Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy


WITH many low-cost carriers flying into Italy, visitors often bypass agents in favour of booking online.


Once they’ve ticked off the staples of Venice, Florence and Rome, however, they may be stuck for ideas. This is where you come in, by suggesting some new areas and attractions. Here are a few ideas…


1. Think low-cost
“Italy is really cheap to get to,” said Cottages to Castles sales manager Gerry Smith. “Low-cost carriers fly into most airports and also pay commission. Don’t be afraid to pass this information on to your clients.”


2. Island hopping
“Remember, Italy also includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia,” said Kuoni Italy product manager Angelo Davino. “Sicily offers some of the finest seafood in the country, while Sardinia has lovely hotels and clear waters that are perfect for divers.”


3. A family affair
Accommodation in Italy is very varied with rustic farmhouses, five-star hotels and villas among some of the options. “The last couple of years have seen a vast improvement in hotel facilities for children,” said Mundi Color manager of outgoing tour operations Ray Steward. “Many now have babysitting services, clubs for a range of ages and family rooms.”


4. Get motoring
Touring is a good way to see a lot of the country in one go. Insight Vacations offers an eight-day Amazing Italy tour taking in Rome, Florence and Venice from £790 per person twin-share including flights, three and four-star accommodation, a tour guide, luxury coach transportation, seven breakfasts and one dinner in November.


5. Simply luxurious
“Why not add a little luxury?” said Davino. “The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express runs from London to Verona or Venice to Rome and brings a touch of class to any holiday.”


6. Alternative venues
Genoa, Italy - an alternative to Rome, Florence and Venice“If Rome, Florence and Venice have been flogged to death, suggest Milan, Turin, Naples or Genoa instead,” said Smith. “They have just as much to offer for a city break but are less touristy, particularly in the high season.”


7. Cruise and stay
Genoa and Rome are popular ports for European cruises. Convince a client to add on a few days at the beginning or end of a cruise to see more of the country. 


8. Get out in Venice
“Consider selling accommodation-only in the Lido area of Venice rather than in the heart of the city,” said Superbreak sales director Ian Mounser. “It’s good value, near the beach and is only 10 minutes by water bus to the centre of Venice.”


9. Twin centres
“There are reminders of Greek civilisation all the way through Italy and it is easy to combine the two countries,” said Collette Worldwide general manager Paul Palmer. “Suggest clients sail from southern Italy to some of the more northerly Greek islands such as Corfu.”


10. Two’s company
Historic Naples and the beautiful beaches of the Amalfi Coast make a great combination. Another twin-centre option is Milan combined with Lugano in Switzerland.


11. Safety first
“The country is safe with no recent record of terrorism and little crime,” said Smith.


12. The great lakes
“Don’t forget the Lakes,” said Steward. “Lake Garda and Lake Como are beautiful any time of the year and are surrounded by mountains.”


13. Romeo, Romeo
Suggest visitors to Lake Garda also spend some time in nearby Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “The little back streets are great for meandering and Verona has a great opera season,” said Davino. 


14. On the right tracks
Italy's rail system is fast, efficient and bookable through the tradeThe train system in Italy is fast, efficient and bookable through the trade. Visit Trentitalia.com for more details.


15. Get walking
“When selling Rome, remember the city is accessible by foot, with the exception of the Vatican City,” said Mounser. “It’s best to stay in the city centre and take a day trip to the Vatican.”


16. Country life
“The Tuscan countryside is the most beautiful in Italy and ideally located for one-day excursions to either Florence or Siena,” said Palmer.


17. Culture vultures
“Italian cities are known for their culture,” said Smith. “Florence has more art per square metre than any other European city.”


18. Fly and drive
“Flydrives work well in Italy, particularly around the lakes,” said Steward. “The roads are quiet, easy to navigate and open-jaw car hire means visitors can avoid going over the same ground.”


19. Fashion victim
Milan is the fashion capital of Italy with hundreds of designer shops as well as factory outlets on the outskirts and regular fashion shows.


20. Central Sorrento
“Sorrento is a great choice for anyone looking to see the Amalfi Coast,” said Mounser. “The city is attractive in its own right and is within easy reach of tourist destinations such as Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Capri.”