Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Ristorante Tre Scalini, Piazza Navonna, Roma,

I have always loved Piazza Navonna in Rome, Italy. I am entranced by the proportions of the square and fascinated by the artists who display their talents there. My daughter enjoyed watching the ‘silver man’ living staue who performed while she was there with me and, years later, when my husband treated me to a week in this fabulous city, we were keen to re-visit all the sites.

trevi fountainThe day we visited the Trevi Fountain.The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini. Standing 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Tourists toss coins into the Trevi Fountain to guarantee a return visit to Rome. For many years now, the monies retrieved from the fountain have been collected, sorted, and donated to Caritas, the non-profit that provides food to the poor and homeless of Rome.

trevi teaAfter our visit to the Trevi fountain, my husband and I walked through the streets of Rome to Piazza Navonna where we treated ourselves to afternoon tea in the Ristorante Tre Scalini. 

Dave & cakeThis is a delightful restaurant where the staff are smartly dressed and formally courteous. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his coffee and banana split. He hadn’t had one for ages, so it was a special holiday treat. I chose a nice cup of tea and we had a lovely time, chatting about our day and planning our evening. We probably stayed far longer than an afternoon tea stop would normally justify, but at no time were we pressured or rushed or made to feel like we had overstayed our welcome.Trevi Restaurant

We enjoyed our visit to Ristorante Tre Scalini and would deiniftely stop there again. It is not a cheap restaurant, but it is lovely and it is in a premium situation in Piazza Navonna. I would certainly recommend it.

Val Penny





Il Caffe,San Lorenzo, Rome, Italy

Every trip aaway from home requires a little down time. On a recent visit to Rome, The Eternal City in Italy, my husband and I set aside one day for nothing more than relaxing, drinking coffee, eating cake and watching the world go by. It was most enjoyable.Il Caffe Rome out

After a lazy start to the day, when we had coffee and wrote postcards (yes, some people still write postcards)! We wandered about San Lorenzo, the area where our hotel was situated. The hotel was bitterly disappointing and is reviewed on this site, here: However, we enjoyed our vacation and were happy to find Il Caffe for lunch.Il Caffe Rome in 1

We chose freshly made sandwiches, crisps and a soft drink. The food was very tasty, and the atmosphere at Il Caffe was relaxed and the staff were courteous and helpful. The place was busy over the lunchtime period, but there was no sense of stress or pressure that spilled over to the customers.Il Caffe Rome in 2

Il Caffe offers good value, has good access for disabled patrons and we very much enjoyed our lunch and the experience of visiting this unpretentious, clean, friendly little restaurant.

Valerie Penny

Bio 100, Piazza di Porta Sao Paolo, Rome, Italy

bio-100-pyramidOn a sunny October morning, my husband and I ventured across Rome, Italy, to see the pyramid and the area around it. We expected a modern-style glass edice as in the Louvre in Paris, France but were thrilled to find a much more traditional stone built

It is in the area around Piazza di Porta Sao Paolo, a vibrant area with shops, cafe restaurants and some pretty park areas. We enjoyed exploring

After our walk we decided to stop for a coffee. There were lots of little cafes around but we chose Bio 100. The ingredients there are all 100% gm free. Although we did not stop to eat, all the sandwiches, salads and cakes looked delicious. The staff were very helpful and the cafe is spotlessly clean. They have seating inside and outside. We were lucky that the weather was mild enough to allow us to sit and relax outside and watch the world go

The coffee we had was delicious and we enjoyed the ambience of Bio 100. I highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny

Al Cardello, Via del Cardello, Rome, Italy

My husband and I stopped for lunch at Al Cardello, Via del Cardello, Rome, Italy. It is a delightful little restaurant on the corner of Via del Cardello. It was very busy but we were shown to a little table in the sunshine.

We had spent all morning at the Forum. What a lot there was to see! However, we were glad the restaurant was close. By the time we got to Al Cardello both of us welcomed a long drink of water. I also chose a soft drink and my husband had a beer. There were other tourists, but also lots of Italian customers in the restaurant. I always think it is a good sign if local people use a

We chose an insalata caprese to share as our starter. I had a spaghetti pomodoro for my main course, while my husband opted for the house special of fettuccine with meatballs. Everything was made to order and there was no rush. The salad was served with brown bread. It was very

It was lovely to relax and spend an afternoon in this friendly, family run restaurant. The restaurant clearly does no believe in nouvelle cuisine: the portions were a very good size. We both enjoyed our meals very much. We were hungry and appreciated the hearty

After we were finished, as we were enjoying the atmosphere so much, we decided to extend our stay with a coffee. What a good coffee! When we went inside the restaurant to pay our bill, we were amazed at the amount of seating inside. Al Cardello is a real little tardis and it has a beautiful counter of hanging meats, fresh fruit and a variety of cardello inside.jpg

If you visit Rome, I highly recommend Al Cardello. I am sure you will get as warm a welcome and as good a meal as we did.

Valerie Penny

Hotel Vibel, Viale dello Scalo S. Lorenzo, 97, Rome, Italy

vibelI am a positive person. I try to be nice. However, as a kid I was taught that honesty is the best policy and experience has taught me that this is so. I have read many reports about Hotel Vibel, Viale dello Scalo S. Lorenzo, 97, Rome, Italy. I have just returned from a stay in this hotel and I will be forthright and honest about what I found. Please bear in mind my husband and I had researched this Hotel Vibel and paid in advance. It claims 4*. We could not comfortably afford to go elsewhere.

