Recommendation for Rome, Florence, Pisa, Barcelona, Cologne and Stuttgart...

  1. :sos::?:

    I will be going to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Barcelona, Cologne and Stuttgart in September and October. Can anyone please recommend where to shop, stay, eat, see and to really experience the cultures?

  2. Anyone out there who can help me?????????

  3. For shopping in Stuttgart:

    You must visit the new Breuninger! It's their Flagship store and have a 'Designer Floor'!!!

    I'm dying to go there - but have not yet had the chance! But i did go to the Breuninger in Leipzig and it was faaaabulous
  4. Oh, I'm sorry! I forgot to write about places to stay and eat in Stuttgart :smile:

    When I was there a few years ago, we stayed at the Steinberger Graf Zepplin. It is across the street from the Bahnhof (train station) and in the center of town. Basically, it's in the middle of everything and since you're near to the trainstation - you'll have easy access to places that are a little bit farther to go to! I'm not sure what your budget is on a hotel - but when we stayed there, it was around 130EUR per night.

    To eat: if you really want a true taste of what German cooking really is - I wouldn't suggest going to a "chain" restaurant. I would suggest finding an old hole-in-the wall where you get real home cooking :smile: If you speak German, ask people on the street where they would recommend you eat. Also, you can get great suggestions at the Tourist Center.

    Things to do: Stuttgart is the home of Mercedes Benz, so you can visit their museum. The Tourist Center (and their website) will be very helpful in things like this. Everyone has different interests, so I can't really suggest anything to you since I don't know what you're into. But be sure to pick up a book from the tourist center, as they usually have coupons, and good tips in there :smile:

    Have a good time while you're in Germany! And be sure to bring a jacket. Those months tend to be a little bit wonky weather wise here!
  5. Thank you so much lamiastella! Your advice are very useful. It's also good to know about the weather because we are taking our kids with us (3yr & 5yr).

    I have heard about the Mercedes Benz museum, so I think my husband is already planning to go there. He's actually will be there for work while the kids and I get to play. I'm hoping to do some shopping (mostly for handbags and shoes). We can't wait to meet new people and try new things.

    Thanks again!!!
  6. In Florence, there is a really nice hotel called Hotel Roma, and it's about a 5-7 minute walk from the duomo and like a 2 minute walk from the SMN (Santa Maria Novella) station, which is the main station of Florence. If you are traveling by train (easiest way) then this is where you will probably end up. It's a **** star hotel and is really nice. As per shopping, the streets around the Duomo and Uffizi gallery have pretty good shopping. There is no Chanel in Florence, but I remember that Fendi and LV are right next door to each other. I can't remember the street name though (sorry!).
    In Rome, I would recommend using the station to get around the city, as it stops at most touristy spots and you don't have to walk far. However, I don't know how many times I've seen someone get something snatched by the little gypsy kids running around :rant: :amazed: They are so good at reaching their little hands in your bag! Anyways, go to the Spanish Steps for shopping. The subway will take you right out to Via Condotti, which is where all the great shops are around. Make sure you take a break from shopping and climb the beautiful steps. If you go into the church at the top (Trinita dei Monti) there is an amazing view as well! Hope this helps.

    EDIT: If you have any extra time (OK, realistically you won't) try to go to Siena or Lucca. Beautiful towns with so much history and culture you would not believe! Lucca is not too far from Pisa and Siena is a little more south from what I can remember. Okay, now I'm really done:smile:
  7. In Rome we stayed at the St. Regis, I recommend it, it's a GORGEOUS hotel! It's walking distance to shopping and restaurants.
  8. Yes ! I was just going to say, in Stuttgart - you HAVE to go to the Mercedes Benz museum. It reopened this year on May 19th, and it's lovely ! I got to see Mr. Governator's car, hehe.

    As to Florence and Rome, just follow the Japanese tourists - seriously. They are at all the major tourist attractions, that was like my saving grace when I got lost !
  9. Vlad can chime in about Cologne... but Cologne is known for the Dom Cathedral- right next to it is an Hermes boutique, LV, Starbucks, and shopping. There is a great hotel there- looks soo nice... called the Le Meridien Dom. It is pricey but 5 star and connected to Hermes over-looking the Cathedral. There are tons of shops, the Rhine river is close by which is gorgeous- and we saw a musical while we were there!! I LOVE Cologne!!!!

