Trip Planning: Christmas in Italy

Mom and Dad arrive for their Christmas visit one week from today, and I couldn’t be more excited. As soon as I accepted my internship in Brescia, we agreed that they’d visit so we could spend the holidays together. This will be my mom’s first trip to Italy, so I set to work planning a comprehensive trip that would hit my favorite cities and landmarks! Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store.

The Itinerary

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Day 1-3: Milan

Day 4-6: Venice

Day 7-11: Florence & Tuscany

Day 12-14: Rome

We discovered early on that booking flights with different arrival and departure cities isn’t markedly more expensive, which really freed us up. We’re moving North to South, hitting up some of my favorite destinations along the way.


Since we’re traveling over the holidays, we’ve pre-booked and pre-planned a lot of activities. What can I say, we like structure to our travels.

Milan & Lombardy

  • Rooftop Tour of Milan’s Duomo
  • A visit to the Marc Chagall exhibit at the Palazzo Reale
  • A viewing of DaVinci’s The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • Day trip to Brescia


  • Organized group tour to Murano, Burano and Torcello
  • The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  • Acqua Alta Libreria

Florence & Tuscany

  • Organized day tour of Siena and San Gimignano
  • Timed entrance to the Uffizi Galleries
  • Christmas day lunch at La Giostra
  • Museo Galileo


  • Timed entrance to the Vatican Museums
  • Tickets to The Nutcracker (or Lo Schiaccianoci) at il Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
  • A visit to the Jewish Ghetto and the Museo Ebraico di Roma

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, as it doesn’t take into consideration all the piazzas, churches and other famous landmarks we’ll be taking in. Nor does it take into consideration the day I’ll spend showing my parents around my newly adopted city, Brescia.


For this trip we’ve decided to give Airbnb a try. With the exception of Rome, where we’ll stay in a hotel because we’d like them to arrange my parents’ early morning transfer to the airport. We’ve never stayed in Airbnb’s before, but we love the concept and we’ve heard great things. I want my parents to experience the real Italy, and lodgings are definitely a part of that! Plus, we are a family of interior design nerds— we’ve always loved housing shows on HGTV, looking at apartment listings, checking out open houses. We’ve found some really great looking places at great prices. In a few places we have to compromise a bit on location, but everything we’ve found is walkable and should serve us well!


My life philosophy (in Italy anyway): take public transportation! We’re not exactly traveling off the beaten path here, which means every stop we’re making is well connected by trains and buses. It’s also a reason for our pre-booked day tours: I know I want to show my parents Siena, but as I’ve recently learned, the train between Florence and Siena does not take the most efficient route. Hopefully by booking this group tour, we’ll save time going by bus & have the added bonus of professional tour guides.

I’ll check in after the holidays to update you on our trip. Buon Natale!


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