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Trip report - Venice, Cinque Terre, Siena and Florence

Trip report - Venice, Cinque Terre, Siena and Florence

Oct 25th, 2003, 05:03 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Trip report - Venice, Cinque Terre, Siena and Florence

I lurked on this board for many months, gleaning tons of information, which was so very helpful in planning my trip that I thought it only fair to share a bit.

Just a bit of background -- we were three women traveling together so all hotel prices are for triple rooms. Our budget was in the moderate range. All hotel reservations, with the exception of Siena, were made months in advance. And we traveled everywhere by train. So here goes:

Venice -- October 12-15
I loved Venice -- it was pretty much what I thought it would be. We didn't really do much -- mostly just wandered around soaking up atmosphere. We took a gondola ride which I really enjoyed -- I think it cost us about 30 euros each and lasted about 45 minutes.

Hotel: We stayed at a fabulous B&B called Gli Angeli -- can't say enough good things about this place. Spotlessly clean, it was actually a two-room apartment that comfortably sleeps four -- it has a small bedroom with two twin beds and a large main room with one king that can be converted into two twin beds. It also has a fully equipped kitchen with an expresso machine and a small garden area in the back. The very helpful owner is Sonia, who lives upstairs, for our arrival she had the fridge stocked with milk, juice, wine, bottled waters in addition to coffee, packaged pastries, etc. It's located in a quiet area in the Castello district, less than a five minute walk from the Arsenale bus stop and 10 minutes walk to San Marcos. All this for 130 Euros a night (cash payment) this was by far the best deal we had the whole trip (maybe in all of Venice!).

Cinque Terre -- October 15-18
Really enjoyed Cinque Terre, maybe it had something to do with going in mid October because we didn't experience any of the crowds that I've read so much about. We were really lucky with the weather and had an absolutely beautiful, glorious, sunny day for our hike. I was really apprehensive about the hike as we had heard so many different accounts (difficult, dangerous, steep, narrow, crowded etc.) but it turned out to be great -- the views were spectacular and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The trail between Vernazza and Corniglia was closed so I can't comment about that section -- maybe that was the scary, steep part that I'd heard so much about. We did the Monterosso to Vernazza hike in about an hour and a half then took the boat from Vernazza to Riomaggiore and hiked from there to Manarola and then to Corniglia where we climbed up the hundreds of stairs (300 +!) to town. We ended up hanging out drinking wine and just enjoying the atmosphere of this charming small town. Be warned about the train schedules though -- we went by the one posted in town which turned out to be very old and so just missed the train back to Monterosso and had to wait at the dark and cold station for what seemed like forever (probably an hour). Be sure to get a new schedule and don't believe anything posted in town!

Also did a day trip to Portovenere -- a very nice picturesque little town, it's an easy 45 minute boat ride from Monterrosso.

Hotel: We stayed at Villa Steno in Monterosso, another place I can heartily recommend. Nothing too special about the room although it was very comfortable, we had three twin beds just as we requested and a balcony with a nice view of the town and water. Everything else about it was great -- the staff was always helpful, they put out a great breakfast, internet access was a nice feature too. We were too lazy to go out the night of our hike and they made us yummy bruschettas right at the bar (about 5 euros each). The location in town was really handy -- the initial walk up the long driveway is a bit challenging (especially with luggage) but once you've checked in there's a shortcut through the garden which lands you right in the middle of town. Well worth the price of 140 Euros (cash) for a triple!

Siena -- October 18-20
We had left these two nights open without a real plan so at the last minute decided to head for Siena. Our one full day there was a Sunday which meant most of the shops were closed, luckily though it was beautiful and sunny after raining the day before. We had a nice time hanging out in the Il Campo, we also climbed the city tower (Torre del Mangia) for absolutely gorgeous views of the countryside.

We stayed at Hotel Cannon d'Oro and it was OK, certainly nothing special, but it was clean and the location was good. We paid 104 Euros per night which did not include breakfast an extra 5 euros each.

