10 of the Most Romantic Destinations in Italy that No-One Ever Talks About

Italy is a country synonymous with beauty, romance and love – with very good reason. It is one of the most geographically incredible countries in the world and renowned for its incredible food, wine, culture, architecture, fashion and stunning landscapes. With so many amazing cities and regions in one country and dozens of beautiful islands there are many reasons why Italy is considered to be one of the most romantic and alluring destinations in the world, but during the spring and summer months many of the most well known cities in Italy like Florence, Venice and Rome and the regions like the Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast are flooded with tourists,  the restaurants are filled up and in some places like Sorrento there are so many people around you can barely move.  We’re not saying not to go to those places, but keep in mind the time of year you go because you may be very surprised to learn when the busiest times to visit are and if you only have a certain window of time, our suggestion is to make it a point to get away from the crowds and experience authentic, un-touched Italy which will not only leave your pocket-book in better standing, but also leave you with an impression of Italy that is far different from those who only ever visit the major cities and sites.

Below, we’ve put together some simply fantastic holiday suggestions for those looking to experience a taste of authentic Italy and truly romantic destinations.  Great for lovers of all ages and those who love to venture off the beaten-track.

Here are a few of the destinations we think are the most romantic holiday destinations in Italy:

1) Ponza

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Ponza is an island that is part of the Pontine islands, which are an archipelago of volcanic origin lying off the west coast of Italy, in the middle of the Tyrrhenian sea. Easily accessible from Rome,  in the province of Latina, opposite the Gulf of Gaeta, the islands are comprised of two groups: around Ponza, the largest, lie Palmarola, Zannone and Gavi; whilst at roughly 20 miles away there is Ventotene and, close by, Santo Stefano. Only two of the islands are inhabited throughout the year: those of Ponza and Ventotene.

Visitors to the town of Ponza are greeted in the gorgoues harbour with it’s backdrop of pretty pink houses clinging to the hillside. Small buses, custom built to fit along thenarrow lanes, transport tourists to enchanting bays such as that of Chiaia di Luna. From Ponza, boats cross the waters to the dramatically beautiful island of Palmarola, now a protected Nature Reserve.

Those looking for a truly romantic island escape where very few tourists ever make it, Ponza is the Island Paradise for you.

2) Maratea

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The Coast of Maratea is one of the most geographically beautiful coasts in Italy and would rank high on a list of mesmerizing places, the world over.
The hidden beaches which occupy the shores along this tiny bit of Basilicatan coast (only 30 KM)  from Sapri (in Campania) and Tortora (in Calabria), are of rare beauty, a climb to get to, but well worth the trek any time of year.  Swimming is only possible from May to November, but the scenery is spectacular.
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Praia a Mare is a magical town on Italy’s Cedri Riviera – the Citrus Coast – filled with natural wonder, legend and history.  The town is home to Dino Island, whose sandstone circumference includes mystifying cave grottos, in which an indescribable colour of blue, created by light which comes up through the water, has caused Dino Island to be given World-Heritage site status.
Praia a Mare is a naturally inspiring destination that has gone un-noticed by most travelers who unfortunately have passed up the town’s treasures which include: pedestrian only tree-lined streets and a stunning church, known as “La Madonna Della Grotta” built inside an enormous cave behind the town (look for sign near the Arcate hotel that indicates the Archaeological Zone).
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Ringed by cliffs and wonderful sandy beaches, the Tropea promontory is reason unto itself to visit the region of Calabria.  This town is one of my all time favourite place in Italy.  The best time to visit is anytime between May and November.

Tropea, easily wins the contest for prettiest town on the Calabria Tyrrhenian coast, with its old palazzi built in simple golden stone right into the cliffs.  There is still a quite, humbleness to this town, that seems to have been lost in many other places in Italy due to so much mass tourism.  Thankfully, the big tour operators haven’t made Tropea their target; yet.

5. Ninfe Gardens – Lazio

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The Ninfa Gardens (Giardini NInfa as called in Italian) are located in the province of Latina in the region of Lazio, Italy.  They are one of the regions most beautiful and perhaps romantic gardens with an incredible history, most certainly worth while of visit for garden lovers, history buffs and lovers of beauty.

