How to plan a trip to Italy – 15 essential tips

How to plan a trip to Italy – 15 essential tips

Are you planning a trip to Italy? You’ve come to the right place!

Planning a trip to Italy can be overwhelming, even for experienced travellers. There are countless sites with tons of information, and you’re never quite sure you’ve got the best available.

And that’s why I wrote this article. I’m Italian and I live in Italy. Needless to say, I am very familiar with my country, its culture, and customs, but above all, I am very familiar with public transportation, so I can give you the best advice on how to get around.

I wrote this guide to walk you through the process of planning your trip step-by-step. From deciding when to go and how much it will cost, to what to pack and how to use your phone, it’s all here to take the stress out of trip planning.

Whether you’re travelling to Italy for a short break or a longer trip, here’s how to plan, book and make the most of your visit.

“Can you travel to Italy in 2021?

It is likely that the answer to this question is yes. However, as the situation in Italy can change quickly in times of ongoing pandemics, I highly recommend you to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website for general information on current rules related to travel to and from Italy. And the Italian Ministry of Health website for the latest news.”

How to plan a trip to Italy

Check visa and Passport requirements 

 

When planning your trip to Italy, the first thing you may want to check is what your visa requirements are. 

Citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand may enter Italy and stay up to 90 days without a visa. You must have at least 3 months validity on your passport after the intended date of departure from Schengen Area.

Starting at the end of 2022, you’ll most likely need to apply for an ETIAS permit to travel to Italy.

This new rule also applies to those who can now travel to Italy without a visa, such as U.S. citizens, who will also be required to apply for the new electronic authorization. Fear not, you can apply online in minutes.

To make sure if you need to apply for a visa and what documents are required, check out the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, answer a couple of questions and instantly get all the information you need.Check Passport and Visa

Decide when to go to Italy

Next step when planning a trip to Italy is deciding when to go.

 There is no single “best time” to travel to Italy, it depends on your preferences as a traveler and your budget! 

However, you should consider some seasonal differences.

Spring – Autumn (Fall)

  • The best months for traveling to Italy are from April to June and from mid-September to the end of October. These are shoulder months and the weather is sunny and mild, places aren’t overcrowded and you can find good deals on accommodation, especially in the south;

Summer

  • From July through early September is high season and the country’s tourist spots teem with visitors. The weather gets really hot and the prices are higher;

Winter

  • Late December to March is high season only in the Alps and the Dolomites, so the prices will be higher only in these locations. The weather varies from year to year, but usually winter can be quite cold in the North and very mild in the South.
  • Prices also rocket throughout the country during major holidays, such as Christmas, New Year and Easter.

In my opinion, August isn’t the best month to travel to Italy, not only because the weather gets hot and muggy but most Italians go on vacation for at least two weeks. Major cities are less crowded but plenty of family-run hotels, restaurants and shops may be closed for vacations.

What to see and do in Italy

What you see and do in Italy depends mainly on how much time you have, what you are interested in and at what time of the year you want to travel.

When planning a trip to Italy, a good way to get an overview of your itinerary is to look at a map of Italian cities and their best attractions. This way you can make informed decisions about where you want to go, how long it takes to explore each location, how to move most effectively from place to place, and the type of trip you want.

Everyone knows the three most popular tourist destinations in Italy, Rome, Florence and Venice. But one of the biggest mistakes travelers make is trying to see everything within 10 days. While you can certainly tour all of them in 10 days, you will not get a deep experience of their beauty. If you are staying in a city for a short period of time, a great way to explore Italy like a local is to book a walking tour with a local guide.

Itinerary planning – Where to go

To help you with your itinerary, here is a short list of some of the best destinations in Italy:

Rome: The capital of Italy is the home of the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, which includes St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the Pantheon, as well as many other historic buildings and museums.

Italy like a local - Sunset in Rome
Sunset in Rome

Tuscany: Italy’s most famous region, known for its rolling hills, includes, Lucca, Pisa and Florence.

If you are looking for a unique landscape, head to Val D’Orcia.

Rolling hills with vineyards and olive trees, good food and itineraries through nature. There are also areas with thermal water where you can take advantage of natural baths and relax. I also recommend a stop in Bagno Vignoni to immerse yourself in nature for a wellness weekend.