    You have quite the trip planned out!!! :yahoo:
  10. In addition to the great recommendations above you may also want to purchase a book of each city (if available) by Rick Steves, I bought his books for Rome, Florence, and Venice when I went in June of this year and had a great time. He basically spends all his time traveling and then writes/updates his books.
  11. spanish steps shops in rome are good. There is an all designer handbag store on via nationale at the end. I wasn't really impressed by florence though so I can't help you there but I stayed at the Mediterraneo Hotel there.

    WATCH YOUR BAG IN ROME! GRIP IT 24/7 & not just let it dangle on shoulder. The gypsys or the little kids runing around (I'm talking 8 years old!) will snatch it and be on a bus in .002 seconds. They have it all worked out. If you put down a coke bottle to take a picture it will be gone when you go to pick it up again. Also, don't put anything in your pockets. A guy I went with was a the trevi fountain and I literally watched a guy stick his hand in the guys pocket. (nothing was in it), but the guy didn't even feel it. They are pros over there and actually go to school to learn how to take things.

    Get a money belt if at all possible. They're smarter then you think when it comes to taking things, no matter what you think or how careful you are. I had a 10 year old lightly grab my bag and try to take it off my shoulder. Luckly my friend saw it and screamed so I gripped VERY tightly. The kid noticed and ran like the wind onto a bus while the gypys laughed.
  12. gosh so jealous.. wish I can go to those wonderful places too... have lots of fun..
  13. I'v been to Florence, Rome, Pisa and Barcelona and I don't quite remember Italy but I went to Barcelona just a year ago so I think I remember the area quite well.

    I must tell you, the biggest places are the art and architecture. I didn't like art before, but the architecture and art just takes your breath away in Barcelona... see bottom half.


    The best place ever to go is Placa Catalunya (which is where all of the famous brand names are... Cartier, Chanel... etc).

    Or if you're not too crazy about the big brand names and want something new and exciting, I think the best place is El Born. It's filled with new designers and it's off the beaten path of other places. It's pretty nice there.

    And also, the famous Las Ramblas is pretty awesome. They have cool performers, artists and some shops, but I really recommend Placa Catalunya.


    And for sight seeing, you have to see the following museums... your visit wouldn't be complete without these:
    Miro Museum (If you're not too crazy about art history, then all you have to do is take a stroll through the museum and look at the architecture and the awesome fountains and garden that they have. It's so innovative and the gift shop there is the best place to buy artsy gifts for your friends back home. I got my friend a candle in a really cool sardine looking can. lol)

    Picasso Museum (Another one that you must must visit when you visit Barcelona.)

    Are you interested in architecture?
    Gaudi's art is everywhere and you should visit hotels, apartments and parks that have his art. I believe there is a tour so you should go on that too. You can just look at his amazing art just from the outside and there is no charge for just standing outside and admiring the art... so it's free and beautiful! how much better can it get?


    Also, the famous Sagrada Familia Cathedral that is the most amazing piece of architecture that exists... it's still being constructed over hundreds of years because of how intricate it is. It's beyond words how intricate and beautiful it is. I thought this was much more impactful than the Notre Dame.

    Inside the cathedral


    (These are amazingly frightening but beautiful spiral stairs inside of the cathedral)
    You have to see the cathedral!!

    Anyways, I hope that helped.
  14. Also, for Rome and Florence, the best places are off the beaten path. Definitely don't go on a tour and if you do have to, it is best that you go to dinner and lunch on your own. I was on a tour for Rome and Florence and I didn't discover that there was amazing food until 3 days into the trip...

    There's the gelato of course that you have to sample when you get anywhere in Italy. The hazelnut is a must.

    Here's Food Network's recommendations... it is affordable and delicious. I have a friend who followed these exact trip food guides and she said she had an awesome time... it's from Rachael Ray's 40 dollars a day.

    TV : $40 a Day : Rome, Italy : Food Network

    TV : $40 a Day : Florence, Italy : Food Network

    And also a good website that tells you about Italian people's lifestyles and the dining traditions and also tips on paying the bill.

    Eating Out in Italy - Italian Meal and Dining Customs