It is an agency providing holiday apartments for rent in the centre of Rome. They have different solutions and are very helpful. After booking they sent me a lot of tips about events in Rome and how to spend my days there. Finally the apartment was well serviced and finely furnished, while the price was a lot lower than an hotel. In my opinion the best way to stay in a city like Rome is to rent an holiday apartment or a bed & breakfast.
One of the most scenic train journeys you can go on is the train whick links the beautiful Italian cities of Florence and Venice. The first wonderful surprise is the magnificent train station at Florence, a building of architectural worth and beauty in its own right. Get there early for the train and have a snack in the cafeteria while drinking in the rococo decor.
The train itself is superbly clean with comfortable seats and ticket inspectors with stylish uniforms. It feels like a 1960's Italian movie. The scenery is worth watching, no need to take a book to read on this journey. The excitement of arriving in Venice is hard to describe, look forward to walking from the station to the Piazza San Marco (try to arrive just before dusk to see the full magnificence of one of the world's most perfect scenes.......)
It is a massive cathedral and inside there is a hole in the roof through which a slowly (but perceptibly) moving spot of light shines illustrating the movement of the earth round the sun and the exact time of the solstices and astrological periods on a huge linear sundial on the marble floor. Arrive shortly before 12:30 (probably 13:30 in the Summer?) and you can follow the spot of light as it crosses the floor to reach its destination. Great for kids and free!
A side chapel also contains a Foucault's pendulum kept in motion by magnets.
It is free to go into almost all of the museums in Bologna and this one is amazing - due in large part to the work of an 18th century female artist/anatomist who made models to enable medics to study the human body. Some are wax and some are human bone and wax. I would not recommend a visit if you are pregnant - the obstetrics section, although fascinating, could be upsetting: it contains midwife-training models of wombs illustrating difficult foetal presentations, many of which would surely have resulted in infant and/or maternal death.
It also contains (less alarming!) sections on natural history and physics.
It's a stylish cafe/bar/cake shop in the centre of Bologna and at around 6pm they put out a mouth-wateringly delicious free buffet. It starts with tempting canapes, and after a bit they bring out warm things. The drinks are not cheap (it was 6 euro for a glass of wine) but as you can eat all you want for the price it is brilliant. It is also fascinating watching the bar staff prepare and serve cocktails with aplomb, and watching the other customers.
Piazza Galvani (web = caffezanarini.com)
Cantina Bentivoglio in Via Mascerella is a wine bar that serves brilliant food. The pork in balsamic vinegar sauce is meltingly tender, and the beef in red wine on polenta - so delicious. I finished off with lemon sorbet with "wodka" (the English translations in the back of the menu provide a few laughs). Plan to eat at 9 or 9.30 and you get to listen to live jazz - makes for a great evening!
Via Mascarella (round the back of the Palazzo Bentivoglio)- look up "Cantina Bentivoglio" on the net for more details
Italian chain that allows you to see what dishes are being prepared before you choose food. Always full of locals rather than tourists. Great opportunity to get a hang of Italian food habits. Padua Brek is slightly better if you're travelling.
Main square outside opera amphitheatre
Nicolas Inn is a b&b near the Roman Forum. We highly recommend staying here because of the excellent location, friendly service and comfortable rooms. It is run by an Italian and American couple that do a superb job of helping their guests enjoy their stay. I will post other recommendations for restaurants that they passed on to us.
I've been to Rome three times; the last two times we booked online a 2-bedroom apartment for the whole family next to Piazza Venezia, and the other time next to Termini station. Those guys are specialized in short-term rentals and actually own quite a lot apartments in Rome. Pricewise I must say is not the lowest on the market but quite reasonable for the service we got. Awesome locations, large, sunny and clean apartments, friendly and helpful staff. One vote from me.
I've just come back from a mini-break in Rome, and we stayed in Trastevere. This is a fantastic area of Rome, full of life and things to do. It is close to all the tourist sites, but you feel like you are seeing the real Rome. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes. Be warned though, drinks can be quite expensive. Search out for happy hours!
Justly, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, with its endlessly rich heritage of art, architecture and archaeology, not to mention fantastic food and wine, Rome is a city that everyone wants to visit. It has a massive range of accommodation for all pockets, and if you're on a tight budget, you could do far worse than the Hostel des Artistes.
Less than a 10-minute walk from the city centre's main arrival point, the Termini station, Hostel des Artistes is located in an old apartment building on a quiet backstreet. It isn't luxury, but it is extremely cheap, and for your money you get security, good standards of cleanliness, impressively large bathrooms, and a lovely roof terrace.
It may not be in the Centro Storico but its transport connections are fantastic - you can get to almost anywhere in the Eternal city easily by bus or metro from the nearby Termini. There are also a handful of cheap eateries and minimarkets nearby for bargain breakfasts, pastries, or to make a packed lunch.
Hostel Des Artistes, Via Villafranca 20, 00185 Rome, Italy.
