Italy 2014 Guidebook
Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: raki gelateria in Sorrento
Why: best gelato we have ever had
Why: texture and taste
giorgio in mantova, italy 12/19/2013
Best: Orvieto, Borghese Gallery, St. Peters, Ostia Antica
Why: I had never been to Orvieto and found it easy to get to on the train from Rome. The town is nice, the food and wine good, and the duomo was beautiful. This was my second trip to the Borghese, but it has such wonderful art and most importatnly sculptures that it is a must when in Rome. This was also my first trip to Ostia Antica and I found it to be as interesting as Pompeii. It is also much easier and cheaper to get to from Rome. Of course St. Peters and the Vatican Museum are wonderful even for the third time.
James Perschbacher in Mableton, GA USA 12/15/2013
Why: picture postcard at every turn. Needed two more days there.
Bill Ramsey in Villages, FL USA 11/14/2013
Why: Terrific people, museums, restaurants. Great visit. Your audio tours of Accademia and Uffizi were wonderful.
Worst: None to report
Why: Very good recommendations.
Mike Montgomery in Port Saint Lucie, Fl USA 11/01/2013
Worst: Frances' Lodge Relais (outside Siena)
Why: High priced for type of accommodations. Extra charges for too many items - ex. we were there three nights, it was chilly and rainy at night, no heat and towels never dried - and they wanted more $ if we used extra towel! Breakfast room was dark and chilly, Husband paid 7 euros for pancakes which were crepes, and was charged 2 euros for two tablespoons of maple syrup. There were too many rules about where and when we could be on various parts of property - and it was not close to any restaurant. Owners were very pushy that we sign up for tours of area - we did not want to but they kept at us. Also did not like to have to be a breakfast at an exact pre-arranged time. Yes, it was an attractive setting and we did enjoy their "picnic" dinner one night but overall we were very disappointed.
Jean Nickol in Wilmington, NC USA 10/20/2013
Why: Otherwise, thanks for recommending Civita-Bagnoreggio - a wonderful, magical place. And a quiet refuge from auto traffic.
Tanys McMurtry in Denver, CO USA 09/30/2013
Best: St Mark's Basillica
Why: The tip for skipping the line was genius and worked like a charm, thanks!
Sherri Jipping in Grand Rapids, MI USA 09/08/2013
Best: Pina Esposito in Naples
Why: Toured with her one week ago. She is passionate, exciting, teenager friendly, reasonably priced and a true gem who made the Naples Museum and Pompeii come alive for us.
Riva in Jerusalem, Il Israel 08/09/2013
Best: Michelangelo's David
Why: It is truly inspiring.
Worst: Pitti Palace Gardens
Why: They provide great views of Florence but are otherwise very unimpressive. There are virtually no flowers, just shrubs and trees.
Gary in Ashland, OR USA 08/08/2013
Best: Albergo Hotel California
Why: Amazing views over terrace balcony for breakfast. The location in close to bus station and 200 meters away from center. The staff was extremely helpful and always happy to see you.
Diana in Miami, FL USA 08/03/2013
Best: Varenna on Lake Como is a jewel. Hiking to the Fiumelatte was worth it.
Why: The town is small, friendly and almost intimate. The Passerella is delightful for stolling. The mid-lake ferry is fun for sight seeing and getting about with no stress. The hike to Italy's shortest river, the Fiumelatte, was worth it. It allowed intimate views of a small town cemetery, olive groves not to mention the frothy and beautiful little Fiumelatte. The water is clean and tasty.
Kraig Kenny in Sierra Vista, AZ USA 08/02/2013
Best: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, Friday evening
Why: Friday evening was indeed a less crowded and nice time to visit. You need to visit St. Peter's before, though, because it closes.
Worst: Contucci Cantina
Why: We did visit the vaults but it was mostly deserted. There was an unhelpful attendant in the wine tasting room who didn't want to look up from her book to offer any wine tasting.
Lisa in Columbia, SC USA 07/31/2013
Best: Herculaneum and Naples Archeological Museum
Why: Made the timeframe come alive.
Mary Jane Smith in KING GEORGE, VA USA 07/29/2013
Why: I spent most of my trip in Venice, Florence, and Rome. I wish I had scheduled two nights here. Pizzaria and Restaurent Charlie was the best pizza I had in Italy - well top two.
Worst: 3 "Hotel Du Lac's" on Lake Como
Why: ...one of which the your book recommends. If you use an online reservation service like Expedia to book, Bolagio, Menagio, and Varenna are geographically close enough. I didn't notice the location because the price I got was really good and you recommended Hotel Du Lac. Fortunately I noticed the one I reserved because it was perched directly over the boat dock I arrived at. I quickly check my reservation...I actually felt lucky to stay there - Very nice place, and it was a cool town. Had my favorite glass of red wine there.
James Lloyd in Petaluma, CA USA 07/28/2013
Best: Tuscany and Sorento
Why: So much to see and do and solo relaxing. Driving in Tuscany is fun. No need to in Sorento, but getting to Sorento is an experience.
Why: Over crowded, over prices and over rated. You really don't need to spend the money to see the Amalfi . Sorento covers it all.
Peter Blanchard in Shrewsbury 01545, MA USA 07/22/2013
Best: National Museum of Rome Palazzo
Why: Virtually empty on a Saturday in July. A cool respite from sweltering Rome.
Kathryn C in Winchester, MA USA 07/16/2013
Why: Non existant
J R Gibson Hong Kong 07/12/2013
Best: Orvieto and Civita de Bagnoregio
Why: So many reasons! Orvieto is simply beautiful - the Duomo was my favorite of all I have seen in Italy. Stunning. Quaint, quiet, beautiful pottery, etc. Civita was amazing itself. The approach on the pedestrian bridge is breathtaking. Have never seen anything so beautiful. And just seeing a town such as this - seemingly cut off from the rest of the world - was sort of surreal. Would definitely return and stay a few nights in Orvieto.
Why: The tower was worth seeing - especially for my teens - but Pisa itself was so over run with pushers selling tourist junk that it overshadowed our visit. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. Though seeing the tower was worth it, I would never return.
Danielle Ayotte in Paxton, MA USA 07/12/2013
Best: the Alpe di Siusi
Why: Even though, by the time we got to our destination (Zallingerhutte), it was 5 in the afternoon, and we were only staying that night, and it was cold and rainy much of the time, it was gorgeous (we grabbed umbrellas and took a brief but beautiful hike before dinner, and another one after breakfast). We'd love to go back for a longer time (and in better weather!).
Why: We liked all the places we went, Milan included, so we're just calling it the worst in a relative sense ... but we found the pushy street-selling guys stressful.
Meredith in Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA 07/07/2013
Worst: Hotel Garda Milan
Why: We booked this hotel based on Rick Steve's Italy 2013 book which suggested it as being close to the Central train station. We were getting in to Milan on the train at 10:30 PM after a long day of travel and we had booked two rooms for our family of 5. When we got to the hotel the night deskman got a panicked look on his his face and started claiming he did not have a reservation. I saw a sheet of paper on his desk that had our names and room numbers clearly listed. When I pointed that out he got really panicked and started calling people and shuffling papers everywhere. I could not understand what he said because it was in Italian but basically I gathered they had given our room to someone else. Instead of just admitting that he spent the next HOUR on the phone getting instructions to go into the website and cancel our reservation. At that point he said "see it was not my fault your reservation was cancelled." Meanwhile my family including 3 tired kids sat miserably in the lobby. They did get the entertainment of several other guest of the hotel come up and scream at the guy for his rude service. I can't believe Rick Steve's listed this place. We ended up going to the next door Flora Hotel with nicer rooms for the same rate (Flora also included a great breakfast which was not included here).
