It seems that resolutions are hopelessly lame these days. It’s now popular to say, “I don’t make resolutions, I make goals, duh” accompanied by a hair flick and eye roll. 

To which I’d say, goals are resolutions. 

I’d say, when has taking stock and wanting to improve not a good thing? 

I’d say, who cares if it’s not popular? I like it.  (See: 20142015, a 2016 reading resolution, 2017… you get the idea.)

So for all of us who have a resolution to visit Italy in 2018, there’s a thing or two we should all resolve to do for our travels:

I will think twice about taking that cruise to Venice

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Our efforts to travel sustainably go beyond avoiding plastic and taking public transportation: we need to think about our specific destinations. What are the local needs? What are the difficulties facing the destination? Venice is sinking, and if we want to save her, we should consider an alternate route along the beautiful, but clogged, canals. Visit by plane or train or small, 10-person boats. However you get here, don’t make it on a cruise!

I will get in walking shape

There are a hell of a lot of stairs to climb!

There are a hell of a lot of stairs to climb!

Preparation before a trip to Italy is key. You have to research before traveling to know what the hell you’re doing. But there’s another thing that can make or break your trip to the Bel Paese: how fit are you? If you really truly want to explore all Italy has to offer, its cathedrals and alleyways, monuments, towers, countrysides and museums its going to take a lot of energy and a lot of walking. Want to prepare yourself for your time in Italy? Walk

I will adapt to the culture, rather than expect it adapt to me 

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Rick Steves’ may have said it best, “Ugly Americans are not bad people — just ethnocentric. And, being ethnocentric gets you into a vicious downward cycle in your travels: You complain when things aren’t what you think of as proper, so you see fewer smiles and worse service, and you complain even more. You end up going home in a bad mood.” If you’re going through all the time, trouble and money to fly across the ocean and visit a country as beautiful and chaotic and different as Italy, do your best to put your preconceived notions aside and go with the flow. This isn’t your country, don’t expect it to be! Note the differences and actually enjoy them. Your trip will be much better off for it. 

I will consider visiting in the off-season

October on the coast = the coast to yourself!

October on the coast = the coast to yourself!

More than 47 million people visit Italy each year. 

Those kinds of numbers can be choking in the heat of the high-season, for tourists and locals alike. Italy is happy to share its beauty with visitors, but for some locations the situation is becoming untenable: Both Cinque Terre and Venice are considering limiting the numbers during the peak summer season. Another option is to simply visit during the off-season. October to March has fewer crowds, lower prices and still the same beautiful Italy. Though there is a small peak for the Christmas season, December is still a great time to visit Italy, and there’s no better way to get a glimpse of the real Italian culture while escaping the crowds. 

I will explore the small towns

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Beyond limiting visitors in peak season, there’s been a renewed marketing push from the government to highlight Italy’s smaller, lesser-known destinations. It’s not just marketing though, Italy’s small towns are absolutely charming. So charming, that last year we resolved the same thing: I will see more than the big cities.

So again: This year, think outside of the big hitters when trip planning and add a small town or village to your itinerary, you won’t regret it! 

I will eat regionally

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Last year we promised we’d eat with the seasons while in Italy. Now it’s time to up the ante. This year, we’ll eat Italy’s most scrumptious regional food in the region it’s from! In Liguria, order pesto. In Bologna, lasagna. In Rome try the cacio e pepe or saltimbocca or carciofi all giudia. By eating with intention you’ll learn about Italy’s food, culture and history – and you’re sure to get an incredible meal.

I will experience the culture 

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The Duomo, the Colosseum, the ruins. There’s so much to see in Italy that we could walk around day and night, jaws opened in wonder, without every actually experiencing anything. This year, let’s dive into the Italian culture. Take a language course or a cooking class. Buy tickets to see the opera in Verona, experience Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, visit a temporary art exhibit in Milan. There’s plenty of culture in Italy, this year don’t just look at it, experience it.

I will book in advance

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No more wasting precious sightseeing time waiting in long lines under the hot Italian sun. Go online, find a tour, book in advance. With a little bit of planning before your trip, you’ll see much more, experience much more, understand much more, allowing you to waste your time in other, more noble pursuits. Gelato, anyone?

Read more about Planning Your Trip to Italy including how, and where, to book ahead. 

I will buy Made in Italy souvenirs 

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Everyone wants cute Italian knick-knacks to take home to friends and family and sprinkle throughout your house proving to anyone who happens by that you’ve been to Italy and had the best time ever. I get it. But this year, let’s go for quality and not quantity. Don’t waste your tourist dollars on cheap foreign crap. Go straight to the source: Made in Italy is not only a label, but a stamp of quality. Support Italian artisans and bring home something that deserves to be shown. 

Happy New Year!

                                                                Happy New Year!

Pair these with the still-applicable 2017 Italy Travel Resolutions for your best Italy travel yet!
What are your Italy travel plans or New Year’s travel resolutions? 

Written by ginamussio

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