PREPARATION FOR TRIP
BANKING/MONEY: we have found that the easiest thing to do is to have an ATM card with a back up credit/debit card just in case. Money is hard to change over and traveler's checks are even worse and there is a fee attached. Bring only a few hundred dollars to get you by in case of emergency. If you are planning on using ATM cards be sure to call your banks ahead of time and tell them where you will be so you don't get your cards shut down because of suspicious activity.
INTERNATIONAL LICENSE: If you are planning to drive here you will need an international license which you can obtain easily at any AAA office.
LANGUAGE TRANSLATORS: Having some kind of dictionary (book or electronic) would be a very good idea. You will need to purchase that ahead of time and bring it with you.
ELECTRICAL ITEMS: All of Europe is 220 V so you will need to pick up an adapter if you plan to bring any items requiring electricity
TICKETS AND RESERVATIONS: All travel tickets can be purchased ahead of time either on the web or through a travel agent. See the transportation section for some ideas about this. We will let you know about accommodations with us.during the time of your visit. Most likely we will have space, but in the event of multiple visitors, we can make arrangements with the very nice little hotel in town.
Here are the names of 3 good hotels that we stayed in around Italy. Please keep in mind how we travel - inexpensive, clean and in good central locations. This of course may also mean a third floor walk up with no elevator etc.
1. Rome: Pensione Panda, v.d.. Croce 35 (between P.de Spagna and v.d. Corso, Phone # 011-39 06-67-80-179, http://www.pensionepanda.com/
2. Siena: Albergo Bernini, Via della Sapienza n 15, 53100 Siena, Italy, http://www.albergobernini.com
3. Hotel Firenze, Via del Corso/P.ZA Donati.4, http://www.eurocheapo.com/florence/listings/selection/firenze.asp, 055 268301-214203
CLOTHING: The weather in Sicily varies according to the altitude. Montedoro is on top of a mountain so expect to bring warm clothing even in the Spring. There are beaches at the coast so you need to come prepared for all kinds of weather. However, it is also advised that you pack light and after traveling there especially on trains this can definitely save your back. Besides if you go to the markets there will be great things to buy that you can wear there and then bring home.
BOOKS: It is good to have at least one travel guide on Italy and/or Sicily (while visiting us you can use one of our guides). We recommend:the Lonely Planet's guide to Sicily and Let's Go Italy,
I find it fun to read a novel or other book about the area where I am traveling and it is best to get it before you arrive since finding English versions in bookstores there can be difficult (see the book review section for some suggestions).