We have been "traveling with Rick Steves" for many years now and his recommendations are usually right on. I wanted to comment about a few of our recent experiences on our trip to Italy, which included a week in Rome and 3 nights in Venice as well as a 3 week stay in Camaiore and other side trips.
Hotel San Francesco in the Trastevere of Rome area was a jewel. Our room was very quiet, we had a lovely huge bathroom, and the staff was very helpful and caring. The roof top bar had a stunning view and was our oasis each night after long days of sight seeing.
Taverna Trilussa was a top 3 Rome restaurant recommendation by Rick Steves. Our experience there was not so great. We and all of the other tourists were funneled into the back of the restaurant and basically ignored while the wait staff catered to the locals. The food was so so, not at all worthy of the price. Our waiter was so snooty we thought we were in Paris!
In Venice, we stayed at Locanda laCorte. I cannot recommend this hotel. We had reservations at least 9 months ahead and were given a room with a view of a brick wall with cleaning supplies sitting on a ledge. The room itself was dark and the bathroom minuscule, not entirely unusual in Venice, but difficult to deal with. Hotel staff was less than helpful (except for the guy who was on at night). The very first night of our stay we were actually shuffled off to another hotel near by because of septic problems. It was not the Venice experience we had hoped for, to say the least!
We had a fabulous dinner at 6342 A Le Tole, very near to our hotel. It was so much fun to have a nice wait staff and good food, all at a very reasonable price.