Responsible for pizza and pasta as well as countless Renaissance masterpieces, Italy is a country anyone should experience. Italy is part of the European Union, and you can easily spot it on the map thanks to its boot shape.
Located in Southern Europe, Italy neighbors Austria, Switzerland, and France. Besides part of the Alps, Italy boasts with two gorgeous Mediterranean Islands too – Sardinia and Sicily. The country also governs many smaller islands and encloses the Vatican City as well as San Marino.
There’s little Italy cannot offer.
Rich in nature, culture, and cuisine, Italia will make you fall in love with it in no time. Yet, before choosing where to go and how to travel, it’s smart to prepare first. Read further to find a simple and useful travel guide to Italy.
We will cover all points of interest, including travel to Italy essentials, average prices, accommodation, and the best time to visit.
Things to Remember When Traveling to Italy
Just like any other country, Italy has its own traditions and customs. So, we tried to put together a list of several useful things to remember when visiting Bella Italia. From their emergency number to working hours, these will help you set your expectations straight and have a smooth visit.
Italy, just like most countries in the European Union, uses the euro (EUR) as the official national currency. At the time of this writing, 1 euro was 1.10 US dollars and 0.86 British pounds.
Here are the emergency numbers you need to know when traveling to Italy:
- 112 – This both the emergency line as well as the police line in the country;
- 113 – Local police, ambulance, and fire services;
- 115 – Italian fire department;
- 116 – Roadside assistance;
- 118 – Report medical emergencies;
- 117 – Financial police if someone scams you;
- 1515 – Assistance and report forest fires.
Italians have somewhat flexible working hours. This means that finding an open shop or a restaurant after 12 PM and before 7 PM can be a real struggle. Business owners have the liberty to open and close when they wish. So, they usually have their break during the slow period and open for dinner, which mostly takes place around 7 PM.
Like in many other European countries, the locals prefer their own language. Most local employees don’t speak English but are open to pantomime. I always try to get their attention with a few Italian words like “Scusi, signore/madame” (sorry, mister/madam). Then, I try to speak slowly and say words rather than complex sentences. I’ve never had an issue this way, so I advise you to try it as well. Employees at popular tourist spots, however, usually speak English quite well.
There are many public restrooms across Italy. These have employees who take care of the facilities, clean them, and add toilet paper. So, you will have to pay a small fee to use them. The cost ranges from 50 cents to 2 euros, depending on the location. In Venice, for example, using the public restroom at Piazza San Marco restrooms was 1.50 euros.
No Tips Needed
In Italy, you should expect to pay for the service. Depending on the restaurant, you may pay a service fee per person or just a fixed fee for sitting at a table. These prices are clearly stated on the menu. If you can’t find them, make sure to ask before you sit to avoid unpleasant surprises.
While this may seem unusual and expensive to Americans, it comes with a positive side too. Namely, in Italy, you won’t be expected to tip the waiters. You pay for the service beforehand, so there’s no need to leave extra cash when you leave.
With an excellent transport infrastructure, Italy boasts a well-developed public transport too. The larger Italian cities most tourists visit, the bus and metro are the go to option. The rail network is fantastic and pretty affordable also. This is an excellent option for tourists who want to go from one place to another.
Purchasing tickets is reasonably straightforward. They have both ticket machines and ticket offices in case you want to talk to a person. Our experience showed that all ticket machines are multi-language, and they support English at a minimum. Many of them offered service in German and French too.
As a traveler, being able to access the internet is quite important. Many tourist areas have free wi-fi, which isn’t great but it’s undoubtedly useful. Restaurants often promote free wi-fi too, so that’s another way to get connected. McDonald’s is another popular option to get internet and cheap food.
If you are a T-Mobile USA customer, then you can get free internet abroad at low 2G data speeds with any of its T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice plans. Alternatively, you can purchase an Italian prepaid SIM card with data included.
Getting to Italy
Are you planning to travel to Italy this year? Well, luckily for you, the country is well connected, and you can get there by car, bus, train, and plane.
The country has excellent highways. For using them, however, you will have to pay tolls. The price depends on the kilometers passed, so we can’t provide exact details. Still, there’s a way for you to plan your driving costs in Italy by using the services of Autostrade.
Taking the train is another option if you’re somewhere in Europe or even Asia. The EU has a fantastic railway network and even offers monthly passes. So, not only you can explore Italy with it, but also the rest European gems too. The Interrail pass prices are as it follows:
- One country pass – From 51 EUR
- Global pass – From 217 EUR
- Premium pass – From 123 EUR
Finally, Italy has lots of airports, both huge and small ones. For example, those traveling to Venice can fly to Treviso instead. They will save tons of cash on the flight. Then, they can get to Venice in 30 minutes by taking the direct line (7 EUR return ticket). All major cities like Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, and Palermo have airports.
When is the Best Time to Visit Italy?
