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Wonton Soup, The Roman Way -- Trip Report for Capri, Amalfi, and Rome

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May 6th, 2009, 10:08 PM
  #21
 
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Nice pics. I was in Capri the last couple of days before Easter weekend.

iPhoto keywords for the descriptions?

Post-processing for color?
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May 8th, 2009, 08:59 AM
  #22
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scrb -- I don't understand your questions.

I've been distracted, sorry. Will try to get through this trip report speedily.

The hyrdofoil ride to Amalfi was quick. Upon arrival it was a bit of a challenge finding the alley leading to La Minerva; we walked too far and had to back-track. We met a man from the States while waiting for the hydrofoil in Capri, Jonathan, who helped us with our luggage to the hotel. He managed all four of our suitcases, one at a time. For those who know the steps leading to the hotel, you can understand the energy this young man has. The hotel will send someone to you at the harbor to transport your luggage, but we had no way of contacting them. Upon departing the hotel, Agnese called the luggage service who picked up our luggage and took it directly to our driver. All the hotels in town pay for this service so it is free for their guests. Of course, a tip is a good idea.

Jonathan joined us for dinner that night at Il Teatro, Via E. Marini, 19. I highly recommend this restaurant. It was recommended by someone on this board and I'm glad we made the effort to find it. This was one of our favorite restaurants of the trip and we ate there twice. Not only is the quality of the food high, but it is very reasonably priced. Try the pizza -- the best pizza we had on the trip. Try the grilled sausage. Our second meal here was lunch. We were just looking for something light. Well, it turned into a banquet as we kept ordering things. I couldn't believe the bill -- it was around 38 euros for the four of us and that includes the cover charges. This restaurant is family-owned and it is interesting to watch the dynamics.

The other restaurant I recommend is Il Tari. It's on the main street, so you shouldn't have difficulty finding it. Pick up their business card at the hotel front desk and note the 10% discount on the back. www.amalfiweb.it/ristoranteiltari.

Bargain of the week: I stopped one afternoon on the main street to a place selling pizza by the slice for 1 euro.

One evening we didn't want to sit down to a full dinner so we went to l'abside wine and snack bar, recommended by the hotel. This was fine -- nothing fancy, but was just what we were looking for. You can even get a hamburger here.

We thoroughly enjoyed staying in Amalfi. It is a place where people live. Yes, there are many tourist shops, but they are intermingled with real life. The weather wasn't so great while we were there and I could tell it was hurting business. Shopping here is good and much less expensive than Capri. In Capri I bought a small bottle of Limoncello for 7 euros. The same size bottle in Amalfi was 2 euros. I bought an alarm clock in Amalfi for 9 euros.

We took the free Sunday morning tour of the city. The guide took us into the Cathedral (2 euros) for a thorough tour of the museum and crypt. I had read on this board that the Cathedral was not worth the 2 euros, but I'm thinking this person did not know about the museum or crypt. He took us through the alleys telling us about how they would foil the pirates.

On our first full day we headed to Ravello. Now I understand why so many people on the board recommend a visit here. I loved Ravello. I stopped into the church and the Villa Rufolo, and then the Villa Cimbrone. I wish I'd had more time for Ravello and better weather. The Villa Cimbrone was quite large and I didn't have time to cover it all. It was a bit of a walk, and the walk back was a lot of uphill. Still, it is definitely worth the effort. I could see myself staying in Ravello and exploring more.

One day we took the boat to Positano, stayed a few hours and headed back to Amalfi. The views are dramatic, and there is a lot of shopping to do if you are into shopping. If I was a shopper, I probably could have dented my credit card here. We did not have lunch here, so I have no restaurant recommendations. I think I would have enjoyed Positano more if I had stayed here, not so much as a day trip.

