Italy 2005 Archives

December 1, 2003

T-516 Days and Counting

I'm not sure anyone expects me to keep udating this blog but since we do have another trip on the horizon, I figure, "What the heck!"

Anyway, here's the deal. Originally I'd planned to celebrate my 40th birthday on the Amalfi coast for at least a week (with obligatory stops in Rome at the beginning and end of the trip). Chris also planned to spend his 40th birthday somewhere though he couldn't decide between Venice, Umbria, Tuscany, London....well you get the idea - Chris isn't too decisive in these matters.

However, getting someone to watch the kids in January (now we're talking 2005 for both of us), would be difficult at best since my parents by then have done their winter migration to the warmer parts of Florida and I'm honestly not sure Chris's parents could handle the girls for more than a night or two. Not that the girls are trouble makers mind you but Chris's parents are definitely past the "parental stage."

As we talked, we realized the babysitting factor along with the cost of flying two different places, and the desire to travel alone (i.e., just the two of us) might be prohibitive. When we returned from this last trip, I explained to my Mom (a saint if ever there was one) our dilema and she immediately offered their (her's and my father's - much to his chagrin ;D), babysitting services during the year of 2005. The only catch being, it would have to be in May or September. We're not stupid, we jumped at the offer and decided to combine our two separate trips into one two week vacation (which of course, I'm already spreading out longer), at the beginning of May.

Chris, contrary to past habits, has already decided he would like to rent an apartment in Montalcino for the week of "his birthday" and I'm the one undecided. Originally, I thought Amalfi but now I'm considering other areas in the south. We've briefly talked of Puglia but I want to research that more - Chris is concerned about how long a drive it will be from there to Montalcino.

So that's where we stand - two weeks in May 2005, one week in Montalcino, one week somewhere else in the south with investigations beginning now. Feel free to post any suggestions to :).

April 29, 2004

The Muddled Mess

So I knew I wanted to go to Puglia for my birthday trip. But saying you want to go to Puglia or Apullia as I've seen it, (by the way which is correct?) and actually doing it are two very different things.

Puglia is friggin' big!

Not to mention, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to find vacation rental possibilities in this region. The one's I've stumbled across are either too big, too expensive or way too far south. Yes, I'd like to see Lecce but I don't want to be 8 hours south of Rome - hold on...I just double checked Via Michelin and it clocks the trip at 5 1/2 hours which puts it back on the map. Well, but for the fact that it's 350 miles which to me translates to 7 hours, so I'm not to sure.

Anyway....I've discovered these establishments called Masserias. Alright, I didn't "discover" them. I mean they've existed all along. I just found about them.

Masserias are a cross between agritourismos, hotels and even in some cases fancy spas. They started out as fortified farm houses/communities (over the last few hundred years, this area of Italy has been raided by all sorts of different groups over and over). People would live within the fortified walls of these structures and now they're being converted to inns, bed and breakfasts and even hotels depending upon the size.

The first one I "discovered" looked fantastic - decadent.

San Dominico

But at a whopping 320 Euro a night, I'm thinking way out of our price range.

Then I found this place:

Hotel del Levante

Which seems ridiculously cheap but right on the beach. It seems like a family resort (not necessarily a good thing though when we get to travel without our kids). Yet, the more I thought about it the more I felt like it would be like staying at the Neville in Italy.

So I went back to the Masseria concept and kept searching. That's when I found this place:

Il Frantoio

Okay - really need to do some work - I'll be back later.

May 5, 2004

Formation of a Plan

I've been reading
Insight Guides Southern Italy at night before I go to sleep.

How many people read travel guides before bed? How many read them at all.

Anyway - I've been doing this and have the beginnings of a plan for our trip.

Here's how it will play out:

Depart NJ on a Thursday.
Arrive Rome on a Friday - spend day in Rome.
Saturday morning depart for Puglia.

Still Fuzzy Part
A. Do we drive 1/2 way and find somewhere interesting to stay - perhaps on the Gargana Peninsula where I can visit Padre Pio's home town. I have a strange fascination with Padre Pio since we were in Rome for his Cannonization (right - that's the one where you become a saint ?)

B. Drive straight through to stay at Masseria Fantoio.

Okay - so we arrive at Ostuni on either Saturday or Sunday.

While we're there, I want to visit:

Martina Franca
The Trulli houses in that town with the really long name that I can't think of at the moment
Some of Frederick's castles

I also wouldn't mind hanging out and doing not much of anything, so we'll see how that all progresses.

Fuzzy Part Again
A. Depart on Friday - stay somewhere interesting overnight, and arrive in Montalciono on Saturday - I'm leaning this way.
B. Depart on Saturday and drive straight through.

Okay - once I'm done with Puglia overview (and I'm almost there), I'll start figuring out Montalcino.

Wonder how long before I can contact rentals to make reservation.....

May 14, 2004

Comments Are Funny Things

Okay - here's the deal - Michelle posted a comment/question asking if I had any ideas for a similar trip Michelle is taking next week but I'm not sure the best way to answer. Do I do it within the blog or someother way?