Umbria: The hill towns of Orvieto, Perugia and Spoleto are accompanied by regional wines and hand-painted ceramics.

The Dolomites: The Three Peaks of Lavaredo are the three most famous peaks of the Dolomites, considered the pearls of Trentino. They reach almost three thousand meters in the middle section. You can get there by car from Misurina via a toll road. If you love hiking, there are various alternatives to reach them on foot. Lake Braies is another pearl in the Dolomites, a must-visit location.

Planning a trip to Italy - Lake Braies, the Dolomites
Lake Braies, Dolomites

The island of Burano is located on one of the four islands of the Venetian lagoon and a walk through its narrow colored streets is truly the most magical thing to do. It is certainly famous for its needle lace and has a great culinary tradition. Bussolai is a typical sweet that is worth a try.

Italy like a local - The Island of Burano, Venice top view
Top View of Burano, Venice

The Cinque Terre (Liguria) is an absolute gem to visit. They are: Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia and Riomaggiore. A Unesco World Heritage Site, they can be reached mainly by train. Olive trees and dry stone walls are predominant in this area. Worth visiting is the Strada dell’Amore, a promenade right above the sea.

Verona: This romantic city is located in Veneto, a region in the North of Italy between Venice and Milan. It’s not a popular tourist destination, however it worths to be visited by anyone who likes history, good food and beautiful landscapes.

Alberobello (Puglia) is famous for its Trulli, buildings that are certainly very characteristic. Trulli has a fireplace that is always present on one side, as well as the usual votive presence at the entrance, which is very important in this area. There is a larger trullo, the only one with two floors, called Trullo Sovrano. Certainly a very interesting place that tourists cannot miss to visit.

Italy like a local - Trulli, conical houses in Alberobello, Puglia
Trulli, traditional houses of the Itria Valley in Puglia

Matera (Basilicata): The 2019 European Capital of Culture, known as the City of the Sassi is another pearl to visit.

Italy like a local - view of Matera Basilicata
Matera, Basilicata

Egadi Islands are one of the most beautiful places in Sicily. There are 4 Egadi Islands,  Favignana, Levanzo, Marettimo and the smallest one Maraone. Favignana is the closest (as well as the biggest) one to Sicily. This island I would call the Sicilian Caribbean with crystal clear turquoise waters, popular with beach lovers and divers. You can hire a bike to visit the beaches, so you can stop for a swim, then cycle to the next beach and enjoy the islands views.

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, a true gem of our country. Enjoy the steep cliffs, eat lots of pizza and get lost in the scent of Mediterranean nature.

The best time to visit is definitely summer, the weather is great but it can get overcrowded. My advice is to go in spring or early autumn (fall) when the weather is still nice and there are fewer people.

Planning a trip to Italy - View of the Amalfi Coast from Ravello
The Amafi Coast seen from Ravello

Recommended Italy tour packages

If you are planning a trip to Italy, you can add some tours and activities to your itinerary in addition to your regular itinerary.

 Book your Flights

When looking for flights consider that Italy has four main intercontinental gateways:

And if you are arriving in Italy from any other European city, it’s cheaper to fly on a budget carrier to one of the smaller Italian cities. Among the most convenient are:

Also Italy’s shape is long and skinny, so it would be normal to fly into one airport at one end and leave from another at the other end. For example if you arrive in Rome you can fly out of Milan, or if you arrive in Venice you can then fly out of Naples and vice versa.

Book airport transfers

One of the most important question when planning a trip to Italy is how to get to your hotel on arrival at the airport.

The best place to get information on how to get from the airport to your accommodation is usually the airport website you have landed on.

However, when travelling it is a good idea to have transfer options arranged before you arrive at the airport. This will give you peace of mind when travelling with group of people as opposed to driving yourself.

Here is a list of companies that offer transfer services along with costs for each option:

  •  Intui-Travel – is a platform for booking transfers in 156 countries from the best local transport companies;
  •  KiwiTaxi – is an online transfer booking platform for individuals and groups;
  • Suntransfer – is a company that specializes in transfer options from major airports.

How to find the best flight deals

There are several websites where you can search for the best flight deals to Italy, I use a combination of Skyscanner, Jetradar and Google flights. 

With these websites you have a comprehensive overview of all available flights, from different destinations and airlines.

Jetradar.com search airfare is one of the largest online search engines for flights all over the world, it is possible for users to track down special offers from carriers and book the cheapest tickets available.

