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Another Italy Thread

nomoretslt

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I don't want to interfere with the other Italy thread. We are also headed to Italy next month, but have opted to do a guided tour. We will have some down time at each stop and I have a few questions regarding places to eat. We are provided with breakfast every morning and four organized dinners. On our own for lunch and 7 dinners.

In Rome, we will be staying at the Romanico Palace on Via Boncompagne. If anyone has any ideas as to where we can get a simple and quick bite to eat, I'd appreciate any input. We will have a full day on our own before meeting up with the tour.

We will be spending two nights in Lucca, but outside of the walled in section. According to trip advisor, there are a number of informal places to dine....too many for me to make a selection. Any ideas here? We can rent bikes from our hotel and they claim there are bike paths to take into the walled area. Anyone ever try this? I hear the drivers in Italy are pretty crazy...is it a danger to ride a bike?

Our second day in Lucca, we will be taken to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre....and boat ride and train ride back to La Spezia are on the agenda, but no mention on lunch. I scoped out a few places in LaSpezia.....any ideas? Maybe some places in Cinque Terre?

Two nights in Florence close to Duomo and Palazzo Pitti. No dinner either of these nights. We will be at the Grand Hotel Mediterraneo. Any easy to get to places for dinner?

Then two nights in Venice. Daytime is filled with organized tours. Dinner is provided one night.

Then on to Ravenna and Assisi. Need to find a place for lunch.

Then back to Rome.

Looking forward to this trip, and being able to kind of plot out our trip for next time, which we will do on our own.

Thanks in advance for any tips and/or advice.
 

canesfan

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In Florence I highly recommend Trattoria La Casalinga. It’s across the river but well worth the effort.

Cicalone is another favorite. It’s small but a gem for lunch or dinner. There’s a gelato place across the street that is awesome too!

In Rome, Hostaria Dino e Toni. We felt like we were at a more local place than tourist. They kept serving us food and it was reasonably priced. Service was incredible.

Eat in Cinque Terre. It depends on what town you are in. Vernazza has a bunch of restaurants right in the main square near the water. We’ve ate at two of them and both were good for lunch. In Monterosso we like Ristorante Miky. Not sure it’s open for lunch. Seafood based, they do this crust that is flameed. So good! In Manarola if you like fried calamari, I’d recommend picking up some street food. We have gotten a couple cones of calamari and bought a bottle of wine and did sunset near the sea. Not a restaurant but if you like wine, Vernazza Wine Experience is worth a stop. They have great views.


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beejaybeeohio

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RE: Cinque Terre
We spent several nights on our own staying in Monterosso in October 2017. The crowds in every one of the villages really detracted from our visit. There were long waits for tables at lunch, and to be honest I don't recall any extraordinary restaurants in Monterosso or Vernazza. There was a decent seaside restaurant in Riomaggiore.

However, after our time in Cinque Terre, we boarded a cruise that stopped in LaSpezia.

My DH & I opted to spend that day in Portovenere which is between the villages and the port. We took the public bus for a scenic, mildly harrowing cliffside ride to and from La Spezia.
It was wonderful. Hardly any crowds, a charming waterfront with many restaurants overlooking the harbor and a church atop the cliff. We took an hour long 3-Island boat tour while there and had a lovely lunch at a small cantina on the street above the harbor.
 

Passepartout

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We travel often to Europe independently. We generally find 'Americanized' tour meals to be what some Italian (in this case) THINKS Americans want to eat. A tactic we often employ is during a day's excursions I'll often ask a friendly shopkeeper or someone I strike up a conversation with, "Where is a good, nearby place YOU like for lunch?" It usually works out well, and sometimes it could be better. Often there are bakeries where you can grab a quick sandwich. If you are on a budget, ALWAYS stand at a counter to eat- it costs more to sit at a table. Not Always the case, but if a place has an English menu, it's more geared towards tourists than locals The locals will go to places with today's menu on a blackboard near the door. Pick one of those choices and enjoy!

Jim
 

jme

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In Florence I highly recommend Trattoria La Casalinga. It’s across the river but well worth the effort.

Cicalone is another favorite. It’s small but a gem for lunch or dinner. There’s a gelato place across the street that is awesome too!

In Rome, Hostaria Dino e Toni. We felt like we were at a more local place than tourist. They kept serving us food and it was reasonably priced. Service was incredible.

