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13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

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coxs creek, kentucky
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13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Well, I have returned and I am still quite exhausted. I am trying to make this a good trip report, but my poor old mind is still reeling from all the wonderful places that we saw and all the wonderful people that we met. And of course, the fact that I had to tip my wine glass so many times to all my wonderful forum family, made me a little starry eyed !!! Well, in a land where the wine, food, and hospitality flows like the sparkling water from the Trevi fountain, what else can one do??? Before trying to recap my magical journey, I want to thank all of you again---because without you, I would not have learned so much beforehand and I would have floundered at every turn. To Cinzia, Roma72, my Queenofhearts,Soloroma, SPQR, Em, Anemone,Jesse, Katie,Navarra, Sophie,Nolana,Tiber, Vivebene,Eylife, EnglishJane,Tabby,Domini,Anon in Florence,and to all the others on here--the list is sooooo long---you are the best of the best and I never forgot any of you while I was there. This site is so informative and the recommendations are wonderful and it feels like home for me.

Day One--November 5

Arrived about an hour and a half late in Rome. U.s. Air was really good except I thought the seats were not as comfortable as AA. We had a non-stop flight however from Philadelphia to Rome, so that was a treat. Our driver from the Hotel Centro's personal service was waiting for us at the airport. He was very friendly--spoke some English-and pointed out some of the sites en-route to the hotel, including where he lived. I was able to use my special learned phrase from Cinzia during the ride--Porca Miseria--which he was tickled over. Arrived at the hotel around 10:30 A.M. and they let us check in early. We dropped our bags and took off. My first goal was to see the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and I was truly amazed. A beautiful church, indeed. We then took off walking with no particular destination and wound up by the Piramide--was a little worried that we would wind up leaving Rome on our first day(haha) so we changed directions(I think!) and went through part of Testacchio--caught a porchetta panini in a non-descript sidewalk bar--walked through part of Trastevere and crossed the river towards the Ghetto. We had a scrumptidelicious gelato in a Gelateria there--cannot remember the name of the place(sorry!!!) but it was just a few steps from a huge excavation site.Maybe I can find out the name when I look through my receipts or pictures.My hubby had two different types of chocolate(he is very boring!!!) and I had nicciola and pistachio--yummerific!!! So we walked through the excavation site--all around the area and then to the Victor Emmanuel building. We continued to just walk around until we went back to the hotel at around 8p.m. and grabbed dinner at the restauran next to our hotel on Via Firenze. I had fettucine with funghi and my hubby ad the penne all'arrabiata with wine and water. Wonderful pasta and wine in wonderful Roma. Perfetto--Buona Notte.

Day Two-November 6

Woke up and had a wonderful breakfast with cappucino at the hotel. Took a cab to the Vatican museum. Spent about an hour in line which was not so bad. We had the pleasure of talking to a wonderful couple from England and the time went by quickly--you have to love those English people!!! We have met so many nice people from England on our trips. Entered the museum and became totally intoxicated from all of the art. I am still reeling from the whole experience. I purchased a book, btw, at any major site that we visited so I could use it at home to re-focus on all that I had seen. There is so much great art that it simply boggles the mind. After about three hours in the museum we left, bought some water and relaxed outside. Next on the agenda we headed for St. Peter's. Again, I was totally unprepared for the beauty that awaited me. . .....I have come to the conclusion that there just are not any words that can describe all the feelings that one gets inside these museums and churches. I walked through the great halls and rooms with knees buckling and tears streaming down my face. I must go back again.......................We left St. Peter's and headed towards Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Same emotions roiling through me. Next we walked to the Pantheon for our first visit after dark, which put it in a new light(no pun intended!!). It was awesome again. Then to the Trevi fountain--again a new experience for us after dark and absolutely amazing. Not too many people around but it wasn't deserted. So we threw in our coins and sat on the steps to admire it and get refreshed. From there we headed towards Piazza Navonna, grabbing a gelato ar Buccianti----THANK YOU SOLOROMA!!!!! Era squisito!!!!! It was exquisite!!!!!! I tried the walnut and the special Maria which was a rather spicy,nutty,pumpkiny delight. My hubby ventured away from norm a little by trying the white chocolate and the orange chocolate. OMG !!!!! All of them were divine!!! We always shared so we always had at least four flavors that way....................... allora, where was I ??? Oh, yeah----walked a little more and then went to dinner at Da Francesco----oh thank you, thank you SPQR!!!! I had my first prociutto and melone there---to absolutely die for--my hubby had the prosciutto and parmigianna--mmmmmmm, then we had pizzas, he had pizza margheurita and I had bianca pizza with prosciutto--washed it all down with water and a wonderful red house wine----PERFETTO again. Walked back to the hotel as content as a kitten sleeping next to her mama and had an espresso at the bar. God, does it get any better than this? Buona notte.

