporetto stop and one of the only three bridges across the Grand Canal). It's a one-up from backpacker level (110,000 lira per night for two), but the rooms are quite nice, very spacious, ours opened onto a view of the Campo and had very high ceilings. It may take a little more work finding room in Venice, but to me it was absolutely worth it. I feel like I really got to be 'part' of Venice for awhile.

We skipped Murano and heard mixed reviews about it. Some people loved it and others felt like it was highly overrated and that they were really given a working-over by people trying to sell them things.

We went to San Michele, also known as the Isle of the Dead, which I found very interesting. The friend I was traveling with wanted to go there, I thought it a bit weird, but went along. It was fascinating. Venetians have been buried there for years but now it's too full and unless your plot is already reserved, you can't get in. It was eerie and peaceful at the same time; and very interesting to see that many of the gravestones included photos on them, quite different from American custom. Ezra Pound, Diaghilev, and Stravinsky are all buried there.

I recommend allowing at least three days for Venice. We had hoped to do a day trip to either Verona or Padua, but ended up spending our full three days wandering Venice. We saw the Basilica, Doge's Palace, Accademia, Ca' d'Oro (Ca'Rezzonico, where Browning lived, is closed for restoration), and Santa Maria Della Salute, among other sights, but the best sight of Venice is Venice. The best advice we received was to *get lost*. Wander the side streets. When you see all the other tourists walking down one path, go down the other one. You might hit a blind alley and have to come back--you might also encounter a wonderful little side canal and beautiful little canal homes with bright laundry blowing in the breeze, a very Venetian scene.

My other advice: *talk* to the Venetians,ask them about their city. I spent a lot of time talking to the folks I met in shops and restaurants, asking what it was like to live in a 24-7, 365 days tourist attraction...and got some fascinating and provocative answers. I love Venice and can't wait to go back.

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