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See Italy like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Italy Travel FAQ 2020

ViaHero
Updated June 25, 2020

With some local help, we put together answers to all your pressing questions about travel to Italy. This FAQ includes information about transportation, safety, cities, prices, food, and more. 

For answers to all your Italy questions, work with a local to plan your trip! Learn more

Q: I’m in Italy and I want to see everything! What’s the best way to get around? 

A frequently asked question about Italy is how to get around—fortunately, the country provides a lot of transportation options
Milan train station | benfuenfundachtzip/Pixabay

A: Good news! Like most big European countries, Italy offers tons of great transportation options. Here we’ll cover transit within Italian cities as well as traveling throughout the country. 

Within Italian cities

Many, but not all, Italian cities have metro trains. You’ll definitely find metros in bigger cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples. Buses are another good, common, cheap option, but do be aware that bus stations can be hubs for pickpockets (as in most big cities). Download an app like CityMapper to make navigating the city a breeze. 

Otherwise, you have the ole reliable options: Uber and taxis. Yes, Uber does exists in Italy! It is pretty rare, but you can find it in big cities like Rome and Milan. If you choose to take a taxi, keep in mind that some visitors to Italy report getting scammed. To make sure you don’t have any problems, you can try an app like MyTaxi or have your hotel call cabs for you.

Between Italian cities

Traveling between cities in Italy is quite easy. You can, of course, rent a car, but Italy’s train system is extensive and simple to use. You’ll have a choice to use the national railway, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiano, or one of the privately run companies, such as Italo, which offers high-speed train travel. 

Local tip: Before you get on the train, be sure to validate your ticket. You’ll see plenty of validation stations at the train station. 

Q: Is Italy safe? 

A: In normal circumstances, yes—Italy is a safe place for travel. Here's what you need to know about traveling to Italy in the age of the coronavirus: 

June 17th: Italy has lifted its travel restrictions for select countries. Citizens from the EU, the UK, or from within the Schengen Zone can travel to Italy. They do not have to quarantine. 

However, Italy still has travel restrictions for citizens of countries outside of Europe. 

Q: When is the best time to visit Italy? 

A common Italy FAQ is about the best time to visit—Italy is wonderful to visit all year round
Cinque Terre | Kookay/Pixabay

A: In our opinion, there is no bad time to visit Italy—the country is amazing all year round! But here are some good things to know: 

  • Peak season: Peak season in Italy is in the summer, usually from late May to August. The weather is gorgeous, but you’ll find more crowds at Italy’s main attractions, as well as on the beaches.
  • Low season: Low season for travel to Italy is in the winter. Although it can be cold and rainy in some cities, it’s a great time for the budget-minded to book a trip. Plus, Italy has tons of museums and other great sights that make it easy to dodge raindrops. 

  • Shoulder season: In between peak and low season, shoulder season in Italy is in the late spring and early fall. With good weather and fewer crowds, this is a pretty excellent time to visit! 

Still—Italy is wonderful no matter the time of year. You’ll find all sorts of different festivals and holidays, and always plenty of things to do, eat, and see. Do keep in mind that certain activities are seasonal—if you want to tour wineries in Tuscany, remember that many are closed in the winter. 

Q: What’s the best city in Italy to stay in? 

A: Where to stay in Italy depends entirely on you—your budget, what activities you’re most interested in, and what kind of food you’re curious to try! Locals say that some of the top cities in Italy include:

  • Rome: For unparalleled history and amazing Italian cuisine classics like pasta carbonara, Rome is the ideal destination. Check out incredible ruins like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, and dip into one of the city’s many great restaurants for a meal you’ll never forget. 
  • Venice: With its classical architecture, winding canals, and calming sea breeze, Venice is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world. The seafood is incredible, as are the cultural sights—Saint Mark’s Basilica and Saint Mark’s Square are simply gorgeous. 

  • Naples: If you’re looking for pizza that will make you cry it’s so good, go to Naples. You’ll find tons of unique experiences in Naples, like driving down the Amalfi Coast, taking the ferry to Ischia, or checking out the doomed city of Pompeii

Q: You mean it’s worth visiting other places besides Rome?

People going to Italy frequently ask if they should visit other cities besides Rome. Definitely, yes!
Varenna on Lake Como | travelspot/Pixabay

A: Heck yes. There are so many amazing cities in Italy besides Rome (and other big, popular destinations). For example, Padua, near Venice, is an amazing place to visit in Italy if you want the romance of Venice without the crowds. 

Q: What if I want to travel on a budget? Is Italy pretty expensive? 

