Just Back From: 9 Days in Italy


Linda, an Andrew Harper Travel Advisor, recently returned from a nine-day vacation in Italy. While there, Linda stayed at Harper-recommended Ca' Sagredo in Venice, Hotel Eden in Rome and Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence. Below, Linda shares a few insider tips for what to do, see and eat in Italy.

What to Do, See and Eat in Italy

Insider's Tip: Definitely hire private guides for sightseeing on the first day in each city. Only they can give insider knowledge and details of sites that you'd never read in a book!

I strongly recommend booking ground services with Absolute Italy. The private vehicle transfers were in clean, new cars, and the drivers met us at the end of each train track. Our guides in Venice, Rome and Florence were excellent and they tailored the day to whatever we wanted to do and see. By having Absolute Italy handle all of our ground arrangements, we didn’t have to worry about a thing. It was well worth the cost to have peace of mind and professional services.

Venice canals by boat © Linda Petrasek
Rialto Bridge, Venice

Favorite moment: Walking into churches and historic buildings with gorgeous murals, paintings, and sculptures. Each takes your breath away.

Most memorable meal: We celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner in Rome at the Hotel Eden - it was perfect. Pre-dinner drinks at Bar La Terrazza and dinner at La Terrazza dell’Eden were outstanding.

At night, the views over the city are beautiful, and with the perfect lighting in the bar and restaurant, it creates a romantic and elegant venue. With the piano playing soft music, it was a night we’ll never forget. The bar & restaurant staff did everything perfectly, from describing dishes and wines, to getting my mom’s birthday cake from our room so we could enjoy cake with our after-dinner cocktail. I strongly recommend making reservations and splurging for a terrific dinner while in Italy.

Also, sitting in a small trattoria at the bottom of the Rialto bridge watching people and eating gelato in Florence in the best gelato shop in the city. We loved Perchè no! gelato shop. The gelato is made daily with natural ingredients and is definitely worth going off a diet, even for just a small bite!

Never leave home without: It sounds silly, but I always carry small packages of Kleenex, toilet paper, toilet seat covers and hand sanitizer in one bag. Everything fits in a Ziploc bag, and has gone from Botswana to Tahiti to Myanmar with me. And it has all come in handy at one time or another!

Where to Stay


Ca' Sagredo
42-room boutique hotel in an exquisite palazzo dating to the 15th century.


Hotel Eden
Elegant turn-of-the-century hotel near the Via Veneto and the Spanish Steps.


Hotel Helvetia & Bristol
Intimate, centrally located 19th-century hotel with old-fashioned charm.

Stay up to date with all of our globetrotting travel advisors and staff. Check back each week for another trip report, in our Just Back From series on The Harper Way.

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