Skyscanner also offers the ability to receive price notifications directly via email for the flights you are looking for. Before you plan your trip to Italy, you can check the price offers for various Italian cities, depending on where you are more comfortable.

It is often cheaper to fly to Milan than to Rome, and Pisa is an ideal starting point for excursions to Tuscany and the Cinque Terre.

And always use an incognito browser when looking for flight deals.

 How to get around Italy

One of the best way to get around Italy is by train. The various regions are well connected thanks to a great and widespread train system.

Trenitalia is the national carrier and covers the entire country with high-speed train, such as Frecciarossa and Frecciargento, and regional trains serving smaller destinations.

On the company website you can also find various offers aimed at the needs of families, couples, groups but also individuals. 

To keep informed on timetables and connections, you can use the train travel app (viaggiatreno.it), which is free and easy to use.

Alternatively, you can choose to travel with Italo, a private carrier that covers the country’s major cities with high-speed trains. It offers several high-speed routes for very low prices (if booked in advance). 

However, as mentioned, Italo limits itself to transporting its passengers to the main Italian locations, but they’re implementing a combination of train+bus services that will cover lesser known destinations. 

Inter-city transportation in Italy
Trenitalia Frecciarossa

If you want to visit the islands of Sicily or Sardinia or travel very long distances, flying is the most sensible option. Find the price of the route on Skyscanner, Jetradar or Google Flights.

Some islands in Italy can only be reached by ferries. Several ferry companies operate ferry services in Italy, but their websites are difficult to navigate. 

Direct Ferries is a useful English-language website that provides an easy to understand itinerary, times and prices for Italian ferries.

When to rent a car in Italy

If you want to have the opportunity to visit other places instead of just visiting the big cities, the easiest and best way to travel in Italy is to rent a car.

Visiting Italian smaller towns can be challenging without a car. Even if there are trains that go to the towns you’re planning to visit, it may take so much time and hassle because you may need to change trains two to three times to get to your final destination. 

Despite the reputation Italians have to be terrible drivers, driving in Italy can be quite fun and incredibly scenic and, having your car will give you more freedom than relying on public transport. 

My advice is to rent small cars so that you don’t panic when you walk through the narrow streets of a city and it becomes much easier to find a parking space.

If you need to map out distances to travel between destinations and costs use trenitalia.it for trains and viamichelin.com for car.

If you are planning a long road trip to Italy, consider the services of Auto Europe or Qeeq.com, they both offer a wide range of services such as car renting, parking, insurance and more.

Note: To drive in Italy, you will need an international driving license, which you can obtain in your home country. 

Find your accommodation in Italy

You will find an incredible selection of accommodation in Italy, from simple and private apartments to luxury and boutique hotels, which are offered on websites such as Airbnb, Booking and Vrbo.com. 

If you are visiting cities like Rome or Florence, especially for the first time, I strongly recommend you to book your lodging as close to the city center as possible. Even if it costs a little more, the comfort is worth it.

As mentioned before, Italy offers a wide range of options when it comes to hotel accommodation, and in most hotels, large or small, breakfast is usually included in the price and is often served as a rich buffet. 

If you are traveling on a small budget, renting a private apartment can be a cost-saving measure, especially for families. But you would like to consider an apartment or villa with a kitchen.

Private apartment for rent in the Dolomites, Italy
Private apartment for rent in Dobbiaco, Italian Dolomites

If you are planning to spend some time in the countryside, consider staying in an Agriturismo.com

They are country houses located a few kilometers away from the major cities, and many have outdoor pools and are ideal for large groups of family and friends. While many rent individual apartments or rooms as well. They offer a variety of foods, often locally grown and produced, such as olive oil, wine, tomatoes and peppers. 

This is a great way to learn about the local culture, history and food of your destination, as well as the history of the country.

Recommended guidebooks for planning a trip to Italy

There are many online resources and offline sources that can help you plan a trip to Italy, but there’s nothing that says it better than a comprehensive overview of Italy travel guides. If you are planning to visit Italy then take a look at this list of the best travel guide books for Italy.

Rick Steves Italy 2020 (Rick Steves Travel Guide)  -Rick Steves is the travel expert you see on public television. He has spent years living in Europe and has a more intimate understanding of what it is like to be there as an American. Study his guide carefully and you’ll be sure not to make some of the mistakes that he did when he was first traveling in Europe.

