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Italy Travel Guide- Everything You Need to Know

Italy Travel Guide

Italy is a beautiful country, with a rich history, incredible food, and unforgettable experiences. Italy offers a captivating journey for every traveler. From the iconic Colosseum in Rome to the stunning views of the Amalfi Coast to the unique Grand Canal of Venice, Italy offers experiences for every type of traveler. This Italy travel guide will help prepare you for traveling to Italy, the best places to visit in Italy for your first trip, the best places to eat in Italy and the best things to do in Italy.

Italy Quick Links

  • Lake Como Travel Guide – coming soon
  • Florence Travel Guide – coming soon
  • Rome Travel Guide – coming soon
  • Venice Travel Guide – coming soon
  • Positano Travel Guide – coming soon
  • Capri Travel Guide – coming soon

Italy Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you travel to Italy?

Traveling to Italy is an experience unlike any other. Italy is renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, incredible cities, and incredible coastal vacations. Italy offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler from the iconic landmarks of Rome, such as the Colosseum and Vatican City, to the canals of Venice, the iconic glassblowing in Murano, and the stunning coastlines of the Amalfi Coast. No matter which areas of Italy you decide to visit, Italy promises to be an unforgettable journey filled with memories for a lifetime.

Easiest Way to Get to Italy

The easiest way to get to Italy from the United States is by flying. Numerous major airlines offer direct flights from various cities in the U.S., such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to major Italian cities like Rome, Milan, and Venice. These flights typically take around 8 to 10 hours, depending on your departure city and destination in Italy. Additionally, there are often connecting flights available through other European cities for travelers departing from smaller airports or seeking more flexible scheduling options. Once in Italy, efficient public transportation networks including trains, buses, and taxis make it easy to navigate and explore the country’s diverse regions.

If you are already in Europe, you also have the option to take the train to Italy. France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany all have trains that have stops in Italian cities such as Milan and Venice.

What is the best city in Italy to fly into from the United States?

The best city in Italy to fly into from the United States largely depends on your specific itinerary and preferences. However, Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is often considered one of the most convenient entry points for travelers from the U.S. due to its extensive flight connections, including direct routes from major American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Additionally, Rome is Italy’s capital and is centrally located. Because of this, Rome is an idea starting point for exploring Italy’s many regions, and you can easily take the train from Rome to destinations like Florence, Naples and Venice.

What US cities have direct flights to Italy?

There are many US cities that have direct flights to Italy, especially because Italy has multiple international airports including Rome, Naples and Venice. There is more availability during the summer months but in general you can expect direct flights to one or several of the major airports in Italy from New York City (JFK), Newark, New Jersey (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Washington D.C. (IAD), Boston (BOS) and Los Angeles (LAX).

What do I need to know before going to Italy?

  • Italy has multiple international airports including Rome, Naples, Milan and Venice, which make it very easy to travel to from the United States.
  • The train system in Italy is robust and incredibly easy to use. It is very easy to take the train to the major cities.
  • There is a bunch of incredible shopping in Italy. Besides the major designer stores, Italy is also known for its wine, limoncello (especially in Amalfi Coast), and leather goods in Florence.
  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended departure date to ensure smooth travel
  • Europe is starting new visa requirements for US travelers, but this is now delayed until 2024 or 2025. When it starts, US travelers between 18-70 years old will need to fill out an ETIAS visa-waiver form prior to their trip, and pay a €7 entry fee, to travel to European countries within the Schengen Area. This will be valid for three years or until your passport expires. It’s expected to have a quick turnaround but it’s important to plan and submit ahead of your trip.
  • The official language is Italian, but English is spoken in many of the touristy areas. Many restaurants also have English menus.
  • Italy has a diverse range of climates across the country, but in general it enjoys a Mediterranean climate that has hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The currency is the Euro.
  • Credit cards are accepted most places, including taxis, though it is best to bring some cash just in case, especially for casual eateries.
  • AMEX is not always accepted everywhere, so it is best to travel with Visa or Mastercard.
  • Tipping in restaurants is not as common as in some other countries. In some cases a service charge may be included in the bill or you can round up the bill or leave a small tip if you receive exceptional service.
  • Italians typically eat lunch between 1 and 3PM and eat dinner between 8:30 and 10:30PM. You may find that restaurants are closed at other times, so plan accordingly especially for lunch.
  • Italy uses the Type C and Type F electrical outlets. Our favorite electric converter is this, as it is a converter for all countries in one compact device.
  • The most popular areas to visit for a first trip to Italy are Rome, Florence, Venice and the Amalfi Coast.
  • The food in Italy is fresh and incredible. Most of it is also very reasonably priced, though the touristy spots can be more expensive.
  • Don’t miss out on trying local food specialties including carbonara, cacio e pepe, traditional Italian pizza, gelato, and Florentine steak.

