Key Takeaways – Top Tips for Traveling to Italy

  • One of the top tips for traveling to Italy is to pack smart for your trip, as Italians follow a stylish fashion style.
  • Book everything as early as possible.
  • Try to enjoy as much of the authentic cuisine as possible.
  • Be safe from scammers in tourist areas.
Navona, Rome – credits; f11photo/

Italy is one of the places that always leaves you longing for more. It’s a land of rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and delicious food that will make your soul sing with great joy.

Everyone can agree that even a simple Italian breakfast will be a lifetime experience

No matter if you are looking for architecture or scenery, Italy will not disappoint.

However, for you to truly enjoy your Italy vacation, you need to be prepared for it. Not only do you need to bring the right things with you, but you should also know where to go and what to do.

Here is the ultimate Italy travel guide with all the travel tips for Italy that you need to make your trip memorable.

Planning Your Trip

Amalfi, Italy – credits: proslgn/

Careful planning is essential for a successful vacation.

Many people decide to simply hop on the plane at any random moment and just go, but some things can ruin your vacation if you do not plan thoroughly.

Below are some aspects to keep in mind:

Best Time to Visit Italy

Depending on your tolerance to heat, you should carefully choose your visiting timeframe.

For instance, if you are not a fan of grueling heat and temperatures that go past 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then you shouldn’t go to Italy in July and August.

The southern area of Italy can get especially hot during this time. However, if hot weather is your thing, then these months may be just right for you.

Most people stay indoors in their air-conditioned rooms during this time, allowing you to enjoy a quiet city.

That being said, if you don’t want any extreme temperatures, most Italy travel guides say that you should visit the country in May or June (if you are a spring person) or September and October (if you find more comfort in the fall season).

These are the two seasons where you will not have to suffer from the heat and can enjoy some mild sunshine.

At the same time, you need to prepare yourself for the crowds and the prices – you’ll be visiting during peak season, after all.

An alternative would be to visit between November and April when the weather is cooler. Not only will you be spared the sweat, but most tourists should also be gone by then, especially those who haven’t read our tips for traveling to Italy.

Moreover, you’ll have a less stressful time visiting the most popular Italy tourist attractions, as the lines are much shorter. Just make sure to check the weather forecast so you don’t end up in a fully blown rainy season.  

Florence – credits:

Visa Requirements and Travel DocumentsTips for traveling to Italy

When you go to Italy, you may or may not be subjected to visa requirements as you enter the country.

This all depends on the passport that you are holding and the country that you are coming from. In this case, you may or may not have entry restrictions, along with stay limitations.

For instance, Italy is part of both Schengen and the European Union. If you come from an EAA or EU country, you get free access through the borders, and you might only be requested to show your ID. There is no need for a visa, and there is no time limit on how long you can stay in the country.

Things change if you are from one of the 60 or so countries outside the EU. For instance, if you come from the US, UK, Japan, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, or other similar countries, you will be granted visa-free entrance.

However, you only get 90 days within any 180-day time frame. You also need a valid passport that should not expire for at least 3 months upon your departure.

You may also have to offer travel documents showing your reasons for staying and your departure date.

Bear in mind that those 90 days apply to all the Schengen area. For instance, if you stayed in France for 300 days, you could only remain for 60 more days in Italy.

Your stays are calculated on a rolling basis. The days don’t have to be consecutive either, so calculate them carefully.

Gondola ride in Venice – credits: thsulemani/

Booking Your Flights and Accommodations

When you’re planning a trip to Italy, there are two more things that you need to consider: how you get there and where you’ll stay once you do.

In terms of flights, the price will depend on how far you are, when you intend to fly, and how far ahead you book. As a rule of thumb, the earlier you book, the better the price will be.

 Be careful about the days and seasons you book as well. Prices tend to be higher during peak season, as well as on weekends.

If possible, try flying in the off-season, as there will be fewer vacationers going on Italian holidays.

Consider booking flights Monday through Thursday, as many Europeans are trying to get a weekend getaway in Italy from Friday through Sunday.

The same rules apply to accommodation: the earlier you book, the better the price you can get. Most hotels, even the luxury ones, offer discounts if you book ahead of time.