Lonely Planet Italy (Country Guide)  – I have been traveling the world for over 15 years and my copy of Lonely Planet’s guide is one of the things I never leave home without. They’ve been crafting guides for decades, and their Italy guide is amazing when it comes to day-to-day travel tips and advice.

 Fodor’s Essential Italy 2020 (Full-Color Travel Guide) – Fodor’s Italy is the definitive, go-to guidebook for all that a traveler needs to explore the whole of Italy. With this book, Fodor’s gives you a deeper understanding of the Italian culture and helps you get around easily with maps, detailed practical information, and advice from locals. With plenty of suggestions on the best ways to see Italy, this book guides you through Rome, Tuscany, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, and beyond.

DK Eyewitness Italy 2020 (Travel Guide) – If you’re planning a trip to Italy, there’s no need to waste time searching for information you already know about this city. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Italy is one of the best travel guides for Italy and will surely become your number one resource whenever needed.

Cost of a trip to Italy

How much does it cost for a trip to Italy?

It depends on your expectations, interests and travel style. If you visit lesser-known regional areas and avoid the big cities, you’ll find plenty of free wonderful things to see. Even in the larger cities, it is possible to find free attractions and cheap accommodation if you know where to look.

Of course, there are several variables and it is difficult, if not impossible, to create an Italy travel budget that works for every traveller.

The first thing you need to consider is the cost of accommodation, as this is a large part of the total cost of travel. 

The second big issue to consider for your Italy travel budget is the price of transport. 

The cost of flights to Italy can vary considerably, usually depending on when you want to fly, but there are a number of factors that can vary the cost of accommodation in Italy, some of which are beyond your control.

These costs are responsible for the majority of the travel costs for a trip to Italy, especially for long-term trips to the country.

Another tip that can help you save is to book long train journeys in advance. Trains to Italy are much cheaper if you buy well in advance and do not leave at the last minute.

The local trains to Italy are also cheap, tickets from Rome to Bologna cost only 19 euros via trenitalia.

 What things cost in Italy

Here is a rough guide to help you plan your budget. Prices are average for a double room and per day, though this will vary in popular areas at high season

Accomodation

  • Upscale / Luxury – €185+ [USD $225+] per night
  • Midrange / Boutique – €100-200 [USD $121-245] per night
  • Budget / B&B – €60-120 [USD $73-145] per night
  • Ultra budget / Hostel or shared room in AirBnB – €20-40 [USD $25-50] per night

Food

  • Breakfast (Cappuccino and croissant standing at a bar) € 2,50 – 5 [$3 – 6]
  • Dinner € 35 – 120 [$45 – 150]
  • Gelato (ice-cream standing at a bar) € 2 – 6 [$ 2.50 – 7.50]
  • Aperitivo € 8 – 15 [$ 10- 18]

Transportation

  • Local transportation Bus € 1.50 – 2 
  • Local regional train € 8 – 15
  • High speed train € 30 – 100

Entrance Fees

  • Average daily cost for one person € 10 – 20

Learn some Italian phrases

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, then you should definitely get your Italian phrases straight. Language is perhaps the biggest cultural exposure that you’ll have to the land and people of Italy. It’s impossible to travel Italy like a local without being able to communicate with locals and other travelers.

Here are some of the Italian words and expressions you might want to learn for when you visit Italy. Even if you know only a few Italian words, people will appreciate that you are trying to speak their language. Unfortunately, however there is no way to add accent marks to your typing on the web so I’ve had to leave them out:

Common greetings in Italian

  • Buongiorno – Good morning – Bwon-johr-noh
  • Buon pomeriggio – Good Afternoon – bwon po-mer-eej-jio
  • Buonasera – Good evening – Bwon-a-seh-rah
  • Buonanotte – Goodnight – Bwonanotteh
  • Arrivederci – Goodbye – ah-ree-vey-der-chee
  • Ciao (informal)Hi/Bye – Chaow
  • Salve (formal) – Hello/Bye – sal-veh
  • Grazie – Thank you – grah-tsee-eh
  • Sì/No – Yes/No – See/No
  • Come stai? (informal)/Come sta? (formal) – How are you? – Ko-meh stahe? (informal)/Ko-meh stah? (formal)
  • Scusa/mi dispiace – I’m sorry – Skoo-sah/Mee dee-spee-ah-chay
  • Mi scusi… (to draw somebody’s attention) – Excuse me… – mee skoo-see
  • Non lo so – I don’t know – nohn lo soh

