Welcome to Italy Travel Blog & Planning Guide
Planning a trip to Italy? OMG yay, we are so excited for you!
We have everything you need to know about traveling to Italy. Our travel guide is packed with insider tips on the best destinations, hotels, restaurants, and attractions throughout all of Italy’s most popular cities and beyond. Whether you want to visit Rome or Venice, see the Colosseum or climb Mount Vesuvius, we’ve got it covered.
It’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with this gorgeous country during your visit. In fact, it is one of our favorite countries in Europe. With our Italy travel guide at your side, there’s nothing stopping you from having an amazing time on your Italian adventure.
Italy Travel Blog: City guides, itineraries & tips
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Discover the best of Italy through our city itineraries, detailed travel guides, and tips!
Quick Facts Italy Travel
✔️ Officially Known as – Italian Republic
✔️ Capital City – Rome
✔️ No of Regions and Provinces – 20 regions, which are subdivided into 110 provinces
✔️ Population – 59.3 million (August 2021)
✔️ Italy Tourist Visa – Schengen
✔️ EU Member – Yes
✔️ Currency – Euro
✔️ Language – Italian (official language), English is spoken
Getting ready for Italy – Travel Visa
Italy is located in south-central Europe. It is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the northeast, the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, the Tyrrhenian Sea to the southwest, and the Ligurian Sea to the northwest.
It is home to the Alps on the northern side, and this separates Italy from France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. Except for Switzerland, it is surrounded by Euro nations, and all of them belong to the Schengen zone of countries and follow the Schengen Agreement.
🗸 So if you require a Schengen visa for most countries in Europe, then you will need it for Italy as well.
🗸 EU Nationals (European Union) do not need a visa to visit or stay in Italy.
🗸 For citizens of the United States and Canada, no travel visa is required. US and Canadian passport holders can enter and stay in Italy for up to 90 days for tourism purposes without a visa.
Flight Tips for Italy
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. It is home to a total of 77 airports.
There are nine major international airports at various locations throughout the country. They serve major cities and sister towns.
Rome, the capital city of Italy, and Milan, the largest city are connected to other European cities, with direct flights leaving from many airports in North America, Asia, and beyond.
- Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino in Rome (this is the largest airport): From Roma Fiumicino Airport, you can get to the city center via direct train service – Leonardo Express (30 minutes), or shuttle buses (40+ minutes).
- In Rome you can also arrive at the Ciampino Airport. Here is a shuttle bus that you can book.
- Milan Malpensa in Milan: Here is a direct transfer between the airport and center
- Venice: Venice Marco Polo Airport is an international airport. To connect to the center, you can use a water taxi
Both Rome and Milan have a range of flight options to choose from. Once you arrive in either city, you can connect to other destinations by high-speed or regional trains.
Best time to travel to Italy
Italy experiences all the four distinct seasons – spring, summer, autumn/fall, and winter. Here are months
- Spring: March to May
- Summer: June to August
- Autumn/fall: September to November
- Winter: December to February
Italy is diverse, and hence variations in temperatures are to be expected, as you move from the cities to the coast, from the north to the south end of the country.
Italy has ski resorts in the north, and they do get cold and a ton of snow in the winter months. In the cities (central and southern region) heavy snowfall is rare.
🗸 Summer Months – Summer months are not a popular time to visit Italy, particularly the south. The weather is generally dry and in some areas temperatures can rise as high as 30 degrees Celcius (86 F). This can be very tough in terms of sightseeing and traveling across the country.
In the central and northern part of Italy, it can be very humid in the summer, and afternoon thunderstorms are possible too.
🗸 Winter Months – Although the weather tends to move towards chilly cold months in late November, the actual ski season doesn’t start until January. January and February are busy tourist months for those heading to the slopes (in the north).
Italy in November is the wettest month of the year, but it is one of the cheapest months to fly to.
The winter months are a great option to visit Italy. Cities are not super cold. Temperatures hover around single digits (4 degrees C/39.2 F) making it easy to walk around and go sightseeing (as long as you layer on well). Plan a visit around this time to explore Christmas markets, go shopping during the festive season, and ring in the New Year!
