Italy — travel information

Meet Italy

Italy is a relatively small country, spanning only 1,300 kilometres (808 miles). However, you’ll find a very diverse scenery here — mountains, hills and plain fields. The coast line is an impressive 7,500 kilometres (4,660 miles) long and surrounded by two seas — the Tyrrhenian Sea in the West and the Adriatic Sea in the East. There are also tens of islands scattered all around the coast, the biggest and most important ones being Sardinia and Sicily.

The Italian landscape is very diverse and out of the ordinary. You’ll find active volcanos like Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli and even the climate changes from region to region: It’s alpine in the North, moderate around the plain grounds around the river Po and mediteranean around the peninsula and islands. Still, Italy seems to be divided. The South is a bit poorer than the rest of the peninsula, which has been a problem for quite some time. Some in the North even wish to be independent. Italy still seems to prosper, getting over these issues mainly by being a popular tourist destination.

The first visit in Italy

No matter the region you visit or season you choose, Italy is a great destination all year round. In summer, we don’t necessarily recommend going to the south of the country, because it’s very hot and the popular tourist spots are overcrowded. Another problem is the siesta in the afternoon, a sort of break for Italians. Many shops and restaurants close for a few hours and open only later in the evening.

In winter, there aren’t many tourists in the big cities. Therefore, you have the opportunity to visit a lot of otherwise unreachable places. Discover the region around you by train or pick the Flixbus, which has a good network in Italy.

Food, drinks and people

Is there anyone who doesn’t know the Italian cuisine by heart? Well, many of us could live happily until our lives end by eating Italian meals all day.

  • ▸ The main ingredients used are fish, seafood, meat, vegetables and fruit — all are healthy and always fresh.
  • ▸ The biggest star, however, is the pasta, which you’ll find in a variety of dishes. The pizza, on the other hand, is unique and not like you’ve eaten at home.
  • ▸ The favourite Italian dessert, the ice-cream, is available at every street corner.

Of course, you’ll be able to taste local influences in every dish. The further you go south in Italy, the simpler the dishes seem to get.

Don’t forget to try local food like truffles in Piemont and Umbria, ham and parmesan cheese in Parma, mozzarella in Campania or the famous pesto alla Genovese in Liguria. A few other famous things to try: the magnificent olive oil and superb coffee. Generally, we recommend choosing small, hidden restaurants where you don’t hear any tourists speaking English. These places usually have the best food.

Italians like to drink as much as they like to eat. Choose a glass of whine or prosecco from the region you’re currently in. In Umbria, for example, we recommend the red whine Sagrantino, made from grapes you won’t find anywhere else in Europe. The red whines from Toscana, Brunello or Vino Nobile are also great choices. For prosecco, we recommend the Veneto region; the dessert whine Marsala is especially tasty if it’s from Sicily. Finish a good meal with a good liquor, for example, grappa, limoncello, Cinzano, Campari or Sambuca.

People in Italy are usually very cheerful and open to foreigners. They like to socialise while having a good meal or a great cup of espresso. Don’t be alarmed if they one-shot the espresso without taking a few sips — this is totally normal. There are a few language barriers in Italy because not all of them speak English. Still, most of them try to understand and help you. As mentioned, the siesta plays an important part in the life of the Italians, and so do the many festivals.

Culture and art in Italy

Italy’s biggest wealth is without a question its artistical and cultural inheritance.

For thousands of years, paintings, sculptures and other famous pieces from renowned artists have been accumulated around this country, influencing people all around the world. Besides all of those art pieces, you’ll find a few UNESCO heritages across Italy.

If you stay in one of the bigger cities in Italy, visit the philharmonic orchestra, opera or theatre; also visit a concert or festival. Spend as much time as possible outside, explore the local or regional culture and ask your host if he can recommend special places locals like to visit.

Articles about Italy

We’ve visited a few cities in Italy and wrote about our adventures in this lovely country. Below, you can read our stories.

Bologna day trip

Bologna day trip: What to see and do in 8 hours

A Bologna day trip is the perfect reason to come to this beautiful urban part of Italy. The city with its kilometres long hallways, surrounded by astonishing buildings, will always remain in our hearts.

Holiday resort Viserbella

Viserbella: A peaceful holiday at the Adriatic Sea

We spent a few peaceful days in the beautiful Italian holiday resort Viserbella. One evening, we even went to Cesenatico and a few times to Rimini.

3 summer days city Rimini

3 beautiful summer days in the city Rimini

Rimini is a quiet town with many bikes and bicycles perfectly aligned in parking lots, tasty food, kind people and a relaxing atmosphere.

Exploring the city Jesi and Marche region

Exploring the city Jesi and Marche region

The city Jesi is situated in a beautiful region with a scenery, that could be a post card. Here, we met simple, but honest and thoughtful people; we saw many places, no matter how hot it was outside.

Resources for reservations in Italy

Italy is a great country to discover, but you still need a nice place to stay. We gathered useful resources for your vacation in Italy.

Credit for Airbnb in Italy

Are you interested in meeting local people and not spending too much money in Italy? Airbnb is the perfect way to meet other people and spend the night without spending too much. If you book your room or apartment using this link*, you’ll get credit for your first stay in Italy.

Alina & Deian recommend

Try local food and eat as much ice-cream as possible. Explore the rural area around the city you’ve chosen.
Despre Alina
Alina
Follow the usually loud chatter in Italian and spend your time where the locals go — you won’t regret it.
Despre Deian
Deian

Questions and answers about Italy

What to wear in Italy on vacation?

It’s usually pretty warm in Italy from spring through autumn. Even the winter can be warm enough to wear a shirt and short knickers (pants) in the south of the country. If you travel during the high season in summer, there isn’t any need for long clothes. Bring skirts, t-shirts and other clothes made from breathable fabrics.

What is the best time to vacation in Italy?

Italians go on holiday in August, so we recommend to not go during this time because it will be very crowded. If you want to visit Italy in summer, go in July; the temperatures will be high and the sea very warm. Even in September, the sea is still warm enough to take a bath and most Italians are already home or at work.

What are the best vacation spots in Italy?

That depends on what kind of holiday you like. If you have a family and kids, we recommend going to Rimini, especially the summer resort Viserbella. A lot of families come here every year during summer because the sea is surrounded by cliffs and makes swimming quite safe.

What does a vacation to Italy cost?

Depending on where you come from, where you stay and how many people you are, a holiday can cost several hundred or thousands of Euros. Flights from all over Europe are usually pretty cheap if you book with a low-cost carrier, especially during off-season. If you want to visit in summer, book in advance and try to watch out for special promotions.

Why go to Italy for vacation?

Italy has a lot to offer, starting with good old holidays at the sea for the whole family to city breaks. There are a lot of different types of holidays you can experience in Italy.

How safe is it to vacation in Italy?

Italy is usually a safe place to travel to, except when there are natural disasters occurring. In summer, wild fires often spread in a few areas. A good place to find information regarding those, is the Civil Protection Department. In the past, there have also been a few earthquakes in central Italy.