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Trip Report: Rome, Tuscany, Venice for 2 weeks, March-April 2006

Trip Report: Rome, Tuscany, Venice for 2 weeks, March-April 2006

May 2nd, 2006, 10:19 PM
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Trip Report: Rome, Tuscany, Venice for 2 weeks, March-April 2006

Trip report:

My husband and I returned last month from a 2-week trip to Italy (3/26 to 4/9), where we stayed in Rome, Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, and Venice (yes, a crazy whirlwind trip, but it was a first-time for us and we wanted to see so much.) I have learned a ton from this forum from reading past reports and having my questions answered. Thank you so much to all who have taken the time to provide information.

I’m focusing my report mostly on the places we stayed and some of the meals, and also including a bit of information about sightseeing and random things that we learned, did, etc.

HOTELS

Rome: Relais Banchi Vecchi, Via del Pavone 33, [email protected], 3/27-3/31, 140 euros per night
This place has a great location, between the Piazza Navona and the Campo dei Fiori, near Castel San Angelo. The first night we got there, we were put in room 3, which I had noted from a past posting that we should avoid. Of course, the poster was right—the room, which was just fine otherwise, was directly above the alley connected to a restaurant, and smokers came outside frequently, their smoke wafting up into our room till late. We were able to move across the hall to room 2 for the following nights, problem resolved. Both rooms had great wood-beamed ceilings, pretty tiled floors, very soundproof walls/floors/ceilings, decently comfortable beds, and nice furnishings. Be warned—it is a place for pretty independent travelers, as Milena, who runs the place, is only there from about 10 am until late in the afternoon. We rarely saw her, since those were the hours we tended to be out and about, but she was very nice when we did interact with her. We only got breakfast 2 of the 4 mornings, since one morning, Milton (who is the housekeeper) was sick (Milena offered us a voucher at 10, but we had already eaten since we thought they had just forgotten), and the other morning we had to leave at 7:15 (they start serving at 7:30). One morning it came at 9 instead of 8, when we’d asked for it. Breakfast is minimal—cornetto, juice, and cappuccino. Despite these minor issues, I’d stay there again. Note that they expect 100% cash payment (minus small deposit) upon arrival, so plan to hit an ATM before or soon after you get there, or bring the money with you from home. DH hates baths, so had a hard time with the whole bathing situation in both rooms—a bathtub with a showerhead nozzle that goes only a few feet high. I didn’t mind, and enjoyed the marble fixtures. If you stay there, be sure to go to the small coffee bar at the corner of Via Pavone and Via Banchi Vecchi (2 doors down)—the older man behind the counter, though he doesn’t speak English, was one of the sweetest people we met during all our stay, and served some of the best cappuccini we had.

Rome: Kennedy Hotel, Via Filippo Turati 62, [email protected], 4/8-4/9, 155 euros per night
We stayed here on our final night in Rome, after we arrived at the train station at 9pm. It’s 2 blocks away from the station in a slightly seedy area, but the hotel was fine, and in a good location for heading to the airport the next day. Pretty standard but small room on the 5th floor, recently renovated. Great shower, clean bathroom, good buffet breakfast. Got it last minute on Hotels.com.

Montalcino: Il Giglio Hotel, Via Soccorso Saloni 5, [email protected], 3/31-4/2, 90 euros per night
We enjoyed our stay here very much, and wished it had been longer. Nice, small, quaint, 3-star place close to everything (I guess it’s hard not to be in a town so small!) Michele, the man who runs it, was very helpful—made reservations for us for dinner both nights, and had information about the times of the Gregorian chants at Sant’Antimo. We opted for no breakfast (rate is 95 euros with breakfast) since I’d read somewhere that there is a great nearby bakery, but we couldn’t find it. We had room 2, which had incredible views of Montalcino and the valley below. There were pretty hand-painted lily (giglio) decorations on the furniture and walls. Room 1 has the same view plus a terrace. DH was thrilled with the full-height showerhead in the bathroom. I was glad they had a hairdryer since I frizz-out without one. They have a parking garage somewhere in town, they’ll valet your car for free (plus tips to the driver). Great place, we’ll go back for sure.

