Italy Travel Guide

It's impossible to begin describing the romance of Italy. Every visitor will fall in love with the golden fields of Tuscany, the ruins of Rome, the gondolas in Venice, the bridges in Florence, and so much more. There are many corners to explore in Italy and often, the best way to enjoy them is through the eyes of a local. Live your own "la dolce vita" with a vacation rental in Italy!

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What to Do in Italy

italy vacationsThe different regions of Italy each beg to be explored for a different reason. The mysterious city of Venice, in Northern Italy, lures travelers for its canals, winding streets, and festivals. The capital city of Rome, in central Italy, is home to historic ruins, captivating squares, and delicious restaurants. Things are a bit slower in southern Italy, and especially in Sicily. Whatever area you decide to explore during vacations to Italy, you will discover a reason to plan a return trip!

Northern Italy

Family Fun

Of all Italy vacations, Venice is one of the most versatile. The sinking city can be the most romantic city on the planet, but it is also a great place to bring kids. They will love hopping aboard the Vaporetto (water bus) for a tour of the canals. Ancient churches, crumbling bridges, and bell towers all beg to explored by curious kids.

After all the architecture and art, your kids might want a little action. Italy vacations wouldn’t be complete without a soccer match, and the north is the place to catch the best action. Get tickets for an AC Milan match to see how devoted Italian soccer fans can be.

Perfect for Couples

If you’re looking for the center of sophisticated vacations to Italy, look no further than the north. Culture, opera, music, and fashion are at their peak in this wealthy section of the country. Reconnect in Milan over a night at the famous La Scala Opera House followed by a candlelit dinner.

Romance is palpable in Venice. All couples at one point in their lives should plan Italy vacations to this city. From the morning buzz of the Rialto Fish Market to the sweeping vistas of the bell tower of Piazza San Marco, there are many sights that inspire a kiss in Venice. Intimate restaurants, cocktail bars, art museums, and nightlife all put Venice at the top of the romance list for Italy.

Culture & Heritage

A significant portion of vacations to Italy will be spent admiring its beauty. This is truth in the north as well, from stunning Saint Mark’s Square in Venice to the beautiful red palazzi (palaces) of Bologna. Other important places for heritage include the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, where the famous Shroud of Turin is held.

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Central Italy

Romance Is in the Air

Turning any corner in Rome will reveal a scene that is more romantic than the last. Italy vacations will be full of memories of strolling through beautiful Piazza Navona or sipping on a cappuccino in front of the Pantheon. During a trip to Rome, get on the local schedule and enjoy lingering meals with your partner, both for lunch and dinner.

Most travelers will find it difficult to cast their vote on what city is more romantic: Rome or Florence. Florence has a smaller-town charm that many visitors love. A stroll along the Arno River, shopping along Ponte Vecchio, and grabbing a sunny table in the piazza will all capture the hearts of couples.

Roman Culture

All vacations to Italy should schedule time to see the spectacular sight that is the Sistine Chapel. Plan your trip to the Vatican early in the morning, and once you’ve purchased your ticket, head straight for the Sistine Chapel. While other early morning guests are perusing the various halls, you will have a few moments of quiet in the truly awe-inspiring ceiling that Michelangelo painted by hand. Don’t miss St Peter’s Basilica as well; it is equally impressive in a different way.

Southern Italy

Italy vacations in the southern section of the country will be full of sunshine. From Naples to Palermo there are many outdoor activities. If you love the great outdoors, bring your hiking boots and get ready to hit the trails. If you prefer boating, there’s no better place to climb aboard than off the coast of Sorrento to neighboring islands of Capri and Ischia.

Curious kids will have their work cut out for them. The famous archeological site of Pompeii, where an eruption of Mount Vesuvius froze a civilization in time, will fascinate both kids and adults alike. Plan to spend an entire day or more exploring the ruined city.

Southern Italian Romance

Steamy southern Italy is made for romance. From the beaches of the Amalfi coast to the piazzas of the isle of Capri, options for couples are truly endless during these vacations to Italy. Take a boat tour of the famous Blue Grotto on Capri or sip fresh limoncello in the town of Amalfi. From Positano to Sorrento, your jaw will continually drop at the views. The only thing better than this sensation is having someone to share it with.

Find the best pizza in Naples, have a long lingering lunch in Salerno, or discover the beaches of Sicily. In southern Italy, life is taken a little slower, which should suit couples just fine. Enjoy the routine of the day including the morning coffee and the late afternoon stroll, called la passeggiata. Whether you stroll around the morning fish markets or wake just in time for lunch, the rhythm of southern Italy will encourage a spark in your romance.

