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Italy holidays tailor-made

With so many great places to visit, Italy has long been a favourite of ours. The land of the Vespa, espresso, and Sophia Loren, Italy is synonymous with style, sophistication and sheer indulgence. The country is splendidly varied, with great climate, culture and cuisine.

The romantic canals of Venice are timeless, the turreted Tuscan hills beckon with unsurpassed beauty, and as for imperial Rome, well, it's been attracting travellers since the time of Augustus.

Italy's splendidly varied towns and cities, combined with great climate, culture and cuisine have made it a perennial favourite, one that is great for tailor-made and multi-centre holidays.


Wexas Travel brochure for Italy holidays tailor-made

WEXAS Top 50 Journeys Across Europe

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

April to June and late September to October can be the best months to travel, when temperatures are mild and crowds aren't so intense. The summer rush begins as early as mid-June, and from July to mid-September the major attractions are very crowded. August is uncomfortably hot, and the whole country takes a break for at least the second half of the month, so many city hotels, restaurants and shops are closed, and the beaches and islands are crowded with Italian holidaymakers. From late October to Easter, most visitor sites are open for restricted hours or closed for renovation. Many hotels and restaurants shut down for a month or two between November and February, and beach destinations become ghost towns as temperatures plummet. In the Alps, the ski season extends from November to April.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
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Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Rome

Size - 301,338 sq km

Language - Italian

Population - 61 million (2012)

Religion - 80% Catholic; 15% no religion; minority Islam, Protestant and others;

Currency - 1 euro = 100 cents

Time zone - GMT + 1 hour

Flight time - London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino 2 hours 25 minutes

Festivals

Highlights of the cultural calendar include many traditional regional festivals, interspersed with international arts, music and sports events. Major events include:

Moveable (40 days before Easter: 4 March 2014; 17 February 2015) - Carnevale, countrywide. Hotel reservations for the major carnivals in Venice and Viareggio are often snapped up a year in advance. Oristano and Mamoiada on Sardinia and Acireale on Sicily are among the most colourful regional celebrations, the former two combining religious and pagan rituals, while festivities in Venice start two weeks early.

Early June - Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, Pisa. Boat races on the Arno pitting the home city against Genoa, Venice and Amalfi.

Mid-June to mid-August - Festival de Caracalla, Rome. Opera, ballet and classical concerts amid the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla.

Mid-June to early September - Verona Opera, Arena di Verona. Summer season of operatic works in the city's spectacular 1st-century amphitheatre.

2 July - Festa della Madonna Bruna, Matera. Centuries-old feast and procession in honour of the city's patron brown virgin.

2 July and 16 August - Il Palio di Siena. The famous horse race around the Piazza del Campo takes place in two stages in which the 17 contrade (local neighbourhoods) compete. There are other events in the days leading up to each race (from 29 June and 13 August).

5 to 7 July - L'Ardia di San Costantino, Sedilo. Less well known than the Siena Palio, Sardinia's monumental horse race celebrates St Constantine's victory over Maxentious at the Mulvian Bridge in 312, where the saint is reported to have been inspired by a flaming cross.

July - Umbria Jazz. Eleven days of open-air concerts by international artists.

July and August - Torre del Lago Puccini Festival, Tuscany. An outdoor amphitheatre beside the lake is the setting for the Puccini programme, with other concerts and ballets around the town.

July and August - Macerata Opera Festival. Outdoor opera programme in the magnificent Sferisterio Arena, celebrating its 50th season in 2014.

First Sunday in August: La Quintana jousting festival, Ascoli Piceno. After a medieval parade, crowds flock to the grandstands around the jousting field to watch six local champions compete.

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the duration of your stay. No additional validity is required.

Money

Currency

The lira was replaced by the euro in 2002. Notes and coins from any country in the eurozone are legal tender. Notes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500, and coins in €1 and €2 and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents.

ATMs

ATMs can be found in all cities, large towns and island resorts, and international withdrawals are straightforward via an English-language interface.

Cash and EFTPOS

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, shops, bus and train stations and travel agencies.

Guideline prices

As in other countries, major cities and central locations have a higher cost of living than suburban or rural areas. As a rule of thumb southern Italy is less expensive than the north, especially for food. Expect to pay 3-4€ for a panini from a street vendor; while restaurant bills can be anything from around 20€ for two courses at a mid-range restaurant.

