RFI: Italy

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I will be in Florence, Venice, Milan, and Lake Garda for 2 weeks, end of July. What to do/see? Where can I find out about shows, or other evening activities? grazie!

petite verte (petite verte), Thursday, 12 June 2003 12:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Lake Garda is great for windsurfing. Oh, and I threw a pair of underpants in there abt 20 years ago so you better not drink water directly out of the lake.

Sommermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 12 June 2003 13:18 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

thanks, i will remember that!

petite verte (petite verte), Thursday, 12 June 2003 13:19 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

venice biennale of contemporary art
florence is wonderful town and quite entertaining by night just
aperitivo:rose's, eat: baldovino or if inthe mood of spending all of your money enoteca pinchiorri, one of best italian restaurants, club:tenax but hanging around is the best choice..don't miss biblioteca medicea
in milan, that's where I'm living now, you can purchase a magazine called 02 (pron zero-due) with almost all you have to know about club, concerts, art shows et al....
you won't miss your absynthe aperitivo at frida bar (green line: garibaldi station) from there you're near to pergola or garigliano two squats where you can find, now and then, good international dj's playing other nice clubs are magazzini generali and la casa 139...hang around at porta ticinese and colonne di san lorenzo...architecture triennale (green line: cadorna station). milan has so many choices in terms of nightlife (depending on your tastes)but there's not so much to see as in florence and venice

francesco, Thursday, 12 June 2003 16:03 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Look for centri Sociali. These are squatted buildings run a clubs for local people, they often have bands, dj and stuff. (A lot are legitamate now, there's one in Milan which is huge, when I was living in Turin they organised a concert in Milan's Piazza del Duomo with Manu chao that attracted something like 200,000).

Venice There's a bar called Paradiso Perduto in the north of venice in an area called canareggio. It is one of the best bar/pubs i've evr been to. It's a local for the trendies of Venice, the food is simple but great and the wine is cheap.

in Venice you should drink Spriss, Wine Aperol/campari and soda. Should cost ?0.50 at most.

If you want to drink in one of the piazza san marco bars. Choose the Florian. (the one nearest the Basilica). Drink at the bar right at the back. Ask for an Aperitivo Florian. Sit anywhere but at the bar and they will double or treble the prices.

Check out the fish market.

Also in canaregio there is a bar full of rowing memorabelia which is an old man's local and is great.

Avoid most of the Canale garibaldi restaurants by the Arsenale they are mostly rubbish.

There is a great pizza al taglio place in the Piazza san paolo

Try and stay round san paulo or cannareggio.

Milan, find Luinis of the piazza del duomo for panzerottis (deep fried savoury doughnuts filled with mozzarella and tomato).

Don't spend too long in Milan I don't really like it. Nicest area is the canals area in the south west of the city by a station whose name escapes me.

Travel by train round italy, but book in advance over the summer as much as you can. If you are under 26 there is a card you can buy that gives you 20% off all fares it cost 40000 lire when I lived there. If there are three or more of you you can get 20% off if you book the tickets together. If there are no seats try first class, its not that much more expensive Florence-Venice cost me and suzy about 80,000lire one way in first 18 months back (that was only £26 at the time ?40)

Tenax in florence is a great club, they run free busses from asquare not far from the station because, as with all italian clubs it it miles from anywhere. If you get a chance stop in Bologna (100km from Florence on the way to Milan or Venice) and go to the Link, probably best club in italy.

Bear in mind that a lot of clubs pack up and go to costal resorts over the summer. There will be nobody but americans in Florence in August.

Ed (dali), Thursday, 12 June 2003 16:51 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Go to the Uffizi in Florence, but be prepared to stand in line for a couple of hours. And if you're going to be at Lake Garda, you can (if memory serves)easily get to Verona and take pictures of American tourists taking pictures of "Juliet's ACTUAL BALCONY!" That's my idea of fun.

kirsten (kirsten), Thursday, 12 June 2003 16:59 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

you can pre book your entrance time to the uffizi on the web now, so you only have to stand in line if you are an idiot.

Ed (dali), Thursday, 12 June 2003 17:04 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wow... I'll be in Florence July 11-13 and prolly gonna spend a night on Lake Como on the 14th.

Aaron W (Aaron W), Thursday, 12 June 2003 17:05 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

-Don't spend too long in Milan I don't really like it. Nicest area is the canals area in the south west of the city by a station whose name escapes me.

totally true! the canals called Navigli, designed by Leonardo, are nice but don't eat there: shit food, high prices and mosquitoes (fuck! I know, I live 500m from there) green line:Porta Genova.