Eat in Cinque Terre. It depends on what town you are in. Vernazza has a bunch of restaurants right in the main square near the water. We’ve ate at two of them and both were good for lunch. In Monterosso we like Ristorante Miky. Not sure it’s open for lunch. Seafood based, they do this crust that is flameed. So good! In Manarola if you like fried calamari, I’d recommend picking up some street food. We have gotten a couple cones of calamari and bought a bottle of wine and did sunset near the sea. Not a restaurant but if you like wine, Vernazza Wine Experience is worth a stop. They have great views.


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Ditto for Ristotante Miky in Monterosso. Absolutely a highlight.

TV star Rick Steves visited there for dinner 2 years ago with his entourage and a family member, and he is now great friends with the owners.
We had lunch there last October (so it is open for lunch) and introduced ourselves, referenced Rick Steves, and the owner (wife), knowing Rick Steves, took great care of us.
We took photos and had a wonderful conversation and met everybody (chef/owner husband and the daughter),
and the Mom/owner later wheeled over a cart full of desserts
and free Limoncellos for our four diners. Amazing restaurant, top notch---beautiful and great food and service....truly a can't miss.

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x12d4ee1cdae8ae2d:0x27896444a2b0de72!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/p/AF1QipPkD2gsAzILoEN49yAo7wjfj8IRZjwa0InRI6p3=w426-h320-k-no!5sristorante miky - Google Search!15sCAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipNwWwsXVbs2WckDo_ppDKbZ_PScnsELdb0K8ler&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjm64vW7vPjAhWpdN8KHWqBAWwQoiowCnoECA8QBg
 

nomoretslt

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Thank you everyone. Exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I've printed everything out and will incorporate it into my trip planning folder.
 

jme

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RE: Cinque Terre
We spent several nights on our own staying in Monterosso in October 2017.
The crowds in every one of the villages really detracted from our visit.

There were long waits for tables at lunch, and to be honest I don't recall any extraordinary restaurants in Monterosso or Vernazza. There was a decent seaside restaurant in Riomaggiore.

However, after our time in Cinque Terre, we boarded a cruise that stopped in LaSpezia.

My DH & I opted to spend that day in Portovenere which is between the villages and the port. We took the public bus for a scenic, mildly harrowing cliffside ride to and from La Spezia.
It was wonderful. Hardly any crowds, a charming waterfront with many restaurants overlooking the harbor and a church atop the cliff. We took an hour long 3-Island boat tour while there and had a lovely lunch at a small cantina on the street above the harbor.

@ restaurants in Cinque Terre......
Vernazza restaurants are fair, a couple maybe just "good", per second-hand reports. Don't know anything about the other towns, except Monterosso.

Monterosso, different story....several excellent restaurants.....one in particular is Ristorante Miky, a favorite of Rick Steves.
We dined there in October of 2018 and it was excellent, even outstanding.
Could be in NYC or Boston's North End (or anywhere) and would be packed all the time--it's that good.
We met the whole family, including the Mom/owner, the chef/owner Miky, and the daughter who helps run the restaurant.
There are a few more good places, many whose names I don't remember, but they were very enjoyable.

Rick Steves also touts another one besides Miky called l'Osteria, which is also fabulous.....we dined there too...great!
Google Monterosso restaurants, look into it, and you'll find that indeed they are not lacking.

On another note, we were there in Monterosso in October last year and there were no crowds at all.....it wasn't deserted by any means, but there were zero lines anywhere, for anything, and we walked right in wherever we went.
Vernazza was different....very crowded, but it's because the tour boats from Monterosso (and other towns) stopped there, that area was very small, and the crowds got off the boats and hung around,
with little to do but people-watch. Didn't care for Vernazza so much.

In Monterosso, about 30 minutes prior to the peak dining hour, leading up to peak time, outdoor dining tables were barely half-filled,
and inside about the same. At peak dining hour, say 7pm,
the best places were full but no lines waiting. Miky and l'Osteria were like that. The other places were still only half-full.
 

tlwmkw

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In Rome you can get a quick lunch at Forno- it’s a tiny bakery next to the Campo Dei Fiori- they sell Roman pizza wrapped in paper that you can eat as you walk around. There’s a market in the square that you can visit too. It looks like a hole in the wall but the pizza is delicious. You can easily walk to Piazza Navona or the Pantheon from here. It is known to locals and we saw some very elegant Italian ladies happily eating from the paper as they walked in the neighborhood. We didn’t try the pastries but they looked really good.

