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

Trip REport Sept '07 Italy with a sidetrip to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Trip REport Sept '07 Italy with a sidetrip to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Jan 15th, 2008, 04:16 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Trip REport Sept '07 Italy with a sidetrip to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Firstly, thankyou for all your postings on Fodors. I read trip report after trip report and even asked a few questions, so thanks one and all for the great information and your opinions. I hope this inspires some new travellers and rekindles some memories for others.
My husband and I flew out from Sydney and arrived some 24hours later at Rome airport at 7.30am.
Yes! Our luggage arrived and then we were met by our driver RomeShuttleLimousine and taken to our apartment in Via San Salvatore near Campo Dei Fiori. www.rentalinrome.com Our driver had a little trouble finding the apartment, The street became too narrow so he reversed out and found another way in. We stopped in a cobblestone street, garbage in a pile, another driver yelling at our driver and workmen with paint all over them coming from what apparently was our doorway. Yes this is Italy! The owner appeared apologising for the workmen, they were to be finished a week ago.(young friendly Italian men – no need to apologise to me!) Up 5 flights of stairs with our luggage past 4 workmen, 3 ladders, tools and paint to our home for the next 5 nights. I did wonder if I had done the right thing going for an apartment first off. We paid our host and she left us contact numbers, then as she left I looked at my husbands jeans –splattered with white paint, not a happy face but I couldn’t start on a bad note so told him we could shop in Rome for new jeans.
Showered, put the jeans in the wash(it was just plaster so came straight out) admired out wonderful view from our balcony, pinched myself(we are really in Italy!) then down the stairs past the workman, carefully, straight to have coffee then found Campo dei Fiori and bought fresh fruit and beautiful juicy tomatoes, found a little supermarket/deli to buy bread, coffee, vino and other supplies, back up the stairs, past the workmen, eat, more coffee then ready to explore.
We did a hopon/off bus tour, then off the bus near the Spanish steps, (more steps!) and walked to Borghese Gardens for a stroll and stop for Gelato before our reservations to the Borghese Gallery. This was amazing, it was all I had read about and more. We slowly strolled back through the gardens to catch the hop on/off bus and finish the full circuit, back to our apartment, up the stairs, no workmen but all their gear, careful not to touch the walls or fall in the hole at the bottom of the stairs. Dinner on the balcony, early night after watching some TV- A Country Practise -an Australian drama in Italian.
Hope this is not too long, more to follow.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 04:28 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,021
What a great start! Keep it coming, please...
enroute is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:19 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 2- Up early, church bells ringing, listening and watching the neighbourhood come to life, coffee and breakfast on the balcony then down those stairs and greeted by the “young friendly Italian workmen“. We caught the bus to Colosseum (love that sight as the colosseum comes into view). Went to buy a combined Palatine/Colosseum ticket but the staff at Palatine Hill were on strike for a couple of hours (It’s Italy!) so went to The Forum and Capitoline Museums which was great and then a coffee and back to the Palatine, wandered through there and then onto the Colosseum, which we enjoyed exploring. We had eaten all our snacks, drunk all our water and it was past my lunch time well and truly, so we caught the bus to Piazza Navona area and found a little restaurant in a laneway where some locals were dining with their dogs under the table. After 2 huge delicious pizzas(zucchini flowers on one, Proscuitto on the other) and a nice bottle of red, we were recharged to explore Piazza Navona, then machiati at Café Eustachio and gelati at Giolitti. Off to Trevi Fountain and threw the coins in and sat to people watch, walked back to our apartment via Campo dei Fiori and the supermarket, up the 5 flights, YFIM (Young, Friendly, Italian Workmen ) had finished for the day. In the night we went on the hop on/off bus which was great to see Rome by night then slept very well. Exhausto but happy.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:52 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 500
I'm also enjoying your report. Please continue
mebe is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:10 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,574
Thanks. Keep it coming!
Hershey is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:23 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Thank you enroute, mebe and Hershey for your encouragement. Glad you are enjoying the report so far.I have ironing and other boring things to do but this is more enjoyable so here goes.
Day 3-Up early with the bells and enjoyed watching the sights from our balcony. Down the stairs to be greeted by the YFIM then walked along the Tiber River (we really enjoyed the walking in Rome and it made it ok to eat all the gelati, food and vino.) to St Peter’s Square. It had been wonderful to see it from the bus but now we got the full impact of it’s size as we approached on foot. Loved the early morning quietness before the crowds arrived. Walked all around the square and watched the changing of the guards before our 9.30am Excavations Tour.This is a wonderful tour and quite amazing to see all this history before us. The guide was passionate and explained things well. I came out with goosebumps feeling privileged to have seen these excavations under the Vatican and learnt a lot too.
As we left the tour we were able to go straight into St Peter’s Basilica without queing and we were awestruck with the size and beauty. Next we went through the Vatican Grottoes which was very crowded especially around the tomb of Pope John Paul II.
We walked from the Vatican through the Trastevere district and again hunger and thirst helped us to decide on a restaurant for lunch. It was a lovely little restaurant, of course in a little laneway, called La Concinara. The walking had earnt us entrees of Zucchini flowers and Stracciatella soup, followed by mains of Fettucine Porcini and seafood Risotto. Yum, wish I was back there. Oh, and of course a bottle of red!
After lunch we visited Basilica Di Santa Maria in Trastevere with stunning mosaics and bell tower(these bells ring every 15mins) We walked back to our apartment having gelati on the way.Of course, one gelato a day!
After a relaxing dinner on the balcony we returned to the Basilica Di Santa Maria for mass and a concert featuring a beautiful choir. They were wonderful and the setting was wonderful. We sat in the café at the Piazza and enjoyed coffee and desert before a lovely walk back to our apartment in the rain- lucky we had our wet weather gear. It was lovely crossing the Tiber with Castel Sant Angelo in the background.Then a bit of Italian TV – South Park in Italian. Another great day in Italia!
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 11:56 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 4-Up early with the bells. Down to Campo dei Fiori for fresh food and supplies. Nice breakfast on the balcony, then walked back through Campo, to via Giulia, to the river and across to the Vatican Museums for our 10.30am reservation for a guided tour. We had time for a coffee before entering which got our minds ready to take everything in. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel were amazing. I loved all the art and found the details of the paintings wonderful. I would not want to do everything with guides but found this very informative and it was very interesting to have the paintings explained by someone so passionate- also we didn’t have to line up. The line to the museums is crazy. After the tour we had the choice to go back through the museums again or straight into the Sistine Chapel which we did and slowly went through trying to absorb as much as possible with some of the crowd making a terrible noise and some even taking photos with flash. We then made our exit to the Basilica again for another look. Amazing! We got a quick lunch on route to Piazza Del Popolo and spent some time there, before walking along Via Corso. We visited The Pantheon which also is amazing. Coffee, then found a travel agent near the Pantheon so booked train tickets for our next leg of the trip- saved us going to the station as we hadn’t booked our trains before leaving home and found it worked well to just book at each city. Spent some time wandering and finding wonderful sights around every corner.
Back to the apartment for a well earnt rest. We went to Campo dei Fiori for happy hour- limoncello of course.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 03:47 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,021
This is so vivid, thank you, keep it coming, please...
enroute is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:08 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 5-Second last breakfast on our balcony-oh no.