Also Duomo, La Scala, Pinacoteca Brera...
I think you could spend maximum 3 days in Milan, it's not a tourist's paradise. people is here for business...and dream of moving away as soon as possible

francesco, Thursday, 12 June 2003 17:57 (sixteen years ago) Permalink


DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 12 June 2003 18:03 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yes, i was planning on going to la biennale in venice. do you think i will need more than a day to see all the pavilions?

for milan, 2 individual days on either end of my trip, i pretty much wanted to go to 10 corso como, shop for a new bathing suit for the lake, and maybe see something at la scala. but woe, the scheduled opera for july is 'west side story' !#@?

thanks for the tips on booking museums and such ahead of time...even though i heart spontaneity, and mostly like being an incidental tourist. line ups do suck. i missed out on quite a bit when i was in paris for that very reason.

almost finished booking my hotels, mostly using venere.com...which is proving to be kinda like ebay (the good parts). wheee!!!!

petite verte (petite verte), Thursday, 12 June 2003 22:28 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Don't neglect rural Tuscany etc.

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 12 June 2003 22:37 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

half the fun of the uffizi is standing in line all around.

RJG (RJG), Thursday, 12 June 2003 22:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i have heard siena is wonderful, but i will only be in florence x 3 nights.

petite verte (petite verte), Thursday, 12 June 2003 23:08 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

siena is just an hour by bus from florence and is wonderful , if you are fast enough in visiting Firenze go..
centro d'arte contemporanea le papesse- via di città
nannini- cafe,pastry shop wallpaper dedicated a page to the one in banchi di sopra which is very cute.
eat: no suggestions, all good restaurants are in the countryside
in piazza del campo there's a tourists's office that will fill you with informations on what to see ...but a must see are the weird islamic and alchemic hidden references in the medieval duomo's battistero

Corso como 10- ma allora sei un fighetto?
discover what that means here! : )

francesco, Friday, 13 June 2003 06:33 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm going to Italy next month as well!

Will be in Bergamo on the 6th and 7th of July, Florence on the 8th and 9th (and the 10th?), and Ferrara on the 11th and 12th.

Melissa W (Melissa W), Friday, 13 June 2003 06:39 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

in bergamo there's this beautiful jan fabre show at gamec gallery..not the usual fabre just videos and paintings...

francesco, Friday, 13 June 2003 07:11 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Capri! Lemon trees on the mountainside! The Grotta Azzurra!

Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Friday, 13 June 2003 07:28 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

my main recommendation would be to go to venice last if possible. it's so amazingly different from any another city that it just ruins the place you go afterwards, your first impression of the next city will be cars.

in florence, after your art overdose (i like sculpture so the bargello was my favourite), the museum of the history of science is great. it's got some beautiful astrolabes and you can also see galileo's finger in a jar.

milan i've only ever passed through so i've no nothing of the place.

in venice the main joy to be had is just wandering around. there's not much in the line of nightlife, though i'd second ed's recommendation of paradiso perdito, where in the winter they do a great hot spiced wine. in the night take advantage of the lessening crowds and head down every little calle that takes your fancy. you'll stumble upon great things and experience suitable thrills from the creepy atmosphere and echoes.

during the day make sure to go on a traghetto or two, they are cheap ferries that cross the grand canal at various points and use old gondolas with the seats taken out. unless you want to be a wus, you have to stand in them. if you get scared halfway across the gondoliers will start telling you how deep this part of the canal is and pretend to rock the boat.

if you have the time a trip out to another part of the lagoon is an interesting way to see the place in context, murano and burano aren't particularly interesting, but i would recommend torcello.

for places to eat i'd recommend corte sconta for fish and alla madonna for their risotto (even elizabeth david spoke highly of it). the best place i ate in there was found by following some local old men who looked like they were going for their dinner, it was delicious and about a fifth of the price of anywhere else. there was no menu and we just ate what we were given and, of course, i can't remember the name or location of it.

i'm just back from a week on lake como. the scenery is stunning. villa balbianello is well worth a visit, it is a place that seems to be the fulfillment of an ideal of beauty. if lake garda is similar than the food and night life won't be up to much but the location will make up for it. once again go on boats as much as you can. i think boats always make for a good holiday.

have a brilliant time!

angela (angela), Friday, 13 June 2003 08:09 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I completely forgot.

