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Latest Writeup : Rizwana Tours Aquillea, Verona, Udine, Grado, Venice & Padova.
There is only one direct flight from South Africa to Italy. Alitalia recently re-introduced flights from Johannesburg to Rome.
If you're not travelling from Johannesburg, not flying into Rome or want more affordable options you'll have to choose a 1-stop or 2-stop flight to Rome. Other major airports you can consider flying into include Venice, Milan, Pisa, Turin and Bologna.
To book a cheap flight to Italy:
Compare flight prices using the booking engine on the left and book the one which will do the least damage to your pocket; and,
Use your stash of SouthAfrica.TO travel vouchers to reduce the cost found in step 1. If you've got none, then start earning them with your flight to Italy - simply send us a review, images and/or videos of a recent trip, and we'll send you travel vouchers.
You can take a flight from Johannesburg to Rome (ROM) using Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Emirates (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Egyptair (via Cairo), British Airways (Heathrow), Virgin Atlantic (London), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), KLM (via Amsterdam) or Swiss (via Zurich).
Flights from Johannesburg to Milan (MIL) include Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Emirates (via Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Qatar Airways (via Doha), British Airways (via Heathrow), Virgin Atlantic (via London), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Air France/Alitalia (via Paris De Gaulle), KLM (via Amsterdam) and Swiss (via Zurich).
To fly from Johannesburg to Venice (VCE) you can book Qatar Airways (via Doha), Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad/Air Berlin (via Abu Dhabi & Duesseldorf), Swiss (via Zurich), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), SAA/Lufthansa (via Munich), Virgin Atlantic (via Heathrow), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), KLM (via Amsterdam), Air France (via Paris De Gaulle) or British Airways (via Heathrow).
There are only 2-stop flights from Johannesburg to Catania (CTA), such as with Egyptair/Alitalia (via Cairo & Rome).
If you want to fly from Johannesburg to Bologna (BLQ) you can use Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), SAA/ British Airways (via Heathrow), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), KLM (via Amsterdam) or Air France (via Paris De Gaulle).
You can fly from Cape Town to Rome (ROM) using Emirates (via Dubai), British Airways (via London), Virgin Atlantic (via Heathrow), Turkish Airlines (via JNB & Istanbul), KLM/Alitalia (via Amsterdam), Air France/Alitalia (via Paris De Gaulle) and Qatar Airways (via Doha).
Flights from Cape Town to Milan (MIL) include Emirates, (via Dubai), British Airways (via Heathrow), Turkish Airlines (via JNB & Istanbul), KLM/Alitalia (via Amsterdam) and Air France (via Paris De Gaulle).
To fly from Cape Town to Venice (VCE) you can book Emirates (via Dubai), Turkish Airlines (via JNB & Istanbul), KLM (via Amsterdam), British Airways (via Heathrow), Air France (via Paris De Gaulle), Virgin Atlantic (via Heathrow).
There are only 2-stop flights from Cape Town to Catania (CTA), such as with Emirates/Lufthansa (via Dubai & Malta).
If you want to fly from Cape Town to Bologna (BLQ) you can use British Airways (via Heathrow), Turkish Airlines (via Johannesburg & Istanbul) or Air France (via Paris De Gaulle).
You can fly from Durban to Rome (ROM) using Emirates (via Dubai). There are also a number of 2 stop options.
The only 1-stop options for flights from Durban to Milan (MIL) is with Emirates (via Dubai).
The only 1-stop flight from Durban to Venice (VCE) is with Emirates (via Dubai).
There are only 2-stop flights from Durban to Catania (CTA), such as with Emirates/Lufthansa (via Dubai & Munich).
There are only 2-stop flight options from Durban to Bologna (BLQ), for example with SAA and Turkish Airlines (via Johannesburg & Istanbul).
