You will be coming to the Le Marche region of Italy and visiting the REAL Italy, the way the Italians have been living for centuries plus a few modern amenities of course. You will be staying in our big beautiful 300 yr old farmhouse. We live just 1 km away up in the village of Colmurano so we will be there to greet you when you arrive.
I have posted the past annual weather stats and listing of festivals for various times of year, however the festival list is just an example as the dates change from year to year in each village so I cannot promise any of the festivals listed will be going on during your stay. Weather in Italy is similar to California with allot more rain if that helps, hence the green all year. Italy is a country that moves very slowly literally, never in a hurry (except while driving haha) they take relaxing seriously so don't be in a hurry while here or expect them to rush anything for you. Pranza (lunch) is from 12:30-4:30 everywhere in the country and it is sacred, most businesses close and go home to eat and nap. In the bigger tourist cities you will find places open for lunch.
Our farmhouse is 30 minutes from the beautiful Sibillini mountains for skiing during the winter or hiking during spring and summer and 30 minutes the other way is the Adriatic Sea. I would suggest coming during the low season if possible October-March as you will have less tourists to deal with and the major cities will be much more enjoyable. During the high season the wait to get into The Vatican can be over 4 hrs standing in the sun. Venice is beautiful but during the summer the tiny streets are so packed with tourists it's not pleasant. Carnevale in Venice is typically the end of January the first few weeks in February an amazing event. In December Le Marche has live Nativity scenes in many local villages a must see as well.
Our region in Italy is known for wine, truffles, honey, pasta, leather goods, shoes, handbags and accessories, there are many designer outlets close by for shopping. Pasta from this area is shipped all over the world too, so coming to visit in October or November make it a perfect solution for Christmas shopping, plus then you can enjoy the Autumn festivals. November is the olive oil harvest and you can actually participate in the exciting event at a local farm, experience the picking, pressing and best of all the tasting. Truffle hunting is all year long and a must for any foodies in your group, would you like to be part of an actual grape harvest in September?
Once you have booked your stay with us here is a list of VERY important time lines you need to remember.
Make sure all members traveling have current valid passports and 6 months still remaining before the expiration date form the date of your trip. The good news is Italy loves American tourists so you are granted an automatic 90 day visa upon arrival at no charge, sometimes they never even open your passport to look at it in immigration. If you have any questions about passport renewal check here. Please note the European boarder laws changed in 1995 with the passage of the Schengen Agreement click here if you plan to stay longer or visit other countries while in Italy.
Book your airfare, typically 90-120 days before your trip is the best time unless you are willing to take a chance and wait till the 3 weeks before and get a deal on non sold seats, however could cost you more. Airlines change their rates on Tuesdays at 12 am and wait to see what happens in the first 24 hrs, then Wednesday at 1am anything thats not sold is highly discounted, so that is the best time to look for new flights.
Reserve your car rental and your airport parking 90-120 before your trip. It is a good idea to get an international license just in case and of course a valid US drivers license. Italy requires you to rent a 4wheel drive or have snow chains from Oct-April so keep that in mind when renting your vehicle. Do not rent your car with intentions of driving around Rome to see sites before you come to the farmhouse as there is little parking and it's very difficult to drive in the downtown historic area. Book a room and take the hop on hop off bus, best way to get around. Some people have expressed concern about driving in Italy but it's really easy only in Rome and Milan are very difficult because it's the city with lots of one ways. Here is the Italian train website, but I discourage the train as it’s difficult to get to the rural countryside without a vehicle . If you choose not to drive at all cars for hire can arrange to pick you up at the airport or train station and provide daily transport for tours but of course this is quite expensive but possible. Driving yourself really is the best option for a group. However if there are only a few with minimal baggage then the bus from Rome might be a good option if someone in your party can pick you up at the bus station in Civitanova (30mins from the Farmhouse). It's cheap and comfortable make sure you take the express without all the stops. We also have a local driver that will pick up a party of 8 or less in Rome, Florence or Bologna and drive you to a rental car company near here for 500 Euro one way. Let me know at least 60 days prior to your arrival if you'd like me to arrange that?
60 days before your trip I will send you your departure letter with some last minute details and the liability disclosure form which must be signed and returned. If you need to cancel or reschedule your booking to receive a refund of the cleaning fee it must be done at least 120 days before your booking or the refund will not be possible as we have already contracted for the cleaning to be done.
But most of all Enjoy the Journey!