Through a recommendation on this board, I think it was you, ekscrunchy, I hired Dionisio to drive us from Amalfi to Rome. I feel comfortable recommending him as a driver. With four of us he picked us up in what he termed a "space wagon." The van was large enough for seven people, so we had plenty of room to stretch out. The plan was to drive us to Pompeii, wait as we visited for three hours, and then drive us to our hotel in Rome. The cost was 400 euros, and I think that was a very fair price considering he had to drive all the way back from Rome. Due to the poor weather, we dropped our time in Pompeii to two hours. It was cloudy when we got there and it started to drizzle about 30 minutes into the visit, then it began to rain. I need to find his contact information to post here.
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May 8th, 2009, 09:41 AM
  #23
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Correct website to Il Tari: www.amalfiristorantetari.it/
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May 8th, 2009, 02:15 PM
  #24
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Contact information for our driver: [email protected]

It wasn't planned, but we were fortunate to be in Italy during Culture Week. All state museums are free during Culture Week. When we arrived at Pompeii we still needed to go to the ticket booth for a ticket--at least there was no line for the ticket and no line to entire the property. The weather may have had something to do with that. There were plenty of people at Pompeii while we were there, but by no means was it crowded. When we arrived at Pompeii we were approached by someone offering a private tour for 100 euros. He mentioned that to walk through Pompeii without a guide is just looking at a pile of rocks. He had a point, but we chose instead to rent the audio guides at five euros each for two people; for a single audio guide it is six euros. This was the only major rain we encountered on the trip other than one night after dinner and it didn't start to rain until we reached our hotel. Then the thunder started and the skies opened up.

We also got into the Colosseum for free. They also have the concept that you must line up to get a ticket -- I don't get that. What difference does it make? It's free, so why don't they just open the gates and let people in rather than make them wait in line for a free ticket? We arrived at the Colosseum after our tour of the Vatican Museums and were approached by someone asking if we would like to join the English speaking tour departing in a few minutes and avoid the ticket line. I think the cost of the tour was 12 euros and included a tour of the Forum. Due to time constraints we skipped the Forum tour. The tour was worthwhile. Keeping in mind what the guide said at Pompeii about just looking at a pile of rocks, I think the tour of the Colosseum was a good idea.

Following the Colosseum we took a taxi to the Ghetto where we were meeting our tour guide for a walking tour of the Ghetto and Trastevere. We did not check to see if the driver was using a meter and we did not ask for an approximate price. I believe this is the only time we got ripped off by a taxi driver as he charged us 18 euros when it should have been more like 10 euros. It was a short distance and there was little traffic. He settled for 17 euros. Our guide was Sergio Bartolini with Rome Insight. Very nice man, and he was flexible to what we were interested in seeing and gave us insight to the origins of the Ghetto and the area of Trastevere. We ended the tour near the Pantheon where we stopped into dinner at a restaurant he recommended, Ristorante der Pallaro, Largo del Pallaro, 15. Sergio can be reached at [email protected]. www.romeinsight.com. The cost of the private four-hour walking tour (that we reduced the three hours due to exhaustion) was 165 for the four of us. If in Rome again, I will be sure to reserve with Sergio again.

The Ristorante de Pallaro was on my list of suggested restaurants. There is no menu -- you eat what they are serving that evening. The food was simple, the wine was okay. It was a four-course dinner for 25 euros. The experience was interesting; the food plentiful, but just okay. We were the first to arrive; in fact, I think Sergio talked with them to seat us before the opening time. The place filled up within an hour of our start. When I went to the restroom (one toilet for all) I saw a newspaper article (in English) posted to the wall with a restaurant review of the place by Rick Steves.
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May 8th, 2009, 03:27 PM
  #25
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Great stuff. Thanks for continuing to share. I know these reports don't write themselves.
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May 8th, 2009, 03:53 PM
  #26
 
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luvtotravel...I was a little skeptical about spending 5 nights on Capri in Sept (Staying at Albergo Mamela). After viewing your pictures, I'm not longer doubting my decision, I'm actually quite glad about it!!

Great photos! Thanks for sharing!
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May 8th, 2009, 07:41 PM
  #27
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dcd, I hope you're able to take something from this report for your own use.

