Culture Travel

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Italy

Fellow travelers offer up their best advice for visiting Italy.

Traveling to another country is always an adjustment. No matter how much research you do and plans you make, nothing beats getting the perspective of other travelers. The ones who have been before and experienced first, so you don’t have to. Here is some of the best advice for traveling in Italy. 

My biggest surprise while in Italy was that some Italian toilets (usually public) don’t have toilet seats. I honestly don’t know why that is but it was not something I was initially prepared for. For those who are uncomfortable squatting or just want a seat, you can buy a portable toilet seat on Amazon. Also, around any tourist sight in Italy, there will be people dressed up to take photos with or handing out roses. Those cost money. If you take a picture with one of the gladiator men, it will cost you and they don’t tell you until after. They WILL harass you. So be prepared for that. -Mandi Heesh

Taking the train between cities in Italy is fast, clean, & inexpensive. -Jo Ann Makaus

Always validate your train and bus tickets! For trains in general, use the Trenitalia or Trenìt! apps to track your train and get updates about delays. If you’re going to a small city, take some time to wander and find things beyond the usual tourist spots. You’ll find better deals on more authentic food that way. -Rachel Sugg

Rent a car in Rome and just go!!!! -Franco Serafinelli

I highly recommend using a tour group for the Vatican. It can be really chaotic and stressful. Going with a group allows you easy entry and cuts back on stress. (Coming from a massive anti-tour group traveler lol)Also, avoid restaurants close to any tourist attractions. They are higher in price and not as authentic. I definitely also think Airbnb is the way to go in Italy. Every host I had gave us personal recommendations for restaurants, attractions that aren’t well known, and other tips. -Meredith Mendenhall

Definitely build in some cafe time. It’s helpful when you’re walking so much and seeing so many churches and museums that you sometimes get burnt out. If at all possible, don’t pack your schedule with sights so you can enjoy some time at a cafe every day. Get espresso, it’s cheap and delicious.Kyla Winchester

Have cash for taxi drivers. And only use the “official” taxis. If they are asking you if you need a ride, they aren’t official. -Sara Jones Løquist

Don’t keep all your money in one place. If anything happens, it won’t be all your money.Lower your volume. There’s nothing more annoying than overly loud tourists. My French professor always said that even in those crowded Parisian cafés, you shouldn’t be able to hear the conversation happening at the next table.Guille Hernandez

Gondola rides are priced per ride, not per person. It’s cheaper to split a ride with multiple people. To go up the Tower of Pisa, you need to buy a ticket for a specific time slot and check your bag. I watched someone wait in line for a full 30 minutes without realizing he had to buy a ticket. -Rachel Sugg

For a first trip< start in Rome<2days> Third day<45 minutes by train for hill village Orvieto< great food and wine.2 days. North to Venice for 3 days. Then down to Florence < next Cinque Terre 2 days, then Lake Como until you depart to Milan for the US. This is all by train, which is easy, fun and you meet people from all over the world. -Carole Cirillo

Learn to squat over a hole in the ground to pee (especially in smaller cities, or so I found). If you’re paying over €2 for gelato, you’re overpaying. You NEED to cover up in the churches. Try the house wine. You’re going to pay for water and you have the choice between still and sparkling. The water is more expensive than wine. And my particular favourite thing that I found is that the smaller towns are WAY more fun than the big tourist ones, but I also wouldn’t recommend against visiting the big, tourist cities. I only traveled through northern Italy (more specifically the Fruili area), but I found the smaller cities to be the most delightful. -Courtlyn Tyler

First and foremost I would say if you’re going to Italy 10 days should be your minimum amount of stay and you shouldn’t try to do too much in a short period of time…I also highly recommend traveling by train from one stay to the next. -John Chignoli

First time to Italy was our honeymoon. We bought a travel book to learn about the various areas. We rented a car & traveled all over, especially loved the old towns in the hills surrounded by castle-like walls. We were 2 free spirits & let the story unfold. -Carol Capogreco Wells

Pack a change of clothes and pjs in your carry on. Trust me. -Lora Mazza

Take walking tours on Youtube, it’s the best way to get a feel of what to see when you go. And always make free time to explore (get lost) -Freddie Saviano

You have to ask for your check at the end of a meal. And non-tourist restaurants are closed in the afternoons (from about 3-7 or so), so don’t plan on a late lunch or early dinner from more authentic places. -Rachel Sugg

 If you get to Lucca hire a bicycle and ride ON TOP of the ancient walls that encircle the beautiful town. -Francesca Cloke

Go on the shoulder seasons (for anywhere you go, really). Cheaper flights, And little to no wait for tourist spots. The longest we waited in line was 30 minutes for the Vatican, which is normally a 2+ hour wait. We walked right into the coliseum and other attractions. -Solishia Andico

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Highly recommend an italian road trip to see the roads less traveled. -Jessica LaCorte

This is what I always do. I plan my route, I book only my first night. The rest I improvise. Maybe I want to stay less in one of the places in my route, maybe more. Or maybe I want to take a detour.I’ve used this on several long road trips and has always been a success. -Riccardo Polacci

Good walking shoes. I wear linen skirts at knee level and always have a scarf in my bag for my shoulders for churches. -Sharon Melegh Coppede

If you’re traveling with someone else, decide ahead of time how much time you want to spend on churches and museums. You can pack your itinerary with them but at the end of the trip you look back and they’ve all blended together. Get a guidebook (like Rick Steves) that includes self-guided walking ‘tours’ and explore. The first place you go, go to the top of whichever building it is there that has ‘the view’, and decide if it’s something you’re into. You often have to pay, so you might not try it to avoid the ticket price and end up regretting it later. Do it in the first place you visit, so you can figure out if it’s worth it or not for the rest of your trip. Personally, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed looking out over a beautiful city from the top of a tower or church, and I got great photos too.Kyla Winchester


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: