Visiting Italy is something everyone should experience once in their life. It’s one of the top visited countries in the world for good reason! The food, the history, the culture, and the scenery will surely exceed all expectations.

Close-up of fountain in Rome with a man's face surrounded by ivy climbing a stone wall.

I’ve had the great fortune of living in Italy on multiple different occasions and in different areas of the country, so I feel truly lucky to have been able to experience so much of it. Each time I visit, I fall in love all over again.

The different regions of Italy offer so much and so many different types of experiences, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do and where to go on your first visit.


Practical InfoItaly Travel Resources


Getting to Italy

Italy has 77 airports and has an excellent rail system. If you’re coming from outside Europe, the most popular international airports are Rome (FCO), Milan (MXP), and Venice (VCE).

Coming from within Europe, smaller (and cheaper!) airlines connect with smaller regional airports. The full list of airports in Italy can be found here.


When to go

There’s no bad time to go to Italy! Depending on your interests, you’ll always find something to do. Head to the Dolomites for winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, or relaxing fireside holed up in a cabin!

During the summer months, the major cities can get quite hot. Popular activities in summer include visiting Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, or the Italian Riviera. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Italy is also home to some of the most underrated beach destinations in Europe.

The best times to visit for reduced prices are the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. You’ll also find far fewer crowds during these months.


What to see

Given its extensive history and geographical location, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Italy.

RomeCapital City, Vatican, Colosseum, Ancient Ruins
VeniceCanals, St. Mark’s Square, Carnivale
MilanIl Duomo, Fashion, da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’
FlorenceRenaissance Art & Architecture
Cinque TerreCliffside Fishing Villages & Seaside Hiking
NaplesPizza, Art, The Royal Palace
CapriThe Blue Grotto, Luxury Accommodations
VeronaRomeo & Juliet, Summertime Opera Series
AmalfiResort Town, Medieval Architecture
SardiniaMediterranean Island, Beaches, Bronze Age Ruins
GenoaMaritime Port City, Exquisite Buildings
BolognaFood, College Town Vibes
Cortina d’AmpezzoSkiing, Winter Activities
SuldenSkiing, Glaciers, Hiking
VicenzaArchitecture, Jewelry
OrvietoTruffles, Food, Etruscan Caves

The above list is by no means exhaustive – You’ll be hard-pressed to find an Italian city with nothing to see!


Traveling within Italy

Trenitalia train shown on the tracks in Italy.

The Italian railway system is well-connected and very efficient. Driving and parking in Italy is a bit of a nightmare, so unless you’re road-tripping to some truly off-the-beaten-path villages, train travel is what I would recommend. Buses are also an option, and they are cheaper than trains (yet slower). Flixbus is a great bus company in Europe, but it’s worth noting that they are not pet-friendly.

On the other hand, if you want to road trip (or if you’re traveling with a furry friend or lots of luggage), renting a car is also an option. Be sure to get an International Driving Permit in your home country, they are required to rent a car!


Packing for Italy

If you’re keen on visiting churches and cathedrals, dress the part. Be sure to not have excess skin exposed (particularly us, ladies) – bring a pashmina to cover your shoulders in the hotter summer months. Bring a few layers with you as the nights can get cool, even in the warmer months.

Below you can sign up for my (free) detailed Italy packing list.


Detailed Italy articles

11 Top Italy Honeymoon Destinations

10 Fun Things to Do in Monterosso al Mare, Italy

13 Unique & Unforgettable Italy Experiences to Have

10 Top Things to do in Florence, Italy

6 Uniquely Italy Cities Worth Visiting

19 Essential Italy Travel Tips You Need To Know

28 Famous Italian Landmarks to Visit

30 Traditional Italian Dishes to Try

10 Things to do in Sicily

8 Most Beautiful Hotels in Rome

How to Spend 48 hours in Rome

Exploring the Venetian Lagoon Islands


Flight resources

Skyscanner is the website I use for all of my flights. Other travelers also like Momondo.

Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Italy’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!


Accommodation resources

When I travel, I prefer to use VRBO. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my kids travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on kid-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests.

If you’re traveling long-term, VRBO usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are significant, sometimes 50-60%! It winds up being cheaper than what I would have paid for my apartment rent back in the USA.

If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.

If you’re a budget-conscious traveler and not traveling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Italy.

For standard hotel stays, Booking.com usually offers the best deals.


Safety Tips

Crowds in front of St. Peter's Basilica, pick pocketers paradise.

Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and scams are unfortunately all-too-common in the major cities of Italy where there are tons of crowds. When I lived in Rome, my roommate had her cell phone taken right off of our dinner table one evening! My wallet was taken out of my bag while on a bus in Rome as well.

Be aware of the common scams in Italy.

Overall, Italy is a safe country, but it’s important to trust your judgement and do your best to blend in. Don’t accept unsolicited help from anyone!


Money saving tips

Stock up on wine, grab some cheese, prosciutto, and bread – picnic time! Great Italian wines aren’t too expensive here because they’re not imported.

Grab some suppli or a slice of pizza for a bite to eat on the go, and to save a few dollars.

Eat out for lunch and stay in for dinner, as many times lunch menus will be less expensive.

Purchase city passes if you plan on hitting a lot of tourist sites.

Search on Pinterest: ‘Free Things To Do In….’ There are a ton of great resources out there from travel bloggers, and Pinterest is where you want to search.

Take a free walking tour or self-guided walking tour.


FAQs about Traveling to Italy

  1. Do I need a visa to visit Italy?

    • Most travelers from the United States and many other countries within the Schengen area can visit Italy for short stays (up to 90 days) for tourism without a visa. However, visa requirements can vary based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Check with the nearest Italian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
  2. What’s the best time to visit Italy?

    • Italy is a year-round destination with a diverse climate. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) offer mild weather and fewer crowds. Summer (June to August) is perfect for beach destinations, while winter (December to February) is ideal for exploring cities, ancient ruins, and enjoying festive markets.
  3. What’s the currency in Italy, and can I use credit cards?

    • The official currency is the Euro (EUR), and credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when visiting smaller towns and markets.
  4. What languages are spoken in Italy?

    • Italian is the official language in Italy. While English is spoken in tourist areas, especially in major cities, learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.
  5. Is tap water safe to drink in Italy?

    • Yes, tap water is generally safe to drink in most parts of Italy. In rare cases, especially in rural areas, bottled water may be preferred.
  6. How do I get around Italy?

    • Italy has an extensive public transportation system, including trains, trams, buses, and the metro in cities like Rome and Milan. Rental cars are an option for exploring the countryside, but they are less practical in urban areas due to limited parking.
  7. What are some must-visit places in Italy?

    • Italy offers a wealth of attractions, including Rome (the capital), Venice, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, and the historical city of Pompeii. Explore historic sites, world-class art, and scenic landscapes.
  8. What is Italian cuisine like, and are there vegetarian/vegan options?

    • Italian cuisine is celebrated worldwide, with dishes like pasta, pizza, risotto, and gelato. Vegetarian and vegan options are widely available in most restaurants, making it easy to find meat-free dishes.
  9. Is it customary to tip in Italy?

    • Tipping is customary in Italy. Service charges are often included in the bill, but it’s common to leave an additional 10-15% tip for good service in restaurants. In cafes and bars, rounding up the bill is appreciated.
  10. Is it safe to travel in Italy?

    • Italy is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Use common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and staying aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.
  11. What should I pack for my trip to Italy?

    • Pack clothing according to the season and activities you have planned. Comfortable walking shoes, light layers, and modest attire for visiting churches and religious sites are recommended.
  12. What is the legal drinking age in Italy?

    • The legal drinking age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer, is 16 years old in Italy. For spirits and stronger drinks, the legal drinking age is 18. Please adhere to these age restrictions when ordering alcoholic beverages in bars and restaurants.
Italy travel resources