“Italy, and the spring, and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” 

Bertrand Russell

Ok, I’ve got to admit we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Italy. One of our all time worst travel experiences, having our car broken into and all of our belongings stolen, happened within an hour of landing in Pisa. Even with the setback, we still ended up making a total of three trips there and with the exception of our host country (Spain) we spend more time in Italy than any other European country. Say what you want about them, but Italians know how to enjoy the best parts of life and they aren’t afraid to let you know what you are missing.

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Tips on Italy/

  • NEVER, under any circumstances, leave anything in your car if at all possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s visible or not, assume someone is watching you and is planning on breaking a window as soon as you leave. If there is a rental car sticker on the door, take it off so its not so easy to label you a tourist. Both locals and the police said that car break ins are so common many people don’t lock their doors so they don’t have to worry about fixing broken windows. It’s that bad.
  • If spending time up in the Dolomites, try to build a day or two of wiggle room into your itinerary. The weather can change quickly and it can be pretty disappointing if those amazing jagged peaks are all hidden behind cloud cover the day you have decided to visit.
  • If on a budget, Italian pizza is your savior. Nearly every restaurant seems to have a wood fired pizza oven and prices are nearly always pretty reasonable. Our kids loved it.
  • Watch out for the seagulls in Venice, they are ruthless and knocked a fresh gyro right out of Britt’s hand. It’s a common enough problem that some hotels even arm guests with water guns.
  • Don’t be fooled by all the “guides” telling you tickets are sold out at the Colosseum and the only way to see it is to book a much more expensive tour. Go online or make your way to the regular ticket booth…chances are there are plenty of tickets left.