Souvenir book - Art and History Milan
Miscellaneous: We purchased an excellent souvenir book from the city of Milan, i.e. Art and History of Milan. It is an excellent guide book created and designed by Casa Editrice Bonechi with lots of colourful photographs inside. It is 128 pages approximately A4 size. The book includes the history of a restoration effort on page 57 of the painting of The Last Supper at Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie by Leonardo da Vinci (as depicted on our third photograph) and a large size centerfold painting of The Last Supper on pages 59 to 62 equvalent to 4 A4 size paper (depicted on our second photograph). The photograph of the beautiful stained-glassed window of the Duomo (depicted on our fourth photograph) is also illustrated in the book. Make sure you get a copy too! The book is available in many newstands, bookstores and souvenir shops. It costs just €10.00 per book, wonderful as a gift too to your friends and relatives at home!Related to:
- Family Travel
Purchase Milano Card online
Miscellaneous: We purhcased our Milano Cards online before we travelled to Milan. A 24 hour card costs just €6.50 each and 3 days card (actually valid for 48 hours) costs €13.00 each. In our opinion the cards certainly worth your money as all public transportation in the city are free of charge including travelling by express bus from Linate International Airport to the city. A public transportation card worths €4.50 valid for 24 hours is also included in your 24 hour Milano Card. Public transportation includes trams, commercial buses and trains and underground metro. The Milano Card even gives you free medical assistance in the city if you fall ill on your holiday and free photo printing for up to 40 photos after your trip to Milan.
We made use of Milano Card for the following sight-seeing:-
Duomo terraces by lifts - 10% discount
Leonardo3 Museum - 50% discount
and La Scala Theatre Museum - 35% discount.
The saving on admission to Leonardo3 Museum alone is already €6.00. Just imagine if you visit more museums in the city. Participating shops and eateries also offer certain percentage discounts (usually between 10% and 20%) if you patronise their outlets. A Milano Card guide and a free map of the city of Milan (worth €3.00) will also be sent to you free if you purchase online. Another advantage of Milano Card is that it is also valid for certain services in other Italian cities (for example Verona, Venice or Genoa) if you happen to travel there before or after your Milan trip. For more information you may visit their website below.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Invest in a restaurant guide for the best dining
Miscellaneous: Not sure this is a packing tip or a shopping tip, but I cannot recommend enough that travellers to Italy bring/buy a restaurant guide. Food is a very serious business in Italy, and every year a plethora of guides covering the country as a whole and individual cities are published. You can get guides ranging from directories of the very best restaurants for that year to listings for the top pizza and pastry places.
Gambero Rosso is the best known of the names, and it publishes an annual definitive guide to Italy's best retaurants, as well as more niche guides. For more affordable dining, Il Mangiarozzo also brings out yearly guides, this time focussing on more osterie/trattorie options.
I've been using Il Mangiarozzo for years and, except for a bad snack place in Palermo, I've experienced some absolutely brilliant meals from Piemonte to Sicily and many places inbetween. I've jus bought the Gambero Rosso guides to street food and pizzerias, and can see from the entries on towns that I know well that this will be reliable too. Look out for other names, though, especially for local guides for the smaller cities.
These guides are widely available in Italian bookshops and also on online sites. I'd recommend buying one or two for anyone who's staying a while or just really into their food. Even if you don't speak Italian - just use it as a directory.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
What to Pack for Summer in Italy
Luggage and bags: Travel light for getting to and from airports and train stations. You'll have to heft your suitcase up and down stairs, and into overhead compartments on the train. I had 1 carry-on size suitcase, 1 backpack, and a medium size purse with a long strap to wear across my body. No one wears fanny packs. I kept my money, passport, and credit card in a lightweight money belt/fanny pack I got at Target. Wore it under my shirt and waistband. So comfortable, I forgot I had it on.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Italy, even in late June is hot. Bring the lightest weight tank tops (5), skirts (2), sundresses (4), and shorts (3) you can find. Skirts and sundresses are cooler than shorts and capris (2), though you should bring some of those too. I only brought one T-shirt in case it got cooler. No clothes dryers in Italy, so lightweight, fast-drying fabrics are the way to go. You will probably change your clothes for dinner, so lots of bras (4) and underwear (8) so you aren't constantly doing hand laundry. Also bring one or two lightweight sweaters or comfortable blazers, a lightweight rain jacket, and an umbrella. One scarf to cover shoulders in churches. For shoes, I recommend comfortable hiking sandals that let your feet breathe, a pair of dressier flats or sandals for dinner (no spiky heels to get caught in the cobblestones), and a pair of sneakers for rain or cooler weather. Despite what everyone says, lots of folks wear flip flops, but they don't look very comfortable for hiking around the ruins.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring all your toiletries if possible, enough to last the whole trip, so you don't have to buy (for much more) there. This may mean checking your bag at the beginning of the trip. I brought a medium size bottle of Woolite to hand wash. If you are staying in the city, even Venice, you don't need bug spray. Kleenex wipes came in handy, especially after the daily gelato. Always carry a pack of tissues in case no toilet paper in the toilette (though I never needed it). Sunscreen is a must.
