For tourists, Italy remains a prime destination. As the birthplace of Western culture, Italia features incredible museums, fantastic dining as well as stunning architecture. With the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, seasoned travelers know that a little advance research is the key to a perfect trip.

Cities and Attractions to See

There are several benefits of visiting Rome in December. As it is off-season, there are fewer tourists, which means that you can enjoy its attractions at a more leisurely pace. Even in the south where the weather can be damp and cold, its Mediterranean climate ensures that it is never too unpleasant. December’s holidays also finds Roma at its most attractive, with its distinctive architecture beautifully lit in festive colors. You may also want to consider visiting Venice, farther to the north. The temperature is milder, and you can still experience the joy of taking a gondola ride in The Floating City.

Where to Stay

Budget-minded travelers will be happy to know that they have options when visiting Italy. All six regions feature affordable accommodations, particularly if one is willing to travel a bit from its major cities. For example, if Venice is on your itinerary, consider checking out the hotels in nearby Treviso. Italy also boasts unusual places to stay, including monasteries. Surprisingly common, the adventurous enjoy their austere environment, which is not unlike a hostel. Some religious buildings remain in use–so pilgrims have the option of participating in services.

Off-Beat Excursions

As a nation celebrated for its wine, travelers might consider touring one of her many vineyards. Your hotel can organize a tour. Many tour packages include a vineyard or two as a matter of course. Here, Tuscany remains a popular destination for wine aficionados. Italy is also known for its pristine beaches. In Calabria to the south, many of its beaches are free or nominally priced. If you see rows of lettini and ombrellioni (sunbeds and umbrellas) you have found the local beach. Finally, consider taking a cooking class. Renowned for its cuisine, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best of the local talent.

Italy, in equal parts historic and modern, provides an unforgettable travel experience. Whether staying for a week or a month, the traveler will find no end of unique things to do and see.

Interested in studying abroad? Read this: What Are the Best Ways to Study Abroad Before College?