The best Italy travel guide
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Hi everyone, my name is Simone, I am an Italian who has the luck to travel a lot. In my blog, you'll find all the info you need to come to Italy and enjoy your vacation. And if you have never been in Italy maybe this article is for you "the best way to visit Italy for the first time".
Before you go any further, keep in mind that the plug adapters in Italy are different than most of the plug adapters used around the world so make sure to get one. A cheaper one like this will do its work.
What to see and do in Italy
Your planning your vacation and you ask yourself "what to see and do in Italy?", don't worry, follow me and I'll suggest you all the best spot to not miss.
And a lot of others that you won't find in the big tourist guides!
Beaches in Italy
In Italy, there are some of the most beautiful secluded beaches of the world. The Italian peninsula is littered with wonderful shores among smooth pebbles, reefs, and natural rocks.
From sea-bed that shelves gently, ideal for families with children, to wild beaches, perfect to relax away from the crowd.
From Ligurian, and the 2 main islands, Sardinian and Sicily, the Italian beaches are the best!
Top 20 italian beaches
Italian national parks
Italy has 24 national parks, together they cover over 1.5 millions of hectares. When it comes to activities, they offer a wide variety of ventures, from hiking, trail running, scuba diving, sailing, camping. You'll also see glaciers, lakes, beaches, waterfalls, grey wolfs, bears, rivers, medieval cities.
Main holiday destination in Italy
Rome - Considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The old town comprises as many as 25.000 archeological points of interest.
Iconic monuments like the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, Sant'Angelo Castle, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and Fontana di Trevi.
But Rome it's not only monuments, there are also plenty of museums, a zoo, pubs, panoramic terraces, and clubs.
Venice - One of the loveliest parts of the Adriatic coast, Venice (also called Serenissima) with its canals, bridges, its squares, and monuments, the characteristic Gondola. Its nightlife and the shopping in the little traditional shops.
Florence - The first art heritage city of Italy, the cradle of the Italian language and culture, the symbol of the Renaissance.
The old town is littered with monuments, churches, and unique gardens.
Good food and great wines make indispensable a visit to Florence. Here you can find the best neighborhoods to stay.
Milan - Big, vibrant, and active, this is Milan, the second city of Italy in order of population. It can't beat Rome and Florence with regard to the monuments and the art, but it's at the first place for its nightlife.
Naples - With its suggestive view, the gulf and the vulcan Vesuvio, Naples is the third Italian city.
The everyday life runs through its little roads and districts, teeming with life. Don't lose its main road "Spaccanapoli" and Pebliscito square.
Palermo - The beauty of the coastline and the intense blue of the see will blow your mind.
Vaccines for travel to Italy
Routine vaccines - Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Hepatitis A & B - You can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Italy, so talk to your doctor to see if the hepatitis A vaccine is right for you. Avoid drinking directly out of the tap. You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
Rabies - Although rabies can be found in bats and other mammals in Italy, it is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups:
Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites or other animal bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
People who will be working with or around animals (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
Eat and drink safely from bottles
Keep away from animals
Reduce your exposure to germs
Avoid sharing body fluids (use condoms)
Avoid non-sterile medical or cosmetic equipment
Passport for travel to Italy
A passport valid for six months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required for citizens of USA, Canada, British and Australian. EU nationals are not required to show the passport, U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.
Entry with pets in Italy
A pet passport is required when traveling to Italy with a pet. Dogs, cats and ferrets an ISO pet microchip and proofs of up-to-date vaccinations at least 21 days prior to travel.
Climate in Italy
Italy has a variety of climates systems. Northern areas have relatively cool, humid subtropical climate, while the coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate.
The best period to travel is from June to September for a “summer vacation” (read here what to pack for a summer vacation in Italy,) while if you like winter holidays travel from November to February.
Snow falls mainly in the mountain regions, like the Alps and the Apennines. Along the coast, even in winter, snow falls are very rare.
Enjoy summer is very simple, if you are the beach type then go to the main and/or little islands or to south Italy. I personally suggest Sardinia with its crystal sea. While in the north you can enjoy hiking, trail walking/running.