Useful phrases at the restaurant

  • Colazione – Breakfast – Kow-lah-tseeo-neh
  • Pranzo – Lunch – Prahn-tso
  • Cena – Dinner – Che-nah
  • Quanto costa? – How much is it? – Kwan-to koss-tah
  • Posso avere il menu per favore? – Can I see the menu, please? – po-sso a-vay-ray eel me-noo, per fa-vo-ray?
  • Cosa ci consiglia? – What do you recommend? – Kay koh-za chee kon-seell-yah?
  • Sono allergico (man)/allergica (woman) a … – I’m allergic to … – Sohn-oh ah-lehr-gee-koh ah / Sohn-oh ah-lehr-gee-kah ah …
  • Senza Glutine – Gluten free – Sehn-tzah gloo-teen-ay
  • Latticini / Pesce – Dairy / fish – Lah-tee-cheen-ee / Pesh-ay
  • Vino della casaHouse wine – Vee-noh del-lah cah-sah 
  • Vino rosso / bianco – Red / white wine – Vee-noh ross-oh / bee-ahn-koh
  • Un bicchiere – A glass – Oon beek-kyeh-reh
  • Una bottiglia – A bottle – Oo-nah boht-tee-llyah
  • Antipasto – Appetizer – Ahn-tee-pah-stoh
  • Primo – First course – Pree-moh
  • Secondo – Second course – Seh-kon-doh
  • Dolce – Dessert – Doll-che
  • Il conto per favore? – The check, please? – Eel kon-toh, pehr fah-voh-reh
  • Posso pagare con la carta? – Can I pay by card? – Pohs-soh pah-gah-reh kon lah cahr-tah?
  • Dov’è il bagno? – Where is the bathroom (toilet)? –Doh-veh eel bahn-yoh

Asking for directions in Italian

  • Dov’è…? –  Where’s…? – Doh-veh…
  • Entrata – Entrance – En-trah-tah
  • Uscita – Exit – Ooh-shee-tah
  • Sinistra – Left – See-nee-strah
  • Destra – Right – Deh-stra
  • Dritto – Straight ahead – Dree-ttoh
  • Avanti – Forward – Ah-vahn-tee
  • Dietro – Back – Dee-eh-troh

Useful words for transport and getting around

  • Dov’è la stazione ferroviaria? – Where is the train station? – Doh-veh lah stah-tzee-oh-neh feh-rroh-vee-ah-ree-ah
  • D0v’è la fermata dell’autobus? – Where’s the bus stop? – Doh-veh lah fehr-mah-tah dehl-auto-boos
  • Un biglietto/Due biglietti – one ticket/two tickets – Oon beel-yet-toh/Doo-eh beell-yet-tee
  • Solo Andata – One way – Soh-loh Ahn-dah-tah
  • Andata e ritorno – Return/Round-trip ticket – Ahn-dah-tah ay ree-thor-noh
  • Da quale binario parte per …? – What platform for …? – Dah kwah-lay bee-nah-reeo pahr-teh pehr …?
  • Questo treno/autobus ferma a …? – Does this train/bus stop at …? – Kway-stoh treh-noh/auto-boos fehr-mah ah …?

Shopping words in Italian

  • Vorrei … – I would like … – Vohr-ray …
  • Quanto costa questo? – How much is this? – Kwahn-toh kohs-tah kwehs-toh?
  • Va bene, lo prendo! – Ok, I’ll take it! – Vah beh-neh, loh prehn-doh
  • Non lo voglio – I don’t want it – Nohn loh voh-llyoh
  • Può spedirlo in …? – Can you ship to …? – Poo-oh speh-deer-loh een…?

Useful word if you need help in Italian

  • Polizia/Carabinieri – Police – Poh-lee-tzee-ah/Kah-rah-bee-nee-eh-ree
  • Parla inglese? – Can you speak English? – Pahr-lah eeng-lay-seh?
  • Mi può aiutare per favore? – Can you help me, please? – Mee poo-oh ah-eeu-tah-reh pehr fah-voh-reh?