Siena: B&B San Francesco, Vicolo degli Orbachi 2, Tel: +39 0577 46533, 4/2-4/3, 80 euros per night
Cute place near the San Francesco church (a few minutes walk from the Campo.) We stayed in the Donatello room, which had a nice view of the outskirts of Siena. The room was comfortable, and Massimo, who runs it, was very nice and quite upbeat. DH scored again with the showerhead (though very small shower) and I got a hair-dryer. We discussed what we might do with a bidet if we ever moved to Italy—grow plants in it? Soak the pots when we burn the risotto? Keep fish? I digress. We were assured that the place was extremely clean by the strong smell of bleach in the bathroom…it went away after a few hours of having the windows open. Buffet breakfast was more substantial than we’d had for awhile—included yogurt, cereal and milk, as well as pastries and coffee. The Tang was a nice reminder of 4th-grade field trips. We had a nice conversation with all the other guests at breakfast, who happened to be Americans. The biggest drawback was that we had a car, and we had decided to park it in a paid lot just outside the city walls near the B&B. The rate was 1.50 euros per hour, but it was close, and I wanted the (slight) security of a pay lot (see my previous posting on that). If I’d been smart enough to do the math at the time, I might have had us stay at a slightly nicer place that had parking included. Oh well. Otherwise, good place, especially for the great price. Oh! Before I forget! As nice as Massimo is, DO NOT, under any circumstance, take him up on his restaurant recommendation for the Gallo Nero—more to come when I review our restaurants!

Florence: Hotel Orto De Medici, Via San Gallo 30, [email protected], 4/3-4/6, 118 euros per night
This was, as the name would indicate, the most hotel-y of the places we stayed. We enjoy B&B’s, but sometimes the anonymity of hotels can be nice. We had a fantastic room (47) on the top floor, which was really big (double/matrimonio bed plus 2 singles and still lots of space), and had a nice view. If we stuck our heads out the window, we could see the Duomo. Furnishings were very nice, including the crystal chandelier in our room, nice wallpaper, nice bathroom—I can see why Karen Brown recommended it. I got my rate by booking on Florenceby.com. Best breakfast of any of the places we stayed—included ample buffet of cereal, yogurts, fruit cocktail, dried meat of some kind, pastries, coffee, tea. If the weather had been a little warmer, we might have dined on the adjacent terrace. We took advantage of the laundry service and had few rather smelly items cleaned. The major drawback of the place is the distance to the major sites—definitely a 20 minute minimum walk to the Arno if you are walking at an average pace. Not horrible, but if you do it several times per day, it gets a little tedious. And some sections that you have to walk through aren’t all that great (not dangerous, but just some trash, tiny sidewalks, etc.) But, for the price, the room, and the breakfast, it’s hard to beat. If we go to Florence again (did I say if? When!!), we’ll probably try to stay closer to the river, but it’s still a great place.

Venice: La Villeggiatura, Calle dei Botteri 1569 in San Polo, [email protected], 4/6-4/8, 155 euros per night
I am hesitating in writing this because I don’t want this place to get publicity, because when it does, it will be hard to get a room and the prices will go up! But, it and its owner, Francesca, definitely deserve recognition. We adored this place and were glad we splurged a little bit (for us) to stay here. We stayed in the Casanova room, which has beautiful antique furniture, gorgeous parquet floors, and an incredible wood-beamed ceilings—seriously, you should check the website: http://www.lavilleggiatura.it/eng/index.htm Our bed was very comfortable, and the common rooms, though small, were nicely decorated. Francesca told us that she has only been open since September 2005 after she had the whole place remodeled. We didn’t have a view, but we were in close walking distance to the Rialto bridge and the fish market. And the walk was very pleasant. They are still working out some of the kinks, including the fact that there is not enough seating in the breakfast room for all of the guests at once—because of this, one morning we had to eat in our room since the other guests lingered over breakfast, and it was a little awkward (I sat on the bed and got crumbs everywhere and nearly spilled my drink, but that may say more about me than the breakfast situation.) Francesca made reservations for us for dinner one night, and was very nice. She was not around in the mornings or the evenings, but her very nice assistant Fabrice was there. He is from Spain and does not speak English, but my rusty high school Spanish was enough to help us get by. In order to get to the inn, you have to first go through the main front door and then walk through a long hallway (bit of an eyesore) and up 2+ flights of stairs, so it is inaccessible for people in wheelchairs.

