Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Tim, Liz, and extended family return from the Amalfi Coast and Rome

Tim, Liz, and extended family return from the Amalfi Coast and Rome

Old Jun 7th, 2008, 11:08 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tim, Liz, and extended family return from the Amalfi Coast and Rome

Hi all,

Tim and I are back from a week in Italy.

This will be an abbreviated trip report, as I have to finish my dissertation!

Itinerary
Tuesday 5/27: Depart MSP
Wednesday 5/28: Arrive FCO, transfer to Praiano
Thursday 5/29: Attend wedding in Ravello
Friday 5/30: Praiano
Saturday 5/31: Praiano
Sunday 6/1: Transfer to Rome
Monday 6/2: Rome
Tuesday 6/3: Rome
Wednesday 6/4: Fly home


Participants:
Liz (me, 28)
Tim (DH, 31)
FIL and MIL (mid-50s)
BIL (25)
BIL/SIL (29/28)
Other wedding guests
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 11:19 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tuesday, 5/27
Upon arrival at MSP, we purchased a 60-day temporary membership for the NWA Worldclubs for $85. This membership allowed us to use the KLM lounges in Amsterdam during our layover. (We only needed one membership, because the member is allowed to bring two guests into the lounges.)

After some snacks and wine at the club, we headed to our gate.

Last year we flew enough to become NWA Silver Elites; therefore, we were able to secure exit row seats. This makes 6'5" Tim very happy. A non-cramped, happy Tim is a happy Liz.

The flight went smoothly. I love the NWA A330s; there is nothing better in economy.

Wednesday, 5/28
Upon arrival in AMS, we cleared passport control and headed to the KLM lounge for our 4-hour layover. The KLM lounge puts the NWA clubs to shame. It was 6:30am so we enjoyed breakfast and did not take advantage of the open bar and champagne.

The KLM flight from AMS-FCO was great, as usual.

After arriving in FCO, we stopped by the restroom and were turned around. Somehow we ended up in the baggage claim area of Terminal C, and we should have been in Terminal B. We had to exit the Terminal C and then go through security again to get to the baggage claim in Terminal B. I am not sure how this happened, but three of the four groups of wedding guests did the same thing as we did but at different times.

Our driver, Fabrizio from Drive Amalfi, helped us through the process. He was fantastic and had a very nice Mercedes van.
[email protected]

Fabrizio took us into Rome proper, where we picked up some friends who were staying near Termini. He did not charge extra for this service.

We had about a 3.5 hour drive from Rome to Praiano.

We checked into Hotel Margherita. I have nothing but good things to say about this hotel. It is located just out of town, up a hill, but the owner Andrea always, always offered to drive us into town. (We usually elected to walk the 10 minutes instead). Our friends stayed at Le Fioriere, which was a little less expensive and located right in town. Their room was just slightly less nice than ours, and we had a better view, but depending on what you're looking for, either hotel would be good. The hotel staff at both places was fantastic.

After washing up, we met our friends for dinner at La Strada on their rooftop patio. Highly recommended. We very much enjoyed the Caprese salads, rice balls, and pizzas. We returned a few times throughout our stay in Praiano.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 11:38 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thursday, 5/29
The reason we were all in Italy: BIL/SIL's wedding.

We shared a taxi with four other wedding guests, arranged by Andrea at Hotel Margherita, for the trip to Ravello (55E).

We met up with BIL/SIL, MIL, FIL, and other BIL at their hotel, Hotel Parsifal. Their rooms were beautiful, and they were very happy with the hotel.

The staff brought out champagne in the courtyard, which we enjoyed while we took some photos. The photographer and wedding coordinator arrived and professional photos were taken.

The wedding group (11 people plus the photographer and coordinator) walked through Ravello, from the Hotel Parsifal to the Villa Cimbrone, stopping for photos along the way.

A Fodorite had warned me to wear flat shoes. I had brought flats as well as strappy heels, and a wedding guest told me that the car would drop us off right at the Hotel Parsifal. Although she was right-- there was a bit of miscommunication- because we walked a LOT and I had elected to wear the strappy shoes. I somehow made it through the day, but barely. Next time I would wear different shoes!

Villa Cimbrone is GORGEOUS! I was blown away. The wedding was in the gardens underneath a stone structure. Due to a light rain, the 9 guests sat in the structure along with the bride and groom. Gorgeous. A single violin player provided the music. (He unfortunately played the wrong music, which upset the bride, but it was beautiful nonetheless.)

