Lying in Southern Europe is a sun-drenched peninsula surrounded by the shimmering Mediterranean Sea and home to the world’s most incredible food and fabulous wines, Italy. Italy is one of Europe’s most popular and iconic vacation destinations. A trip to Italy is on the bucket list of almost every traveler. People gather in the beautiful country to bask in its romantic atmosphere, traverse its picturesque landscapes, explore its ancient ruins, and feast on its fine food and decadent wine.
This land of la dolce vita beckons travelers from all around the world to come to explore its hidden gems and open treasures. Life in Italy is a bit sweeter. Visitors are encouraged to take a breather. To slow down, and savor every passing moment. In this article, we will offer you some of the best tips for visiting Italy.
So, read the article, and enjoy it. Buon viaggio!
Trip to Italy
Best Tips for Visiting Italy
How Many Days to Set Aside for a Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
For a trip to Italy, you must set aside at least 10 days. That way you will have enough time to explore all the main attractions of the country. With 10 days you can easily explore Rome and spend some time in Florence. During this time you can also shop, see the modern side of Italy in Milan, make a detour to Tuscan wine country or Amalfi Coast, and stroll along the canals of Venice. However, if you want a more immersive experience and wish to explore the countryside or visit some smaller towns and cities in Italy, you must set aside at least 14 days.
With two weeks on your Italy trip calendar, you can easily visit all the main attractions as well as wander into the Tuscan or Pugliese countryside, the northern lakes, and also scour the small cities like Verona, Siena, or Bologna. If you throw in another week, you can traverse the more remote regions of Italy such as Sicily, Sardinia, or the Dolomites. The options are truly endless in Italy and the difficult part is not deciding where to go but what places to cut out. Therefore, make sure you have enough time to do at least half of it.
Best Time for a Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
To have an immersive and wonderful trip to Italy you must visit it during the shoulder season that comes around in late spring or early fall. During this time, not only is Italy void of hordes of summer crowds, but the prices are extremely reasonable, everything is open, and the weather is pleasant. Moreover, during this season the locals are not overwhelmed by tourist hordes and are there a bit more patient and friendlier.
The spring should season knock at Italy’s door in April however the north of Italy can still be cold and the possibility of rain persists throughout the peninsula Moreover, summer destinations such as resort towns beaches, and several other places that depend on tourism may still be closed for the season, looking like literal ghost towns.
However, by mid-May, Italy does a complete 180, resonating with a very different vibe and atmosphere. During this time, the threat of spring rain has passed, and you will be able to swim throughout much of southern Italy and daytime temperatures are pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities and sightseeing. All the sites during this time will be open and the tourist infrastructure will be up and running however, don’t worry about the cost of things and during this season you can get the benefit of shoulder season prices.
The second half of September and October observe the same conditions. Even though the first two weeks of September in Italy are still high season, starting from the 15th the crowds begin to dissipate as Italian as well as European schoolchildren go back to classes. And as the second half of September rolls around, the vibe shifts to shoulder season and you get to enjoy the amenities of summerlike weather without having to brush shoulders with crowds or having to worry about high prices.
During the shoulder season, you will have the palaces, monuments, and towns mostly to yourself, and will also be able to get away with last-minute bookings as during the off-season there is quite a good availability of everything from accommodations to car rentals. Therefore, if your schedule allows it, plan your trip to Italy in either late April or early fall.
How to Get Around When on a Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Public Transport – Almost all the major cities in Italy have an extensive public transportation system, with many of them harboring comprehensive metro systems. The tickets for public transport usually cost between 1 to 2 euros for a single journey. For unlimited travel, some cities even offer day passes. When in Rome, you can purchase a day pass for 7 euros which allows unlimited travel for a single day, or you can opt for a one-week pass that costs 24 euros.
Train – The train is one of the best ways to get around Italy as it harbors an extensive train network, that transports people from one point to another at an affordable price most trips via train cost between 10 to 30 euros. If you are traveling from Rome to Florence, it will take you about 90 minutes and 20 euros.
Whereas Rome to Venice takes about 4 hours with the price of tickets starting from 30 euros. Rome and Naples lie at a one-hour distance and the train tickets for this journey cost 20 euros. The two main rail systems in Italy are Italo and Trenitalia. The ticket prices for Italo fluctuate while tickets on Trenitalia are often a standard price.
Bus – Even though travel by is a lot slower as compared to train, it is a lot cheaper, with tickets for FlixBux starting from 6 euros. This means of transport is the most convenient or fastest but is ideal for those looking to take a trip to Italy on a budget. Moreover, buses are a comfortable option for short and medium journeys.
