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Report 2013: Two Splendid Weeks in Northern Italy

By Engred from Oregon, Fall 2011

Trip Description: From September 29 - October 12, 2011 we spent two weeks visiting Rome, Asolo, Cormons and Venice, eating a lot of delicious food, drinking some good wine and grappa!

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Other Italy Region, Rome, Veneto, Venice

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Foodie Trip; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 3-4 people; Adult Children w/ Parents

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Page 1 of 14: Arrival Day

As usual, the trip started the day before, with our 10:30am Air France flights from Portland to Seattle and Seattle to Paris, arriving in Paris at 8:35am. With only 70 minutes to make our next flight to Rome, I was very concerned we would be delayed at passport control and would miss our flight. I had confirmed there were other flights that day to Rome, so if we missed the plane we would still have a chance to get to Rome later that day. However, we were meeting Jules’ parents (J & M) at CDG and wanted to arrive in Rome together. Sure enough, when we reached the top of the escalator to passport control, we were greeted with a huge line. The area was so packed with people we almost couldn’t get off the escalator. We got in line, with our entire planeload of passengers behind us. After a few minutes I spotted a passport gate to the far left that had only one person in line. The sign said “First Class Passengers” but I told Jules to go over to the guard and explain our situation and grovel if necessary. I don’t know he told the guard, but the guard waived me over and we were able to go through the line and were on our way after about 10 minutes. Whew! Now the vacation can really begin!

We met J & M at the gate, rested for a short bit, and then boarded the plane for the last leg of our journey. We arrived in Rome at around noon, gathered our checked luggage and emerged to find Guido just outside Customs. We were finally back in Italy!

After locating our driver, we were on our way to the hotel with an exciting ride through the center of Rome. We stayed at Hotel Portrait Suites again, on Via Bocca di Leone just off of Via del Condotti near the Spanish Steps. It is a wonderful hotel in a great location with an amazing rooftop terrace where we enjoyed breakfast and aperitivo each day. What more could a girl ask for? We quickly checked into our room – same great suite as last time overlooking the Louis Vuitton store. After freshening up, we strolled to a nearby restaurant for lunch, Trattoria Otello alla Concordia, at Via della Croce, 81. The restaurant was tucked back into a courtyard. We sat “outside” in the courtyard and had a wonderful lunch. The highlight was the platter of salami we shared to start. Amazing flavor and selection. Perfect start to our Italian eating adventure!

Lunch was followed by a short stroll through the neighborhood, then back to our hotel to unpack and rest, while Guido went in search of a new cell phone (his having been stolen earlier in the morning before he came to pick us up at the airport). A few hours later, feeling rested and refreshed, we met on the rooftop terrace for our regular aperitivo. It just so happened that J & M’s attorney from Connecticut, Lorraine, and her husband, George, were in Rome at the same time, so they shared aperitivo with us as well! Such a lovely start to our first evening in Rome!

After a few Campari and Soda, we walked to our dinner destination: Dal Bolognese Ristorante, located at Piazza del Popolo. What a great dining experience, sitting outside on the corner of the Piazza, gazing up at the twin churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, while dining on great Italian cuisine! Three of the outstanding dishes were the maccheroncini con ragu (a sauce of tomato, prosciutto and veal), tagliatelle with a sauce of tomato and culatello and a Mont Blanc dessert. The Mont Blanc was a fluffy mound of meringue and ground chestnuts – so light and sweet. While we were having dinner, the power in the restaurant kept going off, so at times it was tricky getting to and from the restroom! It just added to the great energy of the evening! After dinner we took a short stroll around Piazza, then walked back to the hotel for the night.

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