Roma and Firenze report

Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Roma and Firenze report

Oops should have posted this here!
highflyer is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 04:49 PM
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continued ...

We wandered around Florence in the general direction of the Accademia as we had reservations for the afternoon but we didn't use them as there wasn't a line (note late November seems like a good time to go to miss the crowds). The children were free as we're all European citizens but we did have to show their passports.
David was wonderful but we had to eat! We ended up at a small Lebanese place which was OK but in retrospect it seems like an odd choice for lunch.

More wandering, gelato near the Ponte vecchio and a carousel ride followed by pizza and we returned to our hotel after dark for an early night.

On Friday we go to the Uffizi at 10am and walked in after a two minute wait. It would have taken longer to have collected our reservations if I'd had any (I left it too late to book online and there weren't tickets available for our time frame but luckily we didn't need any!)

We had stiff necks from staring up at all the ceilings at the Uffizi and although we enjoyed the art we had to agree with others that have mentioned the bathrooms were dirty!

We felt energetic enough to tackle the campanile next (400+ steps up )and we were pleasantly surprised that it was easier to climb than the Duomo. Great views, especially of the Duomo itself. 6 euros each but the ticket guy decided not to charge for my 10 year old daughter (she insisted that the money we'd saved be added to her personal gelato account which was lucky as the next gelato round totaled 24 euros... they were good!)

Dinner was at Yellow Bar which everyone enjoyed. The pizza and pasta dishes were all good and the check was around 60euros.

Next day ... off to Rome.
highflyer is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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I'm enjoying your report! I'll be there in 2 weeks!
Ella656 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Hi Ella,
Have fun!


Our train was late (this is Italy!) so we realised that we would be a little late getting to our apartment. The taxi ride was a little hair raising but we arrived at Via Del Gesu unscathed

Our apartment was on the 4th floor with no lift and we counted 86 steps!

We rented through Sleep in Italy

and although we were very happy with the apartment I will outline the pros and cons...
tiny shower!! It's not pictured on the website and now I know why. It's a cubicle about 6ft high (my husband and son are 6'3 and 6'2 so they had to duck! You have to be Houdini to turn around while showering and luckily there's an inbuilt shelf for the soap (forget about picking it up if you drop it though )

the kitchen is also tiny but was perfect for our needs... coffee maker and everything else we needed including a washing machine and dishwasher, however the dishwasher leaked.

86 steps! we were like gladiators by now and felt no pain having 'trained' in Florence!

Location, location, location we were around the corner from the church that has Bernini's elephant outside it and a 2 minute walk from the Pantheon.
There was a decent grocery store on the street and it was quiet at night time.

It had a terrace! It was lovely to sit outside even though the evenings were definitely on the cool side.

OK, so we arrived and dumped our bags to explore the neighborhood. It was dusk by now so we just walked over to the Pantheon where there was a service so we couldn't go in and checked out the restaurants nearby. We ate at a tiny pizza place next door to a Spar grocery store. The pizza was good and cheap (6 or 7 euros each) and we picked up some basic groceries for breakfast and snacks on the way 'home'.

Tomorrow the Galleria Borghese...
highflyer is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Just want to finish this...

We bought Roma Passes for DH and myself at the Galleria Borghese (we were late for our reservations, oops! Yes, you really do have to arrive at least 30 minutes beforehand but it worked to our advantage as we saved the 12 euro reservation fee). We walked around the gardens for an hour or so and luckily there was space for us to join the next 2 hour entry group.

The children were 6 euro each as euro citizens and the Roma pass cost 20 euro (adult entry alone was 12 or 13 euros.. prices had recently increased)

We loved it! The Canova exhibition was wonderful and the Bernini's were stunning. We all played 'spot the art work that's on your ticket' and everyone found their masterpiece.

We also used the Roma pass for the colosseum entry the next day and here the kids were free. We also bypassed the line as we already had the pass saving about 30 minutes ( yes the lines were short everywhere )

The sun shone at the colloseum and we took many photos while explaining the place to my 10 year old. We'd been to Aspendos in Turkey about 10 years ago and although the colosseum is not in as great shape as Aspendos it's certainly colossal!

We really enjoyed the walk up Palatine Hill in the sunshine and ate our picnic lunch on a bench here.
Entry is included with the colosseum ticket entry so save the ticket as it is punched at the entrance.

As we walked around enjoying the view my daughter noticed the 'ruins' below us and commented 'WOW, there must have been an explosion down there recently!' No just centuries have passed and the forum has crumbled!!

She checked out this site for more information...

We took a couple of buses (free with the Roma pass for 3 days) and jumped around the city to see the Tiber and Spanish steps then walked back via the Trevi Fountain ( the only really crowded attraction while we were there!).

We'd already seen the fountain at night but it was just as crowded.

On our last full day we caught a bus to the Vatican after lunch and lined up for 15 minutes to get through security and then on to buy tickets for the Basilica. We trooped to the top of St. Peters and marvelled at the views. Spotting the Pantheon and various other landmarks below. Note... no graffitti at St. Peters but plenty on the walls leading up to the top of the Duomo and campnile in Florence.

Other notes

We loved the lattes but chose to drink them at the bar after paying $30 for 2 coffees and 2 hot chocolates one morning. Yes, the chocolate concoctions were artisnale, posh, whatever and delicious but wasted on our kids!

Yes, the water in Rome is good

Yes, the gelato in Rome is good too!
highflyer is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Nice trip report. I have traveled through Italy and have had many hotel bathroom showers that were perfect for me – 5’2” and thin. I often wondered how anyone who wasn’t my size could even fit in a shower that size.
roadlesstraveled is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Thank you roadlesstraveled. The shower was certainly a challenge for the men in our family but so long as there was hot water (and there was) I was happy

I forgot to mention that we enjoyed shopping for fresh vegetables and fruit at Campo di fiori market. The tomatoes were excellent and the stall holder popped in a bunch of fresh basil for free. I've had a miserable time shopping for groceries since I got home as nothing looks as appetising as the food in Italy (or maybe we were just hungry after all that walking!)

The big fountain at Piazza Navona was undergoing restoration and partially wrapped up but every other one we saw was working.

After 5 days of freezing temperatures here in Massachusetts I definitely miss Italy
highflyer is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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hi highflyer,
thanks for your report, I really enjoyed it!
Tiff is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Thanks Tiff and enjoy your trip!
highflyer is offline  
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