Try to book hotels that are just outside the city center, as the prices tend to be lower. You’ll also get the advantage of quiet time, as you’ll be away from the tourist buzz.

Accommodation prices may also depend on the time of your visit. For instance, if you visit during the high season (June-August), then hotel prices can be much higher.

Consider going during the low season (October-April), as prices tend to be lower. Do some research ahead of time to find a hotel or accommodation that fits your needs.

Grand Canal, Venice – credits: Adisa/

What to Pack

First off, you don’t need our tips for traveling to Italy to know that you should pack for the season that you are going in.

If you are traveling in spring and summer, pack light yet conservatory clothing. Every season will require you to bring a jacket but bring a lighter one during the high season.

Remember that clothing should be stylish, yet conservatory. Tank tops and shorts are not very common in Italy, as Italian fashion is more on the professional side.

This means that some people might look down on people in leggings and crop tops. Unless you are at the beach, you won’t see anyone in shorts either.

Couple holiday in Italy – credits: Summer loveee/

That being said, if you are planning on hitting the Italian beaches or the pool, make sure to pack a bathing suit!

Your best bet is to bring smart casual clothing. Men should pack polos, collared shirts, and knee-length shorts.

Moreover, women can’t go wrong with midi and maxi dresses, stylish breathable pants, and cardigans. A good idea is to pack layers, as temperatures can change from day to evening.

Make sure that you always check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly.

In terms of shoes, ensure they’re stylish yet comfortable since you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Travel adapters are also very important to get, as Italy uses C, F, and L plug types.

You should also bring a shawl or a pashmina with you, as you’ll probably want to visit the churches and you will not be allowed entry if your head, shoulders, and knees are bare.

Getting Around Italy

Couple in Cefalu, Sicily – credits: Littleaom/

When you are planning a trip to Italy, it’s very important to determine how you are going to get around.

There are plenty of options for you there, no matter if you want to drive or opt for public transit. Consider your travel style, your itinerary, and your budget.

Transportation Options

Transportation in Italy is very well structured, as there are plenty of choices for you. You can take the bus, the train, or even rent a car during your stay there:

Traveling by Train

If you want to see more of Italy and visit multiple cities, you should consider taking the train. It is efficient, fast, and very comfortable.

Their train network is very well-structured, equipped with outlets and Wi-Fi, and they can reach up to 185 miles (300 km) per hour.

Moreover, most train stations are located in the center of the city, which means you won’t have to fight your way through traffic.

Train schedules are usually available on the Internet, but you can also get them from the stations.

Ideally, you should secure your tickets ahead of time, as people in Italy use the train frequently.

Trains are often connected to the most popular spots, so you can usually get there several times faster than you would with a car.

Gondola ride, Venice – credits: Violeta Meleti/

Traveling by Bus

If you don’t want to travel that far off with the train, you could consider taking the bus. There may not be a national bus service, but each city has its own local transportation services.

You can also find buses that can travel between Italian cities and small towns if you want an affordable alternative to the train, but you should book the tickets ahead of time.

Buses are especially good for the major cities in southern Italy (i.e., Puglia), as train travel is not that developed in the area, with only a few busy train stations and the regional train tickets are not worth the price.

Not every bus service shares its timetable online, as they are run by different companies, so you should call ahead.

You can either find their contact number online or go to the bus stop and find their schedules.

Traveling by Car Rental

If you don’t like waiting on trains and buses and you’re an avid user of Google Maps, then you can go for a car rental. There are plenty of car rentals in Italy that offer short-term lease options for tourists.

You can choose the vehicle that you are comfortable with, and you can get great rates if you book for more than one month.

If you aren’t very keen on driving and you want to splurge, then you can get a car with a driver as well.

Italian drivers have a rather fearsome reputation and know their way around the traffic and shortcuts. This will ensure that you’ll get to each of your Italian destinations in the shortest time possible.

Florence-Duomo Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore-Triff-tips-for-traveling-to-italy
Duomo Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence – credits: Triff/

Tips for Driving in Italy

As a tourist driving in Italy, you need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP), which you should carry with your driver’s license.

