Everyone dreams of visiting Italy, but with so much beauty and great food to offer, it can be overwhelming making your dream a reality. Planning a trip to Italy, if you want it to be perfect, needs a little preparation. Many don’t even know where to start. I decided to take your most asked questions about planning a trip to Italy and answer them.
You can also have a look at our post on How to Plan a Trip to Italy, including steps and a general timeline to prepare for your trip.
Hopefully these tips help you to plan a great Italian vacation, but if you need a hand in finalizing your itinerary, contact me and let me help you!
Planning a Trip to Italy: Where to go?
It may seem like a generic question to some, but often people ask the question ” I am booking a trip to Italy, where should I go?”
It is a bit difficult to give an easy answer. When deciding where to go when planning a trip to Italy, you should take a few things into consideration. How are you with crowds? How are you in unfamiliar settings? What wines do you enjoy? What cultural experiences are you looking for?
If you have already booked your flight, and have only a short time, don’t look to wander too far from where you fly into!
Let’s start with some ideas for you:
You are looking for the classic Italy to check off your bucket list? Stick to Rome and Florence! There is plenty for you to explore and you will find yourself falling in love with the beauty instantly.
You really want to experience Italy, but hate crowded tourist spots? Try heading to a few new regions, like Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, South Tyrol and Piedmont. You can also explore Eastern Sicily if you are looking for ruins.
Wine lover? Tuscany may be a go to, but every region offers amazing wine, how about checking out Alto Adige, Piedmont or Val d’Aosta.
Just looking to relax on the beach? Sicily, Puglia, and Sardegna are your go-tos, they are more relaxed, and unlike the Amalfi Coast offer welcoming beaches.
If you are really looking to step out of the cities and enjoy Italys beautiful small towns, have a look at Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia for inspiration!
How long should I stay in Italy?
As long as you can! Obviously vacation time and life obligations might affect your stay. The average stay in Italy is about 9-14 days, remembering you lose two days of travel I would never stay less than 9 days. You will have to adjust to time changes and culture shock, and if you force that into 7 days you may not enjoy your time to the full extent!
Is a week Enough Time to See: Florence, Rome, Venice and Amalfi Coast?
Number One Question everyone asks when they are planning a trip to Italy. Everyone wants to see the top “Instagram/Bucket List” spots, but the truth is 1 week is not enough.
One week is barely enough to fully appreciate Rome or Florence on their own, if you are flashing through the cities you won’t really connect with their culture and experience them to their full potential.
That being said if you want to check places off the list, it is doable to see all these cities in one week. High speed trains connect Rome, Florence and Venice, while the Amalfi Coast you might need a car or bus to get to. However, keep in mind Italian trains can be canceled and late quite often, if you opt for the cheaper regional it will take a long time. Overall you will lose a lot of precious time traveling and checking in and out of hotels.
Given the time wasted on travel and the fact you miss out on a lot of the city’s experience, I strongly suggest against planning your trip in Italy this way.
Aim to leave at least 5 days for each major city, with at least a full day or 2 days for smaller areas.
Find where to stay on your trip to Italy at this link.
Getting Around Italy
The best way to travel around Italy is by trains. High speed trains connect all the major cities, while regional ones can connect you to many small towns in the surrounding area. Have a look at Trenitalia and Italo for trains!
Within the cities you can rely on public transportation. Google maps will give you best directions and tell you when the buses are arriving!
If you are planning to explore many small areas in the country side, head to the mountains, or explore wine destinations in Italy, it is better that you rent a car!
Renting a Car in Italy
When planning a trip to Italy, you should only think about renting a car if you plan on going many places outside of the main cities. With gas prices and highway tolls, the expense of a car can really dig into your travel budget!
You should also know that, though it may not seem like it, Italy has fairly strict speeding laws. If you are caught you will receive a fine down the line and you don’t want to end up with that! Luckily, it is also law that all speed cameras are marked with signs. Keep an eye out for “Controlla Velocita” and know that that means you need to slow down! Google maps also now gives a warning if a speed trap is near by.
Other tips for Your Trip to Italy
Before you head of to Italy, take advantage of Google Maps downloadable maps feature and save the city you will be in. This will help you find your way around instead of carrying large city maps about!
Learn Basic Italian- Though you may get along with English just fine, see if you can memorize a few words to use at the restaurant to be kind! Click here for a great list to start with!
Uber does not work in Italy, it is overpriced. Stick to a Taxi, public transport, or your feet!
Avoid getting overcharged: Make sure you read the menu before hand and know the prices and the coperto. At bars in city centers, take your coffee standing at the counter rather than at a table!
Don’t exchange money at the airport! The commission and rates are very bad, try to exchange cash at your local bank before leaving, or withdraw from the ATM (check with your banks to see what the exchange fees may be).