🗸 Off-season – Spring and fall months are perfect to visit Italy. During this time the weather is pleasant, and with fewer crowds, you can easily score a nice accommodation deal.
- Best time to visit: September – mid October, March – May
- Off-Season: Spring and Fall. September – November, March – May
Average Temperatures in Rome & Dolomites
- Winters: 13 C/55 F to 4 C/40 F (Rome)
- Winters: – 5 C/23 F to -10 C/14 F (Dolomites)
- Spring: 19 C/67 F to 9 C/48 F (Rome)
- Spring: 0 C/31 F to -7 C/20 F (Dolomites)
- Summer: 31 C/89 F to 19 C/67 F (Rome)
- Summer: 11 C/53 F to 4 C/39 F (Dolomites)
- Autumn: 27 C/81 F to 15 C/ 60 F (Rome)
- Autumn: 7 C/45 F to 1 C/ 33 F (Dolomites)
- Carnivals & Street Parties: January – March
- Carnevale: February (Venice)
- Rome’s City Birthday Celebration: April
- Sagra del Limone: Cinque Terre (May)
- Palio Horse Race: July & August (Siena)
- Volto Santo: September (Lucca)
- Alba White Truffle Festival: October (Alba)
- All Saints Day: November
- Roma Jazz Festival: November (Rome)
- Feast of Our Lady of Good Health: November (Venice)
- Christmas Markets: Nov – Dec
Festivals in Italy: Italy celebrates traditional festivals, a national day of the Republic as well as various music, fashion conventions, and food/wine fests. In the table above, you can find some of the popular festivals taking place each month.
Festa della Repubblica or Republic Day is celebrated every year on June 2nd. This day commemorates the moment when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and formed a republic.
Other than that there are religious celebrations that take place across the country – during Easter/ Holy Week, Christmas, and All Saints Day (November).
Epic carnival takes place in Venice, in February, and this pulls in a lot of tourists to the city.
Iconic horse race takes place twice a year in Siena (central Tuscany), called the Palio di Siena.
Rome organizes jazz and Europa festival in November. During the month of December, many of the piazzas are decorated in festive cheer!
What to pack for Italy? Italy Packing List
Italy experiences all 4 seasons, and depending on the month you are visiting, and the activities you will be undertaking your packing list will vary. Keep in mind, Italians dress smartly in neutral colors and in good fitting outfits.
Avoid baggy clothes, loud prints, and logos during your trip to Italy. Also, be mindful of your outfits and clothing when you visit religious sites in Italy – there is a dress code in churches, etc.
Summers are warm so carry flowy dresses, tops, stylish jeans, or linen pants. Comfortable walking shoes are a must at all times of the year. Don’t forget your swimsuit (swimming is allowed in the lakes), or hiking gear for those hitting the trails in the summer.
Autumn kicks in with moderate temperatures, and we recommend bringing in something warm (a scarf, cardigan, booties, etc) along with the summer clothes.
Carry a warm jacket or a parka, and snow boots for winter activities. In Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Venice you can get by with a nice wool coat, as heavy snowfall is rare.
But it is cold, and the weather is slightly damp with a few days of rain, so pair your waterproof outerwear with bright scarves or a warm hat.
In the spring months, temperatures slowly get warmer, and it is perfect for outdoor activities. So pack summer clothes plus a light cardigan and a waterproof jacket.
Here is your packing list for Italy
- Top: Carry 2-4 pretty monochrome tops, blouses, semi-casual shirts
- Bottoms: Dark washed jeans, linen pants, leggings
- Nice sweater dress for dinners out (winter)
- Shoes: Comfortable walking shoes, hiking boots (summer), winter boots (winter)
- Outerwear: Winter Parka, wool coat (winter). Light waterproof jacket (summer)
- Winter Accessories
- Scarf (winter)
- Gloves (winter)
- Warm socks (winter)
- Beanie (winter)
- Other Accessories
- Hat or beret
- Lounge wear
- Toiletries: Moisturizer, sunscreen, toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, body cream, light make-up
- Your cellphone and sim card
- Charger: Get this multi charging cable to power up multiple devices
- Universal travel adaptor: Europe uses a plug with two round pins (type C), unlike the flat ones in North America. Don’t forget to carry your universal adaptor
- Camera: Don’t forget your camera. We carry our Sony Mirrorless Camera and Sony A7iii.
