A small hotel on the fifth floor of a block, within easy walking distance of Termini, the main railway station in Rome, so good for the first or last night of a holiday in Rome, giving easy access to the station and the metro or buses to the airports. It is not smart, but the front desk is manned 24/7, the staff are friendly, it is inexpensive, breakfast is included, and there are plenty of nearby places to eat.
Domus Mea Hotel, 31 Via Calatafimi
Italy. Phone #: 64881174,
# Rooms: 24, Fax #: 6486496,
A fine youth hostel. The dorms are well airconditioned, close to the city centre and transport links to places such as Pompeii. The staff are exceptionally helpful and friendly and there's internet facilities, a laundry service and common room for meeting fellow travellers.
Simply the best family-run bar in this delightful village that is really the jewel of Valpollicella wine producing region. Beppe Ugolini takes his beer as seriously as they do wine here, but it's really the wine that thrills. It can be enjoyed in typically argumentative and boisterous fashion with a group of locals that make English people very welcome indeed. You can taste real Italian rustic dolce vita and plan your next winery vist with the very farmers that produce the full bodied Amarones and Reciotos for which the region is rightly famous. Plenty of good panini and hot pizzetta are available. Barracca del Beppe with its unpretentious ambience made a welcome stop from wine touring. A visit to Fumane and the surrounding vine-clad lessini mountain foothills are a must if you are holidaying near lake garda or in Verona (both around 18 kilometers away).
When leaving Venice, if you don't have time to have lunch before rushing to catch your plane from Marco Polo, don't fret because you are in for a treat. Forget the usual airport food that we all know and hate - this airport food is a delight. Fresh pasta, with selection of different sauces, fabulous variety of salads and breads, dainty looking puds, with a glass or two of red. So civilised!! It was almost worth going home to experience something in such a different class to anything that I have ever had in an airport. The Italians certainly know how to live (and eat!!)
Marco Polo Airport
What appears to be just another medieval church (which has excellent mosaics) sits above a fourth-century church which in turn sits above an even older pagan Temple of Mithras and underground spring. Not for the claustrophobic.
A couple of hundred yards from the Colosseum.
Unmissable - not too big, so if you've only got a day in the city it wont take up too much time. But a beautiful building, with lovely gardens and a fabulous art and sculpture collection. The walk to it takes you off the tourist trail as well so it's a chance to experience real, peaceful Venetian streets.
When you arrive at the airport you have the option of taking a bus, water taxi or an "Alilaguna" boat to Venice. (Alilaguna is the name of the operator.) Especially if you have never been to Venice before, this is a magical way catch your first glimpse of it, unless you are happy and able to pay around £50 for a water taxi. The boat goes round the islands, finally stopping at the Arsenale and San Marco.
This is the best way to get your bearings in Venice, as it goes from one end of the Grand Canale to the other. Take the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Travel Guide, with annotated illustrations for every stage of your journey, you get a marvellous guided tour from the station at one end to San Marco and the Arsenale at the other. Approximately 30 minutes each way, and not too expensive.
Most places along the Grand Canal, including the point where you arrive from the mainland
Recently opened hotel: beautifully restored villa just outside Lucca. It's idyllic! A four-star hotel that is friendly and welcoming. Perfect attention to detail in every respect. Run by a husband and wife team - both warm and hospitable - excellent cooks, too! Imaginative weekend "offers" out of season, including Christmas and New Year. Perfect for a longer stay in the area, or for a weekend escape. Bliss! I can't wait to go back!
Nearest station: Lucca, Italy
Nearest airport: Pisa
When a very high tide combines with strong winds, there is the risk of flooding. This is fun if you are prepared with wellies - but sometimes the flood is so high you need thigh-high waders or else you must be prepared to stay indoors until the tide lowers. Fortunately the flooding in Venice is tidal and WILL go down within 12 hours.
They do sell disposable wellies in the local markets, which you can put over your normal shoes and which are cheap enough to leave behind when you go home. Some hotels have wellies you can borrow but not usually enough pairs for everyone and it depends on your size. Most Venetians have waders; at times of high water they can be seen going to work in their suits, with wellies over their designer trousers.
When there is going to be an exceptionally high tide, a siren is sounded over the whole city in plenty of time to warn you to get to where you need to be, or to batten down the hatches against the floods. Most shops and hotels have effective flood defences by way of flood-proof half doors that can be stepped over by pedestrians but keep the water out. It is quite an adventure if you are prepared.
Well, it's a museum housed in a former synagogue and is one of the tallest buildings in Turin. BUT, the actual museum is pretty average, verging on poor. However, you need to go in the glass lift (yes GLASS) to the tower where you get some stunning views of Turin. Worth the entrance fee, and if you are a fan of fake Darth Vader masks, then you'll get a Brucie Bonus too...
Mole Antonelliana Via Montebello, 20 - Torino
Venice's only 'vegetarian' restuarant ... but it serves meat dishes (??). It's small, tucked well away from the madding crowd of the general tourist hullaballoo - a 20-minute "easily getting lost" walk from the Basillica. It has a fantastic atmosphere, great food and good prices. The menu's in Italian and you'll need to ring to make a reservation. Try and get a table outside.
I went with a group of friends, and we enjoyed our three-course meal so much, we ordered another two courses each...
Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio
Santa Croce 1762 - Venezia
Torcello is the island at the north of the Venetian lagoon that might have been Venice, and that Venice might have been. In their early days they were equally populous, but Venice prospered and Torcello dwindled; as a result, you can find quiet and contemplation on Torcello that sometimes eludes one in Venice itself.
Especially noteworthy for church junkies is the Ciesa Santa Maria Assunta, with its mosaics of the Last Judgement and of the Virgin and child, heavily Byzantine influenced but with some North European influence too.
Take a vaporetto to Burano, a picturesque little island in its own right, and then the Traghetto to Murano.
Restaurant in Vieste. Super friendly service, authentic but lively food. Also the restaurants on the steps down to the main piazza. Cenarola was particularly fantastic for a long sunny lunch.
Il Dragone is in a cave 2m under the central Cathedral. So look for that, and then go down! Also very nearby (down some steps from Il Dragone) is Cenarola. Pass through the resto to the outdoor seating.
It was shockingly run down. A lot of graffiti and litter. I´d really keep your wits about about you and your bags tightly held walking around here. Also in Piazza Garibaldi. Maybe we missed a lot in Naples, but we left feeling disappointed.
A great restaurant that is quite reasonably priced. If you look for the cheapest places to eat then you might be disappointed with the quality of the food, as we discovered. But the service and quality here was great. I want to know how to make walnut sauce!
Situated next to the market; www.trattoriazaza.it/
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