Insider's Guide to Italy - Brownell Travel

Insider’s Guide to Italy


Language: Italian

Documents: Passport, No visa

Money: Euro

Where to Go:

The St. Regis Florence


  • Don’t Miss: A vintage Fiat 500 tour through the city – a great way to explore the Eternal City!
  • Stay:
    • Westin Excelsior Rome: Walking distance from the Spanish Steps, this hotel is perfect for families.
    • Hotel Eden: Reopening in 2017 after a year of renovations, this hotel has a prime location in the Old City of Rome.


  • Don’t Miss: Shopping in the markets – from leather goods to handcrafted items, the markets are the perfect place to find authentic souvenirs!
  • Stay:
    • St. Regis Florence: Watch the Champagne Ritual in the Winter Garden Bar and then eat dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri.
    • Hotel Savoy, a Rocco Forte Hotel: Located on the Piazza Repubblica, the hotel is in a central location and offers a children’s program.


  • Don’t Miss: A mask-making class with a Venetian maestro
  • Stay:
    • Hotel Danieli: The rooftop restaurant la Terrazza offers incredible views of Venice – the perfect place to enjoy your complimentary breakfast!
    • The Gritti Palace: Take a class at the Gritti Epicurean School – you’ll wow your friends and family at home with your new skills.

A bedroom in the stunning Katara Suite at the Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan.


  • Don’t Miss: A viewing of Da Vinci’s Last Supper – just be sure to get a reservation well in advance.
  • Stay:
    • Excelsior Hotel Gallia: Located across from the Milan Centrale train station, this newly renovated hotel has an amazing aperitivo.
    • Hotel Principe Di Savoia: After a day of shopping, relax in Club 10 Fitness & Beauty Center’s heated rooftop pool.


  • Don’t Miss: Exploring the lake from the water – we recommend a tour to learn history and spot celebrity villas!
  • Stay:
    • Hotel Grand Tremezzo: Indulge at the hotel’s T Spa, which was named Best Spa by Virtuoso in 2016!
    • Palazzo del Vice Re: a five-bedroom boutique property perfect for a large multigenerational family or a quiet romantic escape.

Amalfi Coast

  • Don’t Miss: a panoramic drive on the coast – just don’t try to drive! Get a driver who can manage the windy roads and show you the hidden spots.
  • Stay:
    • Caesar Augustus: This stunning Relais & Chateaux property has the best views of the sea on Capri.
    • Belmond Hotel Caruso: The infinity pool is perched on the cliff overlooking the coast – one of the best views you can get from a pool!

The view from the Caesar Augustus in Capri – who’s ready to go?


  • Don’t Miss: A bike tour along the coast or around the Baroque city Lecce.
  • Stay:
    • Borgo Egnazia: With three pools, a cookery school, water sports center, and kids clubs, this is the perfect Italian resort for the whole family.


  • Don’t Miss: A concert in the Greek Theater – Madonna, Elton John, and Sting are just a few of the people who have performed at this 3rd Century theater.
  • Stay:
    • Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo: This hotel opened in 1873 as the first hotel in Taormina. Enjoy fresh, regional cuisine as you enjoy unparalleled view of Mount Etna from the hotel restaurant.

      A mask-making class in Venice is a must!


  • Dining: Round total up for good service
  • Hotel: €1 per bag for porter; €2 per day for housekeeper
  • Cab: Round up to nearest Euro
  • Private driver: €40/full day
  • Private Guide: €40/full day


What to eat:

  • Risotto alla Milanese
  • Prosciutto
  • Bistecca alla florentina
  • Bruschetta al Pomodoro
  • Spaghetti alla carbonara
  • Carciofi alla Romana
  • Insalata caprese
  • Burrata
  • Marinara pizza
  • Wine – of course!

See our Italy Dining & Tipping Guide here!

Know Before You Go:

  • Be sure to bring a wrap or sweater to cover your shoulders when visiting churches. Also, don’t wear shorts or short skirts/dresses.
  • Ask before taking photos in museums, art galleries, and churches. Some don’t allow flash photography and some don’t allow any photos.
  • To avoid looking like a tourist, don’t order a cappuccino after 11 AM.

Getting Around

  • Italy’s rail network is an easy way to get from city to city. Purchase tickets and seat reservations in advance, and enjoy the experience!