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Mother/Daughter Fabulous Fall 2 week trip

Mother/Daughter Fabulous Fall 2 week trip

Nov 10th, 2010, 07:24 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 162
Mother/Daughter Fabulous Fall 2 week trip

October in Bellagio, Florence, Siena, & Rome
Thanks Fodorites for all your help!

This wasn’t our first trip but we hadn’t been back in 5 years and we had never been to Lake Como so of course we were filled with anticipation and excitement!
Both of us were college students in Italy, albeit 30+ years apart , DD in Florence, myself in Siena. We are both totally in love with Italy!
My dear husband doesn’t mind that I take these trips with our daughter.

We did carry on only-each with a 22” and a backpack. We knew our hotel in Florence did laundry for ~8 Euro/kilo. It was worth it to drop off 6 days of laundry in the morning and for 18 E have it ready when we got back at night, folded and wrapped in pretty paper that said “Trattiamo i vostri abiti come i fiori.” We treat your clothes like flowers!

No need for concern about the 3 ounce, 1 quart bag. We found everything we needed.
La Gardenia in Florence and Siena has almost every personal care item imaginable.

We both had a baggallino-the bag in a pouch that opened to a large bag for carrying home our purchases.

We really liked all the places we stayed: I posted reviews on TripAdvisor.

Bellagio 3 nights- La Limonera –we had the lovely studio apartment with a small view of the lake

Florence 4 nights- Nuova Italia Hotel –great location around the corner from the San Lorenzo market.

Siena 5 nights- Antica Residenza Cicogna –the most charming B&B, 5 minutes from Piazza del Campo

Rome 2 nights-Piemonte Hotel-nice, convenient, not expensive

AA flights DCA-JFK-MXP were smooth. We decided to take the train/bus since that would get us to Bellagio sooner. No problem getting the train from Malpensa to Saronno, then just crossed the platform for the train to Como. It was then easy to find the C30 bus to Bellagio which gave us a pretty ride up the Como arm of the lake.

Bellagio is a piece of heaven on earth. The lakes and mountains, quaint streets, gorgeous Villa Melzi-it was a perfect place to get over jet lag and soak up the beauty of Italy. And in October it wasn’t crowded. Spartivento-the point where all 3 arms of Lake Como meet is just breathtaking! Pescallo and Varenna were charming.

Bellagio to Florence: we took an early ferry to Varenna and then the train to Florence via Milano(another pretty ride along the Lecco arm of the lake.) We bought our train tickets to Florence at the travel agent in Bellagio because there is no way to buy a ticket at the Varenna station. But there is a bar/cafè in Varenna on the way to the train station that sells train tickets to Milan-even on Sunday morning.

Ah Firenze! We didn’t go to many museums since we did that on previous trips but I couldn’t be in Florence and not see Michelangelo’s David! He never fails to disappoint. Always awe inspiring! I had never seen Fra Angelico’s frescoes in San Marco. They were just amazing-when I turned the corner and saw the Annunciation at the top of the stairs my jaw dropped!

We did lots of shopping, went to San Miniato al Monte-our favorite spot to view Florence, Santa Maria Novella Profumeria, gorgeous churches, wonderful food, Museo del Opera del Duomo, just wandering the charming streets, enjoying gelato, pecorino fresco from the San Lorenzo market ,a freshly made turkey & pesto panini from DD’s favorite gastronomia in the Oltrarno, dinner at our favorite restaurant-Il Giova.

We also took the train to Assisi for an afternoon and evening. It was totally beautiful and inspiring!

Next: Siena!
carolw is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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I am with you in spirit on this one. Where is the cafe/bar in Varenna that sells tickets? Is it near the travel agent? Thanks and looking forward to more!
TDudette is online now  
Nov 10th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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More! More! Grazie.
Margaretlb is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Enjoying your trip report. Looking forward to more.
aussie_10 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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I have been to Italy twice with my adult DD and we had a wonderful time. What a terrific memory to have. I am so happy you also get to travel with your DD.

Looking forward to more!
sarge56 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Thank you for posting this. I am going with my daughter in Dec/Jan and I really enjoyed reading your report and I look forward to hearing more!
sandicran is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 03:14 PM
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I second that "Ah Firenze" and "Michelangelo’s David! He never fails to disappoint". My favorite Italian city. Oh what I wouldn't give to be in Firenze right now.

