Remember in Italian you “make a trip,” you do not take a trip. So the word fare, meaning to make is used to describe a journey. Make a trip to Italy (yes in is used when referring to a country),
After hearing about my trip to Italy, so many people react in this way – “We need to go there!” Well okay, then start to plan. They ask lots of questions, such as:
- How much will it cost?
- When is a good time to go?
- How long should I stay?
- Where should I go?
- What are the must cities and sites to see?
When do you want to go? When is the best time to go?
When do you want to go? Next year. That is 12 months. I advise setting aside $100-$200 per month. That gives you a start toward at least your flight, which is the largest lump sum of money you have to come up with.
Spring and fall are the very best times to visit Italy. It is less crowded. Europe is expecting record tourists this summer, largely due to favorable exchange rates.
The heat of the summer can be tough. Remember standing in line to go to see the museums and churches during the busiest and hottest times of the year can put a damper on a day.
How long should I stay? Where should I go?
How much time do you have? Sandwich 5 work days between 2 weekends and you have 9 days. Subtract 2 for travel, and you have 7. So I would add 3-5 more in. You always reach that point of – I am ready to go home, but you need to allocate in there travel time whether by car or train.
The good news is that the trains are on time and if you take the fast train – well from Rome to Florence is 2 hours. Not bad.
I really like having either the Amalfi Coast or the Cinque Terra on the list of things to do. If you cannot swing either, then put Lake Como or Lake Garda on your itinerary. Hey why not do all 4. Yes, why not.
Florence is at the top of my list as far as major cities. Can walk to the museums and churches. Just start at the Duomo, which you cannot miss in the sky. climbing the Duomo is a challenge but the view spectacular. Read up on places like the Ponte Vecchio, the Bargello, and Santa Croce.
If Florence is first. what is another must see? Surely you know Rome is necessary if you are a first timer. A few times we skipped Rome after seeing it. There is so much to see and do there, and that all takes time.
We have been fortunate to have made friends with Mauro who owns a winery outside of Florence, and Federica, who takes us to a winery and olive oil producing estate in Verona.
Often I am asked about Venice. You will not regret going to Venice. So picturesque is this city built on a lagoon, that it merits a stay. However, If you have been there before, I do not feel there is a need to go each time. Taking the train and then getting on the Vaporetto or water taxi to your desired location is preferable.
Stai Tranquillo/Stay Calm
You really need time to relax, whether you sit by the pool at an agriturismo in the evening or just take a day to rewind.
Do something different. Our group took a horseback riding lesson one day. How neat is that? My brother saw the Eagles perform in Lucca. There is also a wall that surrounds the city of Lucca. You can rent a bike and get a great view of the city. I know a friend who went to the Ferrari Auto Headquarters, and drove a Ferrari (for a price) on their racetrack.
Italians are only in a rush on the roads. They encourage Americans to stay calm, relax, it can wait. Sit in the piazza with a spritz and enjoy the sunshine and do some people watching. Take a day to sit by the pool.
How much does it cost?
Flights are between $1200-$1300. Meals are inexpensive and of high quality. Italians have their espresso and a cornetto or brioche for a few euro in the morning. On the menu their is a first and second course. Choosing one, most often the pasta course is filling enough.
The cost of rooms can vary. Booking. com is a good way to gauge how much you want to spend. I tend to look for something in a city that is clean, reasonably priced, and has a good location. The agriturismo is very affordable if you use it as a base and stay a few days. An apartment that sleeps 2-4 can be very affordable.
Then there is shopping. It is hard to resist, and so your budget will be challenged if you cannot resist. I try to buy small gifts that I can put in my carry on. You can bring back 3 bottles of wine, or limoncello, or liquor.