Italy Journals

Italy: Rome to Venice and In-between in 15 Days

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A May 2007 trip to Italy by paigey121

Travelling through Tuscany Photo, Tuscany, Italy More Photos
Quote: From Rome to Venice: museums, beaches, hiking, scootering.

Italy: Rome to Venice and In-between in 15 Days

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Overview

Quote:
I believe in traveling with a loose framework. Call it "planned spontaneity" if you will. You pay so much to go to Europe, especially Italy, so why waste time in line? I think Rick Steves said you spend an hour to be in Europe on average. Time is money, even on vacation. So here is how I planned my last trip from Rome to Paris: I looked into how best to geographically tour Italy within 16 days. Flights into Rome, Italy are the cheapest and easiest, so we started there. Based on sights that interested me and the times I had been there before, I was able to choose how many days to spend there. We chose: Rome (2 nights), Florence (3 nights), Siena (2 nights), Pisa (afternoon only), Lucca (1 ...Read More

Hostel Cinque Terre (Ostello Cinque Terre)

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Hotel | "Ostello 5 Terre"

Hostel Cinque Terre (Ostello Cinque Terre) Photo, Manarola, Italy
Quote:
Excellent hostel in the town of Manarola, one of the Cinque Terre's 5 towns. The bigger towns (Vernazza and Monterosso) have more options and nightlife. If you want to sleep late and party all night, stay in Monterosso. If you want a cheap, relaxing, safe, clean place to stay and meet a few people, stay here. We paid 23 euros per night for a bed in a six bed single sex dorm room. Great website too: www.cinqueterre.net/ostello They had everything. Washer dryer, rooftop patio, patio, made to order food, Internet, clean rooms and bathrooms, and friendly staff. I made reservations on the Internet, and it confirmed quickly with their ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 6, 2007

Hostel Cinque Terre (Ostello Cinque Terre)
Via B. Riccobaldi, 21
Manarola, Italy 19010
+39 (0)187 920 215

Hotel Rosetta

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Hotel

Quote:
If you want to choose a hotel in Rome that has robes and slippers for you, this is not for you. But if you want a clean, safe, quiet place to stash your bags in a great location, stay here. Based on this type of traveler, I chose the highest rating. Remember, it is impossible to get good and cheap rooms that are NOT next door to the train station in a lot of European towns. Also, hotels near the Spanish Steps typically run 150-200 euros per night to start. Hotel Rosetta (www.rosettahotel.com) doesn't have to best website, but it is all correct. It is about a 10-15 minute walk to the main train station, Rome Termini. There is a subway s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 23, 2007

Hotel Rosetta
Via Cavour Scala 295 B/1
Rome, Italy
39 (0)6 478-23-069

Casa Rabatti

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Hotel

Quote:
Casa Rabatti is run by a Florentine woman, Marcella, who you just want to hug all the time. She lives there I believe and keeps up the rooms and bathrooms herself. She speaks a little English, but will go on talking to you in Italian also. Funny thing is you start to understand what she is saying, and then you can't remember what language you are supposed to speak. We paid 75 euros each night and had a triple room. I booked it over email: casarabatti@inwind.it. I think she charges about 25 euros per bed in most situations.It was about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station and about a 5 minute walk to the central market. The room w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2007

Casa Rabatti
Via San Zanobi, 48
Florence, Italy
+39 (0)55 212393

Albergo Bernini

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Hotel

Quote:
Siena is a great Tuscan town that isn't too big or too small. This hotel was about a 5-7 minute walk from the main bus stop and about a 5 minute walk from Il Campo (Arriving by train leaves you walking up a huge hill-cab/bus might be better. This hotel had about a dozen rooms and three bathrooms in the hall (some rooms have a bathroom in the room). The owners are fantastic and sweet. During the afternoon they all gather round the common room and may even play the accordion for you. We stayed here in this great location for 90 euros a night for a triple room. We booked over email months in advance for a stay in May. They actually required me to send them a personal check via mai...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2007

Albergo Bernini
Via della Sapienza n°15
Siena, Italy 53100
+39 (0577) 289047

Albergo Doni

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Hotel

Albergo Doni Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Albergo Doni was a great find in a great location. Venice is super expensive since everything is brought in by boat.We paid 120 euro for a basic triple room with a canal view and breakfast. The toilet was across the hall and the shower was downstairs one flight. We were on the fourth floor and would look down on the gondoliers in the early evening. They would sing their songs "Ciao Venezia, Ciao! Ciao! Ciao!" They passed by a few times singing each evening so we felt like we did not need to take the gondola ride because we were already serenaded! We were able to come and go as we pleased through the locked door. A night attendent would buzz us in at night. The rooms were clean,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2007

Albergo Doni
Calle del Vin n°4656
Venice, Italy 30122
+39 (041) 522-4267

Ostello San Frediano

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Hotel

Quote:
This hostel was one of the most hotel like ones I've ever seen. They had food for purchase, but I always eat elsewhere. The hostel was huge -140 beds- and within the city walls of Lucca. It was about a 10 minute walk from the train station through town. I booked one night through www.hostels.com, because I do not think you can book directly. But when I needed to change the reservation from a double to a triple with bath, I sent them an email (address below). They responded quickly and in great English.We had reserved a triple room with bathroom for 70 euros, but they put us in a room for six people with a promise that they would not put any...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2007

