Let me kick this off by saying that Italy is an AMAZING place. The food – obviously, hello; the culture – slow paced days and an appreciation for the little things; the history – thousands of years of people, architecture, wars, religion, tragedy, and stories preserved; the people – all beautiful looking and sounding. BUT my God do you know how long that flight is?! The fact that millions of Americans each year subject themselves to that long of a flight should be proof enough that Italy is an incredible destination. I went in August 2019 with my mom and stepdad. It was a trip we’ve discussed taking together for nearly a decade so we finally did it! Let me add that my mom is not one to love having a set itinerary on vacation and this trip required a ton of planning *cue the family arguments*.
We’ve probably all been on a plane at this point and are probably well aware that air travel does not always go smoothly. This was one of those instances. We left DFW in the early afternoon and had a connecting flight in Philadelphia to get to Venice. Three and a half hours to Philly, a quick turnaround, and then another nine hours to Venice – long but we would make it. No. And I cannot emphasize it enough – NO. We arrived in Philly to horrible thunderstorms which meant no flights in or out once we hit the ground. After 2 hours of sitting on the tarmac, several openings and closures of the ramp, and 3 incredibly high stress levels we had no idea if our flight to Venice was still on the ground. Once we got to a gate and off the plane we were told by airline personnel to GO. And go we did. The three of us took off at full speed through 3 airport terminals. We’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about. You’re sweaty just thinking about it (just me?). Anyway, all 3 sweaty, stressed messes got to the empty gate in a frenzy when the captain came out and said, “No need to run we don’t even have fuel yet.” THANKFUL AND FURIOUS. But alas, we made it on the plane, sat for another 2 hours, and finally left for Italy. All this to say – get a direct flight if you can! WORTH IT.
We spent a total of 10 days in Italy. Two days in Venice, one day in Florence, four days on the coast, and three days in Rome. It was a jam packed trip with no downtime but it was incredible. My general suggestions are:
1. If you are seeking a more relaxed trip you need to select fewer cities to travel to, but if it is your first time to Italy and you want a little taste of everything then this was a great itinerary.
2. Do not go in August. It is HOT, there is limited AC, there is a large holiday in mid-August and most Italians plan their own vacations for this time of year too so everything is incredibly crowded. Every local Italian we encountered told us we picked the most crowded time of year to visit.
3. Get restaurant suggestions from locals. Self-explanatory – they know where the best food is! Let’s be honest – all we really want is amazing pasta. And pizza. And tiramisu. And gelato. And wine.
Head on back to Travel to get more information on each city! If you’ve been to Italy leave your travel tips & tricks below!