Regions [14]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Italy holidays tailor-made, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

Italian multi-centre breaks

Italy is a compact, easily navigable country and its small size makes it ideal for multi-city and multi-centre holidays; you could visit the ancient relics in Rome before heading to the sunny shores of Sorrento on Naple's coastline, or venture further along the Amalfi …

Milan

Milan, in northern Italy's Lombardy Region, 30 miles south of the Alps and a stone's throw from the Italian Lakes, is one of the fashion capitals of the world.

Puglia

At the boot of Italy, Puglia has the country's longest coastline where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet, but it is so much more. A countryside of legendary foodstuffs, where cuisine is all-important, the landscape is one of sun-bleached hills, silver olive groves, …

Rome

Built on seven hills along the banks of the River Tiber in the Lazio Region, Rome is a collision of ancient empires and a modern metropolis.

Sardinia & Sicily

The islands of Sardinia and Sicily combine tropical beaches and a sultry Mediterranean climate with an ancient cultural heritage and an array of attractive towns.

Tuscany

Tuscany is famed for its stunning scenery, artistic heritage and delicious cuisine. The region houses a wealth of picturesque towns and cities, from the walled town of Lucca to the hilltop retreat of Siena and the famous towers of Pisa and San Gimignano, all of which …

Umbria

Umbria in central Italy is the only Italian region with no sea or country borders. The landscape is a pastoral patchwork of rolling green hills and meandering country roads leading to historic towns and villages, each boasting some of the finest luxury hotels, castles …

Venice

Venice, on the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy, is a floating treasure-trove containing more works of artistic and historical significance per square metre than any other city in the world.

Verona

Verona, known as piccolo Rome (little Rome), is a World Heritage-listed work of art with a seductive medley of ornamental gateways - such as Porta Bosari and Porta Leoni - Renaissance palaces and Roman remains.


Itinerary ideas [26]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Italy holidays tailor-made. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

The Golden Eagle Balkan Explorer

From £6,195 pp
City History & culture Luxury travel

Enjoy the highest standards of luxury accommodation, cuisine and service as you travel from Istanbul to Venice aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express, passing …

Best of Sicily

From £925 pp incl. flights
Beach Food & wine History & culture

Sicily's remarkable cultural diversity is a result of 25 centuries of tumultuous history. Peel the onion of its Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Norman, Arab and …

The Sicilian Baroque & Inspector Montalbano Tour

From £2,165 pp incl. flights
Food & wine History & culture Relaxation

Experience the highlights of the Sicilian Baroque on this scintillating tour, including Syracuse and Ragusa. Relish the beautiful architecture, exquisite …

Best of Puglia

From £1,185 pp incl. flights
Beach City History & culture

Italy as a whole may be firmly on the beaten track, but sun-kissed Puglia at the heel of its boot is as far a cry from the grandeur of Rome as Orkney is from …

Italian coast and culture

From £1,285 pp incl. flights
Beach City Food & wine

We've combined two of Italy's fabulous Baglioni Hotels in this indulgent beach and city combo. The first is Hotel Cala del Porto, which offers stunning views …

The Orient-Express: Venice-Prague-London

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City History & culture Luxury travel

Experience luxury rail travel at its finest on the world-renowned Venice Simplon Orient-Express as you travel through the heart of continental Europe from …

Great Escapes at Il Salviatino

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Food & wine Luxury travel Short break

Il Salviatino, a lovingly restored 15th Century villa with stunning views over Florence and the rolling Tuscan countryside, is the perfect luxury escape at any …

Italian Two Centre Breaks

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Food & wine History & culture Natural world

Combine two great Italian cities on one exceptional break with our selction of Italian twin-centre holidays. This is just a selection of what we recommend so …

3 nights - Tuscan temptations

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Where better to learn Italian cookery than in the Tuscan hills above the cobbled streets of Lucca? Guests have exclusive use of the Villa Toscana, complete with …

Milan & Lake Como

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City Food & wine History & culture

Milan, Italy's fashion capital has some fascinating historical treasures as well as a vibrant restaurant scene and, of course, some world-class shopping.

