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Summer Time in Italy, 2010 | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Monday, 24 May 2010 00:00

Summertime in Italy

Ah, summer is in the air.  The weather starts warming up very nicely, the kids are out of school, and many people take their vacations.  And who could think of a better place to take a vacation than in Italy during the summer.

It should come as no surprise, a country with a heavy emphasis on tourism, that the summer is a great time to visit Italy. Summer in Italy means there are tourists from all over the world, so it takes on a very festive atmosphere. If you go to Rome, you will see many different cultures from all over the world, and also hear many different languages. This is especially true in June, July and Early September. In August, however, the Italians go on vacation. Ferragosto (August 15th) is a national holiday in Italy. Many of the towns like Rome, Florence and Milan will be relatively empty. Italians are on vacation this month, and will head to the beaches.

Table showing average high and average low temperatures in Milan, Rome and Naples (Amalfi Coast, Capri), Italy for the months of June, July, August and September.  Also shows average precipitation.

What can you expect for the weather in Italy this summer? See table to the right. The weather will be hot, with temperatures in the 90s (Fahrenheit) and sometimes in the 100s down south.

Need to cool off while you're taking in the sights? Italy is famous for it's delicious gelato, their version of ice cream. However, it is different (and tastes better) than ice cream. Many are made with fresh nuts and fruits. There are even places in Rome that serve more than 200 flavors!

And if you are in Rome, a drink from one of the public fountains will be refreshing. No need to worry, they've been doing this for over 2000 years.

Be prepared to go with the flow. There are often transportation strikes during the month of August. It is a great way for the transportation workers to get their point across during busy travel season. However, it can get on your nerves as a tourist.

Italian outlook Summer 2010 - Despite the civil unrest in Greece, and the volcanic ash from the Icelandic volcano causing travel headaches, early estimates are showing increased demand for European travel for the summer of 2010. And this is despite the fact that airfares are higher compared to last year. According to Travelocity, the average cost of all U.S. flights to Western Europe are $1,322 on average this summer compared with $1,059 last summer. The good news is that the weakened Euro against the Dollar (US and CDN) will help travelers from North America this summer. I estimate the same trip will probably cost around $1,000 USD towards the latter part of September.

The summer train schedule was released earlier this week, so now is a good time to start booking your train travel, as there is plenty of availability at this moment. There will probably be more train routes, especially the regional routes, added to the summer schedule in the next couple of weeks or so. However, the majority of the routes for high-speed travel for Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Naples are already in place.

Wishing you and your family un buon viaggio! Larry Aiello

Overcoming jet lag problems for your Italian vacation | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 01:28
Overcoming jet lag problems in Italy

So you’ve spent months planning your perfect vacation to Italy, but there was one nasty little thing you forgot to consider – no, not Montezuma’s revenge – but jet lag. Jet lag occurs when you fly across time zones and your body (actually the pineal gland) does not have a chance to adjust to the time in the new destination wreaking havoc with your body clock.

Researchers say it can take a day for your body to adjust for each hour of time difference. Therefore, a New York to Rome flight would require 6 days before you fully adjust. And if you’re like most people now strapped for time, you do not want to spend half your vacation feeling like a zombie.

It is an inevitable part of any long-distance trip, but there are ways to minimize it:

Before your trip

Try to start adjusting to the destination time zone prior to your trip. If you’re flying from the United States or Canada, try to get to bed a little earlier every night. And likewise, try to get up earlier as well. Let’s say you’re in Toronto, which has a time zone difference of 6 hours with Rome. If you normally go to bed at 11 PM, then try to get it down to 9PM. That way, you’ll save 2 hours of jet lag prior to your departure.

On the plane

  • Keep hydrated – drink plenty of water on the plane. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as they tend to dehydrate you. You should also try to avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Change the time on your watch – don’t even think about what time it is back home. Get your mind used to the new time zone.
  • Try to get out of your seat and stretch every so often to get the blood circulating and to avoid cramps.
  • Catch a few hours of sleep on the flight. You can usually expect to arrive in Italy during the morning hours. Those few hours may tide you over until night-time when you can get a good nights rest.
  • Ask the flight attendant for an eye mask if the light is too bothersome, or ear plugs. Or better yet, purchase them before hand, as not all airlines carry those items.

Avoiding jet-lag when you arrive in Italy

On your first day, resist the urge to take an afternoon siesta (usually around 2 to 4 PM). I’ve known many a traveler that will oversleep for a few hours, thus further throwing off your body clock.

If you follow an exercise routine at home, there is no reason to abandon it in Italy. Most hotels do not have any type of fitness centers, but it does not hurt to ask. If you are a jogger, many of the cities have excellent parks where you can exercise. You can also ask the hotel for the nearest “palestra” or gym and get a daily pass. And don’t be afraid to follow the Italian tradition of “la passegiata” or the evening stroll before dinner.

Eat a healthy diet (which is actually easy to do in Italy) – plenty of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid high-carb meals as they tend to promote sleepiness (not very easy to do in Italy). Foods rich in fiber and protein tend to promote wakefulness. Just look for the “Secondi piatti” on the menu, or the second courses that tend to be meat or fish or poultry. The first courses tend to be the pasta and high-carb meals.

Avoid over-eating, binge drinking, caffeine - warning – the coffee in Italy (i.e. espresso) tends to be much stronger than what you may be used to in the United States or Canada. After you get acclimated, I do recommend that you try some of their delicious coffee.

So don’t let jet lag get you down. With a little planning and foresight, you can have a zombie-free Italian vacation.

Where to Eat in Italy | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Thursday, 29 April 2010 00:00

Ever wonder where to eat in Italy?

A Gelateria in ItalyIt is practically impossible to have a bad meal in Italy. You can find good food in the most expensive of restaurants, to a little “tavola calda” inside a gas station. There are so many different types of eating establishments in Italy, and sometimes the distinction is very subtle, and can vary from town to town, and region to region. But with so many places to eat, how do you know which type of establishment is best for you and your party?

Differences between Italian Gelato and Ice Cream | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Saturday, 24 September 2011 15:07

What are the differences between Italian Gelato and Ice Cream?

If you look in the Italian dictionary for the word gelato, you will come across the meaning of ice cream. However, they are not technically the same. There are some subtle differences between gelato and ice cream.

The table below highlights the differences:


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Agriturismo in Italy

What is Agriturismo? In Italian, it is actually a combination of two words - Agricoltura and Turismo - agriculture and tourism.

It basically means spending your vacation on a farm.  It started becoming popular in the 1980s when many Italian farmers were looking for other ways to supplement their income. At an Italian agriturismo you will usually have the chance to experience the foods prepared from raw materials produced on the farm.  Some will allow their guests participate in the activities surrounding the farm such as wine-making, cheese-making, olive production, milking cows, etc.  It is usually a very rustic experience.  Agriturismo can be another option instead of a typical Italian vacation that involves Italian hotels.  Most of them are located in Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily.


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