Italy Travel guide – Visa, See, Get Around, Stay, Food

The combination artistic treasures, friendly people, a beautiful language, fascinating history, rich art, cuisine, fashion, its beautiful coastline and beaches, its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments make Italy one of the most sought travel destinations on the planet. It is a country with many pivotal moments, each telling a different tale of the vibrant Italian history. For centuries, visitors have come here looking for their own slice of the good life, and for the most part, they have found it.

Visa and Passport Requirements:
All nationals visiting Italy require a passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years, except the EU nationals holding a passport or a national ID card which is valid for the duration of the stay.

Visas are not required by nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays of up to 90 days; and by the nationals of other EU member countries.
Nationals of other countries can apply for a Schengen visa to the nearest Italian embassy. Residents of England and Wales can also apply via the Visa Application Centre. Residents of Scotland should apply via the Italian Consulate in Edinburgh. Northern Ireland residents can apply via the honorary consulate in Belfast. The visa processing takes about five to ten days, and in some cases even more with the time extending up to two to three months.

The cost of the Schengen visa comes up to around €60. Two Schengen visas are available for short-stay travellers from non-member states. The single-entry visa allows travellers to enter the Schengen area once and travels within it. The multiple-entry visa allows you to enter and leave the Schengen area multiple times within the allocated time permitted.

When to Go:
The best months for travelling in Italy are from April to June and mid-September to October as the temperatures are comfortable, the countryside bursts with spring flowers and the floods of summer tourism have not yet dawned upon the country. From July through early September the streets are full of visitors from all across the world and there is a high spike in the hotel prices. August can be one of the worst months to travel as it can get hot, muggy and crowded. Most Italians hit the road during this month due to which most of the family-run hotels, restaurants and shops are closed.

What to See and Experience:
Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. It is home to some of the greatest historical and artistic cities like Rome, Venice and Florence and also has natural treasures like beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains. Some of the most iconic tours in Italy include a tour to San Gimignano, which is a medieval village in Tuscany famous for its 14 stone towers. When in the country, one has to take a look at the world famous Pisa Tower. This 14th-century marvel that took a period of about 177 years to complete and stands proud to this day. One can catch a glimpse of the excavated remains of Pompeii: a city that was preserved in the volcanic ash of the volcano Vesuvius, freezing everything in time. It has provided a detailed insight into the lives of the people living two thousand years ago. No trip to Italy is complete without visiting the largest and most famous amphitheatre in the Roman world: The Colosseum. Finished by 80AD, it was capable of holding 50,000 spectators and was an architectural marvel for the time. Get bathed in the ambience of “The City of Water”, Venice and take a ride through its romantic canals, gondolas, and magnificent Italian architecture.

Getting Around in Italy:
One of the key parts while planning your vacation is getting around the city. Italy has an excellent network of planes, buses and trains. There are other means as well like renting a car or a Vespa providing you with a totally new and different experience. With the enormous coastline of Italy, one can travel by boats also.

• Flying: Italy has a huge network of domestic flights covers more than 116,000 square miles, saving a significant amount of time over taking the train.

• Trains: Italy’s excellent national train system is one of the cheapest and the most popular way for tourists to get around the country. One can look up schedules and purchase tickets online at

• Renting a Car: Renting a car in Italy can be expensive and can turn out to be a hassle since the parking rules in most Italian cities are confusing, with hotels charging up to 40 euros a night for parking. Driving in Italy can be a bit stressful as fellow drivers are fast and aggressive. One has to consider the expenses on the fuel as well. However, a rented car gives a trade-off of an outstanding experience and some stunning country roads. Driving a car in Italy requires an international driving permit.

• Boat: With more than 4,000 miles of coastline, some major lakes and islands, as well as an entire city Venice on the water, a boat travel may just be a part of your Italian vacation.

Italy has a range of hotels from basic budget hotels, mid-range hotels to luxury resorts depending on your needs and budgets.

The Gastronomic Affaire:
Italy has always been a synonym for “good food,” offering an unmistakable explosion of flavours, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines in the world, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes like the Slow Food pizza, a paper cone of Frito Misto (fried seafood) or pistachio flavoured gelato. One can taste a sample of some of the top-class wines at Rome’s International Wine Academy and tour vineyards and olive groves to learn the latest production techniques that go into making that award-winning wine and olive oil sitting on your dining table.

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