Italy Travel Guide- working

Italy Tours Highlights

  • Step back in time at the Colosseum.
  • Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.
  • Take a picture with the Leaning Tower Of Pisa.
  • Take a Gondola ride in Venice.
  • Cruise the Amalfi Coast.
  • Visit the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.
  • See countless works of art like the David, The Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa.
  • Take a rowboat tour though the Blue Grotto in Capri.
  • People watch in St. Mark’s Square in Venice.
  • Drink wine in Tuscany.
  • Walk around the Cinque Terre.
  • Admire the architecture of the Duomo di Milano.
  • Relax in the Italian Lake District.

Italy Travel Tips

  • Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for cobbled streets and lots of stairs.
  • Hotel rooms are smaller than found in America, and there might not be an elevator.
  • Italy is very serious about their food. Plan to spend a lot of time eating meals, sometimes a few hours. It can be considered rude to rush. Some places will charge a per person cover charge.
  • Lots of restaurants and stores shut down for ‘riposo’ from about 1pm-4pm. Italians like to have a break in the middle of the day. Plan ahead if you were wanting to eat or shop during this time.
  • Cars in Italy are very small, and the roads are very narrow. Make sure your luggage will fit. Trains are a popular way to travel.
  • Visit famous sites early in the morning to beat the crowds.
  • Since Italy is a popular travel destination, keep your valuables close to you. Some people prefer to keep their cash, cards, and passport in a travel pouch under their clothes. Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home and don’t accept any ‘free gifts’ from merchants.
  • Italians drink espresso at the end of meals, never during. Cappuccinos are only for breakfast.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN ITALY

1. VISIT THE VATICAN AND SISTINE CHAPEL

Vatican

The Vatican Museums located in the Vatican City in Rome offer a look at the immense art collection amassed by popes thought out the years. There are around 20,000 pieces of Roman sculptures and other mostly Renaissances masterpieces on display. Next door is the Sistine Chapel, whose ceiling was famously painted by Michelangelo. This is the site of the papal conclave, which is how they select a new pope. St. Peter’s Basilica is also next door and most visitors like to see all three sites.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel are 2 of the most visited attractions in Italy and the world. First thing in the morning is your best bet. The line for both places can get very long, we suggest joining a tour that allows you to bypass the line and cut to the front.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • There is a strict dress code to enter the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Your knees and shoulders must be covered.
  • You can’t take pictures everywhere. In the Vatican, there are many places you can snap photos, but you can’t in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, they ask you to be respectful and not speak while inside.

2. THROW A COIN IN THE TREVI FOUNTAIN

TREVI FOUNTAIN

Standing over 26 meters high, the Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and has appeared in several notable movies. The streets convene and mark the final point of Aqua Virgo, which was one of the earliest aqueducts in Rome. The name of the fountain translates to Three Street Fountain.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

Travelers should see the fountain twice, once in the daylight and once at night. Both are spectacular. Crowds are hard to avoid but plan to visit right after sunrise for the best view.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Legend says, throw a coin over your left shoulder and you’ll return to Italy!
  • The money thrown in the fountain is donated to a Catholic charity.
  • The water is not safe to drink and you are not allowed to sit on the edge of the fountain or touch the water.

3. TAKE A PICTURE AT THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA

PISA

This free-standing bell tower is known for its 4 degree lean because of its unstable foundation. Built-in the 12th century, the lean got worse and by 1990, the tilt was nearly 6 degrees. Restoration work from 1993- 2001 reduced the tilt to a little less than 4 degrees. Located in Pisa, Italy, this one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Because the tower was declared stable for the next 200 years, you can still climb the 251 steps to the top of the tower.
  • The word Pisa is a Greek word meaning “marshy land.”

4. STEP BACK IN TIME AT THE COLOSSEUM

COLOSSEUM

Construction of this huge oval amphitheater began in year 72 and was completed in 80. Holding up to 80,000 people, it was used for gladiatorial contests and was the largest built at the time. Sometimes, water was flooded into the arena so naval reenactments could be performed. In the area, there is a vast underground structure of tunnels, which is still visible today. It is located just east of the Roman Forum and is a very popular tourist destination.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

Lots of people like to see it both at night and the day, to get a different experience. Either time you choose, we suggest going on a tour in order to skip the line. The Colosseum is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Since this is a top attraction, there are going to be crowds whenever you go. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time. Winter months might have somewhat fewer crowds, especially on non-holiday weekdays.

5. WALK AROUND CINQUE TERRE

CINQUE TERRE

Located on the northwest coast of Italy, Cinque Terre is made up of five villages and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five villages are also connected by numerous hiking trails, and this allows for easy travel between all of Cinque Terre. Just be sure to pack comfortable shoes, and a light backpack for the scenic walks in each village.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • There is no car access once you are inside the five villages. Don’t be alarmed, there is a local train called The Cinque Terre Express, that runs from La Spezia through the coast and the boarding pass is only a few Euros.

