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Recently I got the chance to escape my desk for several weeks and embark on my own Italian short break. The trip began in Venice and wound its way through Florence, Rome, Sorrento and Sicily. Along the way there were also day trips to some of the lesser known cities which just proves how every city in Italy has its own personality and plenty of history.
Choosing a Rome holiday means time spent likely queuing, especially around the Colosseum and the Vatican, but this doesn’t have to be the case for your complete trip. There are many wonderful places to visit in Rome and not all come laden with queues.
Every year sees thousands of people flock to Venice to witness and take part in the Venice Carnival, however, most of these people will be confined to taking photos of the attendees in their beautiful period costumes. For those who want to attend the Venice Carnival but don’t know which ball to choose, this is the perfect guide!
We all know that Italy is a fantastic destination with short flights from the UK, great culture, food, wine and wonderful weather, but do you know the things not to do when you’re on your Italian short break?
The Siena Palio horse race is a fantastic historical event which takes place in Siena twice a year. During this time you get to see the build up to the race, enjoy watching the selection of horses, jockeys and districts chosen to take place, get a full introduction to the history of the race, along with an open-air good luck dinner, along with witnessing the thrilling race itself.
Every summer the Puccini Festival plays well known operas on the Torre del Lago just outside of Viareggio in Italy. The open-air arena is located in idyllic surroundings overlooking the lake.
It has been a while since I have been able to blog as Italy has been so busy with enquiries – Italy certainly is Number 1 on everyone’s list right now! Last week I got the chance to leave the office and have a few days in Milan.
When you take your Verona Opera holiday you will be very aware of the historical sites around you. The main one that dominates the city is the Roman arena which was built in 79AD. This arena stopped its gladiatorial shows quite some time ago, however, now the summer opera season takes place within the historical building. Aside from this, how much do you know about the ancient city when you are walking through on your Verona opera holiday?
If you are thinking of visiting the Naples and Sorrento region in Italy, then you will of course be thinking about which tours to do. A visit to Capri is a must do, but so also is the main attraction of the area – Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Any Florence holiday means days filled with culture. There is just so much to explore and churches are a big part of this after the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries. You will of course pay a visit to Santa Maria Novella Church, located near the train station; however, make sure to allow a few hours for Santa Croce Church. Santa Croce Church is not far from the Uffizi Gallery, but even so I would recommend not attempting both on the same day.
Having arrived in Rome, you want to make the most of your time, however, the cost for doing activities on the day, can really add up. Throw in a few lunches and dinners and your Rome holiday trip weekend can suddenly become very expensive. To balance that here are 10 things which you can do which won’t have you reaching for your wallet.
The 2016 La Scala, Milan schedule is now up and running and already it is proving a popular one! With Expo now finished the hotels have availability again and prices have returned back to their usual status, meaning we are able to reduce the price to that of the 2014 season. Surely good news for everyone with a love of opera!
I’m very happy to announce we now have a new break! We have quite a few clients who decide as they are in the region when the Siena Palio horse race takes place, to stay and witness this historical event. We have a break which incorporates your Siena Palio holiday, along with time staying in a beautiful 5 star hotel located right in the Chianti Tuscan region.
Once in a while a break comes along which ticks all the boxes. Our Verona Opera and Lake Garda break does just that! If you are looking at booking a Verona opera holiday, why not extend your trip by a few nights and spend this at Lake Garda?
Every summer from June to August time, the open-air arena in Verona, opens its door for the opera season. Getting to experience the opera in an arena built in 79AD is quite an experience, along with fantastic acoustics is a must. With such demand, another good reason to book early is to take advantage of the reduced early bird ticket pricing!
There is so much choice out there for booking your Italian short break, so how do you choose? Well, there are three main options; you can book this yourself, go with a travel agent, or use a tour operator.
Anyone venturing to take a Venice holiday may well pay a visit to St Mark’s Square; the main hub of this floating city. If you look up at the Basilica you will notice the four stone horses on the roof. Whilst these are replicas, the original bronze statues which are housed inside the basilica, have quite a history!
I was fortunate recently to see the historical town of Siena which has been made famous by the Palio horse race. This fantastic little town is built on a hill with all roads leading down into the main campo (square) where the horse racing takes place.
I’ve recently returned from a fantastic two week trip to Florence, and thought I would share my experience with you! There are so many great ways to spend your time, but below are a few of my recommendations for making sure your Florence trip is a full experience.
When you book your Milan break you think of the designer shops, the Duomo or La Scala Opera house, but are you aware that Milan also houses one of the most important religious paintings in the world – The Last Supper?
There is a huge selection of hotels on offer in Rome, but getting one in a prime position is very important. Rome is not a quick city to travel around, so it makes sense to have your hotel as near to the main sites as you can. Having tried different hotels, we recommend Hotel Capo d’Africa.
The most important part of your Venice Carnival break is feeling the part! In many ways it is akin to your wedding day; making sure that you look and feel absolutely amazing is crucial!. When you book a Venice Carnival break with Italian Short Breaks, you get to have a scheduled appointment with one of the best Atelier’s (costume house) in Venice, whose job it is to do just that!
