Thank-you Professor, Pluto, and a host of others for recommending The Grand Flora in Rome!
Never really wanted to go back to Rome, but after reading so much from all of you about Rome, and this hotel, I am going back.
Was able to book Dec1-7th on points and asked for an upgrade and a bath tub.
Can get there and back with only one stop (Atlanta going, and JFK coming back). Now I will put the remaining pieces of the "Puzzle" together!
Again, thank-you all for your input and experiences to motivate me to make this move!
Thanks for the note!
Have not been to Rome since 1976! This is going to be "New Territory" for me, and I am going to need a lot of help to make this a special trip.
The key is to book way early, and I hope for an upgrade! Nancy has never been to Italy, and it will be special to do our Christmas shopping in Rome!
Stay in touch and am looking forward to seeing you in "The States"!
Jerry (and Kyle),
We would be happy to assist with any information or recommendations as time draws near. Did you see any of the GF photos I've posted? If not, I'll do a Rome photo album. Rome is an amazing place, and Jerry, you will love the Grand Flora, perhaps as much as the C-E. It's pretty special. (I can't remember if Kyle booked the GF too?) The time of year should be fairly good for avoiding crowds.
Congratulations on your decision to return to Rome. I know it will be very special and memorable for both of you.
Thank you Pluto! I will be staying at the GF too! I've already been in touch with the hotel, and they've been marvelous! I really can't wait!
What I'll really be needing help with is dining & shopping recommendations! Visiting Italy, for me, is all about the food! I want good, real Italian, and not the junk I hear they serve to unassuming tourists... Would also consider a day trip to another city too!
Kyle and Jerry,
Here is a start for you. The thread below tells a little bit about these two places.
Girarrosto Fiorentino, an excellent little restaurant just a couple of streets down and around the corner from the Grand Flora and Antico Forno Panificio, a fantastic little bakery not too far from the Pantheon.
I researched to see if there was a literal translation to these two names. Here's what I found:
Girarrosto Fiorentino - Florence Rotisserie (don't let the name fool you. The food is excellent.)
Antico Forno Panificio - Old Bakery Oven. Again, an outstanding little Italian bakery.
Thanks so much for your recommendations!
Am planning on emailing the Concierge and seeing what they may be able to set up for us!
Your dining places sound terrific, even though I have been there before, I feel like a "Rookie"going to Rome.
pluto, keep the recommendations coming!
Thanks for your input (Hope the big snow misses you, or you are prepared! Three feet of it?)
This Rome trip may be the "Highlight of my year"!
With vacations planned to:
March: Salt Lake City/Park City
April: Branson, Texas, and Louisiana
May: London and Chicago
August Kansas City/South Dakota/Northern Michigan
September Santa Barbara
Will have plenty of places to visit while working that does not include the above locations.
The Rome trip "Humbles me", because it sounds so "Overwhelming". Now I know how some of you feel about going to places for the first time, that I "Take for granted"!
By the time your trip rolls around, you will be "armed and ready." I'm sure the Grand Flora concierge will take great care of you. I am also happy to share with you any information that I think may suit your Roman experience. Just keep us posted on what your expectations are for your visit, as you decide.
Your travel calendar looks "simply marvelous." Enjoy! I look forward to your post travel reports.
Will keep m trips posted each week. I want to convey that I feel so blessed that I can do these trips. I hope I never seem to "Full of myself", because we all know "Traveling can be a humbling experience"! However, when you are "Armed" with some experience, planning, and reasonable expectations, you have a better chance of having an enjoyable time.
When I recently made the Rome reservations, Sarah (The PP hot line) asked me if I wanted to rent a Hertz car. I had her laughing when I answered, " I am not as dumb as I look!" No car in Rome for me!
Very smart, Jerry. I would never drive in Rome either. And no need. You can taxi to/from FCO for 48 euro each way, or take the Marco Polo Express from the airport to Rome termini train station for about 14 euros/person (can't remember exact amount). Then either taxi or metro from termini to the GF (taxi was only about 10 euros). But I think for two of you and with luggage, may as well do the taxi spend for the airport. Well worth it. Then you can walk just about everywhere from the GF, or else take the metro to places you may not want to walk to (like the Colosseum or the Vatican) or just treat yourself to an inexpensive taxi.
My brother-in-law drove in Rome (which was nice, as we were able to take day trips out from there), but he's one of those crazy Aussies who is absolutely fearless behind a wheel anywhere, and just plain enterprising. And he found places to park on the street that didn't cost hardly anything at all. He purchased the Italy map download for his GPS, which he brought from home, and it was totally worth every penny.
Thanks for the advice and suppport!
Will just be be taking the taxi, unless the hotel has some of their own "Special" arrangements with drivers. In London and in Paris, the Marriott/s had arranged for transportation from the airports in a "Private car", at the same price as a taxi. It was wonderful, and much better than waiting for a taxi.
Will be contacting the Concierge to see what they can do!
Thanks so much for your help!
What, no Paris this year?! Just kidding. Fantastic itinerary, part of why you are such the travel "Guru."
I had a delightful Skype session w/my sis in Sydney yesterday. We've fixed our Europe trip itinerary. Will definitely be doing Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Cesky Krumlov and Garmisch/Partenkirchen. They can only spend 30 days in the U.S. this year because of onerous, convoluted U.S. tax laws (boo, IRS, hiss INS) unless they find stellar U.S. employment that will agree to pay a huge tax liability for short term taxes. But they are committed to U.S. employment in the long term (he's working on U.S. citizenship this year to fix the long term tax problem), so what this all means is that if I want to do one more visit to Sydney, I'd better plan on doing it this year, while they're still there. Sooo, Sydney has now moved way up in the travel queue, above other 2013 destinations, I'm afraid. Thinking no Chicago and I was pretty stoked about that (though not my husband; his motto is 'no big cities' with the single exception of Sydney, and even then he'd be like, "You girls have fun in the CBD, I'll be hanging out at a cafe at Bondi or Watson's Bay if you need me."
Chris is on his way, but I am not. I will see him in London in May.
I cancelled some of my "Joyrides" when Marriott took my PP status from me. It was nothing personal on their account, but the computer told them that after my 30 year membership and over 100 + nights last year, and over 1800 total, I needed to be reduced to just Platinum.
I have choices, just like they do!
I have a "Hal" as well, and it has ordered me to "Shop around" After all I am a "Diamond" with another hotel chain!
Lastly, I do hope we have the opportunity to personally visit someday, especially in the South!
Stayed there on points. WONDERFUL WONDERFUL Stay. Couple of points. Eat around the corner at Il Pomodorino Inexpensive wonderful restaurant.
Also, we hired this private tour guide to show us St. Peter's and Sistine Chapel and grounds on one day and Forum/Colosseum on another. She is from NC, but lives in Italy for 15+ years now. An Italian Art History major. A bit pricey, but brought a depth of interest and knowledge to the experience that I cannot recommend enough.
Otherwise, walk walk walk. Exit the hotel, turn left and down the hill. Take a map from the concierge. To fountains and the Spanish Steps. Make sure you take time to visit the neighborhood churches open int he evening. They ALL contain works by the Renn. masters. Breathtaking. Trevi Fountain is wonderful. You can walk everywhere. We would walk until tired and then cab back.
Also, get a room overlooking the ancient wall. Great view into the Borghese Gardens.
Have a great time. Let me know if you have any questions.
(OK-you will be there in Dec. We were there in Nov and walking temp was great. Dec. COULD be borderline. )
Thanks for the wonderful information!
I was looking for a private "Tour Guide", and you have given me the information I need. The dining recommendation sounds wonderful.
Don't forget to ask me, if I can "Return the favor"!
Will look forward to hearing details about your November trip, as we leave on November 30th and come back on 12/7!
We were there Nov a 2011. I think second week of November. Temp. was great-but all of the Italians were bundled up! My mom (her mother was an Italian immigrant), son, me and my wife went. Had two rooms on 7 nights on points. (Used travel packages.) Air travel was AA award tix.
We landed the first day and honestly never stopped walking. There was so much to see. My son and I read the book (and saw) Angels and Demons. We went to every location referred in the movie. One treat, I think, you will have is in St. Peter's Square. Early in the month they were assembling the Nativity Scene. It will likely be in place when you arrive. Great shopping and wonderful things to see everywhere. Enjoy the Plat/Gold breakfast at the Grand Flora. Its AWESOME. Probably about $75/day for 2 if you had to buy it.