If you are near the Via Veneto then you must go to Comme Il Latte- it has some of the best gelato in Rome. It is not on the main tourist path but is on a back street and it is worth the effort ( use maps on your phone). It is not one of those tourist traps with mounds of gelato, actually you can’t even see the gelato at all because they store in containers with stainless tops to control the temp better and avoid crystallization- the server said they “respect” the ice cream!

Enjoy your trip
 

tlwmkw

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Forgot to mention in above post- there are other “towns” in the Cinque Terre that are not on the rail line and are therefore less accessible to tourists. There are 12 and 1/2 total “towns” (the half is just a few houses and a bar). You need to be willing to walk to them but it is worth it to avoid the crowds. The trails are quite rough between the different towns so be prepared if you plan to do this.
 

jme

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RE: Cinque Terre. We spent several nights on our own staying in Monterosso in October 2017. There were long waits for tables at lunch, and to be honest I don't recall any extraordinary restaurants in Monterosso or Vernazza.
.


Below are photos from another "extraordinary" restaurant in Monterosso,
in addition to the ones listed in my previous post (Ristotante Miky & L'Osteria).

It's Ristorante da Ely, and was as fun and good as any we tried, and the food & service were great.

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Fredflintstone

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Beautiful pictures! Looks like you are having a blast in Italy!

Thank you for sharing.

I must say, you made an excellent choice with Italy. I went to Rome, Florence (or Firenze) and Venice. Super history, super people, super culture....I can’t wait to return someday.

Here’s a few pics from my trip.




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jme

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Beautiful pictures! Looks like you are having a blast in Italy!

Thank you for sharing.

I must say, you made an excellent choice with Italy. I went to Rome, Florence (or Firenze) and Venice. Super history, super people, super culture....I can’t wait to return someday.

Here’s a few pics from my trip.



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Great pictures, we were there too. It's fun to say, "Oh, I was there, I was there."
(I looked but didn't see us in the pics, LOL.)

And yes, we had a blast. Rome(3) > Monterosso (2) > Florence (4) > Rome (1)

We'll hopefully go back within a couple of years...Next up: Amalfi & Positano, Sicily, Capri(?).
Too many wonderful areas to see, so it would ideally take 4 trips, imho.
Gotta squeeze Venice in somewhere. Why did they put Venice way up there?

It was especially nice to be with another couple...I was the so-called leader, so to speak, but having friends to enjoy
everything was fantastic, and they had also wanted to go all their lives but were never going to actually do it.
They are Catholic so doing the Vatican Tour just blew them away, and frankly it was amazing...a great day.

We had no cars, but used trains in between towns (so fun and beautiful), and occasionally taxis when in Rome,
altho that was maybe 3-4 times. In Florence we walked everywhere, except the full-day Tuscany Tour, of course.
Thanks for sharing....I love pictures here on TUG, they're not shared enough.

(The Duomo Firenze is now a wallpaper on my phone, love it, and another photo, one of my favorites
of the 600+ I took on the trip, is a simple olive grove & old wood fence on a hillside in Monteriggione,
-----nothing else, just the trees in rows along the hillside, the fence, and the sky.)



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beejaybeeohio

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.


Below are photos from another "extraordinary" restaurant in Monterosso,
in addition to the ones listed in my previous post (Ristotante Miky & L'Osteria).

It's Ristorante da Ely, and was as fun and good as any we tried, and the food & service were great.

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It dawned on me why we didn't have any extraordinary restaurant finds in the Cinque Terre! We traveled with my DBiL/DSiL who have the most limited of palates: Fish n' chips, spaghetti bolognese and lasagna are their staples abroad. We enjoy being with them but meals are difficult since menus need to have something acceptable to them.

DH & I love mussels and when we were in Brussels together we came across a pedestrian restaurant row. I asserted myself and suggested they dine at an Italian place just across from a specialty moules et frites venue where we wanted to eat. We had a fabulous meal and great conversation with a family from Egypt seated next to us. After dinner the in-laws were a tad miffed we'd chosen to eat where we did because their restaurant had mussels on the menu too!

Another time, when we ventured from our timeshare trade Chateau du Malmont in France to Puy en Velay we wandered from restaurant to restaurant when I at last spotted one serving lasagna. Unfortunately only one order was left but by then it was too late to search elsewhere so DSiL found something she could tolerate. Meanwhile I enjoyed the most delicious salade avec truite et lentils!
 
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