Most buses in Italy offer free Wi-Fi to passengers and also come with outlets. If you are taking a bus from Rome to Florence, the journey will last four hours and the tickets will cost around 7 to 15 euros. Whereas if you’re traveling from Venice to Naples, it will take you about 10 to 15 hours to reach your destination and the ticket will cost around 20 to 32 euros.
Flying – If time is of the issue you can opt for flying on a budget airline. Prices on airlines like Ryanair can be as low as 20 to 1000 euros. However, you will have to pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights.
Ferry – When on a trip to Italy, if you want to explore its amazing islands you will have to book a ferry. As ferries are quite frequent you don’t have to book in advance however, if you are visiting Italy in the peak season it is best to do so to avoid any unnecessary hurdles. The cost of a ferry from Naples to Capri starts from 25 euros. To know more about the prices and routes consult Ferry Hopper.
Car rental – Renting a car in Italy is quite affordable with prices starting around 25 to 35 euro per day for a multi-day rental. However, to drive a car in Italy you need an International Driving Permit. Keep in mind that drivers in Italy can be aggressive so drive with caution. For the best deals on car rentals consult Discover Cars.
Regions to Cover on Your Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Italy harbors 20 official regions, and each has its own regional identity and comes under the administration of its own government. These regions vary from one another and even though as a whole Italians see themselves as Italians, they have a strong affinity with their regions and consider them a part of their identity.
Even though there is no official designation as to what constitutes the south, north, and center of Italy, the general rule of thumb is that the south starts below Rome, the north starts with Tuscany and the center of the country, which is rather poorly defined, includes places level with Lazio and Rome. Sardinia and Sicily are the ones that don’t fall into any of the three categories and are regarded as distinct entities.
Northern Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Northern Italy is comprised of the regions that border with France, Australia, Switzerland, and Slovenia. These regions extend to the south of Tuscany and include, Piemonte, Lombardia, Valle d’Aosta, Trentino-Alto, Adige, Liguria, Veneto, Adige, Toscana, Emilia Romagna, and Friuli Venezia-Giulia. The major cities that come within Northern Italy are Milano, Torino, Bologna, Verona, Genova, Venezia, and Firenze.
This part is the county’s economic engine and industrial heartland, characterized by the Dolomite mountains, and Alps. Hiking trails found here are the best in Italy, which makes it a hiker’s paradise. If you move further south, you will be met with flat plains around Po River valley and gorgeous coastlines in Veneto and Liguria. The northeast region is characterized by a semi-autonomous German-speaking population where central and southern Italy’s vineyards and olive groves give way to rolling orchards of mesmerizing fruit trees and verdant valleys with radiant alpine lakes.
When you make your way to the southwest you will find the industrial center of Torino that’s famous for Italian sportscars and Fiat. The rolling hills of this region are full of Nebbiolo grapes and are famous for their white truffles. Up in the Alps, on the border of France, lies the miniature Francophone region of Valle d’Aosta which is well known for its wondrous mountains such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc as well as for its lush pastoral scenes.
The beautiful expanse of Northern Italy is dotted with medium-sized cities all of which are worth exploring. Each city harbors its own distinct character and offers its visitors cuisine, culture, and dialects that define its essence and distinction.
Central Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Central Italy is composed of Umbria, Marche, and Lazio, although some even include Tuscany in this region. This area is dominated by hills and the Apennine mountains are its reigning character. Discounting Florence, the only major city in Central Italy is Rome. In Marche, the biggest city is Coastal Ancona, whereas the largest town in Umbria is the hilltop university city of Perugia. Umbria is characterized by pretty countryside and medieval hilltop villages that include Orvieto, Assisi, Perugia, and Gubbio. The region also holds religious significance and is dotted with numerous, monasteries, churches, and shrines.
Marche on the other hand is that area of Italy that is very little visited and is a mountainous coastal region known for its fishing ports, remote hilltop towns, and beaches. The port of Ancona is a transit hub that harbors shipping connections to the Balkans. The last region of Central Italy, Lazio is the one that lies around Rome and consists of historical monuments and Roman Ruins
Southern Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Southern Italy begins south of Rome and consists of regions, Abruzzo, Puglia, Campania, Molise, Basilicata, Calabria, and depending on who you ask, Sicily. Also known as the agricultural heartland of the country, Southern Italy is an area that has been fought over for millennia and has also changed hands many times. Prior to the Romans, Southern Italy was dominated by Greek settlers and was referred to as Magna Graecia. Even to this day, several Greek influences can be seen in the region.
This region is relatively economically depressed and is dominated by hills in Campania and Calabria that give way to flat tablelands in Basilicata and Northern Puglia. Harboring lovely beaches on all of its three coats i.e., Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic, stunning archeological ruins around Naples, and mountain wilderness in Calabria, Southern Italy is worth taking a visit.
Its region, Puglia, is lined with charming villages and harbors the sun-drenched Salento Peninsula, and the baroque jewel of Lecce. On the other hand, Basilicata harbors the mind-blowing stone cave city of Matera, Molise is home to stunning beaches and gorgeous parks, while Abruzzo calls itself home to the utterly incredible Gran Sasso National Park.
Sicily and Sardinia – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Italy harbors two island regions called Sardinia and Sicily that don’t fit in any of the three categories. Sicily is home to the incredible, Roman, Greek, and Norman ruins, as well as fantastic beaches, and elegant cities. The region is a little continent in its own right and serves its visitors, food that is equal parts unique and delicious. On the other hand, Sardinia is known around the world for housing amazing beaches, and mysterious Bronze Age ruins that dot the hinterland and forgotten Phoenician cities. Its agricultural interiors and mountainous land are places that seem decades and universes away from modernity making it the most unique piece that Italy harbors.
Where to Stay When on a Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Rome – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Hotel Damaso – Best Hotel in Rome
When on a Trip to Italy consider making Hotel Damaso your base. This three-star hotel is a stunning property and is a great way to experience a little slice of luxury without going broke. The property harbors a roof terrace that is connected to an on-site bar where you can enjoy gorgeous views of sprawling Rome as you sip on your wine. Lying in the perfect location, the hotel lies a two-minute walk away from Piazza Venezia where you can shop till you drop or grab a metro to visit Rome’s most sought-after attractions.
Campo de’ Fiori Deluxe Apartment – Best Airbnb in Rome
This little slice of luxury lies only a short walk away from Pantheon and is an elegant and open space that overlooks the beautiful courtyard of a 16th-century patrician building. Taking inspiration from classic Italian art, the apartment is decked with beautiful frescoes on the ceiling and harbors ornate furnishings. Due to its ideal location, many famous Roman sites like the Pantheon, Trevi, the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Trastevere, and the Vatican lie within walking distance.
Within the apartment, you will find several amenities like a microwave, a fridge, a TV, Wi-Fi, as well as a hairdryer. However, the part that intrigues many and is worth mentioning is that your furry friends are allowed within the apartment. This means that you can explore the great city of Rome with your fur babies by your side.
YellowSquare Rome – Bets Hostel in Rome
In 2020, YellowSquare Rome was named the fourth-best large hostel at the Hostelworld Awards. This budget-friendly accommodation in Rome is a favorite among many, especially the party crowd. Lying. A short walk from the train station, as well as the biggest nightlife venues in the city, the hostel boosts dorm rooms that are equal parts cozy and comfortable. Moreover, the hostel bar also offers, throughout the week, a wide range of events that vary from karaoke to burlesque.
Sardinia – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Hotel Aquadulci – Best Hotel in Sardinia
When on a trip to Italy with friends, consider staying at the Hotel Aquadulci which is a four-star hotel, lying in southern Sardinia. The gorgeous hotel harbors on-site a large swimming pool as well as a sunbathing terrace. As the hotel is located right on the coast, it gives guests immediate access to the beach as well as mesmerizing views of the Mediterranean. Housed in the hotel are luxe suites that can sleep three to four guests, and included with your booking is a complimentary breakfast that includes gluten-free and vegan options.
Villa Yakamoz – Best Airbnb in Sardinia
In this dazzling villa, classic views, modern comforts, and traditional charm come together to offer a stay that will make you forget the comforts of five-star hotels. Surrounded by gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea and hills that run through Sardinia, the villa comes with five bedrooms that can sleep ten making it an ideal choice for larger families. Moreover, the accommodation also comes with tons of amenities like a private pool, sauna, movie theater, kitchen, Wi-Fi, TV, washer, and much more.
