14 May 2013

When in Rome or the best and the worst of that trip

Italy is a country to love. The people, the history, the nature, the culture, the food... where do I stop? This is where my traveling journal ends. But first, I have to mention the best and the worst places we have encountered.

First and foremost: Villa La Nina. When you are in the general area of Lucca, which is somewhat close to Florence, don't even think about missing this corner of paradise. Unless you are into five star Michelin-approved super-duper hotels, this place will do - and much more. The friendly and helpful family that manages the place will feed, hydrate and generally spoil you more than you deserve. Very much recommended for a prolonged countryside vacation (I wish...). Oh, and if you are lucky, you may get this too:

Rainbow over Villa La Nina, Montecarlo, Lucca, Italy

Another amazing outfit that has to be mentioned with the best of them, is a family-run restaurant in Rome, which goes under a moniker Colline Emiliane. Yes, yes, it is Michelin-approved, but I didn't know about that when we went there first. Heavenly food, and exceptional service too.

And now about the other side of the coin: the worst place in Italy. We have had a tiring morning and turned back from this charming church, choke-full of culture and stuff:

We were desperate to put out bottoms down and let our feet rest a bit. So we've made that common but unfortunate mistake tourists tend to make from time to time: choosing the first available feeding establishment near a major tourist attraction. And here it was:

There is only one Gran thing about Gran Caffe San Marco: the size of their bill. And there was only one good item in our meal: the mineral water, and that only because it was opened in our presence, I guess. Everything else wouldn't have been seen fit to feed your livestock. Trip Advisor regulars have some true things to say about the place, although there are a few dissenting voices. The latter obviously belong either to the employees and/or owners or to people who were already too high to discern the taste of the garbage they were fed. Anyway, "Ranked #1,281 of 1,480 restaurants in Florence" must be an act of kindness... avoid at all costs!

I know and agree that tourists are born to be fleeced. But there is a difference between being fleeced and being skinned. Besides, even being skinned doesn't mean you have to eat dreck as part of the procedure. Oh well...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

1. Lucca is one of the best town in Toscana and full of cheap but excellent accomodations.

2. In Florence the small piazzas and streets in the Duomo area are full of very fine and cheap restaurants (OMG the taste of a scaloppini al vino and a glass of Montepulciano!) a pity to waste your money in tourist traps like the Cafe Gran Marco.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

You forgot about the wine. Some of the best wines I have ever had was in Italy. Then some of the worst wines I have had were in Italy.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Snoopy, hope there were more good times than bad during your Italian trip, at least you did not get mugged!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Ah, they also have rainbows in Italy. Amazing. I thought they were strictly a Texas phenom. But I must say that Michelin-approved dealie always confuses me. Why should I care what a tire company thinks about anything except tires?

SnoopyTheGoon said...

So, you've been gadding about in Italy while we've been worried sick uh, worried, well wondering occasionally what you were up to. A bond package for Colosseum renovation and political events could definitely fly!