What are the top destinations in Italy?

Italy boasts so many destinations, it’s hard to narrow down exactly where you should visit during your first trip to Italy. For a first trip to Italy, some of the top destinations to consider are Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. In Rome, you can find a lot of ancient history and iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican City. Florence is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance and has a ton of opportunities to see stunning art and architecture like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Florence Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio. Venice is one of the most unique places you’ll ever visit, as it’s a city built on water. It has picturesque canals, landmarks such as the St. Mark’s Basilica and offers easy access to do a half day to Murano. The Amalfi Coast is iconic, with it’s dramatic cliffs, picturesque villages and azure waters.

Other destinations that tourists often visit in Italy include Capri, Tuscany, the Italian Alps, Pompeii, Lake Como, Milan, Portofino and Cinque Terre.

What are the best islands to visit in Italy?

When most people think about islands in Europe, they think about traveling to the Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos but there are also stunning islands to visit in Italy.

  • The most popular island to visit in Italy is Capri, which can be reached by ferry from the Amalfi Coast and Naples. Capri is known for its glamorous atmosphere, attractions like the Blue Grotto and Mount Solaro Chairlift in Anacapri as well as its incredible food and great shopping.
  • Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and has pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and gorgeous landscapes.
  • Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has ancient ruins, Baroque architecture and incredible food.
  • Italy also boasts the Aeolian Islands which include gems like Stromboli and Vulcano, which are great for the travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience.

No matter what type of traveler you are, there are many islands in Italy that promise to be a great vacation.

What are the best things to do in Italy?

The best things to do in Italy include seeing the most popular sites and enjoying some time by the water. If you spend time in Rome, you can visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican City. In Florence, you can see plenty of art in the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery and also take a day trip to Pisa. Venice also offers plenty of history, as you wander through the romantic canals of Venice you can discover places like St. Marks Basilica and take a day trip to see the glassblowing in Murano. Outside the cities, you can relax along the shores of Lake Como and do a day on a boat in Lake Como. You can also go to the Amalfi Coast and enjoy the breathtaking views from Positano. There is no shortage of the best things to do in Italy. Here are the best things we enjoyed doing in Lake Como, Rome, Florence, Positano, Capri and Venice.

How many days should I spend in Italy?

The ideal number of days to spend in Italy depends on various factors, including your interests, budget, and the destinations you plan to visit. However, here are some general recommendations.

A minimum of 7 to 10 days is often recommended to cover the highlights, as this amount of time will allow you to visit multiple cities like Rome, Florence and Venice. However, to see everything you want to see in Italy you will likely need more than 2 weeks. You could even spend 2 weeks just in the Amalfi Coast alone.

If you don’t have time to vacation for more than a week, it is still worth traveling to Italy. You can always come back for future visits!

Best time of year to visit Italy

The best time of year to visit Italy depends on the experiences you seek. The most popular times are in the spring from April to June and autumn in September and October as these are considered the shoulder seasons. The weather is a bit more mild, the crowds are fewer and the prices for accommodations are a bit more reasonable. Not only are July and August very crowded and accommodations are most expensive, but many Italians also go on vacation during this time and you may find restaurants and activities are closed on the days you’re visiting due to Italian holidays or the establishment going on summer holiday. However, June through September offer the best times for beach vacations along the coast. Winter, from November to February, is quieter with fewer tourists but offer a great opportunity to stroll through the Christmas markets, and experience all of the great things the cities in Italy have to offer at cheaper price points. Additionally, there is great skiing in the Italian Alps, which may make winter the ideal time to visit Italy if you’re an avid skier.

