Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Italian Dreams *UPDATED*

I'm making a plea to any folk who may happen by my little blog. There's some good news in the cats world, and that is this: during the first two weeks of October, we will be traveling to Italy with some friends. The journey begins in Amsterdam (but doesn't it always?), at the lovely PhilDutch houseboat.

After four days, we then head down to Pisa, were we will be picked up by our guide. He'll take us through San Gimangiano, before dropping us off at our accomodations in Siena. He'll be back with us for the next two days, driving us to wineries and a host of Tuscan towns. We've one day on our own to explore Siena.

After that, we'll catch a train into Florence, staying for two nights, then continue up through Bologna. Bologna, as DucCat informed me, houses world Ducati headquarters, so is a must-see!

I've heard the food there isn't so bad either.

We then head up to Venice for the last three days, and then *poof* back home we go.

So that's the idea for our little journey. Any ideas on places to stay, ways to travel, eateries/wineries to visit, I am open to it all. I've never had the fortune to visit Italy previously, and am quite excited.

And at the same time, completely overwhelmed. So big, so much to do, so short a time. We like the food, the views, and the wine. Where to go, where to visit first? Comments are way open here, folks.


Blogger McAuliflower said...

How about crusin the food blogger map and sending notices to the Italian bloggers! :)

I'm totally not familiar with Italy but sounds like a great opportunity!

January 19, 2006 2:58 AM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

also go to and search around... once you get your itinerary together, go back and do it again... post and ask, there's all sorts of people there and you may just find someone who's local to where you're headed...

January 19, 2006 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Clare Eats said...

I don't know, I wish I did, but I am WAY jealous

January 19, 2006 8:24 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

You will love Italy!! It's amazing. The time I spent there was on an organized tour, so I don't have any idea of where to stay or eat, but be prepared for some very wonderful food adventures. Warning: pasta is considered an appetizer. It was a shock after we had eaten our pasta and a huge entree would arrive at the table. Have a great time!

January 19, 2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh, I'm so jealous. I wish we were going! Okay, so here's my plea: in addition to the big cities, please do at least one small town. We stayed in Verona (a very short train ride from Venice) for the majority of our very blissful trip, and, although Rome and Florence were fabulous, I fell in love with the home of Romeo and Juliet. Lots of gorgeous squares and quaint cobblestone alleyways, really nice people, and hardly any Americans (or other tourists for that matter). It's the kind of place where you don't really need a plan--it's small enough to stumble around and see most everything in a few days, and you'll still wind up in cafes with the best pizza you've ever had. You can even visit Romeo and Juliet's balcony, where you and DucCat can put your names on the lovers' wall!

Friends of ours also loved the quaintness and beauty of the Cinque Terra, but I can't speak for that part of the country personally. We were so taken with Verona that we just stayed. It's been several years...I hope it is as I remember it. Do keep us updated on your plans...I'm excited to know what you decide!

January 19, 2006 10:55 PM  
Blogger ilva said...

Yes Verona is very pretty! And I can peronally vouch for Cinque terre but it's on the coast of Liguria which is not on your present itinerary! Bologna is a beautiful city and you eat and drink very well there! While you are there I recommend a trip to Ravenna where you find the most gorgeous Byzantine mosaics all over the place!
And when you are in Florence I hope we can meet! You will enjoy the area south of Florence a lot, a lot of wine and pretty places! Umbria is very beautiful, Perugia, Urbino, Orvieto etc. And Rome, what more can I say? Loads of tourists but so much to see!

January 21, 2006 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It goes without saying you will have a wonderful trip! We just returned from our first visit to Rome and I would like to recommend the Hotel Adriano It was delightful to be able to walk easily to Ristorante Sangallo tel. 06 6865549 for a fancy meal or Virginiae Cucina Romana Pizzeria tel. for a locals favorite.

January 23, 2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Great idea, Mcauliflower, though I think the map is currently down...

km, once I've a better idea of exactly where we'll stay, I'm hitting up eGullet.

Thanks, clare and kalyn! I know it will be wonderful. I'm trying to get myself at least 10 or so pounds underweight before leaving, in order to make up for the eating and drinking!

Jennifer, it sounds gorgeous! We're big fans of meandering on no particular time schedule.

And thanks Ilva, it seems that at some point we'll end up in Florence, so a lunch date is in order!

Anon, welcome back, and thanks for the info!

Unfortunately, our ITINERARY HAS CHANGED A BIT: current plans now lean towards flying into Pisa, getting down into Tuscany (making Sienna a homebase? Rent a car, or a car with a driver??), then coming up by trein through Florence, Bologna, and finally, exiting out of Venice.

We bought our tickets yesterday (shriek!), so our entry and exit points are at least firm.

So much to research!

January 23, 2006 1:52 PM  

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