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It’s pretty common knowledge that Italy is the world’s top travel destination from an art perspective. The entire country is virtually an open air art museum: ancient ruins, natural beauty, stunning architecture and icons of Christianity pop up everywhere you look. If you’re looking to soak up history, culture and art all in one place, look no further than this amazing Southern European nation.

Italy is never lacking in artistic attractions. In fact, the Vatican museums alone have enough treasures to literally keep you occupied for months if you take the time to look at the pieces for just a minute each. If you add in all the historical sites, churches, galleries and buildings in other Italian cities, you can stay in the country for years and still not see everything its artists have to offer.

Considering the country’s vast artistic attractions, the biggest challenge when visiting Italy is prioritization. Knowing exactly where to go and what to look for is a crucial ingredient in achieving a holistic trip without spending time on every single spot where art is found. Some places are just better than others, and that’s what this article is about. We’re here to give you the art enthusiast’s guide to touring Italy so you can methodically explore the country’s greatest art offerings in a reasonable time frame.

Rome

Italy’s capital city is one of the best places to discover incredible artwork by some of the world great masters at no cost at all.  The city’s many Catholic churches are a great place to start your art appreciation journey. Churches like the Santa Maria del Popolo, San Luigi dei Francesi and Sant’Agostino churches let you  take in the dark and moody works of Caravaggio.

Rome is also filled with the works of Baroque pioneer, Gian Lorenzo Bernini; head to the Ponte d’Angeli leading to the Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona and Santa Maria della Vittoria for some of the most striking examples of his work. If however, you’re more of a Michelangelo fan, stand at the center of the ancient world in the Piazza de Campolglio designed by the master in the mid-1500s. The statue of Moses inside the church of Saint Peter in Chains was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1513 and it took him two years to sculpt.

Vatican Museums

If you only have time for one museum in Rome, make it this one. There is more art housed here than you could possibly see in many lifetimes, so it’s well advised to do a bit of research. This allows you to plan on what you wish to see. Depending on what day or time of the year it is, some rooms and exhibits may be closed

There is so much more here than the magnificent frescoes on the Sistine Chapel, created by Michelangelo at the height of the Renaissance period. There are Etruscan and ancient Roman treasures, too. These items may not be as popular as Renaissance masterworks, but they’re equally fascinating. Also of note is the Raphael room is filled with multicolored frescoes and mosaicked floors. The Gallery of maps is a fascinating look at the different regions of Italy through larger-than-life, centuries-old frescoes.

Often overlooked or sped through on the race to the Sistine Chapel is the contemporary art collection that the museums hold.  Works by Matisse, Van Gogh, and Picasso just to name are on display there, and provide a refreshing counterpoint to the more Renaissance-centric works housed by the many museums.

The Galleria Borghese

Located just inside the green and tranquil Villa Borghese, the Galleria Borgese is a treasure chest of beauty. You will find 4th century mosaics, Bernini sculptures that seem practically alive, a stunning Canova sculpture of Paolina Bonaparte Borghese, and impressive Raphaels.  The floor area of the villa, once owned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 16th century, is a manageable size and has timed tickets that best reserved ahead.

Assisi

If your interest is in art that reflects Italian artistic development then a visit to Assisi is definitely in order. Assisi, which is located in the picturesque Umbrian region, is home to the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Of particular interest are the frescoes found in the upper basilica.

These frescoes have been attributed to both Cimabue and Giotto and are a great representation of the development of Italian art. Provenance aside these frescoes is also an incredible experience that should not be missed.

Florence

The Renaissance city of Florence is one of the world’s greatest art locales. Brunelleschi’s brick-red dome and Giotto’s striking bell tower are just the beginning. In the Piazza Signoria, you can view imposing statues of Hercules,Perseus and Medusa. There is also an exact replica of the David if you are saving your pennies. The sculpture-filled, open air Loggia dei Lanzihas important works from the Renaissance and ancient Rome.