David Cole in SAN DIEGO, CA USA 07/06/2013
Why: Wonderful, relaxing gem of a town. So happy we went.
Jennifer Durkee in Channahon, IL USA 07/02/2013
Best: Rome Italy
Why: There is enough history in this city to keep you for at least two weeks
Dave Reynolds in Trenton, On Canada 06/26/2013
Best: Vernazza,Portifino, Florence, Tuscany
Why: Smaller, beautiful port cities...beautiful cities/areas
Ken and Sharon Barber in Yorba Linda, CA USA 06/08/2013
Best: Musica a Palazzo - opera in a palace. It was a fantastic experience.
Why: The setting in the palace, the close proximity of the singers & musicians, moving from room to room for each act. Just great!!
Richard Hoffmann in Agoura Hills, CA USA 06/06/2013
Best: Monetti Taxi Company
Why: We spent 2 long days with Raffaele Monetti touring the Amalfi Coast then Paestum & Pompeii.His Mercedes was clean & comfortable. He told us so much about the local area which he is very proud of. Lunch was reserved for us at great local restaurants.Definitely worth the money!Great transportation service with a wonderful host!
Worst: Capri Town
Why: Probably the worst tourist trap in the world. Expensive, rude & not worth the outrageous ferry ride!
Barbara Doty in The Woodlands, TX USA 06/04/2013
Best: Hike from Monterosso to Vernazza
Why: Yes, there is a lot of steep stair and hill climbing to get there, but the views are so so worth it.
Worst: Cinque Terre Public WCs
Why: It's bad enough that many public restrooms in the rest of Italy omit the toilet seats for some unknown reason. But here they omit the toilets altogether.
Jennifer Henry in Dallas, TX USA 06/03/2013
Best: Civita di Bagnoregio
Why: Incredibly lovely town that we would not have known about otherwise. Also so thankful for the tips on getting tickets for the Colosseum at the Palatine and for booking other tix ahead.
Worst: Underground tour of Colosseum
Why: Only because we couldn't find any info on it at the Colosseum.
Rebecca Barrilleaux in Centennial, Co USA 06/01/2013
Best: my rome book was the best
Why: good "mapping out" of a 3 day visit to cover lots of territory of sightseeing without repeating ones steps.
Why: some of our trouble came from our bad education system that excludes the metric system! at least you gave us "yards" on your maps!
jack, paula and jenny gron in corpus christi, TX USA 05/31/2013
Best: Amalfi Town
Why: The bus down the Amalfi coast from Sorrento to Amalfi Town is a beautfiful ride. Be sure to catch an early bus, the 8:30 being best. After you get to Amalfi Town, you are down at the harbor level, which surprised us because we thought we would still be high up on the cliff. We spent a couple of hours looking around Amalfi Town before taking the boat to Sorrento.
Gary M Jones in GEORGETOWN, TX USA 05/27/2013
Best: Context Tours
Why: We used Context tours in Florence and Rome and found them to be excellent. The guides were very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. We will use Context from now on.
Sue in Lacey, WA USA 05/16/2013
Why: It is amazing! Such a relaxing and friendly place. We ate at Il Pirata every night, they were wonderful. We will be back!
Kathryn in Vancouver, BC Canada 05/12/2013
Best: Too Many to list
Why: Italy is so full of wonderful experiences that I can't pick one.
Worst: Doing laundry in Poggibonsi!
Why: It was the only laundromat within hours of San Gimignanom were we were staying.
Allen Wiener in Potomac, MD USA 05/11/2013
Best: Tours by Roberto
Why: He was so helpful, knowledgeable, and altered our tour to shows us our requested wine tour PLUS the Clay Hills of Siena.
Why: With the exception of the surrounding Tuscany area, Siena seemed to have less charm than we expected. It was tough to get around!
Scott and Amy Schaefer in Buffalo, NY USA 04/07/2013
Best: Private tour guide
Why: Cristina Giannicchi was such a good guide of the Colosseum area that my daughter and I thought this was the highlight of our trip. Thanks for the suggestion.
Pinky Elliott in Woodbury, GA USA 03/05/2013
Best: walks through Venice in the Venice book
Why: Fabulous explanations so we could not get lost. As a professor of teachers, I know how difficult it is to write good directions and the walks were wonderful.
linda huetinck in alhambra, ca USA 01/14/2013
Best: Campo di Fiori and Trastevere
Why: Wonderful to explore and still lived in by the locals. Good restaurants and gelaterias. The audioguide tours were helpful and practical to explore the neighborhoods there.
Worst: Roman Forum
Why: Just a bunch of decaying rocks. I had to use my imagination to picture ancient ancient Rome.
Roger in San Francisco, CA USA 01/13/2013
Best: L'Opsite di Federica De Rossi, Verona
Why: I was staying alone for a week (Yay!) while my husband was hiking The Dolomites. Federica and her L'Ospite were perfect! I had a quiet apartment at the back in which had everything I needed. The building is steps away from the bus lines with easy access to the train station and Verona. The apartment was just a couple of short blocks to the river and the main part of Verona so I could walk everywhere. Federica and her helper were fun and fabulous, even doing laundry which magically appeared on the rack in the apartment while I'd been gone. Both speak wonderful and were English and were a kick to talk to. Federica gave me many local dining options and even had me take her phone number in case I had a driving problem when I left there. She was actually worried about me!
Worst: Casa Volte, Ferraro
Why: Hot water went out on the first morning of a four day stay. While it was the beginning of a weekend, no plumber could come. We left a day early and tequested a refund for that last day/night. have never received one. (and we paid full price for three nights with no hot water. Cute place, great location, etc. but we had a bad experience.
Lynn Anderson in Nathrop, CO USA 01/07/2013
Best: Tuscan Wine class in Sienna
Why: Our timing just happened to be perfect because this was one of the first things we did in our 5 day stay in Tuscany and since everything revolves around wine, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, we learned sooooooo much. I would highly recommend it even for the connaisseurs!
Tasha Weller in Sainte Anne des Plaines, QC Canada 10/31/2012
Best: Cinque Terre
Why: The views were outstanding and the people great!
We really enjoyed Toscany and Umbria. Only problem was where there were cars, shuttles and Vespas. Had to be very careful. Glad to leave Rome, even though the history was great, lots of people and cars. Not easy to walk to a lot of sights. Big city.
Worst: There weren't any. Siena was our least favorite and we had two nights there.
Why: The views were not as great as San Gimignano, Volterra, Assisi and Lucca.
Ruth Stark in Sun Cityy Center, FL USA 10/22/2012
Best: Bolzano and the Dolomites
Why: I had initially planned to visit Cortina D'Ampezzo, solely because of its Winter Olympic history. I'm glad I followed the book's advice to go to Bolzano. The book's advice as to hotel [Stadt Citta] and getting to Castelrotto and Alpe Siusi by bus were perfect. The food, shopping, and ambiance were the best.
