Journey Woman

Kali Guide

Readers Tell Readers About Italy


Cheap eats & sleeps in Rome...

In Rome we pinched pennies and stayed at a hostel - Gulliver's House (an old converted house). It's unbelievably clean and it welcomes all ages (we were a group of friends in our 40's). We had one room with two bunk beds for four of us. During the day they gave us a key for the room so we were able to leave our belongings. This hotel is very close to the train station (in a quiet area) and walking distance to the Colosseum.
Contact: Via Palermo, 36 00184 Rome
Phone: 064817680 Fax: 0648177007

Here's a couple of restaurants we enjoyed in Rome and would like to share with other women. We actually found the food in Italy to be wonderful everywhere. Can't wait to return!

Al Giubileo Ristorante - Pizzeria
Via Palermo, 7 (angolo Via del Boschetto, 44)
00184 Roma
Tel: 06.485929
They served great spaghetti, bruschetta, etc. Our bill for 7 was 178,500 lira including cappuccino, a couple of desserts & a couple of glasses of wine. This place is cozy as well as casual.

Ristotante Pizzeria Magna Roma
Via Milano, 47
Tel: 06/4883989
These people were so hospitable. When they realized we were a group of Canadians, they presented us with a complimentary dessert pizza and rolled in a TV so we could watch our country's final hockey game. The food was reasonably priced. It's a very large, comfortable, yet casual place.
Judy, Ottawa, Canada

Visit Florence but not in August...

Apart from missing the Big Heat, another major advantage of visiting Florence any time other than August is that you have the chance to visit the delightful Cappella Rucellai. Located on the corner of Via della Spada and Piazza San Pancrazio, it looks so much like the rest of the surrounding buildings that you can walk right past it several times without noticing (especially as it is only open two hours a day, from 10am to 12noon, Monday to Saturday).

Designed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1462, the chapel contains a life-size replica of the Sanctuary of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. There are also the remains of a painting by Baldovinetti and a Christ in varnished terracotta.
Roberta, Milan, Italy

Beware of Women Carrying Babies in Italy...

While travelling in certain areas of Italy such as Pisa or Rome, beware of women who are lingering by souvenir stands holding babies. They may be getting ready to rob you. Their babies are not real babies -- they're dolls which the women will throw to you. You, of course, will want to stop the (fake) baby from falling and as you reach out to catch it, the women will snatch your purse. Be forewarned!
E. Pessin, Port Washington, USA

Go to Cortona...

Cortona is located half-way between Florence and Rome, but not on the railway. It's a heavenly hill town with two good museums, very friendly, and a restaurant (Il Teatro) where I had the best meal I had in Italy (tortelloni with ricotta & spinach in a truffle sauce). Not expensive, very friendly, with old opera posters on the walls. This is a must-see and must-do experience!
Lyn, Regina, Canada

About women in Italy...

It is no accident, writes cross-cultural expert Robert T. Moran, that the two most popular and common expressions in Italy -- Mamma Mia! and Madonna -- refer to female icons. In Italy the woman is the backbone of the family. This, combined with the renowned Italian love of beauty, gives the role of women a special place in the world of relationships.
(Source: Do's and Taboos Around the World for Women in Business, ISBN 0 471 14364 2)

Ed.note: This respect for women doesn't always extend to female tourists. Catcalls and an occasional pinch on the bum are not unheard of in the big cities. You can usually cut down this unnecessary attention by dressing like the locals (sunglasses, lots of black, lots of attitude, shoes not sneakers, etc.) and ignoring the men who try to get you to respond to them.

When a man just doesn't get the message, answer loudly with the word, "Basta," which means "Enough!". I try to do this only when lots of bystanders can hear. This shames the silly man and he usually slinks away. If there is nobody else around I walk purposefully and quickly trying to put as much distance as possible between him and me.

A restaurant in Cinque Terre...

Since 1979 as soon as I get to Vernazza, Cinque Terre I make a bee line for the beach and Gianni's which is right on the little piazza, full of colour and life at the sea. I get there around 12:30 so I get a front row seat. Under yellow umbrellas, I drink cool, light white wine and order my usual heavenly meal -- I start with linguine with pesto of basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese and pieces of green beans and potatoes mixed in, then a casserole with layers of potatoes, tomatoes and little fish seasoned with herbs all topped off with a fruit salad or ice cream with Schiacchetra (local dessert wine) poured over. The waiters are the same every year. Whether younger or older, they enjoy their work, give good service and are always charming and fun. Tel: 0187-821003. Closing day is Wednesday, I think.
Margaret, Vancouver, Canada

Bonus tip ...

Clothing prices tend to be quite high in Italy. The "Gap" of Italy is, of course, Bennetton, which has millions of stores in Rome, including two high-tech, big new branches. One is on Via del Corso and one is on Via del Tritone. And there's another in the Termini train station. They sell underwear, kids clothes, as well as women's and men's clothes. These tend to be hip and cool and more affordable than most things in Italy.
(Source: Laura Flusche, offering exciting women-friendly tour itineraries in Rome)

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