NOTE: COVID-19 has heavily impacted everything travel-related. Make sure to read my Guide to Coronavirus Travel if you plan to travel at this time.

The Ultimate Travel Guide To Italy

Everything you need to know about visiting Italy
The flag of Italy which is a top destination for travelers in Europe

What To Expect

Italy is a world-famous country known for its spectacular scenery, history, and cuisine.  It’s usually at the top of most people’s bucket lists thanks to destinations like Rome, Venice, and Florence, but while those 3 cities should definitely be a part of your Italy itinerary, there is a lot more to the country worth exploring!

Some other famous landmarks in Italy include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mount Vesuvius in Naples, the 5 seaside towns in Cinque Terre, the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, the Amalfi Coast, and the stunning Como & Garda lakes in Northern Italy, to name a few.

Italy is also home to two spectacular islands, Sardinia and Sicily, both of which have amazing beaches, sights, and culture that deserve being discovered and explored.  Every part of Italy has something to offer and the country is so full of phenomenal things to see that it’s impossible to list them all here.

It’s very easy to get around the country, thanks in part to its well-connected rail system and it’s very tourist-friendly.  Italy is one of those destinations with so many tourist attractions that you could spend a long time exploring it and still be left with things to see!

Italy
The Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa

Italy is part of the Schengen Area which has a single visa policy for all the countries that are in it.  Citizens of most developed countries can enter the Schengen Area visa-free for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.  If you are not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you must go to the nearest Italian embassy and apply for a Schengen Visa to be granted entry. 

There are no health risks in Italy requiring any specific travel vaccinations for normal travelers.  Make sure you are up to date on your standard vaccinations and consult a health professional for further advice.

Italy

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Key Information

Population: 60 Million
Capital City: Rome
Languages Spoken: Italian + other regional languages
Currency: Euro (EUR/€)
Railways: Trenitalia & Italo
Driving Side: Right

Largest Airports:
1. Rome (FCO) – Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino
2. Milan (MXP) – Malpensa
3. Bergamo (BGY) – Il Caravaggio Orio al Serio
4. Venice (VCE) – Marco Polo
5. Naples (NAP)

Best Time To Visit

Most of Italy benefits from a warm mediterranean climate.  The only exception is the northern part of the country located in the Alps where it can get chilly, but apart from that, you will experience very pleasant weather throughout the peninsula.

The best time to visit Italy is during its shoulder seasons (September – October & April – June) seasons when you aren’t surrounded by a million other tourists and the weather is not too hot, but not too cold either.  Your flights & accommodation will be cheaper and you won’t have to wait in long line-ups when visiting some of the main attractions.

If you have to travel during the high season, make sure to book your transportation and accommodation in advance as the summer is the busiest time of the year in Italy!

High Season: July – August
Low Season: November – March

Top 5 Destinations

The Coliseum which is a top attraction for travelers in Rome Italy
Rome
Italy
Venice
Florence which is a top destination for travelers in Italy
Florence
Italy
Naples
Italy
Cinque Terre

Currency Information

Euros which are used by travelers when traveling to Europe

The currency used in Italy is the Euro (EUR/€).  The notes come in denominations of 5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, & 100€.  

The Euro is further divided into 100 euro cents – “centesimi” in Italian – (c).  The coins come in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1€, & 2€. 

Use the currency converter below to determine the latest exchange rate.

Tipping Guide

Tipping is not customary in Italy, but if you receive exceptional service, then tipping would be appropriate.  In those cases, here are some guidelines to follow:

Hotel Bellhops: 1-2€ per bag
Hotel Housekeepers: 1-2€ per day
Restaurant Servers: check to see if there is a service charge on your bill and if not, then tip up to 10% of the total bill
Cafés & Baristas: round up to the nearest whole number
Bartenders: round up to the nearest whole number
Taxi/Uber Driver: up to 10% of the total fare
Tour Guide: up to 10% of the total tour price on single-day tours and up to 10€ per day on multi-day tours

Note: any tips should be left in cash and given directly to the person you want it to go to.

Power Outlet Information

A drawing of the Type C power outlet which is used in many countries around the world
Type C
A drawing of the Type F power outlet which is used in many countries around the world
Type F
The type L power outlet which is in use by a small amount of countries
Type L

Italy uses 3 different outlet types.  Like many countries in Europe, they use the Type C & Type F outlets.  However, they are also one of the few countries to use the Type L outlet too.

Luckily, Type C plugs can fit in both Type F and Type L power outlets as long as they are compatible.  Make sure your Type C adapter is oval-shaped and you won’t need to fuss with any other travel adapter for Italy.

Get your compatible Type C adapter here.

The voltage used in Italy is 230V.  Learn more about how this may affect your electronic devices in my Guide to the Top Travel Accessories.

Bellagio in Como Lake which is a top destination for travelers in Italy
Bellagio in Como Lake

Cellphone Information

Italy has good overall 4G LTE coverage, but it can be spotty in rural areas.  Make sure your phone is GSM-compatible with at least one of the primary 3G frequencies and 4G LTE bands used in the country to ensure you will always have connection. 

Learn more about this in my Guide to Travel-Ready Phones.

Information about local prepaid SIM cards in Italy

Calling Code: +39
Emergency Number: 112 (Police, Ambulance, & Fire)
3G Frequencies Used: 2100 (primary) + 900
4G LTE Bands Used: 3, 7, & 20 (primary) + 1, 32, & 38


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