Photo Equipment: Your phone and maybe a small high quality camera is enough. You won't want to carry a heavy camera case all day, unless photography is your thing.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you don't want to spring for a packable straw hat before the trip, buy a straw hat there for around 3 euros (don't let them charge you more). They are sold everywhere. We didn't go to the beach, but brought a bathing suit in case. Might want to pack a very lightweight beach towel if you plan to go.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
3 Weeks in Italy
Luggage and bags: 1 carry on size suitcase. That's it-1
small back pack
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 2 belts
1 sweat pants for plane
2 very light weight cotton sweaters
2 capri pants
1 light weight dressy jeans (optional)
1 light weight jacket
4 tank tops
1 black skirt (Note to self-a straight skirt not one that blows up in the wind and gives shop keepers a free show! LOL)
1 silk scarf for draping over shoulders in churches or evenings out
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Remember-if it doesn't fit in the regulation plastic bag and is less than 3 ozs - buy it when you get there.
make-up compact including eye make-up, lipgloss and blush
vitamins & pills
bandaids & Advil
hair gel, etc.
tweezers & scissors
shave cream & razor
Photo Equipment: 1 camera + film stored in x-ray pouch-those w/iphone can skip this
1 extra battery just in case
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: beach towel
1 bathing suit
hat-crushable of course
Miscellaneous: no knife if you carry on!
knitting (if so inclined)
costume jewelry-I brought 2 necklaces and wore diamond studs w/screwbacks that I never worry about losing
tevas and walking shoes
Int'l driver's license
guide books & books-when finished, leave them there for someone else to read
reading & sun/glasses
travel diary & pen
small flashlightRelated to:
- Women's Travel
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
What's in the bag
Luggage and bags: High-grade bag with wheels that will stand up to abuse: can take a beating on Italian cobbles/pavers if rolling between train stations/hotels. Check your specific airline rules for carryon sizes/weights, and leave yourself some room for bringing home a few goodies!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Less is more when bag-toting yourself. Taking the trains? Must be able to carry bags up/down long flights of stairs and lift into overhead racks when necessary.
• Color-coordinated clothing and nothing that will only be worn once. Scarves can add color and double as a cover-up when visiting churches where bare shoulders are not allowed: see my "It's church: behave" tip under Customs. Italians only wear shorts to the beach/hiking: don't pack them for cities or church visits.
• Light, wrinkle-resistant fabrics that can be rinsed out, drip-dried overnight, and don't require ironing. Pack clothespins, soap and a small travel clothesline.
• Leave the bling at home: if you can't afford to lose it, don't bring it.
• Two pair shoes: wear one, pack one. Sightseeing shoes must be sturdy with good traction for wet, slippery surfaces: see "What's afoot" under my Warnings and Dangers.
• Rain-resistant jacket, and a fleece (winter only) Dress so that you can easily remove one layer as the day warms.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: • Non-liquid prescription meds: pack in your carryon in the original bottles. Check your airline's procedures for special needs, such as insulin.
• Keep toiletries to an absolute minimum: many hotels now provide shampoo, etc. or you can purchase more if necessary. If traveling with a companion, share as much of this stuff as possible.
Miscellaneous: • Adaptor plugs and a converter, if needed: see my "Plugging in" tip under "Customs." I recommend leaving hairdryers at home as most hotels have them or will check them out at the desk. Buy one there if absolutely necessary.
• A garbage bag that fits over your bag for transferring on foot between train and hotel on rainy days. Punch a hole in the bottom for the handle.
• Small flashlight: nice for finding unfamiliar hotel bathrooms in the dark, and visiting catacombs
• Washcloth: I've yet to see these in Italian hotel rooms
• Small umbrella: don't buy one of the 5-euro brollies sold by street vendors 'cause they fall apart in 5 minutes
• Guidebook(s) and map(s)
• Small knife for cutting up takeaway pizza, panini, etc.
