We are planning a trip to be in Venice Italy for New Years Eve 2010. After a week or so in Venice, we are thinking of traveling South (for warmer weather). We have no experience with a) southern Italy and b) Italy Winter.
So would appreciate info on travelling in southern Italy. Our main concern is that attractions (Galleries, theatres, sites of interest, restaurants,...) would be closed leaving little to do but walk about the towns. Lecce sounds like an interesting place, but is it 'up and running' in January or is all quiet.
We were also thinking of getting to Sicily. Other suggestions in the southern region are welcome.
Thanks in advance
The furthest south I have visited in winter is the Amalfi Coast and area (I usually visit around that time), but I found no dificulty whatsoever in visiting/eating (or at anywhere else in Italy I've visited at that time of year).
A few restaurants were shut, but there were plenty open (local people eat out too). Sights/sites were all open, although winter opening hours are shorter for outdoor sights/sites (because of lack of daylight) and for some museums etc too.
Public transport was the more-or-less same as it would be in summer.
So I do not think you need to be concerned. I doubt things are much different even further south.
You could always check the websites for individual 'must-see' places of interest and find their opening tims.
Re Venice in winter - we spent over a month there over January/February. We had a mix of weather ranging from crisp and sunny days to horrid dreech and dreer and everything in between. The only real thing to remember is that Venice being on the water is damp - to me damp is much harder to cope with than many degrees under zero. Venice in winter is much less crowded than in the summer and there was no-one off the beaten track. Everything was open, bar the Library - and no-one knew why that was closed!! I'm glad you are considering a week or so in Venice - most people rush through in a couple of days. If you have the time, there is much to see and do; even after our stay we left with still things to see/do. Hope you include a trip tco Padua and the Scrovegni chapel - you won't need to book at this time of year.
Now we are researching an extended trip to Italy at more or less the same time - so far, all seems to be open.
Opening hours in Italy are elastic!! The main sites are pretty reliable but out of the way ones' hours can be taken with a pinch of salt, especially the churches.
I agree winter is not the best time to visit, but Venice being the most unique city in the world is a great idea for a special place for New Years. The visit to the Scrovegni Chapel is a great suggestion. This is a masterpiece in western art. I would still make a reservation since it is so easy via email so you have no surprises. Get a good guide book on Venice and visit all the great churches when and if the weather is bad. I am from Seattle so I am used to the winter rain.
I think my reply is too late. If you like to come back in the South of Italy maybe during the summer, I suggest to visit the coast near Lecce . There are very interesting places, like Otranto or Baia dell’Orte. This is a site with photos: http://sites.google.com/site/toursalento/.
Piazzetta Riccardi 13, Lecce
VIA SALANDRA 6,I-73100 LECCE, I-73100 Lecce, Lecce
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 43, Lecce
Corte Baldi, Galatina, Lecce
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