How to find a great Airbnb in Rome

We have visited Rome several times and always enjoyed our visits. Location is one of the most important factors. If you have a favorite neighborhood such as Trastevere, Testaccio, or Campo Dei Fiore base yourself there. Save time and money by being able to walk the areas. In 2017 we stayed near Campo Dei Fiore.  It was a perfect place to explore the neighborhoods and walk to some many places. The Vatican and St. Peters was walkable. Restaurants abounded and shopping for food was close by.

When we booked it, the description looked great. The fact that it was on the Second Floor sounded doable.  Keep in mind the Italian way of numbering floors is quite different from ours. The ground floor or piano terra which is what we in the US would call the first floor. The next floor is the first floor, or primo piano, then on to the second floor which piano second but you are really on the third floor.

Keep this in mind as elevators in the older ( but beautiful) buildings are not prevalent. This is a time lapse of the descent which makes it look easy

52 Steps each time you go in or out

 

 

 

Here are photos from Rome in 2017. Not bad, reasonable space and would return if not for the steps ( 52) 

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This year I began my search by indicating the dates I needed, the number or people and I specifically searched °Campo Dei Fiore°. This reduced the number of locations and I then searched from the map.

 

Airbnb map rome

Viewing each listing VERY carefully, I looked for WIFI, KITCHEN, A/C, and NO SMOKING. When I found all of these I looked at all the photos, and at least the first four pages of reviews. It is important to evaluate a review.  As some one who has stayed in Airbnb in the US and Italy I check carefully and recheck with my wife. One bad review does not make a place unworthy of staying. Keep in mind that the map prices shown do not show what the prices really are if you did not fill in your dates of travel. The time of year makes a big difference.

 

This is a review I posited after a stay in Rome for 18 days in 2017″

“Overall we enjoyed our stay with Marzia. She was very quick to respond to our requests. The location is amazing. Walk out the door to restaurants, shops, a wine bar, and Campo de Fiore. Vatican is about 7-minute walk, save with Piazza Navona. Bus stops on Via Vittorio Emanuele. There is a restaurant on the other side of the building is excellent, Polese, we spent several evenings there. Also,check out the Suplizo on the same street as you head to Campo de Fiore. Great for take out. Kitchen is small but fully stocked with pots pans etc. Small frig but grocery store and the market are so close you will always have fresh food. The bed is comfortable. Hot water works well. WiFi good for browsing and email. AC works, but we arrived in mid September and found building comfortable with out it. The rear has a small terrace which was nice for dinner and wine. It does not have a view, but it was very pleasant. This is an older building and you have 52 steps to get to the room. It was not a bother to me at 74 years old, but my wife took a break going up the stairs. Neighborhood is good and safe. Only problem was major construction going on next to us and loud banging on walls starting at 7 am. I believe this is now finished as far as the wall banging goes. My wife and I enjoyed our stay.”

 

I would add that I was give a refund of 300 Euros to compensate me for the noise.  I would return there again, if I could not find something on a lower floor.

 

For this years trip, we found a great place on the Primo Piano which will make things much easier. Located steps from the Campo Dei Fiore, I look forward to walking to so many sights and attractions. The bus stops are close by and the neighborhood is very safe.

The photos below are of our Airbnb for this year.

 

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This is a decent sized apartment and we are looking forward to it. I will review it in full when we return from Italy in October.

 

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What I Loved About Tuscany Part 2

Siena is beautiful. From the towers to the countryside, it is full of beauty. 

Torre del mangia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

 Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo Pubblico
 
Torre del Mangia.
The Torre del Mangia is a tower in Siena, in the Tuscany region of Italy. Built in 1338-1348,[1] it is located in the Piazza del Campo, Siena’s premier square, adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). When built it was one of the tallest seculartowers in medieval Italy.[2] At 102 m, it is second tallest after Cremona’s Torrazzo (112 m (367 ft)) the Asinelli tower in Bologna at 97 m being third.

