Visiting Italy in Winter

Mar 19, 2019 Avatar Hilton Smith Hilton Smith

Despite visiting Italy many times, I never get tired of it. This recent trip was one of many that TravelStore travel planners do to personally see and evaluate travel changes. Italy is extremely popular with our clients. Refreshed views and current information make us all better advisors when you contact us.

This trip was focused on accommodations and logistics more than typical sightseeing venues.

In Rome, I was lucky to have relatively mild weather for the duration. People were actually using the outdoor sections of the cafes during the day. The food, wines, and treats were as rich and flavorful as ever.

During my stay, I either stayed at or inspected six Rome hotels of all different sizes and shapes. All were good in their categories and are worth considering. Most have special amenities pre-negotiated for our valued TravelStore clients. We have the connections and relationships to enhance your visit to any of them.

The Eden, now part of the Dorchester Collection, is fresh and digitally connected with a modern look but a nod to the classics. It offers the finest in furnishings with comfort and style. The 6th floor bar and restaurant gives you tremendous views of the city. Another successful five-star hotel is the Hotel de Russie with its unique outdoor garden and bar. This Rocco Forte offering has top service and a strong following. In May, it will be joined by the almost completed and revamped Rocco Forte Hotel de la Ville very close to the Spanish Steps.

Near Via Condotti, the traditional Hotel d’Inghilterra offers an historical luxury boutique hotel of just 88 rooms and suites. The unique Penthouse features a 2,000-square-foot private terrace perfect for summer fun and entertainment. Just a brief walk from there is the Portrait Rome of only 14 exclusive studios and suites. You must ring to even get into the lobby. More like a private home than a hotel, for those who want service and ultimate privacy, this may be the answer. A bit further but still very central is the J.K. Rome, which is very stylish with a modern twist. From the elevator that looks like a doorway to the hidden bathroom tissue holders, this hotel is about style and customized fulfillment. It is next to an authentic local food market.

Finally, there is the very contemporary First Roma Hotel with rich marble and some unique room options. One is a suite with two full bathrooms for those that don’t want to share. It also has a marvelous roof deck bar and restaurant that is open all year with movable roof and all.

In Florence, I spent most of my time going to a fulfilling first trip to Siena, which is just a bit more than an hour away. Siena is magical and worth a visit. Back in Florence, I stayed at the revamped Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy and loved the update. Some rooms have been combined for bigger spaces. Public spaces have been enlarged too. The hotel retains its design elements with very personalized attention.

Italy seems a bit more organized now. Security was evident at the regular tourist sites and pickpocket issues seem to be down, but never relax your guard here. Uber is now in Rome, but I found taxis to be less expensive if I could find them. Rail stations now have manned barriers to weed out anyone without a ticket. All the wonderful things Italy is famous for are still there. As I said before, I never tire of them.

I still found time to visit the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and more. In Florence, the entire city is a museum. My advice is to use your phone to find a specific address or site. However, don’t forget to wander. Getting lost in Rome or Florence is rewarding in so many ways. Turning off the “guidance system” will allow history, architecture, design, and the wonderful Italian people to become part of your memories of this special part of Europe.

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