Arena di Verona, Italy

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City History & culture Short break

The Arena di Verona is one of the world's most iconic opera houses. This ancient Roman amphitheatre was originally constructed in 30 AD and its perfect …

All-inclusive holidays - Turkey

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All-inclusive Beach

Club Med is a great option whether you are travelling as a couple, as a family, with friends or on your own. There's a choice of 5 'styles' of holiday to choose …

Il Palio di Siena, Italy

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Activity adventure City History & culture

This spectacular horse race and pageant is held twice a year in July and August and attracts visitors from around the world. Resplendent in the colours of the …

An Italian Odyssey

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City History & culture Honeymoon

Italy is a country of style, beauty and elegance reflected in its people, culture, history and cuisine.

Gastronomy of Sicily

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Food & wine History & culture Self-drive

Sicily's rich and colourful past, colonised by the Greeks, Romans and Moors (to name but a few) has given rise to an incredible land of contrasts, from …

The Golden Eagle Balkan Odyssey

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City History & culture Luxury travel

Sit back, relax and enjoy all the comfort, luxury and first-class service and dining of the Golden Eagle Danube Express on this magical nine-day journey from …

La Scala & Milan

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City Escorted tour History & culture

La Scala is considered one of the world's great opera houses. Originally opened in 1778 it continues to host some of the best productions and biggest names in …

The Orient Express: Budapest to London

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City History & culture Luxury travel

For the many people who spend their lives commuting to work by train, squeezed into cramped carriages with barely enough room to breathe, the thought of …

Florence & Rome

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City History & culture Short break

Florence plays host to a clutch of famous museums with the Uffizi Gallery heading the list. Forty-five rooms are packed with masterpieces from the Renaissance, …

Florence & Verona with Salviatino Collection

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City Food & wine History & culture

Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and is estimated to hold more than half of Italy's most important artworks. The city is a hotbed of Italian …

Florence & Verona twin-centre break

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City Food & wine History & culture

With the 100th anniversary of the Arena di Verona and Verdi's bicentenary fast approaching, there's never been a better time to visit the historic north-Italian …

Places to stay [36]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Italy holidays tailor-made. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Italy holidays tailor-made, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

Cala del Porto, Punta Ala, Tuscany

Special offer £££££
Beach Food & wine Relaxation

The Cala del Porto boasts a wonderful location on the beautiful Tuscan coast, with views across the bay of Punta Ala towards the island of Elba in the distance. …

Hotel Capotaormina, Sicily, Italy

Special offer £££££
Beach Relaxation

On its own headland overlooking the bay of Naxos, this modern hotel is just a five-minute drive from the old town of Taormina. The 190 rooms are spacious with …

Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Golf Romance Spa

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Como, Italy. The hotel faces directly onto Bellagio, where the two branches og the lake …

Carlton Hotel Baglioni Milan

£££££££
City Food & wine History & culture

Luxury 5-star hotel famed for its class and style. Situated right in the heart of Milan, overlooking fashionable Via della Spiga, with Via Montenapoleane, the …

Forte Village Resort

Beach Short break

Forte Village is an exclusive resort comprised of eight individual hotels, set in 55 acres of pine forest and fringed by a white sand beach. Facilities include …

Hotel del Levante, Puglia, Italy

Short break

The Hotel del Levante is a lively, family-orientated hotel situated on its own private sandy beach, just a 5 minute drive from the village of Torre Canne. The …

Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina, Sicily

£££££
Beach History & culture Honeymoon

In a league table of the greatest views in the world, the panorama from the Timeo - over the rooftops of medieval Taormina to the puffing peak of Mount Etna and …

Hellenia Yachting Club, Sicily

£££££
Beach Relaxation

This elegant hotel is located in the seaside town of Giardini Naxos, between Cape Taormina and Cape Schiso on Sicily's beautiful Ionian coast. The hotel is set …

Grand Hotel Continental

Luxury travel

At the Grand Hotel Continental, the frescoes are as bright and the ballroom is as grand as they must have been 300 years ago, when this was a nobles palazzo. …

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

There are many reasons to love Puglia: its balmy climate, smooth beaches and sculpted coves, its cathedral and ancient watchtowers, its beautiful olive groves …

Castello di Casole, Tuscany

£££££££
Food & wine History & culture

A luxurious Tuscan getaway, Hotel Castello di Casole stands on the site of a 1,000-year-old aristocratic estate, the fruit of years of meticulous restoration. …

