Italy, to me, is foodie heaven. The country is world famous for its cuisine, and every time I go to Italy I stuff myself with pasta, pizza and lots of gelato (ice-cream). No tour of Europe is complete without visiting Italy. From the Vatican in Rome, to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, to Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice…Italy has so many incredible sights and famous landmarks. In my opinion it’s the most romantic country in the world.
Don’t rush it- I feel like so many people do a whistlestop tour of Italy, but if you want to explore Italy at leisure, then give yourself plenty of time. Allow yourself a few days in each city so that you don’t have to rush around and cram all the sights in.
If you’re short on time…visit Italy’s top three cities- Rome, Venice and Florence.
Travel by train- The best way to explore Italy is by train and you can look up trains on the Trenitalia website.
Avoid pickpockets- During summer in Europe there are lots of tourists and where there are tourists, there tend to be pick pockets. This is not just in Italy and occurs throughout Western Europe. Take appropriate precautions and look after your belongings.
Try to avoid the peak tourist season- Italy is very very busy and hot during the summer months from June-September, particularly when the cruise ships dock! If you want to beat the crowds, try visiting Italy a little bit out of season in spring, autumn or winter.
Low cost airlines don’t always fly to the major airports!- When you’re booking a flight with low cost airlines such as Ryanair, be sure to check which airport they fly into as they often don’t fly into the main airport. If the airport is a distance away from the city, you’ll have to get a bus transfer. For example Ryanair flies into Venice Treviso, not Marco Polo, and Rome Ciampino, not Rome Fiumicino.
Get the set menu– If you’re trying to save money, you’ll find many restaurants serve lunchtime set menus at a good price, so fill up at lunch and have a lighter dinner!
Stand up or sit down– In Italy you might be charged more to drink your coffee sitting down as opposed to standing up. When I was at the Pitti Palace in Florence I was told it would cost me €10 for two coffees if my friend and I wanted to sit down, but if we drank them standing up, it was €3.60!