ITALY TRAVEL TIPS: How to plan a trip to Italy
Italy is a spectacular country, well-known for its rich culture and natural beauty. Stunning architecture, incredible food, and art are just a few of the treasures that you will see and experience on a trip to Italy. If you’ve been thinking of visiting this beautiful country, these Italy travel tips will come in handy: find out why you should visit Italy, the best time to visit, some essential travel tips, what to eat in Italy and the best things to do.
Why visit Italy
Why should you visit Italy? For several years, this small European country has been one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. It’s a country that pleases every type of visitor.
For instance, if you’re a history lover, you can discover ancient monuments such as the Colosseum and the leaning tower of Pisa. Or, if you love nature, you can see the glistening slopes of the Alps, the sparkling waters of Lake Garda, and volcanic Mount Edna. Otherwise, you can relax on a boat along the canals of Venice – a perfect activity for couples or families.
You’re certainly not going to go hungry – Italy is renowned for its cuisine and local wines. Therefore, with all of these combined and more, Italy offers the perfect blend of a city and natural break to inspire every visitor. Use these Italy Travel Tips to organize your perfect vacation.
Essential Italy travel tips
LANGUAGE: Brush up on some useful phrases because Italian is the most spoken language.
MONEY/ATM: Get some Euros before you go but don’t worry about taking lots of cash since most shops and restaurants accept cards. You’ll only need change for small transactions (like all that gelato you’re excited to try.) ATMs are also widely available.
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES: Pack a universal adapter with surge protection. All the plugs in Italy are Type C, F, and L with a standard voltage of 230V and a frequency of 50Hz.
VISA: All EU nationals will only need to present an identification document to enter Italy. If you are a non-EU traveler wishing to visit Italy you will need to present a valid passport and a visa at the Italian port of entry. More information
Best time to visit Italy
Of course, Italy is beautiful all year round, but sometimes the weather can be what makes or ruins a trip. Because of its length and mountainous regions, the climate in Italy varies massively. The Mediterranean climate is very hot, almost tropical, during summers. Although this is lush for relaxing on the beach, it can be very crowded. Peak season, between July and August, will inevitably lead to massive queues and higher prices.
For this reason, the best time to visit Italy is between April and June or September and October. Springtime offers moderate temperatures, fewer tourists, and lower prices.
However, if you’re really on a budget and don’t mind a woolly jumper to cover a little chill, between November and March prices are 30% lower.
How much is a trip to Italy?
The costs will vary depending on a couple of factors, such as the time of year you’re visiting and the region. Accommodation will be your biggest expense but organize a trip to Italy on a budget is totally possible.
The cheapest accommodation you can find can be from just €20, for a shared hostel dorm. For more luxurious options you have to add another zero or two at the end. Most hostels offer free bed sheets and Wi-Fi. An alternative is Airbnb, where homeowners share rooms for a lower price or an entire apartment for around €40.
Most meals out with wine cost around €25. Often there is a ‘coperto’ fee, which is €1-3 added to your bill for service and bread.
Most museums, like the Vatican or the Colosseum, are around €10, excluding guides. Some companies will give you a discount if you book several experiences with them, city cards are also available. A wine tour will cost around €60 and a cooking class €100 upwards.
What to eat in Italy
Italy offers a long list of traditional and local foods, you will need multiple lifetimes to try all the best Italian food. Therefore the real question is: what to eat in Italy when you have a limited amount of time available?
If you have the option of visiting, Osteria Francescana, one of the best restaurants in the world, will be an unforgettable experience. Head chef Massimo Bottura has earned three Michelin stars in his ‘laboratory of ideas’ in Modena, offering bites of edible culture. Osteria Francescana
It’s a traditional dish that, despite its very ancient origins, continues to be extremely popular thanks to the versatility of the forms it can take, the cheapness of the material, and the many available flavors. Such as cheese with black pepper, meaty and cheesy lasagne, or fresh pesto.