Make sure that you know all the rules and regulations for driving in Italy. For instance, Italians drive on the right side of the road, aren’t allowed to turn light at red lights, and must remain in the right lane unless they are passing.

When getting a rental car and driving in Italy, you should also expect the unexpected. Italian drivers don’t usually slow down, so be careful when you are backing out.

The road signs may also look like hieroglyphs to a tourist, so aside from learning the Italian language, make sure you also know their road signs.

Italian drivers will frantically try to pass you, possibly even tailgate you all the time. If you are uncomfortable with this, you should drive during quiet hours.

Most shops and offices are closed between 1 PM and 3 PM, so you’ll likely enjoy calmer roads during this time.

Also, trucks cannot legally go on major freeways on Sundays, so you should schedule your trips accordingly.

Italian Cuisine

Italian Pizza – credits: V. Matthiesen/

There are plenty of things to see or experience in Italy, but Italian cuisine is something you should most definitely try.

There are restaurants and fast-food places such as McDonald’s where you can get international dishes, but the only way to truly experience the country is to try its local food.

Must-Try Italian Dishes

Italy is very famous for its food, to the point where many of the dishes have become internationally popular.

There are plenty of dishes that are considered classics, including pizza and pasta, but here are some must-tries:

Lasagne alla Bolognese

Lasagne alla Bolognese is a dish that is a popular delicacy all over the world, but originally, it came from the Italian culture.

People love the layers of tomato, beef, onion Bolognese sauce, pasta sheets, béchamel sauce, and cheesy tops.

If you want to top it with an Italian wine, make sure you get a bold Italian red wine, preferably house one -or vino della casa, as they call it- as it goes particularly well with lasagna.

Fettuccine al Pomodoro

When it comes to Italian food, Fettuccine al Pomodoro is yet another classic. Pomodoro is simply “tomato” in Italian, and people love the tomato and basil combination.

It is the perfect Italian dish to enjoy after a long day of exploring, as it is light and smooth yet enough to keep you satiated.


After you taste all these delicacies, you should not miss the Italian desserts and tiramisu is especially popular.

This dish layers soft biscuits, mascarpone cheese, concentrated Italian coffee (espresso), eggs, sugar, rum, wine, and cocoa in a delicious smooth mixture.

This dessert has gained popularity all over the world, but the best way to truly enjoy it is to get the traditional one. The Italians know exactly how to make it perfect.


Italian gelato is more of a cold snack than a dish, but if you are in Italy, you need to try it. It’s an absolute staple of the country, and all Italian celebrations include some sort of gelato.

Unlike traditional ice cream, gelato does not contain egg yolk, is made using more milk instead of cream, and is churned without using as much air.

This makes it more lightweight, but at the same time, much denser. Some classic Italian flavors include pistachio, stracciatella, chocolate, strawberry, and fior di latte.  

Italian pasta – credits: stesilvers/

Best Places to Eat in Italy

Whether you are looking for Italian restaurants or street shops, you should know this: each area excels in a different kind of cuisine.

Some areas may be more popular for their pizzas or pasta, whereas others may be more well-known for their gelatos. Here are the places where you can get the best dishes:


If your idea of Italian food is spaghetti, then there is one place you’ll want to hit: Rome. The capital city is especially popular for its carbonara.

Generally, tourists go into the tourist areas to get a good carbonara, but you should try the ones off the track instead.

Small restaurants that run as a family business generally have the most authentic dishes you could ask for.

Amalfi Coast

If you are in the mood for some limoncello, the best place to get it is the Amalfi Coast, one of the best honeymoon destinations in Italy.

Upon entering the villages in this area, you are greeted by an explosion of beautiful smells, each flower and fruit being highly fragrant.

This fragrance is one of the reasons why the Amalfi Coast has one of the best limoncellos in Italy. This area also excels in its seafood dishes, due to its proximity to the sea.


You can’t say you’ve ever had steak until you’ve enjoyed a Florentine steak. The Bistecca alla Florentina draws many people towards Florence, especially those loving tender steaks.

There are plenty of restaurants where you can eat in Florence, most of which have a gorgeous view of Italian art.