Hostel Sardinia – Best Hostel in Sardinia
When on a trip to Italy if you are looking for budget-friendly accommodation, opt for a stay in the Hostel Sardinia. Lying in the heart of Cagliari, the hostel is close to major transport links and also offers heavily discounted tours accord Sardinia every weekend as well as complimentary breakfast. Housed on the premises, is a top-notch bar that is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Positano – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Albergo California – Best Hotel in Positano
If you are coveting a bit more privacy, then a stay at Albergo California will do you good. Albergo California is a three-star hotel that is somewhat affordable but offers the best service. House on the premises of the hotel is a dining area that comes with a stunning terrace where you can dine with a view. Moreover, included in the price of your room is a complimentary breakfast which offers some of the most delicious foods that you find in Italy. The hotel also lies in a great location, only a short walk from the bust stop.
Sumptuous Villa – Best Airbnb in Positano
When you think of a house drenched in the Italian sun, chances are that the image you conjure up is quite similar to this house. This Airbnb is located in the center of Positano which you might think is its selling point however you are far from wrong. The major selling point of this villa is its ornate balcony that offers stunning views of Positano. The interiors of the villa speak a language of charm, class, and sophistication. Decked in bright and airy décor the villa reinstates with a classic Italian vibe. Housed on its premises are two bedrooms which makes it an ideal accommodation option for small families and groups.
Ulisse Deluxe – Best Hostel Near Positano
Positano does not harbor any budget-friendly hostels, however lysing nearby is Sorrento which is home to Ulisse Deluxe. Sorrento is also a great destination as it is a major gateway to the Amalfi Coast and has hourly connections to all the major towns. The Ulisse Deluxe is a friendly hostel that comes equipped with modern comforts and amenities. Housed by the hostel is an indoor pool, a bar as well as a full-blown gym.
Venice – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
H10 Palazzo Canova – Best Hotel in Venice
When on a trip to Italy, consider staying in Venice, a sit is one of the best places to stay in the country and is home to some of the best galleries and attractions in the world. If you make Venice, your base during your trip to Italy, consider staying at the H10 Palazzo Canova which is a four-star hotel and offers a great blend of luxury and comfort. Lying a stone’s throw away from it is the famous Rialto Bridge which can be seen from the gorgeous terrace that adjoins the restaurant of the hotel. The rooms it harbors are decked in Venetia décor and are very spacious, which is a rarity in the city of Venice.
Casa Cecilia – Best Airbnb in Venice
Casa Cecilia is a quiet and bright apartment that lies in the heart of Venice. Characterized by modern styles and enriched with stunning details, Casa Cecilia is the epitome of comfort and luxury. The apartment houses within its four walls, a living room as well as an open kitchen. Moreover, amenities are plenty and include Wi-Fi, TV, AC, Washer, crib, and much more.
Anda Venice – Best Hostel in Venice
Anda Venice is the most popular hostel in the city and is an ideal choice for backpackers looking to save some money in the notoriously expensive city of Italy. The hostel is actually found in Mestre which is a train ride away from Venice and is favored among the budget-conscious crowd. Housed on the premises the hostel is also a bar where you can get to know other guests and locals.
Florence – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
The St Regis Florence – Best Hotel in Florence
When on a trip to Italy, if you are coveting the ultimate royal treatment then make your way to St Regis Florence which harbors a 15th-century charm and mesmerizes guests with the shimmer of crystal chandeliers. Set along the Arno River, showcasing stunning views of the Ponte Vecchio, Ste Regis is a five-star hotel that houses on its premises luxury rooms, s spa, as well as a gym. Each room comes with Florentine-style furniture and marble bathrooms that are the epitome of luxury. The hotel serves a buffet breakfast daily, and its restaurant the Winter Garden treats the guests to Tuscan and Mediterranean dishes with a modern twist.
Historic Loft – Best Airbnb in Florence
If you are looking for a place all to yourself, then you should opt for this Airbnb that comes packed with dazzling details, antique furniture, and gorgeous paintings. The apartment is the ideal way to soak up the artistic spirit of Florence. There is also a garden area that comes with the studio where you can sit back and relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Archi Rossi Hostel – Best Hostel in Florence
To do Florence in a budget-friendly fashion consider a stay at Archi Rossi Hostel which lies a short walk away from the main train station. Not only are their rooms comfortable and spacious, but the hostel also offers complimentary breakfast as well as heavily discounted dinners.
Top Things to Do When on a Trip to Italy
When on a Trip to Italy, Explore Venice – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Even though crowded, Venice is the most astounding and dazzling place to visit when on a trip to Italy. The city’s iconic architecture and picturesque canals set it apart from the rest of the world, making it one of the most coveted destinations in Italy. When in Venice don’t forget to visit Doge’s Palace, Piazza San Marco, the Basilica San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and the city’s many museums. Also, make sure to head to the old Jewish Ghetto for cheap drinks and hip bars.