Joseph Terranova in Lancaster, NY USA 10/22/2012
Best: Almost Everything
Why: What Wonderful Trip!!
Worst: Correr Museum in Venice
Why: Overrated. It was boring, certainly not a two triangle recommendation.
David Graham in Shell, Ecuador 10/20/2012
Best: Bernardo of Monetti taxi in Sorrento
Why: Based on Rick's books recommendation we hired Bernardo for an eight hour Amalfi Coast tour--cost 260 E. Bernardo went out of his way to fashion our time with what we wanted to do. With Bernardo behind the wheel we felt safe on the narrow curved roads with the steep drop offs on the sides. Thanks for the good recommendation--you were spot on.
Cal Hoerneman in Midland, MI USA 10/20/2012
Best: Tour of pompeii with gaetano manfredi
Why: Gaetano made Pompeii come alive and we learned so much in 2 hours -- he pointed out things we never would have spotted and could answer any question we threw at him. He was fun, spirited, and knowledgeable.
Worst: Boat to Sorrento
Why: We took a train from Firenze to Napoli, then a taxi to the port because the book said the boat ride would be fun. We waited 2 hours for a boat, felt a bit sea sick when we were on it, and could have much more smoothly taken the train the whole way and saved money.
Katie Baker in Laguna Beach, CA USA 10/15/2012
Best: St. Marks Basilica, Venice
Why: Nothing can prepare you for the experience...I'm not Catholic, but that may change!
Why: As far as I'm concerned, there is no "worst" in Italy. We had a few snotty waiters but they were in restaurants not listed in the Guide.
Betsy Santarpio in Moultonborough NH, NH USA 10/14/2012
Best: National Museum of Rome, near Termini Station
Why: If you are unable to visit Pompeii, like us, this Museum is an excellent alternative for seeing frescoes similar to those at Pompeii. The history of Roman coinage in the lower level is intense.
Sean Fisher in Melrose, MA USA 10/03/2012
Best: Pompeii and Herculaneum
Why: Very well explained in our guide
Worst: Naples Archeological Museum
Why: About 1/2 was closed to the public
Judith Hitchings in OAKLAND, Ca USA 10/02/2012
Best: guided tyour of Naples Archeological Museum, Pompei and Herculaneum
Why: The three sites are integrated in their relevance. Visiting all three provides a comprehensive look into life in the area at the time of the disaster. Pina Esposito, a recommended guide, is knowledgeable, passionate and friendly. Her skills bring the tour to life. Don't miss!
John Cohoon in Venice, FL USA 10/01/2012
Why: It was the best location of the 5 towns. Easy access to the train, great restaurants, and beach to swim in.
Karen in Gig Harbor, USA 09/30/2012
Best: We did as many rx'd sites as possible in every place we visited & were never disappointed.
Why: Audio guides to Florence (Academia & Uffizzi) were outstanding - added so much to our understanding & appreciation of what we were seeing. Same goes for Venice, Rome & Florence guides. Appreciated your frequent reminders to "stop to smell the roses" everywhere! We did & had a memorable trip of 22 days in Italy!
LINDA HOOD in LEWIS CENTER, OH USA 09/26/2012
Why: Big-city vibrancy and chaos imbued with Italian soul.
Worst: any museum
Why: We knew there would be crowds, but knowing what to expect didn't make the experience of being among the teeming, sweaty masses any more pleasant.
Marion in San Francisco, CA USA 08/13/2012
Best: Uffizi in Florence
Why: Loved the art
Worst: Accademia in Venice
Why: Little interface or help to highlight collection, sparce collection, missing items, uncaring staff
Cindy Bennett in Canby, Or USA 08/07/2012
Best: Strolling in Sorrento; Paestum ruins; Appian Way
Why: We went out walking on each of our four nights in Sorrento and enjoyed both the wonderful people scene of the center and the more everyday sights around the town, culminating in our favorite Marina Grande. Paestum ruins were nifty, especially the in situ mosaic floors (not mentioned in self-guided walk) in the residential section between the Temple of Ceres and Temple of Neptune. The Appian Way was a must-do for us, and the information in the book made it possible for us to see it by public transportation.
Worst: Palatine Hill in Rome; Paestum museum
Why: With no self-guided tour in the book, the Palatine Hill was hard to get excited about. Other than the Tomb of the Diver frescos (which were AMAZING), the Paestum museum wasn't very impressive.
Kyla Gurganus in Ypsilanti, MI USA 08/03/2012
Best: Instructions for getting around/sights/hotels
Why: I lived with this book and it made my trip so much more beneficial. we booked all our stays and tours through it. everything was up to date and pretty accurate!
Kathy in Lake Elsinore, CA USA 07/24/2012
Best: I truly enjoyed the island of Capri and the town of Possitano aling the Amalfo Coast
Why: The boat ride both to the island of Capri as well as the small boat that we road around the island in were truly enjoyable experiences for my wife and I. The rip down to Positano was also a very enjoyable ride for us.
Kevin P. Quill in Virginia Beach, VA USA 07/23/2012
Best: Loved the Heart of Rome walk in the evening!
Why: It was a great way to get oriented to the city, see the sights, and enjoy the fun buzz of people at night (without the heat). But we also loved most of what you recommended! Especially loved your time saving tips!
Kristyn Turaj in Raleigh, NC USA 07/23/2012
Worst: Map of Assisi
Why: Of other places I visited using this book, the map of Assisi was hardest to read. It took me almost an hour to find the tourist information center.
Yoonhee in Minneapolis, MN USA 07/22/2012
Best: Amalfi Coast
Why: Gorgeous scenery. But you should indicate that parking is nearly impossible along the road and in the little towns. We were glad to have taken the trip with the Monzetti taxi service. Had we rented a car, I have no idea how we would have found parking.
Marianne Thompson in La Canada, Ca USA 07/11/2012
Best: Through Eternity Tours in Rome
Why: Excellent service and experience! Jillian helped us pick the right tour for our family and made great efforts to help us get booked even though it was very last minute. Our tour guide Caterina was just amazing - totally brought Ancient Rome to life for us - our best experience of the trip!
Amy Dalphy in Mission Viejo, CA USA 07/10/2012
Best: Galileo Science Museum
Why: Amazing sights for Math and Geography folks (nerds)! The finger in a jar...very unique! It was so nice to go there just after the Uffizi Museum (conveniently around the corner) and quite honestly thought this Museum should rank as a must see!
Cynthia Wilimitis in Columbus, Oh USA 07/09/2012
Best: Monetti Taxi
Why: Raffaele is the most gracious, humble man we met during our time in Italy. He is more than a taxi driver -- he is an experience. He shared his knowledge, his love of Sorrento. He picked us up at our hotel on Via Capo, made many stops along the way to break up the drive, answered all our questions and let us take as many pictures as we wanted. He made us a lunch reservation at a wonderful restaurant ... he basically took care of us for a full day while we toured the Amalfi Coast. We even got a hug at the end. Lovely man, lovely memory.