Galleria degli Uffizi

This museum holds one of what might be the most important Renaissance art collections in the world. Once the private collection of the powerful Florentine Medici family, the Uffizi became a museum during the late 1500’s. One of the most popular works in the gallery is the spectacular painting, Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli. The labyrinth of rooms filled with works by Lippi, Da Vinci, Giotto and Perugino will leave you breathless. You can make the most of the euros spent on your entrance ticket by downloading the Uffizi Art History app or Kindle guide that provides an explanation and context for each important piece in the gallery.

Venice

The watery city of Venice, with its dilapidated beauty, offers a vast array of exciting contemporary works of art. Inside the striking 18th century canal side palazzo is the Peggy Guggenheim collection, a multitude of 20th century art. If you’re visiting during a Biennale year (the next one will be in 2015), Campos, gardens, churches and palazzos are transformed into installation spaces. It’s not all modern art in Venice. Stop in the Church of San Zaccariato see Tintoretto’s and Tiepolo’s for free. The triple-tiered Ca’ Rezzonico palazzois the only place in Venice where you can see a work by Canaletto. Alternatively, you could seek out the exact spots, most of which are in the Grand Canal, St Mark’s Square and the Rialto bridge where the great artist painted his dreamy interpretations of this incredible city.

Milan

One of the world’s most famous paintings can be found in the fashion and business city of Milan. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper was painted on an enormous canvas measuring 15 x 29 feet and was completed in 1498. It’s currently located in the  dining hall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Take note of what is arguably the finest example of one point perspective.  Only about 20 people at a time are allowed to view the painting for a brief 15 minutes. Tickets to visit this masterpiece can be booked in advance.

Naples

This bustling city of Naples in the shadow of the infamous Mt. Vesuvius is where you will find one of the fiendish genius Caravaggio’s most important works. The small Pious Mount of Mercy Church has been the home of the Acts of Seven Mercy since the 1600’s. The Museo Cappella Sansevero is home to the Veiled Truth, a remarkable statue created by the Venetian sculptor Antonio Corradini. It is almost impossible to believe that the transparent veil is carved from solid marble and not a cloth elegantly draped across the sculpture.

Also, an exciting new development is happening underground in Naples.  Some of the metro stations have commissioned well-known contemporary artists to create works down there. The myriad of micro glass tiles in the Toledo station is a blue wonder and it’s a taste of things to come.

And on that note, we’ll stop so you can digest everything that was outlined in this post. We’ve only started to scratch the surface on what Italy has to offer as far as art is concerned, but even the most comprehensive of blog posts will fail to do the real thing justice. The best way to really get a feel of Italian art is to take the plunge and visit soon. Use this outline for your trip and we guarantee that it’s one you’ll never forget. Ciao!

The post The Art Enthusiast’s Guide to Touring Italy appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Get Your Vitamins at the Battle of the Oranges Ivrea Italy!

Winter in Italy means citrus.  It is one of the best times of year to take a break from your Italian sightseeing and have a delicious, tangy, freshly squeezed, glass of orange juice.  (A Tour Italy now tip  – ask for a Spremuta when you visit the bar)

The Annual Battle of the Oranges is another way the Northern Italian town of Ivrea, located near the chocolate capital of Turin, consumes the winter citrus bounty. This historic event, dating back to medieval times takes place during the Carnival period. Carnevale happens all over Italy, not just the very well known celebrations that occur in Venice, with major celebrations happening forty days before Lent.

The history of this exciting event dates back to 1194 and is a little murky.  The most popularly held belief holds that the Conte Rainieri di Biandrate, who was the town of Ivrea’s ruling count, made a decree that was named “the right of the first night” granting him the right to sleep with every new bride in the town.  Violetta was the daughter of a local miller and when her night with the count arrived, she had a different plan in mind.  She refused to honor the decree and instead chopped off the Count’s head with a sharp dagger. Violettas’s bold action sparked a revolution by the citizens of Ivrea who fought their oppressors by throwing stones and winning their liberation.

Now this battle for liberty for the townspeople of Ivrea is fought each year with oranges in place of the stones. The oranges of the Ivrea battles represent the head of the marquis. A young woman is chosen to represent Violetta. Dressed in white, she is called “mugnaia”, meaning “miller” and tours the city, throwing flowers and candy to the crowd.

