When should I start reserving hotels? I have seen a few messages from people about not finding anything in March. Is that because of easter, or should I start reserving now? Going to CT, Florence, Venice.
Some hotels take reservations up to a year or more in advance. Try e-mailing to the hotels of your choice and see what they say. This is true especially over holiday periods. Check with www.venere.com. I don't know if they will reserve that far in advance, but they won't charge you for the reservation; you pay when you leave the hotel. If you make a reservation more than a few weeks in advance, it is important to re-confirm a week or so before the date you expect to arrive.
We went to Europe in Sept. a few years back and starting reserving in March. Only one hotel was filled already. Good to start early before they fill up because then you get your first pick of hotels and the best rooms. March next year is Easter, so I would guess that is why filled already. Otherwise, I would think 6 months before would be early enough. We are now planning a trip to Italy in May and will probably start reserving this November. Since we are going into a new year at that time, hopefully, hotels will already be taking reservations for it.
If your vacation in Italy extends over the period of April 25 to May 1, be forewarned that this week is a holiday week; schools are out and lots of Italians flock to the Cinque Terre. I discovered this in April this year and almost didn't get into my favorite hotel. CT trains were mobbed with teenagers. I don't know how much this impacts Florence and Venice, but would expect more tourists than usual.
Thanks to everyone for the responses.
Jon... You should start now. We were in Italy in May and made our reservations 10 months ahead of time. We were in Venice, Tuscany, and the Cinque Terre. We had no problems and were there 1 month photographing. We loved everywhere we went. Email me if you need some great places. We found them all in Rick Steves' books. We rented a car in Venice and drove all over Tuscany and Umbria and then dropped the car off in La Spezia, and took the train to Vernazza. Trained back to Pisa and flew Pisa to Rome and Rome home. Great trip.