This is truly a remarkable place, akin to what some what might consider the garden of Eden for when you enter you feel as though you are in a sacred place, which it is.  The gardens are named ‘Ninfa’ referring to the Nymphes, goodesses, seductresses of love. When you enter here, there is no doubt that it is other-wordly.  Though what comes as a surprise to most that these gardens run over an ancient Roman town and ancient Roman ruins are scatered throughout the immense garden works.

6. Spello

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Spello is a town located on the hills of Umbria in the center of Italy. Just six miles south of Assisi, this town is much less touristy than the nearby towns to its north. This is a very pretty hill-top town that is known as the city of Flowers and it is a gorgeous town to explore.  Spello will give your legs a nice workout. Via Consolare goes from the bottom to the top of the town. Views from the terrace of the II Trombone restaurant will leave you speechless. This picturesque town has bastions and gateways that bear witness to its past as a Roman settlement. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore has the Baglioni Chapel with breathtaking frescoes. By the alter are frescoes by Perugino. Nearby, in the Church of Sant’Andrea, built in 1025, is a painting by Pinturicchio and a crucifix attributed to Giotto. At the base of town Roman mosaics were discovered in 2005. In the springtime for the Infiorate del Corpus Domini, inhabitants paint images on the streets with flower petals.

7.  Alghero, Sardegna

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Sardegna is also known as Sardinia and it is a region of ancient traditions. The inner island is characterized by wild mountain areas and wide green valleys covered with shrubs, spots of grassy land with a mixture of myrtle, serpillo, India figs and dwarf oaks. The coast presents an enchanting sea with bays and isolated inlets, grottoes, very long stretches of white and pink sandy beaches.  Sardinia is synonymous with the sea: transparent waters, charming beaches, pure nature. In truth, Sardinia is a region rich in ancient traditions and culture. It’s beautiful coastal towns make it by far one of the most romantic islands in the Mediterranean sea.

8. Villa Balbianello, Lake Como 

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The Italian Lake District, consists of Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta and Lake Garda.  The climate here is a micro-climate and so it’s quite warm in the area year-round and there are many tropical flowers and gorgeous gardens around the lake.  George Clooney recently bought a villa on Lake Como where he and his new wife, married in Venice live half the year,  and they live there half the year.

The Lake District is an area with fantastic hotels and absolutely stunning scenery.  We highly recommend it for those who want to relax and revel in the exquisite beauty of the area.

9. Ischia 

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Ischia is the largest island in the Bay of Naples and one of the prettiest places to visit in the Mediterranean.     The island has been featured in numerous Italian movies like “Paradiso Perso” (Paradise Lost) a romantic comedy, where the island sets the idyllic scene of two star-crossed lovers who fall in love with each other all over again, in part because they cannot escape the beauty off the island or the romance the island’s beauty forces between them

Venice is unique and always awe-inspiring. The colourful reflections off the water will simply leave you speechless. When in Venice, make sure to visit the nearby islands like Murano and Burano (seen in the picture above) which are easily reachable by the frequently passing boats.

10. Siracusa – Sicily

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Siracusa is a vibrant city with a   a wealth of monuments, the most important of which can be found in the Archeological park of the Neapolis. Here one finds the Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomia del Paradiso, the Grotta dei Cordari, the Ara di Lerone, Porta Urbica, Apollo’s Temple, the Cathedral and Athena’s Temple, Zeus’s Temple, the Gymnasium, the Catacombs, the Paolo Orsi Museum and Eurialo Castle.

It’s strategic position on the Mediterranean and it’s beautiful streets make it by far one of the most romantic towns for those visiting Sicily to stay in and explore.

 

What You Should Absolutely NOT do When Planning A Trip to Italy

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Listed below, we talk about 10 things that visitors to Italy should take into mind when planning a vacation to Italy .  We hope you will find these comments useful.

  1. Trying to see ALL of Italy in one or two weeks and trying to DO IT ALL! 

Italy looks small on a map, very small indeed. In fact it is not even as big as half the size of the state of California, however, in reality it is expansive and the infrastructure and geography here in Italy make getting around a challenge. Trying to see all of Italy in two weeks is not possible and would never be a pleasant thing to try to do, so don’t do it and believe us!  We have been putting tours together for over 14 years and have ventured all over Italy collecting information about different regions, towns, cities, restaurants, hotels and much else – but we still haven’t been able to see all of Italy! In fact, we’re heading up to Trieste next week because despite many journeys up North, we still haven’t been able to stop there.