With roughly 3,000 participants, the battle is fought between groups of men on foot called the Arancieri a Piede, who represent the people of Ivrea revolting against the tyrant count. They are divided into the following nine teams and represent five main Piazzas in the town.

I Diavoli (the Devils) This is one of the most famous of the teams, and they wear a red tunic and a yellow scarf.

Aranceri Morte (Death) This group comes from the San Grato neighborhood and wears a black tunic with red pants.

Asso di Picche (Ace of Spades) Made up of players from the Ivrea football club and wear a red and blue uniform featuring the ace of spades emblem.

Scacchi (Chess Piece) taking their name from the original orange-throwers who were 16 in number, like the number of pieces on one side of a chess board. They wear a black and white checked tunic with an orange scarf.

Scorpione d’Arduini (Name of an old King) This teams wears a yellow tunic with a scorpion on the back.

Mercenari (Mercenaries) symbolized by a five pointed star, this team wears blue jeans and a patterned scarf.

I Credendari Aranceri (the Believers) the most recent team to be founded and wear yellow and blue.

Pantere Nera (Black Panthers) The last team to participate, this group wears blcak with a yellow striped scarf.

I Tuchini del Borghetto (Crow) Tucchini is a word from Piedmonte dialect meaning all united and this group takes as its symbol a crow. They wear red and green.

The Arancieri a Piede, battle the Aranceri da Getto, who represent the aristocracy.  There are forty different teams of citizens of Ivrea, wearing pads and with their faces covered by masks or helmets and who ride aboard decorated horse drawn carriages.

Another very important element of the festivities is the Phrygian cap, Berretto Frigio in Italian. Dating from ancient Roman times and an important symbol of the French revolution, this long red stocking hat is now worn to symbolize freedom from tyranny  and the pursuit of liberty. It is worn by participants who are not throwing any oranges and therefore no one will throw oranges at you.

On the last night of Carnival (Martedi Grasso) there are bonfires in each of the neighborhoods and a final gathering in the Piazza Ottinetti where people say farewell until the next yaer with the traditional Piedmonte saying “arvedse a giòbia a’n bòt” (good-bye till Thursday at one)

The event ends on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, with the cooking of a traditional dish of Polenta and cod (Polenta e merluzzo) served in the Piazza Lamarmora.

Another very important tip from the team at Tour Italy Now.  Don’t want to get pelted by oranges and covered in sticky juice? There are viewing spots around town where nets are set up to watch the action in relative safety. and make sure you have that red hat.

Want to get an idea of the festivities?  This video of the Ivrea Orange Festival from a few years ago, is a good start.

The post The Battle of the Oranges Ivrea Italy – CLONED appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Going to Italy for your vacation is something you generally don’t do on a whim. It is something you usually plan so that you get the most out of your trip. Italy is, after all, one vacation destination that you wouldn’t want to mess up with mistakes and delays. To make your trip truly memorable, you need to choose the right one from the many travel options you are presented with.

Here at Tour Italy Now, we believe in giving you the best possible trip to Italy, which is why we have a few trip packages and types for you to choose from. These include our customized, escorted, and hosted travel tours. Find the right type of tour that will fit your very specific needs from these three. Determining whether you want a customized, escorted, or hosted travel tour is vital, as this is what helps to ensure that you get exactly the experience that you want from your trip. To help you choose, here are some definitions and explanations that may help you narrow down your choice.

Customized Tour

As the name implies, this kind of tour is made specifically according to your specifications. Want to spend an entire week beach-hopping in Sardinia before moving on to a romantic weekend in Venice? You can add a day trip to Florence to visit the Uffizi before heading to Milan for some shopping and wine tasting.

Your trip can be customized according to your purpose too. Is the trip supposed to be a super romantic getaway or is it one that is centered on art and culture? Are you in Italy to see all the usual sights, or is your trip one that is supposed to take you off the beaten path?

All you need to do is tell us what types of activities you would like to participate in and if there are any particular experiences that you want to enjoy in the country. You can also tell us which parts of the country you would really like to visit, which sites you want to see, and we can help create the perfect itinerary for you. This will come complete with flights, hotels, restaurant, and transport recommendations, all of which can be booked in advance.

