Trip Report - Rome and Venice

Feb 13th, 2007, 07:29 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 48
Trip Report - Rome and Venice

Thank you, dear Fodorites, for all the help you provided while I was preparing for our trip to Rome and Venice! Just got back on Sunday night. We started out with a good fare, I thought, on Delta - $632 from PIT-JFK-FCO. When my travel agent booked it, I noticed she had given us a connection time of just one hour at JFK Ė no, no, no! I asked for the earlier flight, which gave us a four-hour sit time at Kennedy. When the day arrived, we were an hour late getting to Kennedy because of some light snow and the later flight was canceled! Moral of the story, ALWAYS give yourself extra time. Arrived in Rome a bit late because of traffic and weather, but the rome-limosine was there promptly and for 35 euros deposited us at the beautiful Albergo del Senato. ($257/night, $297 for Saturdays) Mauro was there to check us in and couldnít have been more kind or accommodating throughout our entire stay. We requested he book us a reservation at LíEau Vive for dinner and went to explore ďancient Rome.Ē OK, I have a pilotís license and my husband can glace at a map of Bangkok and unerringly get us to any destination. We were hopelessly disoriented in Rome in spite of studying and carrying maps. But we noticed hundreds of others experiencing the same. Speaking of hundreds of others Ė omigosh, what must it be like in summer? The Piazza del Rotunda (Pantheon) was jammed and the next day at the Vatican Museum/St. Peterís we shared the love with what must have been ten thousand others. I felt like part of a herd of cattle! But the climb to the top of St. Peterís was fun and the view was wonderful.
On to the fun part - food. LíEau Vive was very nice, with the nuns in their native dresses. I asked one where she was from because I was positive that face was Andean and (with a few switches in language) she said she was from Cusco, Peru. Others wore the Vietnamese ao dai. I had duck and my husband had the jugged hare Ėmmmm, unusual. The bill was about 65 with no wine and the lovely choral music was free. The next night was our best find and we had only booked them because they were open on Sundays Ė Maccheroniís. Wonderful! The fillet was a once-in-a-lifetime experience as was my husbandís pasta with black truffle sauce. Iím sort of embarrassed to say that on our way out, I booked for the following night. Just as good - about 40 for two and the tortellini was again world-class. We found a delightful little trattoria just around the corner from the hotel called La Sacrestia. Family-run and very nice food. Excellent pizza, just right for lunch (12 euro to split a pizza for lunch.) Then we went on a gelato hunt. Best two, Tre Scali on Piazza Navona and Giolitti. Yum! All these places are a few blocks from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. We did get to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and to a lovely Sunday service at St. Paulís Within-the-Walls American Episcopal Church. The Bishop was in town that day and he was very warm and friendly.
Then on to Venice by train, very easy. About four and a half hours. Bring a picnic lunch. We arrived in Venice in a pouring rain and somehow managed to walk right to the Hotel Colombina. ($192 night.) Very nice room, and quiet after the noise and bustle of Rome. We enjoyed walking and shopping in Venice, but it sure was hard to find a decent meal! We tried Da Bruno, da Remigio, and Taverna San Travaso. Mediocre at best, although the service was very friendly. Even the gelato we tried in San Marco was awful. So the last night we pulled out all the stops and went to Antico Pignola. Wow! What great food and service. The sea bass was supreme, and the desserts just kept coming. But it was the closest Iíve ever spent to $200 a meal (without wine.) We also enjoyed the Basilica of San Marco and the Dogeís Palace and especially, the Accademia. No crowds and fantastic pieces of art.
Back to Rome for two more days and begged Mauro for a quiet room at the Albergo. We had a lovely back room and it WAS quiet. More walking and the Museo Capitolini. We could have wished for more signs and directions. Again, we found ourselves disoriented in Rome. Another meal at Maccheroniís and Sacrestia and time to go home. The flight on Delta was exceptionally nice in coach, the first time Iíve flown them on an international trip. But the Comair connection in JFK was horrifying to say the least. It was so chaotic and unprofessional it made me worry about safety. They do not live up to the standards of Delta, or any other airline for that matter. But we did arrive home, safe and happy if a bit lighter in the pocketbook. Weíve traveled mostly in the Middle and Far East for the past five or six years and forgot Europeís prices!
Once again, thanks for all the advice. Iím a great believer in Fodorís and indebted to all her contributors.
Mandi
Mandilulur is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Would you visit this time of year again?
missypie is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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i'm leaving this saturday, thank you for the report!
demmler67 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Yes, I would consider another winter trip. The weather in Rome was (for the most part) sunny with temperatures in the upper 50s to lower sixties. Venice was colder with more rain. But I think I'd be put off by the crowds in better weather. We kept saying to each other at each tourist site, "Can you imagine this in the summer?!"
Mandilulur is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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We were in Rome in late May of '06 and were amazed by the crowds. We've had a lot of "off season" trips and I had forgotten how thick crowds can be.
missypie is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thanks for the report.
jabez is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 655
Good report. We leave for Rome on Sunday and we're excited and hoping that the weather remains mild because it is so cold now.
I am planning on making reservations at Macheroni on our first night so I got a kick out of your report and good reviews. I usually eat at Myosotis, around the corner but this time we wanted to try Macheroni. We wished we were able to do a quick trip to Venice, too but we are only in Rome for the week so that is really our quick trip - we are hoping to go to Orvieto for a day trip.
Well, thanks for your report - it was fun to read.
risab is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 111
thanks so much... DH and I are leavinf in 3 weeks.

FUNNY COINCIDENCE - last night DH and I thought, "you know, a one-hour layover at JFK makes us nervous" so we switched the to 11:45am flight, giving us 4 hours in JFK.... we're flying from Boston and Boston is notorious for delays. Same situation and after reading your post I'm so glad we did!!!
ltilley is offline  

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