Italy is part of the Schengen area so see Schengen visa requirements. The Embassy of Italy does not handle visa applications. To apply for a Schengen visa to Italy contact their consular offices in Johannesburg at 37 First Avenue Angolo 2nd Street, Houghton Estate or phone 011-728-1393 or email email@example.com. In Cape Town you can find Italy's consular services at 2 Grey’s Pass, Gardens, or phone 021-487-3903 email or firstname.lastname@example.org. In Durban you can contact them at 199 Smith Street, 14th Floor, Embassy Building or phone 031-368-4388 or email email@example.com. The Italian consulates and embassy are closed on Italian public holidays.
Should you lose your visa while in Italy or be in need of other consular services you can contact the South African Consulate at:
Physical Address: Via Tanaro, 14, 00198, Roma
Whilst studying as an exchange student in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Rizwana got an opportunity to tour Italy.
Published on 28 July 2013. Writeup by Rizwana : Then on Facebook, Isabel put up a post that there is one seat left in a car to Italy to do the small towns of Udine, Grado, Venice and Verona, and although I had already visited Venice, thrice, I really, really wanted to visit Verona –the town where Shakespeare based the story of Romeo and Juliet, and I jumped at this opportunity. Fortunately the seat was available, and I quickly offered to print out wikitravel notes for Verona, Udine, and Grado.
The word "crazy" can be used to describe the next few days. We left on Saturday morning, and I met my travel companions – Artur, Pedro – Isabel's boyfriend from Portugal and Eduardo. And so the four of us were soon off in a car to Udine – when we got to Udine – we began our tour by walking around some sports stadium – I couldn't really understand the importance of this stadium, but I guess, that they probably knew and valued their visit to it. Then after a bit of deciding and looking around at the signs – by the way Isabel was driving – and I loved the way that she shook her head and exclaimed at other drivers that she is Portuguese – in order to excuse any mistake that she may have made on the road – "I am Portuguese" in a thick Portuguese accent. We got to the place in Udine, and after parking the car – paying for parking – as in Europe, people are very strict about paying for parking, and cars, that are illegally parked, face huge fines. We then began walking through the streets of Udine, admiring the architecture, the buildings and the large square. I suggested that we look for a tourist information place, as they will be able to point us to all the important places – so after getting directions from local Italians – we proceeded to the various piazzas. I remember walking through the narrow streets and passing one souvenir shop – but deciding that I will get many along the way – so I didn't buy a magnet. Unfortunately for me, this was the only souvenir shop, and when I returned to it – it was closed : ( so I don't have a magnet on Udine. In between our adventures – we took lots of photographs, smiling, posing, jumping, pointing the gun at my head, and many others – and they serve to remind me of what a lovely time I had on that weekend. We then walked up some hill to a lookout point where we could admire the town of Udine. There we spent some time, whilst Pedro walked close to the edge, and did some dangerous stunts. This is what I liked about the group that I travelled with – they were not in a rush to get to any place – and enjoyed themselves. When we got down from the hill, we walked around the gardens, posed with the water nymph statue, and also took some photographs with the church and other buildings.
We drove on, until we came to the town of Aquillea. One of the guys had researched this town, and wanted to see the ancient Roman ruins that were here. So after parking the car, and visiting the nearby tourist information, we began walking around the excavations - the Roman ruins. Yes, coming from Rome, they were not much different from those that you saw at the Forum, but it was a pleasant walk along the structures – remains of walls, and yes, a very dirty, little stream. What was entertaining is that Eduardo decided to go over to the other side which was clearly barricaded with red and white tape – walk on the bridge, which we all were very, very doubtful of and well, yes, he paraded around and posed for many photographs whilst on the other side. These ruins were quite popular and you could notice many pedestrians, cyclists and children going for walks along them. We then walked to the old town, where we stumbled on a church – that was also built over certain ruins. Inside the church – you walked on glass floors that were hoisted above the ruins and from which you could see the ruins, paintings and other remains. Yes, this church was quite impressive, and I remember feeling so impressed by the structure and remains that I saw, and yes, I managed to buy a magnet for this church and town.
