In 2015 we had the pleasure of travelling in Italy and, for once, we agreed that I got the accommodation pretty much perfect. We still look back on this trip with fondness and agree we would go back to stay in the same places, mostly. Our criteria was that they should be close to the centre of where we were staying, or close to transport links, and be smaller B&B types rather than chain hotels.
Because we chose to do our major travelling by train, we looked for accommodation within easy access of the centre city, and/or near to the railway station. We hired a car to get us from Milan to Lake Como, and also from Florence so we could explore Tuscany.
In Milan, we stayed at a wonderful B&B in a quiet suburban street that had easy access to the trams into the city, and a number of restaurants easily accessed on foot. We would certainly recommend staying at B&B di Porta Tosa – the rooms were spacious and the breakfast one of the best we had on our trip. Excellent hosts who gave plenty on information useful to first time Milan visitors. We loved exploring Milan, and took a guided cycle tour of the city which was a great way to see the major sights. Here we were introduced to the Italian tradition of aperitivo – a range of tapas like snacks provided with late afternoon cocktails.
From Milan, we drove to the beautiful town of Varenna on Lake Como – this was a wonderful base to explore as the ferries came and went with regularity to all the other major towns on the lake. Here we stayed at Casa Rossa an apartment separate from, but part of, the Albergo Milano Hotel. The views from our room were amazing and it was located so close to the lake as well as restaurants and bars.
We loved Varenna, the views over the lake, the cobbled streets and the bars and restaurants.
A train ride away, we ended up in the middle of Florence – Residenza Giotto another amazing apartment looking out at the square beside the Duomo. Breakfast was served looking at the beautiful dome and the room was spacious and very quiet when the windows shut at night. It was really good to be right in the centre of town, walking distance from everything we wanted to see this time, and only 10 minutes from the railway station (even wheeling our bags).
Once we picked up our rental car, we headed into the Tuscan countryside, and had arranged to stay in an apartment in Montepulciano. This was an excellent choice and the apartment (Appartamento Piazza Grande) was directly overlooking the main square on one side, and the beautiful rolling Tuscan hills and sunset on the other. Again, we loved being right in the heart of this gorgeous town and exploring the alleys at all times of the day. From our base here we headed around different parts of Tuscany and into Umbria, visiting Assisi and Orvieto.
Back on the train to Naples, and a hair rasing taxi ride into the centre – Decumani – of Naples for a couple of nights here. The Decumani Hotel de Charme was just as described in its website. The area looked a bit dodgy, but the hotel was perfect. The dining room was simply magnificent, and again location could not be faulted. Easy walking to access the old town with fabulous food choices and sights. Again, we ventured out on a guided
cycle tour, which was a lot of fun and great to get an idea of the different parts of the city.
Naples food was fantastic – we found the BEST place for aperitivo from the whole trip – Leopoldo Infante on the Spacca Napoli. You pay for the cocktail or spritz and get a table full of the most excellent nibbles. And the cakes on display were amazing! We made it to a pizza joint, but not the one that had people lined up down the street for…. and I’m sure ours was just as good without the wait.
Next post I’ll explore the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Rome….