Sometimes in life there is too much choice and at the end of a long day, deciding which is the best for you can be difficult. The main question we get asked by people booking our Siena Palio holiday, is where is the best position to view the historical horse race?
We have just received the schedule for the Verona Opera 2016, and it looks like a good one! If you are thinking about a Verona opera holiday, then this is hard to beat.
Everyone has heard of the famous La Scala Opera House in Milan, however, less people are aware that Venice also has a wonderful opera house, with its own unique appeal.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express is a fantastic way to celebrate your special occasion, and we are pleased to announce that we have now extended our Orient Express portfolio to three breaks currently on offer.
Italy has a wealth of fantastic cities to explore, but only some of these could be seen to be in the romantic Italy holidays category.
No Rome holiday is complete without a visit to the catacombs.
Verona is home to one of the oldest and largest Roman open-air arenas in the world. Every summer the arena opens its doors from late June to end August/beginning September time, for an array of wonderful classic operas.
Having decided to have a Florence holiday, you have booked your flights and your hotel, but are now buried in city guides all recommending what you should do with your time.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express is probably the most well-known train journey in the world. Travelling in opulent style as you leave the UK, and journeying through Paris before the scenic Alps, is certainly hard to beat.
Northern Italy is blessed with three relaxing lakes which provide a wonderful chance for some much needed relaxation. However, you want to make the most of your time. If you are staying on Lake Maggiore, it is an easy ferry trip over to Santa Caterina del Sasso, an ancient hermitage built into the rock face. The ferries run fairly often, so worth checking times with your hotel beforehand.
There are always plenty of events going on in Venice and the summer season is no exception! Whether you are booking your Venice break around a set event, or need to be aware of when they are happening in terms of the crowds and/or availability, it is worth being aware of when they take place.
Venice Carnival is when this floating city really comes alive. Every year for two weeks around February time, the Venetians dress in period costumes, promenade through St Mark’s Square and many attend at least one of the wonderful Carnival Balls on offer.
If you have recently booked a Florence holiday, or are thinking of going, now is a great time to go. With Dan Brown’s “Inferno” being filmed in Florence, never have secret passageways and doors, been more relevant than now! The Vasari Corridor is a little better known than this, however, most people indulging in a Florence holiday, will still return home without having visited.
If you have booked this year to go on a Sorrento holiday, then the chances are very likely that you will be needing the Circumvesuviana train.
Verona has many wonderful historical buildings to visit, many of which are attributed to opera, Romeo & Juliet (as Verona is the setting for Shakespeare’s tragic love story), or both. A Verona Pass Card provides you free access to most of the local sites, so it makes sense to know exactly what is worth seeing!
There are so many incredible buildings in Italy that it is impossible to see them all. However, with limited flights into Florence and more direct flights landing at Pisa Airport, it makes sense to add Pisa into your trip, before moving onto the Siena Palio or Florence. Pisa is a small city with the main attraction being the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This can be done in 1-2 hours and then you have another box ticked on your wish list!
The Number 1 question to ask yourself, when you have decided you want to book to see the Siena Palio Race is where to sit. There are quite a few different types of viewing positions, along with where on the campo they are placed.
The Verona opera is the perfect reason to head to Italy this summer for some much needed culture and relaxation, however, with so many city centre hotels only minutes from the opera arena, which one do you choose to stay in?
Having arrived for your Florence holiday, you will venture to the usual places; the Duomo, Santa Croce Church, Ponte Vecchio, The Uffizi Gallery and The Pitti Palace, however, how well do you know Florence outside of these main attractions? Below is a list of experiences that must be sampled in the region, which will truly make your Florence holiday fulfilling.
Having booked your Sorrento holiday, it is natural to want to make the most of your time. Once you have visited the nearby sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, along with the main towns, you may feel tempted to spend more of your time at Grand Hotel Cocumella, relaxing around the pool. For those wanting to experience the Mediterranean in style however, you have the option of the Tall Ship Vera whose crew will sail you around the region, and provide you with a light lunch whilst on board.
There are many wonderful hotels in the centre of Florence, however none has quite the same charm and appeal as Hotel Brunelleschi.
While enjoying your Rome holiday, you must take a day to explore Vatican City. Having had your fill of some of the best history the city has to offer, your thoughts are then likely to be drawn to where to have dinner. You can eat at your hotel, wander through the centre for something to take your fancy, or choose to stay close to the Vatican by visiting La Pergola Restaurant for dinner.
With the Grand National not far away now, it is certainly the time of year to be thinking about horse racing, and there is none more thrilling than witnessing the spectacle of the Palio Siena. For lovers of horse racing, there is no better experience than witnessing this historical event with the backdrop of the Sienese city.
There is nothing like a cold, dark, wet English day to make you dream of the warmer climes, but travelling in Summer months can bring its own problems – airports full of families, higher costs on hotels and flights and sold out signs against your “must do” list. A Sorrento holiday, however, means you can travel through Spring and most of Autumn and stretch out the sun.
Having decided that you want to take a Verona Opera Holiday, you need to then look at the best hotels for the heat of the summer months. Whilst you can escape to Lake Garda for the day, the temperatures are at their peak in July and August and can be very humid.
Why not consider time in Milan, Venice and Verona experiencing a different opera in each Italian city? You will certainly be culturally rewarded !
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