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Rome, Tuscany, Umbria - Back & here's the scoop

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Rome, Tuscany, Umbria - Back & here's the scoop

Old Dec 22nd, 2000, 07:55 AM
  #1  
dk
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Rome, Tuscany, Umbria - Back & here's the scoop

I’m late in posting this!! Back since beginning of Dec. Happy to answer any questions. Here’s a report in 2 parts.
Rome:
To think I almost skipped Rome! I fell in love with Rome. We stayed right by Piazza Navona at an inexpensive B&B. Not fancy, but clean and great prices. The location was perfect – easy to walk everywhere. Do not eat in the restaurants on the piazza – we ate at one that was disappointing. They seem overpriced (for tourists). Piazza Navona and the neighborhoods around it are so charming! We just wandered all around the alleyways. I love watching the old women walk arm-in-arm.
We did all of the usual: Colloseum, Vatican, Mammertine, the Forum, Pantheon, etc. Rome at night is the most romantic place I’ve seen. Trevi Fountain – breathtaking at night.

At the Forum and Colloseum, there are students offering free tours in English. This is mentioned in Rick Steve’s – this is a way of advertising the tours of Enjoy Rome. Take advantage of this –the tours are fascinating and you can tip the guide at the end. No pressure to book any additional tours.

After Rome, we did a side trip to Corsica but I will include that report under France.

Siena:
We had planned to spend only one night in Siena but did some shifting and stayed 2 nights. (OK, true confessions – like an idiot I somehow did not bring our Driver’s licenses and we needed to wait to receive the fed ex w/ them so we could rent our car!!! My only excuse is that I travel internationally for work and never ever need to rent a car and therefore use my passport as ID. Well, it’s a weak one, but that’s my story.) Siena has such atmosphere with great shopping and dining. Of course, the Duomo was beautiful. Stayed at Hotel Athena (recommended here). A great hotel – our room was large and at a great price. Terrific breakfast buffet included.

Agriturismo Pomonte:
We stayed for 2 nights at this agriturismo near Orvieto. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. You get to experience being a part of an Italian family and eat your meals with them. We were even joined by their “Nonna” (grandmother). Our hosts were so generous and gracious – the Cesaro family. Enrico (the son) speaks some English. The food was fabulous – we tried a pasta with cingiale sauce (wild boar). An unforgettable experience – my digital camera was a hit – we snapped fotos and put them on their PC to use on their website.
PART 2 to follow...
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2000, 07:56 AM
  #2  
dk
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While here, we visited:
Orvieto – by far my favorite spot due to the Duomo. While it is absolutely stunning on the outside, even more so inside. You pay extra (about $1.50) to go into the Chapel of St. Brizio with the most gorgeous frescoes! Brilliant colors. Next to the Sistine Chapel, this was the most impressive artwork of our trip, ok, well a close second to the Sistine Chapel.
Civita de Bagnorreggio – do not miss this – looks like a fairytale town. (Read Rick Steve’s description.) We actually got the tour of the old Olive presses that he describes! This tiny old woman came out of her house and offered to show us the presses – also saw Etruscan vases for oil ! Amazing. She was shy and sweet when I asked to take her picture.

Assisi – A beautiful city and St. Francis’ tomb was special – simple but spiritual as he was. I have to admit I was amazed to see young monks carrying backpacks like college students! Did you ever know anyone in the US who became a monk? I don’t… Stayed at Hotel Dei Priori which was nice.

Umbria:
We stayed a wonderful cottage recommended by someone on this site – called Casa Carina - near Cortona. Absolutely beautiful and cozy, romantic, secluded, etc etc. I even actually PUT ON AN APRON and COOKED in our cute little kitchen. My husband was quick to capture the moment on film! J
We made day trips from here to Gubbio (good pottery), Deruta, Cortona and even took the train into Florence for a day.

Florence:
Being an art lover, I expected to fall in love with Florence. Instead, I felt like there were more Americans there than Italians!! Maybe because it was late in our trip, but this was the only place where we felt like tourists and I didn’t like that. However, I did like the shopping ;-) Also, I’m a sucker for leather so the overwhelming selection of bags in the San Lorenzo market was fun. Yep, had to get a soft leather coat and I am so glad I did.

GELATO – It is the manna from heaven that everyone describes. Yum yum yum – when in my life will I get to eat more of this delicious stuff??

I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but what do you do when you are hooked????! My goal is to return in no less than 2 yrs!!
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2000, 10:21 AM
  #3  
Carol
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And return you will--again and again. Italy is the great seducer. Terrific report, thanks for posting it.
 
Old Dec 26th, 2000, 08:25 AM
  #4  
Robin
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dk: What a great trip. I also remember falling in love with Rome. It sounds like you covered a lot of ground-- how long were you in Italy? Aside from always wanting more time, did you feel rushed? I'm trying to figure out how much I dare try to schedule. Also, how did you like November? How was the weather?
 
Old Dec 26th, 2000, 08:51 AM
  #5  
jparis
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I am very interested in agritursimo. How did you get the name of the place that you stayed at? Thanks
 
Old Dec 26th, 2000, 09:07 AM
  #6  
Thyra
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dk, sounds like you had a great trip!!! Welcome to the addict's club! Where you off to next?
 
Old Jan 1st, 2001, 07:32 AM
  #7  
dk
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Robin - we were there for 3 weeks (still can't believe I got off work! but we combined it w/ Thanksgiving wk). So, that enabled us to see alot but still have time to relax. One thing we did was stay for 5 days in 1 place and took daytrips from there. That made it very relaxing and felt like a home-away-from-home. November was rainy and cool, but since you spend lots of time indoors anyway (museums, churches), it doesn't matter much. Plus, I loved that we avoided much of the tourist crowds.

JParis, I got the agriturismo name off of a Rick Steve's Bulletin Board and traded emails w/ a woman who stayed there. I felt more comfortable with a referral rather than blindly trying one.

Not sure where I'm off to next, maybe Spain if my friend convinces me to go with her! (Actually, if i convince my hubby to not pout if I go w/out him!)
 
Old Jan 1st, 2001, 04:21 PM
  #8  
jparis
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To K
Thanks for the posting on agriturismo -
not familiar with Rick Steves (although everyone else who reads this web site seems to be) I will search for it- thanks again.
 
Old Jan 1st, 2001, 04:47 PM
  #9  
dk
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Sorry, JP -
this may help: www.ricksteves.com

You can also catch his shows on PBS. An excellent travel guide.

I also neglected to say in my 1st post that I am SO GRATEFUL to everyone on this forum for the invaluable info you provided that made our trip special!
 
Old Jan 4th, 2001, 01:42 PM
  #10  
joan
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Hi, dk, Can you please tell me the name of the B&B that you stayed in in Rome? Also, address, phone and price. Thanks.Joan
 
Old Jan 6th, 2001, 11:46 AM
  #11  
Monica
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Your trip sounds wonderful! I'm planning on going back to Italy in May and this time I'm not missing Rome!! I'd also like to get more information on the B&B you stayed at in Rome and Casa Carina. Would you recommend a place to stay in Florence? Thanks!!
 
Old Feb 1st, 2001, 11:45 AM
  #12  
KS
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My husband and I are considering going to Rome over Thanksgiving next year - what's the weather like?
 

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