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Trip Report: Family of 4 enjoys "La Dolce Vita" for 2 weeks

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Apr 8th, 2005, 02:51 PM
  #1
jgg
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Trip Report: Family of 4 enjoys "La Dolce Vita" for 2 weeks

Here is the first installment of our trip report. (Warning it is long!)

Before I begin let me tell you a little about ourselves. We traveled with our two kids. My daughter (DD) is 12 and my so (DS) is 9. Neither my husband nor I had ever been to Europe at all, so this was the first trip for all of us. After many years of spending Spring vacation in Arizona, Walt Disney World, and Maui we decided it was time to see more of the world, so I began planning our trip to Italy (6 nights Rome, 4 nights Venice, 4 nights Florence). Would the kids be able to make the transition from sleeping in and boogie boarding all day to getting up early, lots of walking and seeing the sites? Would we regret not resting on the beach?? (I'll give you a hint next spring break we are planning our 2nd trip to Europe!!!)

Well, here is our trip:

Flights took off on time and were uneventful. In Frankfurt airport we ate at a Chinese restaurant in Terminal 1 down near the train station. It was okay, not great, but we love Asian food and knew it would be our last chance for awhile.

Sat. March 12

Arrived at Rome airport about 4pm. Apparently we didn’t have to go through customs, as we had done it in Frankfurt, which basically was a swipe of our passports.

Our driver is there to pick us up and we immediately see why people say not to drive in Rome. There really are no definitive lanes and while pedestrians technically have the right of way – you wouldn’t know it. Sometimes it looks like the cars are trying to herd sheep.

Our hotel, Albergo Cesari, is not lavishly decorated, but is nice and our quad room is quite large as is the bathroom. As others have mentioned the breakfast room is a bit small, but we only had to wait for a table one morning and then only for a short period of time. Many of the people staying there are British, French and German, so the breakfast room feels like an international café. We always found the concierges to be very helpful. After our 6 nights we all agreed we would stay there again.

Our first stop is to find Café St. Eustachio which my brother-in-law has been raving about for years as having the best espresso. We are following the map, then we walk down a small street thinking we are probably going the wrong way and walk out into the Piazza della Rotunda and there is the Pantheon – WOW!! We practically ran right into it. We finally find Café St. Eustachio in the Piazza Eustachio and DH gets his first of many Italian espressos. There are no to go cups here, and no laid back 20-somethings serving you either. Here, as in almost all cafes, you are served with china cups and saucers, and the barristas are dressed in black or white jackets with ties. Everyone just stands at the bar and drinks down their espresso.

Next our first stop for gelato. We go to Gelateria Della Palma (Via della Maddalena 20) near the Pantheon. The kids love how they just pile it in the cup.

For dinner we head to Da Baffetto (Via del Governo Vecchio, 114) near Piazza Navona which has very good pizza. On our way back to the hotel, one last stop at Café St. Eustachio and della Palma for gelato.

May 13, Sunday

Our first full day in Rome. We meet in the morning for our Orientation Chat with Petulia from Context Rome/Scala Reale. She takes us to the Gran Caffe (Piazza Di Pietra) just around the corner from our hotel. This becomes DH’s favorite hang out, requiring a stop every morning!! The kids and I order the hot chocolate. It is too thick and rich for DD and I, but DS loves it.

Petulia gives us lots of good tips for eating as well as just answering our many questions. We decide to have her book our train tickets, as we don’t want to have to go to the train station to do it. It was a very helpful hour with her.

The Rome Marathon is going on. There are no cars on the streets, but many streets are blocked off which makes it hard for us Newbies to navigate. We do the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Via Condotti. DD buys a skirt, top and capris at Onyx on the corner of Via Corso and Via Condotti. Nice teen stuff, and reasonably priced. DD also gets a “Luis Vuitton “purse and “Chanel” sunglasses from a street vendor.

Eat lunch at the Gran Caffe then head to our first church listed in Grinisa’s Thrill and Chills in the Eternal City. San Silvestro in Capite where John the Baptists’ head is. DS lights candles for his grandma & grandpa, which becomes a ritual for him at all the churches. Petulia had mentioned that morning that Santa Maria Concenzione – the Cappucchin Monk Crypt which had been closed for renovations was now open. It was absolutely incredible. It is an amazing amount of bones. Located at Via Veneto 27 in the Piazza Barberini.

