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Help with venice-florence-rome itinerary

thespiritualmidget Mar 17, 2011 07:44 AM

We are headed off to Italy next week on a standard, somewhat budget, itinerary of 3 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence and 4 nights in Rome.
To say the least I am overwhelmed at the choice of restaurants. And I HAVE gotten up the courage (quite a step for me) to call a couple of restaurants where we are going to be early in our trip to make reservations.

We are staying across the canal from the Piazzale Roma in Venice, directly between the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and some what SE of the Termini in Rome.

For an idea of what we have in mind, I have made reservations for next Wednesday night at Anice Stellato in Venice and Sostanza next Friday night in Florence. We are planning on going to Casalinga Saturday night in Florence.

One point I would like to make to other fearful novices like me, is that if you want a reservation, go ahead and make a call and get one. International calls are not that expensive and the restaurants are more than happy to accomodate you. I started each conversation in my stunted and practiced /planned Italian, the effort of which I think was appreciated, and then proceeded in English at both restaurants. I am exceedingly pleased (and relieved) to have the reservations before we leave.

This all probably goes without saying to veteran globe trotting chow hounds, but it was a big step for me and I just might not be alone.

Where else might we try in Venice and do we need reservations? We are going to try to have a lunch on Burano. Where should we go?

Where might we go on Sunday night in Florence?

Also, where should we go in Rome? I want to try restaurants in Testaccio and Trastevere, at least in Testaccio. Our last night is a Thursday and I would like it to be somewhat of a splurge, suggestions please. What reservations need to be made in Rome?

Thanks so much for your help


Anice Stellato
Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

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    ekc RE: thespiritualmidget Mar 17, 2011 09:44 AM

    Congratulations on getting the reservations! I haven't yet had the courage to do so! Glad to see you are going to Sostanza - it was one of the highlights of our trip in 2009. Another great meal we had that trip was dinner our final night at Roscioli in Rome.

    For lunch on Burano I highly recommend Gatto Nero. We were there in October and had a fantastic lunch. Here is what I wrote in my trip diary about the lunch:

    We sat inside in the back room and had a wonderful lunch, which included what they called razor clams. The clams were long like a razor clam with a similar type of shell, but they were long and thin like an index finger! We started with an amazing broiled scallop in its shell with the roe. We also had a wonderful appetizer of simple boiled langoustines and prawns accompanied by a dollop of whipped bacala. Some of us also had one of the house specialties – seafood risotto, which was fantastic.

    Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    1 Reply
    1. re: ekc
      thespiritualmidget RE: ekc Mar 17, 2011 06:46 PM

      thanks- we are really looking forward to Sostanza. It appears to be the type of place we look for when we travel. and thanks for the Burano rec, I think we will try to get into Gatto Nero for lunch.

      Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

    2. PBSF RE: thespiritualmidget Mar 17, 2011 03:57 PM

      Relax; for most parts, Italy is an informal country and these cities are used to dealing with visitors.
      For Venice: except for the few very popular and/or high end restaurants such as Alle Testiere, Da Ivo, Da Fiore, one does not need to make reservations too far ahead. For good places, reservation is always a good idea and I have never had problem calling in the morning for that evening. Have your hotel call if you don’t want to deal with it. Friday and Saturday can be busy when many Italians come for the weekend. End of March is not quite high tourist season, therefore, shouldn’t be too crowded but still cold.
      Anice Stellato is a good choice and moderately price, at least for Venice.
      As for Burano, there just aren’t any good places to eat. My advice is to save some euros and pack a lunch before boarding the vaporetto. An easy way is to buy bread, sliced meat, cheeses, fruit and drinks at one of the supermarkets. Depending on which side of the Grand Canal you are in, there is a great Billa on Strada Nuova in Cannairegio; a Coop in Cp San Giacomo dell’Orio on the Santa Croce side.
      Traditional Venetian cooking is mostly seafood based and simply prepared. The cost depends on the scarcity and freshness of the seafood and the exact preparation. There aren’t many creative places in Venice. Some good moderately price traditional places are Vini da Gigio, Da Rioba, Alla Fresca in Cannaregio; less expensive is ai Promessi Sposi; Da Alberto in Castello is lively, cozy with good food. Casin dei Nobili, Da Gino and La Bitta (no seafood) in Dorsoduro. In San Polo, there is the always crowded and relatively inexpensive al Ponte (also known as La Palatina; there are quite a few “al Ponte” in Venice), also Al Garanghelo and Antica Dolo.
      For lunch, eating cicchetti is one of the best ways to save euros and mingle with Venetians. Some of the best are in Cannaregio: La Cantina, alla Vedova, Un Mondo di Vino and Al Bomba re all on or off the Strada Nuova. There are many more all over the city; some of the most atmospheric ones are near the Rialto Market.
      Since these three cities have been thoroughly discussed on this board, I would search for earlier posts and nail down a few places that might interest you and for some specifics. Or if you can be more specific on budget, type of food, ambience, area, etc, you will probably get some good responses for all three cities.

