tips for Italy, part 4
In October 2002, I had a series of email exchanges with Lori Shodis of Cambell, California, who, after reading my experience in Rome on Rick Steves' Graffiti Wall, decided to write me to get tips for her trip to Italy in November 2002. I thought I'd post my replies here because other travelers may find them useful. Below is a combination of my replies to her fourth and fifth emails (her comments are in bold italics):
At 11:18 AM -0500 10/23/02, Shodiss, Lori wrote:
So I thought of a couple more questions for you, I hope you don't mind Jeanni ;)
Not at all. Like I said, I received plenty of help from other Rick fans before I left, so I'm just returning the favor. :) After you return, you should post tips on Graffiti too; I'm sure others will be most appreciative also.
Paying for hotels - I have read and heard if you pay with cash you get more of a discount, did you find this or did you just use plastic?
Breakfast Included/Not Included - Did you go for the included breakfast at the hotel or eat at the local cafe?
We went for the breakfast included deal at every hotel except Antica Locanda because theirs was 8 euros EXTRA. Hotel Aberdeen serves nice bread roll, ham, cheese, yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea, etc. It was pretty good. We didn't mind eating in the hotel. We liked coming down from our room, getting food immediately, then setting out for museums right away. I wouldn't advise against getting food elsewhere though; different strokes for different folks.
I meant to ask you did you hit any fun bars while in Italy, what is the night life like there, just curious?
We were such fuddy duds, we didn't go anywhere. j/k Actually, because we always had dinner late (we always showed up at the restaurant at 7 p.m., which is actually WAY early by local standards), by the time we were done with dinner (usually around 9 p.m.; yes, it really does take that long to eat a four-course dinner and get your bill) we were just tired and ready for bed. Besides, we liked going to the attractions early in the morning to avoid the crowd, so we tended to head to bed early. You'll have to ask other Rick Steves readers about Italian night life....
One more question, did you make a reservation in advance for the Vatican, it doesn't seem so in reading about your trip? I was just wondering?
No, I didn't. Is there a way to make a reservation? I didn't see anything about that in Rick's book (nor on the Vatican site) so I just assumed you can't. The museum opens at 8:45, so we arrived at 8:30, only to be greeted by a very long line outside.
Once the line started moving (promptly at 8:45), however, we got into the museum in no time at all. The Musei Vaticani was by far the most efficient place we went to in Italy (surprise, surprise; it's probably because it's a separate country altogether, even though it's in the confines of Rome). Once you get inside, there are agents who direct you to the correct booths, and, basically, the long line just sort of disappeared.