4 Stars in Rome Means What?

During 2018 EPIC Camp Goodman the Giants stayed at 21 different hotels over 27 nights. Hotel Napoleon in Rome, Italy was the last one. 4 stars and nice pictures lined up a nice end to a great trip.

Affordable enough rates for Deluxe Rooms with breakfast included.

Breakfast was good when it came to breads and fruits. The cold meats and cheeses were European standard in that they were like having a selection of sandwich cold cuts – not too much in the cold meats that is to the Giants’s liking. The warm eggs (scrambled and pie) and warm meats (sausage and bacon) were disappointing.

Have you ever seen baby carrots in cooked eggs? And the picture does not show how the bottom is burned black. No pictures taken of the soupy scrambled eggs – Giants like them dry not liquid.

The property needs updating. It takes one very tight elevator to get from the entry to the lobby. Then another very tight elevator to get to the rooms from the lobby. The elevators are the size a rich person from the 1980s would have put in their 2 story home.

What makes a 4 Star a 4 Star? The beggars and street venders immediately outside of the hotel definitely don’t award the stars. The park across the street that seems to be a den for thieves likely does not give out stars. The late night liquor store and small casino can’t be star givers… The Giants know how the ratings are done and loosely governed – Hotel Napoleon on paper meets the definition. As read above the Giants would not rate the property as luxury.

Access by Rome Metro is great, doorstep great. That’s a positive.

Giants rating:

Eat at the Train Station in Rome

Travel food is made for the masses to put off hunger until there are better options. Walking past the standard fare Roma Termini train station in Rome around to Mercato Centrale Roma is well worth the steps.

Options are considerable ranging from pastries, Roma special artichokes, sushi, gourmet burgers, to hand carved roast beef. If you have picky eaters of any type described by C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters they will find themselves indulged at Mercato Central Roma.

The Giants ate well with positive reviews:

Hotel della Signoria in Florence Italy

Looking for a place in the heart of Florence, Italy close to high end shopping, street venders, the leather market, and the sites? Good service, clean rooms, and included good breakfast (at least with our booking) can all be found at Hotel della Signoria. Easy walking distance to Duomo, Galleria degli Uffizi, and Ponte Vecchio.

Hotel della Signoria

This centrally located hotel in Florence still uses keys made of metal rather than key cards of plastic. There is something substantial to carry a key, and there is some added stress of worrying of losing that one key. The Giants found out half way through the stay that most guests left the room key with the front desk while not in their rooms.

Breakfast on the top floor that was included with the Giants stay included made to order eggs, attentive service, many options for travelers from cereal to cakes (and a full English breakfast), and excellent views of the red rooftops of Florence.

Giants rating of breakfast as compared to other “included” hotel breakfasts:


One of the Giants rooms had an awkward set up for the shower. The room is for two and if those two do not have a close relationship things could be delicate. The clear shower door is placed center of the room rather than off of the bathroom/commode area. This open placement of the shower was the only negative the Giants could find.


One other warning: ⚠️ if you are driving plan ahead. Getting a car to the hotel takes a phone call to the valet, the valet running to meet the group about a 1/2 mile from the hotel, competitive driving of the car to the hotel, and a drop off. Checking out the car is a lesson in patience since it will be stored offsite and take up to 45 minutes for it to be delivered – and then the adventures of driving through dense pedestrian traffic is all yours.

Giants hotel rating:

Florence, Italy 7/10/18-7/12/18

Bianco’s Vespette e Forchette

Based on style, presentation, and proximity to Vatican City Bianco’s Vespette e Forchette is a restaurant that knows its target audience -tourists. Given the Giants experience this Italian food restaurant in Rome, Italy looks to specifically trying to attract guests from the United States. The decor has stone and brick for a romantic look with scooters to make the place “hip.”

The service was quick and friendly only including three glitches:

  • In Italy there is an American tax where each water loving patriot pays €2.50 to €7 per bottle of H2O. Most prefer still water over carbonated water. At this place the Giants ordered a bottle of still for the table after the request for table (tap) Water was turned down. After taking the order the server said that their still only had a “little natural gas.” Each backpack full with soda and real non-gassed water the group complied with the tax levied. “Little” was full gas and that’s water was consumed by only three Giants.

  • Two appetizers were ordered. No need to do this since olives, bread, and little pizza balls were brought out before the meal.

Sadly one appetizer showed up with the meal after the complementary offerings. Would have been better if the appetizer had arrived early. Happily the second appetizer was forgotten by the waiter and not delivered or charged.

  • The bill was promptly delivered when requested, which often is not the outcome in many European restaurants. The glitch was that getting the staff to allow a credit card to be run was not achieved in the next ten minutes while the Giants stressed making it timely to a special Friday Night at the Vatican. The bill was paid cash by leaving it on the table.

The food was fine, and not something to rave or complain about.

Finish cooking your steak yourself seems to be all the rage in Europe in 2018. Not complaining, simply informing.

Giants’ rating:

Dine with Alfredo in Rome

Somebody had to create the delightful dishes that we love to eat. At times those that created have not evolved and therefore are no longer making the best dishes. Most people like fettuccine alfredo, what’s not to like.

The Giants growing up in Arizona have watched guacamole made at the table when dining at many different restaurants. What Giants have never seen is fettuccine mixed with alfredo sauce table side. They still haven’t seen this since sauce was never part of the process at the restaurant by the creator of fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo used butter and cheese.

So how was the signature dish?


The smallest Giant started off his tasting by sharing concern that his allotment was not enough. He ended it by saying that the restaurant should use the sauce out of the bottle like at home.

Giants rating for the fettuccine alfredo:

Back to the beginning of the visit. For the Giants it started 2.5 months earlier when they booked a hard to get reservation for July 12, 2018. Good thing they did. The Giants walked in after a nice family of three that was flatly turned away since they had no reservation. In clear English, “Sir the tables you see open are for guests that booked them months ago.” One can imagine the momentary fear the Giants had when the reservation book didn’t include the Goodman name. Confirmation was produced by the Father of Giants and the group was sat for dinner.

Service was friendly enough (a little stuffy for kids and their parents). It seemed until the bill came that the great tasting chilled water was complementary. The water rating:

The Giants should have asked prior to many refills whether the water came at a per container cost – it does. A modest €2.50 each which is far less than some places that go as high as €8 per bottle. The first bottle was offered and no price could be found on the menu. The following bottles were ordered and no warnings were given that college funds would be depleted if Giants continued to hydrate. Lesson learned.

The Mother of Giants loves fried zucchini.

“I have never had better fried zucchini than this.” – Mother of Giants

“It’s like they are French-fried zucchini.” – Daughter of Giants

Fried zucchini rating:

Desserts and other dishes:

That’s right, nothing special and some items disappointing including the three desserts tried.

What about the family turned away? Well there was plenty of room that they could have dined in the time the Giants were there. Alfredo has to protect his good name by not letting the unreserved masses in whatever the cost.

This action gives Alfredo a Friendliness to Tourists rating of:

Overall rating of IL VERO ALFREDO: