Here We Come! | Italy | May 1, 2024 | BC2024*

Day 1 | Departing Washington, DC – Dulles (IAD)
Delta 9447 at 5:50 PM

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Departing IAD on Delta DL 9447 at 5:50 pm

Day 2 | Arrive Amsterdam Airport

Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 7:35 AM

Depart Amsterdam | Delta 9301 for Venice

Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 9:10 AM

Days 2-4 | Venice, Italy

Arrive Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 10:50 AM

Shared Water Taxi Transfer from Airport to Hotel

A Viator booking with tour operator Bucintoro Viagga.

Please refer to desk number 71 at the arrival hall in the airport (map). It should be on your left when leaving the luggage claim area.

• Each traveler is allowed a maximum of 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on bag. Oversized or excessive luggage (e.g. surfboards, golf clubs or bikes) may have certain restrictions, please inquire with the operator prior to travel to confirm if your excess luggage is acceptable.
• Passengers are advised that this is a shared transfer, and you may wait between 30 minutes before transferring to your water taxi and onto Venice stops
• The boat stops include Piazzale Roma, Carlton, Sabbioni, S.S. Apostoli, Rialto, San Vio, Trinita, S.Marco, S.Zaccaria, S.Maria Elisabetta, Sant’Angelo and Hotel Dei Dogi (for guests staying in this hotel, Residenza Cannaregio or Hotel Ai Mori d’Oriente). The driver will alter the route (where possible) to drop you at the most convenient stop available to your Venice hotel, but some restrictions apply so you may need to walk a short distance.
• You must report flight arrival changes. If your flight is delayed without notice, surcharge will apply (payable direct). If your flight arrives after 10pm, Venice Airport Link boats are not available, and you will be offered alternative transfers at an additional cost.

You can use my links to book or contact me to make the bookings. If you self-book and activities, please email me your confirmation so that I can make sure I am credited.

Hilton Molino Stuckey, Venice

Executive Room, 1 King Bed
Lounge Access.
Breakfast Included
City Tax Not Included

Enjoy your Executive room, 291 sq. ft, king size Serenity bed, 40-inch HDTV, marble bathroom, and Murano-glass chandelier. Enjoy your exclusive access to the Executive Lounge, with complimentary drinks and snacks.

Your stylish room is in a fully restored flour mill on the shores of picturesque Giudecca Island. The hotel is accessible in just a few minutes by a private shuttle boat from Piazza San Marco. Enjoy breathtaking views of the town’s historic center from the highest rooftop bar in the city, take a dip in our summer rooftop swimming pool, relax in the spa and discover local and international flavors in our restaurants.

Hotel Shuttle Service

It connects the hotel with Piazza San Marco and Zattere. With a regular service available seven days a week, it is the ideal way to explore Venice and easily reach the center.

The hotel shuttle service’s rate is €15 per person per stay. Location.

Vaporetto Dock Nearest Hotel Molino Stuckey

Click here for my page on the water taxi (vaporetto) system in Venice.

Day 3 | Venice, Italy

Murano & Burano Islands Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat

Friday May 3, 2024, at 9:00 AM

Murano & Burano Islands

This is a guided small-group tour by private boat, with City Wonders, booked through Viator (video).

Explore the intricacies of two famed Italian handicrafts on a fully guided day trip from Venice to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano with a group of up to 20 people. Watch centuries-old glassblowing techniques in Murano, and marvel at the detailed stitches of exquisite Burano lace.

Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure time at the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Riva degli Schiavoni.

  • Your City Wonders guides will have a City Wonders sign with the name of the tour at the meeting point for easy recognition.
  • Your tour will end at Hotel Gabrielli Riva degli Schiavoni, 4110, near San Marco.

Day 4 | Venice, Italy

Monday, May 4, 2024, at 11:00 am

Skip-the-Line: Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica

This is a guided group with Skip the Line access, by Park Viaggi (Viator). You will Learn about the palace’s role in Venetian history and cover its top works of art with your guide before continuing on through St. Mark’s Square to St. Mark’s Basilica.

