Recommended Stuff in Italy- Hotels, Restaurants, etc…

Here’s the big catch all post for links to cool shit in Italy. This will mostly be restaurant/bar/cafe links, but there are a couple of other things sneaking in as well, so if you’re thinking of going to Rome or Florence, maybe something here will be useful to you

First and foremost I want to recommend Vatican Art Walks. This was the first time we’ve ever hired a guide for anything in Europe and it was worth every penny. Scot, the owner, was our guide and he was nice, knowledgeable and definitely into the subject matter. We did a tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. It took the better part of an afternoon and I walked away pretty much stunned. Most of that is obviously because of the incredible works of art there, but Scot certainly helped me along the path to stunned-dom pointing out things I would never have noticed on my own and providing the sort of detail and background that I’m always curious about in a place like that.

One other benefit of Scot’s experience in Rome was his restaurant recommendation for that night. We went to Ristorante Margutta, a vegetarian restaurant (!) on a hip little street near the Piazza del Popolo. It was fantastic. I had the best pasta of the week there and everything else was excellent.

Speaking of the Piazza del Popolo, here’s a great view of the Piazza from the Piazzale Napoleone:

Piazza del Popolo and rome from the Piazzale Napoleone

Well worth the walk up if you’re there by the way. It’s a bit of a stretch for tired legs, but the view is awesome.

Continuing with the food, we also ate a small lunch at the cafe at the Musei Capitolini. Which is only really recommended if you’re in there already, but the view from there is excellent, encompassing a large swath of Rome and the food was pretty good for a museum.

Our final night in Rome we ate at the frenetic, but fun L’isola della pizza. It was no more than five minutes from our hotel and came recommended so it was a no brainer for our last night in Rome. It was surprisingly good. The food was excellent, the service was great and it was downright inexpensive. The lively atmosphere was also a bonus. The blend of locals and tourists all out enjoying themselves made for a really good time.

Capping our night that night we went to Gelateria Old Bridge, another recommendation from Scot. It was our one gelato experience for the whole trip and thankfully it was a good one. If you ever need to wait in line to get into the Vatican make sure to head over to this tiny shop to fuel up in advance…

In Florence we stayed at the impossibly cool Monna Lisa Hotel Firenze. This converted Palazzo is probably the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Everything about it was top notch. The service and food (breakfast) were excellent, the small bar was comfortable, the room was large (for Europe) and the location was fantastic (about five minutes from the Duomo.) It’s not cheap, but if money’s not your first concern I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Our favorite restaurante in Florence has to have been Ristorante Posta. For me, it was great as I had my one “got to have it” meal of the trip- a killer Bistecca alla Fiorentina, but everyone we were with had a great meal. Judy and I enjoyed it so much we went back on Friday for lunch…

That’ll do for now. I’ll add to this post if there’s anything that springs to mind after I hit “publish”

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