Italy is famed for its culture, its cities, its glorious food and drink and its iconic family values. The list of positives for visiting the country is almost endless, from Mediterranean food and Italian wine, a wealth of stunning cities to explore, some of the best fashion and shopping found anywhere on the globe, and of course history. Jet charter to Italy travelers will find that the country is fantastic for sport, as cycling's Giro - Italia, skiing, winter sports, football and motor sports can be enjoyed. Many come to see the 280 fountains in Rome, including the iconic Trevi Fountain, La Barcaccia and the Fountain of Triton. Rome of course is also one of the best places on the planet to see history.
Must See: It is difficult if not impossible of course to pick just one or two "must see" destinations in a country with so much to offer such as Italy. Rome has some magnificent historical remains to explore, including The Colosseum, The Forum and Palantine Hill. Elsewhere, Pisa will offer the iconic view of its leaning tower. Florence has beautiful art, and Venice will offer a city like none ever visited before. Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, and brimming with culture and art. Other locations like the priceless Ruins of Pompeii or the stunning city of Cinque Terre are on the must see lists of many as well. Prior to your trip, the best way to choose which path is best for you is determine what you want the most - ancient history, art, natural landmarks, an urban adventure, beaches - and then choose from there. That said, it's hard to deny the allure of Rome, and the Colosseum. Rome's great gladiatorial arena is the most thrilling of the city's ancient sights. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the 50,000 seat Colosseum was inaugurated in AD 80 and used to stage spectacular gladiatorial games in front of baying, bloodthirsty crowds.
Lodging: Of course every single lodging option you can imagine is available in almost limitless quantity in a country like Italy. Perhaps the best could be the Grand Hotel Vesuvio, located in Naples. Located right on the seafront, the prestigious Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooks the Gulf of Naples, the island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius. Rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, and the hotel features a luxury indoor pool, fitness center with personal trainer and spa area with hot yub, sauna and steam bath. Known for bedding legends - past guests include Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth - this 5-star heavyweight is a wonderland of dripping chandeliers, period antiques and opulent rooms. Count your lucky stars while you drink your martini at the world class rooftop restaurant. The hotel is across from the Castel dell'Ovo in the historic quarter of Santa Lucia. The port for boats to Capri, Sardinia and other destinations is a 15 minute walk away.
Ground Transportation: Walking is the major mode of transport in many cities, and as other European nations, the train and bus systems available to private jet charter to Italy visitors are quite good. Some destinations require or at least are far more convenient via boat in Southern Italy. In Venice, finding a gondola is a simple task, and a must-do item on a checklist as you would imagine. Car service and rental is widely available though expensive, and Italian drivers seem to take the same nonchalant attitude towards they have towards life in general onto the roads with them, so beware!
Recommended Books: From Caesar to the Mafia, Luigi Barzini (2001). Described as - one of the great journalists of our time - by many contemporaries, the distinguished Barzini was also one of the great cultural historians of modern Italy. Whether discussing the deep Italian roots of Julius Caesar, Casanova's contribution to the art of living big, or Camillo Cavour's contribution to a democratic as well as integrated nation, Barzini makes Italian culture come alive. Whether he is dealing with heroes or villains, he never loses sight of how Italy became a distinct nation. The book is not only about people, but also focuses on places and problems. When Barzini discusses the Sicilians, the Isle of Capri, or his birthplace of Milan, he has the distinct capacity to capture what is universal as well as what is intimate in each place.
Currency: The Euro is the local currency
Calling Code Italy: 011 + 39 + phone number (land lines are 6 to 10 digits including area code, cell phones are 10 digits)
Best Travel Dates and Packing Tips: Italy has something to offer the visitor year-round, but there are considerations to weigh, such as weather, budget, cultural events, seasonal atmosphere and ambiance. Given the country's worldwide popularity, famous attractions can be crowded in summer, detracting from a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prices and temperatures also peak in summer time. But guests are welcome to join with Italians as they celebrate each season, particularly at the table. Food enthusiasts might want to consult the culinary calendar before a trip.
With more affordable hotel rates and ideal weather, spring and fall might be the best time to visit Italy -- from April to June and September to October. The climate is generally benign, with sunny skies and comfortable daytime temperatures, making it ideal for sightseeing. Popular attractions are not as crowded. A jacket is likely to be necessary at night, but outdoor dining is still enjoyable. In the countryside, wildflowers cover the hills in spring, and in the fall the land is painted in golds and browns that are warm and welcoming.
Perhaps more than other places, a handy item to have in Italy is a universal drain-stopper, though this advice is handy in many other countries as well. Some hotel sinks and tubs have no stoppers. This flat, flexible plastic disc - which works with any size drain - allows you to wash your clothes or take a bath.