Today we walked up to Aventine Hill. We visited Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin and the Bocca Della Verita- Mouth of Truth. (from a scene in “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn) We still have our hands! We walked up the hill for some wonderful views of Rome, looked through the keyhole in the Priory Wall. A very unique view of St Peter’s Basilica Dome.We walked to Circo Massimo through a lovely area of Rome past a beautiful rose garden and orange garden then we visited several churches and walked through the Teatro Marcello area, Jewish Ghetto to Sacra di Largo Argentina and the Cat Sanctuary. We got tickets at the AS Roma Store at Piazza Colonna for a AS Roma versus Inter Milan soccer game. I was a little unsure of this(football fans can be abit wild) but my husband said it would be great and it was. Caught a metro to Ottaviano-San Pietro then a bus to the stadium. We had seats in a safe area in line with one of the goals. Around 70,000 people, the atmosphere was incredible and when a goal was scored the fans at one end rush each other so they bring in the security. Fans try climbing the glass barriers that separate them and flares are let of, but I felt safe the whole time(the locals sitting near reassured me). It was very easy to leave the stadium and get a bus back. We just had to get out of a sea of motor scooters as we left. Back to a restaurant at Camp dei Fiori for dinner. Ah! Our last night in Roma.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 06:04 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 6- We didn’t want to leave Rome, not just because Rome is so wonderful but I think staying there for 5 nights you start to feel comfortable with your surroundings. It must be great to stay for a long period of time.
After a relaxed breakfast on our balcony we got organised and descended the stairs for the last time. No YFIM, it was Sunday and their work was nearly done. Caught the bus from Torre del Argentina even though we couldn’t find a shop selling tickets(Sunday lots are closed) not to worry its Italy!
Caught the Eurostar from Termini station to Naples. At Naples I knew we had to go down stairs to transfer to the circumvesiana train and saw where to go but couldn’t remember where to buy the tickets and couldn’t find my notes so we wasted time lining up at the ticket office, but not there and they wouldn’t tell us- I guess they get sick of some tourists especially the way some ask for help. At least we always used a little Italian-it usually got a smile. Finally thought to try the little shop in the station- yes I recalled reading that info here on Fodors. The train was a contrast to the Eurostar we had just caught but it got us to Sorrento okay.
We got a taxi to Villa Anna, we could have walked but weren’t really sure how far. When we left Sorrento we walked back to the station with our luggage ok. Villa Anna is set in a beautiful garden, very private, owned and run by Luisa and her family. We arrived during the grandaughter’s birthday party and they were having a lovely time in the garden with a puppet show. I would have loved to sit down with the bambini to watch! We had a lovely apartment with a little kitchenette and huge bedroom and huge bathroom- very modern. We walked back into town and loved walking through the shops and piazzas. It was limoncello heaven. We walked down to Marina Piccola and booked tickets for the first ferry to Capri for the next day then up the hill for gelato, limoncello, limoncello babas and supplies. We found the webcam near the Sorrento Information- gave a wave then back to Villa Anna to relax, cook our spaghetti pesto served with a good local red and limoncello babas for dessert! Sorrento is wonderful!
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 01:55 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 7- Up early and breakfast was served in a lovely room in the garden. Walked to the Marina and caught the ferry to Capri. We didn’t even get off the wharf at Capri, just decided to catch the first offer of a boat to Grotte Azzurro. We were On a boat with about 20 others who were on a tour. As we climbed into the rowboat we were assigned to, with a lovely American couple, we introduced ourselves as I could see I would be getting rather close to the man when it would be time to lay down and go into the cave. He was having a lovely time- it was rather cosy! It was very busy and touristy but once inside the cave it was truly beautiful - well worth it! The boat got us back to the port quickly and we caught a bus up to Anacapri , a steep and winding climb.
We caught the chairlift up to the top of the island, Mt Solaro. The view was spectacular, looking over to Mt Vesuvius and across to other islands. Picnic lunch , saved us some time as we only have one day on Capri. and what a view.
Walked around Anacapri, enjoyed the sights and a coffee then back down the hill to explore and found a spot for a swim. The rocks were hard to walk on but the water was beautiful.
Caught the ferry back to Sorrento and walked up that steep road, found The Foriegners Club- a great spot for a limoncello or a birre or even a cup of tea (quite a few English on holidays here) must be great to just get a quick flight over for a few days.