After the ceremony, we headed to the terrace for more photos. It was SO WINDY! I couldn't believe how windy it was. There are some pretty funny photos of the group, with the women's hair flying straight up. The view was just beautiful.

Then the guests walked down to Hotel Caruso while BIL/SIL took a few more photos.

We were supposed to have drinks on the Hotel Caruso's terrace, but they moved it inside due to a light rain. This greatly upset the bride/groom, but as a guest I don't really know what we missed.

Everything at Hotel Caruso was top notch and fantastic. The staff was wonderful. Upon arrival, we were served rossini cocktails (like mimosas but with strawberry puree). Wine flowed throughout the 4-hour meal.

Our meal included:

A huge antipasti plate for each of us, including salumi, proscuitto, a large ball of fresh mozzarella, marinated eggplant, and sundried tomatoes.

Pizza Margherita

Seafood risotto

Neapolitan lasagna (meat sauce)

Grilled vegetables with potato gateau

The most delicious strawberry wedding cake

Little sweets with espresso

Everything was absolutely delicious.

We returned to the Hotel Parsifal to change into more casual clothing and then walked to the Ravello town square for some limoncellos.

It was at this point that our group became a little loud. We honestly didn't really realize how loud we were until one person in our party called our attention to it. We simmered down then and behaved. The bride was still wearing her veil, so hopefully people gave us a pass. I should also mention it was still early, maybe 7 or 8pm.

We then returned to the Hotel Parsifal. Every other guest there was attending a wedding, so we had the remainder of the hotel to ourselves. The staff brought out wine and we continued to celebrate until midnight, when the six wedding guests staying in Praiano took a taxi back.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 03:13 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,400
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Liz-
Sounds like you had a good time (so far)!
Hope you got to go back to Armando's for the spaghetti alla verde comparison. ;-)
Looking forward to more...
Kristina is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 03:39 PM
  #5  
jgg
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,683
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Liz - We have been to Italy twice, but still haven't made it to the Amalfi Coast (though high on the list for next time!!) Enjoying the details.
jgg is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 04:26 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kristina- There was some spaghetti alla verde consumed. Stay tuned for Tuesday 6/3. Do you have the link to my cooking website? If so, check it out! We also used Rome Cabs, thanks for the recommendation.

jgg- Nice to see you on the Europe board. We enjoyed the Amalfi Coast, and you should try to get there eventually!

Thanks for the comments. I will write the next installment soon.

Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2008, 05:28 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,848
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Liz,
I'm not sure, but I may have been the one who advised you to wear flat shoes. Oh well...but I'm thrilled to hear of your experience at the Villa Cimbrone-it sounds really magical.

I'll be on the Amalfi Coast again pretty soon now, I was last there for October. It seems I can never stay away for long!

Thanks for your report on all the different hotels!
bellastarr is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 05:50 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bellastarr- I think it may have been you suggesting flats! Which towns will you be visiting on your next trip? I can see how the Amalfi Coast can be addicting!


Friday 5/30: Praiano
We didn't get up until about noon, when FIL, MIL, BIL/SIL and other BIL all arrived from Ravello. They checked into our hotel in Praiano (Hotel Margherita).

Nine of us walked down into Praiano and enjoyed lunch at La Strada, again on their terrace. Unfortunately the pizza oven was not running for lunch, so we had ravioli, risotto, and steak and arugula salads instead. Everything was good, again.

The other eight took a bus to Positano for the afternoon. I stopped by Le Fioriere to see my friends (who were not part of the wedding festivities, just friends who happened to be in Praiano at the same time) and then walked back up to the Hotel Margherita, taking a lot of photos along the way. The views are really amazing. I then relaxed at the hotel.

After drinks on one of Hotel Margherita's many terraces, the wedding group of eleven walked back to La Strada to enjoy pizza. It was delicious.

Nine of us met up with my other friends and we stopped in Il Pino for drinks, where my friends had enjoyed dinner the night before.

The staff was just closing up, but they welcomed us in. They said that the kitchen was closed (which was no issue for us, being quite full), but then they proceeded to bring out plates and plates of food: fried dough balls, ham, olives, nuts, and my favorite: ricotta salata.