DS enjoys the “living statues” around the city, and we have decided he will collect pictures of him with all the statues.

We go shopping at Diesel and Puma. Head to San Crispino (Via Paneterria 42 near the Trevi Fountain) for gelato. Hazelnut is better at Della Palma but other flavors are better here.

Walk around Piazza Navona, but it seems so large to us. We go to dinner at De Pallero (del Largo Pellaro 15). Excellent meal. This is a fixed meal, fixed price dinner. It is 20 euros per person for a wonderful 5 course meal. Antipasto – fennel, lentils, proscuitto and olives and veal croquettes. Pasta course – large tube pasta with tomato sauce, salad w/ mozzarella cheese, veal and homemade potato chips . For dessert there is an almond torte and a small glass of mandarin juice (yummy!) The poppa (owner) seemed to enjoy having us, especially the kids. He gave DS a bottle of wine to give to us as we leave.

Back to Della Palma for gelato, then off to bed.

Monday 3/14/05

Met our Context Rome guide, Richard, at 9:00am in the hotel lobby. With him we toured The Colosseum, Domus Aurea (Golden House of Nero), Church of St. Peters in Chains (Michaelangelos’s Moses is also there), The Forum, The Mammertime Prison where Peter & Paul were supposedly imprisoned and the Pantheon. We enjoyed the tour very much, although at times he may have moved a little slow for the kids. However, DD loved the Domus Aurea and when asked by the customs official on our return to the US “What was the favorite thing you saw?” DS said “The Colosseum”. DH and I really appreciated all Richard had to tell us. It was nice to be on a private tour with the kids, as we were able to stop and have lunch when we needed to and also were able to be flexible with our itinerary.

Head to Giolitti’s ( Via Uffici DeVicaro near the Pantheon) for gelato. It was okay, we got stuck between two big group’s of French highschoolers. Back to the hotel to rest. Then I take the kids out to Replay and Bennetton. Replay is very expensive for kids. Buy jean skirt for DD and multi-colored scarf for me at Benetton..

Got lost trying to find Orso 80 for dinner, but walked down this neat street with many small stores selling antiques. When we finally get there, it is closed on Monday nights. Decide to go to Obika – The Mozarrella Bar recommended by Petulia (in Piazza Firenze near Piazza Navona.) We had a wonderful evening there. Great cheese and salami tasting plate. We also had wonderful gnocchi and delicious vegetarian lasagna.

Tuesday 3/15/05

Next morning we head to the Church of San Clemente. Saw the different layers of churches. It was very interesting, but we were all wishing Richard was with us to really explain what we were seeing. Walked back by the Colosseum and through the Forum, through the Piazza designed by Michaelangelo. Passed by this store that sells vestments, etc. for priests.

Stopped in a Mercado for laundry detergent. Interesting to look at the brands and type of food being sold there.

For lunch we headed to Lozozzone (Via del teatro Pace) a panini place recommended by Petulia. The sandwiches look great. I, however, was tired, and did not feel like ordering at the counter, but wanted real table service, so we walk back down Governo Vecchio, a small street behind Piazza Novana. We just stop in a place that looks good. We eat at Mimi & Coco (Governo Vecchio 72) and have one of our favorite lunches of our trip. DS had penne a pomodoro. DH lasagna a Bolognese, me risotto a raddichio et noli and DD a sampling of cheese and meats. It was an excellent meal., The bread was d efinitely the best we had so far. The salads were great – very big, we should have shared. Retrospectively, DH deemed it the best salad in Italy.

A quick stop at Café St. Eustachio and then our first stop at La Cremeria, a gelato place recommended by Petulia. (Via della Rotunda 22) right across from the Pantheon. Everyoone thinks it may be the best gelato so far. Definitely, the hazlenut is the best. And it is located in our favorite piazza. Come back to hotel to rest for a few moments before we go off to the Catacombs.