Dinner back at Villa Anna then into town for a few drinks and then we went to the webcam to hold up our big happy birthday sign for our son . We had pre arranged this with our daughter to be on the webcam site at a certain time. We sang happy birthday on the mobile to him and looked pretty silly standing in the square. Some Americans came up and joined in, our son thought we were crazy.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 05:44 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 500
Sounds like a wonderful trip -- we enjoyed watching The Wizard of Oz, dubbed in Italian.
mebe is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 12:31 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 8- We booked a day tour to Paestum. We had an early start and stopped at Salerno for some sightseeing and morning tea and a tour of the cathedral. Then on to Paestum for a guided tour of the ruins. The temples are amazing and this trip was worth the day spent on it. Lunch was at a little restaurant near the museum and was nice with a very fresh capese salad and panna cotta dessert. Visited the museum and this had some great artefacts and paintings which I think helps give a better understanding to the site.
Bus trip back to Sorrento, then went and booked next train tickets- used a travel agent in the main street. Drinks at The Foreigners Club, then a relaxing night, dinner at Villa Anna.

Day 9- Another early start, walked to the marina and caught the ferry to Positano. Strolled through the lower part of Positano and along the waterfront, then visited the Cathedral, again a beautiful sight. Started on the uphill climb then went down to another little beach which was less crowded and we relaxed here, swimming and dozing until hunger decided it is well and truly lunch time.
Back up the hill to a lovely restaurant we had spotted earlier (Il Saraceno D’Oro) Lunch was esquisito – Whole Fish with parsley, garlic and steamed potatoes and Swordfish with capers, tomatoes and olives. Served with a nice white wine,followed by Profiterole con crema limone, macchiati and complimentary limoncellos.
Time then to walk off lunch , up higher to catch the bus to Amalfi. More wonderful scenery from the bus although a little crowded we got seats on the coast side. Enjoyed strolling the waterfront and up some side streets, visiting the Duomo and more Lmoncello shops( if only I could ship a container back to Sydney) Gelato for dinner then the bus back to Sorrento. This was quite an experience watching some drivers on this winding road at night- the bus driver was very good but understandably lost his temper with some of the other drivers. It kept me awake so I could see the lights of the coast and the moon shining on the water. Another great day in Italia!

AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 02:58 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 10- Today we had planned to visit Pompeii so we walked to the station but “train strike” for the morning (It’s Italy!) so we visited the Lemon Orchard and had tastings of organic limoncello, orangecello and fennelcello? The Nonna was funny and some English folk came in and she kept giving them tastings. They downed them pretty quick then asked if they were alcoholic drinks as they weren’t sure and didn’t usually drink alcohol.
Next we went to Villa Comunale Park for beautiful views and to Chiesa di San Francesco and the Cloister. Here we saw a beautiful Photographic display of Italian sights and was able to buy a CD of this.
Caught the first train to Pompeii and used audio guides for this amazing place. Lots to see and lots of walking. We left tired but pleased to have experienced and a little more knowledgable. Back to Sorrento and we had booked in at La Basilica Restaurant for our last night in Sorrento. A beautiful 3 course meal with a wine from Salerno.

AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 12:15 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 11- Woke early and had breakfast. We again felt sad to leave such a wonderful place but looked forward to what we would discover at the next destination. Caught the 8.20am train to Naples, changed at Naples for Orvieto.
After a pleasant train trip we arrived at Orvieto and caught the funicular up to the town and walked to the Hotel Corso. Basic hotel but clean and good position for our 1 night stay. Wandered the streets and found the magnificent Gothic Duomo.
