ITALY TRIP APRIL 2017
ITALY TRIP APRIL 2017
We flew Business class and Economy with Qatar Airways.
Business class was impeccable with service and entertainment meals etc all amazing.
Economy class upper deck on A380 if you can get up there well worth it as no children under age of 12 so it's much quieter and less than 50 seats so service is again amazing.
STAY & ACTIVITIES
Started in Venice staying at SAVOIA and JOLANDA canal view room, the service and location of this hotel is fantastic located directly on the Grand Canal opted for the hotel transfers which was a great way to start and so much easier than having to navigate yourself, rooms typical Venetian style and if you have a canal view can watch the world go by from your bed. Breakfast is amazing and service impeccable. Beautiful little wine bar just behind hotel called Bacardi Risorto.
The hotel is only 5 min walk to Piazzo San Marco and plenty of great restaurants and shops close by although you can get lost quite easy exploring the many cobblestone streets that open up to the Piazza.
Above: some highlights from our stay in Venice and on the right the view from our hotel room.
We then caught a train to Milan, travelling by train throughout Italy is extremely easy, trains are very comfortable, were always on time and plenty of storage for luggage.
In Milan we stayed at Best Western Galles - which was about 10 min walk from main station and right next to metro so easy to get around. Next time we would stay more central Milan as Milan is very spread out and I think best to stay anywhere close to Duomo, we only had a couple of days and our main reason for visiting was to drive a Ferrari and a day trip on the Bernina Express through the Alps to St Moritz.
The Ferrari drive was worth every cent, it was around $250 for an hour along a beautiful stretch of highway where you can see the Alps in front of you.
The Bernina Express is absolutely breathtaking no matter what time of year you go the scenery is always perfect, it is a full 13-hour day from Milan but worth every minute.
Above: some highlights from our time in Milan and on the right the Bernina Express.
We then trained it to Cinque Terre and stayed in Monterosso (one of the larger towns). We stayed at a beautiful owner occupied villa in the old town centre of Monterosso (so much nicer than the main area near station). Villa Steno has views over the village and water and beautiful little patios off each room, the breakfast is beautiful and you can sit on a balcony overlooking the old town and sea and your hosts Matteo and Carla will certainly ensure your stay is the best. Monterosso is a traditional fishing village so the fresh seafood restaurants in the old town are in abundance - the only problem will be working out which ones to visit.
You can walk between the 5 towns of Cinque Terra (Monterosso,Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore) or you can catch the train between each town which only takes a few minutes and I suggest hiring a boat to take you for a tour of the five Oceanside for a different perspective, best to hire from Vernazza as so many more available and better prices.
You must visit Nessun Dorma on the cliff at Manarola (Corniglia side) it is worth the wait for the view and spectacular food.
Above: some highlights from our time in Cinque Terra.
We caught another train from Monterosso to Florence. We stayed at Rivoli Boutique Hotel - good size rooms, beautiful fixtures, helpful staff- very central to main train station and easy walk to Duoma, Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Galleries and best of shopping at San Lorenzo markets for leather goods and plenty of bargains (make sure you bargain with them) also the shopping in Florence is great, they have every name brand you can think of. Each region in Italy is known for different foods and Florence is T-Bone make sure you try as it will be some of the best you will eat.
We hired a car for a few days and visited Siena and San Gimignano, driving is easy throughout Italy but you must be careful and watch the street signs as there are a lot of no entry areas for cars (which we found out upon return to a fine for entering a street in Siena) these towns are beautiful medieval villages that are a must see, it is said that San Gimignano has the Worlds best gelato at Gelaterio Dondoli, worth the wait the owner will come and have a chat to you while you wait. Siena boasts some of the best Pizza you will eat, we tried II Pomodorino and it was pretty good. Driving through Tuscany area allows you to stop at the many wineries in picturesque locations.
Above: some highlights from our time in Florence and Tuscany.
For our final leg of our trip, we took a frain from Florence to Rome. We stayed at the Trevi Palace Luxury Apartments -great size rooms perfect for small families and free mini bar stocked daily, with very helpful staff- location 1 min walk to Trevi Fountain which is great location as many restaurants near by, found one across from Trevi Palace called IL Chianti which is amazing, we ate there 4 nights in a row, best to book so you can sit in main area of restaurant rather than downstairs.
Have your walking shoes on as Rome is best seen by foot, the Vatican prebook front of line tour as no one wants to spend their vacation in lines for hours, also Colosseum, Roman forum, Patheon. If you can spare time visit Trastevere which is a funky, bohemian area full of trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan shops, it's a great place to sit and have lunch and watch the world go by or get lost in the picturesque cobble stone streets with ochre-coloured doors, flower filled balconies, so hard to take a bad photo here.
Above: some highlights from our time in Rome.