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Piazza del Campo

 

IMG 5336From the top of the Torre. 

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My favorite lunch. 

 

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We found a wonderful BnB just outside of Siena

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The Duomo

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A small salumeria we picked out our lunch. 

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Siena is a good home base for touring around Tuscany. It is definitely car country to access all these beautiful spots. 

To be continued. 

Cycling Bolzano to Venice, 2018 Complete Video

I left Miami on September 26 to fly to Milan and start a wonderful vacation. I had three days in Milan and then I would take the train to Trento where I would meet my group to begin the tour. 

 

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Lift off from Miami.

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Highspeed train to Trento from Milano.

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I mounted a GoPro on to the handle bars of the rental bike.  I did get some vibration, so I had to adjust it using the video editor on my Mac.  For the most part this did well with the exception of cobble stones. 

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A bike path through the vineyards and down to the lake. 

The cycling was amazing, of the 230 to 240 miles it was about 90% on bike paths, some with the most amazing views.

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Riding along the Adige river

With the Dolomites in the background the trip got better by the mile. 

The video gives a riders perspective of riding from Bolzano to Trento, Riva del Garda, Verona, Vincenza, Padova, and arriving in Venice ( Mestre)  I had three nights in t Venice/Mestre which was another wonderful experience.

 

Here is the link to the video which in on Vimeo.  https://vimeo.com/305380233

 

 

I hope you enjoy it.  

Greg 

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The opera house in Verona, Italy

The Canals of The Navigli district Milan You Should Not Miss This Amazing Attraction

Everyone knows the canals of Venice.  A much smaller version that is a must see is in in Milano.The Navigli.    Once used for transportation, it is now an entertainment, art, and foodie attraction.  It really comes to life after dark, music seems to be everywhere.  Restaurants are along the canals and have aperitivo   dining. It varies from restaurant to restaurant, but you can enjoy yourself for less.  One light I stopped at a little wine bar near my hotel and sat down with a good glass of Italian red and snacked of chips, veggies, and crostini. My total tab was 1.50 Euros.

Here is a link to my Vimeo video of the Navigli 

https://vimeo.com/300588264

chips

 

 

 

 

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Restaurants abound in the area. Bars offer happy hour deals where you can nibble you way through dinner if you buy a drink or two. 

 

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Milano has a wonderful transportation network. 

Access to the Navigili district is easy to reach by tram or metro.

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I took the number 9 tram for a scenic and interesting ride. Exit at the Porta Ticinese stop and you can walk the entire district. 

Here is a link to the Things To Do In Milan web site and the page for the Navigili area. 

https://news.milanocard.it/navigli-district-milan-the-charming-canals-of-milano.html

I ate dinner at Locandina deii Navigli as I had to get my fill of Risotto Milanese. 

 

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Wandering Milano With Caterina

This was my third trip to Milan.  I wanted to see and do some different things.  Airbnb experiences helped me make the most of my time for a very reasonable price.  I had arrived in Milan only 5 hours ago, found my Airbnb and was headed over to where our small group would meet to see some of the unique sights that are not always on a guided tour. As I was walking around, I got a text saying they were ready to start and where was I. Seems I did not read the start time but the end time ……MENO MALE. I was just a block away so I got there on time.  It was a small group with only 4 people and Caterina, the guide.  Two were from Belgium and one from Great Britain. Once again the only American.Caterina

Caterina, our guide.

We  met near the public gardens (Indro Montanelli) for what would be a 2 1/2 hour walk. We would go from the old to the new. And some of the most ultra modern architecture with prices that would make Manhattan look like a bargin.

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One of the classic residences.

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Amazing art decorates the outside of these residences.

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Our vintage tram a great way to see any city at a slower pace.

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Some of the modern building with high price tags.

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A Tesla showroom.  No price tags.

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Piazza XXV Aprile – Porta Garibaldi

 

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I have visited Eataly in Rome and New York City. No I had a chance to roam the one in Milano.