After visiting the Duomo we booked tickets for the underground tour in English then went to find gelato. 10 minutes before our tour we assembled with a small group and off we went marvelling at the wonderful view from the escarpment down to the valley floor. We greeted our guide and when she responded back in Italian (usually my Italian gets an English response) thought she was being polite but when she continued in Italian we thought we were not going to understand anything- oops we had the wrong tour, the guide explained in beautiful English our tour was in 10 minutes. The tour was very informative and we went through a maze of caves, wine cellars and tunnels.
Orvieto was lovely to wander the streets and find the edge of the town for wonderful views especially near the well “Pozzo di San Patrizio” and the public gardens loacated not far from the funicular.
Dinner was at I Sette Console – beautiful food and service. We walked back up to the Duomo for a night view.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 05:02 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 707
bmk
KL467 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:28 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,574
I'm still reading this.
Hershey is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:04 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 674
ttt
pjsparlor is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:32 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
I'm back. Sorry I should have written all my report then posted it, but I'm getting there.
Day 12- A little nervous today – picking up our rental car!
Breakfast was included and served in the dining room. Very good and probably especially enjoyed it as it was our first “non self catered” breakfast since arriving in Italy.
Found the the Hertz office easy near the station then ready for driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It felt very weird even though I was the passenger. Roundabouts were the greatest cause for concern that needed a little getting used to but otherwise my husband enjoyed the country driving.
After a few missed turns we drove to Civita di Bagnoregio.This was a lovely scenic drive with views back to Orvieto but should have made some stops to appreciate the scenery but I was the map reader (what pressure) We parked in the car park and caught a bus to Civita. It looks like a small island rising out of the valley floor. We walked across the footbridge to this small hill town that the locals are trying to save from slow crumbling erosion. The tourists are beginning to come here in greater numbers but this may be a good thing if the touristdollar can help towards saving the town. Enjoyed some wine tasting and beautiful olive oils, bought some lovely little oil dishes and enjoyed great gelato.
Drove to Todi, stopping off at Lago di Corbara, more beautiful scenery. At Todi we parked near Santa Maria della Consololazione and walked up to Piazza del Popola. We arrived at siesta time and the were only able to view the churches from the outside but enjoyed some pizza and the scenery.
On to Gualdo Cattaneo, well after getting lost I asked some very nice Policemen who headed us in the right direction. Arrived at Le Case Gialle, a wonderful place to stay and would like to return here for a longer stay. [email protected] We stayed in La Terrazza with beautiful views to Spello and Foligno. We visited the little town, bought supplies and cooked dinner, relaxing on the terrace listening to the hunters’ dogs and gunfiring, then watched a spectatular thunderstorm.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:37 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 13- Fresh bread delivered to the door so we enjoyed that for breakfast on the terrace.
Off to Assisi, an easy drive and able to park at the closest car park to town. The town was crowded and had an air of excitement about it. We had arrived on Festival of Peace Day celebrating the Festa di San Francesco. We were lucky to arrive early as we would not have got the car near the town if we arrived later as pilgrims marched in all day, some walking from Perugia.
We had a great day immersed in the atmosphere, sightseeing the town, visiting
- The Basilica di San Francesco(amazing art, architecture and history)
- Piazza del Commune(a lot of the pilgrims were assembling here displaying their town/region flags, dressed in colourful tunics and tights- I got to see Italian men in tights!)
- Duomo San Rufino
- The Basilica di Santa Chiara
- The Rocca ( a decent walk uphill, great views and another gathering point for the Day of Peace pilgrims. We were treated with some interesting modern art displays and free bread with olive oil tastings and nutella, free wine and bottles of water. I have never before seen so much bread in one place .Everyone was in a wonderful celebration mood.
We had coffee and gelato on the way back down through the town and when we finally arrived back at our car, wondered how we would get out as hundreds of pilgrims were still walking into the town. Apparently the celebrations continued into the night. After some time we were able to drive out slowly avoiding the last crowds entering.
We drove back through the countryside to Le case Gialle in time to see the hunters out again with their dogs.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:23 PM.