Wanted to go to San Sebastiano Catacombs based on Fodor’s recs., but our taxi driver seemed to want us to go to San Callisto, so there we went. It was incredible. We all found it very fascinating and enjoyed the Irish priest who took us down, although he was a little hard to understand sometimes. We all loved the catacombs. Despite the fact that these were supposed to be the least interesting, we were fascinated and consider them a must see for those going to Rome. We walked down to the Appian Way, but the cars were whizzing by with no shoulder so we walked back to get a taxi. Would definitely try to go on a Sunday next time when the streets are closed to traffic.

We were about to try calling for a taxi when one came. Two men got in and then out. We ask them why they don’t want to take it. They don’t want to take it because there is no meter. The taxi driver spoke very little English. He wants to charge us 20 euros. We say we paid 13 euros to get here, how about 15. In very broken English and lots of hand signals he explains if we call a taxi, they will charge us 15 to come pick us up and 15 to take us to our hotel. We agree on 15 euros to have him take us. Definitely the most lively cab driver we had, and our most enjoyable cab ride. He sang Frank Sinatra and Pavoratti, pointed out sites of interest and even talked politics (“Bush, Blair, Berlusconi my friends!” he said.) He didn’t seem too interested in where our hotel was, just wanted to drop us of at the Pantheon. Oh well, we are very close. Enjoyed it so much we gave him the 20 euros

Stopped in at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and came back to rest before dinner. Dinner at Le Bacaro on Via degli Spanoli. We had a wonderful dinner. Started with fagioli soup and a delicious salad. I had the filet with cheese and onion sauce, DH had meat with chestnut sauce, and DS had strips of steak and balsamic vinegar. DD’s meal was voted the best by everyone – a wonderful pasta with shrimp – we all licked her bowl clean. (120 euros including sparkling water, and wine). This is a small restaurant and a reservation is a must.

Off to La Cremeria for our gelato nightcap.

3/16/05 Wed.

Up at early A.M. to meet our Context Rome guide at the Vatican at 8:15 am. We have booked another private tour with Context Rome. We meet Sara, a young American who, did graduate work in London and France but now lives in Rome. We all really enjoy her and our tour of the Vatican Museum. She is very interesting but moves along to keep the kids motivated. A tour guide is really the way to go. So much interesting information is given. As we leave the Sistine Chapel and head to St. Peter’s Square, we look up and there is the Pope looking and waving from his bedroom window!! We can’t believe it – perfect timing. And now with his recent death we realize how truly amazing it was to be able to see him. DS found the trompe l’oeil through the Hall of Tapestry very interesting. It looks 3-D but is actually completely flat. He loves the Swiss Guards as well.

We walk down to Castle St. Angelo and go up to the terrace and have some panini for lunch. Had a very nice visit with Sara, our tour guide, talking to her about traveling in other parts of Europe. Sara then gave us a tour of the Castle. DD’s favorite part was the Papal bathroom. We walk to the top of the castle – what incredible views of Rome.

Say goodbye to Sara and walk back to St. Peter’s Basilica. We see the church, the Pieta and go down to the crypt of the Popes. Amazing to think they are all down there and how close we can get.

Back to the Pantheon area for espresso and gelato. DH takes a nap. I take kids to do some shopping – Jam it, Miss Sixty. Buy DS a Scooby-Doo book in Italian

Dinner at Orso 80 on the Via dei Orso. Ordered their house antipasto which was an incredible amount of food. All very good. 72 euros including tip and a bottle of wine. Stop at La Cremeria on our way back to the hotel.

3/17/05 Thurs.

We go to Campo de Fiori and then the Crimonologico Museum at Via Galfone 27. It was very interesting. Showed instruments of toruture in the middle ages. There is also an area about well know Italian criminals, someone’s brain in formaldehyde, skeleton’s of people. There is also an area on contraband, forgery, and the mafia. While some signs were in English, many were not, but still very interesting. There was also a trunk that man(spy) was smuggled in on plane, trying to fly from London to Cairo but discovered at Rome airport.

Went to the Jewish ghetto, not a very large area. Ate in a kosher restaurant Il Taverna de Ghetto. Had Jewish style fried artichokes, salami plate and 2 plates of pasta. The food was good but the service was slow and it was expensive.

Went to the synagogue, which is now guarded by Italian police due to a PLO shooting several years ago. A short but interesting talk on the synagogue and history of the community. Also a small museum. Walk to Bocca de la Veritas (the mouth of truth). Stick our hand in for fun!