FOOD

We like good food, but be forewarned that we don’t consider ourselves foodies. But we do have the benefit of having many friends who really appreciate great food, so got good recommendations. I also checked out the Slowtrav site and read Fodor’s for additional info. Also, we aren’t big drinkers, so none of the food prices include wine, unless otherwise indicated.

Rome:

Pizzeria Baffetto, Via Governo Vecchio 2, no credit cards, closed Sun.
We went here on our first night. Were a little disoriented from the time change and had a hard time finding it. DH is reading over my shoulder and saying the address I wrote is wrong. Be sure to check. The appetizers were pretty unexciting: I got the insalata mixta and DH got the caprese salad. But the pizza! Excellent. I got mushroom and onion, he got the zucchini. In retrospect, I’d skip the salads and just get more pizza. Even though we ate at 7:00 pm (so sleepy), the place was packed. But we didn’t have or need reservations—they just squished us in with a nice couple from Tennessee. Food was 26 euros.

Orso 80, Via dell’Orso 33, closed Monday, accepts credit cards
We went there one night at 8:30, it filled up around 9 pm with a mix of locals and tourists. We got, as recommended by other posters, the house antipasto platter for 2. So much food! They brought us 14 different bowls/plates of food, plus bread: prosciutto, melon, cauliflower and capers, meatballs, zucchini, peppers, 2 eggplant dishes, mushrooms with bay leaf, carciofi alla romana, celery with mozzarella, beans, fennel in vinegar, and some kind of torta. We probably ate about 1/3 of what they brought…maybe a half. I will probably deeply offend some people by saying this, but the food didn’t taste all that great to us. Not bad, just okay. But we paid only 26 euros. Definitely a great place for families or people on a fairly tight budget. If I were to go there again, I might opt for the house antipasto platter for 1 (lots of different things on one larger plate) and get some other appetizers as well, or maybe a primi. The very nice waiter laughed at my DH when he tried, before any food was served, to order a main dish in addition to the antipasti. Now we know why!

Gelato
We love ice cream, but have unsophisticated pallets in this area, so happily ate gelato from the nearest place when the urge hit. In fact, on 2 nights, we came back to the room at about 6pm after a gelato break and lots of sightseeing and promptly fell asleep for the night, even though we had planned to get up to go to dinner later. So, ice cream for dinner twice—take that, mom!

Tuscany:

Latte di Luna, Via San Carlo 2/4, Pienza,
Great meal. We got bruschetta, and I got tagliatelle con tartufo and roast pig (very heavy), while DH got tagliatelle con cinghiale, and duck with olives. Semifreddo for desert was nice. We had stuffed ourselves quite a bit earlier in the day, so didn’t enjoy the food as much as we might have, but it was really, really good. 51 euros.

Grappolo Blu, Scala di Via Moglio 1, Montalcino,
I think this was the best meal we had the whole trip, though DH disagrees and rates it a close second. DH got the pecorino-stuffed ravioli in tomato sauce, which I think might be the best pasta I have ever tasted. There might have been mint in the cheese filling, not sure. I will dream about this pasta for a very, very long time. My salad of tomatoes was very good, but paled in comparison to the pasta. For secondi, DH got an excellent guanciale (beef cheek), but my faraone (guinea hen) in lemon was just amazing. The sauce was perfect, and the bird tasted just great. Our desserts (a chocolate flan/souffle and a crème caramel) were great. 49 euros, with one glass of wine. I can’t believe that food this good was this cheap.

