Planning and Hotel Reviews: Rome, Venice, Florence 2005

This was the first international trip I ever planned.  It is a bit overwhelming when you start.  I was sure I would need a travel agent to help with something.  But as I mined the internet, I suddenly discovered this incredible amount of information and how easy it was to ask questions and get answers.  The greatest internet resources I have found for travel information are the Fodors.com Forums, TripAdvisor.com Forums and Hotel Reviews.  Knowing this was our first trip to Europe, and for all we knew could be our last, we had to decide where to go.

I had already read enough to know with a two week trip try to pick 3-4 locations in one country or 2-3 in different countries.  We all agreed that if this was to be our only trip to Europe, we all wanted to go to Italy.  Hubby’s grandparents are Italian and we all love Italian food so it was settled.  Now, where to go in Italy.  We originally had four locations – Rome, Pompeii/Amalfi, Venice and Florence.  As time went on, we decided to eliminate Pompeii/Amalfi just to be sure we gave the other places plenty of time.  We wanted to be able to relax, enjoy and soak it all in.  So, our final itinerary was:   six nights Rome – four nights Venice – four nights Florence.

We were traveling the last two weeks in March.  Lauren got two weeks for spring break, Michael only one, but being in third grade we had no reservations about taking him out of school for an extra week for this trip.

HOTEL REVIEWS

Albergo Cesari – Rome, Italy

(http://www.albergocesari.it/)

The location is EXCELLENT!! Walking distance to most everything. A block away from the Via Del Corso with great shopping and a minute or so walk to the Pantheon and Piazza del Rotunda which we loved (had our favorite gelateria – Le Cremeria!) We stayed in the quad room. It is a very large room with a double bed (two twins put together) bed and then two separate twins on either side. There is a desk and a large armoire. The bathroom is also quite large, so if you are looking for a quad room this is a very nice size.
The breakfast room is a bit small as others have mentioned, but we only had to wait one morning and that was for a short time. There were a lot of travelers there from England, Germany and France so we felt like we were in an international cafe in the morning. Also, a lot of business people.
The staff was always very helpful making dinner reservations, giving directions, etc. There is also a computer in the lobby with free internet access which came in handy. We would definitely stay there again!

Please Note: we stayed there again in June 2006, and shortly after we left the hotel did a major remodel. They put individually controlled air conditioning in each room and made a rooftop terrace where breakfast is served in nice weather.

 

Locanda Orseolo – Venice, Italy

(http://www.locandaorseolo.com/)

 


This Locanda has been rated the #1 B&B in Venice for years! Everything everyone says is absolutely true. We had two rooms, one for the kids and one for us. We had a canal view and the kids had a courtyard view. Spring for the canal room if you can, but if it is not available do not hesitate to book the courtyard room…basically you want to stay here.
Everyone was so wonderful, especially to the kids. Matteo would discuss the NBA with Michael when we came back for a rest in the afternoon. Even let him hand out the keys to the guests. He loved it!!
As Matteo says, “cooking is his passion,” and it shows in the wonderful made to order eggs, omelettes and crepes.
It is very well located right near St. Mark’s Square, but in a quiet little courtyard. So no extra noise, but nothing like waking up to the bells of St. Marks. Watch the workers unload goods from the boats right from your bedroom window.
We used all their recommendations for lunch and dinner and every one was excellent.
Perfecto Matteo, Barbara, Francesco and Bruno!!!

Tourist House Ghiberti B&B – Florence, Italy

(http://www.touristhouseghiberti.com/)

This is a smaller establishment. I believe they only have five or six rooms on the 1st floor (2nd in US) of an apartment building. We were greeted by Claudio the proprietor. Not the overwhelming, effervescent greeting we received in Venice, but that was unique. We had two rooms again, which are really quite large, and the bathrooms are also very big. Definitely the nicest bathrooms, with a tub and nice tile work. We are right across from the hospital, but as long as the windows are closed we hear no noise. (for summer travelers they do have air conditioning). They also have a computer with internet access in every room. This was very handy and really appreciated. I believe Claudio said they have some form of satellite tv as well, but we never turned it on. Breakfast was a typical European breakfast. While we liked the size of the rooms and bathrooms, when we return to Florence I would probably look at other places to stay before choosing to stay here again.

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2 responses to “Rome 2006”

  1. Melanie says:

    Great blog that I discovered today from your link on the Fodors forum! My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip with my girls who will be 7 and 9 at the time and have options between early April, anytime in July or early October. We are planning to fly into Venice and out of Rome, spending time in Lombardy and Abruzzo in between. Do you have a recommendation for the best time of year weather and crowd wise to travel to Italy given our available options above? Thank you!!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Melanie – glad you found the blog – the Fodors forum is an excellent source of information!! With respect to crowds and weather – I would skip July – it will be very hot and very crowded! We have been to Italy four times – twice in late March and twice in June. Our first trip in late March the weather was really great, the second time was pretty rainy – but that had been a rainy year (my daughter had been studying in Rome that semester and she said it rained a lot that year). Our first trip in June was unbearably hot – particularly in Rome. Our second trip in June was nice but then we also stayed in Northern Italy for that trip. I can only imagine that July would be very hot.

      According to historical weather info (I just looked at Rome) it appears that early Oct might be a little warmer than early April but the days are longer in April. I had always heard that Europe in early Oct was a great time to go so we did that for the first time this past Oct (Brussels, Berlin and Budapest) and I have to say it was unusually cold and rainy so I’m a little hesitant to recommend Oct (though apparently that was an anomaly). I think both early April and early Oct will be good for not super big crowds. I’m not sure if you are planning for 2016 or 2017 – just recommend you check when Easter is the year you are going if plan for April. Our first trip we specifically did not want to be there then but our other time in March we were actually in Sorrento on Easter and really enjoyed the festivities!!

      Sounds like you are planning a wonderful trip!!

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