Italy Travel Guide

Forum of Augustus in Rome, Italy full of Roman ruins.
Forum of Augustus near Trajan Forum

Dreaming of Italy? You’re not alone! Italy is one of the top European countries to visit, and for good reason. This Italy travel guide will provide you with resources and detailed travel guides on Rome, Capri, Positano, Sorrento, and more to help you plan the perfect trip to Italy.

If you were unsure, Italy is located in Southern Europe. Bordering countries include Switzerland, France, Austria, Slovenia, and Monaco. Nearby countries include Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece

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What to Expect in Italy

Here is some practical information you can expect when traveling to Italy. 

Language:

Italian is the national language. I would recommend downloading Google Translate. While English is widely understood, it is always appreciated to try to speak basic Italian. You will find locals are much more welcoming!

Currency:

The Euro is used in Italy. They generally will not accept any other form of currency.

Credit Cards and ATMs: 

Credit Cards are widely accepted, and ATMs can be found everywhere. It is always good to have a couple of Euros on you for tipping. Make sure to look for an actual bank to withdraw from the ATM.

Tipping in Italy:

Tipping is not necessary in Italy, however, it is usually appreciated. Rounding up to the nearest Euro generally is fine. Think 5-10%.

 Italy Safety: 

In general, Italy is relatively safe, including for solo female travelers. Use regular caution and beware of pickpocketers, which is the most common safety concern. Never put your belongings down or carry lots of bags (making you look like an easy target).

Italy Airports:

There are multiple airports across Italy. The most popular airport is the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), which is the Rome Airport. 

Other airports include Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), Naples International Airport (NAP), and the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE).

Accommodations in Italy

When looking for places to stay in Italy, you can find hotels and reviews on Booking.com or Airbnb. These are the two platforms I use in Italy. Always read the reviews on each booking platform.

Power Outlets:

Italy uses general European standards of voltage between 220 V to 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. I recommend using a universal adaptor.

Popular Places in Italy:

Some of the most popular cities to visit in Italy are Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terra, Lake Como, and the Amalfi Coast.

More unique destinations you can consider when visiting Italy include Sardinia, Bari, Bologna, Genoa, Verona, and the Dolomites.

Famous Dishes Across Italy: 

Italy has some great dishes that you should try while you are there. In fact, I would live in Italy solely based on the food options. This includes:

  • Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Spaghetti pasta with cheese and a cream sauce. 
  • Fiorentina Steak  – Steak that is grilled on the outside but raw on the inside. 
  • Gelato – A frozen cream-based dessert. 
  • Tiramisù A delicious coffee-flavored dessert with lady’s fingers.
  • Cacio e Pepe – A famous Roman dish with pasta, pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

Getting Around Italy:

It’s very easy to get around Italy by public transportation and on foot. I would definitely recommend a data package with your cell phone carrier for Google Maps! 

Renting a car in Italy is not usually recommended, especially on the Amalfi Coast. Parking can also be very hard to find.

The only time renting a car might be worth it is if you are driving in the country areas of Italy.

Overall, since it is so easy to get around Italy by train, it’s not worth adding more worry or stress to your trip. It is important to know that you should book your train tickets ahead of time, because fast trains do not have a fixed price. You can search trains here.

Visa in Italy:

Those traveling from the US, Canada, UK, and other Countries can spend less than 90 days within 180 days in the Schengen region (Including 27 European countries) without a Visa. If you plan to stay longer, you will need to get a Schengen visa. 

Starting in 2025 (they keep changing this), most visitors, including US Citizens, will need to apply for ETIAS when visiting 30 different European Countries. Learn more about the application at ETIAS. This must be done before your trip and costs 7 euros.

Piazza in Sorrento
Piazza in Sorrento

Weather in Italy

The weather in Italy will vary depending on the location you visit. Most of Italy experiences all four seasons despite it feeling like a beach destination.

Central Italy, where Rome and Florence are located, experiences very hot summers. The temperature averages around 90°F, but in the past couple of years, they’ve had extreme heat waves that forced them to close down attractions.

The fall and spring months are much cooler and comfortable for travel. The winters in this region are mostly wet and mild, but they can be cold. Rome has gotten snow, but it’s more rare.

If you’re heading to the north of Italy, where Milan and Venice are located, the weather varies. Up until recently, Northern Italy experienced mild summers. However, the weather has been hotter and more unpredictable. During the fall, the temperatures begin to decrease, and the winter mostly brings rainfall, but temperatures do go under 32°F.

If you’re heading to the Italian Alps, you’ll witness the effects of climate change. In recent years, The Alps have had much warmer winters and less snowfall. The summers are getting increasingly hotter, too, at around 77°F. However, summer temperatures here are still cooler than other areas in Italy. Winter is the perfect time to visit if you love winter sports.

Southern Italy will almost mimic Central Italy, with it being slightly warmer in the summer and wintertime. You can compare the winter to Georgia or Northern Florida.