Worst: The Vatican and some recommended tour guides
Why: Vatican: Because of the mobs of tour groups. We had purchased advance ticktes so we were admitted almost immediately, but it was jam packed insdied. In fact it was so crowded, the guards did not silence anyone in the Sistine Chapel (I asked on the way out why it was so loud). It changed the experience and made it very hard to appreciate in reverence Michealangelo's masterpiece.
Tour Guides: We had 2 excellent tour guides very much worth their money and 2 who were not. One was distracted and on her cell phone much of time, calling and texting her family members. She also stopped to do some shopping and I wondered if she received commission for bringing us in if we bought anything? It felt awkward. Another booked too many people along with us and didn't have the capacity to give us history of the city. He led us from place to place, but then left us to talk among ourselves while he disappeared. Guides aren't cheap so it's more than disappointing when they don't live up to expectation.
Amy in Hartford, CT USA 07/09/2012
Best: Cinque Terre
Why: You know why--
Barbara O'Connell in Philadelphia, PA USA 07/08/2012
Best: The hike from Vernazza to Monterossa
Why: Enjoyed the very rough hike. He didn't really spell out how hard it truly was, though! Needed camel pack of water, not just 2 large bottles!
Why: We didn't feel it was vibrant city, thought it would be like NYC or Washington DC. Disappointed. Should have listened to book and spent time in Florence.
Karen in Cleveland , OH USA 07/01/2012
Best: Civita di Bagnoreggio
Why: The stunning views of and from this medieval hill town are incredible. When you walk through the city's portal you get the sense of literally stepping back in time. If you are in Umbria, this is a MUST see! Thanks for the tip Rick!
Peter Plante in Napoli, Italy 06/24/2012
Best: Florence Card
Why: Avoid the lines, no reservations needed, and covers public transportation.
AB in Murfreesboro, TN USA 06/22/2012
Worst: Hotel Il Bargellino, Florence
Why: THe quad room was dirty, the bath smelled of sewer gas. THe owners live in the hotel and disregard that they have guests by partying loudly until wee hours of the morning. Street noise is incredible, owners came into our room when we were gone and turned the AC off so it was sweltering when we got back. It's a one star hotel, although I think it was being listed last year on trip advisor as a 3 star. I felt duped by the good reviews.
Ann in Beaverton, OR USA 06/08/2012
Best: Monette taxi service on the Amalfi Coast
Why: see above
Mark Richard in Bensalem, PA USA 06/04/2012
Best: Buranco agritourism
Why: We didn't expect it to be so great, the wine, the location, the staff, everything. what a pleasant surprise.
Why: the flood really destroyed this town
Lionel in Kennebunk, ME USA 05/30/2012
Best: Artviva tour guide company
Why: This was the first time either I or my companion had used a paid travel guide. The guide was clearly very knowledgeable, friendly, and fun. We loved listening to him and talking to him on our all-day trip throughout Tuscany. However . . .
Worst: Artviva tour guide company
Why: He only spoke on the bus between two cities and one abandoned military fort. Gave no information and did not attend the group when we were in the cities. Which, of course, was the majority of the time. I would repeat the tour if I had the chance, but what a bummer to only have a guide while on the bus!
Synda Sallee in Scottsdale, AZ USA 05/28/2012
Why: We stayed there based on a B&B I found Salerno Centro, they were amazing. Salerno is really not mentioned in your book and yet we found it to be the highlight of our holiday (Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, which all were wonderful). Salerno is much less of a tourist trap than Positano or Amalfi, yet only 30 minutes by ferry to each of these. Excellent free churches, great local community events happening, great history. back to the 600s. Train to Pompeii, Naples, Paestum only 30-45 minutes. It was so not commercialized and yet had everything and more for a relaxing or active 5-7 days. Caserta is worth checking out, again only a 35 min train ride, amazing castle, size and expanse of the property is well worth exploring. Please send someone out to explore the area and the B&B, you won't be sorry :)
Lindsey in Port Coquitlam, BC Canada 05/12/2012
Best: Varenna on Lake Como
Why: We spent a week in the little town of Varenna at the end of our trip in late April. Incredibly beautiful! We stayed in an apartment on Via Venini, close to everything. The Lake was beautiful. The mountains were snow-capped. Everything was in bloom. The hikes in Varenna (to the Castello di Vezio, the Cimitero, and the source of the Fiumelatte) were excellent with wonderful views up and down the Lake. Walking the passarella along the waterfront was a favorite activity. One day we just rode the ferry around the Lake. We also took the ferry to Bellagio and hiked throughout the town and its "suburbs." We took the ferry to Lenno and visited the Villa Balbianello - otherworldly and incredibly beautiful. It was a restful way to finish our travels after a go-go 5 weeks preceding.
Charlie Gingo in Bennington, VT USA 05/05/2012
Best: Sorrento best is ristorante Pizzeria da Gigino
Why: Quality and freshness. Really excellent
Cindy Lepzinski in Littleton, Co USA 04/28/2012
Best: Levanto, Cinque Terre and Villa Margherita
Why: Great value for money, comfortable and very clean. So nice after weeks in hotels to have the apartment with private garden to relax in, good kitchen so didn't have to eat out every evening and lovely breakfast in dining room every morning, also washing machine so able to do our laundry and parking for car provided. Great location to explore Cinque Terre from as train leaves from Levanto. Staff excellent and helpful, would highly recommend to families or couples.
Donna Grinham in Adelaide, SA Australia 04/20/2012
Best: Galleria Doria Pamphilj
Why: This lovely building and collection is an oasis in the center of much chaos. It is hard to find, even an English-speaking woman Carabinieri did not know where it was although it was just about 50 yards down the street. I had been here in 2008 and had the same problem but it was a fantastic visit. Since my last visit the Caravaggios had been moved to the Aldobrindini hall and an interesting display had been mounted on the cooperation between the family and the official art restoration body of Italy. I loved the elegant cafe and had good food and service at a price so skipped dinner that night. Could not discover whey there are two copies of Caravaggio's John the Baptist. Loved the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Picked up a brochure on an offering for tours of art with music of the times called Music & Art Treasures called Roma Opera Omnia. email@example.com. A few more dates in April 14, 21, 28 for Sounds and Visions of Caravaggio. Discount with Roma Pass.
Worst: Unruly hoards of people near Trevi Fountain and other sites
Why: This was my third trip to Rome and I much preferred being here in mid January after a trip to Egypt. Very crowded even after the long Easter holiday weekend was over. Know it is spring break for schools in England so could be in other parts of Europe. When one has the option of traveling at a less crowded time, I suggest doing so.
Patricia Sinnott in Atlanta, GA USA 04/10/2012
Best: Cinque Terre Cooperative Winery
Why: We really enjoyed our rainy day wine tasting in Groppo. Employees were very friendly and knowledgeable, and wine tastings were inexpensive (9 euros for four glasses per person). The winery was easy to find (just follow the road uphill from the shuttle bus stop in Groppo).
Nessa Austria 04/10/2012
Why: Informative and I like walking, most of the time.
Marfa in Corvallis, OR USA 03/27/2012
Best: Galleria Borghese
Why: Movingly beautiful art! The audio-guide was fantastic and helped me enjoy every second of the 2 hours I spent in the museum.
