Italy travel tips for planning a trip to Italy

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dreamstime_couple_planning_tripOk so you have decided you want to travel to Italy.  How exciting to plan a trip!  But wait, Italy has so many places to see so many things to do.  Where should you stay? What should you see?  How should you travel around?   It’s overwhelming!  Help!

Yes we come across this scenario often with our clients.  Doubtless you have built up many images of Italy throughout the years and are dreaming of experiencing as much as possible.       Here are some pointers to consider that will help make the planning process of your Italian vacations  more enjoyable and ensure a successful trip.

When to go?

When is the best time to visit Italy?  If you have flexibility and choice of dates for your trip, the best months are May, June, September and October.  In these months the weather is ideal and  you will be able to see cities and country side at their best.

July can be very warm unless you are planning to visit a seaside or mountain resort. August is even warmer and it is the month when a majority of Italians go on holiday.  Many businesses close and the cities are filled with mostly tourists and few locals.

Off season travel between November and April can also be enjoyable.  Winters are not as harsh as in northern parts of the US and in Canada.  Prices during these months are definitely lower so creating luxury Italy tours  is  often within reach during these months.      There are many deals to be had making  travel to Italy cheap very possible.

Where to go and what to see?  How much time in each place?

Now that you have decided when you are going, where in Italy do you want to visit and what do you want to see there?  The choices are endless.   Keep a map of Italy handy and do a little research on various regions to try to pinpoint your areas of interest. Keep in mind things and activities you enjoy and make a list of the must sees.  If it’s a first time visit you may want to consider including one or all of the major highlight cities, Rome, Florence and Venice.   A great way to have a real taste of Italy is to combine a city and countryside stay.

Consider how many days you have available for your trip and plan the number of cities and towns accordingly.  Do not try to include too many stops where you are packing and unpacking too many times during your trip.  Give yourself time in each location to see the sites but also to enjoy the local flavor and atmosphere.  Adopting a bit of the Italian philosophy of “il dolce far niente” or “the sweetness of doing  nothing”  will create a well paced Italy tour and a great Italian experience.

How to get around?   

So now you know when you want to go and you have decided on the cities and towns you want to visit.  What’s the best way to get around to all these places?

Train travel:

Train travel between major cities in Italy is easy, affordable and efficient.  Most major cities are linked by comfortable high speed trains.

Self Driving:

Renting a car and driving on your own can be fun if you are a savvy relaxed driver.  If you are planning to spend most of your holiday outside of large cities this can be a great option.  If you are planning a holiday in Tuscany for example having a car will give you the freedom of traveling around the region at leisure.

Remember that if you are driving unless you are using main highways, some of the smaller roads and country and mountain roads in particular have many curves and are slower.  So even if places appear close by on the map it may take longer than you think to get from point A to B.

Hiring a Private driver

Although this may seem as a luxury for some people this is a stress free way of seeing the countryside.  With an expert English speaking driver a day visiting small towns and taking in a winery or two becomes very enjoyable.   Even if you have your own car rental consider using a private driver for some of your more challenging excursions and definitely if you plan to do wine tasting!

Get expert Advise

A well planned trip sometimes requires the assistance of an expert.  A good travel professional specializing in Italy can be an invaluable source of information and can guide you to make good decisions about your itinerary and help you arrange everything from hotels to private tours and transportation.

Do not hesitate to speak to one of our tour designers for any assistance you may need with your Italy vacation.    (Link to our contact page)

Happy planning and buon viaggio!