Do you want to see a play at the La Scala or visit all the museums in Pisa, too? Want to experience riding a gondola and learn how to cook local Italian cuisine? Again, just let us know, and we can help you get the tickets for those as well. We’ll take care of everything ahead of time, so that all you have to do on your travel dates is to show up.

Tour Guide Escorted Tours

For those who don’t want to take any chances on their vacation, an escorted tour is one of your best choices. These are considered the most popular type of tours in the entire travel industry. This has a set itinerary, list of activities, and specific times for all of the things you will be seeing, doing, and experiencing. Even your meal times are set at specific times on an escorted tour.

Most escorted tours are thematic, revolving around specific interests such as food, wine, art, history, and religion. This usually has a predetermined set of destinations and sights to visit, with a rather rigid schedule that you and everyone else on the tour have to stick to.

These are done in groups, which is great if you want to meet new friends and don’t mind sharing your trip with others. It is conducted by a tour director, who then guides the entire group from start to finish, from place to place, with anecdotes and information about each stop. Your tour director will always be on hand to assist you, and will answer your questions or provide help in case anything needs smoothing over.

On an escorted tour, all transportation, accommodations, entrance fees, and sometimes even meals, have already been booked well in advance. This means that all you’ll have to do is follow your tour director wherever they take you. Escorted tours are great for first-time travelers, and for those who prefer to be guided during every step of the way.

Hosted Tours

This third option can be easily mistaken as the same as an escorted tour since it comes with a guide (usually a local tour professional) who will pick you up at the airport and take you to your booked accommodation. This, however, is where the similarities end. Once your host or guide takes you to your hotel or apartment, you are basically on your own. Your host will be there for you to contact in case you need anything (recommendations, assistance, directions, tickets, etc.), but that is it.

This is a great option for those who are more adventurous and want a vacation where they are free to choose what to do and where to go. Hosted tours are perfect for visitors who prefer to explore on their own while still maintaining peace of mind with the knowledge that there is someone they can call on, should anything come up.

These are the three major types of travel tours that Tour Italy Now has for you and can help you with. So now that you know what your travel options to Italy are, how would you want to have fun in Italy this year?

The post Customized, Escorted, or Hosted Travel Tour? How to Choose the One That’s Right for You! appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Known all over the world as The World’s Most Romantic City, there is actually more to Venice than just riding gondolas and cruising along the numerous canals of the city. When you visit the lovely city of Venice Italy, you will find that there is a lot to see, do, and enjoy here. To truly get the most of the city, you need to come up with an itinerary that gets you to see all of the sights that are part of what makes Venice what it is.

To help you out, here are five of the top sights of Venice that you should not fail to visit.

St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Square – If you scour the internet, you will find that the basilica and the piazza that fronts it are considered the top places to visit in Venice. Often listed as two separate places for you to not miss seeing in Venice, we listed these two here as one since they are located in the same area of the city, with the basilica standing to the east of the square. Also located in the same area are the Campanile, Museo Correr, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, and the Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace.

All of these are located along the Grand Canal and is one of the places in the city that you can expect to see throngs of tourists. If you want to visit this piazza and the sights around it without having to contend with massive crowds of people, time your visit during weekdays in the morning, when there are not that many tourists around.

Doge’s Palace – Also called the Palazzo Ducale, this age-old Gothic structure was the home of the Doge of Venice, who was the considered the main authority of the city in the years 726 and 1797. While not royalty, this elected official has the same rank of a Duke and was put in such a lofty position by the aristocrats who elected him. The palace is now a museum, and has been one since 1923. The front of this majestic building faces the Grand Canal, and the design is the epitome of Gothic architecture, with its detailed arches and traceries enhancing the design.

Canale Grande – As the name implies, this is the largest canal in the city that has hundreds of canals that are lined with historical structures. It snakes through the city in an S-form, going right through the middle starting at the Palazzo Ducale and ending at Santa Croce. Considered more of a river than just a canal, this watery thoroughfare is lined with 170 old buildings, with some dating as far back as the 13th Century.