Internet access in Italy

As you plan your trip to Italy, have a good think about how much internet access you will need. Some people are happy to disconnect and use paper or offline maps while others need that online connection.

If you use offline maps and travel guides and want to use minimal data, you may encounter Wifi in your hotel or accommodation. If you plan to use it, make sure you switch to international roaming when you’re traveling to avoid unwelcome billing surprises. If you are eating in a restaurant in Italy, you should not expect the restaurant or café to have Wifi.

Internet access is widely available in the form of broadband, wireless and optical fibre connections in Italy. Most contracts include international roaming that will cover you in most places, but if you plan to visit more rural areas you will need to consider how much internet access you will need on your trip.

Local sim

If you have an unlocked phone you can purchase a tourist SIM before your depart or when you arrive. There are 4 different mobile internet providers in Italy:

  • Vodafone
  • Windtre (former Wind & 3 Italia)
  • Tim
  • Iliad

Since March 2020 Wind and 3 Italy joined forces and became WINDTRE. Iliad is a fairly new mobile internet operator in Italy. More providers, means more competition, means cheaper prices!

Portable wifi device

If you need to be online 24/7 when traveling, you should definitely get yourself a Portable wi-fi device.

Travel insurance

If you are travelling to Italy, I recommend finding travel insurance that covers both medical emergencies as well as possible flight cancellations. While a standard travel insurance policy may cover your trip in general, it is recommended that you find a provider that offers more specific travel insurance for Italy instead.

Before you commit to a purchase, you must read the terms of your insurance coverage, including exclusions. Universal health insurance is recommended regardless, but by 2021 you must check whether there is coverage for Covid19-themed coverage. Protection against cancellation, delay or loss of belongings is a bonus, but it cannot apply in the event of pandemics. 

Here you can compare and buy travel insurance for 2021.

Packing for your trip to Italy

Visiting Italy is a dream comes true for many, but it can be difficult to pack if you’ve never been to Italy before. Consider the area you are going to and decide on your look based on this. It really depends on the season, your itinerary and your activities.

And remember that you don’t have to wear your Sunday best. 

If you decide to visit one of the many churches in Italy, remember to dress appropriately. Therefore, your legs and arms should be covered.

Wear comfortable and nice shoes so that you can walk and move around without discomfort to your feet. I’ve met a lot of tourists who are worried about what to wear and what not to wear when visiting Italy.

People seem to believe that Italy is some kind of fashion mecca.

The truth is that Italians don’t actually care when it comes to clothes and shoes.

So, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and don’t worry about “Italian fashion” because no one cares.

The general rule of thumb is to look nice and put some effort into your appearance. Leave the flip-flops, old college t-shirts, and shorts at home (most Italians won’t wear shorts, even in the summer, unless it’s for athletic or beach activities).
Always carry a pair of jeans, which are considered to be a must-have outfit both during the day and at night.
Pair a nice pair of skinny jeans or travel pants with a fashionable pair of sneakers or flats and a trendy top.

To visit art cities in summer, pack light clothes in natural materials and some cotton t-shirts or tops.
If your itinerary includes churches or religious buildings, you’ll need to bring something to cover your shoulders.
If you want to travel light, a nice cotton scarf or Pashmina will be perfect. They take up very little space in your suitcase.
You could also take the opportunity to buy one directly at your destination. It will be a nice souvenir from your Italian holiday!

And lastly, when traveling to Italy you must learn the art of packing light. A large suitcase is not a good idea, and most people find that a challenge, so try to stick to a medium bag or a carry-on luggage only. This is a great way to travel as it will make it easier to manage the cobblestones and challenges that come with taking public transportation in Italy, as well as the stairs which are a common feature of a trip to Italy.

Must-have items on your trip to Italy

Going on a trip to Italy soon? I know you want to make sure that you bring everything you need.

Here are some of the items that will make your trip so much better.

 Travel adaptors for Italy – If you’re traveling to Italy from a country outside of Europe, you will need a travel adapter to fit Italian sockets. No worries though, there are a ton of adaptors you can buy online.

Anti theft backpack – This is a travel must-have. I often take day trips during my trip, and I like to have a bag that can easily store my phone, wallet, and passport when sightseeing. It also works great as a camera carry-all while hiking or walking around cities. Pacsafe is light-weight, fits under the seat in front of me on planes, and has zipper panels that help keep items secure while on the go.

