Rome

How to See Italy – What to see First

Italy has large major cities, medium size wonderful cities and unlimited small villages. The major cities are a must to see. They have wonderful museums, sites and architecture. The medium ones also have things to experience. The small cities are wonderful finds to explore. This video tells you how to see Italy and enjoy it. The YouTube video below shows how to make a memorable visit to Italy.

-George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Autostrada, BLOG, Campania, Coliseum, Colosseum, Dolce far niente, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Italy Tips, Naples, Old Rome, Pizzaria San Marco, Rome, Salerno, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Spanish Steps, Spanish Steps Trevi Fountain, Towns, Tuscany, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Venice, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

City Passes & Skip The Line Tickets

I feel that City Passes are almost never worthwhile! They cost a lot of money and you have to visit a large number of places in  a day or two to justify the cost. If you are like me, you don’t want to have someone dictate what you must see and when. Visiting Italy is not about how many places you can see in a day but about the experiences of seeing places, meeting people and tasting the wonderful food & wine.

Skip-the-line Tickets are worthwhile for sites with very long lines. The major attractions can have lines of 3-4 hours long. I for one do not want to spend my vacation & visit to Italy waiting in lines. Skip-the-line tickets allow you to show up at a time and jump to the beginning of the line. They do cost more than the attractions cost of entry but you save the line time.

This YouTube video explains all about these two types of tickets.

-George

 

Categories: BLOG, Coliseum, Doge Palace, Duomo, Europe, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Italy Tips, Money, Museums, Pantheon, Rome, Skip-the-line Passes, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Villa Borghese, YouTube | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rome 2

Rome or Roma in Italian is a wonderful city to walk around. There is good and safe public transportation but if you enjoy walking, you can walk everywhere in Rome. The food and wine are first class. Of course you can find great pastas and pizzas but Rome has so much more to offer including great fish.

This is my second VLOG on Rome and brings the familiar places and some not so familiar. I hope you enjoy this video and get to experience Roma!

Come walk with us around this amazing capital city. Watch my YouTube video below and discover Rome and these sites:

  • Spanish Steps
  • Trevi Fountain,
  • Temple of Hadrian
  • Pantheon,
  • Campo dei Fiori,
  • Old Rome,
  • Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita),
  • Aristo Campo Trattoria in Trastevere,
  • Saint Peter’s Basilica,
  • Vatican City Museum & Sistine Chapel,
  • Colosseum,
  • Arch of Constantine,
  • Pizzaria San Marco,
  • Orvieto,
  • Tivoli,
  • Villa Borghese and the Museum,
  • Trolley ride in Rome.

 

-George

Categories: Bars, BLOG, Castel Sant'Angelo, Coliseum, Dolce far niente, Eating, Eating Italian, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lazio, Metro Travel, Museums, Orvieto, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Rome, Ruins, Saint Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps, The holidays in Europe, Trains, Trastevere, Travel Guides, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Vegetables, Villa Borghese, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aristocampo Restaurant in Trastevere Rome, Italy

wants good Italian food in Italy. Often you get trapped by tourist restaurants that serve American Italian food and not real Italian food. If you are looking for the real thing and want to experience real Roman food then go to Aristocampo restaurant in the Trastevere district of Rome, Italy.

Trastevere is a wonderful area to walk around. Great churches, architecture and restaurants. Aristocampo is in this wonderful old section of Rome. Sit inside or eat out on the street as we did. Watch my video below on this establishment:

-George

Categories: BLOG, Bread, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Pasta, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Trastevere, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spain and Italy

This is a summary of out trip to Spain and Italy and gives details on how we planned the trip. Rory and I travelled to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Venice and Rome. How did we plan this trip? How many days do you need in each place? How do you get from one city to the next?

these questions and more are answered in the YouTube video below:

Ciao,

 

George

 

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, an Museum, Architecture, B&Bs, Barcelona, Bars, Beaches, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Cafè, Eating, Europe, Flights, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Itinerary, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Orvieto, Pasta, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Seville, Sistine Chapel, Spain, Spanish Steps, The holidays in Europe, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Villa Borghese, VLOG, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Traveling by Train in Italy

Public transportation can be daunting in a foreign country but train travel in Italy is easy and common once you understand the basics. There are different types of trains from high speeds to locals and the cost changes accordingly. Having a ticket doesn’t always mean you have a seat. Some tickets require validation before boarding. If they are not validated a heavy fine may be imposed.