The point is that you may want to see Florence, Venice, Rome, the Cinque Terre, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast on your upcoming vacation to Italy and try to fit all of these places in, in the span of 2 weeks and we often get the question from many travel agents we work with:

“Hi Giuseppe! We have have clients who would like to see Venice, Florence, the Cinque Terre national Park, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Sicily and we have 8 days. Can you please give us a quote?”

Our answer is always the same ”  We can give you a quote, but why would you do that to yourself?”

In short, take our advice and don’t try to see it all, or do it all in one trip.

Italy is  a country that gets into your bones, into your blood and into your soul and chances are, you will want to return to Italy after your first or second trip to get a better feel for the different areas and cultures and so please friends, DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL IN 2 WEEKS!

  1. Renting a Car from (or in) either Florence, Venice, Rome or Palermo (Sicily), the Amalfi Coast or Capri 

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Having a car in any of the above mentioned cities  is a hindrance more than a help.  Forget about having a car in either of these places, because it will cause you a lot of frustration and annoyance.  Either take public transit, hire a driver or walk. In any of the above mentioned cities. We can help you whatever your budget, so just get in touch, but keep in mind, having a car is one of the worst things you can consider doing in any of these places given traffic, geography, city permits and many other factors. Taking the train between each destination and then organizing transportation with these cities is the way to go.

  1. Renting an apartment for less than 3-5 days.Ischia and Naples Coast 044

You may think that renting an apartment will save you money. Quite the contrary.

When you rent an apartment in Italy thinking that it will save you money by cooking for yourself (selves) keep in mind that you will have to buy yourself all the staple ingredients – salt, oil, pepper spices and various other ingredients that will cost you in addition to the ingredients you want to cook… so it all totals up to the cost of a dinner or lunch out at the end…

Not only this, but keep in mind napkins,  toilet paper and the bare essentials you may take for granted at home and are not going to be included in an apartment rental and when all is said and done after you’ve been touring all day anyway, who wants to cook?

Not me if I was coming to your town or city or country…. and rest assured, we have had many calls after people have arrived in apartments saying “Please get us out of here and into a hotel or some place nearby here where we don’t have to walk 3 flights of stairs.”

No problem.  Gladly. And for all the Air B&B clients out there who call us up…. No problem.  We’ve got you, here in Rome – Florence, Venice wherever… The Worst places in Italy to rent apartments.

Italy has some of the best food in the world…. and it is cheap to eat out. A pizza dinner can cost about 8 EURO a person or even a fantastic pasta dish. Alcoholic beverages aside, a couple can eat for about 13.50 EURO per person in Italy.

  1. Taking a day trip from Rome to visit Pompeii the Amalfi Coast or Rome to visit Capri

Many people have come to us over the years and have wanted to do this. We have obliged, given the amount of time and we will do this for you too.  However, we want you to keep in mind that the Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Dotted by about 30 different towns, and a magical coast-line, you can spend about 30 minutes given the time we have here to enjoy it and about 1 hour in Pompeii.

It’s a 16-18 hour day and we do not recommend doing this if you can avoid it.   Go and stay there! See it, experience it and do something else there.

  1. Visiting Rome from Civitavecchia

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If you have not visited Rome before, we can understand the appeal to visit Rome, however if there is any way you can spend some time in Rome rather than visiting Civitavecchia this is the best option since the distance to Civitavecchia from Rome is about 1.5 hours each way!  There are many, many other tours to consider out of Civitavecchia that are really beautiful options. We recommend saving your money to do a tour out of Civitavecchia into Rome and instead staying in Rome proper.

  1. Visiting the Cinque Terre in one day from Florence or Livorno

The Cinque Terre national park is not one town. It is a coastal region, which consists of 5 towns and while there are many companies offering day-trips from Livorno or Florence to the Cinque Terre, this is really an area that you want to stay a few days in. Furthermore, getting to and from the Cinque Terre national park is precarious and there are alternatives to consider that we think would be much more rewarding.

  1. Not renting a car in Tuscany / Umbria / Calabria / Puglia

If you are staying in any of the above mentioned regions or renting a holiday home, it is in your best interest to rent a car. Roads are safe, easy to follow.

8. Hiring a Translator

Hiring an official translator to help you in Italy is un-necessary and will not be needed unless you are dealing with legal matters.

9. Waiting to pre-book tickets to Vatican City, the Collosseum, Accademmia Gallery or Uffizi Galleries 

Tickets from May to October to get into any of these venues are extremely difficult to get and so if you are coming to Rome or Florence we strongly recommend you to pre-book tickets here.