- Travel Documents:
- Passport: Don’t forget to carry your passport. It should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Italy. If you require a Schengen Visa for Europe, do apply for it prior to your trip
- Currency and Credit Cards: Carry some cash (euros), but don’t forget your credit card
- Travel insurance: Don’t forget to insure your trip to Italy. You can get a quote in minutes from Worlds Nomad Insurance here
- Transportation and hotel bookings: Save a confirmation of your bookings like EURail Pass, City Passes, flight tickets, tours, hotel reservations, and more
Budget for Italy Travel Tips
Prices in Italy can be expensive for some budget-minded travelers, but it is possible to enjoy the country in an affordable way. In our experience, we were able to find hotels and nice restaurants (similar to what we do back home in Canada) in a mid-budget range. It wasn’t expensive like Iceland, Switzerland, etc. In fact, meals were relatively cheaper in some cities!
For us, we set aside a budget of $150-$200 USD per day per person, which included the hotel (twin-share), day tour/pass, and food. In cities like Florence and Rome in the off-season, we were able to get by with $100-$150 per day (per adult) with accommodation in a central location.
During our trips to Italy, we extensively used high-speed trains and public transportation. We also stayed at a central location (city centre) or train station so it was easy to find transport to walk to various touristy attractions.
Car rentals are cheaper in Italy, as compared to many other European cities. Expect to spend $250+ USD per week.
For meals, we hardly picked up anything from a grocery store on our first visit, and our lunch and dinner were in restaurants, and trattorias – and they were not very expensive. We also drank a lot of coffee and croissants – like LOTS!.
Shared accommodation in most popular Italian destinations starts at $50 USD, and most cities have a tourist tax – levied per person per night.
Also depending on the duration of your trip and activities, you must budget for travel passes and attractions tickets. On average, you can expect to spend $30 USD per person for a guided tour.
It is not necessary to buy a rail pass or a city transport if you are visiting for a short trip.
If you are planning to treat yourself, and want to splurge, there is no place better than Italy – you can look for a room with an epic view, go fine dining, enjoy retail therapy, and more!
- Luxury: $250
- Mid-Budget: $100
- Hostel: $35 (dorm), $50 (private room)
- Restaurant: $60
- Trattoria: $7-10
- Fast Food: $10
- Day pass: $8
- 7 Day pass: $30 +
- Car rental: $38/ day
What to see in Italy? Top things to do in Italy
Italy is a country with so much to offer. The food, culture, and history of this country are all worth exploring. But you might not know where to start!
That’s why we’ve created this guide for you and an easy-to-follow itinerary checklist
Cities in Italy are filled with historical sites – from the Colosseum, centuries-old canals, largest cathedrals, Renaissance art museums, and more. There are historical buildings, epic shopping streets, and amazing restaurants and cafes that will catch your attention.
From the cities, as you move to the countryside and explore small towns and villages, they abound in mesmerizing views and sights. Go hiking in the Dolomites, or soak in the sun in the Amalfi Coast and the pretty Italian Riviera!
There are so many top things to do in Italy, and here are a few of our favorites!
🗸 Rome the eternal city – Rome is the capital city of Italy, and it is one of the must-visit places in Europe. Home to the iconic Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, the city is sprinkled with historical ruins and remnants of the Ancient Empire. Don’t miss out on soaking in the sunset from various viewpoints in the city.
Or hang out in various piazzas from the Popolo Del Piazza to the landmark Piazza Navona with Bernini creations!
Take the time to wander through cute and bohemian neighborhoods, from Monti to Trastevere. If you love art museums, do visit the Villa Borghese and its garden that is filled with beautiful fountains and sculptures.
Other iconic photo spots in Rome include the stunning Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Trevi Fountain.
🗸 Venice – Venice, the city of love is also the most romantic city in Europe. The streets are narrow, winding, and crowded. And that only adds to the charm of the most unique city in Italy.
Get lost with your soulmate, wandering through small alleys or even on the canals on gondolas!
Venice is dotted with numerous cafes and restaurants with views of the canals.