• Wet wipes/tissue: see my "Where's the bathroom" tip under Customs
• Documents: will cover in a safety tip under "Warnings and Dangers"
Our one concession to luxury? A hotpot. Few hotels rooms in Italy have coffeemakers so if you can't function without a cuppa joe first thing in the morning, bring a small, lightweight pot, instant coffee and a heatproof plastic cup. Takeout coffee is still a mystery to Italians!Related to:
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
Your Feet Are Everything In Italy
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: DO NOT SKIMP ON FOOTWEAR! Italian vacations are by their nature walking vacations. The center of many towns are traffic free so walking is how they are seen.
Buy quality, well fit, supportive and comfortable shoes are a most important bit of kit. Make it a priority.
Buy them well before you leave and walk in them often. Blisters or sore feet can ruin you time in Italy. The only way to avoid this is preparing ahead.
In a city like Venice or Rome you will walk a ton (even if you are on a package tour) so just be well prepared with the best socks and footwear you can find.
Buy good socks to go with your shoes. Steer clear of cotton. Cotton looses it’s cushioning abilities quickly and takes a log time to dry.
Wool or synthetic blends continue to cushion even when wet and the are much easier to rinse out and wash. They dry more than twice as fast. Because they breathe well and wick moisture away from your skin, that are warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. A bit of a miracle really.
Classic souvenir from Venice
Miscellaneous: This mask as depicted on our photographs is a great souvenir to take home either as a gift to friends and relatives or for your own collection. We bought this souvenir along the shopping lane between Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco. The mask costs just 15.00 euros per piece. It is a little bit difficult to pack in your luggage to take home as it can be quite fragile. We really like the mask very much. We also bought several mini masks in the form of magnets and key chains to distribute as gifts to friends and relatives.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Itenary printed from excel to carry with you.
Miscellaneous: You probably have already decided what you are going to do but... here is my two cents worth. I make an itenary in an excel spreadsheet which has everything that we are going to do each day. Each day contains information for that particular day. For instance on flight days I have the flight number an times of arrival and departure etc... On the days we will be changing lodging or traveling I will have the address and directions as well as the phone number. On tour days I will have address, directions and phone number of the places we will visit etc...
I make copies of the itenary and keep one with me and have one in each of our suitcases along with our home address and emergancy numbers. The itenary already contains the addresses and phone numbers of the places we are staying so theorectically if our luggage was lost they could conact someone.
I carry copies of my passport and leave it and any other important documents in the hotel safe. This way I only have one document to look at that has all of the information I need on it.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Women's Travel
Leave The Tennis Shoes and Shorts at Home
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Let me say that I love Americans and I love America. But come on! We are one of the richest countries in the world yet in Italy we dress like we are shopping at the Wal-Mart.
A nice shirt and pair of pants with some shoes that do not make you look like a basket ball player will go a long way to getting some respect.
The clothes you choose will go a long way to helping you fit in better. Weed out the following items, T-shirts, white tennis shoes, shorts, (especially true for men), loud colors and a fanny pack. Wearing these items brands you as green tourist. You will receive attention from the very people you do not want to meet.
To wear this type of attire into many churches and restaurants is some times forbidden and often looked on as a show of disrespect. This is not a Mall on the week end. Making a little effort to fit in a bit will make your visit to Italy go just that much better.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
- Arts and Culture
Pack decent, this is Italy :-)
Luggage and bags: By all means, bring luggage with robust wheels or even a big backpack and maximum one piece of main luggage. No matter if travelling by car or with public transport, the distances between car park and bus and train station to the accommodation can be long. Especially in smaller towns the hotels in the historical centres won’t have a car park.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Leave shorts and baseball caps at home or consider wearing them only at the beach. They shout out loud “tourist” and especially in the mass magnets of Roma, Firenze, Napoli and Amalfi Coast will most probably draw the attention of possible thieves immediately. Dress decent. Look at how locals dress. Italians dress nicely, they have a worldwide reputation for that. Bring comfortable shoes; you will walk a lot. Bring a raincoat or an umbrella. It might rain. Girls: bring a light sweater, jacket or shawl in case you want to visit churches. Bare shoulders and too short skirts are a strict no-no for any churches.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There is no need to bring a full bag of toiletries since everything is available at the pharmacies or at perfumeries, even in the smaller towns. But bring all medical supplies and a translation of prescriptions into Italian or at least the generic name of medications. Pharmacy staff is usually excellently educated (better than in an average German pharmacy, that’s what I can judge).