Ponte di Rialto – Along the Grand Canal are numerous bridges that allow residents and visitors to Venice to cross from one side to the other without problem. Probably the most popular and most iconic of these bridges is the Ponte di Rialto. It connects the San Polo and San Marco districts of the city and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice. History has it that the bridge used to be made out of wood but after it collapsed in 1524 (after hundreds of years of being used), the ornate stone bridge that you see today was built in its place.

Gallerie dell’Accademia – Located across the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, and right beside the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, is this museum that houses a collection of Venetian paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. Standing right on the Grand Canal, this structure holds some of the masterpieces made by Titian, Tiepolo, and Canaletto. Some of the artwork you can find on display here includes those by Bassano, Bellini, Tintoretto, and Vasari.

These are just a few of the places you should not miss seeing in Venice. Other notable tourist attractions that should also be on your list of must-sees here include The Bridge of Sighs, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Murano, and Torcello Island. While not that many tours of Venice can take you to the places you choose to go to, a customized trip can.

For those who are still wondering if they should visit this lovely city or not, we’ve put together a short video for you show you the beautiful sights of Venice in Italy.

Sights of Venice - YouTube

Liked what you saw? Then come on over to Venice! Because some things are best seen up close.

(This video is also available as a slide presentation. :))

The post The Sights of Venice Italy appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Italy during the autumn months is a wonderful place to be. The rolling landscapes will be taking on the golden colors of fall, and the temperatures are dropping to a comfortable range compared to the heat of the summer months. Not to mention, food will also be in abundance as the harvest season arrives, and there will be a large number of food festivals happening within the country at this time. Also rather abundant in autumn in Italy are film festivals.

When it comes to film festivals, Italy is one place where you will find quite a few you can go to. The country hosts some of the biggest international film festivals in the world. Being able to attend one or more of these during the months of September to November is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

If you are into movies and would love to see some of the biggest stars in the industry converge in one of the many majestic cities of Italy, you should consider taking a vacation to these places when these film festivals are happening. Here are four of the more popular Italian Film Festivals that you should try to check out when you are in Italy in autumn:

Venice Film Festival

Probably the most popular film festival in all of Italy, and definitely the oldest film festival in the world, the Venice Film Festival is an annual event that happens early September. It is held on the island of Lido. This film festival started in the early 1930s and is considered one of the Big Three in Europe, alongside the ones held in Cannes and Berlin.

People who attend this festival can enjoy screenings of the entries at the historic Palazzo del Cinema and in other similar venues nearby. Some of the awards that entries can win at this festival include the Golden Lion award, Silver Lion Award, and the Grand Jury Prize, to name but a few. Some of the popular Hollywood movies that received the Golden Lion award include Brokeback Mountain, The Shape of Water, and Monsoon Wedding.

Rome Film Fest

This film festival, which happens every year in October, is a pretty young festival when compared with other popular film festivals in Italy. Held in Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica and organized by the Fondazione Cinema per Roma, this festival features 35 films that will vie for one or more of the many awards given here. The Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma is an event that began in 2006 and has since become one of the more important festivals for film in the world.

World-famous artists attend this festival every year, with Hollywood actors making their appearances being one of the highlights of this event. The awards that are handed out during this festival are all People’s Choice Awards for the different sections that this event has. There is the Cinema d’Oggi (films by successful directors), Gala (world premiere films), Mondo Genere (different genre films), Prospettive Italia (trendy Italian films), and Alice nella Citta (children’s films).

Torino Film Festival

Happening at the very end of the autumn season in Italy, this film festival takes place in the city of Turin, which is located west of the Po River. This international film festival was first introduced to the movie-going public in 1982 and is considered the second largest film festival in Italy, second only to the Venice Film Festival. This festival was put together to help an economically struggling Turin be recognized and to re-energize it both culturally and financially.

The festival has a few notable sections that include the Torino 35, which has feature films and documentaries, Festa Mobile, After Hours, and Onde, which are all non-competitive sections, and Italian Corti which is a short-film competition exclusively for Italian filmmakers. The awards that are presented at the end of the festival to the winning participants include Best Film Awards and Special Jury Awards for all competitive categories, and Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay for the Torino 35 entries.

