Italy travel fact file
Flying time: London to Turin – two hours, 30 minutes.
Airlines: Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Italy, Air Malta, Air One, Alitalia, Bmi, Thomsonfly, British Airways, EasyJet, First Choice, Flybe, Flyglobespan, Jet2, Meridiana, Monarch, Ryanair, Sterling Blue and XL Airways.
Tour operators: Abercrombie and Kent, Airtours, Carefree Italy, Cosmos Tourama, Cresta, Flavours of Italy, Hello Italy, The Italian Connection, Mark Warner, Page and Moy, Sunvil Discovery, Simply Travel, CV Travel, Kuoni, Citalia, Gold Medal, Hoseasons, Holiday Options, ITC Classics, Kirker, Mediterranean Experience and Thomson.
Visa requirements: None.
Pitfalls: Don’t carry passports, credit cards, travel tickets or cash in handbags or pockets, especially in big cities where thieves may be operating.
Weather: The coastal areas have hot and dry summers and mild winters. The Po Valley and northern plains also have hot summers but they suffer cold winters, with frost and snow. The Italian side of the Alps is rainy and the lower slopes are warmer than the Swiss and Austrian sides in all seasons.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice: Be aware of petty criminals operating in city centres. The FCO also warns about drinks being spiked in bars. (Check the latest FCO advice on travel to Italy.)
For an authentic Italian experience, consider renting a farmhouse or a villa for a week or two in scenic rural areas, such as Tuscany, Umbria or Le Marche.
There are plenty of luxurious crashpads in Italy’s fashionable cities. Follow in the footsteps of celebrities by staying at the St Regis Grand Hotel, in Rome. Built in 1894, every room has a hand-painted picture of a unique Roman scene.
Explore Sicily by taking a class in how to cook the local cuisine, discover Mount Etna and take a tour through the streets of Savoca and Forza D’Argo where The Godfather was filmed.
Alternatively, Rome, Venice, Florence or Milan are ideal for a long weekend break.
Take a beach holiday in style on Italy’s Amalfi coast. If you get bored of the beach, visit one of the coast’s quaint villages such as Ravello, which has a street market every Tuesday selling wine, cheese and olive oil.
Rent a villa in Tuscany or Umbria for a few weeks. Most properties come with a swimming pool and good facilities for children.
Go wine tasting for free in one of the numerous vineyards or head to one of the nearby towns, such as Pisa, Florence or Siena. The Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa contains the Leaning Tower.
Shop for jewellery on Ponte Vecchio, a beautiful bridge in Florence. Alternatively head to Mercato Centrale (central market) in San Lorenzo, open every day except Sundays.
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