A: Here’s some good news for our budget travelers to Italy—Italy is generally less expensive than countries like the United States. Of course, you can find expensive meals and lodging (hello, Milan is one of the world’s most glamorous cities). But taking the train isn’t that expensive, and it’s easy to find cheap meals—a pizza in Italy is about 8–10, beer can be found for less than 5€, and you can often find espresso for only 1€.

Local tip: You don’t need to tip in Italy. If you had a good meal at a restaurant, you can leave 1€ per diner or anything under 10%. Although tipping 15%–20% is normal in the United States, this is considered rather exorbitant in Italy. 

Q: Good to know. Speaking of food… is Italian food all pasta and pizza?

People frequently ask if Italian food is just pasta and pizza. Nope, there are a lot of other things to try
Aranchini | nelson suarez/Flickr

A:  The pizza and pasta is out-of-this-world delicious, but Italy offers way more culinary choices. Locals in Italy can give personalized recommendations! In the meantime, they suggest

  • Aranchini: Popular in Sicily but found throughout Italy, arancini are deep-fried balls of deliciousness, stuffed with some combination of risotto, mozzarella, and peas. They’re one of our favorite Italian street foods, especially at the end of a late night. 

  • Burrata: If you love mozzarella cheese, you’ll simply adore burrata. It’s made by combining mozzarella and cream: the perfect way to start a delicious dinner. 

  • Anything with truffles: Although truffles can be expensive—over $100/ounce—they’re served as a garnish on pasta in some Italian restaurants. It’s a delicious and fairly affordable way to taste one of the world’s delicacies. 

Q: Italy has so many great cultural sites. What’s absolutely worth visiting? 

A: You’re right, Italy has so many great cultural sites—churches, ruins, art galleries, old palaces—so it can be hard to pick. 

If you love history, spend time exploring the Roman Forum. If you’re all about art, be sure to visit the Gallerie Degli Uffizi. If you dream about brightly colored, cliffside houses near the sea, be sure to visit places in Italy like the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. 

Q: Are there any tourist attractions I should avoid? 

People going to Italy frequently ask if they should avoid certain touristy spots. No way! They're worth the crowds
The Trevi Fountain | Court Prather/Unsplash

A: We’ll be honest—even if they can get crowded most of Italy’s big sights are amazing, especially if you love history, art, or gorgeous architecture (all of which you’ll find in abundance). 

But we’ll give this piece of advice—after seeing a popular sight like the Trevi Fountain or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, walk a few blocks for your espresso or end-of-day drink—you’ll find cafes that are less crowded, less touristy, and less expensive! 

Q: What are the big airports in Italy? 

A: Although Italy has over 130 airports, you only really need to know about the big, busy, international hubs: 

  • Leonardo da Vinci Airport/Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
  • Milan Malpensa International Airport (MXP)
  • Milan Lanate Airport (LIN)
  • Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
  • Bergamo Airport (BGY)
  • Sicily Catania Airport (CTA)

Where you fly into will depend on where you plan on visiting first. Once you arrive, many of the big airports (FCO, MXP) offer an easy train connection to the center of town. 

Q: Are there any Italian phrases I should know? 

A: It’s always helpful to know a few phrases when you travel. Locals suggest learning the basics, like:

Hello: Buongiorno (formal)/ Ciao (informal)

Goodbye: Arrivederci (formal)/ Ciao (informal)

Please: Per favore 

Thank you: Grazie

You’re welcome: Prego

Where is...: Dov‘è la/un...

How much is this?: Quanto è?

Q: Will I need a visa to travel to Italy? 

A: It depends. If you’re traveling from another country in Europe, no: Italy is part of the Schengen Zone. In the past, Americans traveling to Europe also did not need visas—however, starting in 2021 U.S. citizens will need to apply for a visa to travel to Europe

Q: Can I use my credit or debit card in Italy?

A: Sure! As long as your card has a chip. 

It’s always good to have some euros on hand, however. And be sure to tell your bank about your travels—otherwise, they may put a freeze on your account. You can withdraw euros from ATMs like you would in the US, but you may be charged an extra fee—and be aware that if your pin number is longer than 4 digits, European ATMs may not accept your card. 

Q: What about my electronics? 

A: Italy uses different outlets than the United States. Fortunately, it’s easy to order a converter from somewhere like Amazon before you go (you’ll probably find them at the airport, as well—they’re the standard European 2-round-pin ones).

Q: Easy! Anything else I should know?

Here are some more answers to common Italy Travel FAQs
Florence | Jonathan Körner/Unsplash

A: Here’s a couple of additional travel tips: 

  • You probably won’t find a Starbucks while in Italy (and that is ok. Italian coffee is out-of-this-world good).
  • Saying thank you (grazie) goes a long way with the locals 
  • You may have to pay to use public restrooms—this is the norm in Europe
  • Italy can be touristy—so, have a local share their favorite sights, restaurants, and customs! Find a local.

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