Milano Film Festival

Happening at the end of September to the start of October, this film festival happens in Lombardia, in Milan. The festival usually lasts 10 days, and features independent films, giving new filmmakers the kind of support they need to get noticed. This festival began in 1996 and has since grown to such a massive scale that it now attracts over 100,000 participants annually. Screenings for the films that make the cut usually happen in various parts of the city, with squares, plazas, art galleries, and museums becoming movie theaters for this event.

Awards are handed out every year to films that are adjudged Best Film, alongside awards for Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Director. Since the festival is for independent films, you won’t find any big-name stars here during the event, unless of course if some Hollywood A-lister decided to lend their talent to an independent director or screenwriter that they wanted to help.

So cinema aficionados, grab your passports, tickets, and passes (and popcorn… possibly truffle-flavored…) and come over to Italy for these exciting film events!

The post Four Italian Film Festivals in Autumn You Shouldn’t Miss appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Traveling is a fun activity that not many people get to do as often as they want to. When people do get to travel, they end up stressed over a lot of things that they forget to bring or do. Traveling should be something you enjoy and not stress over, especially with such an activity happening only once in a while. This is why it is essential that you plan your trip before you even book your tickets for it.

Italy is a country that many tourists put on their bucket list, and this popular tourist destination is one that you should be able to savor and not rush through. This means you need to have an itinerary that suits your pace and what you want to experience. This also means having enough time to see, do, and taste everything that you want to in this majestic country, and getting there without too much hassle or worry.

Things to Know Before Traveling

Before you embark on such a journey, find out all you can about the places you want to visit in the country and list these down. Know what tourist sites you should visit and what you should not miss there. Technically, you cannot visit all the popular spots of Italy in just one trip, unless if you are planning on staying there for longer than a week. So you have to prioritize which parts of Italy you want to see on your first trip and plan the others for a second and third vacation.

You also need to learn about bus and train schedules, where to buy tickets, museum schedules, what to bring, what not to bring, how much money to have on hand, and other important stuff. You also need to know about the common mistakes that people make when they go on vacation to Italy and how to avoid doing these. You should also find out about the weather, what clothes to wear, how to get around, and where to stay.

Where to Go

You need to know where to start your journey, which city or town is next, and so on. You can start in Venice and work your way down to Rome via Florence, then Tuscany, followed by the Amalfi Coast, then on to Rome. Word of advice though: Don’t try to squeeze in too many places in one go since it will dilute the experience due to all the rushing around you will do because of too many places to go and too many things to see.

  • Prioritize according to popularity – If you only have a week to visit the country, prioritize the cities that are more popular such as Rome, Venice, and Milan. If you don’t want to spend too much time on the road or in the air moving from one city to another, choose cities that are close to each other and don’t require you to spend too much time in transit so you don’t spend most of your vacation time in airports, trains, and buses.
  • Plan according to your desired activity – You can also plan your visit around what you want to do or see. If you are aiming to see the popular sights, then you need to include these in your itinerary. If you are aiming to simply chill by the beach and enjoy the culture, you can choose the places in Italy that can help you achieve such a goal for your trip.
When to Go

It is also important that you know what time of the year it is best for you to visit the country according to what you want to do. Here are some ideas that you might want to wrap your head around.

  • Go during off-peak months – If you want to save money on your trip, try to find out when the off-peak seasons are so you can book cheaper flights, cheaper hotels, and not have to worry about large crowds. Of course, if you are to go to Italy during the off-season, which is between April and June, or September and November, expect rainy or cold weather. This is why most tourists come to the country from July to September when the weather is perfectly warm.
How Long to Stay

Another consideration you need to make when you plan a trip to Italy is how many days (or weeks) you are planning on staying. This will help you determine which parts of the country you can visit and how many places you can add to your itinerary. You will need to take into consideration your budget, how much vacation time you have, and how much time it will take for you to enjoy each destination you are planning on visiting.

When you find that planning a trip to Italy seems rather daunting, it might be a good idea for you to plan your trip with the help of an expert. It can also help if you have a vacation guide and travel checklist to consult with before your trip and while you are there.

