Has there ever been a better way to spend an hour (some would say waste an hour but what do they know) than playing with Pinterest? A few weeks ago I was on Pinterest collecting pictures of Italy for our AmoreTravelGuides Pinterest boards as well as things for my personal Pinterest boards. I started to think “how can I use Pinterest to plan my upcoming trip to Italy”. I already have an itinerary, but how could I use Pinterest if I was starting from scratch?
How to plan a trip to Italy using Pinterest
- Search for photos of Italy
There are millions of photos of Italy on Pinterest. Most of them are of beautiful scenery, old buildings, ancient ruins, art, and a large number of small winding streets. Living in the land of interstates Americans seem to be drawn to alleys especially those with a bicycle leaning against the wall.
- Limit your selectionsMake sure the photos you choose have a caption identifying where they were taken and the caption needs to specific. The caption “beautiful hills in Tuscany” will do you no good. Beautiful view from the walls in Lucca tells you where you need to go to get that very same view.
- Save the photos
Save your favorites to a board that you create for each city and limit your pictures so you are not overwhelmed. You only need 2 or 3 pictures of the Duomo in your Florence board. For Florence you may have a picture of the Duomo, the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, etc.For your Venice board you would include a picture of the Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the Rialto Bridge, a gondola, etc. Like the sea? Save pictures of Sorrento and Positano to an Amalfi Board and pictures of Riomaggiore and Vernazza to a Cinque Terre board. Prefer lakes?
Add pictures to a board for Lago di Garda or Lago di Como. Be sure to include pictures of restaurants, museums and fun things to do to your city boards. Again, make sure they have a caption or you won’t know where they are located.
- Do you see a pattern?
You are going to have boards for more places than you can go so look for patterns. If your boards for Rome, Florence and Venice are full but your other boards only have one or two photos in them then you have your trip planned for you. If your boards all have about the same number of photos then it is time to pull up Google Maps.
- Pull out the mapDepending on your stamina and desires you are going to have to make some decisions. If you are okay with spending 4 hours on a train (2 hours each way) and you only want to walk around Venice then you can take a day trip from Milan but if you want to visit the sites, go in the churches, and get a feel for the city you are going to have to allocate 2 or 3 nights of your trip to Venice.Whether you plan to spend a day in a city or a few days, you need to look on a map and see what cities are near each other. You can go to the Trenitalia website and see how long it takes to get to and from various places. I generally look for places I can get to in an hour or an hour and a half. More than that is too much for me.
The getting there is fine it is the getting back after a busy day of touring that wears me out. Eliminate the boards that are not full of pictures or that are geographic outliers. You can only go to Venice and Sicily if you are willing to fly. If your boards for Rome, Amalfi and Cinque Terre are full then you may decide to go to Rome and Amalfi since they are close to each other. Throw in a side trip to Capri and Pompeii and you have planned a nice trip.
- Organize by Day1, Day 2, etc: Once you know where you are going create a board for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. and put pictures of places you want to visit each day on that board But be flexible, you never know what the weather will be like. Rainy days are great for visiting museums and churches but not as nice for hiking the paths in the Cinque Terre, though I have frequently hiked the paths in the Cinque Terre in the rain and it is still beautiful.
- Other Boards:Pinterest has all kinds of useful information. You can have a board for language tips that includes useful phrases, one for clothing with pictures of things you want to take, etc.
- Save your Boards:You can save your boards to a PDF so you can access them on your electronic device even if you don’t have access to the internet. In my experience you can access the internet in most places in Italy including the faster trains and most hotels. But if you will be visiting smaller towns or rural areas just to be safe save your information to a PDF.A good free pdf reader/print driver is NitroReader.
Make sure you can access your Pinterest Boards from your tablet or phone or whatever electronic device you will be taking with you before you go. That way when you get to your destination you can bring up your pictures and decide what you want to do that day.
Don’t over plan
I like to know which cities I will be visiting and have hotels lined up. But I like to leave myself open to random dining experiences and unplanned day trips. Once you get to Italy the locals you meet along the way are usually willing to provide you with suggestions of what to see and where to eat. Places you would not necessarily know about in advance. Word of caution – even in Italy, unless you are a really adventurous eater, look at a menu before you commit. It is one thing to be served wild boar but I draw the line at tripe which is a delicacy in many places.