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Old 09-30-2009, 11:09 AM   #21
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We fit a visit to the Keats-Shelly House on the Spanish Steps into a very short stay in Rome. It's a great Early Retirement topic, Keats chose Rome to recover from TB but died there, did that make him an ex-pat. I'm not that much into poetry but their rooms are very interesting, their history, friends, other famous ex-pats.


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Old 10-04-2009, 05:31 PM   #22
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We spent three weeks in Italy several years ago and tremendously enjoyed every hour.
We used Rick Steves for our week in Rome and still did not see everything. Used public transportation for trip to Sienna, Florence, Venice, Ravena and back to Rome.
We made the error of traveling from Ravena to Rome on the Sat before Easter and got a quick lesson how many people and luggage can be crammed into a rail car. You should have no problem getting from the airport if that is your arrival day as everyone will be leaving.
We are big Rick Steves fans and recommend his travel guides even if you do not use his trips. Italy is a favorite of his and he has lots of tips for sights and restaurants. Separate book for Rome and Italy.
Everyone thing we heard several years ago was that Pisa was okay if you were going that direction but otherwise took too much time for too little that was special.

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:49 AM   #23
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I enjoyed visiting Pisa from Florence. We had to go see the leaning tower, because I had been there as a little girl (5), and remembered it well. Actually, there were several Florence places I remembered from age 5, including the Galleria dell' Accademia. It was cool revisiting spots 30 years later.

Anyway, I remember the leaning tower alarming me greatly as a 5 year old. I started walking up with Dad, but then refused to go up anymore, so Dad had to take me back down. Meanwhile, Mom and my 3-year-old sister, marched merrily up to the top and waved down to us. This would have been 1964 or 5. They didn't let people walk up in the 90s!

On the return visit in 1994, I found the Romany (architecture style?) church next door more fascinating. And then we also enjoyed vongole verachi ("true clams") at a nearby restaurants. That's linguine with white clams sauce made with whole clams. Yum!!!!!!

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Old 10-12-2009, 02:55 PM   #24
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I second Rick Steves. I used his book "Europe through the back door." That was in 1992. I was there two weeks could have spent more time. Cinque terre is nice and loved Asissi. Whatever you do you will love Italy!
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #25
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Both Florence and Rome are fantastic. But if you get tired of the noise and tourist crowds or decide you have seen one too many "Virgin and Child" masterpieces, you could try stopping in one of the smaller towns like Orvieto in Umbria. It is on the train route between Rome and Florence (the station might be called Orvieto Scalo?), and is a good stopover for a night or so. I was there ten years ago backpacking with a friend. We found everyone in town to be extremely friendly -- one elderly gentleman approached us on the street and asked to practice his English. It turned out to be the most wonderful afternoon -- he had grown up there and gave us what amounted to a free guided tour. Most locals we met did not speak English but we got invited to the local Bocci (sp?) tournament and enjoyed communicating with some of the old-timers via hand gestures and my very rusty French. The Duomo in Orvieto as well as the old city itself (perched dramatically on a hill) were pretty breathtaking. So it's worth a stop if you enjoy getting off the beaten path. Regardless of where you go, I'm sure you will have a wonderful time in Italy!
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:42 PM   #26
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Spent a month there some years ago: Pisa, Venice, Rome, Florence. Pisa is not worth the time really in my opinion. Just another small city, and, once you've seen the Leaning Tower (big whoops), you are done. I was there for a week and was bored out of my mind, but I had met a nice Italian parachute jumper for one of their Armed Services who kept me semi-busy (ahhh, memories of my wild and misspent youth). But, no, Pisa is not worth it.
If you can swing Venice do so as it is a city like you will never see again. It's really unique the way they live. But, if not, you will enjoy Rome and especially Florence alot as there is much to do in those cities. The Italians are used to tourists and very friendly all over.
My one warning to you would be to watch your money carefully, and never trust anyone to give you the correct change. I had more than one try and shortchange me in the major cities in Europe.
You could always check into a Eurail pass for the time you are there instead of driving. Might be easier on you as you could just sit back and ride the train instead of jacking around with trying to remember which road to take and which side to drive on and so forth. Just my opinion.
Get one of those Italy on $X a day. They can be pretty good sources of information.
If you can get to some of the flea markets in Rome or Florence, you should have a really fun experience. You'll be banging elbows with the natives and learn alot there about how they think and live. Definitely worth the time if you have it.
Eat some Bel Paese cheese while you are there for me and have a blast!
Please consider adopting a rescue animal. So very many need a furr-ever home and someone to love them! And if we all spay/neuter our pets there won't be an overpopulation to put to death.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
my mother starts watering everytime I read about her latest dining experience.
Ah, she probably just does it to keep the flowers and plants looking nice. If you weren't busy reading a blog, you'd have time to keep up the yard, too.
"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:45 AM   #28
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We just returned from a 25 day trip to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. 11 Days on the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship and the other time spent in Rome and Florence. This was our second trip to Italy and again we found it to be an amazing place. I agree with other posters that you should not pack to much into your days. There is so much to see in both cities and the Tuscan countryside is a must see.

Before our first trip to Italy in 2007 I posted about it here on the forum and asked for recommendations on Rome hotels. Someone posted that they had just stayed at the Hotel Lancelot and loved it. Hotel Lancelot is located about two blocks from the Colissium in a residential area. It is a six story building and they have terrace rooms that look out on the colissium (which is beautiful at night). It is a family owned hotel and we loved it so much we stayed there again on this last trip. They have a website.

In Florence we rented an apartment from Check out there website also.

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