Meeting Point: Arrive 15 minutes ahead of time at Campo S. Zaccaria, 4683g, Campo S. Zaccaria, 4683g (map).
Provider phone: +393404158707

A dress code is required to enter places of worship and selected museums. No shorts or sleeveless tops allowed. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. 

Days 5-7 | Florence, Italy

Sunday, May 5, 2024, 11:05 am

Hotel and the Santa Lucia Railway Station & Piazzale Roma

Public transport & short walk

Take the Actv vaporetto line 2 (via Giudecca) or 4.1 to Palanca, which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
€ 9.50 per person
Transfer time: 25 – 30 minutes

Public transport & hotel shuttle

Take the Actv vaporetto line 2 (via Giudecca) or 4.1 to Palanca, which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
€ 9.50 per person
Transfer time: 25 – 30 minutes

Private water taxi to the hotel

€ 70 for up to 4 people
€ 15 extra for night transfer (22.00 – 07.00)
€ 10 for each extra passenger (maximum 10)
Transfer time: 10 – 15 minutes

Italo Train 8911 to Florence

Departing at 11:05 am from Venice Santa Lucia station. (map). Ask the hotel desk for arrangements.

Arriving 1:20 PM Firenze Santa Maria Novella station. The taxi stand is just outside of the building.

IMPORTANT: Be at the platform at least 20 minutes before departure.

Your train tickets include access to the Italo Club Lounge, so arrive early and relax!

Check the partenze. Partenze means departures in Italian, whereas Arrivi means arrivals. Find your train number under the Partenze column and go to the correct platform for your departure. Knowing your train number is key because the Partenze will display the final destination of the train. If you are traveling from Florence to Rome, your train might actually keep going to Naples – so it will be Napoli which shows on the board. If you keep watching, all of the stops will scroll by in the smaller letters next to the main destination.

Taxi to Hotel from the Train Station

Florence Taxis Stands (map and list) – Taxi4390 or call +39 055 4390

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Piazza dell’Unità Italiana 6, Florence, Italy, 50123 Phone +39 055 23580

Facebook Reels: Breakfast

Days 5 | May 5, 2024 | Ancient Basilica of Santa Reparata .

You have a Ghiberti Pass with a timed entry to visit Santa Reparata at 4 pm.

Enter at the Cathedral “Porta Campanile” on the south side, near the Bell Tower. (map)

Descending into History

Location: Inside the magnificent cathedral, nestled between the first and second pillars on the right side of the central nave, lies a well-kept secret. A narrow stairway beckons curious visitors to explore the depths below.

The Journey:

As you descend, the air grows cooler, and the echoes of centuries past envelop you. The stone steps, worn smooth by countless pilgrims and worshippers, lead you further into the heart of history. The flickering candlelight casts dancing shadows on the ancient walls, revealing faded frescoes and cryptic inscriptions.

Santa Reparata Basilica:

At the base of the stairway, you arrive at a hidden chamber – the site of the ancient Basilica di Santa Reparata. Archaeologists painstakingly unearthed this sacred space during an extensive campaign from 1965 to 1973. Here, the past whispers its secrets, and the stones themselves seem to hold memories.

Discoveries Await:

Explore the remnants of Santa Reparata – its mosaic floors, fragments of marble columns, and crypts where early Christians once sought solace. Imagine the faithful gathering here, their prayers echoing off the vaulted ceilings. Perhaps you’ll glimpse traces of devotion etched into the walls – symbols, graffiti, or cryptic messages left by pilgrims seeking grace.

A Timeless Connection:

As you stand in this subterranean sanctuary, consider the layers of time that converge here. From the early Christian Basilica to the grand cathedral above, Santa Reparata bridges centuries. It’s a testament to resilience, faith, and the enduring quest for meaning.

Days 6 | May 6, 2024 | 8:00 am

Tuscany Day Trip from Florence: Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Lunch at a Winery

Meeting point and End Point

Piazza della Stazione, 14/39, Piazza della Stazione, 14/39, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Days 7 | May 7, 2024 | 9:30 am

Galleria Dell’ Accademia (website)

La Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze exhibits the largest number of Michelangelo’s sculptures in the world. Rick Steve’s has an audio guide to tour on your own (map) (audio guide).

