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11 days in Italy

I was in Italy this past April and loved it s much so I went back 4 month later with my husband. Here is a quick trip report.
We booked a non stop flight from Boston-Rome on KLM which was actually in Alitalia. My first experience with this airline. I was not able to check in online with KLM when they sent me an e-mail or figure out a seat or an upgraded seat. I fly a lot and was at least able to credit me some Delta miles. The flight was uneventful and to compare it to Delta, Delta is much better in service.
We arrived in Rome around 1pm and we had booked a driver to pick us up to bring us to the Beehive.We do not recommend staying there due to security issues please read my report on Travelocity and the response from the owner Linda as she lied on her response. I had reserved a cooking class that night a surprise for my husband! The driver was waiting for us among a zillion people and besides getting some money out of an ATM we just departed the airport. Ride was uneventful, driver was not very talkative so we just enjoyed the 48 min ride. Upon arrival at the Beehive I did notice they have a locked door that you have to ring the bell to be let in. . A small elevator fitting our bags and 1 person brought my husband upstairs and I walked 2 flights of stairs but no big deal. That night we had a delightful evening with Steve and his daughter we made pasta and per my request tiramisu. He also had a cheese platter and yes wine. The total price for all of us was 120 euros money I would spend again. It was one of our highlights as Steve and his daughter are so very friendly. The next morning we had to get up super early as we had a tour "Walks of Italy" Sistine chapel and the Vatican booked very early. We walked to the Trainstation and took a cab. I just showed the driver my paper with address and also asked before we went into the cab how much the fare is. At the gathering spot we had a coffee and quick croissant in a "bar". The tour was outstanding and we spent hours of walking. After the tour we went back to our room by cab and relaxed. In a café downstairs we grabbed a quick coffee, water and something small like a croissant. The same day at night we also had reserved another tour Walks of Italy visiting to Colosseum at night. We met the group and from the very beginning this tour was terrible. This was the worse guide we ever had. He language skills poor and she talked politics and constantly told us Rome only has 2 Jesus status. It was very unpleasant. She did not make sure we were all together and her very small umbrella did not do the job of finding her. We saw the colloseum but walked away from the group early. This woman should not be a guide. Other complained as well and could not understand her, see her, keep up with her or agree with her political views. We eneded up eating dinner near there and the overpriced restaurant with unfriendly staff is a place I rather forget. We took a cab back to our room and fell into our bed. The next morning we took some time for relaxing and decided to have breakfast at the Beehive. While nice the prices are outrages. I had 2 eggs overcooked with toast for 6 euros. Coffee extra . Overall we thought the prices for the food are totally unjustified for what you get. We stayed at the lounge for a bit reading and then packing our bags. We had to pay for our stay at check in which is very un Italian, everywhere else you pay upon departure.

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Our car rental pick up time was at 1230 so we walked to the train station. I already wrote on the Italy forum that we were robbed and what happened in detail so I wont repeat this here again. Needless to say we were glad to leave Rome. Our next stop was in Umbria where I had stayed in April on the outskirts of Assisi. http://www.castellopetrata.com/hotel-assisi-near-basilica The place is magical. The drive was uneventful and we did stop at an Autostrada so I can show my husband and we had a coffee and lunch. We had a very late arrival due to the events that happened with the robbery. We checked into our mini suite and had a great dinner there after unpacking. We slept in the next morning a little and after a wonderful breakfast we drove to Tuscany and visited the same winery I had been in April. https://avignonesi.it/en The place is awesome and we had a great time touring eating and tasting wine. We also bought a bunch of wine and olive oils. That night we had dinner again at the hotel and just enjoyed the pool ,gardens. When I visited last time I had seen the Basilica and we had no intentions to be with the crowds again. The following day we enjoyed the pool , a hot tub that was not filled but had an outdoor shower overlooking the vast landscape of Umbria and we had lunch on a patio..it was magical. At night we drove to see the church where Francis had his original church and because it was so late we basically had the place to ourselves :) After that we had dinner in town , we had called ahead and made reservations and the food was outstanding. The menu was in Italian and we had the waiter explain and translate every dish . It was rated No 1 on tripadvisor in Santa Maria degli Angeli the restaurants name is https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g657849-d8001805-Reviews-Ristorante_Valerie-Santa_Maria_degli_Angeli_Assisi_Province_of_Perugia_Umbria.html very very good! Prices are reasonable as well, dress casual. Highly recommend it. We fell into our beds! The next morning we got up at 5 am and drove to the Hilltown Assisi. We researched where to park and we wanted to see just one thing the church of Saint Clara https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g657849-d8001805-Reviews-Ristorante_Valerie-Santa_Maria_degli_Angeli_Assisi_Province_of_Perugia_Umbria.html We parked and walked some steep hills upon arrival we entered and they had service in a small chapel which we attended. No tourists just voices singing in one accord, it was beautiful. After that we visited the tomb downstairs and we headed back to our hotel to have breakfast. It was a great visit without any kind of crowds. We settled our bill and continued our journey to Tuscany. I love Tuscany and wanted to show my husband. We arrived on a Wednesday and had e-mailed ahead we would be having dinner there as well. Again we had a suite with a large patio the same suite I had in April. http://www.casolarelibbiano.it/ I do recommend this place as well. Its off the beaten path a bit but wonderful grounds, a pool and the owners just awesome. They do not have TVs in the rooms and WIFI works by satellite which means it barely works. I have a sim card from Italy in my cell so no issues there but maybe it is for others. Rooms are clean and spacious. We had planned a few things including the very famous Val'D Orcia Drive which we did make. I honestly do not remember all the hilltowns we saw and visited but the scenery was stunning and I truly would do this drive again. Somewhere in a small town we had lunch and some wine and it was just outstanding. We also stopped at some hot springs and visited the famous chanting monks monastery. Since all my papers had been stolen we improvised a lot and had to yet again research what we wanted to see. Also visited one famous hilltown and walked and walked and walked a very steep hill with a reward of seeing the entire region from above...stunning! Overall it was just a wonderful day and if you have time hop in the car!