Day thrree--follow up coming........I love Rome--I really do........

coxs creek, kentucky
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11. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Tabby, do pickles go well with zebra?? LOL-I can't imagine having the courage to try zebra ! What on earth does it taste like ???

Now I , on the other hand would rather be adventurous with something sweet--and Italian, of course!!!!! Byeeee, gabby tabby

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12. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Well, I'm fairly new to TA Italy and that's because we've always put going to visit my husband's family in the too hard basket. He left as a baby 53 years ago and it's not that we didn't want to go but we just didn't know where to start. Well, I've mentioned this in a previous post, but at the risk of everyone hating me .... we won a trip to Tuscany, so now we must plan!!!! I've loved reading the trip report wittyone ... thanks.

Can I ask a ? We're looking at staying at the Domus Pretoria hotel in Rome which is near Termini. It has good reveiws in TA (and I love the sound of the market next door) but I'm concerned about the location - both distance and safety. It's a fair price 145 Eur but would we be way better of paying 195 Eur for Residenza Cellini or do you have another recommendation? I can't find a price for Centro???? I love nice (translated - spotlessly clean) hotels and a hotel with walking access to things is important to me, but I don't want to waste 50 Eur as it would probably cover a meal every day. Can anyone tell me how the location of Residenza Cellini compares to Domus re walking to places?

Also, we're going first week in April. What can we expect of the weather i.e. what should we pack? Don't want to bring anything unecessary because we'll be traveling for 2 months. Is a heavy coat necessary?

At this stage, our itinerary is - *Florence/Siena (5 nights Palazzo Ravizza) -

*Genoa (2 nights Best Western City)

*Med. cruise departing from Genoa (MSC Musica - Naples, Palermo, Tunisia, Palma, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa - 7 nights)

*Cinque Terre (3 nights) possibly in Monterosso at the Hotel Margherita or in Lerici at the Hotel Florida -

*Rome (5 nights)

* Calabria (4 weeks) to visit family and if we feel we're ready to leave sooner, we plan to go to the Amalfi Coast and/or Venice before returning to Florence to fly home end of May.

Anon and tuscantraveler and otheres have already been wonderful with their replies to some queries but if you or anyone have any hints or tips or suggestions for the above I'll be eternally grateful. thanks.

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13. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Janpi

Scanning through your itinerary, I think on it the one place I would not miss is Lerici,I have never stayed there but been a couple of times, it really is lovely beautiful beaches, and so untouristy,

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14. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Thanks sophie, Lerici sounds very nice and the Florida Hotel seems like a pretty nice place. Do you know if it's easy access to Cinque Terre from Lerici? thanks again for taking the time to reply.

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15. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Janpi

We stayed across the Bay at Portovenre, another gorgeous village,from there we went to the Cinque Terre and Lerici,I dont know if there are boats that go all the way without stopping at Portovenere, it was nice because you can hop on and off at the villages of the Cinque Terre, and to get the best idea of the coastline ,I think is to see it from the sea,

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16. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Sounds wonderful, I thought it might be nice to stay in another town and visit Cinque Terre that way you get to see another place. Do you think 3 nights will be ok or will we feel rushed. I'd like to be able to enjoy it. Would you still opt for Portovenre or do you think Lerici is nicer? If Porto. which hotel did you stay at and would you recommend it?

coxs creek, kentucky
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17. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Janpi,

