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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  Topic: Joe and Rose Going to Europe - Suggestions? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Joe Sermarini
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« on: July 09, 2018, 09:26:30 am »

Rose and I are going to Europe for the last two weeks of September. We land in Madrid because the flight was extremely cheap.  Our last trip was all over Spain and I promised Rose I would take her to Italy.  I am looking for suggestions.  Of course we will see Venice, Florence, Rome, and Pompey. Any other must see suggestions? I am thinking about driving. Any thoughts or experience with driving from Spain to Italy, or within Italy? If I drive, any suggested stops between Madrid and Milan?
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 09:30:07 am »

Have a great trip.
I found Herculaneum more personal than Pompeii and certainly worth a visit.
Martin
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 09:42:00 am »

If you are driving from Spain to Italy, you are coming through  several interesting places in France, e.g. Avignon with the "Pont du Gard" and the medieval palace of the pope, Nimes with the roman temple, Orange with the roman theater and many more.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 09:53:21 am »

Madrid - Avignon - Orange - Nîmes - Pont du Gard - Milano - Venice - Florence Rome - Naples/Pompei, all that in 2 weeks ? Thousands of km, that's wild  afro
Just Rome would need 1 week.

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 09:53:39 am »

If you are going to Florence anyway there are plenty of wonderful little towns within driving distance. Montalcino, for example, is a great place to sample a nice Brunello (assuming you drink red wine). The major producers have estates in the area. While in Florence I assume you are going to hit the major stops like The David. Please do not miss Il Duomo. It is a true masterpiece of architecture and engineering by the genius Brunelleschi.

When in Rome my wife and I stayed about a 4 minute walk from the train station. It was a great choice. There were about 6-7 charming Trattoria in the area that served wonderful food. It was also walking distance to the baths of Diocletian. A few minutes more and you can see the palace where Mussolini lived and close by are the remains of Roman apartment buildings.

If you are going to see the major sites in Rome do not buy tour tickets ahead of time. In my experience if you get in the ticket line tour operators will come to you and offer cheap tours. They are legitimate tours with trained guides. For example, we went to the colosseum. The guided tour tickets online were about 50-70 Euro each. We stood in line at the Colosseum and a tour operator came up to us before we bought our tickets. We got the same tour as advertised online for 20 Euro each.

I hope this helps.
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 10:45:43 am »

Good start, thanks.  Recommended hotels and restaurants too, please.
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 11:02:21 am »

Madrid - Avignon - Orange - Nîmes - Pont du Gard - Milano - Venice - Florence Rome - Naples/Pompei, all that in 2 weeks ? Thousands of km, that's wild  afro
Just Rome would need 1 week.

Jérôme

It isn't that unusual for an American to tour Europe like this. It is expensive to cross the Atlantic and for many it is a once in a lifetime trip. The first time I took my wife to Paris, the morning after we arrived, I woke her at 7 AM.  She said, "Can't I sleep some more, it was a long flight."  I said, "Get up, we have three days to see as much of Paris as we can."  Later she thanked me for forcing her out of bed, Paris is worthy of losing a little sleep. Rome probably needs a month - maybe someday.
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 11:41:38 am »

Seen the long disance, for a better time and cost efficiency, I would rather skip the Madrid-Milan travel and take an Easyjet flight from Madrid to Milan, and focus just on Italy. 2 Easyjet tickets will be cheaper than car+gas+highways fares.

J.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 12:12:37 pm »

Have fun Joe,

End of September not so very hot any more  Thumbs Up
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 12:17:29 pm »

I spent a week based in Sorrento just exploring the bay of Naples and didn't make it as far as Naples!
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 01:08:53 pm »

Seen the long disance, for a better time and cost efficiency, I would rather skip the Madrid-Milan travel and take an Easyjet flight from Madrid to Milan, and focus just on Italy. 2 Easyjet tickets will be cheaper than car+gas+highways fares.

J.

