June 20, 2008
I asked you guys for advice on France and then called off the trip. Then we were going to California and you all gave me lots of tips. But now we're not. So, ok, for real this time:
The IC and I are going to Italy in the middle of July. Really. We are. I've added it to my Dopplr calendar and everything. Our friends are renting a house in Tuscany for the month of July and we're planning to stay with them for a few days. Our current plan is to fly into Rome, spend two nights there. Then, rent a car, drive to Tuscany and spent three nights with our friends while visiting Florence and surrounding towns and coast. Two nights in Venice. Back to Tuscany for one more night. Then home.
I'm looking for suggestions, especially things to do that are off the beaten path. We have a lot of flexibility and can change around all of the above if we so decide. Know a great little town? A restaurant or bar that you recommend? A vineyard or shop that's a must visit? Give it up in the comment section.
Posted by Karol at June 20, 2008 09:35 AM
Technorati Tags: Italy Recommendations+Italy
And this is how Karol writes a guide book without ever going anywhere!
One tip for Venice (or probably anywhere in Italy ... but since lots of places in Venice are such a rip-off)... just go to the supermarket, buy a loaf of bread, a bit of prosciutto, some fresh mozzarella and some tomatoes. Sit out in a plaza and make yourself a sandwich. You'll be glad you did it.
I've never been to Italy, but if I were going I would make a point of visiting San Marino, just because it's a Most Serene Republic. Microstates are fascinating.
Talk with your hands, grow a mustache and EMOTE. Look to liberals for the emote part (at least the mindless emoting)
From Mrs Jake
Good places to eat in Florence:
*Trattoria Angiolino, Via S. Spirito 36r, Telephone 055 2398976 Closed Monday (excellent food & prices--has been there forever. Locals go there & love it!)
*Trattoria Garga, via del Moro, 48r, Phone: 055 2398898 Closed Mondays (loud and lots of fun. Try the "magnifico" pasta dish
*Osteria Belle Donne, via delle Benne Donne, 16r, Phone 055 2382609. Small but very good, inexpensive, people very friendly.
*Tre Merli, via de Fossi, 12r, or via del Moro, 11r (open on both streets) Phone 055 287062 Caprese salad is fabulous!
*Trattoria Mamma Gina, bg.S. Jacopo, 37r (1 block off Arno, down from Ponte Vecchio) Phone 055 213908 or 055 2396009 (large, friendly, good food--don't be put off by it's touristy look)
*Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, bg. S. Jacopo, 43r, Phone 055 215706 (good!)
*BocaNegra Ristorate, via Ghibellina, 124R (about 4 blocks past the Bargello on via Ghibellina, near Verdi Theater) Phone 055 2001098 (Fabulous food & wine. Expensive but worth it!)
*Il Gatto e La Volpe Pizzeria, via Ghibellina, 151r Telephone 055 289264 Excellent pizza!
*Associazione La Pentola Dell'Oro, Via di Mezzo 24r Telephone 055 241808 or 241821
*Ristorante La Galleria, Via Guicciardi, 48r Telephone 055 218545 or 2645988 (locals go here even though it's in a touristy area. It's in the arcade across from the Pitti. Good food and very nice people.)
*Il Cantinone (Enoteca del Chianti Classico), via Santo Spirito, 6r. Telephone 055.21.88.98. Closed on Mondays. On the right side as you walk away from Ponte Vecchio. Very friendly and excellent food. Not expensive.
*Bene Vobis Enoteca, Via de'Serragli, 78r. Telephone 055.218952. Two very nice women run this "wine bar" but also serve fabulous food. Good wine, too.
*L'Osteria di Giovanni, Via del Moro, 22. Telephone 055 284897. Very good!
*Cibreo--don't waste your money at this restaurant. Very famous and very overpriced. Really odd food. Crowded. Don't bother.
Honestly, if you want my real advice, I'd just stick with going to Rome, Florence, and Tuscany for this trip. Breaking Italy into Northern, Central, and Southern Italy (and doing three trips) is really smart. I lived there for four years (in Vicenza, which is East of Venice) and you can literally spend two weeks on Rome, two weeks on Florence, and two weeks on the rest of Tuscany and *still* not see everything.
If you're in Tuscany, make sure you hit Multipulciano. The wine there is SPECTACULAR.
Always eat at restaurants that are off the beaten path. Don't bother with the standard "touristy" places. Look for where locals go eat.
When you're up in Venice, see if you can take a ferry over to Murano.
Siena--beautiful town not that far from Florence--looks much the way it did in the Middle Ages.
Luca in Tuscany is good. Its abvout 2 hours by train from Florence. The small town of Barga which is about an hour by car from Luca is really nice. You would feel at home there. Its the most Scottish town in Italy. A large number of the Italian imigrants to Scotland came from this area and have returned or have hoilday homes. If you go to Pisa I wouldn't spend more than a day there. Once you have seen the tower there's not to much more. Florence is very nice.
Luca is where we are staying in Tuscany!
Well, I'm sure some will see this as sacrilege, but if you are a fan of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons book, taking an Angels and Demons tour in Rome was really good.
I had been to Rome a few times and seen SOME of the usual sights. Plus I am not a huge history buff, so seeing something that was a little off the beaten track was good. It's not hugely off the beaten track, for sure one of the first stops is Vatican Square, but it is a slightly different way to see the city.
We did a private tour with a young Italian guy and it was really good.