My favourite thing of all when I visited Italy last year was the crazy Osspitale museum in Siena. It was a working hospital until just a few years ago, amazing when you see all the state of the place and all the Renais sance murals on the wall. BUT THEN EVEN BETTER you go downstairs the exhibits continue and it just goes deeper and deeper and there's hardly anyone around and you get totally lost and suddenly you're in this contemporary art exhibition space with spooky music echoing around and then you are in the library and chapel of some secret society. It's just great. The exhibits themselves are nothing special but it's the most amazing place, and like I say, no crowds at all.

Siena is much more fun to visit than Florence.

N. (nickdastoor), Friday, 13 June 2003 12:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

if I remeber correctly Italo Calvino died in that hospital...when it was still an hospital

francesco, Friday, 13 June 2003 13:17 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

babelfish says "but then a six fighetto"
do i need any special skills/equipment to shop at 10 corso como?

milan 15-16, florence 16-19, venice 19-22, lake garda 22-27 (a wedding), milan 27-28. then back to boring old toronto. and somewhere in there, i hope: s i e n a !

petite verte (petite verte), Friday, 13 June 2003 13:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

My best friend said that the bus to Siena from Florence costs $5 and is a good day trip.

I'm looking at: 11-13 Florence, Venice 13-15, Lake Como 15-16, then on to Switzerland, Germany and the UK.

God I can't wait!

Aaron W (Aaron W), Friday, 13 June 2003 13:57 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

fighetto comes from the slang "figo"(don't use the term that could be easily mis-pronunced, with an anglo-american accent, sounding as a vulgar term for female genitals) which means "cool" and it's used, mostly as a joke, to refer trendy, glamorous snobbish people so a correct translation would be:
so you're a fighetto, then?
no particular skills then, the place is very nice.
get prepared: this is one of the hottest springs in ages over here...in northern italy(bizarre, isn't it?) the temperature has reached 37/40 degrees...

francesco, Friday, 13 June 2003 14:03 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

..of course I used the phrase as a joke, no offense intended!...

francesco, Friday, 13 June 2003 14:21 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

ha ha! no offense taken, so clearly i am not a snob. as for the rest....let's call it an eye for detail on a tight budget.

petite verte (petite verte), Friday, 13 June 2003 15:21 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ah, Italy. The first time I visited it, I hated it!

But I think that's because I was only a kid, and because my family did one of those punishing see-everything-in-two-weeks kind of runs through it (not with a tour group, but with a father who has the same obsessive-compulsive-scheduling-mania that a tour group has).

You know the kind of tour we took : where you average about five museums a day, and about three churches. Where you are shoe-horned into the Vatican with a stampede of tourists and pick-pockets. Where you can't keep the names straight ("are we in Ravenna, or are we in Siena, Dad?"), where your feet are blistered raw from cobblestoned streets, and where you get all your meals from train-station kiosks.

Since that first un-promising encounter with Italy, I've gone back two more times, and enjoyed each trip much more than the last. And now I am at the point where I like the country so much that I'm planning future European visits around it.

What caused the change of heart? Well ... I've found that once I got the requisite tourist stuff out of the way, I no longer felt obligated to do that with each successive visit -- which freed up a lot of my time there for doing other, more enjoyable things, like, for instance, doing nothing ... (and by "nothing", of course, I mean the Italian version of "nothing" : wandering aimlessly about the outskirts of town, people-watching, attempting conversation with strangers, admiring the art that's not in galleries, sitting down for a proper meal, etc).

If this is your first time in Italy, you should probably see all the sites that you're "supposed" to see -- because they really are worth the seeing (especially the Uffizi, if you have any interest in Renaissance art or sculpture or architecture). If you hate lines, then pass the time by people-watching or flirting or drawing or listening to music. Exhaust yourselves with everything that's been recommended by the ILXers, and everything that's been cited as a "must do" in the books and on the websites.

Then remind yourself to visit Italy again in a few years. This time, have no more than a date and a name on your schedule ("on tuesday the fifteenth we will be in Urbino") -- and even _that_ should be flexible, so that if you suddenly decide you want to spend two weeks in Como, it won't create a logistical nightmare with your train tickets.

