Top Tips to Travel Italy like a Local

Italy is a beautiful region of the world that most people dream of visiting. If you have traveled to Italy before, then you want to go back as soon as you return home. Italy is filled with unique cultural experiences, history, art, architecture, wine and amazing food. Along with visiting the major tourist attractions like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum, people often visit Italy to enjoy the way of life. Learning how to travel like a local can help you to enjoy a more unique experience in the region.

Starting the Day
When traveling in Italy, it can be fun to live like the locals. The classic Italian breakfast includes a sweet pastry and coffee or a cappuccino. Embrace the culture and start your day with something sweet. Head to a local café or even a bar and you can order a drink and croissant to begin your travels.

Food and More Food
Italians love food and three meals a day is usually not enough to enjoy the tasty cuisine. Plan your trip around multiple, smaller meals so you can truly enjoy the many amazing items the local cafés and restaurants have to offer. The locals often add a meal in-between lunch and dinner and you can too! Feel free to stretch you eating just a bit while in Italy to fully enjoy the local cuisine. Have help planning your meals by working with a travel company like DMC Travel Tailor as you get ready for your trip!

Take advantage of Riposino
Most travelers to Italy have no idea that shops often close for a lunch break, especially during the summer months. The heat in the early afternoon is stifling and everyone wants to go inside and take a break. The word riposino means nap in Italian and it is something that many locals take advantage. Take time during your travels to take a nap and awaken to open shops and a feeling of being fully rested.

Speak to Everyone
When traveling to Italy, it is important to speak to everyone you mean. While there may be a language barrier, Italians are happy to provide assistance or recommendations for restaurants or attractions. Get to know the locals and you might find that a few suggestions of entertainment take you off the beaten path to places you would have never explored before!

Italy Less Traveled

Italy is a perennial favorite for American travelers. It’s so popular that more than 2 million of us travel to the bel paese every year. Many first-timers hit the big three of Rome, Florence and Venice. Those with a little more experience take the lake country and the cosmopolitan city of Milan, while mixing in some of the Tuscan towns and countryside outside Florence. No matter how many times you go, it’s virtually impossible to see all of Italy. As Giuseppe Verdi famously said, “ You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” These are just a few of the places more seasoned travelers who have already covered the basics can see.

Dolomites

These mountains of the southern Alps separate the Romance world of the peninsula from the northern Germanic parts of Europe. Where they mix is a fascinating region of cultural intermingling and oh so much great skiing. Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics and is poised to host the alpine events in conjunction with Milan’s urban base for the 2026 games. Boutique Virtuoso-preferred resorts Hotel Rosa Alpina and Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti are the perfect places to set up your home base and get a feel for “The Sound of Music” with an Italian accent.

Puglia & Basilicata

The heel of the boot was a favorite summer getaway of the ancient Romans, but long overlooked by modern visitors to Italy. The wedding of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel at Borgo Egnazia in 2012 helped change that, and travelers soon discovered the charming towns such as Alberobello, which is full of traditional stone huts with conical roofs known as trulli. While Puglia has the most coastline of Italy’s regions, Basilicata features the ancient cave dwellings of Matera known as sassi. The ancient look has allowed Matera to stand in for any number of ancient sites on film.

Sardinia

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, trailing only Sicily. Just like Sicily, a lot of different civilizations at one time laid claim to Sardinia, and this history is reflected in the diversity of languages and the official recognition of Sardinia as an autonomous region. The Costa Smeralda is a 12-mile stretch of surf and sand that has developed into one of the poshest places in Europe. The rest of the island is idyllic, filled with 4 million sheep and many agritourismi. There are ancient — as in 3,000 years old or more — fortresses known as nuraghi in strategic positions around the island. A visit to Sardinia most definitely encapsulates the old and the new.

Ischia

At the southern end of the Gulf of Naples, off the Amalfi Coast, Capri is a popular destination known for shopping, grottoes and incredible views. Less well known is Ischia, Capri’s neighbor at the north end of the gulf. The volcanic island’s hot springs make it a great spa destination, as attested by Virtuoso-preferred Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa and Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa. It’s also much more laid-back than glitzy Capri, which has been famous for a couple of millenia.