Ostello San Frediano
Via della Cavallerizza 12
Lucca, Italy
+39 0583 469957

I Fratellini

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Restaurant

I Fratellini Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
This was our favorite sandwich shop in all of Italy. Something about the bread and sandwich combinations were to die for. This small sandwich counter in Florence is just a few blocks south of the duomo (and two blocks North of Piazza della Signoria) off Via Calzaiuoli. As you walk the main street Calzaiuoli, on an east side street, Via Cimatori, you will see happy sandwich eating and wine sipping customers. For 5 euros, you can have a sandwich and glass of wine and stroll around or stand and chat. The choice of wine is plentiful and tasty. We would always want a second sandwich after the first and ended up eating there three times in three days. The brothers that ran ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 25, 2007

I Fratellini
via dei Cimatori, 38r
Florence, Italy

Cinque Terre National Park

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Attraction | "Cinque Terre "

Cinque Terre National Park Photo, Riomaggiore, Italy
Quote:
The Cinque Terre is a national park with a protected marine area on the western coast of Italy between La Spezia and Genoa. We visited for four nights in May 2007 and considered it our "vacation within a vacation." It consists of five towns, each in its own mountainside ravine, four of which have water access. Some have beaches, some just deep water. All are beautiful. There are the four main hikes linking each of the five towns along the coast, and the views are breathtaking. Some hikes are up and down, others are a cake walk, but all are unique. To hike, you can buy a day pass, but we bought a 3 day pass to hike and train all we wanted for 72 hours for 18 euros. T...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 6, 2007

Cinque Terre National Park
Via Telemaco Signorini, 118
Riomaggiore, La Spezia 19017
0187 760508

Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Attraction | "Leaning Tower of Pisa - Torre Pendente di Pisa"

Leaning Tower of Pisa Photo, Pisa, Italy
Quote:
We stopped in Pisa on our way to Lucca. We dropped out bags at the train station and walked over to the Field of Miracles. Everything there leans a little. It was a great stop through for a few hours. We arrived around noon and immediately set out to the yellow building on the other side of the tower to buy tickets to climb the tower. They had flat screens telling what times were available and how many spaces were left, since only 25 or so can climb every 15-30 minutes. It was super easy to get a ticket. Although it was 15 euros, it was well worth it. We walked around the other sights, but we had had our fill of duomo's at this point in our trip and did not venture inside.We had about ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 7, 2007

Leaning Tower of Pisa
Campo del Miracoli
Pisa, Italy

San Gimignano

Story/Tip

Main square Photo, San Gimignano, Italy
Quote:
I had read about this medieval town with beautiful towers that was sort of frozen in time since the 14th Century. San Gimignano had been prosperous, but was then left off the main trade route from Siena to Florence and fell into poverty and plague by the 1300s. I remember this well because now it is a popular tourist stop through making it prosperous again - because of its poverty stricken times! The towers date back to the 11th and 13th century.We took a bus from Florence to Poggibonsi and caught another bus to San Gimignano. It was our lunch stop on the way to Siena. We dropped our bags at the tourist information office for free, but we had to pick them up by 1pm since they w...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 7, 2007

Sistine Chapel

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Attraction

Sistine Chapel Photo, Vatican City, Europe
Quote:
With only two nights in Rome, I had to geographically plan which sights to see and on which day. I was reading articles from the local newspapers saying that the lines for the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel were so long and that the hours were too short for the number of people visiting the sacred site. I looked on the Vatican's own website, http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html, and found it easy to navigate. I looked at the calendar on the site and saw it was to be closed for Ascension Thursday - the day I originally wanted to go. So I changed plans and also made a back up plan. Back up: I made a reservation for...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 23, 2007

Sistine Chapel
Vatican Palace Viale Del Vaticano
607
+39 (06) 8530 1758

Travelling through Tuscany

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Story/Tip

Travelling through Tuscany Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
I found a website that does Tuscany tours on a modern Vespa near Siena, Italy. I thought of how to steal this idea and work it into my travels. I found a great "Drive through the Chianti Countryside" map with sights from the National Geographic Italy tour book. I changed it to a "Scoot through the Chianti Countryside". It was hard to find journals about renting scooters, so I was determined to make one after my trip.We rented two scooters for 80 euros (not actual Vespas) from Perozzi Rental (Via del Gazzani 16, www.perozzi.it, tel 0577 288387, near main bus stop in Siena). We reserved the scoots the evening before and they simply asked for the driver...Read More

Travelling through Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany, Italy

Venice Pub Crawl

Story/Tip

Rialto at night Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
We took a lot of advice/tips from Rick Steves. One such was the Pub Crawl in Venice. The chiccheti they serve at some bars are tasty. Most of the food is fish or fish based, so one friend was not so excited about this. However, we had drinks and chiccheti, and it was a great change from the usual sit down dinner thing.

Most of the bars we went to were in the rialto area. One we found by pure luck and turned out to have a great nighttime view of the rialto bridge. This was fantastic!