Finding myself in Rome with an extra day to explore, I came upon a plan to make a visit to Viterbo, home of Dr. Costantini and the B1 treatment. This post will focus only on the trip logistics for anyone else planning a visit.
First, what's not to like about Italy? Pasta, pizza and good red wine amongst other things. Although it did rain quite a bit when we were there. We settled in an Airbnb in Rome and I booked online ( trainline.eu ) a return train ticket from Roma Termini (the central train station) to Viterbo Porta Fiorentina and back - all in the same day. Booking online gets you the ticket on your smartphone so you just show this barcode to the ticket inspector on the trains. By the way to get around in Rome we used the Mytaxi app - easy to get taxis this way.
My appointment was 11am so we took the 7:58am train which gets into Orte around 8:38am and then you change to a regional train to Viterbo, arriving in plenty of time at around 9:49am. This gives you time to get an espresso and allow for any train delays.
Once in Viterbo, it's an easy 7min walk to Dr. C's office - just follow on google maps.
Everyone in the office is super friendly and welcoming. I get the sense Dr. C is semi-retired since they had to track him down and get him to the office for my 11am appointment. He does not speak English, and I had been told by someone in this forum to visit on a Thursday when his PT is there and she speaks great English. Selfie of the 3 of us attached!
We went through the typical Parkinson's tests, tapping, pull test and UPDRS scoring (I came in at 18). He showed me some before and after videos and also videoed me getting up from a chair and walking.
His "prescription" seems to be typical for most of us: Take Thiamine Solgar 500mg tablets, 3 in the morning and 3 at noon, before or after the meal every day. Along with keep taking my sinemet 25/100 3x per day. I asked him about drinking red wine (easy to do in Italy) and he didn't seem to think this was an issue, in moderation!
Strangely enough in the UK the suppliers of Solgar brand were all out of stock of B1 500mg, so I've placed orders with Biovea (from the USA I think) and G and G vitamins. So will start the program soon. Dr. C seemed to think I should see results in a month with a goal of 50% reduction in UPDRS score.
While I don't think a personal visit is necessary, it definitely is fun, educational and provides that feel good feeling that you get from a neurologist who is on your side for well being.
Finally, a great place to have a slow lunch in Viterbo is Taverna Etrusca (Dr C's office will phone for a taxi - no mytaxi there). Then a wander around before getting the 4:40pm train back to Orte, then change to Roma train arriving back by 6:35pm.
Also thanks to everyone on this forum who provided information on treatments, logistics of visiting and contact info etc.