I've been traveling internationally for more than 30 years. I've lived abroad, for half that time, in Japan, the UAE,...Read more
Ah, Italia. People travel to Italy for any number of reasons. Some go for the history, including the 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Others visit for the fabulous deals on fashion. And, of course, everyone makes the journey to Italy for the wonderful food and exquisite wines. Regardless of the reason, Italy is considered one of the most sought-out destinations in Europe. With the current parity between the U.S. dollar and the Euro, travel in Italy may not be as expensive as it once was.
Most major airlines across the globe fly to Italy, and the cost widely varies depending on where the flight originates and the time of the season. Those on the Continent have a few options traveling to Italy. By auto is one way as long as you are comfortable in driving through a few mountain ranges. Taking trains and utilizing Europass is a less expensive and relaxing way to see the European countryside and allows you to access additional trains in Italy. The other option is to take a cruise to Italy. Out of all the options, this may be the one which takes the most time.
Should you want to deal with Italy traveling via car, then you’ll have a fairly easy time with the country highways which make up the Autostrade. The speed limit is approximately 80 miles per hour, but that doesn’t mean a quick trip. Like other European countries, traffic is always an issue. For an easier trip, ItaliaRail provides service to all of the major cities in the country.
Whether you travel in Italy during the height of summer or the winter off-season, you need to dress accordingly when traveling in Italy. From the top of the boot line to the tip, large temperature swings can take place. For instance, you may need a bathing suit while tanning in Palermo one day and require a sweatshirt or warm coat visiting the Alps a few days later. Overall, April through September are the warmest months with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s with some warmer temps in-between. Winter temperatures in Central and Southern Italy dip into the high 50s and low 60s while Nothern Italy can get quite chilly with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s.
In addition to the appropriate clothing — in fact, even more important — you need to bring one, or several, electric converters if you are coming from a country which runs off of 110 volts. Italy runs at 220 volts. So, if you want your smartphone to be regularly charged, make sure these are part of your luggage when traveling Italy.
The header should actually be “What is There NOT to See in Italy?” Pick a point on the map and there’s bound to be some points of interest in Italy which will intrigue you. Start in Southern Italy with a stop in the port city of Naples. In addition to the beaches, fine dining and great shopping, travelers can visit the Mt. Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii which was destroyed by Vesuvius’ eruption. Within Naples, tour the Real Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest operating opera house in Europe.
Further down the boot, travelers to Italy want to consider a stop in Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. Make a trip to the 5th century-built Doric Temple, the 4th century Villa Romana del Casale and the 2,700-year-old city known as Syracuse. Also, make sure to spend a few days in Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, for the busy street life and the maze of underground crypts known as the Catacombe dei Cappuccini.
You can’t make a trip to Italy without stopping at one, or all four, of the country’s most famous areas. Start in the northern part of the country with Milan. Not only is it considered the fashion capital of Italy but it’s also home to Gothic cathedrals like the Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio, the La Scala Opera House, and Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Head east to the canal city of Venice. The artificial replicas at The Venetian in Las Vegas don’t compare to the miles of originals which connect the 118 small islands of this city. Venice is home to the 16th-century church San Giorgio Maggiore, famous palazzos like Ca’ Rezzonico, and, of course, the many gondolas which cross the water of the romantic city.
Head south, into the leg of the boot, to reach the city of Florence and the Tuscany region. Home to many of Italy’s world-renown wineries. Make multiple stops in the small villages of Val d’Orcia, spend time at a Florence cafe. Do some people watching, and enjoy the white sands and warm waters of Elba.
Any trip to Italy wouldn’t be at all complete without a several-day visit to Rome. Of course, the Collesium is the main tourist attraction in this city which is both cosmopolitan and ancient. Those who wish to take a walk back in time can do so via the Appian Way, which connected Rome with cities in the southeastern part of the country. Home to The Vatican, St. Peter’s Square is a must visit for both spirituality and history. And lest we forget the famous Spanish Steps. these 135 steps have been featured in numerous photos, movies, and television series.
Julie and Peter Thorpe discovered the Italian region of Abruzzo when visiting friends who had settled there. "We had been...Read more
If you've fantasized about embracing the good life on the Continent, this is your chance. Americans have more buying power in Europe than they've had in the past two decades. On Aug. 23, the euro closed at 0.9927 per dollar—the lowest it's been since 2002. The exchange rate means that everything, from the cost of an espresso to the cost of an apartment on the Mediterranean, comes at a discount for U.S. dollar holders right now. What's more, there are...Read more