We then proceeded to the Italian town of Grado, which is about 90 minutes away from Ljubljana, and although wikitravel did not have much to say about the town, I understood why Isabel wanted to go there, when we arrived there. In order to reach the town, you needed to drive on a road that was inbetween water, and made a bridge – this town appeared to be on a separate island altogether. There we walked around the beach, and since it was too late to swim, simply hung around, and watched the waves, whilst, I think that it was Pedro, who busied himself feeding a bullying seagull, whilst eating his lunch. Here we also came across ancient Roman ruins, but after seeing so many Roman ruins, you tend to get bored of them. I liked the atmosphere about this town, as like any typical seaside little town, this town seemed very relaxed with its clean streets, Italian restaurants, little beach shops for costumes, toys and sun hats. Then we came across a little flea market, where we saw local goods and handmade crafts like soaps, cakes and other stuff. But generally, this place appeared to be a simple place, and I thought to myself, that I would love to come here for a peaceful and relaxing holiday.
Then we were back on the road, and this time heading back to Slovenia, as Isabel had arranged with her friend in Nova Gorice to spend the night there. The lady, whose name fails me, was awaiting our arrival and had prepared a special braai for the team. Unfortunately, as you know, I could not eat the meat, but being typical Indian, I asked if I could make a cup of Rooibos tea, which I had carried, and had a small snack with it. I managed to stay awake until around midnight, but then decided that I could not stay awake any longer, and retired to her little sister's room, where to my delight, a Yamaha clavinova stood.
Because, of the previous late night, most of us could only get out of bed around 8 am. And so we rolled out of bed, washed up, had something to eat, posed for a few photographs, and soon we were on our way to Venezia. In Venice, we drove straight to the main entrance port and parked our car in a private parking garage. Since none of the others had been to Venice before, I was the unofficial tour guide, and I led them to St Marks square. We walked through the cobblestone streets of Venice, passing many shops that I had seen before. I remember passing that street near a small square with Lukasz and the girls, whilst looking for masks, and this time, I decided to buy a Venice t-shirt. Here, we also decided to stop and have a bite – and what I liked about this group is that they did not resort to buying food, but rather carried sandwiches, cheese and fruit, - in other words, typical students. So we stopped at this mini square with lots of shops to have lunch, just in front of a choir, which, we waited patiently for. Finally, I became impatient, and said out loud to the others, but not to the choir with a characteristic hand gesture – "And now entertainment" and to my surprise, they started singing. Yes, we thoroughly enjoyed their singing, as we heartily ate our food, and soon they moved on to a new spot. The weather in Venice was funny that day, as it was cloudy and cool, with strong chances of rain when we arrived, so we all had our jackets and warm clothes, and thereafter the sun came out, and it turned into a beautiful day with blue skies and sunshine, and as we decided to leave around 5 or 6 pm, once again the clouds appeared and it started to drizzle. Then we made our way to the Rialto bridge, where to my surprise, I think that this event takes place on a Sunday morning, but many Venezians had taken to the water, and were having a gondola race. Yes, this was quite entertaining to watch, as different gondolas passed us, each with their different uniforms, some representing different countries. After the Rialto bridge, we chose a nice little spot near the water, where we all decided to lie down and rest. Whilst they lay down to rest, I had already created a name for myself to go hunting for magnets and souvenirs. This time, mum had asked for some drawings and paintings, and knowing that the artists positioned themselves close to St Marks square, I quickly snuck away to find some. I found some lovely pictures for her. We then moved to St Mark's square, where I spoke to them about the building, etc, etc and we posed for some crazy photographs. Yes, I love my crazy photographs, as they really do capture the moment. Soon we all tired, and decided to leave, but, Isabel first needed to find Mcdonalds, as we needed their wifi to find accommodation for that evening. I was quite impressed, as I am a traveller, who only moves according to definite bookings and plans. We then stumbled on a cafe, who allowed us to use their wifi, and