Italy Travel Guide

Italy pulls you back again and again – it’s a must-visit place. It’s one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, maybe even the whole world. The history, culture, yummy food, tasty wine, and the sound of Italian being spoken make it a dream for travellers.

Once you’ve been, you’ll want to return because Italy is like a magical place that sticks in your heart and calls you back.

As a holidaymaker, Italy offers it all to travellers. From the canals of Venice to the Arno river running through Florence to the gently rolling hills of Tuscany to the cobblestone streets of Rome where ancient wonders await.

Then wander through the picturesque landscapes of the Amalfi Coast further down to the sun-kissed shores in Sicily. The list of beautiful places seems never-ending, like scenes from a postcard that make your holiday in Italy truly unforgettable. 

The Ultimate Italy Travel Guide

Welcome! You must be planning a trip to Italy! Allow me to help you. This guide is filled with all the information you’ll ever need to know from the basics to my top places to visit, tips, and recommendations.

Or, if you’re excited, jump into my Italy Travel Blog by using the Table of Contents to go directly to what you want to read.

There are a lot of good things about Italy. Known for its art, architecture, fashion, and food, there are endless things to see and do.

My favourite aspect is the lifestyle. Italians practice dolce vita, or living a good life. That means everyday they slow down, relax, and enjoy the scenery, good food, and wine.

It’s the essence of slow travel, appreciating the joy in life’s simplest pleasures. That’s maybe why I am drawn to Italy and love to explore.

Travel Guide to Italy: The Basics

Capital City: Rome
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Italian, while English is not as universally spoken you’ll find that many people in urban areas and popular tourist spots can communicate in English to varying degrees
Population: 60 million
Size: 301,230 km2 (116,310 sq mi), of which 294,020 km2 (113,520 sq mi) is land and 7,210 km2 (2,784 sq mi) (Source: Wikipedia)
Average Daily Cost: 80 to 225 EUR per person

Getting there: Most travellers arrive via major international airports like Rome’s Fiumicino (FCO) or Milan’s Malpensa (LIN).

Getting around: Once in Italy, use the high-speed rail to get from one destination to another. Rent a car for those scenic road trips like in Tuscany.

Tipping: in restaurants, a coperto servizio, acts like a cover charge (usually 1 to 5 Euros), is commonly added to your bill. You may round up the bill for exceptional service or add 5 to 10%.

In hotels, tip porters and concierges 1 or 2 Euros for outstanding service. For full-day tour guides, consider 10 Euros per person. While taxi drivers typically don’t receive tips, agreeing on a fare upfront is essential. If they’re exceptionally helpful, a small tip of 1 to 2 Euros is appreciated.

Weather:

  • Spring (March to May): temperatures ranging from 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F)
  • Summer (June to August): temperatures ranging from 25 to 35°C (77 to 95°F)
  • Autumn (September to November): temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F)
  • Winter (December to February): temperatures ranging from 0 to 15°C (32 to 59°F)

Travel Guide for Italy: Best Places to Visit

Top 5 Must-Visit Places

gondola in venice in italy  travel guide
  1. Rome: visit Rome and travel back in time to ancient civilizations. Explore the impressive Colosseum and the historic Roman Forum. Vatican City, where you’ll find St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, is a special place blending beautiful art and spirituality.
  2. Venice: drift along enchanting canals aboard a traditional gondola, immersing yourself in the city’s unique charm. St. Mark’s Square, adorned with architectural wonders, invites you to partake in the timeless allure of Venice.
  3. Florence: the perfect Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany is filled with art and history. Visit the famous Uffizi Gallery to see incredible artworks and the iconic statue of David in the Accademia Gallery.
  4. Amalfi Coast: take a drive along the beautiful Amalfi Drive to see amazing coastal views. Visit the charming villages of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, which are like pictures of the sea.
  5. Cinque Terre: along the Italian Riviera lies five charming villages perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea. This UNESCO Site is picture-perfect with its colourful houses, terraced vineyards, and scenic coastal views.

Top 5 Places for Foodies

green rolling hills in tuscany in travel guide for italy
  1. Bologna: right in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna reigns supreme as the epitome of Italian culinary excellence. Savour the authenticity of Bolognese ragu, indulge in exquisite tortellini, and relish the flavours of delectable cured meats.
  2. Parma: the charming city of Parma, renowned for its Parmesan cheese and world-famous prosciutto. Delight in the rich and nuanced flavours of these iconic Italian delicacies.
  3. Naples: visit the birthplace of pizza, Naples, and experience the purest form of the iconic Neapolitan-style pizza. Navigate the vibrant street food scene, treating yourself to staples like sfogliatella and pizza margherita.
  4. Sicily: uncover the varied influences in Sicilian cuisine, from exotic Arabic spices to the freshness of local seafood. Indulge in traditional delights such as arancini, cannoli, and savour the bold flavours of Sicilian wines.
  5. Piedmont: discover the enchanting region of Piedmont, celebrated for its exquisite truffles and the world-renowned Barolo wines. Pair these exceptional wines with local dishes like agnolotti and succulent braised meats for a truly delightful gastronomic experience.

Top 5 Hidden Gems

cathedral, buildings to travel guide to italy
Orvieto
  1. Matera: Cave Dwellings and Ancient Charm explore Matera’s special Sassi districts, where old caves make a fascinating maze. Discover lots of history, culture, and realness in this UNESCO-listed city.
  2. Orvieto: Cliffside Elegance situated on top of a volcanic rock, Orvieto boasts amazing views and a splendid cathedral. Take a walk through the underground caves and tunnels that show the city’s hidden depths.
  3. Bardolino: Lakeside Serenity nestled on the shores of Lake Garda, Bardolino is a quiet getaway from big crowds. Enjoy local wines, take a stroll by the harbour, and soak in the calm atmosphere.
  4. Procida: Colorful Island Charmer often overlooked, Procida charms with its colourful buildings and genuine Italian feel. Experience a relaxed island life and find hidden coves and beaches.
  5. Molise: Italy’s Undiscovered Region step away from the usual tourist spots in Molise, a place full of untouched nature and old villages. Explore the real Italian countryside and enjoy local treats in quaint, less-known towns.

Travel Guide Italy Tips

  • Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels, and shops, but Italians often prefer using cash, especially for small expenses. Cash is more commonly used for items under 30 euros, particularly in smaller towns, villages, and markets, where it is preferred. In larger cities, debit and credit cards are more commonly favoured.
  • If you’re exploring Italy by train, always validate your ticket before boarding to avoid fines. Validation machines are usually found near the platforms.
  • Italians take pride in their fashion. Dressing well not only shows respect for the culture but also helps you blend in with the stylish locals.
  • Experience the Italian tradition of aperitivo, where a pre-dinner drink is accompanied by light snacks. It’s an excellent way to relax and socialize.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture by picking up a few common Italian phrases. Locals appreciate the effort, and it can enhance your travel experience.

Italy Travel Blog: My Articles

Rome

Tuscany

Other Destinations in Italy