This hotel states it is not suitable for those with mobility issues. That, at least, is true. It also states that there is free Wi-Fi, each room has a safe and that it has a balcony and (very small) sitting room: these claims are also true. However, Hotel Vibel claims that it has a 24-hour reception. My husband and I arrived to find that the hotel was locked and there was nobody to answer the door.

I was about to phone my booking agent when an elderly man rushed up from behind us and opened the door. He spoke only Italian so I do not know what the explanation was. No member of staff spoke any foreign language. The reception was tiny, consisting of one untidy desk, with a certificate to show 4* at the back. We signed in and were given the key to room 10. The main door to Hotel Vibel is kept permanently locked, but we were given no entry key. Guests must depend on the unreliable staff for entrance and egress.

As Hotel Vibel is next door to a lap-dancing club and above a credit-card operated sex room, this would be a worry to many, particularly solo or female travellers. I was accompanied by my husband, but I was not thrilled by this. The noise from the lap-dancing club at the weekend kept us awake.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our room was at the top of the hotel, up 3 flights of stairs. No assistance was given with our luggage. We were shown into a very grubby room. The curtain was not hung properly, the en-suite facilities were in poor repair, three out of the five light fittings worked (one of those three intermittently), the decoration was poor and there was a large cobweb swinging from ceiling above the wardrobe. Imagine our surprise when somebody else’s clothes were in the wardrobe! The elderly man re-appeared to remove the clothes. I understood him to say they belonged to another guest. Who knows?

Now, to breakfast. Well, on the first morning there was a jug of red juiceor water to choose from. I do not know what kind of juice it was, but it tasted nice. There was sliced, white bread, crackers, yoghurts, cheese, salami, cereals and cakes to choose from on a buffet basis. The member of staff (who was also purportedly on reception on the ground floor) made fresh coffee. It was good coffee, but as they spoke no language other than Italian, getting coffee the way we wanted it posed a challenge. I mention the language issue because I have never been to a 4* hotel before where no member of staff spoke no language other than their native language. My husband and I can managed in French and German as well as English, but neither of these helped. Other guests from Spain and Portugal were no more fortunate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The second morning breakfast was more limited, less bread in the basket, only two flavours of yoghurt, fewer crackers and less cake. We should have been grateful, the next day there was no bread and the toaster had been removed. We were never offered bread again! The following day the jug of red juice was empty. I held it up questioningly to the woman dealing wth breakfast.”Finito.” She stated flatly before she turned away. The staff were singularly miserable.

Enough of breakfast. Hotel Vibel claims to have a bar and serve drinks. It does not. It says it has room service. It does not. It states that rooms have a mini bar. They do not. There was an empty refridgerator in our room. If we wanted anything into it by the hotel, we had to buy it at high prices. There are no complimentary items to eat or drink provided by the hotel, indeed, our room did not even have a glass in it, let alone anything to drink.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Often the used towels in our room were removed and not replaced. At one point we were down to one bath towel between us! Oh, and do not take a shower is after dark. The water is solar heated with no electric back-up, so after dark the water is extremely cold!

I can only assume that the 4* Hotel Vibel claims are self-awarded or confirmed by the owners mother! The hotel is dirty and I would struggle to award more than one star: that would be for the free Wi-Fi. I am angry as I feel that I was duped into booking this hotel by false claims and overly-generous reviews. I do not recommend Hotel Vibel.

Valerie Penny



Caffè Bianco,Via Dei Baullari, 147, Rome, Italy

My husband took me to Rome recently to celebrate a significant birthday. During the visit we were exploring the city and realised it was time for lunch. We turned a corner and my husband spotted the Caffè Bianco,Via Dei Baullari, 147, Rome, Italy. It was a great find!

Unusually, for a main street Ristorante Pizzeria in the centre of the city, Caffè Bianco advertises a lunch timecaffe-bianco special menu. It is as good as its word. You get a choice of various drinks, a salad, bruscetta and a choice of a variety of pizza and pasta main courses. We sat in the veranda area to the street side of the restaurant. It was busy, and we quickly found out why. The staff were polite, friendly and efficient. The diners are also somewhat protected by the weather by clear plastic sheets. Access for those with mobility problems is easy. On top of all that the food, for omnivores and vegetarians, was delicious.

My husband and I both chose soft drinks but requested a large bottle of still water too as the weather was hot and quite humid so we got dehydrated walking about the city. The drinks were served swiftly. Maybe we looked more dehydrated than we felt. The salad and bruchetta were served on the same plate. The salad was fresh and the tomatoes deliciously sweet. The bruscetta was not served on toasted bread as it is in the UK, but the fresh bread was warm. Altogether this made for a tasty starter.

caffe-bianco-insideI chose a maghuerita pizza and my husband swithered between the lasagne and a ham pizza, but eventually plumped for the pizza too. The pizza are made to order, so there was a few minutes to wait between courses. However, during that time, the cabaret came on: a diner arrived with his bodyguards. He entered by a side door and one of his bodyguards was stationed at each of the three entrances with one keeping watch outside on the street. Another minder joined the important person at his table. I was quite excited that it might be somebody really interesting, but it was a politician.

Anyway, that all gave us sufficient diversion before out main courses arrived. The pizzas were delicious. The bases were thin and the toppings generous. We enjoyed our meals at Caffè Bianco. I highly recommend this modest restaurant, without hesitation.

Valerie Penny