Hold on.....I have a thought.....yep - if I click on Michelle - I can get an e-mail address and respond that way.

Okay - Michelle - look for my e-mail this morning!

February 12, 2005

Wow It's Been a While

Yeah, I know, I'm a bad blogger but what with working and the kids...excuses, excuses. But now, since I've removed one of those impediments (no I didn't get rid of the kids), I'm hoping to have more free time here.

Well, The Italy 2005 Extravaganza is shaping up nicely. Most of the high level planning and reservations have been taken care of. Here's the current itinerary:

Depart May 12 from JFK for Roma. We'll land about eight in the morning and hope to have someone from Roma Limo pick us up and take us to their offices at the Sheraton in EUR. We've rented a car through Auto Europe and are scheduled to pick it up there on Friday morning.

From there, we'll hit the road and head to Silvi in Abruzzi (hopefully about a 2 1/2 hour ride). We have reservations that evening at Le Macine just outside Silvi. Our current plan is to have lunch at a Buon Riccordo restaurant nearby, Vecchia Silvi and dinner at the Agritourismo. Chris says it looks so great there, he may never want to leave.

Side note: If anything planning this trip has accomplished so far, it's been to increase my desire to explore Abruzzo.

On Saturday May 14, we'll drive down the coast for our stay outside Ostuni at IL Frantoio. So far on our agenda is a day trip to Bari (okay for lunch at another BR place), a day trip to Alborabello (yet another BR place) and one more day trip to Lecce. The other days - well beach time. Heck depending on the weather, I'm not sure what we'll actually accomplish and what we won't.

On Friday May 20th, we depart and make the long drive to Frascati to stay at yet another BR hotel/restaurant, Cacciani. We hope to arrive there mid to late afternoon, relax a bit, have dinner, and explore the town the next morning before we drive to Montalcino for our week's stay.

Originally we rented, Ruga Alta through Project Travel International but two weeks ago Luigi contacted us to tell us that construction would soon be starting on the building next door to Ruga Alta and they believed it would interfere too much with our enjoyment of our accomodations and offered to move us to Vicolo Due another appartment, down the street which is actually an upgrade but they offered it to us at the same price. We believe Luigi has been more than fair with accomodation change and we're still happy we booked with him.

On tap for our time in Montalcino: we're spending a day with Peter Kilby, a trip to San Galgano, meeting Kaydee (from slowtalk) for lunch and a lot of wine tasting and relaxation.

I'll be back as we get into the nuts and bolts of daily activities. Enjoy.

May 8, 2005

Back Against the Wall - To Do List

Well, unbelievabley we leave on Thursday and mild panic is setting in. I need to pack. I need to contact the other parents in the area that will be supporting my parents....well I need to do a lot of s***. Anyway, here comes the to do list. Later, I'll enter the packing list.

To Do

  • Give mom an insurance card
  • Call credit card companies (i.e., we're in Italy don't block our friggin' cards again!)
  • Cook Kielbasa skillet stew and freeze
  • Cook Chicken Tettrazini and freeze bagged

Okay - completed:

  • Make paper look old for Becky's Social Studies project
  • Charge Italian Cell Phone
  • Photocopy passports
  • Pack
  • Pick up Birtday present for party Sammi has
  • Pick up drycleaning
  • Pick up Chris's Allergy Medication
  • Write note for Lisa picking up Becky from school on 5/20
  • Create our itinerary copy for Mom
  • Cook Mac & Cheese Casserole and freeze
  • Pay Bills
  • Planted garden and beds (well one bed left that Becky's doing tomorrow)
  • Print out the kids schedule
  • Print out list of phone numbers
  • Contact carpool parents, let them know Mom's taking over for two weeks.
  • Print out medical release letter
  • Remind Lisa of days she's picking up Becky; remind Becky
  • Cleaned off camera's flash cards
  • Charge Ipod
  • Charge palm and synced

May 10, 2005

Need to Pack

What am I taking


  • Six tops
  • tan pants
  • stone pants
  • tan skirt
  • sandals
  • black shoes (they're really short boots and I'm still going back and forth on these)
  • underpants (6)
  • bras (3)
  • bike pants
  • bike shirt
  • walking shorts
  • tee shirt
  • bathing suit
  • one pair shorts
  • exercise socks (2 pair)


  • Ipod
  • Palm
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Phone Charger
  • Ipod Car Charger
  • Camera Charger
  • FM Transmitter for IPOD


  • Centro Atlas
  • Sud Atlas
  • Blue Guide Southern Italy
  • Some Tuscan Guide Book
  • Restaurant List
  • Random Notes
  • Grapes of Wrath
  • Vanila Beans and Brodo
  • Covenant
  • Andromeda Strain (for Chris)


  • Chris Allergy
  • Kim Cold Medication (just in case)
  • Advil
  • Immodium
  • Band-Aids/Blister Blockers
  • Neo-sporin


  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving Cream
  • Perfume
  • Deoderant
  • Makeup
  • Suntan lotion
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush


  • Clipon Eyeglasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal
  • Fountain Pen
  • Regular Pen

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What I Really Think in the Italy 2005 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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