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If only my local Publix in Florida would have some of these delicacies. Ho fame. 

 

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Search out Catalonia’s walking photo tour of Milano on Airbnb Experiences. Here is part of her description “The Neoclassic and Art nouveau district of Porta Venezia. A residential area that represents the true everyday life of the Milanese. The brand new, sparkling and luxurious GARIBALDI’s area which is our ending point where you can easily take subway, tram, train or taxi. CUSTOM EXPERIENCE: If you would like to participate in the experience but on a different time or day, write to me and if I can I will try to organize one with your availability.”  

Here is a link 

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/263117?euid=0af081a7-e582-7ee2-6cf1-0c7842fdc298

 

I Love Pasta And It Is Easy To Make

I was raised to love pasta. All kinds. I have never lost my taste and when I found a email from Airbnb about a pasta making class in Milano, I jumped on it. It was a 3 hour exploration of Italian cooking and a chance to make fresh pasta. Gianfranco holds the class in his apartment and it was a very relaxing setting. This was the second of my Airbnb activities that I have engaged in and it will not be my last. Gianfrano is a “personal chef from Palermo, Sicily, and the traditional Italian and Sicilian food is my speciality. I like making genuine homemade food, pasta, street food and dessert”.  He did not disappoint. Gianfranco served asiago   and parmesan cheese with olives and some Italian bread while we drank some delicious white wine by Corvo. He went over the process of make the pasta and discussed the two types of meals we would eat with it. 

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This is an easy relaxed time with everyone taking part in the pasta making.  Golden rule is 100 grams of flour and 1 egg.  You want a dry dough, not sticky.  When the dough is throughly mixed, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. 

Roll it a bit to make a flat sheet and divide it into 4 pieces, Then roll it out to fit the pasta maker. Insert at the widest opening and gradually decrease the thickness till you achieve the desired thickness of your pasta. After that we hang it to dry slightly. 

 

Here is a link to the video of my experience.    

 

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Gianfranco our host and chef. 

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Pasta making machine. ( available on Amzaon $26 to $200 plus)

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Gianfranco with Maria and Maria who were also in the class.

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Eggplant for the pasta alla Norma.

 

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The basic pomidoro sauce for pasta alla norma. IMG 1432

Pasta drying before cooking. 

Buon appetito 

Look for Milan activities and search for “The Secret of Italian Cuisine” under cooking classes. 

Vieste, an enchanting town on the Gargano Peninsula

I am not sure how we stumbled  on the town of Vieste, but we were very fortunate. We visited Caserta and needed a change. Vieste is on the Adriatic and has many beach areas. DSC 1097

We arrived mid afternoon and found a good sized village on the coast which seemed very inviting.  The photo shows the major landmark, Pizzomunno, a vertical monolith standing about 82 feet high on the Spiaggia del Castello. Castle Beach

 

A link to a short YouTube video I did after one of our visits:

 

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There are many areas for swimming in Vieste.  We enjoyed the warm waters of the Adriatic.  

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The Vieste Lighthouse, or Faro di Vieste is llluminated day and night.  You see it from the beaches and the restaurants which are plentiful. 

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CIMG0921This is a  fishing town, many boats are seen in the harbor. Sailboats are plentiful, and charters are available.

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The town is built on a hill and the views from the top are incredible   We attended the festival of the bitter stone, Chianca Amara which had surprising origins. It recalls the 5,000 people who were beheaded when the Turks sacked Vieste in 1554. Not really a happy time, but the festival recounts much more and has many artistic performances. Some photos below depict the activities.

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After the festival we enjoyed the restaurants in the area.

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Like many Americans, we end up being early.  At 7:30 pm we were the only ones there.  By the end of dinner the place was full.

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Our real interest lies in gelato.  So many choices.

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We enjoyed the evening walks and the streets and piazzas were full of people.  

