Bassano is in a stunning location, great views in all directions. When you visit you have 3 options, or you could try a combination of options! Stay around the town, go north into the mountains or go south to visit cities such as Vicenza, Padova or Verona.
I have written a guide to Bassano: www.europealacarte.co.uk/Italy/bassano.html
Bergamo is ideal as a short break destination as it is a Ryanair hub (although called their Milan airport). There is a regular service bus into Bergamo city centre. There are a couple of interesting museums, lovely shops and the medieval hilltop town to explore.
I have written a Guide to Bergamo:www.europealacarte.co.uk/Italy/bergamo/.
Lake Iseo lies between Bergamo and Brescia in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is smaller and not so well known as Lake Como and Lake Garda. This is part of the reason why it appeals to me, as it is not so commercialised and is better value for money. Lake Iseo is home to the largest island in a lake in Europe, Monte Isola. No cars are allowed on the island, so it is ideal for walking or cycling. There are many pretty towns and villages around the lakeside. The scenery is very dramatic with sheer sheets of limestone at one point on the western bank and the Pyramids of Zone, earth pinnacles up to 10 metres high, on the eastern side of the lake.
I have written a Guide to Lake Iseo
I had an image in my mind of the quintessential Roman pizzeria: a narrow side street, tables packed with locals, buzzing with conversation, great pizza and pasta at a reasonable price. And then, walking along Via Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle, I glanced left and there it was. Service was fast and unforgiving – you threw that order at a flying waiter and hoped it stuck – the decor simple and the demand huge, as locals lined up three-deep along the wall, looking enviously on as we lucky ones tucked into wood-oven pizzas and cheap beers. All the while the owner – only slightly less intimidating than Tony Soprano – directed the chaos like a cigar-chewing maestro. Great food, drink, company and entertainment. When in Rome...
Address: Vicolo Savelli 13, Rome.
Tel: (39-6) 6861877
Only in Rome does service barely above curt and drinks for a single-figure amount cause an enthusiastic stir. But Enoteca Antica gives both, and much more besides. Reasonable and tasty food, great Erdinger beers for 5 Euros, and – hang on to your seats – service that is genuinely friendly. And then there’s the location – a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, in an old wine cavern so atmospheric you can smell the Chianti in the air.
Address: Via della Croce, 76/b, 00187 Rome
Telephone: (39-6) 6790896
Fax: (39-6) 6797544
There's a very high quality company in Rome called Rome Sweet Home that manage a lot of cute apartments in the heart of Rome. I found them with Google but I was very impressed with the service and the quality of the apartment.
Via della Vite 32 00187
In a city of a amazing food, this restaurant topped the list! Typical Tuscan cuisine but with an incredibly vast menu. It has an excellent atmosphere and friendly staff. So good I even bought the recipe book!
Piazza del Mercato Centrale
Subbass is a bar - only opens Fridays. It's smokey chaotic with live music being played by whoever decides to join in this spontaneous acoustic "thing". Clientele is made up of locals and expats from UK, US, NZ, Australia. It stays open till the last client leaves which is usually at the break of dawn. Only Japanese beer is sold and there's not a huge variety of alcohol brands but on average all tastes are satisfied. The atmosphere within is definitely worth a visit. Ring at the doorbell, it's not guaranteed that someone will open. Prices are low and service erratic but nonetheless it's worth a visit. Some evenings are quiet many others are a complete delirium.
Via della vetrina 7 - near Piazza Navona
I just happened to have a small binocular in my bag and it added to my enjoyment of the frescoes, as I could get a really close look. Also spotted someone next to me who had a little handheld mirror to save his neck muscles. Ingenious.
Hey, surfing the net I have found this useful travel guide that gives tons of tips to the independent travellers! Furthermore, I think it is a good source of information because you can deal with hotel's official sites, avoiding paying commission to intermediaries.
Venice has to be explored at 4am. The change in the city is quite simply indescribable to somebody who has only seen it during the tourist-infested day. Wait long enough and you get first the birds, then the dawn, and finally early-bird locals up and about, much friendlier than they are during the day as they presume you are one of them.
This is the place to get that picture every one has got of someone holding up the leaning tower or that postcard of all three buildings, the tower, the baptistry and the Duomo or cathedral.
Staying here for a night to get your flight or stop off before you hit the rest of Tuscany can be a good diea. It will leave you refreshed and ready to see all the wonders this part of Italy has to offer.
Excellent bed and breakfast. Really central, near the Duomo and Piazza Signoria. Only six small rooms but very clean and really cosy. Staff are helpful and recommended some great places to visit and good restaurants. You can choose between an en-suite, a private bathroom across the corridor or a shared bathroom.
Trattoria Anita is a great but cheap restaurant. We went for lunch and dinner. Two course lunch for two including wine came to 20 Euros. It has a cosy wooden interior and very friendly staff. Food was delicious and certainly good value. Added bonus is it is near Gelateria dei Neri so you can pop for icecream afterwards!
Via del Parlascio 2/r
Tel: 055 218 698
Not to mention the amazing art galleries Villa Borghese is an oasis of quiet in the bustling city of Roma - a must see for all visitors. If you want to visit the galleries you need to pre-book online before your visit ... tickets sell out fast but they are reasonably priced.
It can be reached by climbing the Spanish Steps but for the less energetic a taxi is relatively inexpensive.
Sorrento is great for visits to Pompei and Herculaneum on the train. Allow a day for each. Get an audio guide and ask at the tourist info office next to the ticket office for the FREE guide book and map. The stall holders will try to sell you a flashy guide on the way in.
Entrance to Pompei is 5 mins from the train at Pompei Scava. Herculaneum is a 15min walk from Ercolano station. Ignore talk of muggers from tour reps. Visitor guides are expensive for 2 hrs and not as good as audio guides.
For Vesuvius, get the train to Ercolano and catch the mini bus outside the station. More pleasant than the journey on the tour coach. Allow 1 hour for walk up and half for return. Loads of people on maintained cinder track. Take windproof and water.
Both are central for buses (sometimes crowded) trains (regular, cheap and efficient), and jet ferries (cheap and fast to Naples).
Sorrento is great for an evening wander or a cheap supermarket (beware siesta time). Both great for visits to Pompei and Herculaneum on the train.
The scooters looks wild at first site but they are MUCH better drivers than us in the UK. They expect you to walk out in front of them and rarely get irate.
Catch a train to Castel le Marre for cable car to mountain walk or a boat from Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast destinations and Capri.
Don't bother hiring a car - met two couples who had taken them back.
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