6. ADMIRE THE DUOMO DI MILANO

DUOMO DI MILANO

The Milan Cathedral is located in Milan and is the largest church in Italy. It took nearly 6 centuries to complete. Full of beautiful colorful stained glass windows and a huge marble staircase, it houses the second largest organ in all of Europe. For a great view of the city, climb to the roof to admire the magnificent buildings surrounding the cathedral and the Pizza del Duomo below.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

This top attraction will be crowded, so make sure you go with a tour group or buy your tickets ahead of time. For beautiful colors, we suggest going right before sundown. If it is a clear sunny day, you might be able to see the Alps.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Like other Italian churches, you must have shoulders and knees covered. Bring a light scarf to wear as a shawl during the summer months.

7. TAKE A ROWBOAT THROUGH THE BLUE GROTTO

BLUE GROTTO

The Blue Grotto is located on the island of Capri. It is a beautiful sea cave that sunlight passes through and creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavity. The sight is breathtaking and this crystal clear water attraction is one of Capri’s most famous places.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

The Blue Grotto is usually closed during the winter and can also close at the last minute due to weather conditions. Summer months are peak tourist season, so the wait times won’t be as long in the Spring and Fall. No matter what time of the year you go, aim to get to the Grotto between noon and 2pm because the reflections are the strongest. If it is an overcast day, we suggest saving the Blue Grotto for a sunny day on your trip. Keep in mind that you might have to wait for your turn to enter.

8. TAKE A GONDOLA RIDE IN VENICE

GONDOLA

Riding a gondola is one of the top activities in all of Italy. This traditional form of transportation is the best way to get around the 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. As you glide down the canals in Venice, the gondolier will sing to you in Italian to really set the mood.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Grand Canal is the most popular spot for gondola rides.
  • A gondola ride can be just as beautiful at night.

9. EXPLORE THE RUINS OF POMPEII

POMPEII

One of the most famous volcano eruptions, Mount Vesuvius exploded in year 79 and covered the small town of Pompeii. You can explore the archaeological ruins for an inside look into the history and how they lived their day to day life. Pompeii is located 14 miles from Naples, south of Mount Vesuvius. A walking tour is the best way to see this very well preserved ancient town.

BEST TIME TO VISIT        

The winter and spring will have the least amount of crowds. Holiday weekends will bring out more travelers than usual.

10. EAT WONDERFUL ITALIAN FOOD

ITALIAN FOOD

Travel to the place where pizza was born and dine on an authentic pie. Neapolitan pizza usually just consists of crust, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes. Pasta is also a dish all travelers must try. From hearty lasagna to creamy risotto, you won’t leave Italy hungry. Let’s not forget about another important aspect of an Italian meal, the wine! Tuscany produces some of the world’s best wine and it’s great to pair with any Italian meal.

  • Italians like to have a break in the middle of the day so lots of restaurants shut down for ‘riposo’ from about 1pm-4pm.

BEST TIME TO VISIT ITALY

The best time to visit Italy is anytime. With so much to see, do, eat, and hear, there is somewhere for everyone throughout the year. But, depending on where and what region you’re visiting, you can definitely optimize your experience based on what you’re looking for.

Quick Facts

  • The most popular time to visit is during the Summer – the weather is warm but the crowds are big.
  • The quietest time to visit is during the winter months.
  • Ski birds will want to visit from December to March.

Spring – March to May – Good Season

The average high in Rome during this time is 62F and the average low is 40F. It’s still a little cold for most crowds but this is an optimal time to do exactly what you want in the central and southern regions like Rome or Naples.

Summer – June to August – High Season

The average high in Rome in the summer is 83F and the average low is 58F. You’ll notice it can get a little chilly at night so you’ll want to bring layers. Summer is the peak season so you’ll see a lot of big crowds and long lines. However, if you’re traveling with one of our travel partners, you won’t have to worry as your dedicated travel director will have tickets to the most popular attractions and you’ll be able to skip the line in most cases (inclusions are itinerary specific).

Fall – September to November – Good Season

The average high in the capital city is 82F and 58F low. Fall is a great time to visit as the crowds are starting to thin and you’ll get more of the city to yourself. Popular attractions won’t be as crowded and waits won’t be too long. It does rain a bit more in the Fall so you’ll want to be ready with an umbrella or poncho.

Winter – December to February – Low Season

The average high in Rome during the Winter is 56F and 38F low. The only people here during this time are skiers looking to hit the slopes in the Italian Alps. It’s cold and often wet, and most major attractions close early or are on short winter hours. Although the crowds tend to be really low during this time, the Christmas markets tend to be really popular and draw crowds.