Top Tips for First Time Visitors to Italy

Italy is one of those places that almost every traveler dreams about visiting. Italy has a lot to offer but what is it that makes Italy one of the world’s most appealing travel destinations?

Could it be the country’s romantic appeal; think gondola rides and candle lit dinners? Could it be the fact that Italy is home to Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world? Or, could the pull to visit Italy, simply be down to its delicious food? What is it the draws so many travellers to visit this boot-shaped country?

Italy is a popular travel destination for many reasons such as the warm climate, stunning architecture, and delicious food. While every traveller has a different reason to visit Italy, there is one thing that we all have in common; wanting to get the most out of this intriguing destination.

To help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in the land of pasta, pizza and Gelato, here are our top tips:

Visit outside of peak season
While Italy is beautiful all year round, aim to plan your trip outside of peak season. Not only will this make your trip much cheaper, it will also prevent you from dying of heat in the boiling summer sun.
If summer is the only time you can visit, aim to book your trip for the start or end of the summer season. Whatever you do, don’t book a trip to Italy for August, as that is the month local Italians go on vacation. Every restaurant, attraction, and resort will be fully booked, the streets and beaches will be crowded and the prices will increase.

Choose a destination with public transport links

Unless you are an expert driver, you don’t want to drive in Italy. Italian drivers tend to be mad – the further south you go, the crazier the driving gets. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t plan to drive in Italy. Instead, use public transport to get around. Just make sure to book accommodation that has public transport links close by.

Stay in a villa

Instead of staying in a hotel room, hire a villa. If you are part of a large travel group, hiring a villa will not only be cheaper, it will also give you little luxuries, like your own pool and sauna. Staying in a villa will also give you access to your own kitchen and BBQ area, ideal for cooking up some yummy Italian delicacies.
If you can, opt for a traditional style villa that has views over the city, ocean or landscape nearby. With stunning views, you can experience all the charm of Italy from the comfort of your accommodation.

Eat out a lot

One of the reasons Italy is such a popular travel destination is because of its fantastic cuisine. Some of the world’s best chefs are Italian, many of whom, have their own restaurants in Italy. Because of this, Italy is any foodie’s dream; the food is fantastic, there are many different delicacies to try and the chefs are always experimenting and trying new things.

A key tip for making the most out of a trip to Italy is to make sure that you eat out a lot. Try as many different restaurants as possible and don’t be afraid to try new things. Italian food is delicious and it’s very unlikely you will come across a dish that you don’t enjoy.

While you are there, make sure to try at least one pasta dish, one pizza dish, one risotto dish, and, of course, a big serving of traditional Gelato.

Do your research beforehand and get an idea of all the best restaurants to visit and delicacies to try. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for advice on the best restaurants to try. Italians are friendly people and will be more than happy to help.

Visit the markets

Packed full of stalls selling all manner of items, from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothing and accessories, Italy’s markets have it all. Many of these markets are so large that you spend hour after hour exploring them. Market day changes from place to place, so make sure to check what day the market at your destination is on.

If you plan on cooking for yourself while you are away, buy your groceries, bread, and meat from the markets instead of the supermarkets, as the market prices are much cheaper. Just make sure that any meat or fish that you buy has been kept cool and not left out in the sun; the last thing you want is food poisoning.

See as many attractions as possible

While it’s nice to spend some of your trip relaxing, don’t waste too much time and miss out on seeing some of Italy’s best sights – aim to fit as much into your trip as possible. Italy has so much to see and do that it will be impossible to fit everything into your trip, but if you are willing to travel around a little bit, there are a lot of things you can fit in.

If you have time, the cities you absolutely must visit are Venice, Milan, Rome, and Florence. All of these historic locations have fantastic sights and attractions and are full of unique and interesting things to see and do.

In Venice, take a gondola ride through the canals and visit Saint Mark’s Basilica. In Milan, visit some of the world’s most prestigious clothing stores and best Italian restaurants. In Florence, visit some of Italy’s most popular art museums. In Rome, wander among the ancient churches, fountains and museums, and take a trip to Vatican City.

Each of Italy’s cities has something unique to offer, so aim to visit as many as you can, so that you don’t miss out on any of the top sights.