10. Going to restaurants with the “tourist menu”  at restaurants 

As you may suspect, a ‘Tourist Menu” is a tourist trap and you are going to see this all over Italy. It may look like great value, but it’s usually very standard and low quality food.  We recommend going to restaurants that are local trattorias and family run places.

For great dining recommendations and tips on how to organize your trip, where to save money and get the most value for money for your upcoming trip, you can get in touch with the experts at team@italyvacationspecialists.com . We specialize in custom trips for couples – honeymoons, romantic holidays, family travel, travel for children and travel for singles. With offices all over Italy and a great team of locals deeply tied to the environment and culture here, we can surely make your trip an unforgettable experience and truly a trip of a life time!

 

10 of the Best Foods to Try in Rome

 

The Roman culinary traditions often get pushed aside in terms of what is considered “high” Italian cuisine, however for pasta lovers and traditionalists, for lovers of “Comfort Foods”, street foods and those who just want to enjoy a great plate of Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce or “Spaghetti al Pomodoro” Rome is actually one of the very best places you can possibly experience in terms of truly authentic and unique dining experiences in Italy.

Here is a list of the foods you should definitely try when coming to Rome:

 

 Pasta alla Carbonara

 

Carbonara is an authentically Roman dish where Spaghetti is usually used as the pasta; however, fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine or bucatini can also be used. The sauce, is rich and based on eggs, cheese, bacon, and black pepper.

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Bucatini all’Amatriciana

 

Amatriciana originates from a recipe named gricia. Grici were what Romans – modern dwellers of the eponymous city, not the ancient ones – called the sellers of bread and comestibles. [1] They were so called in that a number of them emigrated from the Swiss canton of Grisons. [1] According to another hypothesis, the name originates from the hamlet of Grisciano, in the comune of Accumoli, near Amatrice. The sauce was (and still is) prepared with guanciale (cured pork cheek) and grated pecorino. According to the matching hypothesis, ingredients reflect local products available either to a simple grocery store or to common folk who practiced herding in the mountainous area. At some point, a little olive oil was added to the recipe; also it should be noted that in the 1960s the Amatriciana sauce was still prepared in this way in Amatrice itself.

Baccatini

 

Saltimbocca

 

Saltimbocca is a dish made of veal lined or topped with prosciutto and sage or basil; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one’s own taste. This dish is also occasionally topped with capers depending on individual taste.

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Stracetti

 

A wonderful type of Roman stir-fry of finely cut veal which is usually marinated in light olive oil, parsley, garlic and then grilled up with pine-nuts and Porcini mushrooms or eggplant – accompanied by Risotto or just served on its own, a wonderful tasty Roman dish unique to Rome!

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Filetti di baccalà fritti – Cod, Fried Roman Style 

 

Rome, because of its position has always been very tied to the sea and there are some great sea-food dishes to try in Rome, perhaps the most popular in terms of appetizers or even ‘street food” is the fried cod, with a wonderfully light batter that surrounds, lightly grilled cod. Complete with herbs like Rosemary and Basil, it makes for a wonderful succulent snack or antipasto (appetizer).

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Trippa alla romana – Tripe, Roman Style 

 

Trippa alla Romana (Tripe Roman Style) is a masterpiece by itself. A very authentic and unique Italian fish dish, the taste of tripe cooked with tomato blends perfectly with the pecorino romano cheese and the fresh mint, giving this dish a unique flavor.

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Coda alla Vaccinara

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Coda alla vaccinara is a modern Roman oxtail stew made from oxtail and various vegetables, most notably celery. Its introduction dates back to times when it was customary to pay a vaccinaro in kind with quinto quarto.  It delicious, tender and surprisingly healthy with a number of anti-oxidant properties.  If you’ve never tried this when coming to Rome, we highly, highly recommend this dish!

 

Pizza Roman Style (From Margerita to Diavola)

 

Roman style pizza has a slightly higher pizza crust than the thinner crust pizza found in Naples  – although it still is thin by North American standandards, for those coming to Rome you should definitely make sure to try the pizza here in Rome to compare the Roman variety with other Italian varieties.

 

Suppli Romano

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This is one of Rome’s best typical “street foods” you can find in local pizza joints, street vendors and even some high-end restaurants because they are SO good.

