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Old 05-17-2008, 07:28 PM   #1
cydlei
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Talking Just back from Viva Italia (May 7-16)

Tina and Marco are *FANTASTIC* !!!

Disney provides temendous value, we could not have seen even 1/2 the sites if we tried to do this trip ourselves, in fact we would still be waiting in line to see the Sistine Chappel! We also would not have done many of the activities, and missing them would have lessened the experience a great deal. Don't skip the pasta making and the mask making! Not only is it wonderful family activity time, but you would miss many 'magical' extras.
Ciao!
David

p.s. We are just now feeling the effects of travel so will add more to our post "domani"
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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We leave in a week and can't wait!
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:25 PM   #3
cydlei
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more about our trip "Viva Italia"

O.K., we are awake now and have spent the day looking over some 1200 photos and 4 videotapes of our trip to Italy. It was truly a dream come true for all 4 of us and we just wanted to share some info and tips.

Try everthing! Be adventurous. Drink the wine, eat the black ink pasta in Venice, slurp gelato everywhere!

Don't worry about gaining weight. I lost 7 lbs on the trip and attibute this to lots of walking and the very healthy Italian diet (healthy ingredients and sensible portions).

Wear a pedometer-- I'd love to know how many miles we walked, especially in Rome.

Wear comfortable shoes!

Wear a money belt. I didn't feel threatened per se, but the gypsies are thick (as thieves ) in Rome (especially around the Trevi fountain) and Florence (everywhere you turned) and pickpocketing would be oh so easy in those crowds.

Wear sunscreen. The air is delightfully cool and dry but the Mediterranean sun is indeed intense.

Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle and fill it often in the many wonderful fountains around Rome and Florence.

Take your own bubble wrap for padding breakable souvenirs for the trip home.

When looking for restaurants to try on your own, look for the locals. We always looked for places filled with Italian families. It's almost like being a fly on a wall at their family reunions! The food was always great and the prices reasonable.

On Day 2, when the tour ends at the Piazza Navona, take the opportunity to do some exploring on your own, rather than taking the bus back to the hotel. We headed (south?) to Campo di Fiori and Piazza Farnese then on to the Tiber and the Ponte Sisto. This was a beautiful stroll far off the beaten track of most tourists. We got a real feel for Roman life and enjoyed watching Roman families reuniting on the squares at the end of the work day. We saw lots of babies and dogs. We poked our heads in several grocery stores and pharmacies. We had dinner in a wonderful restaurant on the Piazza Pollarolo. The "Grotte del Teatro di Pompeo" was full of locals and afforded us a table right on the Piazza where we could watch the world go by as we dined. We were lucky enough to watch a Roman television show being shot at a nearby restaurant. We dined on fried and stuffed zuchini flowers, the best risotto I've ever eaten, steamed artichokes, and wonderful wine.

On Day 3, we had a wonderful lunch at a pizzaria just around the corner from the Bernini and right next door to the Capuccin Crypt ( a must see! Rooms constructed with human bones!) The outdoor dining right on the Via Veneto was a great place to people watch!

On Day 4 in Orvietto, we dined at an outdoor trattoria just to your left as you enter the Duomo square. We were served delicious, inexpensive sandwiches made with local ingredients such as wild boar! The Orvietto Classico was incredible made all the more so by our ring side seating right on the square. As if Disney magic were at work, we just happened to be there on Pentecost Sunday so we were treated to a beautiful church service, fireworks, marching bands in colorful medieval costumes, an antiques market, and lots of fun admiring the local Italian families who came to the Cathedral to celebrate! If pushed to say what my favorite part of the trip was, this would have to be it.

And finally, on Day7 in Venice, Marco and Tina recommended the Restaurant Vesuvio to us and we were very pleased by our meal there.

To those of you who are booked on Viva Italia, we are so happy for you. For those contemplating the tour, Book Now! You won't regret it! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask and I'll try to answer.

Ciao!
Cindy and Family
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:43 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the post! 123 more days & we cannot wait! ~thanks again
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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Thank for the trip report Cindy! I'll be going on the Viva Italia tour on 9/21 and I can't wait.

