No matter who you are and where you come from, everyone has a reason to want to visit Italy. Everyone knows about the food, the wine, the history, and the culture but there is so much more to explore in this amazing country. Whether it is just for a few days or a lifetime, every traveler should spend some time exploring this European gem.
When to Visit Italy
Italy’s peak tourist season is during the summer, from June through August. During the summer, Italy can get very hot and muggy, particularly in the south and inland. To avoid the crowds and the heat, it’s best to visit during the spring and fall, or April to May and September to October, respectively.
In southern Italy, temperatures are moderate year round, with winter average highs around 50° F making it comfortable for travel. However, winters in the north closer to the Alps are bitter cold.
Transportation in Italy
Getting to Italy
Venice and Rome are easy and convenient cities to fly into and out of. You can also catch a train from other European cities.
To travel between cities in Italy, you will most likely want to take the train. Unfortunately, the trains in Italy can be quite a hassle, but they are the cheapest way to get around. It’s also possible, but less cost-friendly, to rent a car and drive between cities. You will need an international drivers permit in order to do so, and driving in Italy can be hectic and confusing.
Public transportation in Italy isn’t great – its best to walk whenever possible. Luckily, most cities in Italy are very walkable, and it is a great way to explore even more of the city. Taxis are available if you cannot walk, but don’t expect to find Uber and Lyft here.
Tips for traveling on a Budget
Italy can be an expensive place to visit, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. We spent nine days here fresh out of college – here are a few things we did to save money:
- Use free audio guides at the museums instead of paying for a tour. We often used Rick Steves audio guides and they provided us just the right amount of information – all for free!
- Save on alcohol costs by purchasing wine by the bottle to enjoy from your Airbnb, or better yet, a park with a nice view!
- Stop into restaurants at happy hour. They will often provide complimentary snacks – our favorite free snack was a plateful of bruschetta at Nessun Dorma in Manorola.
- Skip the taxi and walk. Its not only good exercise, but also allows you to see more of the cities.
- In Italy, you aren’t expected to tip. In the United States, we’ve become so accustomed to tipping, it felt strange not to, but in Italy wages for servers and staff are already factored into menu prices.
- Many cities offer travel passes or discount cards that can save you money, but before blindly purchasing one, be sure to do the math! While some are almost certainly worthwhile (Cinque Terre Trekking Card, Venice Travel Card), others may end up costing more than paying for your transportation or entrance fees separately. We found the Rome Pass and Firenze Cards not to be cost effective based on our itinerary.