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?
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
Department of State
Traveling by train
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
Recommended travel books
(click on book for link to
||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
||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
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.
||An updated and expanded
version of the outstanding Touring Club of Italy's book above, specific
to Piedmont and Aosta Valley.
||The ultimate guide for foodies, by the
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
|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!