Hotel Galleria's Homepage
$50 (in 2001) per night, breakfast included. Shared bathroom. I suggest you pay a little more and get a room ensuite which will be much, much larger and more comfortable. Their single bedroom is about the size of most Amercian wardrobe closets. It has a sink, but nothing else.
Right on the canal and well recommended. It was the only place that I have to recommend in spite of not having a private bathroom in their single room. The breakfast is mediocre too, but the location, as they say, is priceless. Next to one of the only three bridges over the Grand Canal, and right next to the British Embassy and to the Venice Academy of Fine Arts Gallery. If it's the only gallery you visit in Venice, walk the few steps from the hotel into this one and you'll get a cross-section of the best that has been selected over the centuries of Venice's prominent fine artists. Also, right next to the bridge, literally, just steps from the hotel, is the public transportation water-bus stop. From here you can easily get fast, though usually crowded, transportation to all places worth seeing. The other way is to hit the old Venetian bricks and do it on foot. Do both and you'll get familiar with this unique city in no time at all. Crossing that bridge gets you to St. Marcus Square and the Doges Palace in no time at all.
Hotel Pensione Ferretti
email them here
Via Delle Belle Donne 17
Pensione Ferretti' Homepage
breakfast. I think I paid less, but that's what their website quotes right now.
Must be recommended. The rooms are large and high ceilinged. The location is excellent. A laundromat and lots of restaurants are close by. The breakfast is included, but bring your own. However, the friendly owner provides free evening Internet access and cool sodas and water all day long. The wife is from South Africa, and the whole family is fluent in English. The son is getting involved in the business as well. A good clean place from which to explore the amazing treasures of Florence. A walk to the Duomo is just 10 minutes, right past some of the best shopping areas in Italy (this one was already famous in Roman times). The river and its old and unique covered bridge, the Ufficio (now a museum with a huge collection of art, and the Old Palace with the real and original statue of Michelangelo's David in front are all just very short walk from the pensione.
Hotel Pensione Joli
(Tel: 011 390 06 3241 854)
Via Cola di Rienzo 243
$50 a night, incl. breakfast.
A tough one to find and a long walk was necessary, but once I had the transportation system down, it became a cinch and the proximity to Vatican City and more importantly to me, the Rome USO, made it very acceptable to me. Take Metro A from the mainstation and get off at Octaviano. Then walk toward the Vatican and hang a left at the big square. They'll give you directions when you call them. The personnel is friendly, the breakfast sucks, the room is clean, and while I recommend this place, there may be more convenient alternatives around. Having said that, the Vatican Museum holds an unbelievable amount of art and treasures and is just a few minutes away, as is the Sistine Chapel. There are stores and restaurants everywhere and opportunity to walk along the Tiber River, just minutes away, and visit Castle Saint Angelo, which began its existence as Hadrian's Tomb. Out the door, to the left, two short blocks away there is a large supermarket in the basement of a department store. Going the other direction there is an indoor farmers market. Rome is large, the subway, (get a week's pass), goes everywhere, and walking is a great alternative to see things that many who travel exclusively by subway will never see. A great stop from which to start walking in any direction is Barberini Plaza. First of all, there is an Easy Everything Internet place, but from there you can either walk up Via Veneto, down to the Forum Romanum, across to the Spanish Steps, or on to the nearby main railway station to get magazines or transportation for day trips to many nearby locations. I even took an express to Pisa from Rome. There and back in a day.
RRecommended for its excellent location
European Hotel/Hostel finder lists Pensione Joli and many alternatives as well as youth hostels.
Also here: The Little Wonder Hotels of Rome
Best Western Hotel Paradiso
Via Catullo 11, Napoli, Italy, Phone: 39 081 2475111
My discounted rate was around $70 a night, including superb breakfast (4 star hotel).
Click on the image to be taken to the hotel website
This really is the view from the breakfast room. And what a breakfast. It is a small hotel, not easy to find on your own, until you've got the Naples transportation system down cold. It is best to take the subway from the main railroad station to Mergellina and then take a cab from there to the hotel. I recommend this place. It is not cheap and usually packed. Reserve early and get whatever discount you can from the
Best Western hotel finder website
I used the hotel as a base from which to visit Pompeii and Herculanum, the two fantastic Roman cities that were buried in time by an outburst of Mt. Vesuvius under thick layers of ash and lava 2000 years ago.
Not another country, but sometimes it seemed that way. The population is genetically heavily infused by Hellenic or Dorian Greeks, who colonized the island over 2000 years ago. This also is the reason one finds some of the most beautiful and complete Greek temples and lots of archeological sites here. Moreover, Moslems, Osmanic Turks, and even Normans are among those who left their physical and genetic imprint on this island.
I had no reservations anywhere and simply went either by guidebooks or got the necessary information from the hotel guides that are available at each of the helpful tourist information offices in the railroad stations.
Albergo Aretusa (093 12 42 11)
This may well be the prettiest and historically most interesting town in Sicily. Stepping out of the station, go left and you'll find immediately three small hotels. Any one of them will do. The first one on the right side is where I stayed. Simple, inexpensive and forget about the breakfast (L5000), but the coffee is good (L2000). The little town has a solitary and well attended supermarket up the street and to the right at the traffic circle. On the same side of the street, the other way, toward the island, a small bookstore has internet service. There are also interesting little delis around. A nice one is right next to the park at the traffic circle, where you can get decent food to take to the hotel. The town's antique treasures in the Archeological Museum and Roman and Greek sites are world famous and rival anything that might be found in Greece or the rest of Italy.
Low budget and definitely not one of my favorites. They refuted the price they had listed in the 2001 hotelguide for Catania. I stayed there, under protest, but since it was for just one night, I let it pass. NOT recommened. There is a long list of hotels of all price ranges available from the very informative tourist office on platform 1 of the station. In front of the station are the buses that will take you to Mt. Etna. The ticket is purchased in the nearby (small street across from the station) bus ticket office (where I recall seeing the most sexy young Italian girl I have seen on the entire trip - think young Sophia Loren). Don't worry, she won't be there when you get there. Since I arrived at Catania, as planned, very early in the day, I immediately had the hotel lock up the luggage and took off for Mt. Etna. After my return in the late afternoon I unfortunately did only pursue food and not walk around the town more. The next morning at 0820 I was on my way to Agrigento and from there immediately to Palermo, cities that rank much higher on my list of places to see.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 291
90133 Palermo Tel. +39.91.581811
including excellent breakfast.
Palermo Hotel Finder
It's a package tourist hotel, but I have to recommend it. It was not really cheap, but at that point I've had it with one star and below hotels and settled happily into this nice three-star in the middle of Palermo. Excellent breakfast included. Continue on this street and in one direction you will end up at one of the great sights of Palermo, the Norman Chapel. Be prepared for a real spiritual experience and feast your eyes on the incredible artistry that survives to this day. Masses of tourist groups push though it each day, but, going by myself, I took time to just hang around and blocking out the tour groups, let myself be transported by the inspirational designs. I used Palermo as a staging area to visit the truly awesome Greek archeological sites in the south of Sicily. I did it the hard way. Find a tour (let the hotel help you) and see them all by tour bus. As much as I dislike tours, in this case, other than renting a car, a tour is the best alternative. It can be done by train, but after that it's hitchhiking and jogging many kilometers in hot Sicily with hardly any public transportation available in the countryside.