Visiting cities is doable both in winter and in summer, with their pros and cons, cold and rain in winter and muggy in summer due to the higher smog in the cities than the rural areas.
Fly to Italy (Rome)
For shorter trips like Rome-Naples I highly suggest to travel by train.
Hotels in Italy
Type of accomodation
Hotels - you’ll find every kind of Hotels, I really suggest you to book from a minimum 3-star hotel up. In this blog, you’ll also find our review with the best hotels for the main holiday destinations, at all different price points
Resorts - The Italian coastal is full of resorts, we have reviewed the best ones, look for 4 stars up. In this Club Med you’ll find everything, and often they have an all-package which include everything from breakfast to dinner.
B&B - The cheaper solution, as the name suggests you’ll have a bad and a breakfast. In Italy, there are plenty of them, and if you do your proper research (we have already done that for you, at least for the main destinations) you’ll find some very cute.
Flats - People rent their flats, especially if in holiday destinations, you can easily rent an apartment for a month at the same price of a week in a hotel. It can be the perfect solution if you are a group of friends or one/two family. The only con is that you’ll have to cook your meals!
Transport in Italy
Travel in Italy is really easy, for longer distances the best options are internal flights or high-velocity trains. For shorter distances the best option are trains and bus.
In Italy, cities are relatively close to each other, for example, you can go from the north, Milan to Rome (see bus offers), in 3 and a half hours with a high-velocity train.
Getting around the city is simple too, the main cities have the subway, except Venice obviously!
Cabs are a little expensive, I prefer to use the subway or a bus.
Tips and info for your trip
- The capital is Rome
The coin used is the Euro
The government is a Republic
The climate is Mediterranean
The main sport is soccer
Careful with the most common scams (internal link)
Rome is the capital of Italy, with 2,876,051 residents in 496.1 sq mi. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason, Rome has been often defined as the capital of two states.
The Euro is the official currency of the European Union. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents.
Football (calcio in Italian) is the most popular sport in Italy. The Italian national football team is considered to be one of the best national teams in the world. They have won the FIFA World Cup four times (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006).
Politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum.
The executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the Prime Minister, officially referred to as President of the Council (Presidente del Consiglio).
Here 18 things you should know before leaving to Italy, Cultural differences between US and Italy.
Festival in Italy
Carnival - I suppose all of you know Carnival, but if you'll be in Italy during this festival then you want to be in Venice! The Carnival there is something unique, you don't want to miss it!
The Palio di Siena - is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors, represent ten of the seventeen contrades, or city wards.
A pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world. The race is run for three laps of the piazza and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.
Italy is, without doubt, one of the first places in the world where the food is at top levels, when you'll come back to your home, the Italian food is what you'll miss most.
Pizza - One of the symbol of Italy, exported and copied everywhere in the world. As an Italian and a traveler, I have gone abroad and sometimes when looking for a fast meal I did buy pizza, what an error! Be aware, also in Italy, you'll find different pizza depending on many factors, so check our best "pizzeria" review for every main city. By the way, the true pizza is made only in Naples.
Italian breakfast - Cappuccino and croissant
Italian osteria and trattoria - Discover where to eat well spending less!
Mozzarella di Bufala - Hoax's Mozzarella, you can only find it in three regions, Lazio, Campania, and Puglia and must be eaten fresh!
Risotto allo Zafferano - typical Milan meal, with its particular use of the saffron.
And so many other that it's impossible to neme it all here!
Italian is the official language, in the touristic zone, you shouldn't have problems speaking in English. But I have to be sincere with you, according to a survey only the 23.9% speak good English.
So you could have some difficulties.
Where is Italy?
Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants it is the fourth most populous EU member state.
Which is the capital?
The capital is Rome, situated in the center of the Peninsula.
How much does cost a vacation in Italy?
The average daily price for traveling in Italy is $150, and $39 for food. 2 weeks is around $2000 for a couple, at this you must add the flight and the accomodation, so I estimate a $4000 for a couple.
Learn more in this article: "How much does a trip to Italy cost"
Is Italy safe?
Sure it is, obviously, if you're looking for trouble you'll find it, as everywhere in the world. Some cities have bad neighborhood, and you can check them in our cities guide.