Also taking place in Venice are several world-famous festivals like the epic Carnival that takes place in late winter, moreover, in late August the prestigious Venice Film Festival is held in the nearby island of Lido. Make sure to take some time out to visit the neighboring islands that are quite charming in their own right.
When on a Trip to Italy, Wander Rome
Rome harbors so many sites to see and activities to do that even after making several trips to the sprawling city you would have only barely scratched the surface. Besides the obvious attractions like Palatine Hill, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Forum, there is the Trastevere neighborhood that is lying in wait to be explored. Trastevere feels like a village enclosed in a big city. It offers delicious food, houses funky bars, and has ancient winding streets that you can stroll. Nestled within the heart of Rome, lies another gem, the Vatican City. The Vatican City is the smallest independent city-state and is home to the Pope, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel as well as many fantastic museums.
When on a Trip to Italy, Tour Pompeii
Pompeii is an ancient city that is located on a 20-to-40-minute train ride from Naples. The city was destroyed by a volcano, the eruption of which froze the city in time, preserving it in a blanket of ash. Bask in the ancientness of this Roman city that is standing to this very day as it was on the fateful day that Mount Vesuvius exploded in 79 CE.
Move in and out of homes, villas, businesses, and baths, where vases and pots still lay untouched. Entry into the city costs 16 euros whereas a guided tour with a professional archeologist costs about 50 euros. Set aside an entire day to visit the city in-depth as it is a huge site and there is a lot of ground to cover.
When on a Trip to Italy, Hike the Cinque Terre
On the west coast of Italy lies the Cinque Terre which consists of five colorful coastal villages set against the backdrop of steep vineyards and mountains. These small towns are absolutely breathtaking, teeming with cute cafes and shops. Each village carries a distinct personality and charm so make sure to visit them all. Between the villages lie un hiking trails, therefore, be sure to wear the most comfortable shoes. However, if hiking is not your thing the Cinque Terre express train makes sits easy to go from one village to another.
When on a Trip to Italy, Relax on the Amalfi Coast
Lying on the Southern side of Cinque. Terre, the Amalfi coast is a beautiful and stunning region comprising 13 towns that are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the towns, you will find beautiful beaches, hillside vistas, azure blue waters, and breathtaking hikes. Make sure to spend a few days here to explore the place completely.
Cost of a Trip to Italy – Best Tips for Visiting Italy
Accommodation – On average a stay in hotel dorms will cost about 27 to 40 euros per night for rooms with 6 to eight beds while private rooms cost between 55 to 100 euro per night. Wi-Fi is standard in the hostels in Italy and some even offer self-catering services and complimentary breakfast. During the summer months, when the peak season is upon Italy expect the prices of hostels to double especially in Florence and Rome where on regular days the prices are 20 percent higher as compared to other cities.
Campgrounds are also available in Italy costing between 15 to 30 euros per night for a basic plot for two people. A night in a two-star hotel will set you back by 10 to 125 euros however the amenities like AC, V, free Wi-Fi, and in some cases, free breakfast, make up for it. You can also rent a private room via Airbnb costing about 45 to 90 euro. While an apartment on Airbnb costs about 100 to 150 euros. Expect the prices to be double or triple in Rome and Venice.
Food – Food in Italy is sensational and is loved all around the world with the most famous dishes being pasta, pizza, and gelato. A casual restaurant meal of pasta and pizza will cost you about 10 to 20 euros, however, if you dine in hot tourist spots add 5 to 10 more euros to that. Light snacks, quick eats like paninis, and a slice of pizza range between 3 to 8 euros.
Moreover, snacks like croissants cost more than 2 euros. A combo meal at a fast-food chain will set you back by 8 to 10 euros. Whereas you can get Chinese, Indian, or Thai food for 10 to 12 euros. For a desert like tiramisu, expect to pay 4 to 8 euros.
If you dine with a drink at an average restaurant, you will have to pay around 30 euros. Whereas, for high-end meals expect to pay anywhere from 70 to 100 euros. Beer in Italy costs about 4 to 5 euros, while. Glass of wine od for 4 to 8 euros. You can get a cappuccino for 1.50 euros, while water costs 1 euro. If you plan on cooking yourself, expect to pay 60 to 65 euros per week for groceries.
Breakdown of Cost for a Trip to Italy Depending on the Kind of Travelers
|Average daily cost (Euro)
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