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What to See in Italy

italy vacationsItaly is full of churches, ancient ruins, and significant art. In northern Italy, many visitors travel long distances each year just to get a glimpse of Piazza San Marco with its stunning Basilica; this will be one you will remember for the rest of your life. Other historic landmarks in Venice include the Rialto Bridge, the bell tower of San Marco, and various historic palaces.

A lifetime could easily be spent exploring the landmarks in and around Rome including the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence. In the city of Rome, landmarks not to be missed include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Hill, the Baths of Diocletian, and Trajan’s Market.

Many travelers who plan Italy vacations to the southern region of the country intend on a trip full of sun, beaches, and seafood. There are also many historic landmarks that are worth exploring including the archeological ruins of Pompeii and the Centro Storico of Naples, which includes Piazza Garibaldi and the oldest opera house in Europe, Teatro San Carlo. Also there is Villa Limona in Sorrento, and the rich variety of Roman and Greek ruins spread throughout Sicily.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Italy

Shopping Paradise

True fashion enthusiasts know that the best place to shop on the globe is in Northern Italy. Despite what designers in New York or Paris might say, Milan is truly the center of global fashion. Walking the streets of this northern Italian city the style will be palpable. Break out your Gucci sunglasses and be prepared to be amazed at the volume and quality of shopping in Milan. Start your shopping tour on the three most famous streets in the city: Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant'Andrea. Famous shops in this area of Milan include Gucci, Versace, Valentino, and Prada.

While northern Italy will always have Rome beat when it comes to shopping, the capital city still offers a wide range and sometimes better value. The most famous place to shop in Rome is along Via dei Condotti. Here you will see all the top designer boutiques including Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, and Versace.

Where Food is a Tradition

Venetian Delights

One of the most satisfying aspects of vacations to Italy is learning about regional cuisine. During your trip you are sure to discover that there is more to Italian food than you thought, and that each individual region has its own preparations and traditional dishes. In northern Italy, you will encounter more risotto, polenta, and cream sauces than you would see in other regions.

In Venice, be sure to take a stroll through the morning fish market to see where your dinner came from. Venice specializes in seafood, so be sure to try something new. For the famous Venetian cocktail, the bellini, go to Harry’s Bar where the drink has been served for decades.

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Roman Cuisine

Influences from German and French cooking become less apparent in central Italy. Here, pasta reigns supreme and is served in a variety of ways with tomatoes, fresh vegetables, and sharp pecorino cheese. Each city has its own specialties, including Florence, which is known for a special preparation of its steak, called bistecca alla fiorentina.

In Rome, your eyes and sense of smell will lure you towards a variety of restaurants. Take a seat at one of the restaurants in Piazza Navona to watch the city stroll by during your meal. After dinner head straight for Tre Scalini, one of the most famous ice cream shops in Rome, also on Piazza Navona, for a sweet treat.

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When to Visit Italy

Vacations to Italy can be planned all year long, but there are a few factors to consider. August is one month to avoid because this is the time when Italians take their holidays. Many shops and restaurants will be closed and cities can have an abandoned feel. August is also known for being very hot. The best time for Italy vacations is the spring or fall. During these months, tourists are in smaller numbers, meaning less lines at attractions and more time to appreciate the sites.

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What to Bring to Italy

Bring an empty suitcase to Italy for all of the fantastic finds you purchase while shopping. Most importantly, bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes, and clothing for different occasions. You’ll never feel out of place in a big pair of sunglasses and leather jacket. Italy is known for its style, so don’t be afraid to break out your best outfits.

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Local Services in Italy

Vacations to Italy are notorious for difficulty when it comes to local services. Besides the trains which operate on a rigid schedule, often to the minute, things can take their time in Italy. Going to the post office can be a lengthy affair. Shops may not always have posted operating hours. Be sure to bring along your prescriptions, but rest assured that ATMs are widely available throughout Italy.

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What to Know About Italy

Italy vacations can be incredibly thrilling, but it is also important to be safe. Beware of pickpockets, especially on public transportation and at popular tourist attractions. If you’re carrying a purse, it is best to wear one that has a strap across your body. Men shouldn’t carry wallets in obvious pockets. With a little bit of savvy planning, your trip to Italy can be full of romantic, exhilarating moments with no mishaps!

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Getting to Italy

The capital city of Rome is very easy to reach from the US. If you don’t have a direct flight from your home city, it will be easy to connect through another major European airport such as London or Paris. Venice also has a major airport that is well served by other European destinations. Once you are in Italy, public transportation is excellent, and you can reach almost anywhere in the country with ease on the trains.

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Why Italy Vacation Rentals?

You are planning Italy vacations to experience true Italian culture, not to be surrounded by other tourists. Vacation rentals will take you away from the hotels packed with other visitors and will put you right in the local neighborhoods you’ve been longing to see. Whether you want to wake up in your own villa on the canal in Venice or a modern apartment in the center of Rome, vacation rentals make these dreams possible.

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