Italy Vacations: 5 Useful Tips for a Great Trip

Vineyards and olive groves in Tuscany. Photo by Adventurous Wench (flickr)
Vineyards and olive groves in Tuscany. Photo by Adventurous Wench (flickr)
Canals and gondola rides. Italy . Photo by fisticuffs (flickr)
Canals and gondola rides. Italy . Photo by fisticuffs (flickr)

Perfect Italy Vacation

For centuries, people from all over the world have dreamed of visiting Italy.  Its richly colored countryside, its charming villages, its incredible history, art, culture, passion and food are all unparalleled, and need to be experienced.  There are so many places to see in Italy, and so much to do, it can be hard to narrow down.  From a villa rental in Tuscany, relaxing on a beach on the Amalfi Coast, or hiking the Sicilian hills, to a historic visit to the ancient sites of Rome or a gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, every corner of this country is worth seeing.  

No matter where you go in Italy, or how long you stay, here are five useful tips to help make your dream Italian vacation as perfect as the place you are visiting.

Trippa alla Parmigiana - North Bondi Italian Food AUD22.40. Photo by avlxyz (flickr)
Trippa alla Parmigiana - North Bondi Italian Food AUD22.40. Photo by avlxyz (flickr)
Italian Food. Photo by ekiben (flickr)
Italian Food. Photo by ekiben (flickr)

Italian Food

1.    Forget your diet.  The very best part of Italy is the passion, care and love they put into each and every meal, and if you’re counting your calories, you are more than just missing out, you’re missing the point.  Don’t stick to your at-home pasta favorites either.  The Italian food we know and love at home will be there when we get back. While you’re in Italy, eat like an Italian.  Eat late at night, order something you’ve never heard of, or better yet, ask the waiter to bring something the chef recommends.  Let your tastebuds wander as much as your feet.

2.    Speaking of food, don’t expect to find some of the same Italian classics as you would at home.  No restaurant in Italy has “fettuccine Alfredo” on the menu. It was invented in Italy, but really caught on in the United States, so the dish is now more of an American thing. They will have pasta with a cream-based sauce, but it’s not the dish you know from home.  By the way, they don’t really serve spaghetti and meatballs here either.

The Best Time to Visit Italy

3. Pick the right time to visit. Italy is unbelievably hot during the summer, and most of the cities virtually shut down as the entire country heads for the beach. Plan to visit in the spring, or in the fall. You’ll find your best deals in November. It's worth researching the best time to go to Italy.

Magnificent Montefalco, Italy. Photo by Adventurous Wench
Magnificent Montefalco, Italy. Photo by Adventurous Wench
Lake Como, Italy. Photo by mmechtley (flickr)
Lake Como, Italy. Photo by mmechtley (flickr)

Places in Italy

4.    Plan to visit one place that’s a little off the beaten path.  Sure, Rome is the Eternal City, and Venice is the loveliest and most unique city on earth, but Italy has so much more to offer as well.  Go see Siena and the wineries of Montepulciano.  Visit Lake Como in the Italian Alps. Visit the five towns of Cinque Terra, high on cliffs above the ocean. 

Italy's History and Lifestyle

5.    Even if history wasn’t your favorite class in school, do a little reading.  This country has more than 2,000 years of incredible history and lifestyle, and you’re going to enjoy your visit so much more if you know even a little of its back story. There are thousands of fantastic books about Italy and its history, and there’s so much variety, you’re sure to find the right book for you.  Rick Steves writes the world’s best travel guides.  Everyone can enjoy “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes, and for a slice of what life was like, try “A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries and Curiosities”, where Alberto Angela walks you through daily life in 115AD.

Explore Italy

show route and directions
A markerMontepulciano, Italy -
53045 Montepulciano Sienna, Italy
[get directions]

B markerLake Como, Italy -
Lake Como, Italy
[get directions]

C markerCinque Terra, Italy -
Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, Via Telemaco Signorini, 118, 19017 Riomaggiore La Spezia, Italy
[get directions]

D markerTuscany, Italy -
Tuscany, Italy
[get directions]

Books About Italy

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Comments? 10 comments

Erin LeFey profile image

Erin LeFey 5 years ago from Maryland

Nice article on the high spots without delving into too much detail. I found Rick Steve's book to be my best friend before and after my month in Rome. He points out all the best known and behind the scenes places and events to watch for. So I second you on that recommendation!

One trip is never enough, Italy is gorgeous, and I'm not even Italian. Great advice too about forgetting about your home habits - don't expect familiar dishes, go off the touristy traps and explore! Some of the best places don't really speak English, don't open for dinner until 8 and expect you to be there dining for three hours! I can't wait to go back! Namaste'


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi Erin LeFey

I'm delighted that you also admire Rick Steve's book - it's an excellent guide, isn't it?

One cannot really have enough of Italy's stunning beauty. Thank you for sharing more useful tidbits about Italy!


Coleen 5 years ago

Forgetting my diet in Italy would be really easy! Hahaha! I have gone through some of your post about Italy and I cannot argue - it's such as awesome, fascinating and gorgeous place! Thank you for feeding my travel appetite with such great hubs!


worldtravelexpert profile image

worldtravelexpert 5 years ago from London, UK

Really good hub - I'm from the UK but am yet to visit Italy, although I'm planning to soon so the tips were really useful to me. My house mates are Italian and they agree with your tips!


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi Coleen,

Indeed, it would be a pity to think about diet in Italy.:-) I'm glad this satisfies your travel appetite. Thank you!


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi worldtravelexpert,

I'm really pleased that you find the tips useful. It must be wonderful to have Italian house mates and get to know more about Italy from their perspective. Have a safe and fun trip!


vinsanity 5 years ago

Hey this is a great hub. I would like to visit Italy one day and this hub makes me want to go even more. great job.


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Thanks vinsanity! I'm glad you like this hub. Italy is amazing and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time when you get there.


travel2 profile image

travel2 4 years ago from London, England

Great choice of photos on this hub. Tuscany has to be one of the most photogenic place I've visited in Europe


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 4 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi travel2 - Thanks! You're totally right about Tuscany being photogenic. The towns and the countryside are both quite splendid!

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