Don’t forget to visit iconic spots like Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and Saint Mark’s Basilica (and climb up the dome for some epic views). Or go on a day trip to Burano and Murano, the pretty Venetian Islands!
🗸 Milan – Milan is the fashion capital of the world, and the city will definitely be a nice change if you’ve grown tired of all the history in Rome. From old churches to art galleries with modern art pieces, Milan has it all!
Do visit the Milan Cathedral, which is the third-largest in the world. Museums are scattered throughout the city center, so try visiting some of them such as Pinacoteca di Brera, Castello Sforzesco, and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology.
Don’t miss out on visiting Via Monte Napoleone especially at night to see it lit up with lights from all the luxury shops!
Since this is a city-centered fashion, make sure to visit the famous La Scala Opera House and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
🗸 Florence – Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and this is very evident in its architecture. Be amazed at how many museums are located within walking distance!
Don’t miss out on visiting Piazza Duomo, Basilica Di Santa Croce, Galleria Dell’ Accademia, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio.
Climb up to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower for some epic city views! Or go on a day trip to Tuscany Wine Region.
🗸 Pisa – It might not be the most picturesque Italian city, but it is probably one of the most iconic cities in Italy. After all, who can resist snapping shots with the Leaning Tower of Pisa front and center?
Make sure to do a photo shoot on the field with the tower. You’ll find yourself with loads of similar-looking photos, but the Piazza Dei Miracoli that’s filled with fountains and statues in front of the tower is simply too beautiful to miss!
🗸 Pompeii – Do visit Pompeii which is home to a preserved ancient Roman town; that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today you can go on a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site from Rome, Naples, or Sorrento!
🗸 Amalfi Coast – Besides these cities, there are also so many other pretty places to visit, such as Amalfi Coast and its beautiful beaches. It is particularly known for its sunsets that are filled with purples, oranges, yellows!
Amalfi is filled with cute towns like Positano, Amalfi Town, Ravello, and Sorrento. Rent a boat and explore the coast!
🗸 Cinque Terre – These five picturesque villages are built into the rugged hills of Italy. Get your fill of panoramic views, hiking trails, and quaint tiny cafes in Cinque Terre.
🗸 Vatican City – This city-state is a must-visit if you want to see where Christianity began. Vatican City has enough churches and museums that it will take days for you to explore them all!
Don’t miss out on seeing its iconic St Peter’s Basilica, the Dome of St. Peter’s Church, and the Sistine Chapel with its famous and colorful ceiling paintings.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so don’t forget to get yourself a ticket that includes admission to some of the Vatican Museums that have some of the most famous pieces of art in history!
🗸 Hidden gems and offbeat places – Apart from the iconic and popular destinations like Rome Florence Venice and Milan, there are many other sister cities that are worth making a part of your Italy trip itinerary.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- San Gimignano
- Lake Como
Ultimate Guide to Italy Itineraries
We take pride in planning and crafting the perfect travel itinerary to make the most of our trips, and Italy is no different.
With an efficient transportation system and a plethora of day tours, you can easily explore Italy by keeping one city as a base and then venturing on day trips from there.
Our detailed travel Italy itineraries include multiple sightseeing samples. Take a look,
How many do you need in Italy? Italy perfect trip duration
Italy is one of those destinations that need to be visited multiple times to appreciate its diverse landscape and historical landmarks. If you are only planning to travel to Italy once, ensure you have 2 full weeks for that.
With 14 days in Italy, you can explore 3 cities, and a few smaller towns (or 2 regions) with ease, without being rushed.
7 days in Italy is great too, but with less time you can only do a few things, and have to really select attractions based on your personal travel style and time!
With one week in Italy is best to explore one region, and stick to that area only like the Tuscany itinerary.
Italy Package Tours
Guided tours are a popular way to explore Italy if you do not wish to do all the research and planning/booking. Our favorite booking website is Intrepid Travel and G Adventures. They organize group tours to Europe, including Italy.
You can choose from a range of departure dates, activities, areas and make the most of your travel time.
