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Thank you all tthose Italy pros who made this a memorable Anniversary trip.

Thank you all tthose Italy pros who made this a memorable Anniversary trip.

Aug 6th, 2005, 10:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 437
Thank you all tthose Italy pros who made this a memorable Anniversary trip.

We just returned from a 3week trip combo land and Med. cruise. My 20TH Anniversary gift to my husband.(off course the fact that my kids and I had to go along was purely incidental).

I will not write a full report as I am totally intimidated by all those who write with such wit and skill. I will just provide basic info re: hotels, tranfers etc. Firstly thank you to all those like Ira,TexasAggie,motorcitygirl,Rex,GAC and many others all of whom replied to my queries. Whenever we were at a loss as to what steps to take next my boys would say Well, what did the Fodors people tell you to do?

Rome: 2 nights/ 1.5 days.
We flew FFmiles on Air Canada direct Toronto-Rome.Transfers: Rome-shuttle-Limousine-driver was waiting with a mini-van, cost 45 euros. He got us into Rome in good time, but then spent the 1,5 hours trying to find the hotel, which in the heat and our exhaustion and my eagerness to get this show on the road was extremely annoying. He ddi give us an intro into Italian drivers tho and after many harrowing turns, numerous altercations with other motorists when he cut them off, An arm waving little old lady who he tried to hurry across the street by constantly edging forward and even a dressing down by a traffic cop we finally arrived.

Accomodation: Relais Banchii Vecchi. Booked 2 rooms . We were on the first floor. There is an elevator. place was charming,good location.Ideal if it was just a tad bit closer to Navona, but we walked to all site from here, Vatican, Pantheon, Trevi, Spanish Steps. Only needed a cab to the Colosseum.Rate 125 euros per room per night. Worth it for price + location. I would rate it a 2 star according to Canadian stds.

After our cruise we had another stopover in Rome for 1 night. Stayed at Residenza Canali Al Coronari. Booked the 2 room suite.Rtae 192 euros(cash). Location was awesome , could not be better. No elevator but as our room was not ready when we arrived from the port at 10.30am we left our bags and went out. When we returned after lunch all our luggage- 6 heavy pieces(there were just too many shoes in Italy with my name on them)were in our room .We were on the first floor. Room D. These rooms were old and tired, did not feel or smell clean or fresh . Bathroom well appointed with toiletries and was clean , but towels although plentiful are old and threadbare. Breakfast was typical of all places cold cuts, cereal, croissants oj, tea/coffee. Iwould rate this a good 1 star ,weaker 2 star. Really its only the location that would make this a 2 star.Price is reflective of location. Banchii vecchi was a far superior property but its location was further from Navona + excellent value. Rates tho are expensive and not what one would pay for comparable 1 or 2 stars here in Canada, but thats the reality of travel in Europe.

Giolitti was our favourite for Gelato altho we did not discriminate and tried it everywhere. I put gelato under food as really it became a staple for us as.
I did not have 1 bad cup of coffee or Cappucino,but off course the highlight was siping cappucinos and listening to the orchestra one evening in San Marco(Venice). the most expensive,and certainly the longest time I ever spent sipping cappucino at those prices I was getting my moneys worth.
Restaurants we enjoyed were Al Bric , Da Baffeto.We got to Da Baffeto at 7pm and by 7.30 there was a line. Pizzas are the best. Thank you all for this tip as I probaly would have passed right by without even noticing the place if it was not for the lines outside.

AL bric, we made reservations prior to leaving and if you go on their website you can see a sample menu. Everything we ordered was great. If you can a very good choice. Also ate at Tre Scalini,food was nice , nothing extraordinary, but location and ambiance especially at night is priceless even if you only stop by for coffee.

Cantina del Vecchio- lunch on our return final day to Rome after cruise. this is very close to Residenza Canali-I have to say it was not to my liking. It has a small menu(which is fine), but cokes were outrageous for a small glass bottle 3 euros(more than anywhere else). Pasta were well priced at 6-8 euros, but bland and insipid. A Hot Pasta Dish with tomatoes, cheese sauce was served with cold pasta, cut up roma tomatoes, olives and parmesan. both my kids happened to order this. I thought the waitress made a mistake with yhe order. on enquiry it seems the cheese sauce is parmesan and olive oil and today the chef took the liberty of giving us some olives (fortunately we do not have allergies to them) and is seems I shoul have been aware that the desciption said tomatoes not tomato auce , true I conceded that point but neither did it say olives so the waitress and I were at an impasse, however as we were tired and hungry and this simple plate took 40 minutes to get to our table I switched with my 11 year old. The pasta I had ordered was with a Spicy Tomato sauce and cheese. It was with cheese and tomato sauce, but the sauce was Not spicy and basically lacked any hint of herbs or garlic really not much taste at all. My husbands seafood pasta was gook a bit on the watery side. He also ordered a Creme Brulee and it was the best I have had anywhere. Cappucinos were also good. For a 70 eoro tab the average we seemed to pay for asit down lunch, no wine, this was definitely not worth it. i regretted not eating at Del Paino which seemed to have a good menu as well.