The prices at Il Pino were very reasonable, the view looked fantastic, although it was dark when we visited, and my friends enjoyed their meal there immensely.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 06:03 AM
  #9  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Welcome back. It is always nice to come back from a nice trip such as yours. And to read your report.
Jed is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 08:24 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Il Pino sounds wonderful, I just looked at the photos of it on venere.com. I'm so glad you had such a nice time!
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 08:29 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Saturday 5/31: Praiano
I woke up with a horrible sore throat. After breakfast and saying goodbye to BIL/SIL (who were off to the Seychelles, jealous!), I went back to bed. I also read a bit and relaxed, knowing I had a dissertation to face upon returning home.

Tim, his parents, and his other brother spent the day on the terrace, playing cards and enjoying snacks and beers purchased at a nearby store.

Before leaving for this trip, we had discussed traveling to Pompeii, Capri, Paestum, and other places. But when it came down to it, everything seemed so far away from Praiano, that we didn't want to put in the effort to go anywhere. It looked like Capri would be the easiest and would still be a 10-12 hour trip. So we elected to just stay in Praiano.

If and when we return to the Amalfi Coast area, I think we'll probably stay 2-4 nights in Sorrento or Naples, take daytrips from there, then return to Praiano or Amalfi to relax and enjoy the coast. We were glad we did not stay in Positano (too big and touristy), and Ravello was beautiful but we preferred being closer to the sea in Praiano.

We had dinner at Trattoria S. Gennaro Pizzeria, overlooking the square. At first we thought it was very touristy, but actually it was the only restaurant in Praiano where every other person was speaking Italian, not English. The food was good. The view was good. The tables (white plastic outdoor furniture) and floor (gravel) were fine for what the restaurant was, but it was definitely less "nice" than La Strada.

My friends who were staying at Le Fioriere had dinner at La Brace that night. They enjoyed it but preferred La Strada. BIL and I met them for some limoncellos on their hotel's balcony before climbing the hill to Hotel Margherita one final time.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 08:30 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Jed and SeaUrchin!
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 08:47 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,848
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Liz,
I have been visiting that area for a number of years now, both as a destination and as part of other trips.

I stay in different places and have made a few friends and acquaintances, they come and go.
One woman has a beautiful place around Sant'Agata on the Sorrentine Penninsula, others are from around Praiano/Furore. Another person lives in Ravello.
So I must decide! Normally I wander around and visit various people and places, and let the days decide themselves- This year I have an Art project going on and I've applied for an Artist-in-Residence program nearby, I get more involved with different things as times passes.
It has sort of become a happy part of my life, by circumstance.

I think it's quite wonderful to be able to spend time there with one's family, enjoying such a special place together.
bellastarr is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 09:06 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sunday 6/1: Praiano-Rome
After breakfast we (five of us-- me, Tim, MIL, FIL, BIL) checked out of the hotel and were met by our driver, arranged by Andrea. (I just want to mention that Andrea, "ahn-dray-ah" is male. When communicating with him over email prior to our visit, I had just assumed he was female. Of course none of this truly matters!)

The driver took the five of us to the Naples train station for 130E. We left Praiano about 9am and arrived in Naples around 10:30am. Along the way, traffic was very backed up going towards Praiano. There was no accident and seemed to be no reason for the backup other than buses. I personally think that coach buses should be banned from the Amalfi Drive.

I had noticed before we left that the IC+ train was much less expensive than the ES train for the trip from Naples to Rome. It took an additional 30 minutes, but was 18E less per person. We decided on the IC train, but went first class (an additional 6E per person or 12E less than 2nd class on the ES).

Train ride was fine, nothing really to report.

Upon arrival at Termini, Tim thought the five of us could walk to the Pantheon. I told him he was crazy (we had a lot of luggage). About 6 blocks later, Tim found a taxi stand and told me I was correct.

We stayed at the "Rotonda" apartment offered by Sleep in Italy
http://sleepinitaly.com/files/apt_rotonda.html

The owner met us and showed us around the apartment. It looks exactly like the photos on the website, although the bedding was a little nicer than pictured. BIL slept on a folding bed in the living room. He said it was comfortable. I had the least comfortable bed- one of the twins, no boxspring. It was sort of like a hammock, lol. I am the one most likely to "rough it" so I just took it for myself. Tim said "it's kind of like camp!" Of course, he never went to camp. And he had a boxspring. Ha.