Gallo Nero, Via del Porrione 67, Siena
We learned a valuable lesson today: never stray from Fodor’s Forum or Slow Food or at least the Michelin guide. On the B&B proprietor’s recommendation, we went here for dinner. We should have had a clue when we noticed that the only other people in the restaurant were 2 American teenagers. Nobody else came in the entire time we were there. The place was a medieval-themed restaurant: the waiters dressed in costume, and some of the dishes were era-appropriate (lots of stewed meat). My ribollita was decent, but my pasta was definitely undercooked (not just al dente) with a tasteless cream sauce, and DH found his stew of different meats (he was a sport and tried to just go along with the theme) inedible. We left ASAP after dinner. Could be a fun place if you had kids, perhaps?! Fortunately only 27 euros.

Trattoria Sostanza-Troia, Via del Porcellana, 25r, Florence
Family run, neat place, we were packed in like sardines with a few other couples, glad we had reservations because some people had to wait a long time or were turned away. We got the crostini with pate (DH liked, I didn’t), pasta with a meat sauce (good), and the legendary bistecca fiorentina, which was very good. We sat across from a woman who comes regularly, who highly recommended the artichoke torta and the chicken (poached in butter). Enjoyed deciphering the autograph-covered wall (Steven Spielberg? Jim Belushi? Ted Koppel?) We were not shunned from the restaurant when we ordered our steak cooked medium. 43 euros.

Florence, Trattoria Garga, Via del Moro 50, Florence
This was DH’s favorite meal, my second place. Got reservations the same day, glad we did. Really neat, funky, artsy interior decoration. DH got the “magnifico” pasta, which was fettucine with an orange-cream-mint sauce: truly, truly amazing. I got the risotto with asparagus and truffles, which was really good. We both got the veal with avocado and truffle sauce on the recommendation of a friend, and it was wonderful. Never tasted anything like it. We split the chocolate cake for dessert. Service wasn’t great—the waiters had a habit of sitting down for long stretches at nearby tables with their friends, but the food made up for it. 109 euros with one glass of wine.

SemiDivino, Via San Gallo 22R, Florence
We debated for a long time what to do for dinner today. We felt that we should suck it up (I know, that sounds ridiculous now) and go to one of the great restaurants recommended here or by our foodie friends, but our feet were about to fall off and my throat was quite sore. I felt some strange moral obligation to go to Cibreo or Il Guscio, but my always reasonable DH thought it would save our sanity and bodies to just go next door to the hotel to this restaurant. So we went, and were pleasantly surprised (you’d think the Gallo Nero experience would have scarred us, but we saw no medieval uniforms and took the risk.) My antipasto bruschetta of fennel salami, mozzarrella, and olive paste was actually really good, and DH’s fennel sausage was also great. Our main courses were nice but unexceptional—minestrone and chicken with mushrooms. Broke down and got a Fanta—5 euros!! Ouch. Total price 40 euros.

Cantinetta dei Verrazano, near the Duomo, via dei Tavolini 18R, Florence
Went here for lunch one day, on the recommendation of the Michelin Green guide, and really enjoyed it. Got the cheese plate with hard and soft pecorino, salve with lemon jelly, and a variety of cinghiale cold cuts. Great place for a quick lunch stop. 39 euros with one glass of wine.

Venice:

Fiaschetteria Toscana, Cannaregio 5719
Very good meal. DH got the black tagliatelle with lobster sauce, and swordfish. Loved both. Also loved the apple strudel. I got the lobster and artichoke salad, brill fish in oil and lemon with spinach. Very good. My dessert (the pastry tart with raspberries) was good. Came to 128 euros, DH got a spritz and loved it, in addition to a glass of wine. Probably the dressiest (is that a word?) place we went. Waiters in tuxes and all that.

La Zucca, Ponte del Meglio, Santa Croce 1762
Good, though not as over-the-top incredible as I’d expected from some of the reviews. DH got the gorgonzola and pinenut pasta, good but a little too heavy. He also got the broccoli with garlic, which was good. I got the bresaola, which was excellent. I also got an assortment of veggies including asparagus with parmesan (good), carrots and curry (very interesting, I enjoyed it), and some kind of a veggie and egg torta (not great). We split the orange and chocolate semifreddo for dessert, which was okay, not spectacular. DH thinks that one reason we didn’t enjoy it as much is because we ordered too much food. I can’t find the receipt, but it was reasonably priced—60 or 70 euros maybe?