Before your tour present your voucher at the redemption point to receive your entry ticket.
Redemption Point: Via Ricasoli, 68, 50122 Firenze (map). Located between the Duomo and Piazza San Marco, on block closest to San Marco.

Days 7 | May 7, 2024 | 3:00 pm

Ufizzi Gallery (website)

The Gallery entirely occupies the first and second floors of the large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). Visit my Audio Tours page to download maps and an audio tour.

Rick Steve’s has an audio guide to tour on your own, print his map.

Arrive 30 minutes early to pick up your tickets at Ticket Office (map).
Before your tour, present your voucher at the redemption point to receive your entry ticket.
Redemption Point: Via Ricasoli, 68, 50122 Firenze (map). Located between the Duomo and Piazza San Marco, on block closest to San Marco.

Eataly Firenze

Eataly is a nice place to stop for lunch and to browse their market.
Via De Martelli 22 R (map)

Ristorante Rosso Crudo

Bistecca Florentina, with all of the trimmings and wine, at a very reasonable cost. Delizioso!

Via dei Servi, 85 rosso, (map)

Days 8-11 | Amalfi, Italy

Wednesday – Saturday, May 8-12, 2024

Taxi or Uber to the train station from your hotel. You can also ask the hotel desk for assistance in booking a taxi to the station.

Train from Florence to Salerno

Depart 9:14 am – Arrive 1:02 pm

You will be travelling in Business class on Train 9515. Please visit my page on Trenitalia for information on the types of tickets you can book, and sample pricing. Don’t forget to watch the Partenze board for your Binario!

Travelmar Ferry (timetable)

Salerno, Piazza Concordia ➜ Amalfi

Departures at 08:40 ⛴️ 09:40 ⛴️ 10:40 ⛴️ 11:40 ⛴️ 13.00*⛴️14:10 ⛴️ 15:30 ⛴️ 16:40*⛴️ 18:00* ⏱️35m €10
*via Vietri/Cetara/Maiori/Minori ⏱️60m

Map from Salerno Train Station to the Ferry Port

Light Lunch Near the Port

Just before crossing the street to the port, you can stop at Madegra (directions) for a beverage and a snack. They don’t have a website in English, and you can point at what you want as this Italian fast food is like a cafeteria. (website).

Do I recommend a stop? You bet I do. Say hello and show my buddy the photo for a grin.

Arrive in Amalfi by Ferry

If the ferry is not running, you can find a taxi stand just outside the train station.

La Bussola Hotel

The hotel is in a building that in 1900 was originally a pasta factory.  It is on the seafront and conveniently located, just a short walk to the center of the city. Your breakfast is included. (map)

You will luxuriate in a Prestige Room, with a beautiful balcony overlooking the sea of Amalfi and a jacuzzi. Decor is a fantasy of coastal ceramics and fresh Mediterranean colors, with large balconies and high ceilings, lots of natural light, air conditioning, heating, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and a minibar. 

Day 9 | Amalfi, Italy

Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 10 am

Vince and Salvatore, Proprietor of the Lemon Experience

Who does Vince know who does tours of the lemon groves? Georgia does tours! Interested? Jane Pauley and the CBS Sunday Morning show have the story “Growing lemons on the Amalfi Coast” here.

  • Walk among the lemon groves.
  • Visit the farm and a enjoy a refreshing break with typical products such as lemonade and lemon pie.
  • Visit the Museum of rural culture, arts and crafts.
  • TripAdvisor Reviews

Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 2:30 pm

Amalfi Heaven Gardens
Cooking Class

Learn the secrets of Italian cooking from local chefs in the terraced gardens of the stunning Amalfi Coast. Enjoy the intimate and friendly atmosphere of a small-group cooking class, taste typical local products and savor the dishes you’ve prepared.

Arriving from Amalfi

  • ​​​On foot: Take a nice walk of about 20 minutes in the direction of Positano and up the stairs from the road. Gardens entrance is on the right, in front of G.A.S. Bar.
  • By bus: Take a bus in the direction of Sorrento, Agerola or Pogerola and ask the driver to be dropped off at G.A.S. Bar. The journey takes just 3 minutes. We are just up the stairs in front of G.A.S. Bar. Tickets CANNOT be bought on board; you need to buy them before to get on the bus. Bus schedules can be checked on (select Campania).

