Monday, November 3, 2014

Kathy B in Italy

Kathy Brueggemeyer was just in Italy exploring the rolling hills of Tuscany and the city streets of Rome. She visited a number of fabulous hotels, toured the top tourist sites, drank delicious wine, and ate incredible culinary creations.She was hosted by a fabulous partner of ours, Marcelo at Waterstone Marketing. His collection of properties includes very unique and authentic gems. 

Kathy started her journey in Rome where she had a site inspection and dinner at the Hotel Hassler. This beautiful property is in a prime location at the top of the Spanish Steps. It has the most magnificent Presidential suite with an extremely large terrace overlooking the Spanish steps. Kathy dined at the 1 Michelin starred restaurant on the rooftop, Imàgo, and it was fabulous!Even if you cannot stay at the Hassler be sure to dine at Imàgo during your next trip to Rome.

While in Rome Kathy toured the Vatican where she highly recommends a private tour. Her small group of 12 people made it hard to hear the guide with all the crowds around you. Nevertheless her guide was very knowledgeable and professional.

Located about 30 minutes from FCO airport – about equal distance from Rome central and Civitavecchia - is La Post Vecchia. This villa hotel located is on the water and offers an array of unique room categories. Be sure to tell your advisor what you prefer so they can match you with the best fit. Kathy recommends staying on the 1st floor (2nd floor to Americans since the Europeans call the ground floor zero). These rooms have very high ceilings and large windows that can be opened up.  Seaside or garden view - it is all beautiful so you can't go wrong!! The Cesar restaurant is an excellent 1 Michelin starred restaurant on property with both inside and outside dining. This is a great hotel for 1 or 2 nights pre-cruise or before going to FCO airport to return home. 

Kathy continued about an hour and half north to the sister property to La Posta Vecchia, Il Pellicano. Located on the cliff of a peninsula into the Mediterranean this hotel has beautiful views to the sea.   The winding cliff road gives it a real feeling of being away from it all even though it is only about 15 minutes to the town. This hotel has a more cosmopolitan feel than it's sister property and has 2 accommodation options – the main lodge overlooking the sea and public areas or the quiet cottages. This property has a 2 Michelin starred restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating.   Kathy says while she is not a “foodie”, the meal was excellent and the service was impeccable but still in a casual, comfortable setting. Enjoy the “beach” club with decking over the rocks and a small pier with access to the water. Enjoy a beverage from the mobile bar and soak in the sun from this pristine spot.

 About two hours north of Il Pellicano, Kathy stayed at Hotel Byron in Forte dei Marmi, another villa property.  There are no beachfront properties here (nothing is on the beach) but Hotel Byron is directly across the street from the beach. Again, all the rooms are different so you should discuss your desires with your travel advisor to be sure you are getting the right type.  Kathy had a 2 story two bedroom villa called the Shelley Suite with a terrace and two bathrooms. This would be a great accommodation for either family with older children or two couples.  Her room was just steps from a nice pool area which also serves as casual dining.  The breakfast area is located at the front the property with views out to the main street where you can watch the hustle and bustle of town. This hotel is also has a one star Michelin restaurant – located in a separate building in the back of the hotel, with excellent sea food.    

Forte dei Marmi has wide, sandy beaches like Southern California. They are dominated by beach clubs that offer service, but at a cost. Rates range from 60-300 Euros per day and include anything from beach chairs up to a cabana for 6 people.Food & beverage service is available as well. Forte dei Marmi is small, easy to walk town filled with lots of shopping including a lot of high end designer shops. 
Pietrasanta is a short drive from Forte dei Marmi.  It is known for its marble quarries and artist communities. Here Kathy got to try her hand in marble sculpting. It was certainly much harder than the artists make it look.   

Stay tuned for more of Kathy's adventures as her trip continues on to Florence.


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