If you want a hassle-free vacation that you can adjust to your whims, you should consider a customized tour that is handled for you by someone who knows Italy very well, and can suggest great places to go and amazing things to do without giving you the undue stress that sometimes comes with planning a trip as monumental as one that takes you to Italy.

The post How to Plan Your Travel to Italy appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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Nightlife in Italy varies according to season. Outdoor entertainment is popular from the May to September months, when the weather is hot enough to allow for it, then close down when autumn arrives and remain so for the duration of the winter season. Many nightclubs operate two versions to accommodate the changing seasons as well, with one catering to the summer and the other for the winter.

A vacation to Italy would not be complete without scheduling stuff to do at night. While there are some places in the country that do not have much by way of a nightlife, there are cities that are notable for their jumping nightclub scene and amazing party places. The nightclub scene in Italy tends to follow the seasons, with more people hitting the clubs in beach towns like Riccione, Tropea, and Rimini during the warm summer months and clubbing in the colder months of the year is better in the bigger cities.

Some places in Italy have a better nightlife than others, with clubs staying open no matter what the season. These are the cities that have droves of families and tourists roaming the streets during the day and party-going vacationers clubbing at night. To help you out, here are the top 5 cities in Italy that you should check out if you love the nightlife:

Milan

One of the fashion capitals of the world is also home to some of the best nightclubs in the world. In fact, in Italy, it is the city with the largest and most active nightclub scene in the country. Being a cosmopolitan city, Milan has quite a selection for night entertainment that includes cultural options, pubs, dance clubs, and bars.

Clubs in this city open at 6pm to 7pm and begin with the traditional “happy hour”. Bars and clubs are usually open all days of the week in this city, but the best days to go clubbing here would be from the middle of the week to the weekend. Entrance fees at these clubs are usually at 7 to 10 Euros, but these usually come with one drink. Some clubs also give you a complementary drink or aperitif apart, from your free drink with your entrance fee.

Rome

Another city that is teeming with tourists is Rome, which stands to reason why this city will also have a bustling nightlife. The main difference between the nightlife in Rome and that in Milan is that the night scene here is focused more on the culinary wonders of the city and the enjoyment of the fine wines that come from all over Italy. People-watching is especially popular here since people do love sitting in al-fresco cafes as they savor the delectable offerings of the city.

There are a lot of dance clubs, bars, and electronic clubs for you to visit here as well, if you are not into the laid-back kind of nightlife. One thing you should know about Rome however, is that while most cities do have clubs that are open all-year-round, a lot of the clubs and bars here tend to close during the summer to give way to the festivals that happen this time of the year.

Florence

Another city in Italy where you can expect to find a bustling and kicking nightlife is Florence, with its laid-back rooftop bars, jumping dance clubs, unique cocktail bars, and historic delis where you can sit and enjoy a glass of fine wine with some traditional truffle panini. You can also enjoy simply enjoying the sunset and views of the city as you sip cocktails with some of the more sophisticated crowds in the city in a hillside terrace bar.

Sicily

Also worth mentioning when it comes to the nightlife in Italy is Sicily, with its rather eclectic mix of choices. Take your pick from wine bars with Arab fusion bar food, to 1960s inspired nightclubs with a retro look, to boho bars that also serve lunch and coffee during the day. You can also find massive dance clubs here, like the famous General Market, which starts out as a laid-back venue while the night is young to a jumping dance club with electronic music played by some of the top DJs in Europe.

Venice

Similar to Rome in the way people enjoy the nightlife, Venice also features clubs and bars where people can quietly sip their cocktails and chew on bar snacks while they enjoy the views of the city and of people passing by. Fine wine at a wine bar, great coffee at an al-fresco coffee shop, and listening to live music while drinking beer on tap are some of the options you have here when it comes to whiling the night away. Take your pick from the wide array of choices that include bars in age-old buildings to those found on the rooftops of 5-star hotels to holes-in-the-wall found in markets.

The post Looking for the Best Cities in Italy for Nightlife appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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With winter just around the corner, people are already breaking out their skiing gear and taking a look at some of their favorite places to hit the slopes. Italy is blessed with an impressive ski range, with the central core of the Dolomites taking the spotlight. In addition, the in-resort costs here are much more affordable compared to other resorts around Europe. And while Italy has many rival skiing destinations, it has a much more laid back atmosphere that many skiers – both casual and advanced – certainly appreciate.

