Subject: Recent trip to Italy/ long
Dear Ziners, I'm finally able to sit down and put my thoughts together about my trip to Italy over Easter/ Passover. I flew Boston-Milan-Bologna with my final destination of Florence. As it was many hours of travel, complicated by a 4 hour wait in Milan to get to Bologna, and then a bus and then a train to Florence, I was pretty well jet lagged and exhausted. But, just being in Italy is enough to revive me and the next day we were making our plans to go to Rome. There is not enough I can say about the Hotel Delle Muse and the owner, Giorgio Lazar, except that this is my new home when I am in Rome. I loved being outside the noise and crowds of the center and being in a neighborhood. The hotel is clean and spacious, Giorgio is there with great advice and directions, there's a dining room in the hotel, it's easy to get there from the train station by bus, and in walking distance to restaurants in the Parioli district. We only had two nights there and 3 days in Rome but we covered a lot of ground, including the Capitoline Museums. In the Parioli district we ate at a terrific restaurant filled with locals, Celestina Ai Parioli, that actually had a room set aside for non-smoking. Then back to Florence where we spent a more relaxing time. Mostly, I followed my daughter around on her errands and re-visited some favorites restaurants. Lunches at BaldoVino and had a memorable dinner at Cibreo. Also tried a new place on the square in Santa Croce called Boccadama Enoteca, ( also a non smoking room to enjoy). I checked out the Hotel Mona Lisa on Borgo Pinti and while I didn't get to see the rooms the hotel is nicely located and looked very nice, I think it's a 4 star. Since our favorite bar, Giacosa, closed earlier this year, we had to find a new place to enjoy an afternoon apertif and on via Tournabuoni we had a lovely Procesco and truffle sandwiches at Procacci, our new favorite place. If you're in that area during the afternoon lull between 1 pm and 4 pm, I recommend a stop there. It's very small but has a few table to sit.

We were disappointed not to be able to see the doves released over the Duomo on Easter morning or the spear throwers but decided to pay heed to the State Dept. warning to Americans in Italy that terrorists were up to dirty business. Fortunately it turned out to be without incident.

Since I had a very early morning flight out of Bologna, we opted to stay over night at the Sheraton Hotel next to the airport. I do not recommend it for anything other than location even though they say they are a 4 star hotel. It's a 10 Euro ride from the center and altho they have a dining room that served a pleasant breakfast we ate dinner in the center at a small restaurant, Al Montegrappa Da Nello, where we had a very rich (traditional Bolgonese) but enjoyable dinner. To all of you that I read are going to or will be in Italy soon, I can only say I wish I were back there. Here's some info. I hope you can use.

Arrevederci, Rebbi Levin Providence Rhode Island

Hotel Delle Muse *** 18,via Tommaso Slavini Parioli, Roma 00197 http://www.hoteldellemuse.com

IL Cibreo via dei Macci 118/R 50122 Firenze 055-234-11-00

Celestina AI Parioli Viale dei Parioli 00197 Roma 06/807 82 42

Al Montegrappa da Nello via Montegrappa/ 2 Bologna 051 236 331

Procacci via Tournabuoni/ 64 R Firenze 055 211 656

Trattoria Baldovino via San Giuseppe 22 R Santa Croce Firenze 055 234 7220

Hotel Monna Lisa **** Borgo Pinti, 27 50121 Firenze 39 055 247 97 51 http://www.monnalisa.it