Planning for (not just dreaming of) a visit to Italy. Please help!

DFRINLPLUAEUKpassportstampsI’m one of those travelers who likes to imagine traveling footloose, but really wants the security of reservations and an itinerary. Hubby is happy to let me make the plans without too much of his opinion, and fortunately our likes are alike enough for that. But I’m a bit overwhelmed with planning this trip–we have a lot going on the home front, soooo…

My readers, can you help me? We will be spending two weeks in Italy this August, with the first six days committed to Venice and surroundings. We will then fly to Rome or Naples, and rent a car. Any suggestions about car rental? We are hoping my brother will join us about this point, so need a car that will suit three adults with light to moderate luggage. And I’m not familiar with the European car types being offered for rent. Lancia? Fiat? Would it be easy to find diesel if we rented a Mercedes?

We will drive to Caserta to spend that night, and plan to visit the palace the next morning. Any recommendations for hotel or palace visit?Calabria-Gonfalone

After seeing the palace (is three hours enough time to allow?) we will drive to Cosenza for a night or two. The next morning we’ll look around Cosenza and the area. Is there a good hotel with car parking? And what sightseeing do you recommend in the area? Maybe we should just go to the beach! (But more of that later.)

We’re planning to spend August 13-16 in my ancestral village, Scigliano, so will celebrate Ferragosto there–hopefully with my Italian cugini. What kind of celebration might we expect for Ferragosto?

Map_of_region_of_Calabria,_Italy,_with_provinces-it.svgFor the next three days we will be “touring the toe”. If you had three days there, how would you spend it? I’d love to hear about your favorite beach, favorite museum, favorite castle–and not just tourist experiences. Is there a great place to hear  Calabrian music? Farm visits? Hiking? I doubt we will stay in a beachfront hotel–but who knows? We’d like to have a look at both coasts of the toe.

On August 19 we’ll turn in our car and fly out of Lamezia Terme to London, so will want to spend the night of the 18th close to there. Recommendations?

I am so looking forward to your suggestions. And hope you are looking forward to coming along via the blog later in the year.

*All images on this post are from Wikimedia Commons.


6 thoughts on “Planning for (not just dreaming of) a visit to Italy. Please help!

  1. The above is lot of good advice. Diesel is available everywhere. During ferragosto nearly everyone goes on their holidays. So the beaches are very full. We took a friend to Torino during these weeks and it was like a ghost town, many of the shops and bars that we wanted to use were closed.

    I would be very tempted to choose a time either before or after..

    • Thanks! Since we’ll be visiting some Italian cousins during Ferragosto, I’m hoping the holiday won’t be a problem. However, I’ll let you know the outcome in a future blog post! ciao

  2. Check out for some awesome travel advice! She is a military spouse, currently stationed about an hour from Venice and has been just about everywhere! I know she has several great posts of awesome things to do in Venice, and I’m sure she has great info on places in southern Italy as well! At you can rent an apartment in Venice and Rome, which is tons cheaper than hotels. In Venice, you definitely need to check out all the little islands! my favorite is the island of Burano, which is the island of lace. 2 of the stores are the factory stores, and have a lady that sits there making lace by hand! Also, if you are buying any glass, be sure to check out the island of Murano, which is where the glass is made! Several of the places even give glass blowing demonstrations! Haven’t seen much in southern Italy yet, nor have we rented a car, so can’t give much advice there, but if you have any questions about anything in the Venice area, feel free to ask away! I look forward to hearing about your Italian adventure later this year!

    • Thanks, Jennie. I’m glad to know a little more about Burano and will plan to visit there and Murano, too. I’ll check out those websites. We did find an air conditioned apartment in Venice, so I’m good with that. I appreciate the ideas!

  3. Hi Sandy, visiting Southern Italy in August has its pros: a lot of parties and festivals, and cons: it is very hot and the beaches and hotels are very crowded and therefore expensive. Book your car and the hotels well in advance. I prefer to sleep in a Bed & Breakfast ( The cities are empty and easy to visit if not too hot. Do your tours early in the morning or in the evening at sunset. Scigliano and the Sila are cool in the evenings of August and the beaches are close enough to reach by car.

    • Thanks, Antonio! Just the sort of advice I was hoping for. I prefer the atmosphere of staying in a town/city to the beach resort, and the cooler higher altitude sounds good too. I am dreading the heat a bit, but so looking forward to Ferragosto with the cugini!

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