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Spur of the Moment Trip - Help!

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I have always wanted to go to Italy & the opportunity just came up. The only problem is we decided on Sun & made plan reservations & are leaving a week from Friday! I feel like I'm cramming for finals doing this research. I have reservations in Rome for the 1st 3 nights staying near much of tourist places (Colisseum, etc) I wanted to be close enough to walk to most attractions. We are also going to be spending a couple of nights each in Florence, Siena & back to Rome last night. There seems to be lots of good info on Rome & Florence. I didn't see much on Siena. We would also like to rent a car one day & do some of the small towns near Siena. I would appreciate any suggestions of places or things not to miss (including food). The people on Chowhound always steer us right which has resulted in some wonderful experiences & best meals of our lives. (Ex. last fall @ Cyrus).
The only night I haven't book is the last night back in Rome. I thought maybe we should stay in a different area, but someplace that will still be easy to get to airport early Mon. morning. Any suggestions? Should we try near Vatican, guess there is supposed to be a quiet area that is all pedestrian. I would love someplace with a view of the Vatican if we do that. Any other ideas? Since we are taking trains & buses most of the trip I tried to put us right in the cities so we could walk to restaurants etc. The last part is in Siena, so don't know if we are going to be looking for action or quiet our last day. I'm not quite sure what to expect from Siena, it sounds nice but possibly quieter, I'm still trying to research. Most of yesterday spent on lodging, etc. Thanks for any help sorry for such a long post.

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  1. I would suggest that you stay on the Aventine Hill, it's in the SW quadrant and you can get right on the road leading to the airport without crossing the city. You also have access on foot to all the great restaurants in Testaccio.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bropaul

      Take bropaul's advice. It is exactly right.

      1. re: bropaul

        Thanks for both replies. Would the Villa Rosa Convent be a good place to stay? A friend also suggested San Pietro near the Vatican. Would that be difficult to the airport? What little I could find on Villa Rosa sounded nice, as well as the area sounding like a nice place to be. Thanks

        1. re: sweetea

          Sweetea, we're really only supposed to talk about food here. There are some good travel sites though that can be very helpful.

          1. re: bropaul

            Sorry, I was checking there also. I was looking here cuz the people with good taste in food usually carries over to other areas as well.

            1. re: sweetea

              How true!

          2. re: sweetea

            stay on the Aventino or around the Colosseum, period.

            1. re: mbfant

              Sweetea -- You are so lucky ... I had two great trips to Rome last year, and both times stayed near St. Mary Magiorre ... near Colosseum ... at our favorite hotel, Mecenate Palace ... mostly because it is near two great restaurants -- La Piazzetta, and if you are looking for a real splurge ... Agata e Romeo ... on the same street as our hotel. Search this board, but do not limit your restaurant choices to ones near your hotel ... venture out ... it is a big city, but not a huge city and we used taxis everywhere. Use your google and pick out what you want in terms of price, but frankly, all restaurants and all hotels in the center of Rome are simply a short taxi ride from wherever you want to go if you are not big walkers. And ... it seems like all the places we looked at to stay were a 35 euro taxi ride to FCO -- the int'l airport ... we used RomeShuttleLimousine ... so just choose a place you are comfortable and take a taxi out for dinner ... a great meal in Rome is ALWAYS worth the no more than 10-13 euros we spent to get there. Truly, do not stay where you are near the airport ... you are not in Detroit or New York City ... it will only take you 30 minutes (max) to get to the airport and only 10 minutes to get ot most great restaurants. Be adventurous ... and relax ... last minute trips are the ones you will always remember ... enjoy!! Ciao!!

        2. Siena is absolutely wonderful!

          Suggest you stay at the Hotel Moderno. Simple clean, adequate: but the best bit is that over the road to your left there is an escalator that will take you all the way up to the old city. (They have private parking as well if you are in a car.)

          The Moderno does have an ok restaurant where I had a really good Bisteca alla Fiorentina one night and a nice garden for breakfast if the weather is good.

          Have lunch in the Campo or nearby. In the far left corner as you face the fountain there is a really good pizza restaurant. (Sorry, can't remember the name.)