Italian Culture and Etiquette

Colosseum, Rome – credits: prochasson frederic/

When you visit Italy, you must become accustomed to the Italian etiquette and customs.

You don’t have to learn all of the basic Italian phrases, but you need to know enough so you don’t accidentally insult them. 

Italian Customs and Traditions

You can expect there to be plenty of Italian festivals packed with food and drinks, especially around summer.

Italians are proud of their Italian music, Italian art museums, and more. As a result, if you go to one of these festivals, you are expected to interact with the locals and enjoy yourself. 

Tips for Interacting with Locals

  1. Show genuine interest in Italian culture, history, or literature to initiate conversations.
  2. Be aware of local gestures and their meanings to avoid unintentional offense.
  3. Watch out for common scams, such as bogus tours, the friendship bracelet scheme, and pickpocketing.
  4. Research specific scams prevalent in different areas of Italy before visiting each city.

When you’re interacting with locals, there are certain Italian gestures and Italian superstitions that you need to be careful of, especially after drinking wine.

Their Italian hand signals may be different, so you don’t want to accidentally insult them by showing something offensive.

When you’re communicating with a local, you may have a better chance of getting along with them if you show you are interested.

Many Italian regions are very proud of their origin, so you may want to learn some Italian history or literature to get the conversation started. 

Be aware of gestures and when you use them. For instance, the “horns up” signal may be used at a metal festival, but the general population sees it as a way to drive off bad luck.

You may think that you are saluting someone, but in Italy, you may just be calling them a bastard.

Safety and Security

Couple in Cinque Terre – credits: TravnikovStudio/

Safety and security are very important when you are traveling. So, this is what you should know when traveling to Italy:

Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

Scams are quite common in Italy, especially in the tourist areas. Here are some of the most popular ones and how to avoid them:

  • Bogus Tours: People on the street may try to sell you tickets to Italian history museums, churches, palaces, and other tourist attractions. Don’t fall for this scam; only trust official sources to buy these tickets. This is probably the most important Italy travel tip we can give you.
  • The Friendship Bracelet: People may try to offer you a bracelet, and once it’s on, they will try to get money out of you. If you refuse to give them any cash, they may try to use the chatter to pickpocket you.
  • Pickpocketing: One of the most common scams is pickpocketing on the bus or in busy touristy areas like central squares, famous parks and attractions, etc. You should always be aware of your surroundings and secure your belongings. Also, you should never be too trusting of strangers.

Each area has different types of running scams, so you need to do your homework on them before reaching each Italian city. 

Emergency Contacts and Services

In the event of an emergency when visiting Italy, there are several contacts and services you can call on. The 112 emergency number will connect you to every department, but you also have these numbers:

  • 113: Police
  • 115: Firefighters 
  • 118: Ambulance 

While you can call the national emergency number 112, the team will reach you faster if you contact the particular department.

Final Thoughts on Italy Travel Tips

Couple in Lake Como – credits: Feel good studio/

This concludes our Italy travel advice full of top Italy travel tips.

Italy is a very beautiful country for you to visit. The food is delicious, the history and culture are rich and won’t allow you to get bored, and the Italian landmarks are undoubtedly gorgeous when you’re visiting northern and southern Italy.

By being fully prepared for everything Italy has to offer from all of our Italy travel tips, you should be able to enjoy ‘a dolce vita’ Italian during your vacation.

If you haven’t decided on your next destination yet, you can always read our guide to a Greek island vacation, or a romantic getaway to Greece and Italy.

No matter what you choose, with us, you will experience the trip of a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I Need a Visa for Visiting Italy?

    This depends on where you come from. Tourists from the EU and Schengen area do not need a visa, whereas those outside have a 90-day limit. If you are planning to stay longer than that, you will need a visa.

  • What Is Italian Cuisine Like?

    Italian cuisine consists mostly of fish, pasta, vegetables, and fruits. Generally, it includes a lot of Mediterranean cuisine, with cold cuts and wine being very popular.

  • Is it Safe for Tourists to Visit Italy?

    Italy is usually very safe for tourists. However, like every country, it may have pickpockets or people trying to scam you.

    The best Italy tip to remember is to keep your most important belongings at your accommodation.


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Melina Thalassinou