Trip Report Rome, Santa Marinella. Buonconvento (Siena - ish)

Didn’t want to make a trip report thread, but with all the pictures it grew bigger than a reply in my previous thread asking questions. Again, thanks to all for the suggestions, they helped shape some of our experience if by nothing else giving us a starting point to do some investigation.

To review we went Rome, Santa Marinella, Buonconvento . We were a party of 7 so restaurant reservations were a bit of an issue.

To get around we made arrangements with Grassinibus who were able to handle moving the crew around. Comfy Sprinter van with plenty of room for luggage required for a 10 day trip and a wedding thrown in for fun. Communication throughout the trip was top tier and all drivers were pleasant and on time. 0500 pick up in Buonconvento pic, probably my worst bit of planning having a 3 hour drive to FCO before our 9 hour flight. Oops.

Backing up 10 days we landed in Rome and were at our rental in Trastevere by 9:30AM. After getting situated in the apartment we were off for fuel, pizza bianca, and suppli. Some of the younger ones went off for more adventures, but I sat in the piazza for a bit and then went back to the apartment to get some sleep.

Aperitivi and then Cesare, which I “reported” on in that thread.

We did a food tour that was good. We mainly booked it for the first timers as that is what we did. It was good, but it was hot. High points were hit, Roscioli, Innocenti, Suppli Roma (again :slight_smile: ), The Sicilian pastry shop that I’m forgetting the name. Tour started in Campo De’ Fiori with a balsamico and olive oil tasting…that was interesting as I’d never done something like that.

That night was a 5PM Borghese Gallery tour and then dinner at Osteria der Belli (thread on that separate)

Day 3 started with a trip to the Campagna Amica market up by Circus Maximus. Market was phenomenal, we picked up some stuff to pick on and made a little carpaccio.

Again, did I mention it was hot? Plus my knees were barking so I took it easy the rest of the day. Met up with the adventurers for aperitivi in piazza S. Calisto and got to see the insta famous celebrities at Bar S. Calisto. I was not going to take pics of them, so here is the Basilica of S. Maria in Trastevere

Dinner at Michela Home Restaurant (there’s a thread)
Night time visit to Trevi fountain, gelato.

Next day was travel day, woke up remembering I was not in my 20s any more, but coffee, a brioche, a granita di caffe (and a liquid IV) got me on my day. Stopped by Antica Caciara for some more meats and cheeses and we were on our way to the beach.


Thanks for starting this new thread. Im so glad you shopped at Antica Caciara Trasteverina! We brought back their excellent pecorino and rustic bread the year we stayed in Trastevere and try to stop in when in Rome.

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Yes, they were closed for the weekend we were there but had opened up on Monday when we were leaving. Sr. Roberto and family are probably our favorite people in Rome. Not that we know a whole lot of locals but I can’t imagine them dropping far down the list even if we did. My daughter lived in Trastevere for a semester and they always took care of her…and watched out for her.

Spoiler alert, I rolled the dice and won. Got nervous getting sniffed, but the dog was only looking for produce (which I would never bring back)



OK, on to Santa Marinella. We ended up here because my cousin was supposed to be renting a place for his family as well. About a month before the trip they had a change in plans and I was locked in. What started out as me being annoyed turned into a nice little surprise. S. Marinella is, to me, the quintessential working person’s beach getaway. You could see lots of little kids with grandparents during the week while the parents were at work in Rome which is only 40ish minutes away. During our stay we were stopped twice, once literally in the street, by locals asking why we were there. Not in a protective way, but in a more curious way as it is apparently not a big destination for foreigners. Restaurants were very good, the beach was pretty. And I lucked out on a villa that had an amazing pool.

Night 1 was dinner at Ristorante Acquamarina . I had a fresh fish (rombo, turbot) that was taken off the bone. Started with crudo and others had pastas. All very good, but I should learn that while I love fresh fish, and this was very good, I always find it lacking in any restaurant. Probably just too plain for me.

Also, prices are a little higher here at the beach. But to be expected.

4th of July, had to have an Italian hamburger for lunch at the snack bar for the beach club . It was everything you might expect :slight_smile:

We all (well most) had a hankering for meat so we tried L’Oste alla Brace a “bbq” place. Meat was cooked nicely

Last full day at the beach we cleaned out the fridge and made a bare bones panzanella for lunch. Then went to Al Porticciolo for dinner that night. It is located in a marina with outside seating. Spaghetti with ricci (sea urchin) for me and it was pretty awesome. Plus more raw shrimp and crudo.

Ciao, villa :frowning:


And we are off to Buonconvento. This was the wild card part of the trip as we were not sure how much time we would have to explore. The main reason for this trip was to attend a wedding of my cousin. He’s American living in Singapore with his wife and now baby. (the wedding celebration was delayed 3 years for the pandemic) Anyway, we were able to make a day trip to Siena and Montalcino and partake in all of the planned wedding festivities. Buonconvento itself is a little town, with the emphasis on little. We stayed at Hotel Ghibellino which was very nice and modern. Rooms were spacious, even if there was really no drawers to unpack bags.The staff was beyond helpful.