🗸 Ultimate Italy – Here is a 14-day tour of Italy that covers Rome to Venice, and everything in between! Click to view this tour here
🗸 Best of Amalfi in 8 days – This is an 8-day tour of Italy that takes you through the Amalfi Coast. Tour starts and ends in Naples. View the tour here
🗸 7 day Tuscany Tour – Visit Tuscany from Rome, and check off all the gems! Click to view this tour
🗸 There are also day tours that you can use to make the most of your trip!
Transportation Options in Italy
There are various ways to explore Italy, and depending on the season, the number of travelers in a group, and trip duration one mode of travel might work better for you, than the other.
We have already listed the guided multi-day tours – these tours cover transport, accommodation, and 1-2 meals.
Day tours are a great option too. We book all of our tours in Europe via GetYourGuide (they also have an amazing cancellation policy, so you are in safe hands when you book through them).
Day tours start at $75 USD+ which includes a return trip and may include an entry fee and a meal.
Public transportation is a popular way to explore Italy. This also includes high-speed trains called Frecciarossa (“Red Arrow”, which is the fastest), regional rail networks, buses, metro stations, etc. In Venice water taxis, water buses or Vaporetta are common.
Each city has its own city pass (full day pass, weekly or monthly pass) for trains, and includes discounted or free attractions. You can also buy a savings card for trains, or add that to your Eurail pass.
Renting a car is always an option in Italy. When renting a car, ensure you have a valid international driver’s license or national one (like the USA, Canada). Italian drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, just like the USA and Canada.
On average a rental car will cost about $38-40 USD per day.
Where to stay in Italy?
Major cities in Italy are the best places to stay in the country in terms of accessing transportation, finding a variety of tours, restaurants, and accommodation options. You will easily find hostels, to luxury hotels in centrally located areas.
Rome, Naples, Florence, and Milan are great base city options, to explore more of Italy (by taking day trips). This way you can save money on hotel rates (multiple stay discounts), and also make it easy to base and store your luggage instead of lugging them around.
Opt for accommodation at the city center for a short trip, and that will allow you to walk down to various attractions (and save money)!
For budget travelers, fear not. There are hostels with shared and private rooms available. You can also rent properties for long-term stays.
Whichever accommodation you book, you are required to pay a tourist tax at the hotel reception (at check-in or check-out). It starts at 2.50 euros per person, per night, and the price varies by property and town/city you are in.
What to eat in Italy travel blogs
There is no dearth of culinary delights in Italy – it is a food heaven – from delicious pizzas, pasta, yummy gelato, and more!
You will easily find vegan and vegetarian restaurants, fast food chains, grocery stores, and of course fine dining options. For a local vibe, opt to eat at a trattoria – an informal dining area – you order, stand, and eat! It is very affordable too!
Here are some of the food items you must try in Italy,
🗸 Risotto: Risotto is special rice and is one of my favorites. Order Risotto alla Milanese aka Saffron risotto or Risotto ai funghi!
🗸 Pizza: You got to try both Neopolitan-style pizza or Roman-style pizza in Italy. The former has a thick, fluffy crust, Roman-style pizza has a paper-thin crust. Let us know which is your favorite!
🗸 Lasagna: Don’t try this classic dish from Naples. Lasagna is composed of layered lasagne noodles with tomato or meat sauce, and ricotta cheese.
🗸 Tiramisu: This Italian coffee-flavored dessert must not be missed!
🗸 Gelato: Don’t forget to eat a ton of yummy gelato!
🗸 Digestivo: There are many kinds in Italy, and limoncello is probably the most recognizable.
Safety in Italy
Italy is a safe country to visit. It is safe for solo travel, for couples and families to venture out, explore and use public transportation at any time of day.
Violent crimes are rare these days.
Although safe, petty theft including pick-pocketing in major tourist attractions is common, which is true for most European destinations.
Being a tourist-dependent economy, you will find police patrolling popular landmarks for safety. In most sites, airport level screening is done, and heavy bags are not allowed to take in. This is for the safety of the visitors, as well as landmarks.
As always leave no trace when you visit historic sites and ruins! Let’s save them for future generations to see!
We hope you found our Italy travel tips useful in planning your getaway. Have questions? Ask us!
Read the latest from the blog Italy Travel Guide
Our website is packed with information about the best places in Italy, including Rome, Venice, and Florence. You can also find out more about Italy itineraries, day trips, photo spots, and more.
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