The balcony overlooks the Pantheon - WOW! I could not believe the view. We spent a lot of time on the balcony. The only thing that is a bit weird is that the wall of the balcony is very tall. Maybe 6 feet high. So you can't see over the edge when you first enter it. There are stairs built up on one end of it, with a small table and two chairs on a bit of a deck inside the balcony. I don't really know how to explain it. From there, you can see over the wall. The balcony wall is made of brick, and the top of the wall was about 2-3 feet deep. We actually sat on this wall most of the time. My mother would have been nervous watching me (because there was a danger of falling off) but it actually was very sturdy and I felt safe. We usually sat sideways on the wall, with one leg inside the balcony, just to make sure we could keep our balance.

The balcony is one of the things that really sent us to choose this apartment, and I don't think that we understood what it was like. For our group of 25-55 year olds, it was fine. I don't think kids would be able to see the Pantheon at all, and older people wouldn't probably throw themselves up there like we did.

The apartment is on the 5th (6th for Americans) floor. No lift. I thought it would be a problem, but it was not at all. The only issue was bringing the luggage up and down, but we managed it fine. (I should say Tim and BIL managed it fine!)

The one main issue with the apartment was the "shower." There was one bathroom, with toilet/ bidet/ sink (all fine). The tub was at one end of the bathroom. It was about 4-5 feet wide and 3-4 feet deep. No shower curtain. The shower head was on a cord attached to the faucet. You were supposed to sit down in it, facing the faucet, knees bent, and "shower" that way. All fine and dandy, but Tim comes from a tall family and no one but me (5'5") really fit. It caused a bit of confusion and a little stress. They managed fine. I should say that I have traveled around Europe much more than the others, and often in very inexpensive guesthouses or hostels, and had seen this set up before. I know it isn't anything too different, but it was something new for all of them.

Other than that, the apartment was truly a steal, at 140E/night for 5 people. We liked having a kitchen and took advantage of the nearby supermarket.

The location was just amazing. The last time Tim and I were in Rome, we stayed at Daphne Inn Veneto. We liked Rome fine, but it wasn't my favorite. Staying near the Pantheon and being able to walk everywhere really made me enjoy Rome more.

BIL/SIL's friends (who had also been at the wedding) were staying across the Piazza della Rotonda at Albergo Abruzzi. We didn't see the inside of their room, but they were happy with it and it was the same wonderful location. I think they paid 225E/night.

After washing up, we walked over to Area Sacra and the Vittorio Emmanuel monument (the "Wedding Cake Building"). We then visited the Saint Peter in Chains church and walked around the outside of the forum.

MIL/FIL continued to walk around the forum area, while Tim, BIL and I met up with the friends staying at Albergo Abruzzi. We had a drink at a sidewalk cafe and then bought some supplies and returned to the balcony.

After saying goodbye to our friends, Tim, BIL and I had dinner at a restaurant that looked so touristy. I don't know why we stopped in there: Pummarola E Drink.
http://www.ristorantepummarolaedrink.com/

But actually, our food was very good, and our waiter was funny. We each had bruschetta with cheese and ham; Tim had penne arrabiata, I had bucatini amatriciana, and BIL had spaghetti with pesto. We shared a liter of wine. The prices were reasonable.

I then had gelato from Della Palma, next door. It was quite good and 2.5E for 3 flavors.

We returned to the balcony to observe people in the square before heading to bed.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 12:14 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Liz, I am so enjoying your trip report! Welcome home.

I giggled over your description of the tub and shower thingy. One time in Italy my late husband's back actually went out while he was trying to shower and wash his hair with the same kind of contraption. It wasn't funny but thankfully an Italian friend had his doctor come to his house and the doctor checked my husband out and gave him a prescription. My husband felt quite "good" with that prescription, lol.

Andrea..I have never figured out why Italian men have that name that ends in an "A". It confused me the first time I met a friend of a friend named Andrea.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful time in Italy!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 02:13 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,489
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Liz, I'm enjoying your report. Sounds like the wedding was beautiful. Looking forward to the rest!
SusanP is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 09:24 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm enjoying your report ...
travelgirl2 is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 03:50 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,774
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank You!
marigross is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 08:41 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bellastarr-
How wonderful that you have friends to visit. I bet that the Amalfi Coast is a perfect place for an artist! I am a scientist but I do appreciate the arts!

LoveItaly-
I am glad that your Italian friends were able to help your late husband get the necessary medical attention. I am glad you are enjoying the report.

SusanP, travelgirl2, and marigross, thanks for reading!

I will try to finish the next installment this afternoon or evening.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 08:54 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
enjoying your report and reviews!
LizaMarie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:39 PM.