In some ways this was the funnest part. By booking so far out (9 months out) we’re guaranteed to get first pick of any place we wanted.
By and large I was after places with history and character, rather than places that were either cheap or luxurious. . Coming from New Zealand, where the oldest buildings less than 200 years old, meant some sort of historical lodgings were preferred over newer flashier digs. And because most town centres are walk-able only distance to the train station couldn’t be too far – a couple of kilometres at most, so location was important. I found some really great out-of-town places that would have just been too hard logistically. Hostels were briefly considered, especially at the earlier planning stages, but for 3 of us they worked out no cheaper and had greater drawbacks than simply getting a room at a B&B or hotel.
Most places are spoilt for choice when it comes to satisfying these 2 main requirements. TripAdvisor reviews and blogs are invaluable when it comes to ranking choices. I found guide books to be relatively meagre in selection, and poor when it came to advice. TripAdvisor does come with the caveat that a lot of reviews are fake, and obviously so. Disregard any review that is the submitter’s only review (or they have less than at least a few), or reviews that address the proprietor by name – these seem fake to me as well. Often the most valuable reviews are the lowest ranked ones. Most can be easily discarded – ones such as “I never actually stayed here but…” or “I booked a room for 2 and they were upset with me when our group of 5 turned up…”. If the grievance sounded genuine or the owner’s response was belittling then maybe that really is a place to avoid.
Knowing that we’d be jetlagged on arriving in Rome, and since we’d be staying there for some time I wanted a place that was comfortable, and a quite location but not too far from everything, and had a kitchen. Booking a ticket for the Arena at Verona and accommodation there was also a priority, since the whole trip was structured around that. The Amalfi Coast was also a challenge – it’s expensive and travel there is difficult. I discovered a walk I’d like to try, and ended up deciding to stay in a village at the end of the walk.
I’ll outline each place after we have stayed there.