Essentially what these are, are balls of rice, that are filled with mozzarella, even anchovies, various herbs and once filled and rolled they are battered in a light bread-crumbs and lightly fried for about 10-20 seconds, so that there is just a light shell around the rice.

These suppli can also consist of mashed up potatoes… although both the rice and potatoes are equally amazing and mouth-watering.

 

Tiramisu

 

A lot of people don’t know this, but Tiramisu one of the most famous Italian deserts was actually first created in Rome.

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For restaurant recommendations in Rome, for dining throughout Italy and for cooking courses in Rome or throughout Italy, you can get in touch with us at team@italyvacationspecialists.com

Here is a link to our Cooking Course in Rome – a wonderful and enriching experience for those wanting to learn to cook “Roman Style”.

Rome Cooking Course

Cooking Courses and Wine Tours in Italy 

 

This article was written by Jessica Andrews, Owner and President of Italy Group Specialists SRL and Italy Vacation Specialists. To contact Jessica directly you can write her at: jessica@italyvacationspecialists.com

Grazie and have a fantastico day!

How to Dress in Italy

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You know the age-old expression “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do”?  Well, one person recently wrote us asking what is it exactly that the Romans do and by the way “How should I dress in Rome and in the other places we will be visiting in Italy?”

This is a great question and one that we hope we can help you with, since our head office is based here in Rome and we are all over the country from the north to the south where the climate differs significantly and clothing trends do as well.

Keeping in mind that you are only going to be here for a limited time we recommend that you travel as light as possible, so that you can  experience some of the best shopping in Italy.  This is the fashion capital of the world and yet there are some INCREDIBLE bargains to be found throughout Italy and we can hopefully give you some great suggestions when you book with us, one of our experts will point you in the right direction no matter what type of budget you have.

Here is a list for our top 10 recommendations for what to wear in terms of travel in Italy”

  1. Simple is best.  Bring basics comfortable articles that are versatile and dress them up when necessary. 

The greatest fashion trends are always timeless and begin with taking care of your body, your skin and your grooming.  Italians put a lot of time into taking care of themselves and in fact Italy is considered to be one of the healthiest countries in the world, with people taking sports and self-care very seriously, simplicity with a touch of elegance, color and sophistication is the name of the game here and the occasion – time of day and weather is going to determine what you wear, however there are a few simple and yet cardinal rules.

Starting with the basics….

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2. Footwear Suggestions We suggest you bring:

We recommend always versatile, light-weight and comfortable footwear since Italy is a place where you will be doing a lot of walking and get to some of the most beautiful locations there may be some steep stairs involved. We recommend always versatile, light-weight and comfortable footwear and here are some shoes you will need to have!

  • 1 pair of Flat Shoes
  • 1 pair Running Shoes
  • 1 Pair of Dress Up Shoes for both men and women (either flats or high-heels for women).  
  • In the summer, we also suggest as a pair of flip-flop or a pair of open-toe sandals which are light-weight and comfortable to walk in.  However, Italians make beautiful sandals particularly on the Amalfi Coast or Capri – this is the place to buy sandals and so you may want to wait to get here to buy sandals.  

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3. Scarves

Italians LOVE scarves and you can find beautiful scarves sold in stores and on street corners throughout Italy, but scarves are also so easy to pack if you have some of your own. Light weight, easy to pack or easy to bring home scarves also make great presents for your friends and loved ones!

Stylish Scarf

4. They layered look

In Italy, keep in mind that major sites of interest are some of the world’s most beautiful churches and so you need keep in mind that you cannot bear your shoulders in churches and that shorts for both men and women must come below the knew.

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5. A light-weight dress for women and dinner jacket for men for the evening that can also – if need be worn for different purposes during the day. 

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6. Capri Pants or Shorts for Men or Leggings for women to be worn with either flats or elegant shoes

7. Sunglasses

Enough said. Italians are the KINGS and QUEENS of eye wear and you can find some great eye-wear pieces for every budget all over the country, although on Via Del Corso in Rome, we think they have the best options for eye-wear anywhere in Italy.

8. Hats 

For both men and women, there are a great assortments of hats to buy while here in Italy and we do not recommend you bringing them with you in your suitcase. You will find them available on every street corner and a variety of stores.

9. Accessories

A nice watch on a man or, necklace, earrings or bracelets which are light and easy to carry. Italians like to overlay blouses or just plain shirts with long-hanging necklaces that are inexpensive and possible to buy all over Italy.

