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Report 552: Newbee's To Italy...

By apriljoy from Illinois, Fall 2004

Trip Description: "Dream Italy"

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Amalfi Coast, Florence, Rome, Tuscany

Categories: Convent; Hotels/B&Bs; Beach; Cooking Classes; Day Tours; Foodie Trip; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 5: Rome

Sept. 22, 2004 to Sept. 26, 2004

Well our dream trip to Italy has come to an end!!! My sister(Debbie) and I talked and planned this trip to Italy for about two years. It took so long to plan...and then it happened ...then it was over!!! YIKES, Time does fly when you are having the most wonderful time of your life.

Our trip planning started when my sister e-mailed me,”Dream Italy”. Then she e-mailed me “Italy Dream Stuff”. This started the search for “Italy Dream Stuff”. We had a few things we wanted to do. We wanted to see Rome and Florence. We wanted to see the Italian Hill towns, we wanted to do a few cooking lessons, we wanted to do wine tasting, we wanted to see an olive grove, we wanted to taste Limoncello, we wanted to see the towns that our grandparents came from. We wanted a lot, with a little budget. So this is what we came up with...

First and foremost we want to thank all the wonderful people of “Slow Travel.” This is the greatest site and has the best information on it. My only regret is that I found it after a lot of our plans we made, but I still think that this is an important part of planning a trip to Italy.

We left for Italy on 9-22-04 and arrived in Rome on 9-23-04. We were picked up at the airport by this wonderful limo driver, Donato. The limo service was provided by the Hotel Morgana (for free). We were really grateful for this; I don’t think I would have liked to try and find a cab after the long flight.

We arrived at the Hotel Morgana and checked into our room. We were going to stay at the Bee-Hive Hostel, but that just didn’t work out. The Hotel Morgana was the only place I could find in July after the Bee-Hive didn’t work out.

Not being “big city girls,” we found the hustle and bustle of Rome a little bit out of our element. Anyhow, the Morgana was a nice place; it was clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful.

The area it was in was "Colorful" to say the least. It was great, because it was a few blocks from the Termini train station, so it was good when we had to leave for our next city.

We used the Hop-On Hop-Off bus the first day to check out the city and see the sites. This worked well. It is a 24 hour bus, and we did use it for the full 24 hours.

We had a private tour of the Vatican the next day, so we went to check out how to get to the entrance. The Italians have a wonderful way of giving directions. We were at St. Peter’s square and asked directions to the entrance to the Vatican Museum and were told “just around the corner." Well we walked and walked and walked and we couldn’t find the entrance, so we went back to St. Peter’s and asked again, and this time we were told, “It’s just around the corner. Follow the brown wall until it ends." Well that worked and we did find it. So we walked back to St. Peter’s Square and caught the bus and rode it back to the Termini train station.

We purchased our tickets for Chiusi. We walked back to the Morgana and rested until dinner. We ate near the Hotel Morgana at the Ristorante Al Fagionette.

The next day we rode the Hop-On bus to the Vatican Museum. We met Dr. Micaela Benelli, our tour guide. She has a PHD in Art History. She was great!!! We learned so much. She charges 120 euros for 4 hour tour, and she will take up to 10 people. We did it with just the two of us, and it was well worth it!!

After the Vatican, we took a cab to the Spanish Steps. WOW what a site!!! We walked to the Trevi Fountain, then found a cab and off to the Colliseum. We returned to the Hotel Morgana and rested and then decided to eat close to the Hotel. This worked out well again. We ate at Tudini Ristorante. We had a wonderful pasta with a spicy red sauce and a grilled fish platter that was great.

I had a list of restaurants that we wanted to go to that were posted on Slow Travel, but we just found it hard to find our way around. NEXT TIME we will do better.

Our last day in Rome we went to a church called Santa Maria Maggiore. We went to the Museum National, (it was free). We decided to call it an early day, because it was Saturday and the streets were really crowded. There was a “Peace demonstration" going on, lots of signs, lots of people, lots of police, so we walked to this deli and bought a little of this and a little of that, and before we knew it we had a lot of food. We bought a bottle of wine and went back to the Hotel. We asked for some dishes, silverware and of course wine glasses. We had a relaxing evening eating and packing our clothes.

The Hotel Morgana had a breakfast buffet every morning with lots of choices, fresh rolls, fresh pastry, meats, cheese, fruit, yogurt, cereal and of course NUTELLA. We found this worked well for us.

TIPS:If you don’t spend much time in the big city you live in, I would suggest you DO. Crowds of people are CROWDS no matter where you are. I think if I would have done this I wouldn’t have been so frustrated or just take an organized tour!!!

This one is important...listen to the people who tell you not to bring too much. It is true!!! I suggest that you pack like Noah did, TWO of everything and no more!!!!

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