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Love the name of the restaurant “Sapore di Mare” “Taste of the Sea:

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It was world cup time , il mondiale di calcio  Along with the festival crowds, people flowed out from the bars and restaurants which placed TV outside to view the action.

 

You can find a lot of information on Trip Advisor, Wikipedia, and Google. There are additional sights nearby.  The National Park is a short drive. Driving is not a problem but do not speed as cyclists are pedestrians will be on the shoulders.

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Night time on the waterfront.

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The faro at night.

 

 

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Views we saw as we entered the Vieste area.   

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 our first trip we stayed in a hotel directly across from the beach.  Next to this wonderful pool, we found the country just a few feet away. 

 

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You can hear the cow bells at the pool 

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The beach was included with our hotel and it was a short drive to Vieste. 

VIESTE  FOGGIA ITALYFrom Naples figure about 3 1/2 hours using the Autostrada.  From Rome about 4 1/2 hours on toll roads.  You can visit the National Park of Gargano and Monte Sant’ Angelo. Also San Giovane Rotondo to visit the church of Padre Pio. 

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ISCHIA, a small Island Off the Coast of Napoli, a must visit location

CASTELO ARAGONESE

CASTELLO ARAGONESE

My wife Angela suggested a visit to the island of Ischia, which is a short ferry ride from Napoli. At first I did not know what to think about this. Having never heard of it I began to do some research. The online photos looked good and we have always liked islands.  Getting there was an adventure for us as we have to drive from Napoli to the suburb of Pozzuli. We were bring our rental car as this is a good size Island.  There were no problems and a pleasant voyage with a quick stop at the island of Procida. This is also a place Iw Ould like to visit when we return to Napoli.  Spend time at the beaches and enjoy the warm waters. Find a spa with hot springs feeding it. Walk or take the bus. This island is doable. Scenes from the movie, “the Talented Mr. Ripley” were filmed in Ischia. Also “While We Were Here” with Kate Bosworth.  See all the films that used ischia as a location https://www.ischiareview.com/ischia-in-the-movies.html

PROCIDA

 

THE ISLAND OF PROCIDA

ISCHIA ISLAND

ISCHIA MAP IN CERAMIC TILE 

Once on the Island we started to explore.  At  on time we were on a small dirt road when it got narrower and narrower. Eventually had to back up and work our way into town, 

MINERAL POOL

HOT SPRING MINERAL POOL

Ischia is know for its hot spring fed mineral  pools.  The springs feed the pools and they are drained out each night and left to fill overnight. At least in the case of our hotel.

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HOT SPRINGS FEEDING THE POOL

 

SAPORI MOZZARELLA BUFALA

The Old Butcher Shop Selling Everyting

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Ristorante Lo Scoglio, Sant’ Angelo d’Ischia 

We headed out to dinner and found Lo Scoglio. It is located in Sant’Angelo and proved to be an excellent choice.  The name translated to THE ROCK.

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Photo from the restaurant  web site.

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View from the dining room 

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My wife’s choice,  fruit dal mare.   

 

 

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Lo Scolgio in the daylight.

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Il centro

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Peperoni

 

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The teenagers had no problem diving off the rocks. 

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View from our hotel. 

 Here is the link to the Wikipedia description of Ischia. It is definitely a destination not to miss  in Italy   https://wikitravel.org/en/Ischia

La Canonica, Catania Sicily a great ristorante.

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My wife Angela took this one at La Canonica in Catania Sicily.  Angela has a great eye for composition.

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My eye heads for food. Antapasti is my desire when we are in Italy.

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I can not remember how many times I have consumed Pasta Alla Norma. My favorite from Sicily. Egg plant ( melanazanie) and salted ricotta plus tomatoes and some spices make this a favorite of mine.

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Of course, seafood is plentiful on the island.

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I highly recommend this ristorante.  We enjoyed the food and the service. In the center of Catania.  Just off Via Vittorio Emanuele.

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