Saturday, May 28, 2016

When To Go; Which Month Will Work For You?

   On our first Italian adventure in June/July 2011, we chose to travel at the end of June into the beginning of July because Debbie was still employed at a local high school. The summer off provided us with the two weeks we wanted to make our trip. Traveling during the peak Summer season has its rewards and drawbacks. Since we were going to be basing our trips in Florence, Tuscany, we were almost guaranteed beautiful and very warm weather. The downside was that the tourists crowds we were joining would be huge. Plane fares, apartment rentals, hotel room rates and just about everything else, would be more pricey than in the late Fall or early Spring. Our second reason for choosing late June was that I wanted to celebrate my 64th birthday there. I couldn't change that date! Our day trip to San Gimignano provided a great back- drop for my big day.
Cinque Terre, 2011.

Piazza San Marco, Venice.

   Fast forward to 2014, when we decided, along with another couple to visit Italy in late September, early October to celebrate another birthday, this time in the Cinque Terre town of Riomaggiore. We thought that our plane fares might be cheaper so late in the season, but three years of price increases prevented that, so we ended up still paying more than in 2011. We paid the same price per night for the Casa Iris apartment in Florence that we had rented in 2011 and our one night stay in a the beautiful Appartamento Giovanna in Riomaggiore was less costly than it would have been in July. Still, the exchange rate was a money saver for us that year, as well. Crowds were noticeably smaller, but still large. The weather was nearly perfect - warm and sunny every day!
Florence, cafe near the Duomo.

Florence, the Duomo.

   A little more than a year later, in November of 2015, Debbie and I took another trip to Italy, yes, you guessed it, to celebrate Debbie's 65th birthday in Varenna on Lake Como. Our bargain flights on Aer Lingus, took us to Milan's Linate Airport for the first time. Air fares drop considerably in November and on into the winter months (except around major holidays). Hotel and apartment rental rates were extremely reasonable throughout our stay. Crowds were non-existent. We were aware of other tourists and met quite a few, especially waiting for trains, but the piazzas, restaurants and major sites were uncrowded. This was a pleasant change from other trips.

   One thing to be aware of, however, is the distinct possibility that some hotels and restaurants might close for the winter as early as the first week of November. While we found that to be true at Lake Como, we didn't have any difficulty finding excellent places to eat or have a glass of wine. Also, in places like Lake Como, ferries and water taxis might not run as often as in the peak season. Friends we know in Italy told us that we were fortunate to have such nice weather for our November stay. Usually, the weather would have included more dismal, cool and rainy days. We had just two slightly rainy days out of fourteen, with sunshine and temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees everyday. We couldn't have asked for better weather! To top that off, the exchange rate was by far the lowest we had experienced on our three trips to Italy.

One last note - since we were traveling between cities by train on our last trip and were carrying our luggage, even though the temps were cooler than in summer, we reduced our wardrobe considerably and brought only one medium sized suitcase between the two of us. We brought a few more sweaters (which we were lucky enough not to need most of the time), but less of everything else. Half way into our stay, we used the washing machine in our rental apartment which allowed us to bring less clothes. Just something to think about...
   When to travel to Italy is a personal decision you will need to make based on what time you have, where and when you want to go, your budget and whose birthday you wish to celebrate in Florence, Rome or Venice...

   I'm sure that we'll go in November again, maybe even this year...and just hope for beautiful weather.
Siena, Piazza del Campo.

Florence Piazza della Repubblica

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment or ask a question.