Umbria

A sort of junior Tuscany with all of the beauty but way fewer crowds, Umbria occupies a swath of central Italy just south of Tuscany and boasts vineyards and olive orchards of its own. Hill towns don’t get more charming than Assisi and Citta di Castello. Norcia preserves plenty of history from the Renaissance and earlier, and Orvieto holds a treasure trove of Etruscan and Roman artifacts. Capital city Perugia played an interesting role in the Italian Wars and in modern times has made a name for itself in the world of chocolate thanks to its signature Baci (kisses).

Fall Foliage Around the World

The Northeast (and southeastern Canada) receive a lot of acclaim for their fall foliage, and rightfully so, because it’s spectacular. But it’s not the only game in town. Last year we took a glance at the top places around the country to peep leaves. This time around, we look at the best international spots for fall foliage.

Western Canada

The Canadian Rockies pack just as much as punch as those in the U.S. Banff and Jasper national parks are full of color against a backdrop of slate-grey mountains with snow-capped peaks. All those pictures you’ve seen of Lake Louise? Imagine it draped in gold and orange. Vancouver’s Stanley Park is an urban oasis, and in autumn, maple, cottonwood and red alder trees change colors right next to the harbor.

Japan

Typically leaves begin changing in the northern islands and mountains first, and the colors roll south as autumn progresses. If you time it right, you can follow the changes down through the country. The best times are usually late October through late November. Japan Rail offers passes coordinated with the forecasts. There aren’t many sights better than Mt. Fuji ringed by beautiful foliage in the first days of November.

The Alps

From the eastern reaches of France, through northern Italy, Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria and on to the Julian Alps of Slovenia, there are about 750 miles of mountains dividing Europe. Italy’s Dolomites shine yellow and gold in the autumn sun. Reds and yellows light up the valleys of Switzerland contrasted against bright blue lakes. The Tyrol region features distinctive churches in the high passes surrounded by trees in metamorphosis. It’s capped off by Lake Bled in Slovenia, with an island in a lake with mountains all around. Pure magic.

Russia

Moscow celebrates fall with the Golden Autumn harvest festival featuring carved pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. St. Petersburg is full of parks and gardens that become glorious in golden autumn. In Russia’s east, Lake Baikal and the taiga forest of Siberia range from yellow to orange to red, making for breathtaking landscapes. The towns of the Golden Ring northeast of Moscow are evening more charming with an autumnal tint.

New Zealand

So you’ll have to wait until our spring to take in the amazing colors of New Zealand’s fall. But it’s worth the wait. The show starts in early April on the South Island, creeping north as the season progresses. Central Otago and Queenstown turn, rolling up along the path of the Southern Alps then hitting Queenstown and moving on to the North Island before May sees the leaves turn to brown and begin falling off the trees.

3 Tips for A Better Experience to a Trip to Rome

If you plan to tour the Eternal City, you want to find out what you need to do to have a more enjoyable travel experience.  Rome is a gorgeous city, one of the most adoring cities to visit.  Being in Rome feels like being in a huge museum.  The streets, the churches, and the buildings all breathe history.  While there is everything reason to visit Rome, sometimes the city is crowded.  To get the most of your trip to Rome, you can use these three tips:

  1. Skip the Lines at the Attractions

When you have two or three days to tour Rome, and you want to explore as much as you can, it can be a little tricky because much of the time may be spent standing in line at the entrances.  You can skip the lines at attractions like the Vatican museums and Colosseum.  It doesn’t make sense to spend 4 hours queuing at the Vatican museums only to have two minutes to see the well-known ceiling painting by Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel.  There are skip-the-line tours that DMC Travel Tailor can arrange for you so you can save time.

  1. Outsmart The Crowds

You can visit places like the Vatican late in the afternoon when most people have already toured the place.  You will find huge crowds in the morning, so consider going to other places like Trastevere and come back around 6 PM and you will get inside St. Peter’s Basilica in a few minutes.  If you are visiting the Pantheon, do it half an hour prior to closing time.  The attraction is pretty crowded, but some minutes before closing it is less crowded.

  1. Tour the Little Know Parts of Rome

If you want to avoid the crowds when visiting Rome, it’s advisable that you head in the opposite direction than where most people are going.  There are must-see places, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other beautiful and exciting attractions to see in Rome.

