Italy is suitable for any age group, for vegetarians or meat lovers, for the adventurous or simply the hammockers. I met some of the nicest people in the country and there were so many parts of it that reminded me of the hustle bustle of the streets in India.
Italians are animated and dramatic, communicating just as much with their bodies as they do with their mouths. You may think two people are arguing when in reality they’re agreeing enthusiastically. I often say, tie an Italian’s hands and they wont be able to talk!
Food is an institution in Italy and you may choose to eat at a ristorante ( more formal and upscale), a trattoria (casual family-owned place serving home-cooked meals), osteria (usually a good-value eatery), an enoteca (wine bar), rosticceria (specializing in roasted meats and antipasti) or a tavola calda (hot table bar). Wherever u go, it is never too bad an idea to put yourself in the hands of the chef. One thing that is a given on any trip to Italy is that you will add a few (could be an understatement in some cases) kilos to your waistline, resultantly requiring an urgent visit to the mall on your trip back home, which is never such a bad thing .
Italy deserves at the very least 12-15 days to justify the art, culture, people watching and most of all the food and wine! Anything short and you are cheating on the experience. One can however never truly do all of Italy in one trip and it will draw you back again for sure. We had travelled to Italy in the month of April, the best time, as the herds hadn’t reached there yet and the weather was far from being hot. May- July is peak season and has its own charm.
There are several ways to do a trip to Italiana. Ours was :
Day One-Two: Rome (Add a full day for Vatican)
Day Three: Day trip to Naples (By Train). Evening reach Sorrento (By Train)
Day Four: Sorrento
Day Five: Day Trip to Capri- Ana Capri (By Ferry)
Day Six: Amalfi Coast, Stay at Positano (By Road)
Day Seven: Positano
Day Eight: Siena (By Road)
Day Nine-Ten: Siena, Montalcino/ Montalpuciano (By Road)
Day Eleven- Twelve: Florence (By Road)
Day Thirteen-Fourteen: Cinque Terre, Hike the 5 villages (Add 2 days for Lake Como) (By Train)
Day Fifteen- Seventeen: Venice (By Train)
Day Eighteen: Bid Adieu with a heavy heart (Or Add two days for Milan)
The local transportation in Italy is pretty good but you cannot always trust the train times. They may sometimes be off the schedule, so if you are taking connecting trains, keep some leg room for the delay. You can book train tickets online but can also be easily picked at kiosks at the train station itself. Renting a car is very easy and you don’t need an International license to rent a car. The Indian Driving license works just fine. Do not forget to take the Insurance though.
Some of the museums in Italy are high on demand and may require you to stand in line for hours, so it is prudent to book them in advance. For example: the Vatican and Uffizi Museum (Florence) should be booked online prior to travel as it attracts a large crowd and has strict visiting hours.
Italy is undoubtedly my favorite destination anywhere! A lot of people talk about theft and cheating being a menace in Italy, but as Indians, we are very well equipped to deal with such troubles.Either ways, the positives are far too many to be troubled. Being slightly more alert can help. Keep your heart open, stomach even more and you will take no time to absorb the true delight named Italy. Here, La vita e bella!