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Dec 13, 2013 08:52 AM

Reservations - timing

Visiting Parma, Bologna, Orvieto and Rome from Dec 27-Jan 7. We plan to dine primarily at the types of less touristy establishments recommended by posters on this board, as well as our Slow Food Guide and Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler (thanks to this board for sending me to this great resource, I love this book). Can anyone give a general guideline as to how far in advance we would need to make reservations - if at all - for lunches or dinners? Again just looking for general advice here. Thanks.

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  1. This is in 2 weeks,

    I'd get on the phone (email) now to at least know of their schedules if they are open/close for Christmas holidays

    You can usually call ahead a couple of days before (or even on the same day), but have a plan A and B in case your selections is either closed or full.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      "This is in 2 weeks,

      I'd get on the phone (email) now to at least know of their schedules if they are open/close for Christmas holidays"

      I absolutely agree with this.
      Also, after having been to Italy 6 or 7 times now (and as a former traveler who would make reservations a month or more in advance when possible) I have to say that for most restaurants, phoning a few days before is more than enough time. Getting all my reservations set so far in advance not only gave me "agita," it made being spontaneous almost impossible and took the fun out of traveling for me.

      1. re: ttoommyy

        we tend not to seek reservations for trattoria level restaurants, except maybe for Sunday lunch or dinner in a special place.There have been times when we have struck out but they were rare. But if we are travelling/staying somewhere to eat in a particular place, we will reserve. Do check on closing/holiday schedules and have backup plans in case you arrive and the place is closed/fully booked.

        I do agree with ttoommy that having everything sewed up ahead of time can suck the life out of a trip.

    2. Thanks, all. Last week I started emailing places we are interested in regarding holiday schedules. Glad to know we can book a few days out. As folks have mentioned, not ideal to be *too* scheduled so we'll have some plans A and B and go from there. Will report back!