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Friday we got up very early and drove to Florence which I had missed at my last trip. Ahhh Florence, what a beauty. I had surprised my husband with a night stay in the middle of everything a few meters away from the Duomo and the AirBNB had a view of it. We almost missed the tour, parking was a challenge if you don't know the rules but it all worked out. We had yet another "Walk of Italy tour and it was wonderful. We saw many great things, buildings and museums. We did also see the famous bridge in Florence but honestly it reminded me of Rodeo drive with all the expensive shops and I was a little disappointed. Scenery wonderful, so is the river but the shops? We checked into our apartment and left to find a cab. I had made reservations for lunch at a restaurant that Rick Steves had recommended and the video is on You Tube. It had Florentine steak and the food was just the best we ever had. Service was friendly and it was just great. We went walking around town and looking at many great buildings. We stopped at a supermarket and shopped for breakfast and fell into bed. We had planned on going out at night to visit Michelangelos Plaza but we needed rest. The next morning we went to a near by place bought some croissants and had breakfast at our apartment. We departed at 11 am and picked up our car at the garage. Our next stop was Pisa and Lucca. I had bought tickets online to climb the tower for 2pm. I only had my email not the required printed entrance tickets since all my papers had been stolen. Parking there is pretty easy but the carnival like atmosphere with shady characters selling you stuff did not appeal to us. Once inside the tower area we did not see anyone selling stuff. The tower people let us in just scanned my ticket and we did not have to wait in this incredible long line at all. I am proud to say I climbed the tower of Pisa! The views are indeed awesome and we made lots of pics once we rested a bit lol. We grabbed a quick water and a gyros and headed to Lucca. There we walked the tower walls . We wanted to rent bikes but I was so tired I just could not move another mile. We headed back to our B&B and as discussed before our visit they had put us in another room since ours had been pre booked. Our new suite was even nicer we had 2 full rooms and a very large terrace. We liked the new one much better and if we return would book it again. We decided to have dinner in San Gimignano and we found a place that had Italian menus and not those tacky picture menus. Food was again great!The next day I had booked yet another surprise for my husband. I booked the Tours by Roberto tour visiting Chianti a winery and lunch. I had been hesitant to do this on our last day before departure but boy am I glad we did. It was wonderful and the guide was so full of knowledge. Super friendly guy. We were 4 people in our tour, 2 ladies from Australia and we just had the very best time ever. Lunch was in a Villa that was outside on a patio with a slight breeze ..it was magical. The winery was one of the oldest around and we learned so much more about wine, the process and what to look for buying a wine. That night we had dinner again at the B&B and we headed out early to drive back to Rome , we dropped off the car at the airport this time. Before that we stopped at a car wash and gas station. Auto Europe has been informed by us with proof and pictures we took the car upon arrival with a 1/2 gas tank and we made pictures of the gauge upon drop off. We are still waiting for our refund. Flight , check in was painless. Barely any service during the flight except after 2 hours in flight dinner. Everyone had to get their own water. Odd indeed. Overall trip was great, I am open to questions. I will skip Rome from now on, dirty full of graffiti and too busy. Florence and Tuscany country side are our favorites. Will we go back? I don't know. We are heading to Germany in Dec, my hometown Fulda for 4 days for the Christmas market and our friends.

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167 posts

Curious to read your review of the Beehive, but could not find the Beehive on the Travelocity site (or the Beehive listed at all). Do you have a link for that review?

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11613 posts

The review is on Tripadvisor. Much more benign than her comments in the Italy forum.