1) Train travel is great in Italy
Always book through an actual person at a station when possible. Many booking options are not available online. Also, be sure to have your ticket validated before you get on the train to avoid a large fine. You will find validations machines scattered about in train stations. Train travel is a very economical way to travel to Italy!
2) Lines in Rome & elsewhere
There are so many iconic landmarks in Italy, and believe me, everyone wants to see them! A huge time saver is to book a few skip-the-line tickets. You can find these online. Unless your a real early bird-like Lorie & I, this may be a big time-saver for you! Lines for the Colosseum alone could be hours long!! Especially in the Summer.
3) Wear comfortable shoes
Now I agree that this is a very generic tip, however especially in Rome a very important one! You will spend a lot of time walking from place to place, so pay extra attention to having your most comfortable socks & shoes on!
4) Transportation strikes
Strange I know - but transportation strikes are very common in Italy. Trains, taxis, buses, etc. Usually, they are announced in advance, as they are just part of the culture in Italy. Just something to be on the lookout for.
5) Prepare to eat later
Many restaurants - especially the more upscale ones - do not open until 7 pm in Italy. This is also quite common around a lot of Europe in general. Also, many Italian eateries will charge an extra cover charge of a few euros.
6 - 10 Exclusive to visiting Venice. We plan on using these for our upcoming trip here!
6) Ferry tickets
A one-way ferry ticket cost around 7 Euros and is generally good for 60 minutes. This includes ferry switches. If you can't find a machine you can usually purchase one onboard for another 1.5 Euros. If you use a machine be sure to validate it at a water taxi stop!
7) You will get lost
And if you have read enough of our articles, then you know this is a good thing! And I promise you that even google maps will get you lost in Venice. Some friends of ours were there recently and found this out. Get lost and have fun finding out what is around that next corner!
8) Find the absolute best Gelato
You will have a LOT of choices in Venice! We received a great tip from a guy in Naples for finding the freshest and best. Simply let the colors be your best judge. You're looking for the good stuff, right? Bananas are not fluorescent yellow, so the gelato should not be either! Same for the other flavors/fruits.
9) Be sure to visit the outer islands
That same friend that visited recently took their best photos on the outer islands. There is one, in particular, he said not to miss which is the island of Murano. So island-hop away, and find that next great adventure!
10) Hotel with a nearby water taxi spot
Another piece of advice we had passed along to us was to be sure to have a water taxi stop near our hotel of choice. You don't want to be dragging your luggage through Venice!
11-15 Five other must-see places in Italy. We plan on checking a few of these off soon!
A nice bottle of wine while sitting under the Tuscany sun. Are you kidding me - Life is good! The aforementioned friend enjoyed a cycle through the town of Montalcino and especially enjoyed ducking into a few hotels just to see the different elaborate lobbies here.
12) Amalfi Coast
Lorie & I are really looking forward to the Amalfi coast. Since we have been to Naples so often we have spent some time here but there is a lot more to see. It is an incredible stretch of coastal land just teeming with loads of adventure. We plan on renting a car to drive through - stopping often of course - the charming little towns of this region.
We visited Sicily last year. Incredible aqua blue waters here, ancient Roman places and a plethora of natural wonders here. Incredible views await you everywhere here in Sicily.
This towering mountain range in far NE Italy is a great place to hike and get lost. Very dramatic views here of the hills in the countryside and giant mountain tops will take your breath away. Quaint mountain towns like Castelrotto will transport you away with it's Austrian influenced architecture.
15) Cinque Terre
Quaint coves of fishing villages here, along with a National park. Cinque Terre is known for its hiking/walking trails along a ridiculously gorgeous trail of hillside small towns.
We will be adding to this article after visiting more places in Italy in the near future!