In today’s video, we’ll be taking a look at what we consider as five of the best skiing destinations around Italy.

Top 5 Skiing Locations in Italy - YouTube

Skiing is truly a great way to enjoy the upcoming winter season. Whether you’re in it for the thrilling vertical slopes or just want to find a nice winter getaway with your family, Italy definitely has much to offer to skiers of all types.

Learn More About Skiing in Italy

When it comes to skiing, people tend to look for destinations in the Swiss and French Alps, without realizing that these are actually neighbors of the Dolomites, which is a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. These mountain ranges become winter wonderlands and the prime destinations for those who love skiing from November to April. This means that if you are planning a vacation in Italy sometime between these months, you should check out these 5 skiing destinations.

Passo Tonale – Called Tonale Pass in English, this high mountain pass is one of the best places to go if you are just beginning to learn how to ski. Located in the Province of Brescia, this ski resort is considered one of the most reasonably priced around. The costs for food, drinks, equipment, lift passes, and even ski instruction here are lower than any other in the area.

It is also one of the few Italian ski resorts that is sure to have snow from as early as October to as late as June, giving skiers lots of time to choose when to come here. If you are with beginners but want to try more challenging slopes, you can simply hop on a lift and head to nearby Temu and Ponte di Legno, which are great for more advanced skiers.

Corvara – For more intermediate slopes and a more sophisticated skiing adventure, Corvara is where you should go. Located in South Tyrol, in northern Italy, this ski resort is actually a small settlement with a little over 1,500 residents living here all-year-round. Also called Alta Badia by ski enthusiasts and residents alike, Corvara is where you can find great restaurants, luxury hotels, and majestic views.

If you want to see the Dolomites in a vibrant pink hue, wait for sunset and you will be rewarded with such a spectacular panorama that is breathtaking. As for the skiing, the slopes here are challenging for more advanced skiers and are pretty extensive, with 1220 km of tracks for you to enjoy.

Alagna – Located in the Province of Vercelli, the small commune of Alagna Valesia in the Valesia Alps is one of the most challenging ski resorts in Italy. The village is quaint with its stone church, wooden farmhouses, and old-fashioned way of life. People here rarely stay up after dinner, which means you will not find any semblance of nightlife in the area.

This is where you go if you want to push yourself when it comes to skiing since it is where you will get one of the most challenging tracks in the country. While blessed with only 15km of pistes, Alagna is still one of the best ski areas in the country, particularly for those who are looking for something that will push their skiing limits. Word of advice – if you are new to the place, it is best to hire a mountain guide to help you safely explore the mountain’s terrain.

Cervinia –Formerly known as Breuil, the ski resort of Cervinia is found in what is more popularly known worldwide as the Matterhorn, or the Monte Cervino. This is an Italian mountain range that has around 160 kilometers of pistes and some of the highest peaks around. The skiing season here stretches from November to May, giving you enough time to choose when to come over for a ski holiday.

Skiers here range in skill from beginner to intermediate, with a few slopes that may be worth exploring for those who want to test their skill. There are many great hotels and restaurants here, which make it a great choice for those who are looking to make their ski trip into a multi-faceted vacation.

Cortina d’Ampezzo – This ski resort in the Province of Belluno is considered one of the most sophisticated ski resorts in the country. Part of the Dolomite Superski area, the resort was the site for the 1956 Winter Olympics, with some of the facilities still existing albeit unused in the area. The pistes in the Cortina are ideal for intermediate to expert skiers, with some snowboarders enjoying these challenging tracks as well.

It is also a great place for those who want to combine night-clubbing with their love of skiing since Cortina is a party place at night, with a few nightclubs, highly-priced wine bars and restaurants for you to explore. It is also a great place to find unique antiques and fashionable apparel, which are available in the many shops that line the town’s main street.

This presentation is also available on Slideshare!

The post Top 5 Skiing Locations in Italy appeared first on Tour Italy Now.

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