On this second trip, avoid the "must do" -- you've already been there/done that. Instead, let whatever fills the day fill the day (it might be boring, or it might be fun. It might be crazy or it might be calm. You may find yourself in the Doumo, or in the San Siro. You may end up having dinner in somebody's 100-year-old apartment, or out in some sunflower-filled field somewhere). This sort of spontaneous, low-key tourism will give you a whole new appreciation for Italy, as well as a better understanding of the folks you meet there.

ciao. :)

stripey, Friday, 13 June 2003 20:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

thanks stripey, that's exactly the sort of incidental tourism style that i subscribe to. i suppose i would feel somehow guilty for not seeing the major sights...maybe i will just walk by them and wave hello.

i mostly want to eat, and see a skyline other than my own. just need some directions to start my wandering...

this RFI is also more of a general what to do, ie. lali puna is palying a show, check this site for listings, etc. anybody know of any non-tourist events?

petite verte (petite verte), Friday, 13 June 2003 21:06 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Probably the best thing then, would be to see one or two of the tourist sites that have the most significance/allure/meaning to you, and then to do the more free-form touring during the rest of the time in that city. For instance, all three times that I've visited Florence, I've always gone to the Uffizi. It's alwys on the schedule. But that's because I love Renaissance art. But for people who don't like Renaissance art, the Uffizi is a waste of time. You're better off doing something else instead. And while people may say : "Oh, but you've GOT to go to the Uffizi!" ultimately, it's up to you to decide, because it's your trip, your money, your priorities. :)

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'm taking notes for my next trip. :)

stripey, Saturday, 14 June 2003 01:10 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
i'm gonna be in venice in october. anyone know anywhere really cheap to stay that isn't a hostel? although a hostel would be acceptable, i suppose.

also has anyone been to pordenone? if so: how far from venice? what to do?

does anyone know where i can find a map of northern italy on the web that has more than just the big cities?

amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 21 August 2003 17:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

also how can i avoid little malevolent dwarf women draped in red coats?

amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 21 August 2003 17:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

how long are you staying? if it's more than a week often you can rent an apartment. My b/f and I did that when we were in Rome; it was awesome. Not all that cheap but not unreasonable...you may luck into something affordable.

teeny (teeny), Thursday, 21 August 2003 18:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i only think i'll be there a few days. i'll mostly be in pordenone and a neighboring town but i fly in and out of venice so i might as well spend a few days there.

amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 21 August 2003 18:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

When I was there in '94 I stayed at a pensione off this little piazza called Manin, I think. It had a statue of a guy with a lion and perhaps the only modern-looking building in Venice. Anyhow, there's a narrow walkway frm there to where the Bovolo steps (this you may find on a tourist guide) are, and the entrance was in a corner of that smaller piazza. I don't remember the name of it, but I may have that at home.

nickn (nickn), Friday, 22 August 2003 00:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

This may be the place I was talking about above. (From Rick Steves' online site.)

Alloggi Alla Scala, a seven-room place run by Signora Andreina della Fiorentina, is homey, central, and tucked away on a quiet square that features a famous spiral stairway called Scala Contarini del Bovolo (small Db-€77, big Db-€87, extra bed-€26, breakfast-€7.75, CC, 5 percent discount for payment in cash, tell her when you reserve if you’ll be paying by credit card, sometimes overbooks and sends overflow to her sister’s lesser accommodations, Campo Manin #4306, San Marco, tel. 041-521-0629, fax 041-522-6451, daughter Emma SE). To find the hotel from Campo Manin, follow signs to (on statue’s left) “Scala Contarini del Bovolo” (€2.10, daily 10:00–17:30, views from top).

nickn (nickn), Friday, 22 August 2003 22:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
Does anyone have some restaurant recommendations for my 65 year old korean parents? They're going to Rome, Venice, Siena, Cinque Terre, and Florence. Moderate and splurge restaurants that aren't too touristy but not so local that they will feel intimidated. They don't speak Italian - so if you can remember if the restaurant was somewhat welcoming to english-speakers, that would be helpful.. And my mom won't eat animal organs.

phil-two (phil-two), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 07:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Rome: La fiaschatteria (Via della Croce, 39, Rome. Closed Sunday) . Near Piazza Spagna, the staff will struggle but should be able to help. Food is lovely and it being Rome go for anything with veal or tripe (vitello and tripe). My spelling/memory is awful but Salimbocca is this parmesan and parma ham coated veal cutlet. Perfection on a plate. Not touristy and not pricy, traditional local cuisine.