After the two hour drive, my wife kicked me out while she unpacked. I found a Sicilian lady in Tuscany who made probably the best arancine I ever tasted (sorry Grandma…but I’d trade every arancine in the future for one more of yours).

I sapori della mia terra was the name of the place, and from what I saw 90% of the menu was Sicilian

Also, on the ride I laughed at myself as I was amazed at the fields of sunflowers. Now living in the burbs of NJ you only see sunflowers as decorative, I guess I should have figured all those oils and seeds come from somewhere.


Wow, loving your report!


Super report. Less touristy places have so much to offer. Big fan of hidden gems, and when we can get traveling again that’s the sort of trip I want to do.


Thank you both, it really ended up being a great trip. Even after being back at work for the better part of the week I’m still happy thinking back and how it all turned out.

Now, I am going to share some of the wedding stuff. Only because it is something I will never experience again, and I thought other people would like to see. Trust me, I am a regular guy and this trip with the family probably delayed my retirement another 6 months…even taking into account possible gains over the next 12 years. :slight_smile:

However, my cousin is still a knucklehead so right when we were getting ready to leave for dinner I received a text to come to the borgo if we were available.
My pictures don’t do it justice, so watch this little video if you are so inclined.

It was a great relatively casual family dinner before the formality of the celebration took part over the next couple of nights.


Great job on the report Helpful to me not so much for the destinations but because I have a Wedding coming up mid September in Sorrento & it gives me ideas of the type of trip other than the event I want to create for the following week

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Gorgeous! And very special. Really enjoyed your reports! Grazie!

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Next day, up early for a trip to Siena. I get a kick out of driving in these tiny streets. I would say we did a few of the major sites and some people had time for shopping before lunch.

Our driver, Roberto, recommended a restaurant for lunch and the cynical side of me quickly took over and I thought I was being taken for a ride. Turned out to be a fantastic meal. I had picci with a pork ragu, the picci were cooked in red wine. Definitely voted the winner at the table.

Roberto ended up joining us for a coffee after the meal and the owner was gracious enough to knock a bunch of euro off the bill. Thanks Massimo!
Osteria Cice is the place. The website is lacking but Google has a bunch of good pics to make up for me slacking.

Siena is fantastic and I look forward to returning someday. A lot of the younger ones voted it their favorite stop.


A few more Osteria Cice food pics, courtesy of my daughter.
Tagliatelle with wild boar ragu, mixed antipasto, and sliced steak with lardo


It has been a long time since I’ve been in Siena. Your photos make me want to return. And that pici dish looks delectable.

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When I was in Siena we stopped at Gelato place that proclaimed I was as voted Worlds Best
I forgot the name but I seemed they had every single head of state picture on display
I’m convinced it’s the best ever
Can’t for the life of me remember the name hoping you had a chance to get some
The saffron gelato was amazing


The next day was wedding day but gave us enough time for a quick trip into Montalcino. I got up and hit the Bar (again) across the street from the hotel for some caffe. I also noticed Italian hunters are in no rush. I respect that!

On to Montalcino for a quick hit. A couple hours of walking and lunch. We did a requisite Brunello tasting…I can’t remember what we had. In my next life I will be a wine guy, for now I am just pleasantly surprised when I pick a nice bottle. In actuality I deferred to waiter’s choices most of the trip and was rewarded with nice wine and lower anxiety.

Also, I am laughing because there is some “influencer” getting roasted online for complaining about the Amalfi coast and the need of walking up hills. I had the same thoughts about Siena and Montalcino but would never voice them out loud :laughing: I also knew I was in for a hike going in, this young lady seemed surprised.

Lunch was at Alle Loggia di Piazza, we were pretty light on the picture taking. More picci, crostini with chicken livers, anchovies and butter. It was all tasty but let’s be honest. We are up to day 9 or so of eating like we are going to the chair. I’d be lying if I said I could remember a standout. Which is not to say it was not very good…just that food fatigue was setting in.


Well, the wedding was your average castle with fireworks type of affair.

Again, slacked on food so here’s a porchetta from the cocktail hour

Next day was relaxing in Buonconvento. Last supper.

Thanks for letting me relive the trip and (if you made it this far) following along. Looking forward to our next trip.


Fantastic report, thanks so much for taking us along!! Particularly glad to get a glimpse of the wedding, I was wondering…


Thanks Gretchen. Not sure if I said it upthread but while the fireworks were going off I audibly lol’d at the absurdity of my being there. It was an amazing, crazy, over the top, celebration.
Thanks for the kind words, ciao from the crew