It would be a crime to visit without tasting a pizza; most locals opt for a margarita with a thin and crispy crust (more unique flavors available). Focaccia is another specialty; a one-centimeter high golden bread brushed with olive oil, salt, and perhaps other toppings. It can be enjoyed at breakfast or as a snack.
If you’re a steak person, look for a bistecca Fiorentina, a 5-centimeter-thick T-bone from a Tuscany cow. It’s cooked for 5-7 minutes on each side, leaving the center raw due to its thickness. The cutting of bistecca Fiorentina is an ancient art. The meat is tender and tasty, it’s a delicious feast to share… or not!
Cheese and salumi:
Italians take their gastronomic tradition of quality cheeses and salumi very seriously. They are extremely important for the Italian culinary tradition. Since the discovery of cheese (Roman times) it has been a staple on dinner tables together with a slice of Prosciutto.
Finally, gelato is a must. It has up to 14% less butterfat than ice cream, meaning it’s served a bit warmer and tends to melt in the mouth quicker. Above all, the flavor is intensified with a velvety texture. Irresistible. Wherever you go in Italy you will find fruity and nutty flavors.
Best things to see and do in Italy
Make your trip to Italy unforgettable! Here are the best things to do in Italy:
Rome has truly magnetic energy. It blends together archaeological treasures, majestic piazzas, and a modern lifestyle. Italy’s capital has something special at every corner, with nearly 3,000 years of art and culture on display. Here you can find ancient ruins, such as the Forum and the Colosseum, which evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. More information on this Rome City Guide
Pompeii is a mesmerizing sight, a city simply frozen in time by a blanket of ash. It’s an entire buried city with squares, baths, and public buildings, for this reason, you must include Pompei in your trip to Italy. Words cannot do this experience justice.
Take a Gondola in Venice
One of the most iconic and romantic images in the world, this experience deserves its spot as one of the most desired experiences for travelers. A Gondola is a traditional Venetian boat handcrafted entirely using wood and with a flat bottom. Take this traditional rowing boat down the Grand Canal to get that snap you’ve always dreamed of. Venice is completely different from anything you have seen before.
Take a picture holding the Pisa tower
Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, the Pisa Tower started to lean during construction. Because of this reason, It’s now one of the most recognizable buildings on earth. Stop by and take a picture holding the Pisa Tower.
This charming city has a small-town feel, known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Its picturesque city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site — not to mention a metropolis filled with quaint and romantic hidden spots.
See the Amalfi Coast and Naples
This iconic coastal road stretches for 30 miles past whitewashed fishing villages and never-ending lemon groves. It offers incredible views and secret beaches. You can take a short boat to the glamourous island of Capri. While in the area make sure to spend some time visiting Naples. This city is often overlooked by tourists, but it’s the birthplace of the most universally loved food: Pizza!
Hike the Alps
For inexplicable views, you must hike the Italian Alps. They offer many different activities: during winter you can go snowboarding and skiing in beautiful white peaks, while in the summer months you can enjoy trekking, rock climbing and swimming in colorful lakes. The highest peak in the Alps is the magnificent Mont Blanc which is covered in snow and ice all year round (its name means ‘White Mountain’).
Visit Sicily and Sardinia
Sicily vs Sardinia: Which one is better? Reach out to these two stunning islands! Sardinia offers perfect white beaches, quiet villages, and world-class wines. Sicily is the largest Italian island, it boasts sweet villages and delicious food, and stunning panoramic ocean views from every spot.
Colorful 5 Terre
This consists of five heavenly villages, dramatically located on the west coast. Each has a different personality and activities to offer, from hikes to local wine tasting, for this reason, be sure to visit each one. You can walk from town to town or use public transport, but remember these hiking trails are among the most beautiful in Europe.
All this and more make Italy stand out against other countries. In conclusion, there’s certainly something to be enjoyed by every type of visitor. If you found these Italy travel tips useful, leave a comment below.