Il Salviatino, Florence

This lovingly restored 15th Century villa, located in the small Tuscan town of Fiesole, features beautiful landscape gardens, exquisite food and wine and …

Lidomare Hotel, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Short break

Located in the heart of the picturesque town of Amalfi where quaint houses cling to the cliffs and the dramatic coastline surrounds the bay, the Lidomare is a …

CastaDiva Resort & Spa, Lake Como, Italy

£££££££
Food & wine Natural world Relaxation

Exuding elegance and glamour, CastaDiva Resort & Spa, in the pretty village of Blevio on Lake Como's eastern shore, is a treasure trove of Italian opulence, …

Castel Monastero, Tuscany, Italy

Self-drive Short break

The Castel Monastero sits in a beautiful stretch of Tuscany, surrounded by vineyards, chestnut forests and cypress trees, the resort was originally a medieval …

Hotel Le Calette

£££££
Beach History & culture Relaxation

Complete with pool, jacuzzi and private beach, Le Calette is a perfect base for exploring the ruins, churches, sandy beaches and medieval streets of tiny …

Hotelito Lupaia, Tuscany

Located in the heart of rural Tuscany and within reach of the historical centres of Florence, Siena, Arezzo and Perugia, Hotel Lupaia occupies a lovingly …

Du Lac et Du Parc Grand Resort, Lake Garda

This large, smart hotel looks out over mature trees, lawns and ornamental lakes to Lake Garda and offers excellent dining and activities.

Chia Laguna Resort, Sardinia

Beach Luxury travel

Chia Laguna Resort is located in Domus Maria in southern Sardinia. This luxury resort comprises two areas, Chia Village and Hotel Laguna.

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

£££££
Food & wine Golf History & culture

Located near Sciacca, a small seaside town renowned for its colourful carnival and the surrounding orange groves of Ribera, the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort by …

La Maddalena Hotel & Yacht Club

Beach Luxury travel

La Maddelena Hotel & Yacht Club is located on La Maddalena island, which gives its name to a small archipelago of seven islands, located off the north-eastern …

Grand Hotel Imperiale, Lake Como

£££££
Natural world Relaxation

Charm and sophistication are the hallmarks of this historic four-star hotel, built in a traditional Art Nouveau style and located just seven kilometres from the …

Astoria Hotel, Lake Maggiore, Italy

Short break

The Hotel Astoria is a modern, comfortable hotel with spacious lounges and a rooftop terrace with a wonderful panorama over the Borromean islands. Enjoy dining …

Grand Hotel Gardone Riviera

Grand Hotel Gardone was Lake Garda's first hotel. This elegant four-star property has been welcoming guests through its doors since 1884. Classically styled …

Super Skills at Forte Village, Sardinia

Founded in 2010 by former England rugby stars Will Greenwood and Austin Healey, Super Skills Travel offers hands-on rugby coaching to boys and girls in the …

La Foresteria, Planeta Estate, Sicily

£££££
Food & wine History & culture Relaxation

Set amidst vineyards and olive groves near the peaceful town of Menfi, four kilometres from the gorgeous beaches of Sicily's beautiful southwest coast, La …

Hotel Bologna, Pisa

The Hotel Bologna is one of the most elegant and characterful hotels in Pisa - a stylish four-star property occupying a traditional Tuscan palazzo in the …

The Imperial Tramontano, Sorrento

Beach History & culture Relaxation

Positioned on a cliff overlooking Sorrento and the Gulf of Naples, the Imperial Hotel has a celebrated history. It overlooks the most beautiful part of the Gulf …

Palazzo Victoria, Verona

A brand new luxury hotel in Verona and sister to the stunning Il Salviatino in Florence, the Palazzo Verona is located in a 14th century palace in the historic …

Hotel D’Inghilterra, Rome, Italy

Rome's Hotel D'Inghilterra is an exclusive enclave set in a 17th-century palazzo just a stroll from the Spanish Steps.

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol, Florence

The Warwick Hotel Helvetia & Bristol offers an unmatched luxury experience in the finest Florentine tradition.

Offers [1]

Wexas negotiates with a wealth of travel companies, airlines, cruise operators, hotels and tour operators to bring you the very best travel offers. For great value or a range of add-on benefits, review the list of offers below.

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