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Italy Travel Tips

Italy travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

Experience Family Life In Italy: Agriturismo
Submitted by M05151
If you’re planning to rent a car and explore the Italian countryside, stay in agriturismos farm accommodation in rooms with private bathrooms or apartments. To get the “agriturismo” designation, the owners must produce food or wine on their property. You find many agriturismos where they make wine and olive oil. You may even want to help pick grapes or olives at harvest time!

To make sure you get to know the owners, make sure they live on the property so you’ll run into them regularly and get a chance to ... view more start conversations that could lead to friendship.

For example, in southern Tuscany about nine km south of Montalcino, charming Alberto and Marzia offer two small apartment style rooms at their agriturismo in hills with marvelous views of valleys and Monte Amiata. They’ll share their passion for a wide range of exotic plants and trees and chemical free gardening as they tour you around their property. Their big passion is olive oil. From the olives on their trees, Alberto makes olive oil the traditional way using the big granite wheel and is only too happy to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about olives and olive oil.

This friendly couple makes your breakfasts and will also make dinner for you. Alberto is a fantastic cook!

Don't miss on Venice at Night!
Submitted by M09434
Venice ("Venezia") does not have clubs, pubs, bars with techno music! It does not need it. The magic is there, at night at every corner. Once the mainstream tourists reach their hotel and recover from a day of waiting lines, crowded streets, hassles and full vaporettos, the "real magic" begins!

Take a stroll in the empty streets, let yourself impressed by the magic lights and step into the magic of an Italian Opera, with a good map of course!
Affordable Cooking School Tours: Local Families
Submitted by M05151
Take cooking school tours where you stay and cook with local families in their homes. You get a better taste of genuine Italian life and often spend less than for a comparable tour based at an elegant villa with a top chef.

Let's compare two cooking school tours at a lovely villa hotel and at a family's farm house in Tuscany's Chianti area.

For six nights at a luxurious, four star villa hotel, enjoy three full menu, hands-on cooking lessons with a top professional chef in a state of the art ... view more kitchen for $2800 (March, November, December) to $3500 U.S. (May to October). The tour also includes transfers from Florence, welcome dinner, three meals after cooking lessons, picnic lunch, wine tasting, a light dinner, castle visit, half day walking tour and drive to Siena and San Gimignano where you explore on your own.

On a family style Chianti cooking school tour for five nights, stay in a family’s beautifully renovated farm house in a hill top hamlet in “at a friend’s home” style rooms. With the daughter you cook five multi-course lunches hands-on in their big kitchen with magnificent views over herb gardens, roses, olive trees and vineyards. Each noon you gather around their dining table with your cooking teacher and her charming 80ish dad.

Price for five nights all year round is 1555 Euros, about $2099 US at current exchange rates and includes five full menu, hands-on cooking lessons followed by big lunch, welcome dinner at a restaurant, four light dinners at home, two excursions with your cooking teacher to Chianti towns with wine tasting, and transfers from Chianti town of Greve to/from the family’s home.

The Chianti villa tour costs $466 (off season) a night to $583 US (May to October) a night while the Chianti family tour costs about $420 US a night all year round at current exchange rates. Both offer similar excursions but you get more meals with the family tour.

How To Get An Affordable Cooking School Tour
Submitted by M05151
To get an affordable cooking school tour in Italy, ask for what you want.

If you see an Italian cooking school tour you like, but the price is wrong for you, ask the tour operator for what you want. Their yes answer may surprise you!

Here’s a true story. A Canadian couple was attracted to a four day cooking, wine and walking tour in Piedmont’s Barolo wine country in Italy. Even though the tour was based at a historic hotel and was for just the two of them, the price of 1620 Euros a person (about $2673 ... view more Cdn, $2187 US), was beyond their budget this year. They told the tour operator they liked the tour but wanted to pay half that price.

The tour operator asked them what was most important to them for their tour. She redesigned the tour so they stayed at a simple B&B, didn’t take a cooking lesson they weren’t interested in anyway, and had their farewell dinner at the B&B instead of an elegant restaurant.

The new price was 40% less at 1045 Euros (about $1724 Cdn, $1411 US). This time they said yes!

Shipping Wine Home
Submitted by M19312
I have found that shipping wine purchased during a wine tour is best accomplished by using a special cardboard shipping box with Styrofoam insert and checking it in as baggage. Boxes typically hold up to 12 bottles and are used by professionals all the time.
How To Get Joy & Value On Cooking School Tours
Submitted by M05151
Enjoy these four tips on getting the most joy and value on your cooking school tour in Italy, gleaned from my 14 years experience creating and leading these tours in Italy.

1. Many cooking school tour members say, "I've eaten too much! There's too much food.”

Find out what’s on your menu so you can pace yourself and avoid eating a lot of one course only to find three more courses are coming and you don't have room for all the wonderful food. Sample a little of everything so you ... view more experience as many dishes as possible.

2. Some cooking school tour members say, "I didn't get enough time to cook hands-on in the lesson. The chef did too much of the cooking."

Get beside the chef and be assertive, “I’d like to do that.”

3. Some cooking school students ask, "Will I gain weight on my cooking tour with all the irresistible food?" Not if you're like this woman.

She lost 10 pounds on her cooking tours in Italy. Italians eat less junk food and more fresh, local foods than many of us. She drank water, no pop. She walked much more than at home.

4. Communicate in a direct, friendly way with your tour guide about what you want.

On your tour you may want to change the tour itinerary a bit. For example, you discover tempting leather shops in a Tuscan hill town and want to spend more time shopping and fore go your spa treatments on the itinerary.

Ask your tour guide how you can change activities. Most guides try to be as flexible as possible. After all, their job is making sure you enjoy yourself!

If you're not enjoying something on your tour, take your guide aside and give constructive, friendly feedback. Don't be like some people who say nothing about their disappointments until they fill out the evaluation form at the tour’s end when it's too late to help them.

If you're really enjoying an activity, ask your guide how you can do more of it. Tour guides love seeing you happy and will do all they can to delight you.

Buon viaggio!

Dinner in a local restaurant
Submitted by M17175
Around the villa and Villetta there are several typical Italian restaurants. A lot of culture from the Etrusken time. Old villages on top of a hill, and the hot water springs in the surrounding.

Italy itself is an open museum with special architecture seen all over the country. In the villa you will find a map with all the things to do and to see.
best time to travel to Italy
Submitted by M16695
Best time to travel to southern Italy is from September to June. I would avoid July and August when all the Italian tourists invade the most beautiful regions and when the weather gets too hot.

Southern Italy enjoys mild winter and from March to June and from September to November days are sunny and temperatures never gets below 15 degrees Celsius.
best wines from Southern Italy and Puglia
Submitted by M16695
- Cantele - Amativo,
- Cantele - Teresa Manara,
- Consorzio Produttori di Manduria - Primitivo di Manduria,
- Masseria Monaci - Le Braci,
- Candido - Immensum,
- Candido - Aleatico,
- Azienda Agricola Vallone - Graticciaia,
- Tormaresca - Fichi Mori,
- Tormaresca - Torcicoda,
- I Pastini - Locorotondo.
Best Places Southern Italy to taste local cuisine
Submitted by M16695
- Tuccino restaurant in Polignano a Mare,
- Poeta Contadino in Alberobello,
- Frantoio Ostuni,
- Puritate Gallipoli,
- Acmet Pascia Otranto,
- Alle due Corti Lecce.
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