Planning travel to Italy

Planning travel to Italy
Driving directions to Biella
Hotel accomodations
Tips on driving in Italy
Transatlantic airline quality


Suggested trips
If you have a week/10 days: Leave the U.S. you can visit the Italian / French Riviera from Monaco to Portofino via the Cinque Terre at your leisure; you’re never more than a 3 hours drive from Biella. Or fly into Rome, spend 4-6 days there (or in Firenze, a one hour train ride away), and take the bullet train to Milano (4 hours) and drive to Biella.

If you have two weeks/16 days or longer: you can either visit the big destinations of Roma, Firenze, and Venezia, or spend time in areas such as Napoli and the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Toscana, or one of the many other destinations that Italy has to offer. However, don’t cram too much in your trip or you really won’t experience much; Italy is best visited slowly and a region at a time.

Is Italy safe?
According to official statistics, Italy is much safer than the U.S.: the chances of getting murdered are 4 times less, the prison rate is half as much, and even driving is less risky! Having said that, petty criminality is much more pervasive, so never leave any belongings unattended even for a second and watch out for pickpockets and jewelry thieves, especially in tourist-heavy areas and public transportation. Additional information can be obtained from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (updated often) or the U.S. Department of State (infrequent updates).

Traveling by train
Taking the train is often the best way to travel in Italy. The best place to find schedules is the Swiss Railroad’s website (it figures!); for fares and tickets use the official Italian site.

Recommended travel books
(click on book for link to

cover The Frommer’s series of books is generally pretty good (is Mike’s preferred), and a spot check of the Italian version turned positive. It has the practical information for US travelers that the book from the Touring Club lacks. The text is also available online here.
The Heritage Guide Italy: A Complete... We believe that the best books (bar none) about Italian’s sights and monuments are those by the Touring Club of Italy, which are written by Italians for Italians. Cities and attractions are rated with a very useful one-to-three star system; the Italy book includes an excellent map. Click here to see the entire series, which includes regional guides, detailed guides for major cities, and a few food guides. Please note that they are light on practical information.
cover An updated and expanded version of the outstanding Touring Club of Italy's book above, specific to Piedmont and Aosta Valley.
cover The ultimate guide for foodies, by the venerable Slow Food organization, lists traditional osterie where it's all about authentic, genuine, wholesome food and wine, even at the expense of decor. Highly recommended.


Fodor’s seems to be used by many, so I’ve added it to this list. They post some of their content on the web here.


Rick Steves’ is a guidebook series popular with Americans.
If you read Italian, the "Biella e provincia" guidebook from the Touring Club Italiano is the definite guidebook for this region (links to an Italian online bookshop)

If you have any other recommendations, please let me know!


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