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home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

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Toronto
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507 posts
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home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

I'll start my review by saying I had extremely high expectations for our first trip to Italy with my family (husband ,2 kids ages 13 and 9). And, as it turned out, every part of our trip exceeded my expectations by far!!! Thanks to everyone here who gave advice/guidance. Thanks to you we were so well prepared for our 16 day trip to Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Torino and Cinque Terre. From knowing train schedules, to avoiding lines by advance bookings, to being prepared for the heat, to being aware of pick pockets, to helping choose 4 absolutely fantastic apartment rentals (separate reviews coming) and restaurants, to packing lightly (though as it turned out we had to buy another suitcase to carry home our new purchases, mostly my new clothes, lol), all the advice given here greatly added to the enjoyment of our adventure in Italy.

The first 3 days in Rome were spent visiting Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Borgese Gallery and taking a night tour on the 110 Trambus. We used the Roma Pass and we ate mostly in Piazza Navona (where our first apartment was, the Boccaccio rented from Rome Capital Apartments), particularly enjoying restaurants, Navona Notte and Blue Ice (for gelatos and crepes).

The next part of our journey started with a train ride to Florence, then Pontassieve, where a driver was waiting to take us to Villa Cafaggiolo (5 minute car ride). We met my cousin and her husband and 2 kids there. Villa Cafaggiolo was absolutely idyllic and gorgeous. The kids enjoyed the pool, horse stable and jumping arena, and we adults appreciated the beautifully furnished villa and spectacular Tuscan scenery. The villa had 4 bedrooms, two washrooms and a large outdoor eating area. We went on day trips to Sienna and Florence (which were awesome). The only problem we had was the mosquitos which were very bad. Other than that, this place was perfect and we had a wonderful, relaxing week. The kids did not want to leave (there were tears an begging to stay, lol)

After that we headed to Torino for a quick 1 day visit with my husband's aunt. Torino was a big surprise for me as I thought it was a somewhat unattractive industrial city, but actually it is very beautiful and great shopping as well.

The next part of our adventure was to Vernazza, Cinque Terre, my new most favorite place on earth! This place was simply magical. We had a great room with a window facing the harbor and and beach. We spent three lovely days lounging by the sea and eating at the quant seaside restaurants . The kids LOVED this place. It is charming beyond words. The accommodation was through Francamaria Rooms and it was perfect (2 bedrooms, sitting room, decent sized bathroom), not noisy at all at night. I dream about Vernazza now.

From Cinque Terre we took a train back to Rome for the last 3 days,

during which we hung out around Campo di Fiori, Trastevere and Piazza Navona as well as seeing numerous awe-inspiring churches in search of Caravaggios (my husband's favorite artist). We also spent one day visiting the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica. So amazing and mind boggling in their grandeur and artistry! A pleasant surprise was the lack of crowds! We stayed at another Rome Capital apartment, Miguel. which was beautiful, located beside the Tiber with a view of the Basilica (review coming).

Needless to say, we all fell in love with Italy! We were lucky as the weather was not too hot, mostly warm and balmy, we had no issues with pickpockets at all, had no bad meals anywhere and had excellent accommodations. Ironically, when we got home (Toronto) there was a message from my bank that there had been a fraudulent charge on my bank card while we were in italy. But the charge was perpetrated in Montreal!!! The bank took care of it, but how ironic, after worrying about bank card and petty theft in Italy, it actually occurred here in Canada!

Thanks again to all here especially the D.E's.

Edited: 30 August 2010, 16:18
pittsburgh
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for Rome
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1. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I'm so glad all your planning paid off. I look forward to reading your reviews on the apartments you stayed in.

Donna

United States
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9,571 posts
14 reviews
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2. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

Welcome home.

I'm glad the Vernazza apartment worked out in the end. You really stressed over that one. Torino was an unexpected gem for me too. So when's your next trip?

TAB

Toronto
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507 posts
17 reviews
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3. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

Hi Tab,

I will be posting a review on the Cinque Terre board. I wanted to thank you for your help with the rental issues at Francamaria. It turned out that we did get room 7 and it was perfect for us. However, the communication problems prior to our trip did cause a lot of stress (apparently their email is still not working). Once we were there though, it was all forgotten as we enjoyed this enchanting place. I would stay there again and do recommend it..

Hagerstown, Maryland
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6,157 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

"I'm changed forever!"

Yes, that's exactly what happened to me on my first trip in 2006. I've been back six more times and I've got several more trips to go.

Welcome to the happy club of Italy nuts.

Edited: 30 August 2010, 17:33
Queensland...
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122 posts
32 reviews
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5. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

Hi J-Mot

I love your post! I too fell in love with Italy on my first trip and am returning in only 2 sleeps!!!

Your post raised my excitement level even higher. (i'm having trouble sleeping with it all!)

Cheers

Aussiemum

Hot Sulphur...
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880 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

Welcome Home J-Mot!

WhooHoo for the great trip you had!!!!

As TAB asked, when is your next Italian adventure planned? :-)

Treasure Island...
Destination Expert
for Ronda
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10,646 posts
28 reviews
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7. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

I'm glad you met your expectations and had so much fun, Italy is alwas a fun place. My first visit was in 1968, and wow was it great. Was in my early 20s and was so overwhelmed could not of said it in words like you did. Again, glad you had so much fun. Hubie

Ohio
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75 posts
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8. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

We have been looking at booking a night tour with a tour company. Can you elaborate on your experience on the bus for a night tour ? Thanks in advance !!!!!

Ocala, Florida
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115 posts
12 reviews
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9. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

J-MOT

I was so happy to read your post about all the wonderful things you and your family enjoyed while in Italy! My husband and I will be leaving soon for our 3 week vacation in Europe (Italy, France & Germany) and your report was very interesting and reassuring to us. I look forward to reading your separate reviews and of course any pictures you post of your trip! Thank you for sharing!

SunyFLx4

Marysville
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241 posts
11 reviews
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10. Re: home from Italy, what a trip!!!!! I'm changed forever!

As said before, Welcome to the Club!