An Italy Tour is more than a Roman Holiday…
I love Italy. Travel in Italy should mean swanning round in a red Ferrari convertible between legendary hotels in legendary places like the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Hassler in Rome and Corbusier’s Punta Tragara in Capri.
Not just a dream…
Unfortunately this kind of Europe tour must remain a dream for most of us, but here’s the good news: it is possible to experience the romance of the historic cities, the beauty of the fabled locations and most importantly, the true, open-armed character of Italy without having Giorgio Armani’s bank balance. Just read on.
The best time – and way -to go
Most people go to Italy during the summer season (although this is one European tour destination where I would consider an off-season vacation).
Although the countryside in Italy can be quite beautiful, especially in Tuscany and the mountains, the major points of interest are really in the cities.
You will be doing a lot of walking in Italy, whether you’re shopping or touring around famous sights, and personally I’d rather save my energy for that and partying in the evening rather than bothering with arranging hotels, paying tolls on autostrada and negotiating parking spots amid certifiably insane italian city traffic.
In other words, a coach tour can make good sense if you can find one that covers what you want to do and where you want to go.
Slow food comes with Espresso
More good news: food and wine in Italy is delicious and reasonably priced (Venice may be the exception unless you’re careful). And the coffee is without question the best you will get anywhere, assuming you are not partial to Nescafe. But do take your time. The Italians invented the “Slow Food” concept and if you take the time to savour your meal, you will be amply rewarded.
Promenade down the Via Condotti
And yes, Rome is best in autumn, when the Italians are back from holiday, promenading elegantly down Via Condotti with their suntans in the early evening, dining vociferously around Campo dei Fiori or Piazza Navona, and later, licking their gelati from Giolitti as they walk down to San’ Eustacchio for a last espresso…