Worst: Capitoline Museum
Why: I will start by saying that I am a well-seasoned traveler and that I am usually quite adept at independently navigating museums. This was my first visit to the Capitoline museum and I will say that it is of great interest ... but must go on to add that the audioguide was worse that useless. It was a significant hinderance to the experience of understanding the collection. Upon arriving, I paid €5 for the audioguide and was handed an huge quintuple-folding museum map and a laminated card with additional names and numbers to accompany my audioguide. Few of the numbers on the map corresponded with the numbering system in the audio guide. There was an island of usefulness from #16-20, then the we descended into complete chaos. The staff was almost completely useless in helping to decode the relationship between the museum and the audioguide. To add insult to injury, the audioguide began by stating that "the Capitoline museums have been remodeled and reorganized to provide the visitor a more coherent experience" ... I shudder to imagine what a visit must have been like before. I won't say that the museum doesn't deserve it's 2 triangles, but there must be some caveat about the audoguide's scant, chaotic relation with the museum as laid-out.
Randall Griswold in Kaiserslautern, Germany 03/17/2012
Best: Tour Guide - Antonio
Why: Our tour guide Antonio, who we met at Pompei, was so amazing , we ended up hiring him for 3 days. He got a car for us for a very reasonable price and drove us all around the Amalfi region and to all the small towns, as well as Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. He also took us and drove us to the top of Mt. Vesuvius. He has alot of connections with the locals, and knows alot about the history of the area and Pompei, as he grew up in Pompei.
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
and his phone is 081...8561599
me and my mom are so glad he was our tour guide, he was the man, and i highly reccomend if your gonna be in the Pompei area to give him a call for your tour !
Anthony in Milwauke, WI USA 02/12/2012
Best: Naples - Pina Esposito
Why: I took a group of 36 university students and professors for the first time solo to Italy. I wanted to give my students more than just a tour, but an experience. Out of the many wonderful guides we had (recommended by Rick), the person that really stands out for me is Pina Esposito. First, her tour of Pompeii was outstanding. I felt that we were just scratching the surface of her knowledge. As others have said, her tour of Pompeii really made the site come alive. However, I needed her help well beyond Pompeii. I wanted to give the students a true cultural tour of the south, which included finding authentic southern Italian cuisine at a good rate, getting tickets to the opera in Naples and an afternoon of just sharing with the students her own heritage. The help she gave me was above and beyond and I am grateful. I can't wait to visit again with my next class.
Will Prigge Briar Cliff University
Will Prigge in Sioux City, IA USA 02/03/2012
Best: I flew to Rome - drove to Cannes to venece - through tuscany to naples and back to rome
Why: I enjoyed Pisa and Verona the best - a little touristy but not overbearable.
jamie fields in detroit, mi USA 01/05/2012
Best: Descriptions of each town in Cinque Terre and train tips
Why: Helped us get around each of the 5 towns more easily
Jack Hay in White Plains, Md USA 12/22/2011
Best: Borghese Gallery (Rome); Vernazza in the Cinque Terre; and Rome
Why: Of all of the art that we saw during our trip, the Borghese Gallery had the best. We made reservations through our hotel (thank you for that recommendation!) and rented the audio guide. We plan to return if/when we go back to Rome. Vernazza in the Cinque Terre was wonderful: Beautiful, relaxing, friendly people, good food, and not expensive. Rome is a fabulous city - so much to see, do, and experience. We loved it.
Why: Only because of the souvenir kiosks on the waterfront near Piazza San Marco, and all of the tour groups following umbrella-toting guides. It was disappointing to see that it has been completely taken over by tourism. Having said that, Venice was lovely and quiet in the evenings when the tour groups left. We would return on another visit to Italy.
Karen in Winnipeg, MB Canada 11/27/2011
Best: Cristina Giannicchi, Great Rome Tour Guide
Why: We could never have found Cris without Rick's recommendation. What a find! Cris is delightful and fun in addition to being so well versed in art in history. There is no way we could have puzzled our way through the Vatican by ourselves. Cris made the morning vibrant, fresh, interesting, and meaningful. Cris definitely gave us our very best memories of Rome! We can't wait to return to Rome to do more touring with Cris Giannicchi.
Deborah in Lebanon, NJ USA 11/21/2011
Worst: Phone cards in Italy
Why: My traveling companion purchased a phone card which was of no use in any of the phones we encountered in Lucca, Florence, or the Cinque Terre. She tried both pay phones (few & far between) and hotel & business phones. Nothing worked except borrowed cell phones from kind lenders, and the rate was several hundred times the rate quoted on the phone card. We never did find those touted cheap disposable cell phones which the Guidebook recommends.
Arlene Geist in Seattle, WA USA 11/08/2011
Best: Colleseum in Rome with the RS audio guide
Why: Really awesome!! Rome was the best place and 2nd was Venice.
Jolanda Terhoeven in Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA 11/07/2011
Why: Awesome wine touring, beautiful views, great restaurants and a nice little town to enjoy in the evening
Why: Too many tourists, narrow streets, traffic, long lines
John Osgood in New York, NY USA 11/01/2011
Best: Rick Steves' Audio Guides, an evening with Alessandro Schezzini in Venice
Why: Cannot imagine touring many of the sights in Venice, Florence, and Rome without Rick's audios. They gave cohesion and depth of understanding to huge collections of artwork and complex buildings. Friends had the IPad version which provided visual clues as well (as when the Uffizi moves a painting or you get turned around at St. Peter's). While I greatly appreciated all of the advice and guidance from Italy 2011, these guides were the icing on the cake.
Can't imagine a first visit to Venice without an evening with Alessandro. We took both is "Rick Steves Tour" and the Classic Venice Bars Tour" allowing us to see a side of Venice that eludes the normal traveler and the chance to ask a real Venician what living there is like. The wine, the food, and the company made for a delightful evening.
Pat in Middletown, DE USA 10/31/2011
Best: Roma Pass
Why: WORTH THE COST! even if you don't visit 2 sights. It's good for 72 hours after you validate it on the turnstile or the metro. Even in mid October, the line to the Colosseum in the afternoon was at least an hour or so long. Would hate to have seen the line for Foro Romano. We just walked right past the line, and followed an arrow marked "Roma Pass" and went through the turnstiles with no one in front of us. Sweet! Same applies to the Vatican Museum. Best to order tickets online before even if you have to pay the service charge. Extra cost is worth skipping the lines.
Kay Ishii in Renton, WA USA 10/30/2011
Best: trails from Vernazza
Why: incredible views, fun. It IS tough. I am 68 and in pretty good shape, so made it without much trouble, but was tired. I saw several overweight people on the trail that had that look of 'why am i here?'
Dale Kingsbury in St. Paul, mn USA 10/28/2011
Worst: Milan Train Station
Why: ALERT: bums hover around the train ticket machines looking for confused travelers to "help". I was having trouble getting tickets using my credit cards. The bums then hustle you for a "donation" or simply grab your change from a cash transaction and take off. The rest of our trip, we decided to allow a bit of extra time and buy our tickets directly from an Trenitalia agent. We never waited more than 5 minutes and we found that the agents know enough English to easily get us the correct tickets without any hassles.