A funny note: Our first day we walked to St. Peter's on our own. Looked around and were awed. I saw a statue that impressed me-but maybe no more than a statue at a museum at the Baltimore Museum of Art might-where I live. During the tour with our private guide, she spent 20 minutes talking about that sculpture. Its importance etc. Here's what I was looking at:
YES a Michelanglo masterpiece. I felt SO stupid. That's when I knew I needed to OPEN my eyes and that I was in a special place.
Your year of travel sounds awesome! We are in the DR next week for a work trip-and yes I get to bring my wife. Then we start planning our week in Paris at the C-E. I will lean on you then.
I am sure many will disagree-it was probably us. Our biggest challenge was finding good eating near the Grand Flora. We loved Il Pomordino. But otherwise, everything seemed SO pricey for what they delivered.
Surely! Here you go....
I just checked and it worked from Google. If this link doesn't work, just Google "Daniella Hunt Rome Tours."
Feel free to email her with any questions. She is extremely responsive and will customize to fit your needs. (I am really promoting her. I assure you, I am not getting kick backs. I was just so happy with the experience. It was a once in a lifetime trip with my mom, wife and son. I wanted to absorb all we could. She sat us down to explain things before we saw them. Allowing us to really understand. )
Probably mentioned in this thread, if you are at the Grand Flora, try and get a higher floor room over looking the ancient wall . You will be able to look over into the Borghese Gardens. Just beautiful. ALSO, great little restaurant around the corner- Il Pomordorini. Inexpensive and good food.
SURE! Aside from the tours you are considering, walk walk walk. The concierge had a great map. Walk out the front of the hotel-turn left-walk down the hill. The map will take you anywhere. All major sights are on the map. We had a great time just seeing them on our own an second time-even after the tours. Sometimes the walks were one way. We would be so tired we would cab it back.
Another thing not to miss IMHO are the neighborhood churches. They are open every evening. They contain the same world class Renaissance Art you will see at the famous spots. It must be wonderful just going to those churches on a Sunday and worshipping with works of Bernini, Michaelangelo etc. on the walls. In any event, the churches open around 7. Free to enter and explore to take in all of the beauty.
More to come as my mind dusts off the memories.
I agree wholeheartedly. Rome is best seen on foot (although one can get lost on the narrow streets, but to me that's half the fun). We walked all over the Villa Borghese area, to Spanish Steps and Piazza Popolo beyond. The streets below the Spanish steps were fun and filled with interesting restaurants and shops. We walked to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, even to the Colosseum and Forum, then from there to Piazza Navona and then worked our way back to the hotel. I think you said it, that one can always get a taxi back if the legs get tired. Walking to the Vatican was a bit too far with my mom, plus one must consider all of the walking once you get there. We took a taxi one time, and we metro'ed the last time. Easy, peasy.
The coolest things are discovered by walking, including the little churches with so, so much truly amazing beauty inside, although I tried to enter one church last trip (just down the street from Antico Forno Panificio, the fantastic little bakery I mentioned above), and a little old lady shooed me out! (She really just came out and shut the door on me. I think I just attempted to go in the wrong door.) Sorreey. But other churches were just amazing and so many.
In 2005, on my first visit, I too had previously read Angels and Demons (before reading Da Vinci code) and was possessed to place and authenticate all of the locations in the book and their proximal relationships during my visit. Everything was "right on," except that the real Fountain of the Four Rivers is much more shallow than in the book. I really don't see how one can swim underwater in it, but in fiction, all is fair.
Because you're going in the summer (peak travel), if you go to the vatican museum without a guide, go online (vatican website) and book an entrance reservation for as early in the morning as possible to avoid the crowds. Do it before your travel. Booking a reservation will also save you from standing in a long line. But I hope you get the guide. We didn't and I regret it.
Thanks for the recommendation to her. We are not too good at waiting in lines, and 2 hours is enough for me at The Louvre or most anywhere!
Will be in contact with her!
tker, maybe we can get together someday with our families in "Little Italy"! Some great dining places in Baltimore!
Jerry, a link to my Italy itinerary with restaurant recommendations. Rome was my last destination so you'll need to scroll down.
Have a great trip!