These tips will help enhance your experience when touring Rome.  To plan your trip to Rome and other top destinations, you can contact Stefany at DMC Travel Tailor at info@dmctraveltailor.com.

The Travels of Ernest Hemingway

Sunday marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel Prize-winning author lived a life as full of adventure as any of his characters, and he traveled the world in pursuit of a good story throughout his life. “Papa” left his mark on several places, and they left their marks on him, appearing as characters in their own right throughout his works.

Northern Italy

Hemingway was the first American wounded in Italy during World War I as he had joined the Red Cross after being rejected from the U.S. Armed Forces because of poor eyesight. He was bringing supplies to soldiers on the front line at Fossalta di Piave when he was wounded in a mortar attack. He spent six months recuperating at a military hospital in Milan and fell in love with a nurse, inspiring the plot of “A Farewell to Arms.”

Spain

Hemingway’s first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” popularized the San Fermin Festival and running of the bulls that is an annual rite in Pamplona. His nonfiction work “Death in the Afternoon” details the culture of bullfighting in Spain, and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” dramatizes events of the Spanish Civil War, during which Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent.

Paris

After World War I, Hemingway and his first wife moved to Paris, where he began his writing career in earnest and hung around with the likes of Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It was this time in Paris between the world wars, living in the Latin Quarter that Hemingway really came into his own as a writer and voice of the “Lost Generation.” The posthumously published memoir “A Movable Feast” chronicles this time.

East Africa

Though he suffered near fatal injuries in successive plane accidents in Africa later in life, Hemingway’s 10-week safari in 1933 had such a profound impact that it inspired his works “The Greens Hills of Africa,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” He and his second wife toured around what are now Kenya and Tanzania, marveling at the abundance of wildlife.

Cuba

Hemingway spent several winters in Cuba, raising cats and possibly hunting German U-boats in the waters around the island. He returned to Cuba after working as a foreign correspondent during World War II, when he was a witness to the D-Day landings in Normandy. His time in Cuba inspired “The Old Man and the Sea,” which he wrote in eight weeks and for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and which was cited as a major factor in his winning the Nobel Prize in literature.

Top Ballooning Experiences

There are few experiences more romantic and breathtaking than gliding over a beautiful landscape in a hot air balloon. It’s just enough adventure without veering into the more heart-pumping extremes of hang-gliding or sky-diving. Any kind of thrill ride that allows you to drink Champagne during it is our kind of excursion. These are some of the best places to take part.

Albuquerque

The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place in October and this year will feature 550 balloons. Dawn launches and twilight balloon glows take advantage of the crisp autumn weather and unveil the whole of the Rio Grande Valley as the changing light plays off the mountains and valleys. The highlight of the nine-day festival is the mass ascension, when all participating balloons take off at the same time, filling the sky as far as the eye can see.

Tanzania

Safari from a whole new perspective with a balloon ride over the Serengeti, where you can the large scale interaction of the whole ecosystem of animals from a bird’s eye view. Watch as predators lie in wait for their prey, which is constantly on the lookout to protect the herd. It’s like a game of chess with the ultimate stakes. The endless plains and Maasai villages dotting them are great as well.

Myanmar

Thousands of temples and pagodas built hundreds of years ago sit silently among the trees in the golden city of Bagan, which served as the capital of the first empire to unite the lands that became Myanmar. The Irrawaddy River snakes its way past the city, with islands galore breaking up the flow. It’s the only way to check out all the architecture without spending years trekking from temple to temple.

Tuscany

Those rolling hills look even better from a thousand feet up. The walls of medieval hilltop cities seem so easy to breach by just dropping in from above, and you’ll get a taste of just how many acres of vineyards and olive groves there are discover. The beauty of the region is timeless, and flights usually comes with prosecco, cheese and olive oil tastings. Hard to say no to that.

Cappadocia

The Turkish region is littered with “fairy chimneys,” spire-like rock formations that jut out from the earth. Some even houses and churches carved into them. There are also orchards and vineyards to glide over. Cappadocia is so lovely that more than half a million people go ballooning there each year, accounting for most of the world’s annual rides.