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OT: Heading to Italy

dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
So after talking about it for about a decade, we're off to Italy May 15 for 15 days.
We have our agenda set as far as where we'll be:

Rome 3 nights
Florence 3 nights
Monterosso 2 nights
Capri 2 nights
Positano 4 nights
Rome 1 night

Back home.

Looking for any cool off the beaten path restos, etc. or other cool stuff.

We have a few high end restaurants booked but want to find some hidden gems.

We welcome any and all suggestions.

Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

Dennis - Austin,TX
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Comments

  • dmouratidmourati Posts: 380
    I went to Italy but long enough ago to predate your planning and for a ski trip with a large crew.

    My recommendation is to drink lots of espressos or cappuccinos (not really sure how to pluralize those). Pay attention to the locals and go from there.

    I'd start practicing your Italian.

    My recollection of the epitome of an italian skier was one simultaneously skiing, drinking an espresso, smoking a cigarette, talking on the cellphone, all while ripping effortless and stylish turns. I once literally heard a "mama mia!"
    Mountain View, CA
  • GrateEggspectationsGrateEggspectations Posts: 2,240
    edited May 7
    Italy was my favourite ever trip. Rome is my favourite city. I strongly, strongly recommend that you visit St Peter’s. The lines are crazy, but here’s a pro tip... If you book a tour of the catacombs below the church, you then bypass the line to get into St Peter’s. The catacombs are super interesting, but skipping the line to the church alone is worth the price of admission. 

    Lots us of good restaurants abound. For something different, check out the Jewish Ghetto. 
  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,273
    In Florence. Sostanza. Butter chicken is considered one of the best dishes in the world. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 12,883
    What an awesome trip!  Great time of year to go as well!
    "If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots." - NdGT

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike


  • CarolinaCrazyCarolinaCrazy Posts: 582
    We were in Rome, Florence, Venice a year ago.

    +1 on the catacombs tour. They fill up fast so book now, if you still can

    Also, book your time at the Academie to see The David in Florence in advance.

    We did a one day bus tour out of Florence that was a lot of fun. went to Siena and Pisa and had lunch at a vineyard. 

    Get the Rick Steves Audio Tour of Italy App. It provides FREE audio tours of many of the sites on your phone. Make sure you download the tours in advance while you are on wifi.

    In Florence : 
    One place we had a blast eating was Trattoria Tito  -- Huge steaks Florentine style, order by the Kilo - Awesome staff. Pretty casual and fun. Get a reservation if you can.

    Mercato Centrale - Near the train station. It is a huge market with amazing shops downstairs and an Italian food court upstairs. Great for lunch or a very casual dinner. 

    In Rome:
    Obica - a bit of a trendy choice, but their Mozzarella choices are amazing! There are a couple around the city now. The one on Campo Del Fiori is a really nice spot to sit outside and eat.




    1 LBGE in Chapel Hill, NC
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 13,216
    Very interested in this trip. Have not done Italy in 20+ years, but will be heading back soon, to Rome. My Beautiful wife and I did the French and Italian alps a few years ago, but did not get very far into Italy, (my regret) at all.
    Glad for you, hope it will be your best trip ever.
    Do start learning Italian, it will help immensely.
    Post pictures, and share your experience.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    We have private tours of the Vatican, St Peters, the Catacombs and the Coliseum already booked. And a skip the line for David. 

    We we also have a private driver booked in Florence to take us out into the Tuscany area with no set agenda. 

    And a a private driver to take us to Pompeii. 


    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    We have dinner booked at Ad Hoc in Rome and at a Michelin Star place in Florence but the name escapes me. 
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    Florence 

    LA BOTTEGA DEL BUON CAFFÈ  - Michelin star since 2015
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    dmchicago said:
    So after talking about it for about a decade, we're off to Italy May 15 for 15 days.
    We have our agenda set as far as where we'll be:

    Rome 3 nights
    Florence 3 nights
    Monterosso 2 nights
    Capri 2 nights
    Positano 4 nights
    Rome 1 night

    Back home.

    Looking for any cool off the beaten path restos, etc. or other cool stuff.