The rules are simple and train travel in Italy is relatively easy. You can go almost anywhere by train or get close enough to your destination. Trains even go to Sicily. The train is loaded on a ferry and travels to the Island of Sicily where it is put back on tracks and your journey proceeds. There are European trains that will take you to any major city in Europe.

Sit back and watch our short VLOG video on how to use the Italian train system.

– George Febish

Categories: BLOG, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Planning a vacation, Regions of Italy, Rome, Sicily, Trains, Travel Guides, VLOG, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I would See Italy

People always ask me, “What order would you see places in Italy?” All of Italy is great! You can not make a bad decision! Everyone that has been there has an opinion. This BLOG/VLOG is mine. I would see the famous big cities first because they are important. So the order would be:

  • Rome
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Naples

But Milan, Siena, San Gimignano, Positano, Capri … are also important places to see.

The only rules I have are:

  1. Take your time in each place. Don’t rush and try to see all of Italy in a single trip. You will only see the inside of busses and trains.
  2. Sit at outside bars or trattorias and observe the people (non tourists) around you. Begin to understand Italian life.
  3. Try to communicate with locals.
  4. After the big cities, go to small resorts and mountain towns.
  5. Eat where the locals eat. DON’T EAT AT TOURISTY PLACES!
  6. Stay in small Italian hotels.
  7. Go on your own not with large tour groups. If you must use a group, keep it small.

Traveling to Italy is meant to be fun. So enjoy it! Watch our YouTube video below for more tips:

– George Febish

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Capri, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Positano, Ravello, Regions of Italy, resorts, Romance, Rome, Saint Francis, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Uffizi, Umbria, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Venice, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a great region of Italy next to the more famous and crowded Tuscany. It is home to many great small cities worth a visit. Some of the cities we love are:

  1. Perugia
  2. Assisi
  3. Orvieto

Perugia is home to Italy’s famous Chocolate, Perugina. You can tour the factory outside of Perugia. Perugia itself has a wonderful historic center with some great hotels and restaurants.   If you are driving, the roads are very narrow and tight. Don’t try to bring a larger car into this area. There is great parking at the foot of the hill leading to the historical center. Escalators take you up the hill.

Assisi is home to Saint Francis. It is a wonderful hill town. The Saint Francis church there is a huge double church (one one top of the other) and the crypt houses his body. His original small church is inside a large church outside Assisi. Both are worth a visit.

Orvieto is a wonderful hill town with great views of the surrounding area. You can take good train service from Rome to Orvieto. Across the street from the train station is the Funicular that takes you up the hill to Orvieto. The cathedral here is massive and has frescos that tell bible stories. The food and wine here is wonderful.

Now walk these three cities with us in our YouTube video below:

– George

Categories: Assisi, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Towns, Trains, Tuscany, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to properly see Italy

I get asked all the time how to see Italy so you don’t miss anything? What should I see on my first trip? How is the food? Is it safe? So this BLOG is to answer these questions and state some rules:

  1. There are no rules
  2. I don’t believe in tours. They take you to the worst restaurants in Italy and move you along from site to site too fast. Most people take tours because they are afraid of getting lost, Can’t speak the language or don’t want to miss anything. Use your smart phones GPS to get around. Search on top things to see.
  3. The big cities are a must but the real Italy is in the small cities. Don’t miss these.
  4. Italy can’t be seen in one trip. Plan several trips and enjoy it more.
  5. If you are seeing 10 cities in 7 days, you have not visited or seen Italy.
  6. The food, outside touristy places is fantastic. Eat with the Italians in small Trattoria.
  7. Museums are important but the art in Italy is all around you everywhere you go.
  8. Stay in small hotels not big American ones. Don’t worry about your points, you are in Italy.
  9. Learn a few key phrases in Italian and use them.