Masterphil, five nights on Capri might be too long for some people. It wouldn't be for me. It all depends on what interests you. Some folks need to run around all the time to see museums and monuments -- those folks might get bored on Capri after a couple of nights. I believe Albergo Mamela is on the same road as La Minerva.

I realize this report has been a bit choppy and not as entertaining as many that are posted. I also hope you have been able to get beyond my sometimes lack of proper spelling and grammar. I usually do not write as I think, and that is what I'm doing this time around--without notes. I'm one of those people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time so I'm not always phrasing well.

Back to the report:

Before we went to the Colosseum we took a two-hour tour of the Vatican Museums. I booked these tickets online through the Vatican website several weeks prior to the trip at 30 euros per person. That fee included the ticket, reservation fee, guide and audio headset. The guide spoke into a microphone and each of us had a device with an earpiece (you get to keep the earpiece at the end). I liked that as I tend to lag behind and I could still hear what she was saying. The Museums are vast and two hours went by quickly. Had I taken Art Appreciation in school this would have been too fast, but her commentary was adequate for me. Throughout the tour I (thankfully) did not see people using their camera flashes until we got to the Sistine Chapel. We were told that no cameras were allowed in this last section. Lo and behold, we walk into this very crowded room people are flashing their cameras like crazy; they were also using video cameras. I saw a guard standing there, aware of what people were doing, but did nothing to stop them.
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May 8th, 2009, 08:16 PM
  #28
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Marian went home on Thursday and we were down to three people. Maritza and I had stopped in Orvieto three years ago and had a wonderful lunch. We were determined to go back, not just to have lunch, but to have a little more time to explore the hill town. Also, it would be something different for Mommie to see in Italy. The train ride is about an hour north of Rome. Upon exiting the train station we found ourselves across from the funicular. We were starting to like these funiculars. Once up in town we took a bus to the Cathedral; the bus is covered under the funicular ticket. From there we back-tracked to the restaurant. We remembered parking underground and walking up some stairs, then an elevator, then an escalator, and finally a people mover, just to get to the street. The restaurant was right across from the exit. We were so pleased with ourselves when we found the restaurant only to learn it had changed hands and changed menus. It was still a good lunch and Maritza was thrilled with her ravioli with cheese and honey. al Pozzo Etrusco Ristorante, Piazza de' Ranieri, 2.

We have now been enjoying Italian cuisine for two weeks, but were ready for something else. Returning from Termini Station we passed a Chinese restaurant and decided to give it a try. I was happy with my wonton soup and curried chicken and the ladies were happy with their dishes, too. When traveling I like to try different cuisines. On my last trip to Paris and Amsterdam we had a different cuisine each night -- Greek, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, French, Middle Eastern, etc. I find it interesting that in Italy it is primarily Italian food. Don't get me wrong -- the Italian cuisine is excellent, but don't the people who live there want some variety in their diets? Is there fast food other than paninis and pizza? If so, I didn't see much other than a McDonald's near the train station, and I don't eat at McDonald's. I hope I don't get stoned for voicing my opinion.

Maritza and Mommie went home on Friday and I had the day to myself. Mostly I walked around the city in the morning until my appointment at the Borghese Gallery at 1:00 pm. It's surprising just how small and walkable Rome is. I booked my reservation online about two weeks before the trip. As it was Culture Week, there was no entrance fee -- just a three euro reservation fee. For those wondering, I booked online the same way as if I was paying a fee. When the reservation was complete, they showed a fee of zero and the three euro reservation fee charged to my credit card. I arrived early and had time to check my bag and camera (no cameras allowed in the Gallery) and rent a headset. I'm glad I was early as a tour group showed up just after me and there was suddenly a long line to check bags. I kept my valuables with me in my money wallet (inside my pants) and my wrist wallet. They might allow small bags into the Gallery -- I'm not sure. If you decide you want a headset, be sure you keep five euros handy. To use the bathroom they have a sign that says you need to show your ticket or reservation receipt to use it, but I didn't see the sign until after I had used the facility, so I guess they are not strict about it.
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May 8th, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #29
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Amazing, just amazing. The Bernini statues alone were worth the visit -- Persephone and Apollo/Dapne. I was glad I did some research on what would be on display as it made so much more sense to know the stories than just walking by. The audio walks you around the statues pointing out things you might miss. Upon entering the Galleria I went directly upstairs as the tour groups started on the ground floor. At times I was alone in the rooms.

