Many travellers tend to check on travel forums for tips and suggestions.

In NA, both the
Fodors Forum and the TripAdvisor Forum can be a decent source of tips and advices. However, due to their increased popularity and the sheer amount of posts, they can also turn into a huge waste of time. The forums tend be populated by lots of "experts" (expats who live in Italy, or travellers who have been to Italy a few times). They also tend to be a closely knit community with some "experts" answering questions and submitting an average of more than 300 posts/month, sometimes 30-35 posts a day. Some have very strong opinions, sometimes divergent ones. There are also posts that are clearly driven by commercial interests (though TA is trying to control that). Regardless, if you have the time and consider the posts with a grain of salt, and do your own homework, the Forums may be useful.

Keep in mind that the forums are intended to be tools to use for planning, not intended to provide "definite" answers. Both Forums can be overwhelming, and providing too much info. Hence, as your plan begins to shape up, you may want to focus on specific sites, attractions or areas and use other tools. Refer to your preferred books, or
Travel guides, there you will find the answers to many of your questions, and save hrs. online.

As both Fodors and TA grow, they turn into less and less useful sites (without a significant investment of time). If your time is limited, you may want to check Slow travel. For a first time traveler to Italy, we believe
Slow travel now provides the most useful and concise tips for traveling to Italy. Check that out.

Another way to get ideas about sites to visit, restaurants and accommodations is to visit some of the many personal travel websites posted by people who visited Italy. Since there are so many sites, it is easy to get overwhelmed. One site that we would recommend is the one recently developed by Phil and Heather after their fall 2009 trip to Italy.
Check it out!