Extending from the Alps in the North to the Adriatic, Ionian, and Tyrrhenian Seas in the South, Italy offers all kinds of travel adventures. There is no best time to visit this European gem. Instead, tourists can travel there many times and have different experiences, each one as fantastic as the previous ones.
Due to its location and rich history, Italy is perfect for cultural travelers, skiing junkies, and summer nomads. Scroll down and find our recommendations for visiting the Italian boot in any of the four seasons.
Summer Destinations In Italy
The warm Mediterranean climate makes Italy one of the best places to visit in summer. The Amalfi Coast, with its colorful picture-perfect towns, is ideal for adding to your road trip itinerary. Don’t overlook the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, either. When it comes to beaches, one of the best beaches is in Sicily – San Vito Da Cappo.
If you want to know where to go in summer in Italy – the Veneto region is a great option to see the northern part of the country. Some things to see in Veneto include Lago Di Garda (Lake Garda), Italian medieval walled cities like Cittadella, Castelfranco Veneto, and Bassano del Grappa, cathedrals, archaeological sites, and the castles of Veneto.
Of course, Venice in summer is essential.
Italy in Winter – Top Destinations
You might be wondering where to spend the winter in Italy? The country is not short of options for its visitors. How about winter in the Italian alps? The Corvara ski resort is a great destination. You can even visit the Amalfi Coast, be aware that hotel accommodations are limited, with the summer season being over for the year.
Some popular winter destinations include:
- Cortina in the Dolomites
Italy in the Fall
Visiting Italy in the fall? The autumn months are great to avoid the crowds, get cheaper deals on accommodations and flights, and enjoy the fall foliage. But what should you wear? No matter what your style is, dressing in layers is the key! Temperatures can vary from the 70s to 80s on sunny days, or fall below 60 on rainy and cloudy days.
Don’t forget to bring an umbrella or poncho, waterproof shoes, and a jacket.
Spring in Italy
If you are up for a spring break trip, the Italian countryside, like the Tuscany region, is a great place to visit. With its wide variety of vineyards, wine tasting is a delightful attraction for tourists. Be sure to dress for your wine tour appropriately – Italians love to dress up. Choose your outfits wisely, and make sure to dress in layers due to the unpredictable rainy spring weather.
Is Italy an Expensive Travel Destination?
This can go both ways. In general, the top spots in Italy are quite expensive, and the simplest accommodation can cost around 50 EUR per night. Less popular towns can offer cheaper accommodation of about 20-30 EUR per night.
Dining out in the country is expensive in tourist spots. Local restaurants and bars aren’t as expensive. You can grab fast food meals for less than 10 EUR per person or have a nice meal for about 20 EUR or more.
Most attractions and museums in Italy have an entrance fee. So, if you want to visit them, you will have to put aside anything from 5 EUR to 30 EUR for admission per place. Some student cards or membership cards may grant you discounts.
Visiting Italy on a Budget?
If you don’t have a big budget for this European country doesn’t mean you can’t visit it or have a great time here. Here are some tips to help you save money on your travels:
- Choose an airport with low-budget airlines like Wizz Air or Ryan Air. These airlines often have return ticket prices for less than $100.
- Purchase Economy Lite/Basic tickets. Travel light with a carry-on or backpack to avoid extra fees for checked luggage.
- Stay in a smaller town rather than a major city. Avoid booking accommodation in major tourist spots like Venice or Rome. Use Italy’s vast public transportation (train or bus) to get around. You can get from Treviso to Venice for less than $10 a day, with trains running every 30 minutes. Convenient and cheaper. If you visit Sicily, stay in smaller villages like Trappeto to save on your travel budget.
- Go off-season. Italy is the most expensive during the summer months, especially July and August. If you are traveling on a budget, visit the country off-season.
Before booking your trip, make a financial budget, and plan your vacation to Italy according to it.
Is Italy Safe to Visit?
Just like most countries in the European Union, Italy is a safe country to travel to. Pickpocketing tends to be an issue in crowded areas popular with tourists, So, you should be careful with your personal belongings. Also, you may want to avoid leaving valuable items visible in your car as they can be stolen.
Other than that, there are no special safety precautions to keep in mind. Just beware of your surroundings. Solo female travelers may want to stay away from deserted streets at night. If you travel to a specific town, it’s smart to Google if any neighborhoods should be avoided.
In any case, Italy is generally a safe country. I’ve been several times there, and I’ve never had any issues. Top tourist spots have enough police presence, which is excellent in case of an incident. So, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you behave reasonably.
Italy Travel Guide – Bottom Line
Italy is a great travel destination for all types of travelers and during all seasons. This beautiful country has luxury and exotic spots as well as historical sites anyone should see.
Thanks to its excellent railway connections and airports, getting to Italy is relatively easy. Those who prefer driving can always go on an unforgettable road trip via both highways and charming local roads.
All these reasons should make you add Italy on your travel bucket list this year and prepare with this simple Italy travel guide. This European country has so much to give that you’ll surely love every second spent there.