What is Italy famous for?

Italy is famous for its rich cultural heritage, incredible food, stunning art and architecture and picturesque landscapes. Italy is the birthplace of the Renaissance and is home to iconic landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome, the canals of Venice, the Duomo in Florence and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The food in Italy is fresh, and beyond incredible including the best pasta, pizza, gelato and fine wines that you will ever have.

There are plenty of diverse experiences that Italy is famous for including visiting wine country and the rolling hills of Tuscany to the dramatic and gorgeous coastline of the Amalfi Coast.

Additionally, Italy has world-class opera, classical music and art as well as a great fashion industry. There are plenty of reasons why Italy has solidified its status as one of the most beloved and celebrated destinations in the world.

What is the weather like in Italy?

Italy has a diverse range of climates across the country, but in general it enjoys a Mediterranean climate that has hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Along the coasts and in the south you can expect summers to be hot, with temperatures in the 80s and above and mild and rainy winters. In cities like Rome and Florence summers are hot but also have coastal breezes and winters are cooler with occasional frosts. In the north, like Milan and Venice, summers are humid and there is an occasional snowfall in the winter. In the Alps, you can expect great skiing in the winter. Overall, Italy is a year-round destination and each season and area offers different experiences.

Is Italy Safe?

Overall, Italy is considered a safe destination for travelers. Italy has a low violent crime rate but it’s essential to use common sense and take precautions to ensure your safety. Petty theft like pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist areas and near / in train stations. It’s best to keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings. Italy also sometimes experiences natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, especially flooding in Venice. It’s best to stay informed about the weather when you’re traveling to Italy.

Driving in Italy

Driving in Italy can be a great way to explore the country’s diverse landscapes and charming towns but really isn’t needed if you’re going to the main cities and coastal destinations. Italy has an extensive public transportation system and the trains can get you to many of the most popular areas. Taxis are also plentiful in the main cities, and similarly priced to what you pay in other cities besides Venice. As Venice is a city built on water, if you don’t want to walk or take the public ferries you must take water taxis which are a fun experience but also more expensive.

In Italy, driving is on the right side of the road like in the United States. In the cities, traffic congestion can be intense and permits may be required to drive in certain areas of the cities so be mindful of where you are driving. Parking is also limited, so you must be aware of where you will park when you’re driving to different destinations. Outside of the cities, sometimes Italian roads wind through scenic but narrow and hilly terrain.

How to save money traveling in Italy

Traveling in Italy on a budget is entirely feasible with a few saavy strategies. Airline tickets will be one of the highest expenses, and traveling in the off-season or buying your tickets early can help reduce those costs. Hotels will be most expensive in the summer, but you can book early for cheaper accommodations or book a vacation rental to save money. When dining out, seek local casual restaurants which offer incredible food at reasonable prices. Utilizing public transportation, especially taking the train in between cities will help you save money. While many attractions cost money to enter, you can still experience attractions like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Duomo in Florence by walking around the outside for free. Certain areas of Italy are more expensive like the Amalfi Coast, but you can always reduce costs even in these higher cost destinations by staying in the cheaper area for example staying in Sorrento instead of Positano. With careful planning and a bit of flexibility, you can enjoy all that Italy has to offer without breaking the bank.

Italy Travel Guide Conclusion

In conclusion, Italy is a great country to visit. There are so many incredible cities and villages to visit in Italy it’s hard to narrow down where to go on your first trip to Italy. No matter what locations you pick, your trip to Italy promises to be an incredible one. Plan ahead using this Italy Travel Guide so that you are able to seamlessly travel between cities, visit all the attractions you want to see, and eat all the incredible Italian food.

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