    We have a few high end restaurants booked but want to find some hidden gems.

    We welcome any and all suggestions.

    All I can say is you are in for a treat. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the places you are going so I can’t offer a lot of insight other than enjoy it. It’s a trip of a lifetime. We have been talking about going back from the day we got home. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    dmchicago said:
    We have private tours of the Vatican, St Peters, the Catacombs and the Coliseum already booked. And a skip the line for David. 

    We we also have a private driver booked in Florence to take us out into the Tuscany area with no set agenda. 

    And a a private driver to take us to Pompeii. 


    We did spend a whole week in Tuscany. We can probably help there. We did the Michlen star thing one night as well. By far the worst meal expert once (and food)  we had the whole trip. Still worth it because we still laugh about all the time. The food in Tuscany blew our minds. And it was cheap. For $10-$15 per person we got food
    Picked from the restaurant garden, homemade pasta, incredible stuff and the wine was like $10 a bottle. Tuscany was my favorite part of the trip for sure. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 17,200
    We've always said if we HAD TO move out of the USA it would either be to Sicily or Italy. Both of us have been to both and loved it. Enjoy your trip.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    dmchicago said:
    We have private tours of the Vatican, St Peters, the Catacombs and the Coliseum already booked. And a skip the line for David. 

    We we also have a private driver booked in Florence to take us out into the Tuscany area with no set agenda. 

    And a a private driver to take us to Pompeii. 


    We did spend a whole week in Tuscany. We can probably help there. We did the Michlen star thing one night as well. By far the worst meal expert once (and food)  we had the whole trip. Still worth it because we still laugh about all the time. The food in Tuscany blew our minds. And it was cheap. For $10-$15 per person we got food
    Picked from the restaurant garden, homemade pasta, incredible stuff and the wine was like $10 a bottle. Tuscany was my favorite part of the trip for sure. 
    As much as I love fancy food, I'd skip it except my wife needs a place to wear her Chanel dress and Jimmy Choos.
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    dmchicago said:
    dmchicago said:
    We have private tours of the Vatican, St Peters, the Catacombs and the Coliseum already booked. And a skip the line for David. 

    We we also have a private driver booked in Florence to take us out into the Tuscany area with no set agenda. 

    And a a private driver to take us to Pompeii. 


    We did spend a whole week in Tuscany. We can probably help there. We did the Michlen star thing one night as well. By far the worst meal expert once (and food)  we had the whole trip. Still worth it because we still laugh about all the time. The food in Tuscany blew our minds. And it was cheap. For $10-$15 per person we got food
    Picked from the restaurant garden, homemade pasta, incredible stuff and the wine was like $10 a bottle. Tuscany was my favorite part of the trip for sure. 
    As much as I love fancy food, I'd skip it except my wife needs a place to wear her Chanel dress and Jimmy Choos.
    We did sit next to Jim Cramer (Mad Money) at one dinner in Tuscany. All I can say it that It is not an act. He’s that douchey in person. He stood up over his 12 top on a quiet little patio overlooking the countryside and talked about himself non-stop. It was quite impressive. He said “sorry for being so loud” to everyone on the way out with a f*ck you smile on his face and a shoulder shrug. We acted like we were from Canada. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 13,569
    Don’t eat at any places near tourist areas/landmarks. Especially in Rome. 
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    This was our meal at Dani Maison. All of the shapes were various flavors of emulsified fish goo. The dessert was 100% edible and featured real tobacco. :sick:
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    Was like $350 (per person) worth of baby food. Not a single solid bite on the plate. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 13,569
    Was like $350 (per person) worth of baby food. Not a single solid bite on the plate. 

  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    Was like $350 (per person) worth of baby food. Not a single solid bite on the plate. 
    Wowziers. From the menu and pics of the places we are going, it looks like "real" food will be on the table.
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    edited May 7
    dmchicago said:
    Was like $350 (per person) worth of baby food. Not a single solid bite on the plate. 
    Wowziers. From the menu and pics of the places we are going, it looks like "real" food will be on the table.
    Im sure there are some great ones out there. This place was crazy beautiful and the reviews were off the charts. Just not our thing. 

