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Travel Guide to Italy

When you’re on the road, nothing beats a travel guide book
Yes, even we admit that a web site can only do so much. When you’re traveling in Italy, we recommend you carry one of the following travel guide books with you for reference.

Check out our FREE downloadable travel guides for the following destinations (they’re PDFs, so you can print them out and take them with you!):
Ancona Travel Guide
Bergamo Travel Guide
Bologna Travel Guide
Brescia Travel Guide
Cagliari Travel Guide
Catania Travel Guide
Florence Travel Guide
Genoa Travel Guide
Lamezia Terme Travel Guide
Milan Travel Guide
Milan Region Skiing Guide
Naples Travel Guide
Palermo Travel Guide
Parma Travel Guide
Perugia Travel Guide
Pescara Travel Guide
Pisa Travel Guide
Rimini Travel Guide
Rome Travel Guide
Sestriere Travel Guide
Trapani Travel Guide
Trieste Travel Guide
Turin Travel Guide
Val di Susa Travel Guide
Venice Travel Guide
Verona Travel Guide

Prioritize Your Must-See List
The first thing to realize is that even with a year’s time, you would likely not see all there is to see in Italy. The country is chock-full of historical sights, world-famous art, ancient ruins, fantastic wine-making regions, incredible food, fast cars and some of the most animated and inviting people you will ever meet. Your first assignment when you have decided upon a trip to Italy is to prioritize – what do you want to see most? What can you put off until your next trip? Limiting your to-do list when traveling is always a good idea, and that is especially true in Italy – if you try to rush yourself in Italy you will end up disappointed and not having really seen much at all, even if you have checked off lots of things on your list. Take your time and you are likely to enjoy your Italy tour that much more.

Airfare to Italy
When you plan a trip to Italy, your first barrier will be getting there. If you are already in Europe, you will be able to find inexpensive airfare or even hop on a train if you are close enough. If you are not lucky enough to be on the continent already, however, airfare to Italy can be a hurdle. If you have more time than money, one option you can investigate is flying into a different European city – London, Paris or Amsterdam, for instance – and then booking a separate ticket on one of Europe’s budget airlines to get to Italy. This will take more logistical attention on your part, because the tickets would be two separate round-trips which you would need to coordinate, but the savings can be substantial and therefore worth it. This option also allows you to look at other airports in Italy than the big entry points of Rome, Milan or Venice – so if you are doing a tour of Tuscany or heading to Sicily you can fly into an airport closer to your ultimate destination.

Where to Stay in Italy
Choosing your accommodation for your trip is probably next on your to-do list, and you’ll be pleased to know you’ve got lots of choices. From the simplest hostels to the most luxurious five-star hotels, the entire spectrum is covered. But in addition to the usual accommodation options, Italy also has some unique ones as well – including the popular agriturismo (like a B&B on a working farm) and the many villas in Italy which have opened their doors to travelers. There are options in all price levels, all over the country – all you need to decide is how much you want to spend on where you sleep. Just remember that even though things like agriturismo or renting a house in Italy might sound expensive, they don’t have to be. Don’t exclude those listings without seeing what their prices are!

Getting Around Italy
You may have heard that Italy is a bit like organized chaos – and there is a certain amount of truth to that. The old saying is that Mussolini might have been a bad guy, but at least he made the trains run on time. Well, the fact is that the trains did not run on time during Mussolini’s reign, and they run on time more often than not today. So, rumors of chaos aside, traveling in Italy is not as challenging as you might have heard.

Getting around Italy is easy with the country’s extensive rail network. Cities and towns which are not served by trains are served by buses, so you will be able to get anywhere you want to go without renting your own car. Of course, relying on public transportation means you are at the mercy of someone else, so pack extra patience in your suitcase – things are generally quite efficient in Italy with both train and bus service, but there are notorious strikes which happen seemingly without warning (at least as far as tourists are concerned), so be prepared to make alternate transportation plans.

Renting a car is always an option, although driving in Italy‘s biggest cities is often more of a headache than it is worth. If you would like to try your hand at driving on Italy’s autostrada, your best bet is to use public transportation to visit the big cities and then, if your travel plans include destinations off the beaten path (Tuscan or Umbrian hill towns, an agriturismo in southern Italy) rent a car for just that portion of your vacation.

Italy Vacation Packages
Opting for a package vacation in Italy can be a good way to hit the highlights and get a taste of the country – so that when you return the next time you can know what you want to do more of and what you want to avoid. The types of tours will obviously vary, but it would be advisable to steer clear of the kind which ferry people around in a sort of bubble, shielding them from the experience by housing them in big chain hotels in Italy which serve big American-style breakfasts. Italy is best experienced at street level, and Italy’s food is famous – it is not to be missed. Your best bet is to look for a tour which emphasizes staying in smaller hotels or agriturismi and eating in cozy family-run restaurants which specialize in local dishes. Your experience will be richer for it.

Have a Great Trip
In most of Italy, the pace of life is a bit slower than you might be used to. Go with it. Get into the rhythm of this exceptional country. You will be very glad you did.