Looking forward to reading more.

jdc26 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Sounds like the perfect mother-daughter holiday. Lovely. Am so enjoying it - vicariously - and looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.
julia1 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 07:46 PM
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As another Mom /DD combo, i am loving your report. Mille graize!
CaliNurse is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 07:47 PM
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oops--mille GRAZIE. What is "La Gardenia"--a shop?
CaliNurse is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 04:35 AM
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Thanks for the kind words everyone.

TDudette-yes, the bar is on the corner near the Varenna travel agent.

CaliNurse-La Gardenia is a type of drug store that sells perfumes, shampoos, body wash etc. The one in Florence is about 1/2 a block and across the street from the entrance to the Medici Chapel. In Siena,it's in Piazza Matteotti near the post office and the Upim department store.
carolw is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Siena-where part of my heart will always be!

It's a short bus ride from Florence. Our B&B, Antica Residenza Cicogna is a 5 minute walk from Piazza Gramsci. Elisa and her father Fabio were such warm hosts. Fabio let us borrow his phone to call my friend in Siena who would pick us up after work at 6:00. We checked into our lovely room, and headed to the Piazza del Campo. This is the most spectacular piazza-early morning, afternoon, sunset, nighttime-anytime! It felt like a dream and I kept saying “I can’t believe I’m here!”

Of course we stopped at Nannini and bought some Ricciarelli-the heavenly Sienese almond cookie. Actually, I bought some every morning!

It’s hard to put into words how wonderful our time was in Siena. We spent a lot of time with the family I lived with as a college student. They took us to their home, to wonderful restaurants, and drove us to Pienza and Montepulciano. That was our only rainy afternoon but it was still so beautiful!

Another friend, who I had emailed and asked if we could get together for coffee or a glass of wine wrote back: “You and your daughter will come to my house for dinner. You cannot say NO!” Gotta love it! After a lovely dinner with him and his wife, Piero walked us around and showed us beautiful, special places in Siena after dark. The next day he drove us to Castelnuovo and San Gusmè-an absolute gem of a town with gorgeous views of Chianti. Then he took us to Borgo San Felice where his wife works. This is a spectacular winery and hotel complex of ancient buildings and churches, also in a gorgeous setting. We even had a private wine tour and tasting!

We loved just sitting in the Piazza del Campo or walking the ancient, totally quaint and charming streets of Siena. One morning we did a self guided walking tour and found the Orto de Pecci-a beautiful garden in the valley behind the Palazzo Pubblico.

The entire floor of the Duomo was uncovered-this only happens for a few weeks every fall. It was amazing! The baptistery, the crypt, the exhibit of recently found Michelangelo letters in the Santa Maria della Scala museum-all wonderful. I recommend the 10 Euro museum pass.

Our last day we walked around the top of the Fortezza from which there are beautiful views of Siena and the surrounding countryside.

Most mornings I would go out early while my daughter slept. I loved having the Campo and the streets almost to myself.

We enjoyed the Sunday antique market, the small shops, had wonderful gelato every day, and just loved every corner of Siena!
carolw is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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The exposed floor of the Duome! Lucky you!!
Margaretlb is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Brava, carolw! The Duomo floor was revealed when DH and I were there also-I had no idea that was a special occasion though.

Your taste of Siena sounds exquisite. Just what makes people fall in love with Italy I do believe.
TDudette is online now  
Nov 11th, 2010, 08:06 PM
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Our previous trips to Italy were in the spring so being in Siena at the right time to see the Doumo floor was a thrill!
carolw is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 11:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I'm glad you loved San Miniato al Monte, we walked there from the Duomo and absolutely loved it too. Missed the Gregorian chants unfortunately.

This is a lovely report! Thank you for writing it.
cathies is online now  
Nov 12th, 2010, 04:23 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Oh Siena sounds wonderful (and not just for La Gardenia and the almond cookies)! Never been--will go for sure in June (when THIS mom/dtr pair gets to Tuscany)
Thank you so much for adding to the anticipation, CarolW!
CaliNurse is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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CaliNurse-I'm so glad you and your daughter are going to Siena! If you have anymore questions,I'll be happy to try to answer. I never tire of talking about Siena.
carolw is offline  

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