Florence -- October 20-22
I don't think I'll say much about Florence, as I might not give it a fair shake. I managed to come down with a cold and was not feeling good -- basically I just followed my two friends, trudging behind them and continuously blowing my nose -- not a pretty sight! I was pretty much in a fog but I know we did manage to see David (which was awesome!) and the Uffizi, climbed the cathedral's dome (beautiful views!), walked across the river to Piazzale Michelangelo (more beautiful views), went into many churches and did some shopping. I wish we'd had an extra day to take a tour into countryside but guess I'll have to save that for the next trip!

Hotel: We stayed at Hotel Bellettini in the annex which was wonderful -- a nice big room, comfy beds and a beautiful bathroom not to mention really nice white fluffy towels. I read somewhere that it's like a three star hotel with two star prices but I think it was more like a four star. They also have tea/coffee making facilities right in the room which was a great convenience. I didn't see any rooms in the main building so can't compare but given the choice I think I'd advise going with the annex. They had a wonderful breakfast here as well. We paid 160 euros for a triple.


Well I've never done a trip report here so I hope it isn't too long winded and has some helpful information. Please feel free to post any questions.
CollK is offline  
Oct 25th, 2003, 05:29 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I wrote down all the hotels you stayed at. I traveled with 3 woman in September and paid 284 euros in Venice ,240Euros in Florence,285 Euros in Rome and 440 Euros in Positano. It was our biggest expense total each was 1,300 Euros. We are planning another trip in 18 months but realy need to cut corners thanks for the info. on hotels.
lulu1929 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2003, 06:22 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Collk, welcome back!!
I fell in love with Cinque terre and want to go back.I spent a week in manarola and it was great!!
kismetchimera is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 05:01 AM
  #4  
ira
 
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Hi collk,

Thanks for sharing. Too bad about your cold.

Any restaurant recommendations?
ira is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 05:16 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi CollK,

Welcome back. I just got home last night from my own trip to Italy. So glad you posted the info on Venice. That B&B sounds like a real treasure. Can you give the full address or email or fax? Thanks. And for the hotel in Florence.

Your trip sounds wonderful. So glad you had a good time and thanks for sharing.

adrienne
adrienne is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 09:39 AM
  #6  
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Sorry..... after I posted my report I thought maybe I should have included some web sites.

Gli Angeli is listed on www.venere.com but I contacted Sonia, the owner, directly and received a better rate. Her email address is [email protected]. The web site is: http://www.gliangeli.net/.

I don't know Hotel Cannon d'Oro's web site but it looks like their email address is: [email protected].

To get the rate of 140 euros at Villa Steno we showed them the Rick Steves book and paid cash otherwise I think its 150 euros. I don't know how important it really is to show the book but you do have pay cash for the discount. The web site is www.villasteno.com.

There's lots of information on this board about Hotel Bellettini, its very popular here, you can do a search and get lots of info. Their web site is hotelbellettini.com

I don't remember so much about the restaurants we went to. I do remember Venice was really expensive, we went to Al Covo one night and the meal was good but not extraordinarily so. Its owned by an American woman and her Italian husband and everyone dining there was American -- don't know if that's good or bad thing but I didn't really feel like I was away from home.


CollK is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 01:15 PM
  #7  
SRS
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 679

Hi CollK,

I just read your trip report and am intrigued about the Gli Angeli B&B. I am hoping you might be able to answer a couple of my questions.

When I went to the website, it wasn't clear to me whether it's a situation where you are renting a room within an apartment and you share the kitchen and bathroom or if you are renting an apartment.

It seems like this should be pretty clear, but I am struggling. I'm thinking that "Suite "Bella Venezia" (apartment for 4 person mq 65)" is an actual apartment and the others are rooms within an apartment.

Please let me know what it is.

Thanks so much!!!
SRS
SRS is offline  

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