Seeing the Roman Forum is one of the best free things to do in Rome
Roman Forum

Brief Italy History

Italy is so full of history, so I am going to be very brief here. You may already be well aware that Italy is the birthplace of the ancient Roman civilization, and Rome itself was founded in 753 BC. In the 19th century, after being ruled by the Roman Empire, Italy built a colonial empire.

Italy also played a role in both World War I and World War II, but after the end of the German occupation, they abolished the monarchy and became a Republic instead. 

If you really want to delve into more of Italy’s history, consider hiring a local guide that will enrich your visit.

The Roman Forum
Ancient Roman Ruins in Rome, Italy

Popular Things to Do in Italy

Italy has incredible architecture, famous landmarks, and beautiful beaches so you’ll never have a dull moment while in Italy. This is quite a large country, but here are some bucket list activities around Italy.

  • Visiting the Colosseum in Rome.
  • Go on a wine-tasting tour in Tuscany.
  • Take an Italian cooking class anywhere in Italy.
  • Take a tour around Italy on a Vespa – Rome is a popular place to do it.
  • Visit the Sistine Chapel in Milan.
  • Spend time at the beaches in the Amalfi Coast.
  • Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.
  • Visit the Italian Alps.
  • A ride down the Venice Canals.
  • See the ruins at Pompeii.

Fun Italy Fact: Tourists throw around €1 million into the Trevi Fountain each year.

Visit the Colosseum with 4 days in Rome

Food and Drinks to Try in Italy

Get into the Italian spirit by trying some of the dishes and drinks below. It’s also worth trying a cooking class during your visit, especially if you’re a foodie!

1. Try fried Zucchini flower

2. Eat Pizza in Naples

3. Have fresh Seafood in South Italy

4. Try Truffle in North Italy

5. Taste the house wine 

6. Have a shot of Limoncello

7. Sip on Aperol Spritz

8. Indulge in gelato

9. Try Cacio e Pepe in Rome

10. Sip on espresso at a local bar

Pasta in Rome, Italy

Is Italy Budget-Friendly

Italy can be quite expensive. However, you can visit on a budget as long as you plan ahead and are flexible.

Hotel prices will vary depending on which part of Italy you stay in. Rome and Milan are popular places in Italy, and hotel prices in these areas are far more expensive than surrounding towns and cities. 

In Italy, hotel prices can vary anywhere from $60 – $200 per night. This will depend on where you stay and what time of year you visit. 

Dining out in Italy will cost around $20 – $48. Breakfast prices are far cheaper than dinner prices, however, breakfast usually consists of some sweet treats and coffee. Do not expect an American breakfast.

Most attractions are around $10 – $20 USD per person to get into.

Arch of Constantine by the Colosseum in Rome
Arch of Constantine by the Colosseum in Rome

Italian Words to Help You Get Around Italy

While English is spoken in Italy, you will likely meet many locals who speak Italian. You can use Google Translate to get by, but knowing some of the common phrases is always helpful.

Common Italian Phrases:

  • Ciao – Hello
  • Arrivederci – Goodbye
  • Si – Yes
  • No – No
  • Mi scusi – Mi scusi
  • Grazie – Thank you
  • Prego – You’re welcome
  • Quanto costa – How much is this?
  • Lei parla inglese? Do you speak English?
Take a day trip with 4 days in Sorrento

How to Plan a Trip to Italy

This is one of the most common questions I get about Italy. Where do you start, what cities do you visit, and how many days do you need in Italy? For a first-time trip to Italy, I always recommend at least 8-10 days, and you will want to choose either Northern Italy, more Centralized Italy, or Southern Italy.

10 to 14 days will allow you to tour the country a little more leisurely, but I wouldn’t recommend squeezing too many cities. With 3 weeks in Italy, you could see two regions.

You should plan to spend around 3-4 days in a city. Here are two popular itinerary examples.

Central/Southern: 4 Days in Rome and 4 Days on the Amalfi Coast with day trips to Pompeii and Capri.

Southern: Bari and the Amalfi Coast, a trip touring around Sicily or Sardinia.

Central: Rome, Tuscany, and Florance. Possible day trips to Pompeii and Pisa.

Northern: Milan, Lake Como, Verona, Venice. With more time, after Venice, add Florance, Tuscany, Cinque Terra, and Genoa.

View from Le Sirenuse Positano
View from Le Sirenuse Positano

Italy Travel Guides & Itineraries

Below, find Italy travel guides to help you plan the perfect trip to Italy! These guides include travel hacks, what to know before visiting Italy, and more!


Italy Travel Guide Wrap-up

That is the end of the official Italy Travel Guide. Be sure to check out the rest of my posts on Italy to find the best things to do in Italy and additional Italy Travel Tips. 

If you have any questions about this Italy travel guide, first check the guides and itineraries above. If You still can’t find what you’re looking for, shoot me an email or DM on social. For now, I hope you have an amazing trip!

Italy travel guide