Several of you on this board (especially PBSF and Jen Kalb) were wonderfully helpful last year in helping me plan some great chowish stops during a trip to Venice with my wife's family. Now I'm doing some long-range planning for a few days spent in Rome and one day in Siena with my parents next spring. It will be their first time in either place and my first time in Rome since backpacking (I've never been to Siena). I'm much more of a foodie than they are, but they'll be up for anything, although I'd like to avoid super-expensive restaurants - unless it's a place that just cannot be missed. They'll get more out of smaller places that are loved by locals.
I know there are plenty of threads about both places, and I've started looking through them, but I had a few specific questions to start my thinking:
1. I'll likely arrange the trip with different days in different neighborhoods, so I'm currently starting to think about lunch places (can be pizza or sandwiches or markets or something similarly casual) (1) near Vatican City, (2) between the Pantheon and the Villa Borghese, and (3) near the Colosseum/Forum area.
2. For dinner, we can go anywhere, but for one night, I was thinking of going to Trastavere in the evening after the day spent at the Vatican. Would love some thoughts on places to go there.
3. Is there anywhere that we'll need reservations long in advance?
4. Rome's best markets for getting picnic supplies?
5. Great, non-touristy gelato places?
6. In Siena, are there one or two places not to be missed?
Any guidance on those questions will definitely help me get to thinking and having the fun of planning the trip. Also any thoughts on places to stay would be appreciated as well (I'd love to find a great, small hotel with modern amenities in an ancient setting).
Thanks in advance!!