MISCELLANY

Packing:
We packed all of our clothes and toiletries in two 22-inch carryons. It made traveling and repacking very easy, though we were glad to avail ourselves of the laundry service at our Florence hotel. We each brought 2 pairs of pants, a few long sleeve shirts, and a couple of sweaters. I brought a couple of scarves to dress things up (yes, I read that in Rick Steves and it helped), and 2 pairs of shoes, both comfortable but one dressier than the other. We had light, softshell jackets from REI that did the trick in most places, though I wish I had brought a hat and gloves to Venice (it was chilly and windy there, though that seemed to keep many of the tourists away or indoors.) The weather in Tuscany and Rome was mid-60s in the day, though it got chilly at night (mid 40s?). Venice seemed 5-10 degrees colder during the day.
For a day bag, I used the Fossil Tribe Top zip bag, recommended by hlocke1 in her amazing trip report, which helped me so much in my trip planning (thank you!!) It worked like a charm, fitting a couple of books, water bottle, and various souvenirs. I used a neckpouch with a metal-in-cloth strap for credit cards, passport, etc., and kept them in a plastic ziplock to keep them from getting gross. DH used a money belt, but may use a neckpouch next time as he found the money belt uncomfortable at times.

Money:
I have yet to go through all of our receipts and bills, so I don’t know yet about the fees for ATM and credit card usage. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will be fine, but will post again if that’s not the case. That’s all we used when travelling (other than cash.) We did get 700 euros in the states (I know, it’s a ton) to pay for our Rome hotel at checkin in order not to have to deal with ATMs right when we got there. I wouldn’t necessarily advise that, but it worked in our case.

Language:
Neither of us speak Italian. We got the Berlitz CD a couple of months before we went and listened to it several times. The accompanying phrasebook was really helpful to bring along. Somewhat to our disappointment, most of the people we interacted with spoke English, even when we tried to speak Italian.

Rome:

Vatican/St.Paul’s:
We highly recommend the Scavi tour. The guide was severe as expected (the ticket says it is “forbidden” to ask questions), but very informative. Really, really cool. Were able to sneak a peak at the end at John Paul II’s tomb. If you go to the Vatican Museum, get the audiotour. It was really helpful, in addition to the Rick Steve’s guide and Michelin Guide. Unlike many museums, they allow photos to be taken inside, which we are really enjoying looking at now. Incredible place. We got in line at 8:45 for the museum and found that though it looked long, it moved quickly (we were inside by 9:05, and the museum opens at 9:00.) We left around 12:30 and noticed there was no line. If you can, avoid going on Wednesday, when the pope has an audience—makes everything more crowded.

Roman ruins:
I am ruin-obsessed (we absolutely loved the Roman ruins in Bath and Barcelona), so had a wonderful time at the various forums and surroundings. I had hoped to meet up with the Icon Tour of Ancient Rome, but nobody showed up at the appointed time/place. Partly my fault for not confirming the meeting place, or perhaps I went to the wrong place, but it was disappointing nonetheless. Seeing all the main spots is great, of course, and we also enjoyed the Mamertine prison and the Area Sacra with all the cats. We watched and loved the HBO miniseries “Rome”, and knowing that history (in addition to our dusty high school and college memories) made the place all the more interesting.

Castel Sant’Angelo:
If you go here, get the audioguide. Worth a short tour, especially for the views of Rome and the neat passage way to the Vatican. Full disclosure: DH and I read and enjoyed “Angels and Demons,” and found this enhanced our enjoyment of the place. DH says that it was worth the visit, but that it “needs more trap doors and dungeons.”

Villa Borghese:
Got a picnic lunch in the Campo dei Fiore and walked to the Villa Borghese. Highly recommended, though our feet were begging us to get a cab by the end of the long day of walking. Nice alternative to museums and ruins.

Transportation:
We found it fairly easy to take the Leonardo Express to and from the airport to the train station, and then the 64 bus to near our hotel. The Leo Express leaves every half hour. The bus seemed to be leaving every 5 minutes (we got in around 2pm) and got us to our stop in 15-20 minutes. You can buy bus tickets at the tobacco/newspaper shop out front and across the street from the train station when you arrive. The buses are at the front of the station, a long way from the far end of the station where the train leaves you. Guard your bags on the bus, it is renowned for being a pickpocketer hangout.

Tuscany:

San Antimo Abbey:
Thanks to Stu Dudley’s wonderful 3-weeks-in-Italy guide (thank you, Stu!), we saw and did many lovely things we would otherwise have skipped, including this 12th century abbey. We heard the Gregorian chants at 9 am, only 15 minutes, but really beautiful. The drive from Montalcino and back to the main road was gorgeous.

Driving in Tuscany:
Driving was not as scary as we had imagined. (I should note that we have rented manual transmission cars in England, so this was somewhat easier.) We took a train from Rome to Chiusi, where we picked up our car. The Hertz location is easy to find, right across from the station. We inevitably got lost a few times, but it wasn’t hard to backtrack. We got the Touring Club Italiano map for Tuscany, but found that it didn’t do as good of a job as we would have liked in labeling the roads. Is there a better map out there? We basically navigated by following the road signs from place to place, and only infrequently consulted the map. We rented the car through AutoEurope and I have a beef with them I still have to take care of—we had to pay for 4 days, even though we rented only for 3 days and 2 hours. The guys at the Florence office where we dropped it off swore there was nothing they could do and that I’d have to take it up with the reservationist. Grrr…

Uffizi:
Don’t get the audioguide, not worth it. We got there at 8:45 am and went straight to the Botticelli rooms, where we had lots of time with the paintings and only a handful of other people. We enjoyed the film analyzing the Leonardo Adoration of the Magi painting, and of course the painting itself.

Medici-Riccardi Palace:
On the recommendation of a good friend who lived in Florence for a long time, we visited here to see the Adoration of the Magi chapel. It was stunning and highly recommended, and slightly off the very well beaten path.

Venice:

Trains:
We bought all our train tickets online from the TrenItalia website before we left the states, very easy to do. Just bring the printout with you, board the train when it arrives, and hand the printout to the ticket collectors. We took Eurostar 2nd class trains from Florence to Venice and Venice to Rome, and found them just fine, relatively clean.

Jewish Ghetto:
The museum was okay, but the highlight was the guided tour of the three synagogues. We found it very interesting and our guide was quite knowledgeable. We bought some pretty glass dreidels in the store across the campo.

St. Mark’s Basilica:
One of the absolute highlights of the trip for me. We found the history of the building as a stopover during the Crusades really interesting. Wish we had hired a guide or at least had spent more than a couple of hours there. The mosaic floors were amazing, and the relic room (pay a few euros extra for this) was so bizarre and a little creepy (hope I’m not offending anyone.) Whole holy femur bones in decorated glass jars…weird The Palla d’Oro was pretty amazing, too.

Candy/chocolate stores:
All over Venice were little candy stores that seemed like Willy Wonka franchises. DH was in heaven. Our favorite was a place called “I Love Chocolate,” which was so beautifully decorated, every inch covered in some kind of candy. The hot chocolate from the fountain was superb. Can’t remember the address, but it’s on the main tourist route (follow the signs) from Rialto to St. Mark’s.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for all the help in planning this trip!
mtadams is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 03:18 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,126
Thanks for posting. I agree with Orso 80. This last year we ate there twice and noticed how much the quality went down from previous years.
Grappolo Blu is one of our favorites for pasta (especially their pici). I'm glad you had a great trip.
jabez is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 05:17 AM
  #3  
 
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We leave in two days, so your trip report was timed just right for us! Thanks for taking the time to post and for all the great tidbits that I have copied for "our" journey. I loved that you went into great detail about the hotels and also the restaurants.
Brahmama is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 06:31 AM
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Great report we leave in a couple of weeks. Question about the train website though - it has a space to put the train car number and the seat numbers in. How are you supposed to find out the car number? Thanks. Jeri
rosexmke is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 06:59 AM
  #5  
 
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Very informative report, mtadams. Sounds like you had a great trip.
Statia is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 07:07 AM
  #6  
 
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Thanks for the great report, mtadams. Nice organization.