Photo Equipment: Cards, cards, cards… rolls, rolls, rolls. This should go without saying. Anywhere in Italy photo opportunities are around each corner. Bring a tele lens for architectural details or atmospheric shots. Bring a tripod for festival and night photos. Bring a flash for evening and night photos. And bring something to store your photos, since you won’t want someone to mess with your valuable photos, will you?
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: italy’s hiking centres in the northern part of the country have an excellent infrastructure where almost anything can be rented. Not so in middle Italy (Appeninne mountains as hiking region). Here you should bring your own gear. For the beach: everything you would bring for a beach holiday of course. Although the majority of Italy’s coastline is lined up with “bagni” (lido – lidos?) where deck chairs and sunshades can be rented for a fee.
Miscellaneous: A dictionary or a small “how to say in Italian” book is always a good idea especially for anyone who wants to travel outside of the mass magnet pattern of Roma, Firenze, Napoli and Amalfi Coast. In this context I highly recommend to make notes in Italian about names of dishes or ingredients you don’t eat to present these to the waiter at restaurants.
Binoculars are useful for any birdwatcher or wildlife watcher.
Earplugs are a must for anyone who has a light sleep or problems with bells. Italy is a very catholic country and services are being held not only during weekends. The majority of town or church officials won’t stop ringing the church bells just because of some tourist rants like it happened in the town of Mezzema
While you are sightseeing
Luggage and bags: Bring a bag which can be put across the shoulder and which has inner compartments big enough to deposit camera and other valuables you (feel you) must have during sightseeing. This puts you on the safer side in the mass magnet cities in case someone on a motorbike wants to grab your bag or someone wants to slice the bottom of your bag. Fanny packs/belly bags are a very bad idea, especially in said mass magnet cities. They also scream “tourist” from afar. If you feel they are a must, cover them with a shirt.
Packing for Italy - visiting churches/ museums etc
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I have a couple of pairs of cotton 'Walking' trousers and a skirt that have zips allowing the trousers to be converted to shorts, and the skirt to be worn as long or knee length. I've found these useful on occasions, when sightseeing, then wanted to visit a church or museum, where covering up is expected.
Personally, I now find a cotton skirt to be much cooler than trousers or shorts when traveling.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Religious Travel
- Museum Visits
Luggage and bags: A backpack, rucksack or a light travelling bag to carry on you back or on your shoulder when touring Italy. It will become very handy when you make some small purchases such as postcards, small souvenirs, mineral water etc.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Italy can be quite hot during the summer months, therefore light clothing is recommended such as t-shirts, shorts etc. Sport shoes or walking shoes are preferred if you walk a lot on your vacation. Spring and autumn can be quite wet in Italy, thus raincoats and umbrellas are necessary especially if you visit Italy in the months of March and April.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Don't forget to bring along your medicines if you are on medication. Painkillers such as aspirin and multi-vitamins tablets especially Vitamin C are recommended. Other medical supplies may include plasters for minor cuts, a pair of scissors and nail-creepers. Remember not to place any sharp objects in your cabin bags, otherwise they will be confiscated at the airport even before you begin your journey.
Photo Equipment: You are not supposed to forget to bring along your digital camera, camcorder complete with the necessary accessories such as memory cards, battery and battery charger.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring along you swim wear if you decide to swim in Italy especially during the hot summer months of July and August.
Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous items may include mobile phone and its battery charger, mp3 player, iPod, binoculars, maps and guide books on Italy etc.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Refrigerator magnet from Vatican City
Miscellaneous: This is a wonderful souvenir in the form of a refrigerator magnet to take home with you back to your country or to present to your friends and relatives as gifts! It is marvellous to look at and is rather shining and has a photograph of the Pope and a cross with an inscription "OVUNQUE PROTEGGIMI". It costs just 4.00 euros per piece and is available from the book store/souvenir shop near the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica. It is certainly one of our favourite collections of refrigerator magnets!
We are not sure whether the same souvenir is still available at St. Peter's Basilica, perhaps with a different photograph of the Pope. The souvenir which has a photograph of Pope John Paul II as depicted on our photograph above was purchased in March 2004 when we visited St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican city.Related to:
- Family Travel
My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Santa Maria for three nights at the end of a three week trip...more
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We have stayed with this establishment many times. Initially, it was because they have free parking...more
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