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Readers Tell Readers About Italy

 

My favorite restaurant in Florence...

My favorite restaurant in all of Florence (and Europe) is located in the Piazza Mercato Centrale and it's called Trattoria Za-Za. It was pretty far from my hotel and I had to pass the train station on the way back, so I wouldn't go late at night by myself. These people serve really, really incredible food. A big dinner for one cost me around 24 Euros (approx. US$24). Oh, one more thing: there's a big Anglo-American paperback exchange down at the end of via Fiesolana (past the Duomo) that I found most comforting.
Marie, Chattanooga, USA


Take a cooking class...

Last year my other half and I went to Italy, and through one of the classified links on your Journeywoman site I found a 7-day cooking program called Authentic Southern Tuscany that we did last May it was superb in every way. It was a great way to start a 3-week trip to a new country because we had absorbed so much culture of Italy by the time we left the cooking week that we were perfectly content to shop, drive, cook, read menus, maps, explore history, communicate with locals and live the Italian lifestyle for when we were off on our own. Our comfort level on foreign turf had never been higher and thus our enjoyment of the entire trip.
Margaret, St. John's, Canada

Ed. note: The cooking school that Margaret is referring to is called, The International Kitchen. Any Journeywoman readers who are interested in researching Italian cooking classes can see further listings in our Incredible Italian classified listings.


She avoids peddlers in Italy...

I'm Canadian, but I live in Italy for part of each year. On the beaches here, you'll be constantly harassed by peddlers selling junk. They're persistent and they're rude. They often speak several languages so you can't pretend not to understand them, and they refuse to be ignored (unless you do what I do). When they ask you if you're English, or American, or whatever--just say "No, sono Canadese (I'm Canadian)." When they ask if you speak English, say, "No, parlo Canadese (I don't speak Canadian)." This confuses them, and they'll usually give up. It's good for a chuckle.
Iris, Treviso, Italy


A little hotel in Rome ...

In Piazza Navona, a safe, fascinating area to explore, I found Hotel Primaverra, a small 19th-century hotel with simply furnished large, bright, comfortable rooms. I wanted other JourneyWomen to know that the best rooms are on the 5th floor. Rooms #13-19 are newly renovated and air-conditioned while #11 has a wonderful view with a private bathroom in the hall. Amenities include a visitor's terrace, hair dryers, central heating, elevator, satellite TV, English spoken and a buffet breakfast. Air conditioning extra daily fee. This family hotel does not accept credit cards so be prepared. $134 Euros per night (approx. US$134)
Contact: Piazza San Pantaleo 3, 1st fl., 00186. Tel: 06-68803109. Fax: 06-6869265
Margot Classe, Seattle, USA

Ed. Note: Margot is the author of Hello Italy! Best Budget Hotels in Italy ($US69 -$US149). Each of the centrally located budget hotels listed has been personally visited by the writer so we're getting a women's perspective on the facilities. Margot's book also contains useful Italian phrases to help make hotel reservations, restaurant recommendations, travel and packing tips, laundromat listings and more. We're delighted to have this expert as part of our Journeywoman Network. P.S. The cost of the book is US$19.95 Some of Margot's listed hotels will offer discounts (5-10%) on your stay if you show them her book. I imagine that by the time you finish travelling the book will have cost you much less than the cover price.


Do as the Italian women do...

Feel free to be glamorous and stylish in Italy. I was in Rome and Florence in December when it was quite chilly. I noticed many of the women were wearing beautiful floor-length, wool sweater coats (mostly gray and black). I bought one for myself in Florence for about $40 US and then found a beautiful silk scarf to drape over it ($4 US). With high-heeled black leather boots I packed from home and black leather gloves (bought from the marketplace in Florence) I not only looked and felt totally Italian Vogue but I stayed warm too. Que Bellisimo!
Sabrina, Miami, Florida


To market, to market in Rome...

The best street markets to look for in Rome are:

Campo de 'Fiori
Daily market selling food, fish, flowers and general items. Said to be the best in the city.

Mercato delle Stampe
A good place to look for antique prints and second-hand books. Usually items such as early music scores and architectural drawings are also tucked away on some stalls.

Via Sannio
Leather and lots of it -- from belts to full-length coats. The market also has fashionable retro clothing, sportswear and used cashmere.

Testaccio
Covered stalls offering meats, cheeses, herbs, flowers and fruits, know for good quality and value. A number of cheap shoe stalls are also found here.

Porto Portese
The largest and best known 'flea' market in Rome, it is said a customer can find almost anything they dream of in the Porto Portese, from delicate earrings to entire rooms of furniture.

(Source: Going Places, MetroToday, May 8, 2002)


Ed. note:
Thieves love flea markets, too! Protect your valuables. Keep them in a moneybelt close to your body and have fun.


Bonus tip ...

Glasses -- sun and otherwise -- are the real bargain here in Rome. A pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses cost about 100 Euros ($100 USD), while a pair of Chanel frames is about $130 -$150. That's about 1/2 of the US cost I think. I always buy my glasses frames in Italy and have the lenses put in when I'm back in North America as lenses are very expensive here.

Great glasses/sunglasses stores are found on every street in Rome. There's an especially excellent selection in the areas of Piazza di Spagna, the Pantheon, and Via del Tritone. And there's a great store in the basement of Termini, Rome's train station, as well.

P.S. Contact lenses are sold over the counter here, so if you have any problems with those, go into a pharmacy (some of them) or an "ottica" (glasses store) and tell them what prescription you wear and you'll be able to get new contacts immediately.
(Source: Laura Flusche, www.urban-iconography.org offering exciting women-friendly tour itineraries in Rome)


 

 

 

Italy by train and more...

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