PLANNING A TRIP TO ITALY

When planning a trip to Italy itinerary finding a reliable travel agency can be a challenge. Travel with confidence as we address some of the most frequently asked questions about how to plan trips to Italy.

Italy is high up on every traveler’s bucket list. And why not? There is so much to do, see, not to mention insanely good food and wine! So it will come as no surprise that the same travel questions pop up when planning a first trip to Italy. Because of this, we have put together some of the most commonly asked questions and things to know when traveling to Italy to have a great trip.

Good travel is the result of good planning. We hope the information below will be of help in introducing you to our country. If you still have questions for making the most of your time in Italy do not hesitate to contact us.

General Tour Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Italy?
Italy is truly an excellent destination year-round. No matter when you are planning to travel, you will find a place to stay that is perfect for that time of year.

Generally, we personally feel the months between March and early May, and the months of September and October are the best all-round times to visit Italy.

Late May through August are the busiest time of the year to travel to Italy, so it is essential that you book well in advance during these months.

The off-season months between November and February can also be great options for experience our country with fewer crowds. The downside at this time is that some coastal properties in the Italian Riviera and the Amalfi Coast are seasonal and close down for the winter.

What languages are your tours in?
English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Chinese Mandarin. We do not offer multi-language tours, which means you will never have to wait while your tour guide speaks first in English, then in Chinese-Mandarin, then in Russian.

Do you offer group tours?
No. We only offers private tours. You can choose an ideal pre-made private tour on our website. Alternatively, we can personalize an itinerary in line with your preferences and interests.

Custom Italy vacations are our specialty. We design bespoke itineraries and private experiences according to your own wishes and specifications.

Having said that, if you come to us as a group, we can put together a customized tour for you, but if you wish to join a group tour, we do not offer this option.

Do you accommodate special needs?
We make every effort to accommodate any special needs requests. In order to accommodate your needs as best as possible, we ask that you let us or your travel agent know at time of booking so we can assess the request and see how we can accommodate you.

We have rented a car. Can you make vineyard appointments for us?
We do not organize vineyard visits or create vineyard itineraries for self-drivers without a professional driver/guide. This is for two reasons. First, of course, it is not wise to drink and drive in any circumstance, especially in a foreign country with unfamiliar territory. Second, we cannot offer many of our authentic local experiences to self-drivers as many of them are often located down single lane, back country tiny dirt roads and can be difficult to find even with GPS. Also having someone else to handle to driving leaves you free to enjoy the wine!

Are meals included in the itinerary price?
Food is one of the best aspects of Italy and we do not want to limit your choices by picking set menus for you. We understand that local food is an important component of any vacation. Everybody has different tastes and dining is one of the most enjoyable parts of the travel experience.

Moreover, we have found that our guests enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on their own. Therefore, rather than locking you into pre-arranged and/or preset meals that may not want we prefer not to include any meals in the itinerary price.

When do restaurants open in Italy?
The majority of Italian restaurants and pizzerias generally serve lunch from 12:30pm to 2pm, and dinner from 7:30pm to 10pm (or later in the summer). Keep in mind that usually locals have lunch at 1:30pm and dinner at 8:30pm.

What is the time zone in Italy?
Italy is one hour ahead of GMT. From late March through late October, Italy switches to Daylight Savings Time and is two hours ahead. To determine current time in Italy, we suggest visiting TimeAndDate.com

Booking a Tour

When should I book my trip to Italy with Nancy Aiello Tours?
Because of how much love and attention we pour into each trip, we believe a quality travel experience requires ample time and refinement to be truly exceptional. As such, you can book your custom Italian vacation anywhere from at least 6 months in advance to 8 weeks prior to departure. Given the amount of design, planning, and coordination involved with each handcrafted itinerary, ultimately the amount of notice required will be based upon whether your trip can be executed keeping in mind seasonal factors, such as time of year, availability, and the current number of clients we are working with.

Moreover, keep in mind that our private tours of Italy are very popular among visitors. Therefore, we encourage booking as soon as possible, especially if you are limited to the time period in which you can travel. This is especially important if you are planning a trip to Italy during the high season of April through September and holiday times. Indeed Christmas, Easter, school half term weeks, and public holidays are the busiest periods of the year to travel to Italy and it is best to book well in advance.

If you know what tour you want to book though, we would recommend as soon as you know your travel dates because our tours sell out fast. While if you are not ready to book yet and have some questions, we would be happy to help you. It is our mission helping travelers get the most out of their Italian travel experiences!

Do you work with Travel Agents?
Yes. We work with many agents worldwide. Please email us with details of your travel agency. We look forward to hearing from you.