Thanks for the compliments !! I am totally green with envy though !!! LOL, what I wouldn't give to have that much time there!!! As for hotels--we feel that the Hotel Centro is wonderful, but it is not fancy. The room is always cleaned very well-we always have plenty of towels,etc.,. I feel that the breakfast is always very good with plenty of choices. I absolutely love the staff-Giovanni is a witty treat!! Francesco is warm and wonderful. Michael Bruno is excellent and helpful. They all make sure that we get everything we need and they always go steps beyond the call of duty to help us. The hotel is close to Piazza Republicca and Via Nazionale. There are several things that are close to us there and there are places(sites) that are further away. I have no problem walking the city of Rome--that is what we did both times. But, some people don't like to be closer to the Termini area. We were about 10 minutes away from Termini but I never felt like it was "too" close. I am afraid that someone else could answer your particular hotel questions better as Centro is the only one I have ever used. We always take the train to Florence from Rome and then the train from wherever back to Rome so we like being close enough to just walk to and from the station. It is my opinion that everyone has a different opinion of what they want and where they want it. I can only say that I have added many layers of wonderful memories because we have stayed in the Hotel Centro. We love the people ther and that is probably where we will always go. If you use the bus system, it probably doesn't matter where you stay if you don't want to walk a lot--although for me that is what makes Rome so exciting. The hidden shops and streets that you would not see on a bus are well worth seeing. BUT, it would be up to you and your stamina! Rome energizes me in a way that I have never felt before so I could(and do!) walk 20 miles a day. I am tired when the day is over, but oh what sweet dreams I have !!! You can look up Centro on Venere to see some pics and then decide if it looks right for you. It is not the Hassler or Westin. It is a regular hotel that is clean with no frills (as in No satin sheets--no expensive toiletries and lotions--no designer bedspreads and drapes).

Also, I think it highly unlikely that you would need a heavy coat in April. We were there mid-March and again this time in November and I think that a light to mid weight jacket or heavy sweaters would be sufficient. Just keep watching the weather as the time gets nearer.

Have a very good time and think of all of us who long to be in your shoes!!! Any more questions--feel free to ask !! Remember to pack a big smile !!!! Ciao

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18. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Janpi

For the area probably would stay in Portovenre,but the whole are is lovely,we stayed at the Grand Hotel Portovenere, right by the harbour, a converted Monastery, it was in a package, there again Lerici is lovely too, found the actual Cinque Terre very busy, but a bit unique, but probably lovely in the evenings when the day tourist go home, hope I am not confusing you,

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19. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

No Sophie you're not confusing me - rather, it's reassuring to know that my choice is fine but there are other options. thanks heaps. Also to wittyone - thanks so much for your detailed info re Centro. I'll be looking into it because it sounds fine. Clean and friendly, you can't go wrong with that.

Sorry to impose but could I ask for some opinions about the number of days we've allowed for each of our stops. Nothing is set in concrete yet.

Isn't it great when you post a question or comment and you receive a reply? I just love the feedback and sharing spirit of TA. THANKS HEAPS

coxs creek, kentucky
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20. Re: 13 Days in Italy--now that's Amore !!!!!!

Janpi--you are welcome ! And yes, this forum is truly wonderful!!

About your time-frame-----it looks fine to me although I am certainly not familiar with most of the places that you are going! Are you sure that you can't take another person with you?? LOL !! Are you planning on taking a daytrip only to Siena from Florence? I love Rome and Florence and I could not possibly stay in either one less than 4 nights and if given the choice, it would be longer! We did a daytrip to Siena this time, and while I am very happy that I was able to see the Duomo and baptistery, etc., it didn't leave much time for wandering around the town. The daylight you will get at the time of year will be longer so that should be a plus. I have decided ( for myself) that I would really rather stay in any town that I visit for at least two nights. But many people do day trips and are happy with them. Maybe the day trip was fine for me but I didn,t feel any special feelings for Siena and now I don't know if it is because I was only there for one day or if it is because I just don't love Siena like I do the other places I have been ! Hope that doesn't sound too confusing !! Anything else, feel free to ask, but you might get a better response if you post this as a new topic---more people will see it that way. Good luck !!!!