I have to go now. Will finish this later.Again thanks to all for your help.

DOCK is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,451
So glad you had a good time!!
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,113
Glad you had a great trip, Dock. Congratulations, too!
Statia is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 11:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 437
Thanks for the kind comments.

Sights: we walked everywhere. To avoid the lines did the Colosseum tour ,which we bought at the entry to the Col. Their guides stand at the entry gate. Family of four, cost was 56 euros for 1.5 hour tour and a free tour of Platine hill/Forum was later that day.

Vatican: We went on a Monday at 11am and expected to see huge lines but there were none. We waited adout 7 minutes to get thro security , waited about 15 minutes to get our tickets for the dome and then right in to the elevator. I admire those who do the full climb. The partial climb was enough exercise for me. View, and climb priceless. My kids insisted we climb every tower we came across, Rome, Florence, Orvieto, Pisa.

Florence: one night en-route to CT. I had already reserved by phone and I was glad I did so as the line up was a 2 hour wait.it was worth the extra 3 euro reservation fee. We did not climb the door due to the huge ine ,however I had in read in Rick Steves to climb the Giolottos Bell Tower for an equivalent view. We literally walked in, paid and started our climb. While I am sure it is great climbing the dome,the view was spectacular and we have no regrets.

Hotel: Porto Faenza, close to station and very walkable. However we did not have their address. After 10 months planning I forgot to write this down. So we joined a 45 minute line at the station's Hotel info office (TI was closed down). The lady here was overwhelmed with the computer, every entry she made she had to redo, so it was a slow moving line of 4 people.So about 1 hour after arriving in Florence we get a cab to the hotel which is literall a street away, one traffic light and a left turn into Via Faenza and 15 euros later we are at the hotel. Room was a quad 130 euros. Looked newly renovated. Hotel was quaint, room good. Location safe even at night, but in future I will stay closer to Ponte Vecchio. We found this a bit too far from the action at night.

Food: Ate supper at Salaam Bombay. Thank you Ira the food was good. We walked to it but took a cab back that evening as we did not want to walk thro the area at night and also was aquite a hike to Ponte Vecchio.

Next stop CT: One of the highlights for us(others were Venice and Cannes which we did as part of our Med. cruise). The CT was a very welcome rest stop on a so far very busy sightseeing trip. We had some beach time, took the ferry to Riomaggiore and then walked till Corniglia, thereafter trained to the other villages.

Hotel: Villa Steno awesome. I have a review on Tripadvisor. Rate 165 euros, cash.

Food: Miky- Gourmet food at reasonable prices. I was not impressed with the fact that we had a 9pm reservation ,but were only seated at 9.45pm.

in the old town there is a seafood restaurant called Cucina. Seafood was excellent. Cheaper than Miky , honoured their reservation time , excellent service. Well worth it. Excellent risotto. I would recommend it above Miky. husband says it was actually Chow Cucina. If you love Grilled Prawns their serving was larger than Miky's and tastier. Just divine. We reminisced about this meal many a time. Never again on this trip did we get such fresh well prepared seafood. And the ingrdients were so simple yet so memorable.

Final stop before our cruise was Orvieto. A cute little town. We stayed at Hotel Duomo. Location excellent. Booked 2 double rooms rate 105 euros per room.Extra 20 euros for car park. We ambled ,climbed the tower, shopped(many shoe shops).We ate at a little family style pizzeria near the hotel. great bruschetta, pannacotta was not memorable, Risotto was tasty. The upscale restaurants seemed to specialise in alot of game, boar, hare etc type of dishes. Being seafood people we opted for a more mainstream dining experience. En-route to port we decided to detour to Civita. This was a delightful town. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it. Again a tip from Rick Steves. If you have the time do try to get here for a quick stop. Had a wonderful bruchetta, bread toasted in an open fire pit. It was just too nice. Another one of those little things that my kids still talk about.

Our land trip in Italy was too short, but just enough for us to want to come back and take a Slowtravs journey through these awesome towns.We got a taste of Venice, Cannes, Amalfi and Barcelona on our cruise. Not enough time to do justice to any of these places, but for us a perfect way to see alot in a short time frame and certainly convenient with kids. I have added Venice and the French riviera on to our list of places to visit again.

Again to all those who made this a memorable , fantastic vacation for us a huge thank you. Next July I am probably going to go back home to South Africa for a holiday, so I do not know how I am going to wile away the cold,long, bleak Canadian winter without any planning to do. Thanks Faye.

DOCK is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,451
I'm so glad you enjoyed Hotel Villa Steno. We just love Carla and Matteo. I've never come across more attentive and helpful hotel owners anywhere.
What room did you have?
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 437
Stayed in Room 5. Quad room. Wonderful patio and awesome view. We definitely will return some day.
DOCK is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 268
Thanks for your report. Thanks for all your tips.

You obviously researched and prepared for your trip very well. I am glad you found out about the Vaticanís little secret. I never stood on line for too long either.
Simone1 is offline  

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