Need transportation? Mimmo Taxi is the #1 taxi in Amalfi, literally! Look for the white van with taxi license #1 on the rear. If my cousin Mimmo’s taxi isn’t available, Marcello in the white van with taxi #5 can provide you with excellent service.

Day 10 | Amalfi, Italy

Friday, May 10, 2024 | Visit to Capri

This trip is weather dependent as the ferries don’t run when the sea is too rough. You are booked on the NLG ferry to Capri.

Your voucher is Not Valid for Boarding
Check in at the ticket office 20 minutes in advance.

Depart Amalfi for Trip to Capri at 10:30 am

To get to the center of Capri from Marina Grande, the fastest method is the funicular (map), which climbs uphill through lemon groves and drops you directly in the Piazzetta.

  • Departures: every 15 minutes (more often at peak times).
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Ticket price: EUR 2.20

The Marina Grande ticket office is not located at the entrance to the funicular, but at the end of the arrival pier to the right (facing land), near the high speed ferry ticket offices. You can also bring small pets on board. To transport large suitcases, you must purchase a supplement ticket.
The funicular closes from January through March for maintenance. During these months, you’ll need to take the substitute bus route.

Walking Times

  • Capri – Marina Grande: 15 minutes or less. The road begins at the Piazzetta behind the clock tower, then follow the signage for the port.
  • Marina Grande – Capri: 30 minutes – Take the road that climbs opposite the “banchinella”, where ships and boats dock (pier 21). The road is a steep uphill climb with a number of steps, so best avoided if you have luggage!
  • Capri – Marina Piccola: it’s not worth the effort to take the bus! Just walk there by taking the Via Mulo stairs down to the port, which begin at Due Golfi.
  • Anacapri – Marina Grande: 20 minutes along the spectacular Scala Fenicia stairway, which begins at the gardens of Axel Munthe’s Villa). There are around 1,000 steps that are quite high, so you need to be in good shape!
  • Capri – Anacapri: 1 hour – Note: all uphill!
  • Anacapri – Capri: Half an hour – Keep a close watch for the staircases that are a shortcut!

Do you want to call a taxi?

Depart Capri for Return to Amalfi at 3:45 pm

Lunch on Bar Gran Cafe’s Terrace
Dinner at Lo Smeraldino
Shopping at Il Ninfeo Ceramic Shop
Shopping at Destination Amalfi

S. Croce Beach – Amalfi

Da Teresa restaurant is a great place for lunch while enjoying a relaxing day on the beach at Santa Croce. You arrive by a free shuttle boat from the pier in Amalfi. This is where many Amalfi locals enjoy a bella day on the beach. Check out this video and their reviews on Trip Advisor and a travel blog.

The restaurant is open from 12:00.
The beach service and the bar await you from 09:00 in the morning.

Santa Croce Beach, 1 – 84011 Amalfi (SA)

Mobile 3351596166

The Amalfi Coast

Lunch at Donna Sofia Ristorante Tell Mario Vincent from Cincinnati said ciao.!
Dinner and Dessert at Sal de Riso in Minori

Days 12-15 | Rome, Italy

Sunday – Wednesday, May 12-15, 2024

Sunday, May 12, 2024, at 9 am Mimmo Taxi will pick you up from the La Bussola Hotel for your private van transfer to the Naples Train Station.

Train from Naples to Rome

Depart 12:09 pm- Arrive 1:20 pm

You will be travelling in Business class on Train 9422. Please visit my page on Trenitalia for information on the types of tickets you can book, and sample pricing. Don’t forget to watch the Partenze board for your Binario!

Best Western Plus Hotel Universo

The hotel is located (map) in the center of Rome a few steps from the Roma Termini Station and the Opera House. Featuring a rooftop lounge bar on the panoramic terrace on the top floor (open 5-11 pm), the Four Seasons Restaurant (menu) on the ground floor, and a fitness center and a wellness area with sauna and Turkish bath.

By train

The Best Western Plus Hotel Universo is only 5 minutes walking from Roma Termini Central Railway Station. From Piazza Cinquecento, in front of the station, follow Via Massimo D’Azeglio and after 100 meters turn right into Via Principe Amedeo. The hotel is at number 5/b.