Following my time in the Galleria I wandered through the garden and worked my way back to Termini where I had an early dinner at the Auto Grill -- not the most gourmet of meals, but I wanted to get back to the hotel early for my last packing and the weather was turning ugly.

I don't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but I want to share one other item I took on the trip, a wrist wallet. I have two and use them when I go to the gym so I don't need a locker or leave valuables in the car. I have one in fleece and one in a stretchy fabric. I wore these under long sleeve shirts or jacket, so may not be as worthwhile in summer.
www.sprigsville.com/banjees/detail1.html

I flew in United's business class on frequent flyer points. When I arrived at Dulles I headed to the Red Carpet Club in Concourse C and was turned away because the woman at the desk said I was now on a domestic flight. What? There was no persuading her, so I went to the other Red Carpet Club in Concourse C and had no difficulty whatsoever in gaining admittance. The meals in business class were truly terrible. I've had the luxury of flying United's international first class where the meals are good. I think the food they served in business class was the same food they served in coach only with linen and plates.

That concludes my trip report. I would be happy to answer questions.
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May 8th, 2009, 08:55 PM
  #30
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If you would like to read some of my other trip reports along with photos, you can find them at http://travelswithdiane.homestead.com/journals.html. Should I ever figure out how to get the RAW photos I took on this trip to Italy to open, I will add them to the website I noted at the top of this post. I love technology, but I can't always get the components to work together.

Diane
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May 9th, 2009, 06:38 AM
  #31
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Splendid report. Yes, I got lots out of it and just in the nick of time. We'll be leaving for that area very soon in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary.

And thanks for the links to your other reports and photos. You have a very nice eye. Your photos remind me of the kind of shots I like to take. I wish I'd gone digital long before 2007...... I'm not up for paying to have the old snapshots digitized, at least not yet. You've been to places that are on our list so it's very nice to have the photos (and reports) to inspire us.
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May 9th, 2009, 04:35 PM
  #32
 
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Our five nights in Capri, come at end of our trip. Kind of a wind down before flight home. We are not "museum people," more hiking, boat rides around island types. Hotel with pool could mean a couple of days sitting poolside, sipping limoncello. Probably a day trip or two to Positano and Amalfi.

Your photos just got the excitement level for the trip up again!

Thanks!
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Sep 28th, 2009, 08:16 AM
  #33
 
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luvtotravel,
I just finished reading bardo1's trip report. I'm so glad you included the link to your trip report. We are going to Rome, Pienza, and Amalfi in May. Your report and photos made me want to get on a plane right now! We are also staying at the Hotel Floridiana ( recommended by a post on Fodor's). I'm glad I was able to "view" the hotel before staying there. Whats up with the blue lights? Could you see to apply makeup etc? Thanks for sharing the details of your trip, I also made note of your restaurant suggestions. Thanks again.
Judy
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Sep 28th, 2009, 05:48 PM
  #34
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Hi Judy. No problem with the blue lights. Sorry I spoiled the surprise. You can make them white lights as normal. Floridiana is a lovely place to stay. I suggest you splurge on the duplex room as the cost to do so is minimal.

My photos from Pienza in 2006. I fell in love with Pienza, too. http://travelswithdiane.homestead.co...17tuscany.html
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Sep 28th, 2009, 07:30 PM
  #35
 
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luvtotravel,
We have reservations for a junior suite at Hotel Floridiana. Once again I throughly enjoyed your photos of Pienza. You can tell you love photography. I feel like I took a "mini" trip to Italy
through your trip report and pictures.
Regards,
Judy
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