Category Archives: Travel Planning

Italian Truffles: Pricey, Earthy Gourmet Indulgence

Truffles are one of those foods that tends to get a strong reaction. Like cilantro, Brussels sprouts and blue cheese, you either love ’em or hate ’em!

Truffles are intensely fragrant and hard to find in most places except Italy. They are the underground fruit of ascomycetous fungi.  The fruit spores are dispersed though being consumed by fungivores.  They are so rare they may be the most expensive ingredient you can indulge in at $1000-$3000/pound. Continue reading Italian Truffles: Pricey, Earthy Gourmet Indulgence

Orvieto, Hill Town Jewel, Easy Day Trip from Rome

Orvieto is a gem of a town in Italy. Perched high atop an Umbrian hill, it has beautiful spaces, dramatic views, famous art and dramatic history for visitors to enjoy. The old part of the city is a bit of window into the past because it is virtually traffic-free.

Only an hour-and-a-half north of Rome, the walled city of Orvieto is a great place to experience an ancient, important hilltown. It is convenient too, since it is fairly easy to reach from Rome or Florence.

  • Easy daytrip from Rome. You can even take the train. Or, for a relaxing outing we can recommend a private driver who will organize a day excursion so you can relax and take in the scenic views along the road.
  • Convenient drop-off point for a rental car when traveling to or from Rome, avoiding all traffic around the city…and you can visit the charming town and then hop on the train to Rome.
  • Stopping point for trips between southern points and northern ones. Nice to get off the highway and have a delicious lunch in the piazza.

Continue reading Orvieto, Hill Town Jewel, Easy Day Trip from Rome

Where to Stay in Rome? Italy Perfect Experts Share Advice.

Here are the Roman neighborhoods most prized by tourists who like to walk to and from the sites and roam the wonders of this amazing city. The naming of the areas can confound because some use the ancient designations, such as “Campo Marzio”, widely referred to as the Spanish Steps area, while others use medieval names, and others, like us, will go with conventional names that are more descriptive of what sites you’ll find there.

Rome is a big city, but the historic center is very manageable. You can visit most of it on foot or just a short bus or metro ride between sites. Tourists who like to wander out their front door into the most intriguing places in the city have a wealth of wonderful areas to choose in the historic center. We select all the apartments we represent for their prime locations in Rome’s historic center. Here are our favorite locations.

Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo & Trident

This famous neighborhood is crossed by a trident of streets that leads south from Piazza del Popolo. This most upscale neighborhood in the center has great shopping and dining.

Attractions

  • The Spanish Steps with its iconic stairs, fountain and designer shopping draws all visitors.
  • Piazza del Popolo has welcomed tourists since mideaval time with an expansive piazza, Egyptian obelisk and ancient gate in the Roman wall.
  • Via del Babuino for charm.

Italy Perfect Vacation rental selection is wonderful: Large properties are Villa Aurora, SpagnaZegno, Valentina, Umberto, Casa Ruffo and Elegante.  Two bedroom apartments: Flaminio, Greci, Sabini Sistina, Renata, Minerva’s Treasure, Ginevra and Orlando. One bedrooms: AngelinaBellina and Princess Paolina.

Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Pantheon

Wander the maze of narrow streets and alleys dating from the Middle Ages that open into beautiful piazzas with delightful fountains and wonderful Renaissance and baroque churches and palaces.  All the while ancient Rome is always present.

Attractions

  • Piazza Navona is glorious with fountains, statues, cafes, restaurants and street artists of all kinds.
  • The Pantheon, built 1900 years ago, is a magnet for the ancient temple as well as its lovely piazza.
  • Campo de’ Fiori is another glorious piazza with a farmers market as well restaurants.
  • Another great piazza is Piazza Mattei leading to the historic Jewish Ghetto.
  • Not to miss, of course, is the Trevi Fountain for beauty and the magic 3 coins tossed into the fountain to ensure you’ll return to Rome someday.

Italy Perfect apartments here from large to small: Landini, Pasquino, Danza, Romulus and Viva.

Ancient Rome and Monti

Modern monuments and ancient ones define this Eternal City.  Wander through time.

  • Piazza Venezia with the gleaming Victor Emmanuel Monument is just the beginning and a great point for navigation.
  • The Roman, Imperial and Trajan’s forums echo with glory.
  • And above rises the Palatine hill with ancient palatial ruins.
  • The Coliseum is a must.
  • The Monti neighborhood leads to the Coliseum and is artsy and quirky.

Gorgeous views from Magnifico and Imperial Vista.

Via Veneto, Villa Borghese & Piazza Barberini

Via Veneto winds gracefully down  from Villa Borghese with the cafes and restaurants that defined La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini

  • Within the beautiful Borghese Gardens is a gem of a museum the Borghese Gallery.
  • The Via Veneto itself offers a pleasant walk with good shopping and cafes.
  • Piazza Barberini is another great piazza with the iconic Triton Fountain.

Nobile is a lovely apartment in this neighborhood.

Vatican, St Peters, Prati

Just across the fabled Tiber river the proximity to the Vatican and St Peters is enhanced by the great shopping and dining in the Prati neighborhood. Boulevards with nice architecture.

  • St Peters and the Vatican museums are magnets for so many.
  • Castel Sant’Angelo is an ancient fortification for the Popes.

Vacation rental prices can be a little lower here because you have to walk across the river: Elegante, Elegante TreRigoletto and Fresco.

Trastevere

Everyone loves Trastevere. It is a neighborhood with fun restaurants, charming streets and roaming students from abroad. Known for night life.

  • Santa Maria in Trastevere is a beautiful and ancient church in a piazza that is a gathering spot for locals, tourists, students, street performers.
  • Restaurants with live entertainment charm tourists.
  • Walk up to the top of the Janiculum hill for gorgeous views over the city

Italy Packing Tips: My Favorite Purse for Travel is a Backpack

Packing for a trip can be one of the most daunting aspects of travel planning. We’re often asked for advice on what type of purse to carry.  Shoulder, cross body, tote bag, backpack?

My vote is for a small, lightweight backpack.  I’ve tried many different types of travel purses. It’s important to get it right especially when I’m on the road for weeks at a time & walking up to 10 miles per day. One year I had the bad idea to bring a stylish straw tote bag to Italy for the summer, it was too bulky to carry long distances, was open at the top so not secure & scratched my arms & legs endlessly. While I might have looked fashionable, it was impractical. My current favorite travel bag is the Longchamp Le Pliage nylon and leather backpack, a gift from my daughter (thank you Tess!) after I kept borrowing hers. It’s light, durable, saves my back and shoulders, holds all my essentials & packs down to nothing if I need to put it inside my carry-on due to airline restrictions. For a small backpack it is surprisingly roomy too, you can fit a sweater or travel umbrella in it too. It has a little internal pocket that fits a passport and phone. Continue reading Italy Packing Tips: My Favorite Purse for Travel is a Backpack