Line A (Orange)

Line A runs from the northwest to southeast, from Battistini to Anagnina. The most important stops are the following:

Lunch or Dinner near the Pantheon

Bistro Tabaccheria di Rienzo (map)

Stop and enjoy the food, and the service. Tell Luigi that Vincenco from Cincinnati sent you and said hello!

And if you need Luige provides it!
SSID: Caffe Di Rienzo Guest
PWD: bistropantheon

Day 13 | Rome

Tickets to the Colosseum. Entry is at 9:45 am, so get there at least 30 minutes early so you can get in line. Follow the specific instructions on your tickets!

Your tickets include entry to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Roma Fora (guide). You don’t have to go directly from the Colosseum. Your tickets allow for them allow you entry on either 5/13 or 5/14.

Day 14 | Rome

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica

Be ready to be picked up at your hotel at 7:15 am by Brastours for your early morning small group tour (maximum of 10 people) of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. When you’ve completed the museum portion of your tour, you will be escorted into St. Peter’s Basilica. Marvel and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Rome: Castel Sant’Angelo Visit

Click here for some history on the Castel. You can visit after your Vatican tour, after you’ve had a light lunch. Or you can begin your self-guided tour and stop for lunch on the terrace at Castel S.A. If you wish, you can download an audio guide for your phone. (Directions)

Dinner at Trattoria Vecchia Roma

Leonardo Interactive Museum

Step inside the creative mind of Leonardo Da Vinci with skip-the-line entrance to the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Rome. Your admission ticket offers unlimited access, so you can spend as long you like exploring the exhibitions and admiring Leonardo’s Machines, created from the famous Da Vinci Codes. (Directions)

Click here for directions. Church History.

Day 15 – Depart Rome | Delta 215

Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at 10:20 am

Arrive Atlanta Airport at 3:20 pm – 3.5 Hour Layover

Depart Atlanta Airport at 6:50 pm | Delta 2902

Arrive Dulles Airport (IAD) at 8:33 pm – Washington, DC

Links for More Information

Rome with Kids – Fun things to do, what’s free, what to expect (

Rome Taxi- Guide to Taxi to/from airport and city center.

GetYourGuide – Please book through this link.


Cellular Phone Service | Verizon Phone Service

Plan your trip overseas with our travel planner | Verizon

Currency Exchange

Foreign currency exchange is the act of exchanging one type of currency for another. For example, if you’re planning an international trip to Europe, you may want to plan ahead and exchange U.S. dollars for Euros so that you are prepared to cover cash expenses as soon as you arrive without having to stop at an exchange office at your destination. Two hundred euros should get you through until you get to an ATM.

Making ATM Withdrawals – USE A BANK ATM!

The best way to get cash in Italy is to make an ATM withdrawal when you arrive. The Visa or Mastercard exchange rate applies and is better than any rate you’re likely to get exchanging currency at an exchange office or a bank.

Italian bank ATMs are called bancomats and some don’t charge a local ATM operator fee — but avoid using independent ATMs. These third-party ATMs charge like a wounded bull, and it’ll be obvious which ATMs are affiliated with a bank and which aren’t.

Cash and Currency Tips for Europe by Rick Steves

Foreign Currency Exchange Services (

How long does it take to receive foreign currency bank notes that are ordered at a PNC branch?

Standard foreign currency orders entered before 4:30 p.m. ET will be delivered to the branch by the end of the next business day. (during business travel season please allow 1 – 2 additional business days)

Customers may request overnight delivery for a $15 charge. Overnight delivery foreign currency orders entered before 4:30 p.m. ET will be delivered to the branch by noon the next business day. Overnight delivery is only available Monday through Friday and isn’t available on bank holidays.

Foreign Currency Exchange | Fifth Third Bank (

Fifth Third customers can buy and sell foreign currency at their local branch with competitive exchange rates. And when you return from your trip, Fifth Third can buy back any unused foreign currency, exchanging it back into U.S. dollars.  Contact your local branch if you have questions about a particular currency carried.

Contact Vince to plan your unforgettable trips.



Water Shoes, the beaches are primarily rocky.