OK you are on your first trip and don’t know where to go. Plan Naples and Rome or Florence and Venice. Spend time in each city. You win nothing by running from site to site and then moving to the next city. In fact you lose a lot! Italy is a country that moves slowly. Sit and observe it. Walk with the Italians at lunch time (la passeggiata). It is not enough to see the famous art and buildings but the people who live here. Communicate as best you can. Use simple 2-year old talk or charades.

Tours normally work against these goals. They force you to eat where they make the most money. They rush you from one site to the next. You see Italy through a bus window. This is not much better than seeing it on TV. If you must take a tour, find a small walking or biking tour. Find something in a van not a huge bus. Make sure you have a few days on your own to explore as you want to. Don’t be afraid to take trains between cities. They go almost everywhere. Within cities the metro is clean and efficient.

Rome is a city of architecture and history unlike any other in the world. Naples is old and many Americans came from this area of Italy. Florence is the capital of art and the Renaissance, Here you will find unbelievable art and the beginnings of modern thinking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. Here you will explore a large city made up of sidewalks and canals. There are no roads or cars. Enjoy these cities but take time to understand the history, the people and the food.

Plan more trips to visit places like Verona, Bologna, Capri, Amalfi Coast and the millions of small wonderful sea port and mountain towns. We love driving south from Rome on the A1 to our home. We see an interesting town high up on a mountain side in the distance. We use our iPhones to identify it and plot a course to it. After exploring the town we have a café at a bar or lunch in a small local restaurant. This is enjoying Italy and getting to know it.

Food and wine are a national pastime in Italy. Everyone is an expert. The truth is most food comes from farms in the vicinity, wines and olive oil are made locally.  The food is made from ancient recipes handed down over time. No-one cooks pasta as good as an Italians mom!

Hotels are for sleeping after a long day touring. You don’t need a resort type hotel. Pick local small hotels. We always prefer a room with its own bath (not all come this way). These small hotels are often family run. You get to know them as friends if you take the time.

Learn how to say some Italian phrases like Buon Giorno (Good day), Buona Sera (Good Evening – at sunset and beyond). Arrivederci (Good Bye) and Ciao (Hello and Good Bye). You might also want to ask How much? (Quanta Costa?). Jo Anne’s favorite is Quanta costa le Scarpe? (How much are the shoes?). Simply saying Buon Giorno to someone you pass will bring a smile and a Buon Giorno in return. Italy is a friendly place.

This brings us to How safe is Italy? Italy is very safe. There is almost no violent crime. There are pick pockets in large cities. Beware of you purses and wallets. Italians drive very fast so beware of cars speeding by you. We are never fearful walking around large cities like Rome. You are in Italy to learn and enjoy life. Just do it and enjoy a gelato.

Italy is the most romantic place on Earth!

Ciao,

George

 

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Bologna, Cafè, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, GPS, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pasta, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto is a small city in Umbria Italy on top of a butte of volcanic tuff. It is a wonderful city to walk around. If you drive or take the train, you arrive below at ground level and must take a funicular up to the city. Once in the city you at an old fort that is worth investigating. There are small streets, wonderful restaurants and a marvelous Duomo (Cathedral).

We spent a day here. We arrived by train from Rome in the morning. We walked around the entire city. The shops were wonderful and had unique items to buy. Jo bought a purse from a woman who actually made it. We then had lunch and relaxed. We love taking in the Italian life all around us and talking with locals. After lunch we visited the huge Duomo. There are bible stories painted on the outside and throughout the inside if this unbelievable church.

After Duomo we walked more and saw the back edge of the city (opposite the funicular). From this edge, we could see down over the vast countryside below. This is a city to be enjoyed slowly.

Come walk with us around Orvieto in our YouTube video below.

Ciao,

– George

Categories: Church, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Shopping, Small Towns, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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