Finally! Your Freedom to Travel...

I thought I’d share this great article I read about Italian travel!

If you want to see Italy, planning is key

Pittsburgh Business Times – by James Cannon

For an art lover, Italy is home. Unfortunately, many people in the world agree and crowd the galleries and museums often making visiting them an ordeal. With a bit of planning, the lines can be cut shorter and in some cases, avoided all together.

During a recent trip to Florence, I had some time to visit the Uffizi gallery. This gallery is the primary showcase for many of the better known Italian painters, such as Da Vinci, Bellini, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Botticelli, as well as other European artists. Anyone who has taken an art appreciation course in school is familiar with many of the paintings, but to see them first-hand is a special treat.

The lines, under normal circumstances, usually take more than an hour just to get up to the ticket office. In the summer, that time can easily double. If you are planning a visit to Florence, you can avoid the lines by purchasing your ticket online at: www.uffizi.com.

The city of Florence itself cannot be seen in less than three days, and three weeks may still not be enough time. Not long ago, trying to plan a trip to Italy that included more than one major city in a week’s time was tricky due to the difficulty of traveling within Italy. In December, a new rail tunnel section was opened that has dramatically changed all of that. At a cost of $8 billion, the new rail section now allows one to go by train from Florence to Rome in a little more than an hour. It also has created a new rail schedule from Rome to Milan in less than three hours. One can now easily visit Florence and Rome in the same week.

If Florence cannot be seen adequately in three weeks, Rome will take a lifetime. Although I have been visiting Rome for more than 30 years, I think I still need another 30 years before I really know the city. Some personal favorite sights, such as the Pieta in St. Peter’s cathedral and Michelangelo’s statute of Moses in the San Pietro in Vincola Church, are still awe inspiring. They are now physically far removed from public viewing, but still worth the time to visit.

Security surrounding some of these art treasures has become as irritating, but perhaps as necessary as security at our airports. Fortunately, some modern technology does help. In years past while in Rome, my wife and I enjoyed spending a half-day at the Galleria Borghese. We thought it was a bit of a secret place because we rarely saw other people at the gallery. The rest of the world now knows our secret. Today, the only way to visit is to obtain tickets beforehand at www.galleriaborghese.it.

With high speed rail transportation and Internet ticket sales, Italy has come into the 21st century. Fortunately, the charm and ambiance of Italy, which has attracted people from around the world for hundreds of years, has not been lost.

Read more: If you want to see Italy, planning is key – bizjournals Business Travel Guide –