Any chance I can see any of your pics? Will you be putting them up on Kodak Gallery or some similar website? How about the video? Any chance some of it might find its way on YouTube or something like that?
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:47 AM   #6
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Grazie Cindy for taking the time to post about your recent Viva Italia Adventure. Sounds like you had an absolutely memorable adventure.

Question - On day 2 when you opted to decline the bus and go on your own, did you walk back to the hotel or at some point did you need a bus or other transportation? Exploring on our own sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Do the shops shut down for their personal late 'siesta-like' lunch?

Thanks for the other tips too. I'm going to bite the bullet and get the money belt. It sounds so foreign to me but when in Rome...
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
cydlei
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Hi! You are all welcome! It was fun to put it all into words!
My husband is the computer guru so I'm sure we will at some point put some pictures out there. Hopefully quite soon.
As to getting back to the hotel on day 2, I can't believe I left out that part. Our 10 year old would probably rate that taxi ride as a highlight of the trip! We had no problem catching a cab (we were cautioned early on to take only the official white cabs) and the very thrilling ride cost us about 10 euro. Just think of it as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and you'll have a blast!
Cindy
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:58 PM   #8
cydlei
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oops, I forgot to answer the Siesta question. Every day, we would notice that some shops close for a couple of hours and some don't. There was always plenty of shopping to be done, at any hour of the day.
Cindy
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cydlei View Post
As to getting back to the hotel on day 2, I can't believe I left out that part. Our 10 year old would probably rate that taxi ride as a highlight of the trip! We had no problem catching a cab (we were cautioned early on to take only the official white cabs) and the very thrilling ride cost us about 10 euro. Just think of it as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and you'll have a blast!
Cindy
LOL... I had to add this excerpt from my 2006 report!

~~~

There were eight of us on the Boston to Rome flight, Tony and I, and a wonderful family of six who we came to know and love. Rather than have us wait for them to clear customs, a private car was ordered up for us and we had our first "thrill ride" in Italy -- Mr. Giuseppe's Wild Ride to the Westin Excelsior. "Hey, is that the Coliseum?" Whoosh! "Wow, was that the Vatican?" Whoosh! "Wait, isn't that...?" Whoosh!

We soon (very soon -- whoosh!) arrived at the Westin...

~~~

Yes, I do know what you're talking about.

Dotti
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:45 AM   #10
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Thanks for your report....we leave a week from tomorrow! I have now taken notes...
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:19 AM   #11
ashky71
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Also back from Viva Italia May 8-16

Well unfortunately things are finally getting back to normal. This time last week I was in Tuscany. The trip was great and I have to agree with Cindy that Tina and Marco were awesome. We also have to remember our bus driver Mario as he did some amazing driving up the hills in Tuscany. It was great getting to meet Cindy and her family they were a lot of fun. Our entire group of 37 people were like family by the end. Rome was so much fun and I have to agree to stay in the Piazza Navona. We acually walked around and walked back to our hotel. It is a long walk but we shopped and took in other sites while we did it. I carried a small messenger bag the whole time and never felt scared about pickpocets or anything. Just be aware of your surroundings as in any big city. I do have to say that I thought Venice was just magical and it is fun to just get lost there. We were out wandering until about 11 pm and always felt very safe. I think Cindy covered a lot but I will answer any questions that I can. The trip was great and I wish I was still there. To those who are going soon, I hope your trip is as wonderful as ours.
Kim
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:22 AM   #12
cydlei
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Right on Kim! We miss our extended family too!

"Tiramisu" to you and yours!
Cindy
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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Thank you Cindy and Kim for your wonderful trip information! I can almost feel like I'm there already!

I'm getting more anxious by the day until my trip arrives!
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:52 PM   #14
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Great info! I can't wait till Sept for our Trip!

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Old 05-25-2008, 05:59 AM   #15
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Lol you ate at the same outside trattoria at Orvieto as i did.I enjoyed the wildboar sandwhich to. My trip was last summer. Those going soon will have a great time.
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