Chuck&Merilee Hill in Chehalis, WA USA 10/24/2011
Best: Enoteca con bar Oreste Dal Zovo
Why: After circling around, we found Oreste sitting outside his establishment. We had a glass of Valpolicella while he told us, in Italian, of his life and showed us photo of himself and famous Rick Steves. We showed our Rick Steves book. Ta bene.
Elizabeth Lynch in Vacaville, CA USA 10/22/2011
Best: Mamertine Prison, Rome
Why: Very moving to see where Apostles Peter and Paul were imprisoned. Guided tour included in price of 6 euros.
Mark and Doreen in Pittsburgh, PA USA 10/21/2011
Best: Cinque Terre region, and Lucca.
Why: Had never heard of it and it was breath-taking. Lucca was a lovely, peaceful retreat after busy days of site-seeing.
Worst: The train from Naples to Sorrento was a very miserable hour.
Why: Heat, very crowded, inadequate seating, multiple stops.
Julie Roehl in Toledo, OH USA 10/20/2011
Worst: Cinque Terre
Why: We anticipated that Cinque Terre would be the highlight of our trip. We spent two nights in Monterrosso - and if it is any indication, we could not find a room anywhere in Vernazza or in Monterrosso. One of the overbooked hotels we contacted arranged for us to stay in an apartment for what turned out to be the most expensive stay of our trip. Our two nights in some random dude's third floor apartment in Monterroso cost more than two nights at the Hotel Metropole in Bellagio. If CT lived up to the hype, then it might have been worth it. I felt like I flew all the way to Italy to spend two nights in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There was nothing charming or authentic by being constantly overwhelmed by crowds of tourists, wearing "I love Cinque Terre" t-shirts, muscling their way past me in the street, pushing onto ferries and trains, hovering over me at my dinner table waiting for my seat - - and this was the first week of October - - hardly peak season. Our Ligurian food fantasies were extinguished with mediocre meals made worse by the fact that we were surrounded elbow-to-elbow by tourists talking about Costco, The Real Housewives, and The Cake Boss. We just sat back, drank our wine, and discussed how we could have had a more authentic Italian dining experience visiting an Olive Garden, or, perhaps a Sbarro at a mall food court. Instead of photos of the idyllic coast, I have pictures of my bemused husband pretending to throw Rick's book into the sea, or off of a cliff, or into a garbage can. Our last night in town, we returned from dinner in Vernazza on the train, seated behind a woman from Texas reading Rick's book out loud like she was giving a sermon to her companions ("Rick says that we should try the sardines"). She was interrupted by the conductor who, when he asked us for our tickets, claimed miraculously that they had expired despite being purchased within the hour. As the train pulled into Monterosso, he said that he would let us off the train for $10 Euro - CASH - or he would have to write us a ticket for a 'big fine'. A fitting end to a visit which felt more like a mugging than a vacation. As someone who discovered hidden gems throughout Ireland using Rick Steve's advice, this was a terrible disappointment and I hope that his upcoming 2012 Italy book reflects the tourist trap that CT has become.
Gina R. in Metuchen, NJ USA 10/14/2011
Best: Riomaggiore, Vernazza
Why: Small fairy-tale pastel village life
Worst: Andrea Poggi owner of Hotel La Spiaggia
Why: He's the owner of the bait & switch hotel, he is either an out & out scammer & a old person with advanced mental disease.
Lee Bruning in Hayward, CA USA 10/10/2011
Worst: Trattoria GianniinVernazza,CinqueTerre
Why: Tiny rooms,no service, sour owners, rude daughter.These people act like they hate tourists. Worst hotel we have ever stayed at. Worst recommendation by Rick Steves.
frank o'toole in mc lean, va USA 10/05/2011
Why: other than the taxi issue, clear descriptions and recommendations.
Why: Most of your advice was spot on, however, we found the self guided walk to be confusing and we lost our way immediately. Managed to have a great time anyway
Marianne Ferguson in Auburn, n USA 10/04/2011
Best: Cristina Giannicchi
Why: Cristina was our tour guide for Ancient Rome and the Vatican City. We toured with our family of 14 people - adults & teenagers. Cristina seemed to have a vast knowledge of the area and the history of the area. As she gave us a great presentation of each area, Cristina was able to answer any question we had about artifacts, buildings, historical events, anything about the area! We all had a great time with Cristina. With her enthusiasm, flexibility, and patience, she fit right in with our family. Everyone in our family was excited the next day when we met Cristina to tour the Vatican City. The tour of the Vatican City was just as great as the first day! We were sad to end our time with Cristina. We would definitely recommend touring with Cristina. She also has a great website with pictures of Cristina with tour groups!
Alexis Gerrish in Minneapolis, MN USA 10/02/2011
Best: Ristorante Bagus (Pisa)
Why: We usually refer to other books for eating recommendations, since we've found Steve's criteria is often just 'the cheapest' available. Bagus is a great restaurant! Nice wine-themed atmosphere with soft jazz CDs playing. Food is excellent--the best Caponata I've eaten!
Pete in Cincinnati, OH USA 10/02/2011
Best: Pantheon in Rome
Why: it was mind-blowing when we arrived. We even went back two more times just to have it take our breath away!
Worst: Fast Bar in Monterosso
Why: We went to Fast Bar on a Sunday night and they had an American football game on. When we approached the bartender, we tried to order in two beers and two wines in Italian and he gave us dirty looks & shook his head. We tried English and he still didn't seem to understand. We finally just pointed to the tap, said 'birra, por favore' and he gave us our drinks. We left 4 euros as a tip, hoping that help him be slightly friendlier to us. A customer walked in and it appeared he knew the bartender, we then overheard the bartender speaking perfect English to the other customer! Five minutes later, they turned the channel from the Steelers game to a soccer game. A big group of Americans, all wearing Steelers jerseys eventually got up and left. When they had all left, the two bartenders smiled and gave each other a high-five! They then started whispering and looking over at us. They turned up the soccer game extremely loud, until we finally decided to just leave as well. I would like to add that the other group of Americans were sitting pretty quietly, purchasing drinks and tipping heavily. We were also doing the same thing. I understand some American football watching crowds might be difficult to deal with, but they really did not seem to want any customers in the bar, except their one friend...
Kelly Moffa in Irvine, CA USA 10/01/2011
Best: The Cinque Terre
Why: It had panache!! Romantic, stunning views. I felt like I was in the Italy that I wanted to see. And for the most part, didn't.
Worst: Rome in September
Why: Crammed with tourists--everywhere! Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel incredibly mobbed, a waste of time--no way to look at art. ( Not the guidebook's fault.)
Dick and Denise Devlin in Kingston, NH USA 09/26/2011
Best: Anthony Buonocore, Amalfi Coast Tour
Why: We just completed an all day tour of the Amalfi Coast with Anthony. The tour was extremely enjoyable and completely stress free. We had arranged for the tour way ahead of time having read that it would be difficult to enjoy the coast while driving it ourselves. I had emailed Anthony several times and his responses were always prompt and on point. On the day of the tour, he arrived 10 minutes early. Anthony was very friendly and had a great sense of humor while always remaining professional. Though we had some specific requirements for the tour, which he accommodated without question, we mostly relied on Anthony to guide us based on his experience. We are so glad we did. We saw many beautiful villages, coastal scenery, stopped for wine, limoncello and olive oil tasting and even had the free time we requested. We had an excellent lunch at his recommended restaurant which was very reasonably priced. We would have never seen as much of the coast nor would we had known the best places to stop without Anthony. We highly recommend Anthony.We grabbed his business card as a souvenir: here is his info: +39 3494410336 www.amalfitransfer.com email@example.com
John M in Rochester, NY USA 09/26/2011
Best: Guided tours in Rome by Giovanna Terzuilli. Drive down the Amalfi Coast with Raffaele Monetti.