Walked back to Le Cremeria and Café St. Eustachio, then over to Piazza Navona. We decide that we definitey prefer the Plaza near the Pantheon - Piazza della Rotunda as it is smaller and interesting to have the Pantheon right there.

Back to the room to rest. Leave early for our dinner reservation so we can walk along the Via Del Corso and Via Condotti. Ah, Rome! Have dinner at Gusto (Piazza Augusto Imperatore – corner of Via della Frezza & Via de Corea nw of the Spanish Steps) which is wonderful. This is a big, loud, hip restaurant. We have a two wonderful plates of cheese and proscuitto. We enjoy a pasta carbonara and pasta a gamberi a pomodoro. Our last trip to Le Cremeria before we must leave Rome.

Well, the kids are throughly enjoying the trip. They get to share a cappuccino once per day and the twice a day gelatos don't hurt either! We are all sad to leave Rome, but we are all looking forward to Venice.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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ira
 
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Hi jgg,

Just wonderful!!

Mind giving us the rates for the Cesari?

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Apr 8th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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jgg
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We were there for 6 nights and our rate changed every two nights due to mid-week rate, weekend rate etc. So we had the quad room and the first 2 nights the rates were 220 euro, next two nights 265 euro, last two nights 310 euro. This averages to 265 euro/night.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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ira
 
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Thanks,

Look forward to more report.

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Apr 8th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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I am thrilled your family had such a good time.

And I can't wait to read more. Thank you for reporting back.
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Apr 9th, 2005, 01:09 AM
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Wow! What a great, detailed report jgg! My mother and I stayed at the Cesari our first time to Rome and also were happy (and surprised) with the large size of our room, beds and bathroom. Your report is bringing back such wonderful memories. I'm looking forward to reading more!
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Apr 9th, 2005, 01:18 AM
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What an excellent trip. Sounds like you did a terrific job of planning and kept everyone happy.
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Apr 9th, 2005, 02:28 AM
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Excellent! Im saving this one in my files..looking foward to the rest of your trip! You certainly are lucky to have children who wanted to try new foods !
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Apr 12th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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jgg
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Friday 3/18/05

Our last stop at Gran Caffe. We take a taxi to the train station. It is easy to find the track and get on our train. I was worried about carrying the luggage, etc. but it was really a breeze. The way everyone talked about how difficult it can be to get your luggage on the train, I assumed there were no porters. Although we did not use them, there are porters available to help you, for a tip of course.

We had a very nice train ride. Had a good lunch in the meal car. Expensive, but a fun experience. White tablecloths, china and silver on a train. (Much more enjoyable to travel by train than plane). We had gnocchi with tomato sauce, a choic of chicken or beef with spinach and then for dessert cake or fruit.

We got off at the St. Lucia station and bought our 72 hour vaporetto pass. We rode the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco. Carried our luggage over 3 or 4 stairways over the canals. Just part of the experience I guess! We could definitely relate to people we saw doing the same thing later in the week. We found our wonderful hotel Locanda Orseolo and were warmly greeted by name by Matteo. We go up to our rooms unpack a little and rest. We have two rooms. They are smaller than in Rome, but beautifully decorated with murano glass chandeliers, gold mirrors, handsome drapery and beautifully painted walls. The bathroom, while also small has everything and is quite new and very clean. Our room has a view of Canal Orseolo. We can see lots of gondolas going by. In the mornings we can see them unload the working boats with the day’s supplies for the nearby shops. The kids have a view of the interior courtyard, which is serene and quiet.

We eat dinner at Hosteria Zorzi recommended by Matteo. It is close to the hotel and very good. DH & I have spaghetti and clams, DD gamberi with olive oil and lemons and DS mussels. Everything is wonderful. We walk around a bit, but most shops are closed and it is only 8:45 – much earlier than Rome. We walk around trying to find an open gelato store as we have not had any all day. Could only find a snack shop open that also served gelato. It is only okay, not worth remembering. We sit in Piazza St. Marco which is not crowded at all now.


