Traveling in Italy

Few countries in the world have been as widely heralded as il bel paese (the beautiful country), Italy. For some it is the allure of la dolce vita, while others feast their eyes on historical monuments and yet others still go for the culinary delights. Whatever your fancy, one thing is sure, traveling in Italy is sure to provide the answer.

Italy is located in the heart of the Mediterranean in the very south of Europe. Thanks to a variery in climate and terrain, Italy  is a yearlong destination.

Winters are for skiing in the Dolomites and summers are for lounging around one of the pristine beaches in Sicily. Spring and Autumn are best spent wine tasting in  Umbria or perhaps a visit to the enternal city, Rome.

The country is made up of a patchwork of 20 different regions. The regions of Italy are in fact so distinct they could almost be individual countries. The common thread weaving them together is a strong love for their country and the unwavering belief that Italian cuisine is the best.

Planning a trip to Italy might seem overwhelming. My number on tip is to take your time, there is little point in visiting Italy while rushing through a set bucketlist.

The beauty of the country lies not in ticking off monuments but the moments in between; a morning coffee while listening in on the town gossip, stumbling upon a Caravaggio frescoe in an obscure church in Rome or an unforgetable midnight spleen sandwhich in Palermo.

Must see places in Italy

The short answer is, everywhere. It is a herculean task to craft a list of places to see, as each region has something to offer.

Todi Umbria

Transportation in Italy

Fly around Italy: There are nine International Airports in Italy, most of wich are located in the North of the country.

Take the train
: If you are looking to stick to the main citities (Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples,..) you can easily take a local train. They are fast, cheap and will save you from the heartattack that is Italian driving. There are two main train companies Trenitalia (government owned) and  Italo (privately owned). Check out trainschedules and faires on Omio.

Drive around Italy: A road trip in Italy is absolutely fantastic, it will allow you to visit more off-the-beaten path locations.

There are a few things to know when driving in Italy: Toll roads apply (payment in cash or credit card), historic city centres limit the traffic through the ZTL system, roads in villages and historic centres are small  try and rent a small size car.

 

Travel tips for Italy

There are a couple of things to know before traveling to Italy:

  • Typical Italian Breakfast: Italian cuisine is known for many things, but not breakfast. A small cornetto (pastry) or biscotti (dry biscuit) with a coffee is a standard breakfast.
  • Coffee in Italy: The standard coffee in Italy is an espresso. If you want a different type of coffee be sure to clarify when ordering.
  • Tipping in Italy: Not customary
  • Driving tips for Italy: Driving is rather hectic and increasingly so the more South you venture. Be assertive and always double check for motorini (scooters).
  • Do they speak English in Italy: In big cities yes, outside of tourist hotspots no.
  • Credit Cards: Although a widely accepted form of payment you will often encounter the phrase “the machine is broken today” as payment is cash is prefered (often for tax reasons).

Places to visit in Italy

Palermo Sicily

SICILY

Orvieto Umbria

UMBRIA

Dolomites Italy

DOLOMITES

Venice Italy

INSPO:
ROAD TRIP THROUGH N.E. ITALY

Key facts about Italy

Capital

Rome

Main Languages

Italian

Population

59.55 million

Currency

Euro (€)

Main religion

Catholic

Time Zone

UTC+1/ UTC+2

Plugs types

C, F, L

Driving

Right side of the road

Emergency Number

112

 Practical information for visiting Italy

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly: Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino (FCO) or one of the other 8 international airports.

ACCOMODATIONS

Find a list of comfortable accomodations ranging from local guesthouses to luxury hotels.

BUDGET

Average Daily Budget: $85
Meals $30 a person; hotel accomodations $65- $130; activities (museums) $20
Note: Northern Italy is more expensive
vs. Southern Italy

WHEN TO GO

Italy is a year round destination with a moderately Mediterranean climate  (hot summers, cool winters). 

Aim for shoulder season (April to May; September to November)

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Depending on the country of origin visitors can stay for up to 90 days; costs depending on the country of origin

TOURS & ACTIVITIES

Skip the line for the Colosseum and Vatican, wine tasting in Tuscany, guided tour around Pompeii and so much more

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