Why: Giovanna was extremely knowledgable, organized and charming. Raffaele made us feel safe on the hair raising drive. He too was knowledgable and fun. Raffaele went beyond the call of duty when he made and appointment with his dentist for my husband when he had a dental emergency. His dad picked us up at our hotel and delivered us to the dentist at 7:00PM!
Worst: Naples Train Station
Why: We felt so unsafe that we rented a car for our return trip to Rome.
Barbara James in Beaufort , SC USA 09/25/2011
Best: Carmello Monetti
Why: We just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for recommending Carmello as our guide for the tour of the Amalfi Coast. We spent a marvelous day with Carmello learning the history and culture, and experiencing the beauty of this fabulous region. Carmello was charming, and witty but more importantly knowledgeable and patient. He made sure we had photo ops at all the best vantage points and every sweat spot imaginable. He patiently waited on the return ride while we chose a special piece of local ceramic that could be shipped home to Canada. No rush, Carmello would insist. He professes to respect, appreciate and protect the tourists he has the privilege to serve and he does just that. Carmello was a delight, he practices gratitude and paying it forward. He is truly an Ambassador of Sorrento and Italy - his passion and love for his homeland is contagious We wish Carmello many more years of health and success doing what he loves.
Michel & Joan Bonin in Ottawa, ON Canada 09/13/2011
Best: Monterosso, Manarola, Varenna
Why: Monterosso: My husband and I are both 33 and this was our favorite of the 5 towns- we liked that it was spread out and we loved Il Casello (the owner was so nice and food was so good!) and Ristorante Belvedere- yum! We were on our honeymoon and it was so romantic here at night, we want to go back and stay in the town next time. We also enjoyed the Manarola Vineyard Walk but we were too wiped out from hiking the #2 trail the day before to do the Torre Guardiola trail in Riomaggiore (even though the trail from Manarola to Corniglia was closed and we took the train). Varenna was amazing and we loved that there was so little to do- we enjoyed every minute there.
Worst: La Spezia, Bellagio
Why: We read your book after a travel agent booked our hotel here and we wished we had stayed in one of the Cinque Terre villages! Although Hotel Firenze (La Spezia) was decent and close to the train station next time we know better!!! It was sad to get on the train each night and leave the Cinque Terre wonderland!
Bellagio was way too busy for us, especially after being in Varenna 2 nights prior (prices in the shops were higher too) It was great at night though and we enjoyed walking around and some treats at Gelateria del Borgo.
Liza in Syracuse, NY USA 09/05/2011
Why: No crowds. Magical.
Worst: Paestum and Vesuvius cid:firstname.lastname@example.org/6AE6A96A09E8487E81E9F1F3D656E7A210104.jpg
Why: If you don't use the Salerno bus the hassle is HUGE. Worth it, though.
K in Rizzo, Va USA 08/23/2011
Why: Central locale, more art than you can absorb. Also, we hired a personal guide in Rome. Costly but well worth it.
Worst: Die Frescobaldi restaurant in Florence
Why: Horrible food and the manager was rude and could have care less whether we like our dinner or not.
Pat Geddes in Berthoud, CO USA 08/16/2011
Best: Tour of Vatican City with Cristina Giannicchi
Why: We toured with Cristina Giannicchi, whose name we found in the Italy 2011 book, and we found her to be friendly, very informative, and interesting and humorous. She tailored our tour to meet our time schedule and was attentive to our specific questions and areas of interest. Cristina's fee was reasonable, and we felt it was money well spent to make our experience at the Vatican beyond our expectations.
Susan in Smithtown, NY USA 08/02/2011
Best: Sistine Chapel
Why: Of all the sights in Italy this stands out as the most impressive. It is well thought out and executed with precision and passion. The Delphi Sybill stood out among all of the images and I now have a large copy of this image hanging in my home.
Angel in Katy, TX USA 07/27/2011
Best: Vatican City and the Papal Blessing
Why: We followed your tips and were able to be within feet of the Pope after his Papal blessing. We felt extremely blessed and happy.
Joe and Lila Klein in Richmond, MN USA 07/26/2011
Best: Assisi, Super 5 Cinque Terra Boat Ride
Why: A spectacular walled medieval city. Very walkable, great views and of special meaning to people of faith. The city bus is a great inexpenisve way to travel. Hotel Ideale had a magnificent view good breakfast. The Church of San Stefano predates St. Francis and is a hidded gem. Your section on the Basillica of St. Franics in the guidebook was exceptional. We enjoyed staying in S. Margharita. One day we took the Super 5 Cinque Terra boat excursion which stopped in 3 of the 5 towns. Two of the stops wer only an hour but it was a great way and day to gain an exposure to this area. My biggest regret was that we arrived at the anchovy museum just as it was closing. When I learned that they had free samples of various product I was devasted.
John and Elyse O'Kane in Stone Mountain, GA USA 07/24/2011
Why: Just gorgeous
Toey in Houston, Tx USA 07/22/2011
Worst: Hotel La Tonnarella
Why: Made reservation on internet. Decided to change plans and tried to cancel. Their website was down and not at all user friendly. Never received a confirmation and could not find it when I did get on website so thought did not go through. I was charged on credit card and they would not cancel. I did not have that trouble with any other of our accommodations. Will never stay there. Hope you look into their treatment of their customers.
Debbie in Benton, Ky USA 07/20/2011
Best: Nightwalk Through Rome
Why: Lovely tour that got us from one beautiful square to the next with almost no need to pull out the map. A highlight of our trip to Rome. Take the optional two block gelato detour! Bet of our 11 days in France and Italy. Bonus- There's a public restroom at the gelato shop too.
Maureen in Grayslake, IL USA 07/18/2011
Why: Everywhere was picturesque and enchanting. A nice end to our busy on the move vacation.
Why: Took a day trip from Rome. There was a two hour train strike on the Circumvesuviana so we had to wait around the Napoli Centrale station longer than planned on our way to Pompeii. We ventured down the left side of Piazza Garibaldi but didn't feel safe.
D Mitchell in Elk Grove, CA USA 07/12/2011
Best: FLORENCE: ACADEMIA, UFFIZI GALLERY,ROME: VATICAN MUSEUM, ST. PETER'S BASILICA AND BORGHESE GALLERY
Why: I WAS BOWLED OVER BY MICHELANGELO'S DAVID, JUST DID NOT THINK IT WOULD AFFECT ME LIKE THAT...AND PER YOUR SUGGESTION, GETTING RESERVATIONS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE MADE THE SIGHTS STRESSFREE..THANKS!
Worst: TOWN OF RAVENA
Why: TRUELY I ENJOYED EVERYTHING, BUT HAD PROBLEMS FINDING MY ACCOMMODATION AND IT WAS THE LEAST INTERESTING PLACE, BUT I DID NOT HAVE MUCH TIME THERE.
