If you're planning to travel to Italy, here are a few useful tips.
Some say the best way to travel in Italy/Europe is on the trains! Rail Europe 4A is a joint venture of the French National Railways (SNCF) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is the leader in European Rail distribution worldwide. Rail Europe offers Eurail passes, point to point tickets and high speed trains like the TGV and Eurostar (the channel tunnel train).
Use Italy’s train network to travel from Rome’s Empire-era monuments to Florence’s Renaissance art and architecture. Wander aimlessly around Venice’s romantic canals, board the train to Italy’s style capital, Milan, or travel south to pizza capital Naples.
Drive through Tuscany’s rolling olive grove-dotted hillsides, or photograph water buffalo on Campania’s flat plains. Dine in cliff-side Positano overlooking the Amalfi Coast, swim in the turquoise waters of Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, or tour Sicily’s ancient Greek theatres. Ski in the northern Dolomites, or visit tranquil Lake Como.
Buy designer labels in Milan, hand-blown Murano glass in Venice, and painted ceramics in Tuscany and Umbria. Take home red Brunello wine from Montalcino in Tuscany, sparkling Prosecco from the Veneto and Parmesan and olive oil from local delis.
Eat & Drink
Sample Sardinia’s seafood risotto and Tuscan steak, bistecca alla fiorentina. Northern specialities include truffles and porcini mushrooms - in the South, try buffalo mozzarella, fiori di zucchini (deep-fried courgette) and melanzane alla parmigiana (baked aubergines in tomato and Parmesan).
Watch the sun set on the train ride to Italy’s picture-postcard Cinque Terre region in northwestern Liguria where traditional villages cling to an old way of life.
Exchange homes and save on accommodation costs.
HomeForExchange.com is a marketplace for non-commercial exchanging of houses, campers, rv's or even yachts. Offer your home for exchange and save on accommodation costs. Home exchange is an alternative for renting a holiday property and is gaining popularity rapidly.
Most tourists stop by in London on the way around France/Europe. The London Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 55 sights and tourist attractions in London. Customers simply pay the one off price for The London Pass of their choice (there are 4 durations to choose from) and can then enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying. Some of the most popular attractions which can be visited free with the London Pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, London Zoo, the London Aquarium and Shakespeare's Globe.
Paris Sightseeing Pass
If you're stopping by Paris, the equivalent is Paris Sightseeing Pass, a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in Paris. Customers can enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying, plus travel for free on the Paris Metro system. Attractions which can be visited free with the Paris Sightseeing Pass are the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, an open top bus sightseeing tour, the Grevin Wax Museum and the Palace of Versailles.
If you prefer to cruise around Europe, check out Cruise Direct for online deals.
Of course, while you're in Italy, you may also wish to spend some time to learn Italian in Italy.
Course timetables and enrolment
- Italian is one of Europe’s leading languages, with roughly as many mother-tongue speakers on the continent as English and French.
- Young Kiwis can go and work in Italy for one year under a working holiday scheme. A knowledge of the Italian language would obviously make a huge difference to anyone’s job prospects.
- Italy is probably the greatest magnet for anyone interested in the history of western art and civilisation; it’s like a vast cultural treasure house. Even a limited knowledge of the language helps to introduce some of the works of art.
- Three cities in Italy are of paramount interest: Rome as the capital of the ancient empire and the heart of the Catholic church; Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance; and Venice as a unique and unforgettable link between eastern and western European styles.
- Italy has made huge contributions to scientific progress, with Leonardo and Galileo being just two of the most obvious names.
- Since the time of Boccaccio and Dante, Italian writing has been at the forefront of European literature.
- Italy was the home of opera, and many of the world’s greatest works were composed in Italian; even today, Italian is the international language of music.
- Italian food has achieved worldwide fame, and nearly all of us could name a good few Italian dishes and culinary expressions.
- Italy has long been synonymous with fashion, elegance and design; go and see for yourself!
- Italian cinema has long had a worldwide reputation, as have many directors and filmstars.
- Italy is not just “culture”: the modern country has one of Europe’s largest economies. And Italian cities are not just museum pieces: they are full of vitality and energy, which nearly everyone finds infectious.
- The Italian landscape is incredibly varied, ranging from alpine to mediterranean, and the picturesque villages and small towns give it tremendous character.