Subject: Hotels in Florence and Venice
We just returned from a wonderful visit to (rainy!) Italy. Two suggestions re: hotels. I looked for 3 star hotels that were well situated, and came up with a loser and a partial winner. The loser was in Florence: the Hotel Pendini. It is very run-down, in an extremely noisy location, and can only be accessed by a rickety, very tiny elevator. Our room had no windows and brown fake wood walls--very gloomy. Don't even think of staying there unless you are homeless.

The partial winner was in Venice: the Locanda Sturion. It was in a great location, near the Ponte Rialto, but on a side street, so it was not noisy. The rooms were pretty, the breakfasts were terrific and the public spaces, though small, were tasteful and pleasant. There is, however, one caveat: the Locanda is on the 4th floor of an old palazzo, and it can only be accessed by 4 very steep flights of narrow marble stairs. There is no one to help with luggage, either. So, if you choose to stay here, you will get quite a work-out coming and going, and you'd better travel light!

Regards to all and thanks to all who were so helpful with Italy tips.

Rita in Boston

MODERATORS' NOTE: We told you so!