I have a newsflash for North American travelers dreaming of an upcoming trip to Italy: if you’re not careful, the Brits are going to beat you to the best rooms and villas. There are a lot of questions that I often see about when to book certain parts of your Italian vacation, so let’s unpack to most important ones: when should you book?

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in Italy 4819 0

While the region of Lombardy, where Milan is located, actually has some of the most UNESCO heritage sites of all Italian regions, the city of Milan has just one, but it is special enough to draw many visitors to the city who wouldn’t visit otherwise.

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in Cultural 2012 0

alitalia

Italy may be known for style and excellence with most of its major brands—Ferrari, Prada, Alessi—but for decades, Alitalia, the national airline, has been somewhere between a laughing stock and a national embarrassment.

When Emirates started its route between Milan and New York, Italian business people were elated to have an appropriately refined option for important business trips. But now another swanky Middle Eastern airline has thrown its hat in the ring: Etihad.

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If you're trying to figure out when is a good time to visit Italy, the truth is, in a country with cultural and history as varied in Italy, there's always something being celebrated!

Each season has its own charms in terms of food and scenery, but the Italians have cultural and food festivals and holidays with processions, presentations and plenty of pomp and circumstance throughout the year as well.

Here's our month-by-month guide to the many of the most notable events in Italy.

There are, however, truly too many things to list here, so if you're interested in something particular, like summer opera festivals, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I can let you know some picks tailored to your interests.

January


January 1: New Year’s Day
January 6: Epiphany
January: Pitti Imagine fashion conventions, Florence
January 31–February 17: Carnevale, Venice and Viareggio are notable destinations, but there are celebrations everywhere

February


February 5: Saint Agatha's Feast Day, celebrated in Catania, Sicily, with the second largest religious procession in the world
February 17: Mardi Gras

March


March 8: La Festa della Donna, women’s day
March 22–25: Vititaly wine festival in Verona

April


April 6: Easter Sunday
April 7: Easter Monday, Pasquetta, a day for picnicking and enjoying spring
April 25: Italian Liberation Day

May


May 1: May Day/Labor Day (closures)
May 1: Expo Milano begins
May 1: Feast of Sant Efisio, Sardinia’s most important festival stretching over four days
May 9-November 22: Biennale in Venice
May 24-26: Florence Artisan Gelato Festival Gelato Festival, Florence
May 9-31: Giro d’Italia bike race, Italy’s version of the Tour de France

June


June 2: Festa della Repubblica, major national holiday with large presentations in Rome
June 24: Day of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence

July


June–August: Outdoor opera season
July 2: First Siena Palio

August


August 15: Feast of the Assumption or Ferragosoto, the biggest holiday in Italy when everyone flees the city for the beach
August 16: Second Siena Palio

September


September 2-12: Venice International Film Festival
September 19: Feast of San Gennaro, most important religious holiday in Naples

October


October 6-November 18 (weekends only) – White Truffle Festival in Alba
October 16-25: EuroChocolate festival in Perugia

November


November 2-11: CioccolaTO chocolate festival in Torino

December


December 25: Christmas
December 26: St. Stephen’s Day
in Cultural 4699 0
Italy may have the most UNESCO sites in the world, but the Tuscany alone has more than many countries.

UNESCO sites in Tuscany fall into two main categories:

  • historic city centers

  • man-improved landscapes


UNESCO-listed Historic City Centers in Tuscany


Many of these sites are on travelers' top, must-see lists for Tuscany: Florence, Siena and Pisa. Easily reached by train if you aren't renting a car, these three cities are the backbone of any first-time Italy or Tuscany itinerary.

It is little wonder these three cities are so noted today, as they have been the most crucial centers of commerce in the area since Roman times (in the case of Pisa) or early Medieval times in the case of Siena and Florence.

River trade fueled growth and striking marble construction in Pisa, while a prime location as the last major stopping point on the road between France and Rome poured money into the majestic central buildings of Siena, which continuously tried to steal Florence's status as the region's unofficial capital.

While these three cities have grown and modernized--as much as one can under UNESCO protection--in recent times, the remaining two Tuscan towns on the UNESCO heritage list are protected precisely because they maintain earlier styles of architecture that have been built-over or died out in other areas.

San Gimignano, known for its towers, represents how all Medieval villages once looked as noble families warred against one another from increasingly taller towers, while Pienza, a bit off the traditional tourist path, was built to depict the Renaissance ideal of what a city should be.

Man-Made Tuscan Landscapes on the UNESCO Heritage List


While everyone knows about the historic importance of Tuscany's architecture and the beauty of its countryside, the truth is that these two things are actually linked.

The most picturesque parts of the Tuscan countryside are so aesthetically pleasing because they were landscaped that way. In the case of the Val d'Orcia, one of my favorite parts of Italy, the agrarian countryside, villages, and country roads surrounding Siena were planned and designed to create the first example of what is now known as landscaping and civil engineering.

While the Val d’Orcia was reshaped throughout the early Renaissance, the concept of landscaping reached a new level with the 12 villas and two gardens of the Medici Villas and Gardens, built during the 15th to 17th centuries according to then new ideas of the integration of man and his environment.
in Cultural 1831 0

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