How to plan a trip to Italy

Italy the beautiful European country with a long Mediterranean coastline on almost all side of the country is on many travelers’ wish list. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark of stunning architecture and ancient ruins that bestows glorious past of Romans. Either you want to pizza on a Rome backstreet or explore the canals in Venice or Michelangelo’s  masterpiece “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo or Fashion city Milan or the Renaissance Florence. If you are planning for this country then you should plan for at least one coastal city like Amalfi Coast one island Sicily or Naples, Florence , Tuscan and its vineyards or olive groves in Milan or cliffs of Sorrento.

What is the best time to Go to Italy

Italy has captured the heart of travelers unlike anywhere else on Earth. To have better experience and nice memory it is better to visit Italy on a slow pace in each city and explore its streets, culture , food and wine. The best months to visit Italy are March to May and September to November  when the weather is comfortably warm. You can plan for June to August or in December  but the Mediterranean climate makes the summers are hot and dry, and the winters are cold and damp. July and August can be very hot and humid.

What to do for Transportation in Italy

Local Transport. Major cities all have good transport systems, including bus and underground-train networks. In Venice, the main public transport option is vaporetti (small passenger ferries). Inter city high speed trains are very good option to save time but little bit costlier . In most of the cities you can take uber or taxis which is most competitive. Planning to rent car then you should do it in three months in advance as car rental on peak time can be $100+ for a small car. Another disadvantage for car rental is , it is not allowed to go into all the province.

What to wear in Italy

  • Light breathable Fabric shirts and  tops to visit Italy in summer.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes. The number one thing you should pack are comfortable shoes as some of the attractions are nearby so you can walk.

What to do with luggage, should you do luggage forward.

There are options available where students movers take your luggage and keep it in your future hotel. If you are transiting using trains then there is no luggage restriction but if you are flying then it is better to prepay the luggage as will save money.

How much luggage you should carry

you should take at least enough clothing to cover up the number of your travel days so that you should not start wasting time laundry the cloths. 

what luggage you should take.

If you are flying inside Europe the luggage weight is heavily restricted so buy ultra light weight baggage which has rollers and take a portable scale with you.

is it safe to travel in Italy

Italy is safe compared to Paris where you can see beware of Pick Pocket sign everywhere. It is advisable to practice keeping your wallet in the front side zipped or double pocket and keep a mock wallet in the back pocket. For ladies carry a cross body purse and carry the travel document(passport) always or else carry the passport in neck wallet.

How to have data on the cellphone in Italy

usually major USA network provider has partnership with Europe providers and unlimited data will cost around $25 for a 7days. talk to your provider before going and ask them about the charge. To get the data you need to set the phone in roaming. another option is to buy google FI available in bestbuy or other major retail and cost $50+ per month for unlimited data. 

When or how should you book the hotels in Italy

start at least three months or before for hotel search if you are planning to in peak time.  do not go for low price tag. If you are from USA then the first advice is to look for USA name brand hotels with flexible rate which can guarantee free cancellation if you find some negative reviews. you can try booking.com as well.Here are some of the things that you should look while booking hotel

  • Pay when you checkout
  • no of people you are going to stay , as most of the Italian hotel room are small so you should book a junior suit (e.g. 2+ person) or two interconnected room.
  • keep email communication with hotel
  • If breakfast is not in the room price then it is better to prepay the breakfast.
  • make sure all the city tax or car park fees or any other charges on the communication.
  • Even though charges will be little more stay close to attraction as you can save time and energy.
  • most of the Italian cities are safe even during evening and till late night so you can enjoy the city night life and be back to hotel late.
  • check if the hotel has luggage storage room.

What to eat or drink in Italy

Opening hours at Italian restaurants are limited. lunch hours are  between 12pm and 1pm and close between 2pm and 3pm. They open again for dinner at 7.30pm or 8pm (maybe 7pm for pizzerias). Make sure you plan for this when eating out in Italy. Italian dishes vary widely depending on the region. You can get pizza and pasta with tomato sauce everywhere. You should not miss the taste of wine in each place.

What to carry – cash or Credit Card in Italy.

In some of the places stores or facilities they do not accept card so it is better to carry some cash. some major USA bank exchange and will give you euro or pound and will take back once you return. Carry at least couple of no fee foreign transaction credit card. Practice to keep your wallet in the front pocket at least a month before going on the trip and keep a empty wallet  on the back pocket.

Keep some change for Bathroom

restrooms in airports/major attractions and railway stations are free to use. The restaurants also provide free restroom usage whereas in public place you need to have coins to use the restrooms.

Cities not to Miss in Italy

Milan

Large, lively and industrious, the Province of Milan is the second most populous in Italy. The Canale Villoresi, thought to be the longest man-made canal in Italy. The Villoresi marks the natural southern border of Brianza, an area in Lombardy noted for its mountains, lakes and plains. Some of the things you can see in Milan
The Last Super mural painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci 
Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan, Lombardy, Italy. Dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary.Parco Sempione is a large city park in Milan.

Rome

Italy’s capital Rome, is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with full of architecture and culture on display in every corner. Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum boast from 3,000 years of globally influential art evoke the power of the former Roman Empire.The 18th-century Spanish Steps sit at the heart of Rome’s high-end shopping district, with designer boutiques lining Via Condotti and Via Borgognona. Visitors toss coins into the iconic, baroque Trevi Fountain. The Pantheon, dating to the second-century A.D., holds Raphael’s Renaissance-era tomb. Rome’s hearty cuisine includes such traditional dishes as carbonara, amatriciana and saltimbocca. After-dark activities range from seeing one of Verdi’s classic operas at Teatro dell’Opera to club-hopping in working-class Testaccio, once the city’s slaughterhouse district.

