What’s that you say? You wanna know where we stayed, where we ate, and where we bought some stuff? Not just some random reference to the greatest meal ever without actually knowing where the place was and maybe just maybe you want to go to Italy and go to all the same places we did and spend loads of money and gorge yourself on all the amazing things?
Ok, well then- this post is for you guys. Here goes!
If you’re staying in Rome and you want to stay near the train station, I highly recommend where we stayed Giovy Bed & Breakfast at via principe amedeo, 85/a. giovanna.69 at tiscali.it to contact directly.
Our host Giovanna was amazingly welcoming- breakfast was included in the very reasonable cost of the room and we felt super safe and looked after here. It wasn’t anything extra fancy- just welcoming, tidy and cozy. Plus the shower was fantastic! The metro is right near and easy to manage so that helps you get closer to all the sights and taxi’s in Rome are superb.
Our apartment in Florence was amazing! Oro Apartment located right near the Ponte Vecchio it had two bedrooms, full kitchen and a terrace. marusca.pagliuca at virgilio.it to contact directly
We really enjoyed our stay here- there was plenty of room for both of us and we used the kitchen everyday. The terrace was an amazing bonus to hang out on and would be even better in warmer weather. Our host Marusca welcomed us and then let us do our own thing all week which was great. She did help us out one night fantastically when we blew the fuse on the apartment (oops, you can’t run the heater and the stove at the same time!)
Our last stay was in Venice at the Hotel Abbazia. There were some things I really liked about this hotel- the rooms was quite large, it had a full jacuzzi tub which you don’t see much of and the bar was quite nice. I enjoyed our stay here except for one thing- the potpourri- it was everywhere. Our room, the lounge, the halls- this cloying sweet smell that kinda annoyed the heck out of me. It was really to bad because most everything else was great. I liked staying near the train station for my first time but next time I would stay a bit closer to the things I enjoyed like the amazing bars with cicchetti!
Restaurants, the best of where we ate and drank:
Ristorante Matricianella Via del Leone 4. classy, affordable, delicious! They have delicious gnocchi, crunchy yummy fried squash blossoms and my Veal Saltimbocca was fantastic. A very romantic sweet setting- highly recommend having dinner here. Make a reservation- we lucked into a table due to the rain letting up and agreeing to sit outside.
Sant’ Eustachio il caffe’ Do go here for coffee! It’s near the Pantheon sort of and quite amazing.
la Gallina Bianca Via A. Rosmini 5, Termini – A great place to grab a simple meal near the train station and our hotel. We ended up here one night and were quite happy with our meal. I wouldn’t go across town for it but if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a great choice.
Giovanni Fassi Gelato via Principe Eugenio – Quite possibly the best Gelato I had the whole trip. Just go! When she asks if you want cream- say yes!
Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo – Don’t mess around, go here your first day and fill your fridge, pockets and stomachs with all the amazing food. While you’re there give all your money to the folks at Perini (in exchange for cheese and snacks) and have a bollito with salsa sandwich from Nerbone.
Trattoria 4 Leoni Piazza Della Passera – We had an amazing dinner here. The have a pasta “Fiocchetti” little purses of pasta filled with a mix of pear, asparagus and taleggio cheese that I think people would have a heart attack if they took off the menu. It’s that good! also make a reservation.
Gilli Piazza della Repubblica – Where we went for coffee in the morning and in the afternoon for cocktails on their beautiful patio overlooking the Piazza della Repubblica. They have been at this location since the 1900’s and there are some amazing pictures on their website. They make some of the best coffee in town.
Grom Gelato Via del Campanile- Everyone likes it and it’s because it’s delicious! right near the Duomo but a bit tricky to find the first time.
Trattoria Sostanza via del porcellana 25r – We wanted Bistecca and Bollito and we got it! This very established old school style ( since 1869!) restaurant is a great place to go in Florence. Go for the steak!
Caffe’ delle Carrozze right near the beginning of the Ponte Vecchio- a really sweet little Gelato place. I wish I’d gone here more so I can only recommend that you go here as well! It’s right near the Uffizi.
Cafe Royal across the Ponte Vecchio, hang a left and go about half a block or so – a great bar to linger in the afternoon between things with a beautiful view of the river. you’ll pay for the view and fireplace in the price of your cocktail but it’s totally worth it.
Ristorante Pane e Vino P.zza di Cestello, 3r – What can i say? Just go! Our most amazing meal of the trip. I posted pictures of each course in my flickr. It was heavenly. It’s a small cozy restaurant across the Arno where the female chef Barbara Zattoni is creating beautiful dishes that were pure happiness to eat. Make a reservation.
We spent 2 meals wandering the area near the Rialto Bridge popping into bars and devouring amazing snacks. Pretty much everything is good- just order a glass of something and point at what you want. Pay when you’re finished and wander onto the next place.
On Murano we ate at a delightful low key place Dalla Mora located on Fond Manin. 75. I had some great pasta and amazing plate of fried fishies.
Books! I bought lots of books at all of the various special exhibits we went to!
At the Vatican head to the roof of St. Peters for one of the best gift shops of religious artifacts and postcards. Then head back down to the Vatican post office to mail postcards!
I picked up a beautiful pendant by the artist Maria Luigia Guidi my first day in Florence at a delightful flea market in square at Santa Croce.
Giulio Giannini & Figlio Piazza Pitti 37 – A great stationary, cards and handmade papers store.
Just down the street away from the Pitti Palace was Antonio Gatto at Piazza Pitti 5 who makes some of the most beautiful hats! I bought my red cloche there and a wool beret for my mum.
We both picked up scarves at a shop also on Piazza Pitti closer to the Ponte Vecchio- but I can’t find the name right now. It’s the only scarf shop between the Pitti Palace and the Ponte Vecchio. she has a fantastic selection, fair prices and you know the quality is leaps and bound better than anything on the street over by the Mercato. In general we avoided buying import good off the street and preferred to shop in boutiques.
Pulsateri via Calzaiuoli, 25r – we both bought leather gloves here. it’s a treat just to go in and try on the gloves and to see how the sales girl extracts the gloves from your hands after you have tried them on!
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – An amazing shrine to perfume and potions.
Enoteca Lombardi – I picked up some great olive oil and balsamic as gifts at this central market before stall we left Florence.
There were many more random shops as Florence has amazing shopping! You could go there and just do that all day- well, if your pocketbook could afford it!
First I picked up some amazing pieces by the Sisters Sent: Marinna and Susanna! Everything was so beautiful and amazingly affordable. Both the gift shops at The Doge’s Palace and The Glass Museum on Murano carry their work. I highly recommend you check it out if you go.
We also just wandered the Island of Murano popping into to stores and picking out beautiful things.
Linea Arte Vetro – I picked up some glass beads, cuff links and a glass ring here. They had a great selection.
Cesare Sent -I got another great necklace here, a big glass bubble on a silver chain. He was very nice and had a wide selection of interesting work.
Clynne picked up some amazing necklaces in another shop in Murano that I don’t have the name of. They have wonderful modern pieces- both jewelry and glassware. I’ll try to update with the name.
So that’s about it! lot’s of links to explore, I have a bajillion windows open on my screen right now of all the things I want to go look at while putting this together.
Enjoy! and lemmie know if any of them don’t work 🙂