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10. Lightweight hand-bag that can be used during the day or night

During your time in Italy, a bag to carry your camera in, your guide book, sunscreen etc is going to be important and so we do suggest for both men and women to have a bag to carry these articles and something you can stuff your jacket into if need be.  Here are a few examples that can work in both day and in the evening although here in Italy you will surely find your fair share of hand-bags, leather goods and other great things to buy!  Florence is our favorite place for buying leather goods in Italy and we can certainly give you some great suggestions for where to go for unbeatable prices for leather goods in Florence.

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We have a lot of wonderful suggestions for where to get some amazing pieces to add to your wardrobe anywhere in Italy.  You can write us at: team@italyvacationspecialists.com or you can contact us via our website: www.italyvacationspecialists.com

A few shopping tours we have going on and you can see a couple below, but it’s always best to get in touch with us directly and make human contact!

Exclusive Shopping in Tuscany:

https://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/tuscany_shopping_tour.htm

10 Surprising Things that Shock First Time Visitors to Italy

1. Italy is a country synonymous with wines and spirits, but very few Italians will ever have more than a glass of wine and when  Italians drink, they usually drink alcohol only if it is accompanied by food at either a main meal or during that is known as the “Aperativo” hour which usually starts at approximately 17:30 / 5:30 PM and goes to approximately 19:30 / 7:30 PM.

One of the most popular drinks during the Aperativo hour is the “Spritz” cocktail which is made with Prosecco and either Aperol or Campari which are 2 Italian bitter style drinks that is paired with Prosecco, tonic water and garnishing.

At locations throughout Italy there is now “Cena’Aperativo” which is like an Italian Tapas experience where for 5-10 Euro (including the cost of your drink) you can sample things from the buffet.

spritzItalian Ap

2. Bars are everywhere – but a “Bar” is a coffee shop and you aren’t finding any Starbucks here.  It’s quite customary for bars to also sell food, cigarettes and pastries, particularly croissants “cornetti” warm croissants filled with jams or creams in the morning.

3. It is customary when you walk into a local place to say “Buongiorno” or Good day to everybody in the place.

4.  The number of people!  Italy is a very small country for the size of its population!  There are over 56 Million people in Italy and so you should anticipate to see people everywhere!

5.  Store hours, especially in the smaller towns are only open from 10:00 AM until 13:00 PM and then again after 16:00 PM to about 19:00 PM. Pretty much everybody in Italy takes a siesta from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM.

6. Sitting down at a table – if you are at a bar or cafe, they are going to charge you a seating cost “coperto” to sit down, which is usually about 2 Euro per person.

7. Water is not offered complimentary at any restaurant. You need to order a bottle of either “Frizzante con Gas” or Naturale – Frizzy or Natural water.

8. Meals are served in a much different way and usually you need to offer several plates, such as: Appetizer – First Course – Second Course – Side Dish – Desert. They are quite reasonably priced each course, however nothing is usually served as one plate, except for the pasta dishes or pizza and the cost of high quality food in Italy is very reasonable.

9. Italians as a general rule do not use dryers. They wash their clothes in a washing machine (Which usually takes about 1 hour) and then they hang their clothes to dry.

10. How geographically varied the country of Italy is!  In Italy, you can travel from one region to the next and quite literally feel like you are traveling from one country to the next.  The entire country is beautiful… and different from one region to the next.  You can see and experience many different locations in Italy on our website.

The Amalfi Coast: Doing it Right

A lot of people ask us about how long they should spend on the Amalfi Coast.

We think that 4-5 days is the minimum you should consider spending in the area and if you can get the time off, we would even recommend a full week and here’s why:

1) It takes about 3 hours to get down to the Amalfi Coast from Rome and once there, there is so very much to see in the area including: Pompeii & Heraculaneum, Mt. Vesuvius, Capri, Ischia, Sorrento and of course the Amalfi Coast itself which is home to some of the most beautiful sea-side towns in Italy including Positano, Atrani, Conca dei Marini, Ravello and many, many others.

2) You should plan for a full day to see the Amalfi Coast itslef, a full day for Capri, a full day for Pompeii and Naples.