so we all sat on the pavements outside this cafe – this actually was quite a sight – seeing people sitting on the side walk and all linked onto their phones. Finally, she found a cheap camping place –Camping Jolly, and I mentioned that during my internet searches, that was indeed the cheapest accommodation in Venice, but I had never been there. So Camping Jolly, it was, and we soon were back in the car, on the way to Camping Jolly. We reached Camping Jolly, checked in, and being hungry little Lions, we soon were feasting and having fun. Here I used Mum's technique of going to the restaurant and asking for boiling water – in which I threw a teabag and voila – I had rooibos tea. It was a really lovely and jovial atmosphere, as we all sat, ate and socialised and soon it was time to go to bed. Yes, little did I expect the cold night which awaited me. As I wore my pjs, I quickly booked the extra blanket, as my sixth sense told me that it was going to be cold – then I also decided to wear my jacket inner. And even though I slept in a crouching position – I froze. I could not believe my feet were soooo cold, and in the morning, I quickly rushed to take a shower to unfreeze them. Yes, maybe it was a little too early in the spring for a stay at Camping Jolly. Soon we had breakfast – I think that I had carried maas like yoghurt for my cereal, as I had learnt that that does not go bad as quickly as milk does.
After requesting a few photographs with the car to show the team, we were soon off, to the fair town of VERONA! I remember, Eduardo outside the camping telling me to punch him. So I asked him to tighten his stomach muscles, and when I punched him full force – he exclaimed that he had not expected that from a small little girl – I smiled at myself, and thought, hey, perhaps I haven't lost touch of my karate skills. Today, we planned to do the town of Verona, as well as Padova. We arrived shortly in the town of Verona, and quickly looked for a tourist information spot. There we were given maps, and directed to various places to visit. We first passed a large Roman amphitheatre, and based on my past experience, as soon as we passed a souvenir shop, I quickly bought a magnet and a few postcards. We decided not to go with the crowds into the amphitheatre, but continued along the streets of Verona towards the Balcony of Juliet. Along the way, you can see that Verona has become a popular tourist destination, by the amount of curio shops, vendors, street artists and tourist buses. A street artists that caught my attention was a man, who held another man on three balls – one on top of the other; another man sat on a slim pole – held by another; and another artist who painted his face and entertained crowds behind a cradle, dressed as a baby. Yes, I separated from the group in these crowds and what I liked about this group, was that when one member was missing, they stopped walking, and looked around for the person – holding their hands up for the missing person to see. This came across to me as a very team spirited action. Finally we reached Juliet's Balcony, and it was surrounded by hundreds of tourists. We walked around, as I did some souvenir shopping, posed for a few photographs, looked at the graffiti on a nearby wall, left by the millions of tourists, before deciding to move on. Outside, you would also notice shops with names with "Julietto". We then proceeded to walk along the streets of Verona, passing many churches and architectural monuments along the way, posing for photographs, before deciding to stop at an Italian pizza house for pizza. We were initially enticed by the sign pizza – 5 euros, but we soon found out that to sit down, we needed to pay an additional 5 euros surcharge – and we were caught in a dilemma, when Artur mentioned that the Italian manager's attention was diverted, we quickly slipped out of the restaurant to another place. Yes these Italian restaurant owners, can be quite aggressive, as I discovered in Rome. There we had a quick bite and some ice cream, before moving onto Teatro Romano. This was positioned on quite a high spot, so we needed to walk along many steps to the top of a little hill. From here, we could appreciate breathtaking views of Verona. I think that the cutest photograph was the one with Artur holding a red poppy. We then proceeded to a castle and some of its ruins, took some lovely photographs there, and when the guys climbed to a higher level on the bridge, I gallantly prompted them to do a jumping photograph – which they quickly declined (thank goodness). Yes, Verona was quite a beautiful little town, which really captured the essence of the fairytale Romeo and Juliet, and I took a few last minute photographs of signs such as Shakespeare avenue, as we left the little town.
