My husband and I are traveling from the US to Italy in the fall, most likely for about 10 days and focusing on Rome and Florence. We've been looking at tour packages but aren't crazy about the constant go-go-go and packing/unpacking of that style of travel and would like to spend significant time in fewer places so we can really enjoy those at a leisurely pace.
We have visited the UK 4 times and always rent a home, go at our own pace and have a great time. We've done this many times in the states as well. However we're not sure if a self-guided visit to Italy, especially for our first trip to the country, will be as enjoyable due to potential language barriers. We will definitely take along a book of basic phrases/translations and maybe even buy a Rosetta Stone CD before we go.
So, all you knowledgeable travelers, will we be able to manage basic communication, particulary in the lesser known tourist venues and perhaps rural towns, if we want to ask questions of a docent or a local, read a dinner menu, etc, without a good working knowledge of Italian? Thank you for your insight.