Your Travel Guide to Italy
My husband and I spent ten days in Italy sightseeing Rome, Ostia, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Venice, and the islands of Burano, Murano, and Torcello. Were we busy? Absolutely!! I can say we made the most of our trip. We chose to travel in October. Some people say that is a horrible time to be in Venice, but we had great weather and minimal rain. Nevertheless, it didn't stop us! Pack a poncho and hit the cobblestone streets. While in Rome, you will continuously stumble upon one pristine cathedral after another. You cannot go wrong walking aimlessly around the city (but be smart & be safe). Don't be afraid to hop on the train and head to the coast to see Ostia, take a bus to Siena, and ride a bike down the Appian Way. From Venice, take a tour to the other islands to see glass and lace making. Be adventurous, you may not return for a long time, if ever.
If you're setting out to travel to Italy, I would like to think you're comfortable in a foreign nation. The tip is this, not everyone is a terrorist or a thief - be polite, learn some Italian greetings and phrases. If you're standing in a line at a museum and a lady with a cup walks by asking you for money, just respond politely. If you're at the train station and some random person offers assistance to help you get your ticket and get to the correct platform, they most likely would like compensation for their service. It's ok. Hopefully, you're prepared and can offer them a little something in return for saving you time. Furthermore, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and keep your luggage close by - try to avoid having your things stolen. Check the resources page for helpful travel gear.
Things to see and do
The links below will take you to a map of the places I recommend visiting. There is so much to see and do, but I prefer seeing the historical sites, eating, and people watching. I will be adding to this list as time goes on. Once on the map, you can click to view websites and ratings. Also, you can access our full itinerary here: Travel Italy. It will at least give you a starting point for planning.
Usually when my husband and I travel, we choose to stay in a decent hotel. The hotels we stayed in were:
Rome: Starhotels Metropole approx. $137 a night (buffet breakfast and WiFi included), within a short walking distance the from bus terminal.
Florence: Starhotels Michelangelo approx. $76-85 a night (breakfast and WiFi included). This hotel is steps away from River Arno. Spectacular location.
Venice: Palazzo Giovanelli Hotel approx. $140 a night (breakfast included).
Wherever you choose to stay, do your research to determine how close it is to transit, if breakfast & WiFi are included, is it safe to walk to/from the hotel, etc.
Everyone looks forward to eating in Italy, so enjoy it! At a nice, restaurant you could average around €25 per person. Grab n' Go bites will cost around €5-7. Although, you can always head to the market and buy some fresh baked bread, cheese, meats, and make your own sandwich while picnicking in the park or on the Spanish steps. When researching accommodations, be sure to check if breakfast is included.
The Roma Pass is valid for 48 or 72 hours and allows unlimited transportation in the city, plus discounts at museums. We did a lot of walking, so we did not purchase the pass. But if walking is not for you, I would certainly consider it. A 24-hour bus ticket is €7.00. I found this very reasonable. Check this site for all things transportation in Rome: Rome travel pass. Getting around the city via bus, train, taxi, etc. was super easy. While convenient, taxis can be expensive. Do your research prior to arrival so you save time and money.
Transportation in Florence was easy also. A 24-hour bus ticket was €5.00. Here is the site for info on public transportation.
Venice - water taxi or walk! It's awesome! Your hotel will be able to assist you in getting a water taxi. For more info, click here.
Above and beyond accommodations, be prepared to budget for transportation, activities/tours, souvenirs, and food. For the moderate spender who eats breakfast at the hotel and maybe a glass of vino with dinner, I suggest budgeting an average of $60 USD a day (per person). Although, one thrifty spender could get by for less.
I recommend not paying for a "tour" in every museum. Check Rick Steve's website for audio tours (click link), download the app, and tour away at your own pace, stopping for photos whenever you like (as allowed).
You can drink from the public drinking fountains. Unless, it says "Non Potabile".
Don't order a cappuccino after noon.
You'll find more transportation tips on the itinerary.
What is your favorite city in Italy?