Amalfi Coast

Three Perfect Itineraries for a First Trip to Italy

Nothing is as magical, or as memorable, as your first trip to Italy. Though subsequent trips may be those in which you pick up a few sentences of Italian, get off the beaten path a bit, and start to choose your favorite cities and regions, that maiden voyage is one of pure discovery. Your first glimpse of iconic monuments like the Colosseum in Rome or Venice's Grand Canal, your first sips of Brunello or Barolo, your first sunset from the Ponte Vecchio or the Amalfi Coast...these are all an epiphany of the senses, and will color your affection for this stunning country for years to come.

Florence twilight.(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Though it's a fun challenge to plan unique trips for travelers who have already explored Italy in the past, organizing a client's first trip is always a particular delight. We still remember our first trip years ago, and know how easy it is to get bitten by the “Italy bug” if your first trip dazzles. Here are three of our favorite itineraries for first timers, and some tips to help you plan a trip that will begin a long-lasting love affair with the Bel Paese!

Venezia - canal(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Our Favorite Hotels: Monastero Santa Rosa

With the onset of summer weather, we were off to the Amalfi Coast to visit a relative newcomer. The Monastero Santa Rosa excels with an excellent location, spectacular views, and luxury accommodations that combine a storied history with every modern convenience.

monastero-santa-rosa-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Italy's Handcrafted Paper

After its rich culture and even richer food, one of the best things about visiting Italy is shopping. From high-end fashion and design to exquisite artisan wares, Italy is full of unique treasures that are a both a refreshing change from chain store anonymity and imbued with a history and tradition often dating back centuries.

paper-bevagna-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

We have talked about some of our favorite artisan souvenirs in the past, but have never mentioned one of Italy's most affordable (and packable) traditional crafts: paper.

Italy's Islands: Capri

Capri is an island so enchanting that it was used as an idyllic retreat already in the first century AD, when the emperor Tiberius would escape to one of his twelve villas scattered on the hilltops overlooking the Mediterranean for a bit of respite from the chaos of Rome.

rowboat-capri-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

And who are we to argue with Tiberius? Two thousand years later, visitors still flock to this fairytale spot just off the coast of Naples, with its sweeping view over the entire expanse of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast and dramatic shoreline dotted with secret coves and sea grottoes.

48 Hours: Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast)

The Amalfi Coast is a welcome departure from most of the rest of Italy. This stretch of Mediterranean coastline south of Naples is much less about visits to museums and monuments and instead, as Maria puts it, “mostly about being out of doors.” Here, more than impressing you with great works of art and architecture, you will find yourself gasping with delight at the dramatic land--and sea--scape and the film set-ready villages tumbling down the rocky slopes to the sea. Read More...