Can I book with my Travel Agent?
Yes! We are committed to our Travel Agent partners and encourage you to turn to their expert services when booking your vacation. Inform your agent about the vacation you are interested in and have them contact us directly. We will be sure to cooperate and bring your Italian vacation dreams to life!

Are flights included in the tour price?
No, our tour prices do not include airfare.

Do you book flights?
No. We do not book flights. However, we are happy to make recommendations as to which airport to arrive and depart from based on best places to start and end your itinerary.

If we book our own flights to Italy, can you assist with just the land portion?
Yes. We can absolutely assist you with just the land portion and this is fine with us.

Do you book train tickets?
No. We do not handle train tickets. However, we are happy to advise on trains when that is your choice for in-country traveling.

Do you offer skip the line tours?
Yes. All of our tours of Italy are skip the line. However, you should be aware that Italy’s tourist sites are among the most popular in the world. Skip the line access and careful planning limit our crowd exposure, but some locations may be unavoidably busy especially during the busy summer and holiday times.

Do you book skip the line entrance tickets?
Yes, absolutely. Skip the line tickets for top sights in Italy are essential to make the most of your time and avoid long waits. While you can visit most tourist attractions without a reservation, there are a few where advance ticket reservations for your entrance at a specific date and time are mandatory.

Surely, we will cut out the hassle of organizing on your own by pre-purchasing your admission tickets ahead of time. Therefore, for popular tourist attractions where advance reservations are mandatory, the cost for skip the line tickets is included in the itinerary price and we will take care of reserving the spots.

Indeed, our comprehensive guided tours include pre-reserved timed entry tickets for the museums and sights on the itinerary. We will take care of the necessary reservation in advance for skipping the line at Pisa Leaning Tower as well as at the Uffizi and the Academia in Florence. You will also skip the lines at the Vatican and Rome’s major sights such as the Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla, St. Angel Castle, and the Borghese Gallery. While in Venice at St. Mark’s Basilica during the busiest times of the year, starting around the beginning of April.

For museums, monuments, and sights where it is not possible to make an advance reservation you will pay the entrance ticket costs on site.

How do you choose the hotels you recommend?
Where you stay is an integral part of a successful vacation and we are very selective with our choices. It has taken years of experience to weed out the good hotels from the great, so you can trust that we stand behind the services we recommend.

To ensure that you stay in the best places we have visited hotels all over Italy only choosing accommodations where we would wish to stay ourselves.

Getting Ready for Your Trip to Italy

Will I need a visa to travel to Italy?
Depending on your nationality, you may need visas to enter Italy. You are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to the departure of your trip. Obtaining visas can take up to six weeks prior to your departure. It is recommended that you consult well in advance the nearest Italian Consulate or Embassy to determine if visas is required.

Will I need a passport to travel to Italy?
Yes. Your passport must have at least six months validity remaining beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. It is best to take a look at your passport’s expiration date before making any international travel plans.

Do I need vaccinations to travel to Italy?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need vaccinations to travel to Italy. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please check your local requirements on vaccinations for travel to Italy.

Should I purchase trip insurance?
Yes, absolutely. Travel Insurance gives you peace of mind in safeguarding your investment in the event of a cancellation prior to or during your trip. Nancy Aiello Tours strongly recommends that you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking.

Travel insurance is for your protection in the case of any unforeseen event that delays or prevents travel. It is very important that you protect your vacation investment in case of trip cancellation/interruption, travel luggage delay or loss of luggage and medical expenses. Therefore, the best way to protect your trip and to have complete peace of mind is to have full and comprehensive travel insurance with many coverage options from basic trip cancellation insurance to full coverage that includes emergency medical assistance.

What should I pack for my trip to Italy?
This will depend on your personal preferences, where you are traveling, and on the time of year. Nevertheless, keep in mind that churches and some places of worship require covered shoulders and knee length shorts/skirts. In addition to packing for the season in which you will be traveling, we recommend bringing the following items:
• Your passport and any required visas.
• Copies of your travel documents.
• Comfortable shoes.
• Any prescribed medications you are taking.
• A converter or an adapter in order to charge your electrical devices.

Can I use my ATM card in Italy?
Using your ATM card in Italy should not be an issue but it is important to make sure that you consult your bank first before leaving on your international trip. Actually, most credit and debit cards have a security lock that prevents them from working overseas (to prevent fraud) so make sure you get the lock removed before you travel. Therefore, if you do not inform your bank or your credit card company, most likely your card will be rejected when you try to purchase things abroad.

How do I exchange Dollars for Euros in Italy?
Rather than exchanging cash in the U.S., it is easier to use your credit or debit card at any ATM in Italy. Throughout Italy, ATMs – called Bancomat in Italian – are the smartest way to get cash. But make sure you call your bank before departing and ask them whether you will be able to use your credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be suspicious charges.

Get your travel questions answered or customize your Italian vacation