Yesterday's NY Times had this on the restaurants of Rome: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/travel/26rome.html?th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1143537437-fdWgEeQZ0jxnfh91O6yjjQ (Don't eat before lunch. I was starving by page two)

Florence: The best place in the city is "Il Latini" (Via il Prato, 68/r, 055/294766, closed sunday) but be warned, there is always a crowd outside. Tell them to book if they can (we were lucky: Sister's friend's boyfriend works there so we got in on short notice) and not to be polite: Push or don't eat :) There are two sittings, go for the later one. Stunning food. Otherwise there is always "Osteria del Boia" (Osteria del Boia Via Ghibellina, 70r Tel: 055 2638940) beside Santa Croce. Does an incredible Bistecca Fiorentina. Changed owners a while ago but no negative reports yet. Neither are touristy but it being florence everyone speaks English of a sort.

As to the others, can't be of any help. Hope they have fun.

Kv_nol (Kv_nol), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 08:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Venice - Corte Sconta. They speak English there too. You need to book in advance as it's very popular, and fairly expensive, but the food is just superb. Oh, and they need to like fish.

Markelby (Mark C), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 08:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can describe locations, but not names of restaurants in all of those places. I am awful with names.

Ed (dali), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 08:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

thanks for the tips so far. i mean, a little touristy is fine since they don't want to feel so out of place that people will be staring at the elderly koreans in the corner. i'll make reservations for them at il latini and corte sconta. any idea on how much per person with just a glass of wine each?

ed, anything you can conjure up would be mightily apprciated. i know in rome they're staying on piazza navonna, if that helps.

phil-two (phil-two), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 19:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

corte sconta is bloody amazing, not cheap, but worth every penny - they *have* to have the 7 course starter thing - unbelievable quality

Porkpie (porkpie), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 19:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Il Latini is a very serious eatery. They have their own vineyards, produce their own meat etc. I remember being pleasantly surprised at the cost but it wasn't cheap (approx 50 euro a head with wine maybe 3-5 euro). La Fiaschatteria is v affordable (20-30 max incl. wine). Wine is not expensive anywhere really if you go for the white (and odds of it being drinkable are very high) and food tends not to be pricy unless you go for luxury items or things that are out of season. Steak is not the middle priced safe option that it is in so many other countries, it tends to be the most expensive thing on the menu!

If I think of anywhere else I'll put it in. Otherwise Piazza Navona is near enough Piazza di Spagna (and via della croce of course) that they can go so far as to have as many as TWO glasses of wine and get home safely :)

Don't worry about being out of place etc, the people in most places are there for the food. It's the very touristy places that'll try to fleece them and generally take away from their experience as a whole. That said it sometimes seems that Italy's very existence relies on tourism so it's harder to avoid than you might think.

Anyway, they'll be in all these romantic places: do you think they'll have eyes for anyone but each other? *sigh*

Kv_nol (Kv_nol), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 19:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

How's the write-up coming along, Chris ;)

Markelby (Mark C), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 21:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it's a work in progress Mark

Porkpie (porkpie), Wednesday, 29 March 2006 20:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

is there a bottega veneta outlet store?

phil-two (phil-two), Friday, 31 March 2006 19:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

in Florence apparently:


Porkpie (porkpie), Friday, 31 March 2006 21:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh man then i'm going to italy when i have like $6K to drop. (ie never) (but i'll probably go anyway)

joseph (joseph), Saturday, 1 April 2006 04:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah il latini was really good. there were a couple other places in florence we liked a lot but i can't remember names (one of them translated as "13 goblins," i think, but i don't know what the italian is for that.)

in rome, there's a really good place just down the street from the pantheon, called due colonne. we had a good lunch there.

we spent two weeks in florence, siena and rome, and never had any problem with not speaking italian. sometimes we had to use hand gestures, and having good guidebooks is a big help, but in the cities especially english is usually enough to get by. (i heard an italian giving directions to german tourists in english, because it was the only language they all understood.)

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Saturday, 1 April 2006 06:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In the Cinque Terre, there is a seafood restaurant in the older part of Monterosso called Ristorante Belvedere.


Chris K (Chris K), Saturday, 1 April 2006 19:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Cripe. The computer went haywire. Sorry.

The Restorante Belvedere is on the beach and the fishing boats pull right up to it. They have an English version of the menu available, which they kindly offered to me. When I choose the Italian one, they were very patient with me when I butchered their language. There were a few tables full of tourists, but lots of locals as well. The food was wonderful and set me back about 30 euros for a three course meal with wine.

Chris K (Chris K), Saturday, 1 April 2006 20:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Take the train if you want to meet Italians.

Also flying in Italy this summer will suck. Alitalia is going to go bust or be strike ridden and that will have knock on effects with the other carriers. Besides, FFS, it is only 700km between Rome and Venice with lots of beautiful countryside in between.