Metro: Castro Pretorio is right around the corner, or Termini is less than ten minutes walk. From the Termini, buses connect to the heart of the city, and trains to the airport and the rest of the country.
The Art Academy B&B in Dorsoduro, Venice is a truly wonderful little gem. Tucked away by the side of the Accademia bridge you couldn't wish for a nicer to stay whilst exploring the marvels of Venice. The hosts Barbara and Mara were friendly and welcoming - despite our delayed 1 am appearance due to fog and an un-expected route via Trieste!
The rooms are immaculately clean and bright and spacious with simple furnishings. Some rooms have views of the Grand Canal..... the thrill of opening the shutters in the morning and seeing it all before you cannot be beaten.Rooms are available with en-suite or shared bathrooms, we opted for the latter and it was all perfectly fine.No queues or drama, perfectly nice bathroom with all the usual facilities. A lovely Italian breakfast is served in a room with views of the Grand Canal - so not much talking over breakfast but plenty of gawping!
Trust me, I have been to Venice before and places to stay that are as good as this, as centrally located and with such friendly & helpful hosts can be counted on the fingers of one hand. If flashy and fancy is your thing, then this isn't for you, but if you want to see and experience the friendlier side of Venice then do go and stay! Tell them Emma sent you!
After staying in a fabulous place in Florence (see our other tip about Il Ghiro) we thought it couldn't get any better. How wrong we were. The Beehive is extraordinary. A beautiful, warm, clean, friendly hostel with free internet and the most incredible vegetarian cafe downstairs (you can also eat at the cafe if you are not a guest). We can't believe our luck and we are wishing we could stay in a place like this everywhere we go. By far, the best hostel possible. The term "hostel" doesn't remotely do it justice. It's home, in Rome.
Via Marghera 8
Do Mori is simply not to be missed. It's a little hard to find but is near the Rialto market and worth the hunt. You should only find locals here - it's where the market traders go from mid-morning for their 'ombra' - a glass of wine and perhaps some ciccheti (little snacks).
There are no tables here and no waiter service, so simply go up to the counter of the little dark bar, choose your wine, choose some snacks and enjoy a taste of real Venice. Don't expect service with a smile but do expect to feel part of the real city.
San Polo 429 - Entrances on Calle Galiazza and Calle Do Mori, In San Polo, Venice
Fantastic little restaurant running since 1860 (the whole time with the same family). We had a delicious meal there (pastas around seven euros, salads four, desserts four) and thoroughly enjoyed both the delicious food and the great service and ambience. Highly reccommended.
43-45 Via Sant'Antonio
In spite of Ryan Air and talk of Marche being the ‘New Tuscany’ the area has remained remarkably tourist free. It is a region of spectacularly varied scenery, sloping Eastwards from the high Apennines through green hills to the sea, it is a countryside of small farms, vineyards, olive groves and forests. A legacy of the Medieval past is an abundance of hill-top cities, encircled by defensive walls, with commanding views and monumental historic centres : in Byron’s words, “here all the cities are capitals and have not that provincial tone of secondary cities of other kingdoms.”
The Sibillini National Park has an interest for everyone, mountain sports enthusiasts, botanists, photographers, hikers, birdwatchers, mountain bikers, it has lakes, castles monasteries, caves, and medieval villages to explore.
We stayed at Villa Gelso in the National Park, I would recommend it for secluded romance or family holidays.
The flood in Rome was scary and exciting at the same time. (I can say that now the worst is over). We spent it in a rented apartment from Palazzo Olivia for our family Italian break ... they are so nice. I was worried about going out, but received necessary directions and reassurance during our stay. Comfortable accommodation, great service, great location as usual. On this particular occasion, close enough to the river to "monitor" and far enough to feel safe. Worth a visit.
Spending Christmas in such a metropolitan area like Rome is really wonderful. Italy has a very romantic feel to it with its cobbled pavements, cozy cafes and historic landmarks. The Colosseum looks even better during the festive period, with a beautifully adorned tree that sits on its doorstep. There are also plenty of other things to see during this time of year besides the landmarks, including choirs, Christmas markets (like in the Piazza Navona) and Catholic mass on Christmas Eve. Just a wonderful time of the year to be in Italy.
Various; Rome City Centre
The Italian capital has always been particularly famous for being an expensive city, but if you like Italian culture then you can enjoy the best that Rome has to offer for next to nothing. The city houses countless churches (the Piazza Santa Maria), monuments and galleries (Piazza dell'Accademia di San Luca) that are available to visit for free, and if you feel you have exhausted those, then step just outside the city center and take a relaxing walk through the luscious greens of the Villa Ada.
Various; Rome City Centre
This tour will take you down paths less trodden and provide you with a different outlook on Rome and its superb landmarks. The tour is taken at night and, as mystery and your imagination take over, the guide will provide an entertaining side to the capital that you are not likely to get during the day. Particular landmarks explored include the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the beautiful Campo de Fiori. This is a really cool way to explore this magnificent city, especially if you have children.
Sant'Andrea Della Valle Church - Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
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