This breathtaking country truly has it all, from miles of vineyards, to crazy cities filled with leather shops, mountain high gelato and terrifying drivers (from a pedestrian perspective), to the unbelievable snow capped alps. We stayed in Italy for two and half weeks, during this trip, and we made our way all the way from the Italian Alps, down to Rome.
We used Airbnb our entire time in Italy and it was incredible! We found that Airbnb is not only much less expensive than hotels, but that you are able to stay in hidden gems of places, which you would never know of otherwise. We stayed in places right on vineyards, in medieval cities, right along the gorgeous coastline, in the very centre of popular cities and tucked away high up in the alps. It was definitely the best way to see the very most and be in the middle of everything without the high costs.
How to get around
High Speed Train: For the long trips from city to city I would highly recommend purchasing a Eurail pass. It is quick, easy, and will save you money overall, as buying in bulk (the pass) is significantly cheaper for longer travels with lots of little trips.
Rental Car: We had rented a car for a portion of the trip and were therefore able to go and explore remote areas that are very difficult for average tourists to get to. This option is best if you are wanting to explore more of the Italian countryside, such as Tuscany. However, I would not recommend a car if you are wanting to hit all of the popular cities such as Milan, Florence, Rome and Venice.
Walk: Italy is so beautifully walkable! You can get so absorbed in the awe of the cities that you end up walking around for hours and hours. This is great exercise and once you are in a city or town, it is the absolute best way to see everything that you would want to see.
Top 5 things I would recommend doing while in Italy
- Getting away from the main tourists spot, finding an authentic Italian restaurant, asking what their recommended dishes are and ordering them all. Including their house wine, it will always be amazing.
- Go to a wine tasting! I can guarantee you that you will spend all day there!
- Find a different place to enjoy your espresso at each morning.
- Try one dish a day that you have never tried before or heard of. Such as wild boar, pastella, antipasta of cheeses with certain jams, etc.
- Every town in Italy has its own specialty foods, wines, cheeses, dishes, etc. So be sure to try something unique to each place while you are there!
4 things to know about travelling Italy
- If you go during peak season (summer months) it does get incredibly busy. So wake up earlier than the crowds to do your exploring and buy your tickets to famous museums in advance for easy entry.
- Bring something to cover up your shoulders and knees with. If you want to go into churches you must be covered otherwise they will not let you in.
- Always have water on hand. Buy a water bottle in the morning and continuously fill it up at any of the drinking fountains throughout the city. Trust me there are plenty!
- Anything you order will be more expensive if you sit down with it at a table, rather than stand at the bar. There is a sit down fee, and everywhere in Italy has it. For a quick morning espresso, drink it right at the bar, where you will be joined by tons of Italians all doing the same thing.