Packing cubes – I have become a huge fan of packing cubes simply because of their convenience. As someone who has to travel frequently either for business or leisure, I like to keep my packing list simple so I don’t spend too much time packing and unpacking. These little cubes not only have saved me a lot of time in the process but they help me stay organized and clean.

Reusable filtered water bottle – Some people find that they can adapt to the water in Italy, while others don’t. For those of you who have difficulty adapting to the drinking water in Italy (or other countries), you may want to keep a bottle of filtered water with you as you travel. This will allow you to avoid potentially drinking something that may make your stomach feel upset.

Power Bank – Whether you are going on one of the many tours in Italy, walking around Rome for the day, or doing an Italy road trip, your phone is probably going to die quickly. You may ask why? It’s because this country is gorgeous and you will be tempted to photograph every single sight you see.

Plus, there is a lot to do and see. Walk through Venice with its canals and bridges. Taste the local food in Milan, Naples and Sicily. Experience beautiful architecture from Roman ruins to Italian renaissance buildings. And if you think that you’re only in for the “city life,” don’t be fooled. Take a tour of the countryside and enjoy taking photos of hills covered with vineyards or olive groves.

Small scarf or pashmina – In Italy, you’ll find that most of the major destinations have churches, cathedrals or other religious places of worship. Not every small town or village has a church in it but if there is a large population (especially in the north), there’s a very high chance that you’ll find at least one church in the center.

To enter those buildings, you will need to adhere to their dress code which is often strict, and you can always find a lightweight scarf or pashmina to do the job.

Hand sanitizer and Face mask – It is mandatory in Italy to wear a face mask and use hand sanitizer for your safety. This applies to both citizens and tourists.

How far in advance should you plan a trip to Italy?

When it comes to popular hotels, accommodation and tours, the answer is as early as possible. Especially for the peak periods of July and August.

The more popular the accommodation, the longer you should book in advance. If you are travelling to particularly popular destinations such as the Amalfi Coast in summer, book 9-12 months in advance.

Flight bookings depend on where you are flying. The best time to book flight tickets to Italy is generally 6-12 months in advance. For flights within Europe, there are the best deals 1-5 months in advance.

Train reservations can be made up to 4 months in advance on high-speed trains and standard intercity trains.

Here are some money saving tips on your Italy trip

Buy or reserve tickets in advance for the attractions you want to see. Especially for those hotspot attractions, such as the Colosseum, the Vatican museums, the Uffizi Gallery just to name a few.

Although it is tempting to visit all the museums and attractions, it is worth remembering that much of Italy’s appeal lies in its more relaxed lifestyle.

If you find the idea of an organized tour daunting, most museums sell official guidebooks that can help you navigate to attractions, or if you want direction to a specific location, rent an audio guide.

There are many free and wonderful things to see, and don’t forget that churches are artistic jewels that are above all free – Caravaggio’s best works can be found in various churches in Rome. Even a walk through the historic center is a pleasure, and free of charge.

The biggest tip I can give when it comes to saving money on eating out in Italy is to always avoid tourist restaurants. Some of the attractions in Italy are in areas where it is really easy to exceed the budget.

When you enter a bar in Italy, remember that it is always cheaper to stand than to sit. But sometimes it isn’t only necessary but also fun to sit. You can relax and see the world passing by.

Another tip that can help you save is to book long train journeys in advance. Trains to Italy are much cheaper if you buy well in advance and do not leave at the last minute.

Ready to plan your trip to Italy?

If you are traveling to Italy, I hope this guide has answered a lot of your questions and given you more clarity on the realities of going to Italy. I really hope this guide helps you have the trip that you dream of and make planning your vacation less overwhelming.

If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or, if you prefer, follow me on social media; I always reply to everyone.

Whether you go it alone or use a tour planner, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. Enjoy!

Published by Lucy

I am a freelance travel designer and writer. Writing is a hobby of mine, and traveling is the "best way" for me to get inspired. In 2015, I specialized as an Italy travel experience planner, which piqued my interest from the start. I consider myself a slow traveler who is always eager to visit new places and learn about different cultures. When I first began writing about travel a few years ago, I was enthralled by the incredible opportunity to not only share my real-life experiences with others, but also to learn from them.