ROME - Tours by Scooter


Want to see Rome like a true native, on the back of a scooter with your own Roman driver zipping around historical sites!  Visit www.bicibaci.com - They are a combination Tour Operator and Rental Office for Vespa scooters and bikes.

They will pick you up and drop you back off wherever you are, provide you with a driver, a helmet and four hours of city drives on the back of a Vespa (or on a bike or a Fiat car 500) in a group tour  around Rome.  Tons of entertainment Italian style.

Bici&Baci are open from 8am to 7pm everyday and they have two office locations in Rome:

-Via del Viminale 5,
  00185 Rome
  Phone - 06-48-28-443

- Via Cavour 302,
  00184 Rome
  Phone - 06-94-53-92-40

Book 24 hours in advance at www.vintagevespatours.com  or call the above mentioned phone number to reserve your spot and for up to date prices.

MUNICH - Gourmet Markets


Eating out in Munich, like in most European cities,  can be expensive.  I say explore instead some of Munich's Gourmet markets.  I found two on my last visit.  Both, located steps away from the Marien-Platz (the center of town) that serve up a mouthwatering cooked meals and a variety of drinks for a fraction of the price of nearby restaurants.

First, there's the Shrannenhalle Market, located on the south end of St. Peter's Square.  Look in you map and it's the square located almost south and cadi-corner with the Marien-Platz.  Walk to St. Peter's Square and you'll find the market on the opposite side of the square housed in a large, green industrial looking building enclosed in glass that is surrounded by awnings.

Walk inside this hall and you'll be surprised by the variety of luxurious offerings of prepared international food and upscale drinks (wine, champagne, beer, etc. ), all served (sold) inside this comfortably air conditioned, modern space.  Good you can either take out of for consume comfortably in eating areas inside or outside the premises.

The second option, the Alois Dallmayr Market.   This is a historic (since 1700) authentic Gourmet Market. Locals shop for high end hams, wines, world coffees and teas, canapés, tobacco,  baked goods, caviar, etc. It also houses an exquisite restaurant and a very pretty Cafe on the second floor.  They also sells some prepared foods, but not much of it and unlike the previous market, they don't provide tables to consume the prepared foods they sell.  It's more a buy and take out kind of place.

Alois Dallmayr Market is well worth a visit, even if you don't plan on buying a thing.  The Cafe on the second floor (which one enters via the main floor of the market), serves nice, fresh food and drink for reasonable prices. They also use the best quality ingredients and offer a lovely view of historic Munich from it's second floor windows.   I visited this cafe and had a delicious cappuccino.  The service was impeccable,  the coffee service, beautiful (photo enclosed),

the lavatories were plush (a treat in Europe), and the price, not outrageous for a cup of joe.  It was a perfect spot to get some peace from the crowds and the intense summer heat of summer days in Munich.  All this, only steps away from the Marien-Platz.

Alois Dallmayr Market
Dienerstr 14-15
Munich, Bavaria,

ROME - Take a Walk Around Monti


Next time you're in Rome, visit the picturesque neighborhood of Monti.  It is one of the last remaining authentic Roman neighborhoods, mostly untouched by tourism.  Monti, is centrally located and small enough to cover by foot in just one afternoon.  Of course one can visit more than once to simply get lost in its 's quiet, upscale, residential winding streets. Monti is located in the quadrant contained between Via Nazionale, Via de Serpenti, Via de Pretis and Via Cavour.  Ask your concierge to point this area out in your map before you head out for your walk.

What will you see in Monti?  a series of attractive wine bars and neighborhood restaurants, tinny hotels with scenic roof cafe's or bars.  Small Italian designer boutiques, gourmet bakeries and a variety of other interesting shops.  All this, can be found, a short walk away from Piazza Barberini and the Colosseum.

Avoid visiting the area on Sundays.  Most commercial spaces in Monti will be closed and you will miss the neighborhood feel of the area, more visible during the week.  When you go, peak inside the Santa Maria Maggiore Church - a gorgeous Roman Church with amazing history and impressive gold painted ceilings.  Its located on the edge of this neighborhood, next to the Piazza Esquilino and at the end of  Via delle Quattro Fontane.

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