 

 

Vatican City

A city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s home to the Pope and a trove of iconic art and architecture. Its Vatican Museums house ancient Roman sculptures such as the famed “Laocoön and His Sons” as well as Renaissance frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling.

 

Venice (gondola ride in the canals)

Venice consists of a tight cluster of islands around the Grand Canal, an iconic waterway plied by gondolas, water taxis, and canal boats. And since there are no cars in the city (or roads for that matter), you must walk or take a boat to see it’s many sites. But exploring is pleasant (though slower than the typical American fast pace) and there is no shortage of attractions and curiosities, including inspirational art museums, island jaunts, and beachside excursions.

Florence

capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”

Pisa

is a city in Italy’s Tuscany region best known for its iconic Leaning Tower. Already tilting when it was completed in 1372, the 56m white-marble cylinder is the bell tower of the Romanesque, striped-marble cathedral that rises next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Also in the piazza is the Baptistry, whose renowned acoustics are demonstrated by amateur singers daily, and the Caposanto Monumentale cemetery.

Pompei

is a city in southern Italy’s Campania region overlooked by the active volcano at Vesuvius. It’s known for its ancient city, Pompeii, which was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Ruins here include the frescoed Villa of the Mysteries and the city’s amphitheater. In town, the Catholic pilgrimage site of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary has mosaics and a grand cupola .

 

Cinque Terre

is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbors are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto. The Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail links the villages and offers sweeping sea vistas.
 

Capri

an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels and shopping, from designer fashions to limoncello and handmade leather sandals. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue, the result of sunlight passing through an underwater cave. In summer, Capri’s dramatic, cove-studded coastline draws many yachts.
 

Tuscany

is a region in central Italy. Its capital, Florence, is home to some of the world’s most recognizable Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s “David” statue, Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo basilica. Its diverse natural landscape encompasses the rugged Apennine Mountains, the island of Elba’s beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea and Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards.

Verona

is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region, with a medieval old town built between the meandering Adige River. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” A 14th-century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard is said be “Juliet’s House.” The Verona Arena is a huge 1st-century Roman amphitheater, which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances.

 

Alberobello

is a town in Italy’s Apulia region. It’s known for its trulli, whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. The hilltop Rione Monti district has hundreds of them. The 18th-century Trullo Sovrano is a 2-level trulli. Furniture and tools at the Museo del Territorio Casa Pezzolla re-create life in the trulli as it was centuries ago. Southwest of town is the Casa Rossa, a WWII internment camp.
 

Amalfi

is a town in a dramatic natural setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was the seat of a powerful maritime republic. The Arab-Norman Sant’Andrea cathedral at the heart of town, with its striped Byzantine facade, survives from this era. The Museo Arsenale Amalfi is a medieval shipyard-turned-exhibition space.
Amalfi’s Chiostro del Paradiso has 13th-century Moorish cloisters around a tropical garden. The Valle dei Mulini ravine above town is home to the Museo della Carta (Museum of Paper), in a 13th-century mill with original working paper presses. Hiking trails in the valley overlook lemon groves and pastel buildings on hillside terraces. Many use the town as a base for exploring the beaches, forests and mountains of the surrounding Amalfi Coast, picturesque Positano and the hillside gardens and villas of Ravello. Boat tours leave from the marina, where there’s also a lively beach.
 

Mount Etna, or Etna,

is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of Catania, between the cities of Messina and Catania. It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate

 

 

Syracuse

is a city on the Ionian coast of Sicily, Italy. It’s known for its ancient ruins. The central Archaeological Park Neapolis comprises the Roman Amphitheater, the Teatro Greco and the Orecchio di Dionisio, a limestone cave shaped like a human ear. The Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi exhibits terracotta artifacts, Roman portraits and Old Testament scenes carved into white marble.
The modern Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime is a monumental, conical church and sanctuary topped by a bronze Madonna statue. A bridge connects the city to the island of Ortigia, Syracuse’s historic center. Here, the Duomo di Siracusa is a cathedral built on the site of a former Greek temple, incorporating both Doric and baroque elements. Nearby, papyrus plants surround the Fonte Aretusa, a spring associated with many legends. The Bagno Ebraico-Mikveh is a subterranean Jewish ritual bath from the 6th century. On the island’s southern tip stands the Castello Maniace, a 13th-century fortress.
 

Sardinia

the large Italian island with a 2000km sandy beaches in the Mediterranean Sea.  The mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehive sand mountainous rugged landscaper crossed with hiking trails.
Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari, has a medieval quarter, Castello, with narrow streets, 14th-century palaces and a 13th-century cathedral. Castello’s Bastione di Saint Remy lookout has views over Cagliari and its harbor. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari preserves artifacts from prehistory to the Middle Ages. The Pinacoteca Nazionale houses important paintings, textiles, ceramics and jewelry. Hideaway to the international jet set, the northern Costa Smeralda has a luxury beach scene. Coastal caves such as the Grotta di Nettuno as well as the northern Maddalena archipelago can be visited by boat.