3) We recommend seeing the coast by both boat and by car, but we do not recommend driving on the Amalfi Coast.  We recommend you either take a day-tour with a small group, or a private tour with a driver, which we think is the best experience because they can get into the places and into towns which the  bigger buses can’t go.  You can see our private tour of the Amalfi Coast here:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/amalfi-coast-private.htm

If you have 2 + people it ends up being very cost-effective and the experience is unparalleled.

There is so very much to see in this area of Italy and there is so much to enjoy.  Many people fly through here and don’t really get a chance to enjoy things at leisure, however we encourage you to spend as much time as you can in the area, since it is one of our favourite areas in Italy, we are sure that it may be yours as well.

When in Rome….How to make the most of your time and Enjoy the Eternal City!

ROME BY NIGHT

Piazza del Popolo – photo by Jesse Andrews

There is no doubt that Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The cradle of western civilization and remarkable it seems at almost every corner, the city is known as the Eternal City for good reason. It is constantly revealing itself to you.

However, Rome can seem very overwhelming for first time visitors and even to those who have been here before because it seems so huge and like there are so very many things to see.  In a way it is true that there are so many things to see in Rome, and we know that you don’t have a life time to spend here., however we do hope that you take a few suggestions for how to get the most out of your time in Rome.  We recommend at least 3 nights/4 days in Rome and to consider the following tips:

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME IN ROME.

1) Divide your time accordingly between Ancient Rome – Vatican City – and the monuments of Rome and if possible, dedicate a day to enjoying the beautiful parks that far to few people visiting Rome ever get a chance to see.

At least 1/2 a day should be devoted to Vatican city.

If you have less than 4 people in your party, we do not recommend doing a private tour of Vatican City, however if you have more than 4 in your party – doing a private tour would be in your interest.  You can have a look at the Private Tour of Vatican City we offer here:

Private Vatican: http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/private-vatican-tour.htm

Or our Elite, small group walking tour, where we can include pick up at your hotel, here:

Vatican Elite Small Group:  http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/vatican-walking-small-group.htm

A full day should be devoted to enjoying the Colosseum and Ancient Rome, including the Roman Forum which is enormous.

It’s a great idea to do a tour of Ancient Rome, whether small group or private. The reason is because a lot of the time there are enormous lines to get into these areas and with our tours you get the VIP tickets to get into these sites without having to wait in line.

You can see our small group tour of Ancient Rome here:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/ancient-rome-walking.htm

Or, you can see our  Private Tour of Ancient Rome , here:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/private_tour_rome.htm

Monumental Rome: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Del Popolo, Pantheon, Trinita Del Monti, Piazza Barberini, Piazza Repubblica 

The city of Rome is filled with beautiful squares and neighborhoods all over the city and while you may not have time to cover all of these places, there are some monuments here in Rome which you really shouldn’t miss.

A great way to discover these sites is on foot… since a lot of the buses – like the Open Tour of Rome, can never access these places.

On your first day in Rome, a great tour to consider would be our Discovering Rome walking tour, which does bring you to many of some of the city’s greatest monuments and gives you a little bit of information about the history of the sites.

You can consider our Discovering Rome walking tour, as seen here:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/Discovering_Rome.htm

Or you can do a private tour of Rome – half day or full day, such as the 2 examples as seen below:

Private Half Day Tour of Rome:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/private-half-day-rome.htm

Full Day Tour of Historic Rome:

http://www.italyvacationspecialists.com/tours/eternal-rome-full-day-private.htm

Finally – after all these historic and beautiful squares, get into the Green in Rome! Experience the beautiful parks and rivers within the incredible city of Rome! 

Rome has some of the most beautiful parks in Europe including the Villa Pamphilli and Villa Borghese.  “Villa” in Italian literally means “the land” or “estate” with a manor house and each of these parks have homes that use to belong to wealthy families. In each park you can experience the park-land, the mansions themselves and some fantastic Italian gardens.

These parks are massive and beautiful, however most visiting Rome don’t get a chance to visit them or experience how beautiful and green the city of Rome is.

These are but of a few of our suggestions for Rome! We also have many restaurant recommendations, hotel recommendations in the best neighborhoods here in Rome.

When I first moved to Rome, I was scared! I was intimidated by how very large it was and found it chaotic, but now that I live here and have experienced so very much of the city, the true beauty of it, I absolutely LOVE Rome and I hope that we can share our knowledge of this place with you!

Wishing you a great trip in Rome – me and the entire team wish you a great time here in this great city!

Sincerely,

Jesse Andrews

Owner and President