It’s not easy to summarize this trip to Italy…there was too much awesomeness as I just wrote to a friend.
There are many take-aways to share…especially for anyone who would like to travel to Italy. It’s a little more challenging during this time of Covid, but it’s doable and still worthwhile. I highly recommend it!
In addition to making sure your passport has six months left on it before it expires (something I learned the hard way five years ago), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated, and that you tested negative within 72 hours of leaving and then again before returning. There were plenty of places to get tested in the cities I visited. In Rome we paid 22 euros and found out the results within 10 minutes. Easier and less expensive than I expected.
To get into Italy from the US, we had to fill out an EU Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) and to return to the US we had to sign an Attestation Form (both can be done on-line.) In Italy, we had to wear a mask and show a “green pass” on all transit, museums, and indoor dining. Showing our passport and proof of vaccine sufficed for the “green pass.” Rules and requirements continue to change and are relatively easy to find out by googling ‘what’s needed to travel to Italy.’
Omio app is a must. You can get tickets for most transit, trains and busses, on this app and not have to stand in lines at the biglietta stands at the train station. You pay a couple of extra euros for convenience but it’s well worth it.
Here are some highlights that I either want to reiterate or I didn’t mention in any of my posts and think are worth noting…
I stayed at Hotel Il Bargellino and would highly recommend it! As Rick Steves says of it, “a good-value place with an old-time convivial atmosphere.” Also, it’s close to the center of the city and the hosts -Carmel and Pino- are wonderful. The terrace available to all guests (10 rooms) is lovely and I found myself wandering out onto it often. If you followed my posts, you saw pictures of it. I cannot wait to return there!
My posts mentioned many of the places I visited in Florence. The restaurant we went to my last night there that I mention but didn’t name was Ristorante del Fagioli. It was fantastico! Best pesto ever (and I make a pretty good pesto myself.) The pappa al pomodoro (thick stew of tomatoes, olive oil, and bread) was fabulous too as well as their house chianti. I will plan to eat there again next time I’m in Florence.
A book about Florene that I found useful in learning about its history was entitled, Florence – Just Add Water by Monica Fintoni. It had many fun, historical facts and stories. It’s written for teens but I liked it too.
In my posts I mention many great places in Venice and Padua. The name of the restaurant in Venice with the great seafood was La Lanterna. Loved it!
We stayed at Hotel Paba and really liked it. The location was good, just two blocks from the Coliseum and the Forum. It was simple and elegant and the woman who runs it, Alberta, was just lovely. I wrote about a couple of places to see. I would add that the Sistine Chapel is a must, as well as the Pantheon, St. Ignatius Church, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona (to name a few of my favorites.)
I always read as much as I can of Rick Steves’ books before I head to Italy. While I will continue to do so, it was interesting for me to notice that I’ve gone to Italy enough times now that I am forming my own opinions and they don’t always match his. Not regarding the history, those are facts and I’m assuming are all right-on, but about “must-see” places versus “try hard to see” versus “worthwhile.” This isn’t a criticism, just an observation.
My personal take-aways and inspirations:
I want to watch less tv,
I want to be out exploring more,
I want to eat more simple, high-quality food,
I want to focus more on creating and less on consuming,
Travel is soul and mind-expanding and life-affirming, and
There is beauty everywhere!