Probably right.  I'll look into that flight.
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 01:54:29 pm »

Ferdinand Gregorovius (1821-1891), one of the most famous Rome experts, author of "History of the City of Rome
 in the Middle Ages", in 8 volumes, when he was asked once, he would probably know all about Rome, answered "Oh, not at all, I'm living only just 19 years in Rome!"

Jochen  
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 06:09:28 pm »

Quote
Recommended hotels and restaurants too, please.

I recommend Casa Botin in Madrid, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world, renowned for their suckling pig.  Reservations, ideally made well in advance, needed.

I suggest reading Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome prior to the Florence visit, and then be sure to climb to the top of the dome while there.  Another recommended read prior to Florence is April Blood by Lauro Martines.  An overnight in Assisi is very nice, especially if you don't get your fill of Giotto frescoes in Florence.  (And, for Giotto's masterpiece, a visit to the Arena Chapel in Padua is memorable)

Must-see's in Milan include Leonardo's "The Last Supper," a tour of the Sforza castle, and going up to the roof of the Duomo.

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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 06:20:01 pm »

Safe travels.  Unless you are already very comfortable driving in Italy, I recommend the train.  On your route and timetable, you'd be on main highways that are neither Interstates  nor particularly pretty. The drivers are very aggressive and I say that living and driving in Manhattan. So the drive won't be relaxing.   In most of the historic center of Rome, you can't park anyway, and Rome is best seen walking or by reasonaby priced taxi.
  Herculaneum with a guide is, I say, better than Pompeii .  All the Pompeii material in the Naples museum, so in many ways you see the same building s in Herculaneum,  just only once. And much better preseved .  So the Naples museum is the pivot for understanding both sites.
   A nice basic hotel in Rome is the Hotel Tirreno near Santa Maria Maggiore and thr train station.   Simple place to base excursions,  not for la dolce vita.
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 10:14:55 pm »

Joe,
This is based on my living in Vicenza (about 60 km inland from Venice) for three years. Both Vicenza and Verona, which is nearby and which has a nice Roman coliseum that is still used for opera and ballet performances, are interesting, but not must-sees unless there is spare time. The big issue with Venice is the plague of cruise ships that can make the city's main attractions virtually a torture chamber. If you have some flexibility on the dates you will be in Venice, the website http://crew-center.com/venice-cruise-ship-schedule-2018 can give you an idea of when the worst days are for cruise ship passengers swarming the city, and you can try to work around those dates. If you don't have that degree of flexibility, the best approach is to at least try to travel one street over -- as long as it's not a canal; walking on those is frowned upon --from the main approaches to the major attractions. A lot of times, a main drag (such as they are in Venice) will be thronged, with a parallel approach almost empty. There's always a danger in getting lost, but there can be a lot of charm in the back ways in Venice.

Hope you have a great trip.

Best,
Larry
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 11:52:03 am »

Thanks.  Please keep the recommendations coming. 

I have driven in Italy before. I found it OK outside of the cities, a nightmare in them.

I have been lost in Venice before, and it was wonderful. 
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 02:12:17 pm »

G'day Joe,

I have driven Italy a few times, and it seems that you have had reports
about most everything I was going to suggest. You could easily spend a
lot more than two weeks just in the area of Rome and the Amalfi coast,
plus a few places either side.

Because we had our own vehicle, we stayed a little further from the centre
of town (wherever we were) and saved a lot on hotels and restaurants.
They also tend to be less touristy, and you can get more of a 'local' feel
for things, and experience a broader range of things.

A few times we just went for a drive, followed our noses, and worked out
where we were going when we got there! We ended up at Tivoli by using
that method of blind navigation. Plan-free, care-free fun!

Capri is worth the ferry ride from Sorrento, but make sure you have your
walking shoes on to get to the top. As a big, fat fellow I struggled a bit. I
made it, but I struggled. Once up there it was great.