Ed, Monday, 19 May 2008 14:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the question mark was a expression of bemusement at Surmounter's post.

Ed, Monday, 19 May 2008 14:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ed is right, the train's the best thing to travel on in Italy.

REMEMBER TO STAMP YOUR TICKET AT THE SMALL MACHINE BEFORE GETTING ON! This is not made clear enough to foreigners. Also slow train from Florence means that you pass near Siena and things.

Assisi is a must. Cannot emphasize it enough!

hyggeligt, Monday, 19 May 2008 15:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i assume you mean me, ed?

you both didnt meet any italians driving through italy?

sunny successor, Monday, 19 May 2008 15:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm flying because I would only have one night in Venice otherwise - schedule is tight. Also it was revoltingly cheap (£15 RyanAir).

blueski, Monday, 19 May 2008 15:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Why do you want to meet Italians on a train? What makes you think Italians get on trains thinking "oh, I hope some tourist bothers me today"?

But thirded, the trains aren't bad. Personally I'd rather have a car for freedom and stuff but the trains are probably cheaper.

Mark C, Monday, 19 May 2008 15:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I never bother anyone on the train, but plenty have struck up conversations with me. (including one who took pity on me as I was living in turin at the time)

Ed, Monday, 19 May 2008 15:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

What's the WIFI situation in Italy right now? Is it hard to get a free connection in Rome? Are there hotspots?

Mordy, Friday, 13 June 2008 18:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

We're heading to a campsite by Lake Garda this summer. I've just received the 'parc guide' and am a bit alarmed by these two bits:
Swimming caps must be worn in the pool
In order to use the pool facilities, many require their male guests to wear fitted lycra swimming shorts, and not the 'boxer' or 'surf' style. Please check with the parc for their restrictions on this.

I lived in Italy for three years, but I never went to a swimming pool in that time. The thing about swimming caps does ring a bell, though - I'm pretty sure a female (British) colleague of mine was moaning about it. Would they seriously expect me to wear one? (I am a man with hair shaved to just a few millimetres length). What about my three-year-old daughter?

As for the trunks thing, this just seems mental. From experience, I know hypochondria is par for the course in Italy - the terror of the 'colpo d'aria' which is unknown in the rest of the world, for example, or the number of people I met who genuinely feared a shower soon after eating could cause them serious harm - and in this context the hair / swimming cap thing makes some sense on a hygiene level. But I can't even begin to see what the thinking is behind the clamping down on 'boxer/surf' style swimming costumes. It doesn't seem to make sense on any level: I can't see any health issue (real or imagined) and if the issue was one of, er, 'modesty' then surely the speedos would be outlawed and the baggy trunks encouraged?

Food Processors Are Grebt (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Monday, 20 June 2011 21:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

Caps are definitely a hygiene thing and they are required in almost every Italian swimming pool.
As for the shorts, this is completely news for me too - never heard about any "restriction" about it and its patently a crazy idea.

Marco Damiani, Tuesday, 21 June 2011 07:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

a lot of american pools forbid cut-offs, t-shirts and other "non-standard" forms of swimwear. perhaps an absurdly uptight extension of the same idea?

And the piano, it sounds like a carnivore (contenderizer), Tuesday, 21 June 2011 07:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

i guess "a lot" there really = "some." i really mean that it's not unheard of.

And the piano, it sounds like a carnivore (contenderizer), Tuesday, 21 June 2011 07:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

I don't even get the hygiene thing with swimming caps? Is it something to do with hair, because of the several Italians I know, the majority are pretty hairy all over.

i can't, i won't (Ned Trifle II), Tuesday, 21 June 2011 08:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

What all sensible Italians are wearing to the pool this year...

i can't, i won't (Ned Trifle II), Tuesday, 21 June 2011 08:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

Thanks, Marco. I've scanned the campsite's website and there are several photos of people in and around the pool with their brazenly uncovered heads and their outrageously non-skintight swimwear, so hopefully this is just an overzealous tip for travellers that bears little relation to reality.

Ned - yeah this was puzzling me, too. For the sake of consistency you'd think they would have to insist that bearded men wore special beard covers and that anyone with a remotely hairy body would have to wrap themselves in cling film.

Food Processors Are Grebt (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Tuesday, 21 June 2011 10:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ah, the colpo d'aria thing made me laugh hard - blame hyperprotective Italian moms!

Marco Damiani, Tuesday, 21 June 2011 14:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

seven years pass...