Sat. 3/19/05

I wake up to the bells of St. Mark’s ringing, which I love!! We go downstairs to have breakfast. Ah….a real breakfast with made to order crepes, omelettes and eggs by Matteo. He explains that “cooking is my passion!” In addition to the made to order items the buffet includes, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, sausages and tender and yummy grilled vegetables. Our hosts explain they make us a big breakfast so we won’t have to take time early in the day to eat lunch, and we can enjoy more of their wonderful city.

Basically, we just take the day to walk around and explore Venice. Walked to the Rialto Bridge then over to the Jewish Ghetto in Carnareggio. There is not much open, and despite the fact there are supposed to be 3 synagogues we could not definitively locate them. Suddenly we realize it is Saturday, the Sabbath, which explains why things are so quiet. We walked past Ristorante Gam Gam, which is apparently a popular restaurant in the ghetto..

Walk over to the train station and took the Vaporetto #1 down the Grand Canal. We are enchanted by all that goes on on this canal. We stop for lunch at Pier Mauo a little sandwich place. We stop in a mask store as DS wanted a mask. We are lucky as the first store we went in, proprietor makes the masks on sight. She starts with the papier mache mask and handpaints the design. DS picks a very handsome Pinocchio mask. We head to Fantasy Gelato (Calle dei Fabri? San Marco) recommended by Barbara, and discover our favorite gelato in Venice. While we are resting DS enjoys going downstairs to visit with Matteo and Barbara. He discusses the NBA with Matteo and they let him hand out the keys to guests. He is in heaven!

Walk downstairs to get dinner recommendation from Matteo. Then head out to find a bookstore Lauren read about which has a particular mystery author she wants in English. She navigates for us on the map. She gets us really close but gets frustrated at the last minute and Dad gets us there. They have a large selection of Donna Leon mysteries which take place in Venice. We buy 2 they are 15 euros each!!

Have dinner at Al Paradiso on Calle Paradiso across the Rialto Bridge in San Paolo. Another wonderful dinner. Excellent carpaccio appetizer. I have lamb chops, DD has lobster ravioli and DH has the squid pasta with the black squid sauce, traditional Venice dish. This is the first place we have been to that offers to make DS a sort of “kid’s meal”. He has grilled chicken and French fries. Everything is wonderful. Stephen in particular enjoys his dish. We run back to make it to Fantasy Gelato before it closes. Yea! We make it!

Sunday 3/20/05

Wake up to another wonderful breakfast. I have eggs scrambled with proscuitto & cheese, and a crepe with berry jam. What a way to start the day.

Off to our Secret Itineraries Tour at the Palazzo Ducale. We all really enjoyed it, and found it very interesting. Got to see lots of different rooms and hear many fascinating stories. Then walked around the Palace. We would recommend if you do the Secret Itinieraries tour to come an hour or two early and walk around the Palace before the tour. It will give you a better feel for the place.

As we are leaving I miss a step and land on the side of my foot. OUCH!! It hurts to walk on it. I limp back to our room and put ice on it. While DH thinks I should rest it, I am committed to not just sit in my room – I am in Venice after all. So I just grin and bear it.

We figure it is best to have a sit down lunch so I can rest my foot, and ask Francesco for a recommendation. We go to Acqua Pazza in San Marco at Campo St. Angelo 3808/10. It was awesome!! Our best meal in Italy yet. A wonderful appetizer de mare. Started with wonderful bruschetta, then a large platter of all kinds of wonderful seafood – calamari, mussels, clams, anchovies, shrimp with rocket, fried artichoke hearts, fried fish, baby octopus, wonderful smoked salmon with capers and onions, and a wonderful fried salmon and mozzarella. For 25 euros it is a lot of food and perfecto! Next we had tortellini with mussels and shrimp and a cheese & proscuitto pizza. Both were excellent – the best pizza we had! Served us limoncello after lunch – but don’t think it is for us.

We stop at a gelato place at Campo San Stefano, it was okay. We are near a vaporetto stop so decide to take it back to St. Mark’s Square due to my foot. Our plan was to go into St. Mark’s Basilica, but it is Sunday so has already closed for the day. We walk along the lagoon and go into the Hotel Danieli. It is really a very beautiful and grand old hotel.

