'Spaccanapoli', the historic centre, is the heart of Naples. Go to Piazza Gusu and pick up a map that shows the locations of the architectural treasures of this area. There are numerous churches, monasteries, palazzos and some great cafés. Whatever you do, don't miss the monastery of Santa Chiara. It's breathtaking. Scarturchio's café has some of the best pastries and coffee in Italy.
Keep your wits about you and you'll be fine.
Piazza Dante underground station. Enter the historic centre through Port'Alba, the city gate behind the statue of Dante.
A fine museum at the very top of the Vomero Hill (take one of the funicular railways from the city centre). After taking in the fabulous view visit the museum and monastery.
Here you'll find the museum of the history of Naples. There are also some spectacular 'presepi' (nativities) from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
San Martino, Vomero, Naples
Lovely for a walk - especially in spring. Littered with cafes and restaurants, you can sit for a drink or just soak up the sun.
Take a book or munch on a Gianduiotto di passeggio from the Da Nico gelateria in the summer.
Wistful in winter: take a midnight walk in the freezing cold and take in the sound of the Giudecca Canal.
Go to the water bus (vaporetto) stop Zattere, or walk up from the Accademia stop; www.actv.it/english/home.php
Go to Corte Sconta, the best fish restaurant in Venice. It’s tricky to find, but it's just off the Riva degli Schiavoni before you get to the Arsenale.
Also good is the Madonna restaurant. Order a fritto misto, a bottle of white wine and lap up the waiters, it's a laugh.
Corte Sconta: Castello 3886, Calle del Pestrin;
Madonna restaurant: San Polo 594
Don't go to the Doge's Palace, the Correr Museum, St Mark's Cathedral, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection or any other place purporting to be any kind of cultural establishment especially the Accademia. If you want culture go to the Biennale or the Film Festival.
Equally, don't bother with Harry's Bar, the Cipriani, the Lido, the Giudecca or Burano.
There is, however, one island I went to years ago. It is a tiny monastery and has a fantastic library with real Egyptian mummies in it. It's called San Lazzaro.
Go to the glass factory in Murano. Get off the vaporetto turn right, head along the canal over the first bridge and double back. You get a free tour and load of hard sell. It's a good morning's entertainment disappointing the salesman of uniformly hideous glass. Then it’s back across the bridge to the nearby bar for a freshener.
Go to the cemetery island of St Michele, a fascinating place always covered in flowers. After 10 years Venetians' bones are removed to the public ossuary in Mestre because of overcrowding, but there are always a few that stay. Evidence perhaps of backhanders even in the afterlife.
Take a trip to the church of St Giorgio Maggiore and go up the bell tower in the smallest of lifts accompanied by a monk with garlicky teeth - see if you can hold your breath all the way to the top - it's the best view in Venice and much better than the campanile in St Marco. There's a small marina below, you can look down and wonder who owns those boats.
Any trip to Florence must include a visit to the Duomo, as a thumping great example of majestic architecture and for its stunning views. But a strong note of caution if you find heights uncomfortable. To get to the top you have to walk, or in my case trot blindly, around two levels of very narrow wooden gallery, set to the inside of the dome. This offers an intimate view of the impressive ceiling mural but also places you uncomfortably close to God.
The Palatine Hill is worth visiting for its own sake as well as being the place to buy a ticket to get you in to the Colosseum. More relaxing than the Roman forum below and a nice place for a picnic if you're there at lunchtime.
Bologna is THE place to spend a weekend eating. It has the most amazing pasta you've ever tasted - apparently it's made from a different sort of flour, but it soaks up the sauce deliciously.
You must visit Tamburini. It’s an amazing deli but also a restaurant/cafe (self service), which has delicious food at lunchtime - packed out when we went, but well worth the queue.
It felt like a Bolognese institution to us.
Via Caprarie, 1 - 40124 Bologna; Tel: +39 (0)51 234726; Fax +39 (0)51 232226; www.tamburini.bo.it/
Hotel Torcolo is a small two-star hotel steps away from the Arena. Basic accommodation but perfectly clean, nice room and shower - all one needs really. The ladies who run the place are very friendly and full of tips about the best places to eat, and how to navigate the one way streets by car. Book parking with them in advance if you need it as this is limited as it's so central.
Get a certain distance out on the Via Appia, the tomb of Caecilia Metella or the Circus of Romulus perhaps, and walk back in, taking in the odd catacomb or church on the way, ending up at Porta Ostiense by the Pyramid of Cestius - what I call the Quo Vadis experience!
Get to Forum just before it opens (at 9am I think), and go straight in, in the cool of the morning and before it gets too busy. Or walk through it a few times and get to know it, perhaps on the way to the Palatine or Colosseum. And remember the other fora and try to ignore the Mussolini-era Via dei Fori Imperiali carved across them.
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