Arrivederci, Roma. May I return to the Eternal City. Free Sheraton on the outskirts of Rome had a setting and pool that were pretty.

As Descartes used to say, plus ça change…. But evidently he wasn’t always right, things don’t always stay the same, at least not in Italy.

When I stayed at the Sheraton Golf Parco de Medici for part of my first niece’s excellent European adventure, it was a fantastic hotel experience (and only an SPG Category 2, but it has since gone up to 3); we were there in the summertime in the middle of a heat wave, and were very happy to be staying just outside the craziness of the city.

There was a large swimming pool with beautiful views, yet the hotel was only a half an hour ride barely to the city center, and back then the oft-running shuttle was free. Now there’s a charge, and people are not happy.

As a Starwood Preferred Guest member, I also got an upgrade for only 500 points per night, and we stayed in a roomy, comfortable mini-suite.

We visited the Coliseum, the Forum, the Campo di Fiori, saw Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus, walked part of the Via Antica, enjoyed the Vatican, and Sistine Chapel, and shopped at my favorite odds and ends bargain department store, MAS. That place really does make for some weird shopping (but I grew up in Massachusetts, home of the original Filene’s Basement and the chain of Building 19 stores, so no big deal…), and you have to pick through a lot of clutter and junk to find a jewel, but to me that fun is part of the appeal. I hit the jackpot with a bathing suit sale, and paid one euro each for three or four very nice brand new swimsuits. 1 euro for beautiful bathing suits, not even from China, but “Made in Italy”!!!

Then we would have dinner and enjoy the nocturnal loveliness of the city with its many churches and monuments lit up at night. Because the restaurants we ate at, for the most part were located in touristy spots, they were mediocre and not particularly memorable, but teenagers like convenience, and they did offer that. Finally we would take the shuttle back to our hotel for a light swim, followed by a very good night’s sleep.

We flew into Rome from Geneva, Switzerland, because after our stay in Paris, I had wanted Adrianna to see the nearby gorgeous city of Annecy, France (TGV train tickets – 3 hours 40 minutes direct from Paris on and its Alpine lake, as well as the indescribably beautiful village of Talloires (10 kms. away, we had a rental car from Auto Europe, but you can also take a pleasant half hour bus ride). Then we flew direct nonstop on Alitalia, on a one way ticket only, because our next stop would be London.

The best part about EasyJet having entered the European airlines market is that they helped drive down the previously high cost of one way fares on the bigger carriers, and so we were able to get our tickets for only about $105 each, all in. Buonissimo…


Ciao tutti, della Travel Cutie

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