Has this ever happened to you? You read about someone’s travel experience of a certain place or site and it’s so different from yours that you have to double check to see if maybe your experience wasn’t what you thought. That happened to me when I read this post from Traveling the Globe 4 Less. Avoid the Milan Cathedral… no way. Like the plague… seems a bit extreme.
If you start talking about gelato, a huge smile will come over my face. I just adore gelato, BUT it has to be really good gelato. And I’m picky! When I was in Italy this past year (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I asked around to see if there were gelato making classes. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take one, but I realized I forgot to share the classes I found out about. So here we go… let’s make some gelato! In general, these classes are 2-4 hours long, held either at gelato shops or at cooking schools, and can be taken by kids, too.
Near Venice, in Padua, Mama Isa, the owner of Mama Isa’s Cooking School, offers a four-hour private gelato-making lesson at her house. She has family recipes that she teaches you, and lunch is included. The fee starts at 130 euros per person.
Have you ever gotten lost while on foot in a city? Sure you have! And some cities are more confusing than others to navigate on foot. New York City… easy. Rome… not so easy. Venice, Italy… whoa, who hasn’t gotten lost there? And not just wandering through the canal streets, but the whole city boggles the mind. Here’s a great story that intersects a few of my passions. As a long-time running coach and long-time lover of Italy, and having recently been to Venice, I can feel for the elite runners who this past weekend got lost during the Venice Marathon. I can also cheer for the Italian fellow who was able to take advantage of the situation and win the marathon. It’s been 22 years since an Italian won the race. See for yourself. It’s a fun story!
— Atletica Italiana (@atleticaitalia) October 22, 2017
When you’re in certain European countries, thanks to the concept of a midday siesta, conducting business or even going out for a meal can be a challenge. Recently, when I was in Florence, I needed to go to a travel agency to see about purchasing a train ticket. The staff at the hotel told me they better call ahead because at this hour (it was about 1pm) the agency would likely be closed for the long siesta midday lunch. Sure enough, the agency was closed and I was told to go there much later in the day. I wasn’t really sure if the siesta idea was followed outside of the smaller towns and cities, but judging from my most recent trip to Europe, it’s definitely still being honored.
But this article explains it all: the history of the siesta concept, as well as its current status. Did you know it didn’t even originate in Spain? It was imported from Italy! How those Italians can take a midday nap after all that espresso is beyond me :)
Anyway, I think this article is a fun read and hope you will too!
Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started. In Part 1, I talked about Venice and Milan; in Part 2, I talked about Florence, and what to see/do/eat in those cities. In this post, I’ll share tips with you about Rome, so let’s dig in.
ROMA (Rome, Italy)
To begin, let me talk about taking the train from Florence to Rome. Usually, I use Trenitalia train service, which is owned by the Italian government. I heard about Italotreno which is a competitor and offers relatively new high speed train service. I had heard that the main advantage was that it cost less. However, that’s only if you buy your ticket ahead of time, so beware of this. I did decide to give them a try, even if the cost was the same as Trenitalia. Their trains were late and there was insufficient storage for luggage. So sure, the savings might be worth it, but if you don’t buy your train ticket ahead of time, I still prefer Trenitalia. Actually, I think next time I’ll try BlaBlaCar, the long distance carpooling service!
For lodging, I stayed at Hotel Mozart which was recommended to me by my cousins. The hotel is near the Spanish Steps on Via Condotti, which if you’re at all familiar with Rome, you’ll know is a busy part of Rome. Do make sure to ask for a quiet room. My cousins warned me about asking for a quiet room, so I did just that and didn’t have any issues with noise. The room was lovely, the concierge Rosella was very helpful, and Alex at the front desk had a great sense of humor! The breakfast spread is included with the price of the room and it was everything and more that you could want. There’s a music conservatory on the same street, so I enjoyed hearing opera being sung when I was in my room during the day. The hotel is priced on the high side, but like Hotel La Scaletta in Florence, if you use your Citi Prestige Credit Card 4th night free benefit, the cost is offset.