Agree with you on Orso 80, we were underwhelmed too. Went to Da Bafetto arount 10:30, wasn't crowded at all, lots of fun, cheap and pizza very delicious.

Jeri, you can leave that section on the Trenitalia site blank - it's only for people trying to purchase seats near friends or family that already have tix.

LAwoman is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:21 AM
  #7  
 
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mtadams,
Thank you for the trip report. I see that you believe as I do that food in Italy is a major part of the trip.
Henry is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 01:25 PM
  #8  
 
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Excellent, very enjoyable tip report! I agree with you about hlocke1's trip report - it helped me a great deal for our trip last February and I got the same Fossil bag and loved it!

My husband and I are hoping to go to Venice next year and so I will keep your report in my files. Thanks!

Linda
LCBoniti is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 01:45 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi Mtadams,

Thanks for the trip report. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Montalcino and Grappolo Blu. I had some of the same dishes and my mouth was watering all over again from your descriptions.

Wish I could have dinner there tonight....
Dayle is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 04:38 PM
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Thanks so much for the trip report and all the great information.
artlover is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 06:33 PM
  #11  
 
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Sounds like you had a great time.

Your trip report brought back wonderful memories of our trip to Tuscany and Rome last year. We also loved Grappolo Blu.

Thanks for sharing.
mv_rd is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 08:22 PM
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Great report. Love the detail. Thanks!
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 08:39 PM
  #13  
kdi
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 21
Hi,
My wife and I were in Italy around the same same time as you.

Your report simply flooded my mind with the wonderful memories of our holiday.

cheers
kdi is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Haven't read it all yet, but your report sounds great. Thanks for sharing--I'm going to look into some of the places you stayed.
Maire is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Thanks for the report, I enjoyed it. I was at Orso 80 in both Sept and March and it was very good. Your experience there is the one I had at der Pallaro (also both Sept and March), it was OK but not wonderful in March.
SusanP is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 08:43 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
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Thanks, all, for the all the wonderful feedback! Nice to hear.

Brahmama, have a great trip, it is such a magical place. Glad the report brought back good memories, kdi!

Glad to hear that others had similarly amazing experiences (and even some of the same dishes!) at Grappolo Blu. Isn't it out of this world? I could eat there every night for a month and be in heaven. Sorry to hear you had the same not-so-great experiences at Orso 80, jabez and LAWoman. SusanP, glad to hear you liked it.

Jeri, LAWoman is right about the train, just leave those sections blank.
mtadams is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 08:46 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 648
Susan, we were disappointed in der Pallaro too! And we're not that picky.

Loved Da Baffetto & Diny & Tony's tho.
LAwoman is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 06:56 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 730
Enjoyed the trip report. Orso 80 ....lots of dishes but nothing very special as far as taste and seasoning goes. Had one very good meal Oct. 2004 at der Pallaro then 2 not very good ones in 2005 so for me...never again. One jewel of a restaurant though in same area is La Tartaruga, Via del Monte della Farina 53, phone 06 68132127 closed Monday. This place far exceeds the other 2 restaurants by far.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 04:21 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 894
Lowcountrycarol...I also enjoyed La Tartaruga...it was one of the best meals on our last trip to Italy. The mountain nettle risotto was to die for!!
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:52 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,962
mtadams

Thanks for telling us about your trip.

Re the car rental thing: actually, I have often found it to be the case that if one rents for a part day, one is nonetheless charged for a full day (others' experience may differ?) Sometimes a 30 min or 60 min 'grace period' following the last 24 hours is given, but otherwise a full day is charged. Since you rented through Autoeurope, I'm a bit surprised that this wasn't made clear to you (or were you given to understand something else?)

Glad you had a good time.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  

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