Back to the hotel for more ice on the foot. We had decided that tonight we would take a gondola ride before dinner. Barbara and Matteo both told us to be sure and bargain, but you need to be willing to walk away. Well, with the two kids (and one mom) all excited the bargaining didn’t go so well, but…..it was worth it. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. (Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it because it is so touristy. Just do it later in the day and be sure and do the interior canals). Shortly after our ride started the bells of St. Mark’s began to ring. Could anything be more perfect? We had a great gondolier who pointed out many important buildings and sites and answered our many questions about Venice. We wove around several very residential and sleepy interior canals. Then we entered the Grand Canal with all the noise and excitement. Back through the interior canals as the sun was setting. An ideal start to an evening in Venice.

Off to dinner at Firaschelli Toscana. It was very good although we found one or two of the waiters a bit curt. We frankly weren’t that hungry due to our enormous lunch, so ordered a bit light. DD & I shared the carpaccio, DS had duck tortellini and DH had cuddlefish with fried polenta. It was late and we knew we wouldn’t make it in time for gelato so we ordered tiramisu and chocolate mouse. The tiramisu was very good.

Walk back hoping to find something open so Lauren can have gelato or meringues, but Sunday at 9:30pm nothing is open. Back to our room and to bed.

Monday 3/21/05

Wake up again to the bells of St. Mark’s , watching the workers unload goods from their boats on the canal, and Matteo’s eggs and crepes. I could definitely get used to this!!

Walk over to Fondamonte Nuovo to take the vaporetto to Murano. We walk through Castello on our way. Very quiet, more residential neighborhood. We pass by the hospital and see the ambulance boats parked in the canal. Young kids are playing and informal game of soccer on the concrete. We realize these kids do not grow up with a lot of grass.

We get to Murano and follow everyone else who is following a guy encouraging them to go to a certain factory. We are all crammed in and are asked to stand on risers while we watch. Not too interesting and the factory was not making very nice glass. We leave and walk around Murano, surprised to see such a large residential neighborhood with many apartments. We find the “main drag” and browse a few shops. We find one factory where they are making millefiori. We can get up closer and it is much more interesting. I wish we had taken a launch from one of the better glassmakers so we could have see their factory. Oh well, this is the biggest, and ultimately only disappoint of our trip, so we did pretty well.

Head back to San Marco on the vaporetto. Stop and have lunch at the little café just to the right of the gate before you enter Corte Zorzi. They have very good sandwiches. DD and I have a mozzerella & tomoato sandwich. DH and DS rave about their tuna and tomato sandwiches so DH orders another.

We head over to St. Mark’s Basilica. There is no line. It is very impressive, with beautiful mosaics, although it feels much darker and more crowded than many of the churches we have been to. Next we head over to the Campanile, wait in a short line. There are incredible views and we spend time looking from all four sides, pinpoint our Locanda, and take in the beautiful red rooftops.

Head over to Dorsoduro, the artist’s sestiere of Venice and wander around. It is a very quiet and peaceful area. We are getting tired, and decide the kids may not make it through the Guggenheim (we have to save something for our next trip).

We head back to San Marco/Castello to buy some things we had noticed earlier in the day. Oh no the store with the glass nativity I had been eyeing is closed!! Argh!! DD buys some cute 5 euro trendy glass rings for her friends. We buy 2 colorful and whimsical prints at a shop of a local artist. One print is of Venice in the daytime one of Venice at night. (Itaca Art Studio Calle delle Bande, 5267/A in Castello). DH buys wine at an establishment where they have all kinds of wine in huge jugs and they pour it through a hose. Apparently these places are more prevalent in Tuscany. I buy a Murano glass bracelet.

We were hoping to have dinner at Acqua Pazza, but apparently they are closed on Mondays. Francesco tells us that the family owns another restaurant Ristorante Mansaniello (Campo San Stefano, 2801 in San Marco) so we head over there for dinner. We are not disappointed – another fabulous meal! Buffalo mozzerella and tomato salad, pasta with seafood, fillet of beef and a succulent lobster and shrimp dish. It is 8:45pm and we try to make it back to our favorite gelato place, but it is closed. We wander around trying to find one open. Finally find one, but it is only okay.

We have to agree, the longer you stay in Venice the more you love it. Take time to visit the different neighborhoods and discover each one’s personality. The only problem with Venice is there are fewer gelateria and they don’t stay open late!!!