Milan, Venice, Sicily (mainly Palermo and Catania) and Rome.

Really keen on getting the train from Venice to Sicily but it's a hell of a long ride so thinking Florence and Naples on the way.

Would recommendations on bars, venues, and how to find gigs. Non-obvious tourist stuff? The sort of stuff that should be really easy now compared to fifteen years ago, but sorta isn't?

S-, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 04:56 (six months ago) Permalink

I thought this was going to be about the anti-vaxxer health minister firing all the scientists from the board that supervises health policy in Italy.

My advice. Go in the autumn. There’s a lot more between Venice and Sicily and if you want gigs places like Bologna and Verona get a lot of touring acts.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 4 December 2018 11:35 (six months ago) Permalink

more antipasto less anti-vaxxers ffs. As if you didn't already need more proof that the 5 star lot are complete scum of the earth morons.

calzino, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 11:45 (six months ago) Permalink

Fuck Florence if you want non touristy things - it's possible but it's so bloody crowded. It's a shame because obviously it's awesome in many ways. My sister in law is there now and seems to be enjoying it but it's still busy (obviously).Avoid the summer.

I've been to Naples in October/November and had good weather and the streets are a bit quieter. I don't find Naples terribly touristy, a lot of people en route to Capri, etc in the summer/autumn, but I loved the place, they've done a lot of pedestrianising over the last ten years which has improved yr ability to walk around without being run over.

Ned Trifle X, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 11:48 (six months ago) Permalink

Already vaccinated, already going midway through December until February.

Ed you had an impressive list upthread, anything you'd add/remove/change?

S-, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 11:51 (six months ago) Permalink

Florence is great in the winter / out of season. Even some of the big attractions are fine if you go at the right time (Palazzo Pitti first thing in the morning,etc).

I’m completely out of the loop on bars / venues but Nottingham Forest in Milan is great for cocktails.

Trains are superb. I think I did Milan-Napoli earlier this year and it’s painless.

ShariVari, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 11:53 (six months ago) Permalink

napoli is an excellent city for walking about, lots of spectacular views. we stumbled upon a rad little bar/bookshop/record shop called perditempo which offered some agreeably experimental/eclectic DJing as we sipped our beers

ogmor, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 12:09 (six months ago) Permalink

Thanks ShariVari. Been to Florence before, beautiful place. Although can't remember if I did Palazzo Pitti. Spent a day at the Uffizi and alsop the Duomo. Also had the best panino in my life.

The trains are indeed excellent, last time I went Venice - Bolzano - Florence. Though I hear it gets progressively less excellent the further south you go?

Will check out Nottingham Forest. Enjoying the owners' salty replies to reviews on google.

Added Perditempo, thanks ogmor.

So far

Milan 18-24 December, then Venice. Seems like some good suggestions here?


S-, Monday, 10 December 2018 01:03 (six months ago) Permalink

Florence being touristy- I still bring up how A Room With A View (1908) talks about Florence being touristy.

Yerac, Monday, 10 December 2018 01:09 (six months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

You still do, Carey

S-, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:57 (five months ago) Permalink

I bumped the other thread, but hey since we're here does anyone have suggestions/cool tips for Genoa, Elba, Sapri, or Cosenza?

sleeve, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:59 (five months ago) Permalink


we def wanna go off the tourist track and into the south as far as time allows

sleeve, Friday, 4 January 2019 22:09 (five months ago) Permalink

it's one of my hits! wait who is S-?

I think the most south in Italy I have been is driving around from Naples to Amalfi, 2-3 years ago. I really like the white wine from Liguria/Genoa. Just remember "pigato" very crisp and easy.

Yerac, Friday, 4 January 2019 22:20 (five months ago) Permalink

excellent, tyvm

yeah we wanna head down to Calabria, where my wife's family (and like 90% of US Italian immigrants) are from. We're looking at a night in one of the smaller Amalfi towns on the way.

sleeve, Friday, 4 January 2019 22:30 (five months ago) Permalink

Have you already been down there? We have a local friend from Sicily that we want to visit with and we keep putting it off because we can't make seasons work out.

Yerac, Friday, 4 January 2019 22:39 (five months ago) Permalink

nope, first time in Europe for either of us

sleeve, Friday, 4 January 2019 23:01 (five months ago) Permalink

Bumping thread again with a non-standard RFI...

Before leaving for (but after booking flights to) Italy I've injured my knee.