      Anice Stellato
      Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

      La Bitta
      Dorsoduro 2753A, Calle Lunga San Barnaba, Venezia 30123, IT

      Da Rioba
      Fondamenta de la Misericordia, Cannaregio, 2553, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

      2 Replies
      1. re: PBSF
        thespiritualmidget RE: PBSF Mar 17, 2011 06:49 PM

        thanks for your many posts on this board. believe me, I have scoured the Italy board for ideas and that might be why it does seem so overwhelming. I guess, to some extent, we are just going to have to let go and enjoy the experience. I think we are going to try Trattoria Monti for our last evening in Rome?

        Trattoria Monti
        Via di San Vito,13a, Roma , IT

        1. re: thespiritualmidget
          PBSF RE: thespiritualmidget Mar 17, 2011 10:49 PM

          I am not as familiar with Rome as Venice but Trattoria Monti is very good. Ate there two years ago when we rented an nearby apartment.
          I would just go to Venice and enjoy the experience of a beautiful ciity. Definitely try some seafood and eat some cicchetti. Also enjoy an afternoon spritz at an outside table at Al Prosecco on Cp San Giacomo del'Orio or on the loggia at Bancogiro /Naranzaria, both near the Rialto Market.

          Trattoria Monti
          Via di San Vito,13a, Roma , IT

      2. minchilli RE: thespiritualmidget Mar 18, 2011 01:12 AM

        If you are going to be in Burano for the day, you might want to try the new restaurant Venissa, which is where star chef Paola Budel is cooking these days. It's located on Mazzorbo, just next to Burano (connected by a bridge) and set within its own vineyard. I haven't eaten there yet (going up next week) but I'm getting good vibes.

        Florence: Casalinga is my favorite, so you're good there.
        I love Osteria Mescita San Niccolo'
        There are a few newer, 'creative' places which have opened recently in Florence.
        Ossi di Seppia, Via San Niccolo 48r was excellent.

        I'm liking Flavio Velavevodetto and Perilli these days in Testaccio.
        Thursday Night's Splurge: here are some suggestions:
        La Gensola: just fish, in Trastevere. Excellent crudi.
        Settembrini: in Prati, Modern and on the creative side.
        L'Asino d'Oro: My new favorite restaurant in Rome. Just opened a few weeks ago (but he had another restaurant elsewhere). Both Katie (who I am sure will chime in here) and I have written about it on our blogs. It's fantastic, and suprisingly inexpensive.
        Antico Arco: This is more of a fancy 'splurge', more upscale setting, creative menu.

        Always make reservations.



        Fondamena Santa Caterina 3, Isola di Mazzorbo, Venice, Veneto 30142, IT

        1 Reply
        1. re: minchilli
          ekc RE: minchilli Mar 18, 2011 11:18 AM

          Oh EM, thanks for bringing up Venissa! We actually stopped there for an aperitivo (excellent grissini BTW) before we walked over to Burano for lunch. Although we didn't have lunch there, the food looked excellent and we walked through their gardens, on our way to the bridge to Burano, which to me is generally a good sign for a restaurant IMO! I have read more about the whole estate since we returned and am looking forward to going back someday - glad you have been "getting good vibes"!

          Fondamena Santa Caterina 3, Isola di Mazzorbo, Venice, Veneto 30142, IT

        2. mandarin RE: thespiritualmidget Mar 22, 2011 04:57 PM

          I was in Venice 7 nights and had many disappointing meals (in comparison to the rest of Italy). One I would highly recommend is Al Bagolo. Great food and well priced

          3 Replies
          1. re: mandarin
            PBSF RE: mandarin Mar 22, 2011 09:08 PM

            Am always interested in Venice. Would love to hear more about Al Bagolo on my favorite campo and also the disappointing places.

            1. re: PBSF
              mandarin RE: PBSF Mar 22, 2011 09:28 PM

              Al Bagolo in Santa Croce (Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio) was definitely a hidden gem. A fraction on the price of most restaurants in Venice and you get much better quality, quantity & service.
              The atmosphere was semi formal and the chilled jazz music in the background was great. A meal for 2 (entree, main and a bottle of wine was 55 euro) - with no sneaky service charges added. The Gnocchi with walnuts and gorgonzola was incredible along with the Bacon wrapped Red Chickory. For mains, the pork shank with chargrilled veg was nice:) By far the best food & value we encountered in a week in Venice...also for pre dinner drinks there is a little gelateria/wine bar round the corner that has birra moretti, bellinis & spritz for 2 euro!! Unheard of in Venice! Was a great find:)

              Slightly more pricey but still very good;
              Ristorante Al Giardinetto (ruga Giuffa, Castello) had an amazing beef carpacchio and Carbonara

              "Albiugio" in Castello was highly recommended also. The food, setting & service was of high quality. They also had a fantastic carpacchio, ravioli with goose and a steak with vodka and gorgonzola.... 2 entrees, 2 mains and wine was approx. $220 US.

              THE BAD: Any restaurant along the canal near the Rialto Bridge. Overpriced and not so good.

              1. re: mandarin
                PBSF RE: mandarin Mar 22, 2011 09:43 PM

                Thanks for the reply. One definitely have to be discriminating and choose wisely when it comes to eating in Venice. Glad that you had some good food.

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