It happens to the best of us! Here are answers to questions about Italy that I often receive. If you have questions not answered here, check out my blog with more FAQs or get in touch with me via the contact link above, at right.
Q : I want to go to Italy but I don't speak any Italian. Should I be concerned?
Only if you don't try to speak Italian! Italians are incredibly forgiving of foreigners who attempt to speak the language. But if you just "yammer" to them in English, be prepared for the same to be returned. But in Italian.
If you know Spanish, you're halfway there, as the Italian language resembles a fine blend of Spanish and French seasoned with lots of hand gesturing.
The best translation book I found is the Rick Steve's Italian phrase book. It's compact and well organized. I later took two semesters of Italian at SMU and this helped make my most recent trips much easier (less fumbling with the book).
Q : When is the best time of year to travel to Italy?
The temperatures in Italy are seasonably similar to Texas; warm during our summer months and cold in winter months.
If you're doing things in or around water, you'll want to plan on summer travel. It'll be hot, but who wants to swim in cold water? I've traveled four times in June through September and the weather is typically hot, like Texas. Inland cities like Rome, Florence and Milan were really hot. If you're around coastal cities, the wind will treat you to breezy breaks from the heat.
My travels to Liguria were in April and it was like San Francisco weather ~ chilly at night (sweater weather) and shorts during the day. Spring was my favorite time to go because I wasn't so pre-occupied with the heat or the whereabouts of ice cubes.
I also traveled in the off-season November through February which brought lots of rain, but the sunsets were amazing plus I was also able to see how the Italians celebrate the holiday season.
Q : What are the best places to visit in Italy?
This is a tough question to answer however your personal preference should be your guiding light.
Big cities or quaint villages? Mountains, hills or sea? Spicy food or sea food? Hotel, B&B or villa rental? Just like Texas, Italy offers many varying vistas which are sure to inspire the traveler in you.
My two personal favorites are Tuscany (all of it) and the Amalfi Coast, where I learned to scooter on curvy roads overlooking the sea. If you've been to either area you'll understand firsthand why these regions make my short list!
Q : If I want to use your travel-planning services, what are your specialities?
Based on sheer time spent within Italy it would have to be the Liguria and Tuscany regions.
I've traveled multiple times to Liguria to charming Cinque Terre and its surrounding cities of Portovenere and Portofino. I'm familiar with transportation options including train, boat, car and scooter to help you fully experience the area's absolute best.
I've traveled twice to Tuscany and lived there three solid months in 2012-2013. I spent time on both sides of the autostrada living near Montepulciano and Cortona, Italy. I attended festivals, museums and markets big and small. I leased a car the entire time which was a great experience because it allowed me to see the area extensively and on my terms. I traveled with my two Labrador Retrievers which gave me the unique perspective of international travel with large dogs. I met many great Italians, including my own self-proclaimed native Italian foster family who earned a special place in my heart.
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