We were on the way to Padova, when to my surprise, we suddenly stopped, and I turned to establish what was happening. One of the guys, had spotted cherry trees in the nearby distance and was intent on going and gathering some cherries. So Pedro and Artur got out the car, and to my complete surprise, walked a little distance back before, venturing into the bushing environment. There in between the bushes and the grapevines, someone had spotted cherries, and before I knew it, they were picking as many cherries as they could. Then they soon rushed back to the car, where they emptied the cherries onto their laps, and began to celebrate their achievement. Yes, this really struck me as soo unique and uncharacteristic of Rizwana – to stop on the side of the road, whilst someone runs into the bush and takes cherries of the trees. I was quite entertained by the whole idea. Back on the road, we soon got lost on our way to Padova, and needed to stop and ask for directions. We stopped next to a black CRV, and asked these Italian men for directions – each dressed in black, with black sunglasses. I personally thought of them, as the Italian mafia. They directed us appropriately, and we soon were on our way to Padova. When we arrived in Padova, the sun was setting, so we quickly made our way to the town centre to walk around and admire the buildings. Yes, Padova had a lovely vibe to it – not too touristy, but still lovely and entertaining. Here, I had a waffle and chocolate, as we loitered around the main square, admiring the buildings, posing for pictures, and yes, this town also had Roman ruins, which we passed along the way. We soon decided to leave Padova. We got very lost, needed to stop at several places to ask for directions, and well I know that we finally reached Ljubljana around 3 am in the morning. We drove directly to Bezigrad, where Artur and I got off to go to the dorms, and the last photograph which I took, was the one where the guys bunched their fingers together and moved theirs wrists up and down, so as to imitate the hand gestures which Italians are known for.
Italy is famous for its history, its artists Da Vinci, Michelangelo & Marinetti), fashion (Gucci, Armani & Prada), sports cars (Maserati, Ferrari & Lamborghini) and lovely cities. Here are some of the many places you may want to visit:
Be sure to take you camera when you go to enjoy views of Lake Como with snow-capped mountains in the background (you may want to enjoy sailing, kitesurfing or windsurfing on it too).
While in Milan, check out the famous Gothic Cathedral. It is one of the largest churches on earth, with the facade front radiantly white and the interior adorned with spires and sculpted statues. If you admire leading brands in the fashion industry head to Quadrilatero della Moda, touted as the fashion district of Milan - this is your chance to touch, smell and feel the real Versace, Dolce Gabbana, Armani, Chanel, Gucci, Luis Vuitton and other leading luxurious brands.
Positano is an attractive village on the Amalfi Coast, built on the face of a hill. No matter when you go, the town will be busy!
Venice is hailed as the “City of Water”, containing 150 canals with the main one being the Grand Canal.
In Bologna, Piaza Maggiore square is the major tourist attraction. The square was built in 1200 and is regarded as the best of all squares in Italy. If you like art, the National Art Gallery features some collections of the 13th to 18th century. Visit the Neptune Fountain to take pictures of the statue of Neptune with its four cherubims.
The currency used in Italy is the Euro.
The official language of Italy is Italian. Italian is the mother tongue to 93% of Italy’s population. English is rarely spoken in Italy.
The best time to travel to Italy is in April, May, June, September & October. Italy’s high season runs from June to September and you can expect tourist destinations to be crowded and expensive. From November to February the country is extremely cold, with rain or snow being common (especially in the north) - if you are into skiing and other winter sports this time can be convenient for you. Summer is generally warm throughout Italy with the south getting extremely hot.
Some travellers want to avoid the additional costs of travelling around public holidays, whilst others want to join in on the festivities:
6 January (ephiphany)
25 April (Liberation from Germany, day)
2 June (birth of the Italian Republic was on 2 June 1946)
15 August (Assumption of the Virgin Mary)
1 November (All Saints Day)
8 December (Immaculate Conception)
As MSC Cruises is an Italian cruise company, there are regular cruises to Italy at the start and end of each cruise season.