Pretty much the worst thing I can do for it is stand for long periods, which really sucks for a place so rich in galleries and sites of antiquities. Walking long distances to is Not Good. At least sitting and gorging myself is still in (and er, worry about the resultant weight gain once the knee's better).

I'm in Bologna at the moment, no definite plans except need to get to Palermo by the 26th of January (though maybe go on the 18th to see Palermo vs. Salernitana).

Anyway, excited about the train from Napoli to Palermo - perfect sedentary sightseeing. Any other recommendations like this?

S-, Monday, 7 January 2019 18:23 (five months ago) Permalink

Bologna is excellent for just eating. I've been twice and don't have any memory besides eating and walking. But that is almost everywhere I go, I guess. Are you wearing a knee brace or anything?

Yerac, Monday, 7 January 2019 18:26 (five months ago) Permalink

It really is. More places I want to try than time I have to try them. Also been invited to a couple of people's houses for food which has been great.

Nah no brace, perhaps I should have looked into one. The physio said to take it easy, which I thought I was. Obviously not enough. Venice clearly not the best place if you want to avoid walking and stairs (also pretty much anyone's house in European cities).

S-, Monday, 7 January 2019 22:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Ugh Venice, city of people with rolling luggage. I have knee problems a lot. You should just go to the pharmacy and get a compression sleeve, or even an ace wrap to at least keep it stable and keep it from swelling when you do walk.

Yerac, Monday, 7 January 2019 22:36 (five months ago) Permalink

revised tentative itinerary:

fly to Amsterdam, stay a day, then plane to Nyons area in France for a few days

Nyons to Genoa, 1 -2 nights there

Genoa to Salerno and then bus to Minori (Amalfi coast) for a night

Salerno to Paola on the west cost of Calabria (the fast train goes this way)

Paola to Cosenza inland by bus, 3-4 nights total in Calabria

back to Naples for flight out to Amsterdam

has anyone here spent time in Calabria?

sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:52 (five months ago) Permalink

I only went to Genoa once, to change trains coming from the Cinque Terre, but there was a problem with our train and we got stuck there for several hours. The food in the Genoa train station cafeteria was ghoulish: I felt sorry that chickens died only to be prepared so miserably. I don't know what there is to do there besides eat, but that would be good enough for me.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 11 January 2019 16:24 (five months ago) Permalink

Why are you going to Nyons?

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:36 (five months ago) Permalink

to stay with friends for free! 3-4 days

sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:38 (five months ago) Permalink

I had not heard of Nyons, but I see that it's close to Montélimar, famous for its nougat which got it a mention in "Savoy Truffle".

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 11 January 2019 16:41 (five months ago) Permalink

haha noted!

sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:42 (five months ago) Permalink

I had not heard of it either but it's super, super close to vacqueyras/gigondas where I did a grape harvest.I've gone in and out of the Orange and Avignon train station a lot.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:47 (five months ago) Permalink

we would consider alternatives to Genoa anywhere on the Ligurian coast if anyone has recommendations, just stopping for a night or two because it's on the way to Florence

sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:51 (five months ago) Permalink

well the Cinque Terre is lovely! I haven't been for twenty years though. when we went we just showed up in Vernazza, asked at a bar if he knew of any rooms in town, ended up staying with the bartender's sister's family for a couple of days. a kind of proto airb&b I guess.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 11 January 2019 16:53 (five months ago) Permalink

thank you, will investigate.

sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:26 (five months ago) Permalink

Genoa is worth it - a bit gritty with a real port atmosphere. The old town is dark, sinewy and interesting. Also it's a perfect base for some nice day trips, eg Cinque Terre but also Porto Fino, which off season is truly lovely.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 14 January 2019 09:02 (five months ago) Permalink

Sestri Levante is a very nice medium-sized town that you can use as a base to visit the Cinque Terre, etc. It is pricy, but Hotel Vis a Vis is awesome with wonderful views of two bays.

Andrew "Hit Dice" Clay (PBKR), Monday, 14 January 2019 14:22 (five months ago) Permalink

I just booked for a trip to hike in the Dolomites in the first week of September. Does anyone have any recommendations on hiking (especially overnight stays in a Refugio), where to stay, restaurants, etc.?

Andrew "Hit Dice" Clay (PBKR), Monday, 14 January 2019 14:24 (five months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I recommend 'Midnight In Sicily' if anyone is looking for a history of Italy focussing on the corruptions of Andreotti and a personal take of the years 1978-1992. It's in English.

S-, Friday, 1 February 2019 20:11 (four months ago) Permalink

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