    I saw that Florence is about an hour and a half drive to Cortona. That was one of our favorite Tuscan villages. They are all cool but this one was small enough to be quaint and big enough to have fun places to eat and fill your day. Wandering around. Sienna is cool too. Bigger and more industrial but has some cool history and is beautiful once you get in to the city. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • KchevesKcheves Posts: 82

    Sounds like a great trip.  If its not too late, I'd spend at least one more day in Rome.  Too much to see, do, and eat there.

    Another restaurant recommendation in Rome: Roma Sparita in Trastevere. It's where Anthony Bourdain ate Cacio e Pepe in the Rome episode of 'No Reservations'.

    "Semper ubi sub ubi"

    San Diego, CA

  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,273
    Word of advice: order the house wine at every restaurant and you will be good.

    Take the train from Florence to Pisa for a short trip. I did it because I told my wife the damn thing might fall over before we got back.


    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,203
    Kcheves said:

    Sounds like a great trip.  If its not too late, I'd spend at least one more day in Rome.  Too much to see, do, and eat there.

    Another restaurant recommendation in Rome: Roma Sparita in Trastevere. It's where Anthony Bourdain ate Cacio e Pepe in the Rome episode of 'No Reservations'.



    Agreed! Great place! 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    Kcheves said:

    Sounds like a great trip.  If its not too late, I'd spend at least one more day in Rome.  Too much to see, do, and eat there.

    Another restaurant recommendation in Rome: Roma Sparita in Trastevere. It's where Anthony Bourdain ate Cacio e Pepe in the Rome episode of 'No Reservations'.

    The schedule is fixed st this point with hotel, transfers and trains all locked down. 

    From doing all my research for this trip I realized there’s no way we would ever see everything we wanted to see this time around. So we just had to make some concessions with the understanding that we know already that we will be back.
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    GrillSgt said:
    Word of advice: order the house wine at every restaurant and you will be good.

    Take the train from Florence to Pisa for a short trip. I did it because I told my wife the damn thing might fall over before we got back.


    Based on our research and from talking to many many friends who have been to Italy, we came to the conclusion that Pisa and Venice we’re not high on our list of places to go.
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,273
    edited May 7
    There are only two things to see in Pisa, the tower and the Cathedral and that is why I recommended a 1/2 day trip. There are not many more scientific historic sites in one spot in the world. Galileo came up with the theory of the pendulum while sitting in a pew in the Cathedral and watching the chandelier sway in the breeze. It gave me major goose bumps to sit in what may have been the exact spot that Galileo sat and watch the same chandelier that he watched. Galileo also disproved Aristotle's theory of gravity  whereas greater mass = greater speed in an object subject to gravity from atop the tower.

    It is a pleasant train ride and you will see some countryside. The restaurants are crap so spring for a first class ticket, leave around 8, spend a couple of hours in Pisa and have a nice lunch on the train with some vino. Or not.

    I can understand why some people feel that way about Venice but I've been several times. Lot's of interesting stuff, I'm not a museum person, I can't spend hours looking at 1000s of similar objects. 

    Have a great trip. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 1,359
    GrillSgt said:
    There are only two things to see in Pisa, the tower and the Cathedral and that is why I recommended a 1/2 day trip. There are not many more scientific historic sites in one spot in the world. Galileo came up with the theory of the pendulum while sitting in a pew in the Cathedral and watching the chandelier sway in the breeze. It gave me major goose bumps to sit in what may have been the exact spot that Galileo sat and watch the same chandelier that he watched. Galileo also disproved Aristotle's theory of gravity  whereas greater mass = greater speed in an object subject to gravity from atop the tower.


    Well, now. That sounds amazing!
    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • CarolinaCrazyCarolinaCrazy Posts: 582
    I had very low expectations for Venice, but absolutely loved it. Only needed a couple hours in St. Marks square to do the mandatory Basillica and Doge Palace, and then I could get lost for days in some of the outlying neighborhoods. 


    1 LBGE in Chapel Hill, NC
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 2,301
    Haven't been to Italy since I was a boy in the '60s, but I loved it!  I envy you.  Enjoy the heck out of it!!!
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