Pizza; pasta; cobblestone streets; rolling hillsides; Romanesque architecture; gothic cathedrals; Italian wine; Renaissance art; turquoise blue waters; sunny piazzas: if you have Italy on your mind, these images are surely playing on a loop, making you want to be anywhere in beautiful Italia. Italy is a number one destination due its many wonders both big and small, from ancient landmarks to the perfect fresh bite of mozzarella and tomato on pizza.
The hardest part about planning a trip to Italy is knowing where to begin; the country is filled with interesting pockets at every turn that you don’t want to miss. If you’re wondering where to start when planning a trip to this extraordinary country, look no further than this guide! While there is tons to see and do, there is also lots to keep in mind when arranging your travels, so we’ll walk you through it!
Know When You Want to Go
The first step is checking your schedule and determining when you’ll be able to go. The time that you visit will affect a few different factors, such as the weather, the busyness of tourist locations, the availability of attractions and activities, and the general cost range of your trip. Know that the months of June-August are prime tourist times when major cities will be busiest and prices will be at their highest. These are also Italy’s hottest months.
Off-seasons September-November and March-May are less busy but still generally warm, while December to February is Italy’s winter and a time when some attractions and destinations may be unavailable. Each season comes with its own unique excitements, such as the Christmas festivities in November and December, and many spring festivals in April and May. Determine when you’re able/wanting to go as your first step.
Research What Region or City You Want to Visit
Perhaps the hardest part of planning your trip will be narrowing in on the areas you visit. Once you land in Italy, you’ll understand just how many lifetimes you would have to devote to exploring the country to really feel as though you’ve experienced everything it has to offer. The good news is that you can’t go wrong with any itinerary—you just have to choose which cities you’ll visit this time around.
Rome is Italy’s capital and is packed with history, culture, famous landmarks, top-tier dining, and memorable places to stay. Other popular cities and regions in Italy include Florence, Naples, Venice, Milan, the Amalfi coast, Tuscany, and Sicily. One way to help you narrow in on a location is to ask yourself whether you’re wanting to experience big cities, off-the-beaten path small towns, coastal cities, or something in between.
Create a Budget
Another way to help you narrow in on a location is through considering your budget. While absolutely worth the expense, famous tourist destinations like Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence will cost more when it comes to accommodations, dining, and attractions. If you have a tight budget, consider Naples, Tuscany, Sicily, or southern Italy in general, as this part of the country tends to be more affordable than its northern counterparts.
Search for Cheap Flights
Once you know where you want to go and when you’ll take your vacation, spend time searching for affordable flights that arrive in an airport close to your destination. The further in advance you can book flights, the better deals you can find, especially when you don’t simply want the cheapest flight but also one that is direct and lands at a convenient time. For your peace of mind, plan to book between six and eight months in advance if you can, although flight prices are their lowest roughly 70 days before a trip.
Plan How You’ll Get Around
Before you land in Italy, you’ll want to have a plan of action for seeing all the sites. You can choose between renting a car (which is best if you’re exploring local regions like the countryside), taking the trains (the InterCity and Alta Velocita travel farther distances while the Regionale is best for close stops), or taking the bus (for city-wide travel). Because public transportation is affordable, consistent, and easy to book online, chances are that it will serve you well for your travels, but if you decide to rent a car instead, you’ll have the most freedom to see the country your way.
Reserve Luggage Storage
As you’re exploring Italy, ensure you aren’t dragging your suitcases along behind you. Just imagine the wheels of your luggage getting stuck in the cobblestone streets, or going out to eat at a nice restaurant and having all your bags with you! To feel less like a tourist living out of a suitcase, you can book luggage storage and leave your baggage at a safe, nearby location of your choice. Fortunately, you can choose from many different spots, from Pisa Centrale luggage storage to Rome to Cinque Terre.
With this guide, you’re ready for your Italian adventure! Wherever you go, be sure to soak it all in!