Tues. 3/22/05

Oh we must leave Venice and the Locanda Orseolo. Our last Matteo breakfast, DS stuffs himself with two nutella crepes. Hugs and kisses as we say goodby to Barbara & Matteo. We climb through the window into our water taxi. We leave for the train station with Francesco waving back from the window.

Next stop Florence.

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Apr 12th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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jgg, I'm very happy to see another in depth review of Locanda Orseolo. Your positive review further confirms that it is a great choice. My fiancee and I will be staying there on our honeymoon and I cannot wait to sample the breakfasts and take all of Venice in. My fiancee can barely contain her excitement!
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Apr 12th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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jgg,

Your report is just perfect in every way. I can't wait for the rest.

While I'm sorry if your freinds on the Maui board won't hear from you as much, I look foward to seeing you here on the Europe board in the future.

It sounds lke your family has a great time. A very well planned trip.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 09:33 PM
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What a great report! I'm really enjoying it. Can you give me an idea of the prices for dinner at Al Paradiso? I'm staying near Rialto and it sounds great. Thanks.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 10:14 PM
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jgg, I am so enjoying reading your report! Not only because of the information you are sharing, but especially because, perhaps without realizing it, you are reflecting your refreshing attitude about traveling - and, I suspect, parenting. You are really positive, and have a great sense of humor and an ability to roll with the punches. I'm also sensing a respect for the wishes of everyone in your family. You're ALL having a lot of fun. And I love reading about that!

I'm learning some lessons here! Thanks.



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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:16 AM
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JGG, have enjoyed your report. I'm awaiting Florence!
Thank you!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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jgg, what a great report. My family of four arrived at the Locanda Orseolo the day you left. I wonder if we had your rooms: on the second floor, the two rooms across from each other at the end of the hall turning left at the top of the stairs? What a small world, in any case. So, we did exactly the same trip as you, just arriving in each city as you left. The Locanda Orseolo was hands-down our favorite hotel of the trip.

I will be waiting for Florence.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 11:11 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 419
Great report! I'm looking forward to the Florence section.

One question about the train ride: When you went to the dining car, did you just leave all of your luggage at your seats? Did you feel that it was secure enough?
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:14 PM
  #17
jgg
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Susan P: I believe that dinner was about 100 euros, which would have included what I already listed as well as a glass or 1/4 litre of wine for DH, Fanta for DS and one possibly 2 bottles of water. DH I believe may have ordered a bowl of soup as well.

Suki: Yes, those were our rooms as well. Wasn't Locanda Orseolo just divine???

Europhile: We were in first class. Our luggage was on the racks in the back of the car. Our carryon type bags were in the racks above our seats. I took my purse to eat, but other than that we left everything where it was. The meal car was about 3 cars up. The train was not that crowded, we didn't really feel there was a reason to be concerned. I don't know, perhaps we should have been more cautious. But everything was there when we got back!!

Thanks to everyone's nice comments about the Trip Report. One never knows if anyone will be interested in reading the details of your life! I am delighted to be of help, as Fodors and Slow Talk were my main places to get info. to plan our trip.

Florence coming soon.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:36 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi jgg (fellow Oregonian, I believe), welcome back. What a great trip! I'm so glad to see all the relevant details, as we will be traveling with our 13 and 16 year-olds in June. All the restaurant suggestions are especially great. And we too are staying at Locanda Orseolo in Venice at the end of our trip.

Was the Context Rome tour just the four of you? Do you mind sharing the cost of that? My daughter always whines about tours (she doesn't want to look like a tourist!), but it seems like a knowledgeable guide can enrich the experience so much.

This report is definitely a keeper!

Carmen
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Apr 13th, 2005, 01:54 PM
  #19
 
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Hello jgg, I too have enjoyed reading your report. It sounds as though all four of you are very good travellers and I am sure impressed with all the various dishes your children ate. Good for them!

Isn't Italy wonderful. The only bad moment I ever have is when it is time to fly home. I am so glad you will be returning next year. What fun you will have planning your next trip.

And now about Florence??
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Apr 13th, 2005, 03:28 PM
  #20
 
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Thanks, jgg, I'll put Al Paradiso on my list.
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