SANDI KELLY in SARASOTA, FL USA 07/10/2011
Best: Cinque Terre
Why: Beautiful, relaxing Vernazza, was the best place to rest after all the fast pace touring of Rome, Florence and Venice. The hiking was amazing as was the wonderful relaxing apartment accomidations.
Bobbi Koloany in Pittsburgh, PA USA 07/01/2011
Best: Experince: Staying in Murren, Swithzerland
Why: It was a wonderful tip by Rick to stay in Murren area . I loved to stay there , had walk to Gimmelwald and around. It was very peaceful and amazing there. I completely got mesmerized by the hige mountains and valley at Lauterburren which can be seen up from Murren.
Gaurav Agarwal in Tyngsboro, MA USA 06/28/2011
Best: Borghese Gallery, Rome
Why: Bernini's Apollo chasing Daphne, David and Rape of Proserpine are breathtaking.
Lynette Taylor in Brooksville, FL USA 06/24/2011
Best: Carmello Monetti, driver on Amalfi Coast
Why: You recommended Carmello Monetti of Monetti taxi (www.monettitaxi.it) in your Naples/Amalfi Snapshot book & he was the best for all the reasons you list in the book. But the real reason he's the best: I accidently gave him 50 euros more than the fare & he returned it! He had driven part way back to Sorrento, stopped for a coffee and realized that I’d made the mistake. He drove back to the hotel to give me the money back. And if that wasn’t enough, he then offered to take us to Positano for free because it was on his way home. Unbelievable! If you need a driver for the Amalfi Coast then Carmello is your man.
Brent in San Francisco, CA USA 06/12/2011
Best: Alll places visited! (Rome, Florence, Venice, Padua, Lake Como, Milan)
Why: Italy's a country with so many personalities, every day was enjoyable! The people are also very nice!
Worst: Got lost looking for Trattoria Milanese in Milan
Why: Streets in Milan were confusing. We kept taking wrong turns, and tried asking locals (in Italian), but didn't have much luck. We ended up finding Luini Panzerotti (in book), and that was enjoyable!
Liz Santos in Seattle, WA USA 06/06/2011
Best: Venice, Cinque Terre, and Rome
Why: We were in Italy May 15 thru May 24, 2011 and loved it all. Everywhere we went we were overwhelmed by the expanse each area offers. We saw simple pleasures that meant as much as the huge Basillicas and statues! Do "stop and smell the roses"! All sights were exactly as described in the guidebook. Don't try to see everything and be sure to include downtime and time for occasional delays / errors. Enjoy the sights! Don't rush and ruin everyone else's perception of what they are seeing.
Larry Linemann in Lexington, SC USA 06/01/2011
Best: Agriturismo Pietra Rosa
Why: We followed Rick's advice and located an agritursimo near the hill town of Urbino on the general Italian argitursimo web site. What a find Pietra Rosa was! It was the highlight of a wonderful three week holiday in Italy. We felt as though we were part of a happy Italian family. There farm is 4 km up a very curvy gravel road. (You need a car.) The drive is worth the effort. The views are spectacular. Jenny has a degree in international studies so her English is perfect. Her cooking was the best we had in Italy, and that's saying something. Pietra Rosa was a wonderful break from the frenetic hustle of being a tourist. Urbino is a vibrant hill town without the tourists that you find in Tuscany. Pietra Rosa was much cheaper than most of the agritursimos that Rick recommends. Rick, add it to your recommended list.
Mary Weisse in Rapid River, MI USA 05/28/2011
Best: Cinque Terre
Why: Breathtakingly beautiful.
Worst: ATM in Vernazza
Why: Add this one in your book for ripping off tourists. I tried to withdraw and it told me it did not have sufficient funds. Another tourist told me the same had happened to them the day earlier. However, when I got home and checked my bank statement, I had been charged for them.
Penney Haas in Belleville, IL USA 05/17/2011
Best: Siena and Assisi
Why: Wonderful architecture and statuary in Siena, and beautifully serene and devout ambience in Assisi.
Nick & Eileen Sordi in Eagle, CO USA 05/09/2011
Best: Siena and Assisi
Why: Wonderful architecture and statuary in Siena, and beautifully serene and devout ambience in Assisi.
Nick & Eileen Sordi in Eagle, CO USA 05/09/2011
Why: I wanted Imperial Rome and this was the place where I could most feel like I was walking where a Caesar walked (mostly by looking up not at the Christian stuff moved in afterwards - which was cool in it's own right)
Mitch McCann in Killeen, TX USA 05/09/2011
Best: Riomaggiore / Hotel La Zorza
Why: Great location, spacious two bedroom unit with a deck for our family of four. Clean, comfortable, affordable, free wirless, great breakfast, very helpful and responsive staff.
S. Blank in Seattle, WA USA 05/06/2011
Best: Roman Empire Tours
Why: We ended our two week trip to Italy with two days in Rome. The Colosseum was closed one of the days, causing us to visit the Colosseum/Forum and Vatican City in one day with our children ages 9 and 12. Had it not been for Jimmy of Roman Empire Tours the day would have been exhausting. Jimmy's knowledge of Rome's history is amazing. My children were entralled by the information he shared. He weaved us through the Vatican showing us the best of the best. I hate to think of what we would have missed out on had we tried to visit these sites on our own. It was one of our best days on the trip.
S. Blank in Seattle, WA USA 05/06/2011
Best: Cinque Terre
Why: It's beautiful and we missed the high tourist season. But the Blue Trail was closed due to landslides and mud - we were there in March. So it would be nice to warn people.
Nena Montgomery in Redwood City, CA USA 04/27/2011
Why: We were accidentally there for Carnivale. We stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky on Giudecca Island using points. We would highly recommend this location during Carnivale as it has a free shuttle and you can escape the crowds for a break, but still enjoy it when you want. Also the gondola ride is definitely worth the money. We should have gone longer.
Chris Kemp in St. Paul, MN USA 03/18/2011
Best: Amalfi tour with Carmello Monetti
Why: great day..he's a classic
Pete Hall in Haddonfield, NJ USA 02/20/2011
Best: Florences Duomo Steps
Why: The view of Florence is amazing from the top! Well worth the 400+ steps to get there!
Marcy in Los Angeles, CA USA 02/03/2011
Best: Everything is wonderful.
Why: I have been just about everywhere in the book. Now what ?
Worst: Not enough !!!!
Why: Rick has got to expand on Italy Guidebooks to include: The Valle D'Aosta, Puglia, Sicily, and MORE Tuscany like Pitigliano, Sovana, and the region south of Civita (Upper Lazio), and places like Narni, Terni, Norcia, etc.
Alan in Woodstock, NY USA 02/03/2011
Best: Agriturismo La Crociana, Montalcino
Why: Lovely cabin with kitchenette; close to all hill towns, very reasonable. Extremely friendly and helpful Barbara, Robert & Fiorina.
Laura in San Diego, CA USA 01/23/2011
Why: Good hotels and restaurants, lots of places to visit close by.
Worst: Cinque Terre
Why: Unfriendly and rude locals, specially at restaurants and train stations. Overpriced and overrated.
Marisol Grossling in Vancouver, BC Canada 01/04/2011