Do BOTH Herculaneum and Pompeii. I actually stayed near the site at the
Hotel Ercolano, a quaint little place that was cheap when I last visited.
Paestum/Poseidonia is not too far away from Naples, and there are other
places around Naples as well, like Baiae, Oplontis, Pozzuoli, etc.

In Rome, Monte Testaccio is fascinating, the Circus Maximus, all the big,
well known places will be on the maps, but I just went walking and came
across a lot of small 'sites', most of which are not on the tourist maps.

eg: There is a movie theatre not far from the Pantheon that has its own
underground mini-museum from when it was excavated during renovations
and rebuilt. A few small, easily-missed signs are pretty much all that guides
you to this worthwhile attraction. There are scores of places just like it, and
the more you talk to people, the more you will add to your list. Two weeks
will not be enough! Have a great trip.

- Walter
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2018, 07:28:48 am »

There is one restaurant that I can recommend, although it outside of Rome. It is the Antico Ristorante Paganelli at Castel Gandolfo. It is near the back entrance to the Papal palace and has spectacular views over Lake Albano. The food is very good and you can choose your wine directly from their wine cellar. My daughter and her husband had their wedding reception there and we have been back a couple of times since. It is about a forty-five minute drive from Rome if I remember correctly. Castel Gandolfo and the Alban hills are worth exploring. You can also stay overnight at the restaurant if you wish.

One thing worth seeing in Rome that has not been mentioned is Ostia Antica, the ancient port of Rome. It can be reached from Rome by a short train trip, or by car of course.
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2018, 08:17:28 am »

Great thanks.  More suggestions?
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2018, 06:46:41 pm »

Wow, I'm totally jealous ... Joe, it sounds like you're going to have a wonderful trip no matter whose advice you take, eh? (good times)

Ummm, perhaps when I finally go see Portugal with my sweet Portuguese wife you can ask your coin-crew for some travel advice? (it must be nice to be the King, eh?)

 Wink

=> have a great trip, coin-brother (you rock)
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2018, 08:27:25 pm »

Thanks. All are welcome to ask for travel advice here. You are welcome to ask about Portugal.  I want to go there too.  I would go there this time but I promised Rose Italy. She hasn't been to Italy yet.
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2018, 09:38:47 pm »

Joe, after reading the very informed suggestions above and reflecting on my own 25 years of marriage, I think, "Time to ask Rose what she wants to do in Italy!" Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2018, 05:23:14 am »

When I am watching a travel show, I will often point at the TV and say, "Rose, look, that's Venice" or "that's Rome," etc.  She is impressed enough to knows she wants to go, but she doesn't have specifics to suggest.
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2018, 06:15:41 am »

If you're going to the bay of Naples I would suggest going to Positano and staying here 

www.pensionecasaguadagno.it/default.aspx

Run by a wonderful family and includes breakfast.  The views are amazing.  It books up fast but end of September should be okay.  Park your car and take day trips to Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum and the other small towns along the coast by bus.  It's quite easy to do. 

Eat at www.saracenodoro.com/sd/index.htm while in Positano and make sure to get a table on the road (literally).

In Rome we stay near the Vatican and walk everywhere or near the Appian way and bus it in. Much easier to get around walking and you don't have to find parking.  Walking is great because you discover things that are not on the map.  Ruins are everywhere.

http://www.hotelortodiroma.com  The owner is a coin and artifacts collector.  The hotel is right on a park that is part of the Appian way.

In Rome our favorite place to eat is near Piazza Navona.  Family run, local and reasonable.

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Driving is fantastic in Italy on the highway.  Nobody drives in the left lane except to pass.  City driving is another world and anything goes.

Have a great time!
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2018, 06:53:30 am »

I notice that no-one has mentioned Pisa. I drove to Italy from France via Switzerland and Pisa is worth a look. I never climbed the leaning tower but Pisa Cathedral (of which the tower is the bell tower) is a beautiful building and well worth visiting.

Alex
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