If you’re planning a trip to Italy, be prepared to fall in love, for this country is widely acknowledged as the most romantic country in the world. From ancient history and culture, world-renowned food and wines to beautiful lakes and pretty beaches, Italy works its charm on even the most discerning traveller.
With close to 50 UNESCO heritage sites, quaint and charming villages to explore, islands from Capri to Stromboli and pasta and pizza aplenty, you’ll need to plan your trip well and budget to fit in all you’d like to see and do. Italy’s currency is the Euro (EUR).
Dining out in Italy
With culinary roots stretching back to antiquity, Italian food is known for its simplicity – most meals are based on a few key ingredients and the emphasis is firmly on quality. Milan is famous for its risotto, Bologna for tortellini and Naples for spaghetti and pizza. The cuisine of southern Italy, particularly Sicily, has a strong Arab influence, while in the far north, it’s more about sustenance, with sausages, pork and cheese key flavours.
Specialities to try include Margherita da Napoli – the quintessential Naples pizza, with a pared-back topping of the finest tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Pasta con le sarde is a Sicilian dish made with pasta and fish, with a typical southern twist of raisins, breadcrumbs and pine nuts.
Lovers of pasta should try bigoli, the signature fresh pasta of the Veneto region. Bigoli noodles are thick and tube shaped and are traditionally handmade from duck eggs and buckwheat flour.
The classic pesto alla Genovese is a punchy pasta sauce made with handfuls of fresh basil, as well as garlic, sea salt, cheese, pine nuts and olive oil, or try ribollita, a tasty and hearty Tuscan soup packed full of cannellini beans and vegetables including celery, carrots and cavolo nero.
Finally, don’t miss gelato – probably the finest ice cream in the world thanks to its rich creaminess and silky texture.
A main meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you between £9-£18.
The price of drinks
A 500ml bottle of domestic beer will cost you between £2.70 and £4.50 in a restaurant.
A 750ml bottle of wine will cost between £3.60 and £7.15 from a local supermarket. Try a Muscat, an aromatic white with notes of grapes and apples. If you prefer reds, go for a classic Sangiovese wine from grapes grown in Tuscany, with trademark aromas of cherries, redcurrants and strawberries.
Fine Italian liqueurs to try include the almond-flavoured amaretto, and the herbal, bittersweet amaro.
Tap water is safe to drink in Italy.
Out and about
With rich history, beautiful landscapes and charming villages and romantic cities, you’ll have plenty to choose from on your visit to Italy. It’s worth hiring a car to explore this great country and experience its delights from top to bottom.
If architecture and history are your thing, make sure to take a visit to the Vatican museums, and be prepared to walk! With more than five miles of corridors, you’ll experience the history and accomplishments of mankind stretching back 2,000 years – expect to pay around £30. The Sistine Chapel is the most famous chapel in the world – a must-visit to view its incredible artwork.
And a visit to Italy wouldn’t be complete without possibly the country’s most famous landmark: the Colosseum. One of Rome’s best-preserved monuments that once held more than 50,000 spectators, guided tours start from around £27.
Tuscany is a beautiful city to visit and explore its finest sites on a day trip from Florence costing around £81. Take a trip to visit Florence and use the city’s hop-on-hop-off bus to see the sights from £21.
Venice is the romance capital of Italy and a one-day visit including a boat tour cruising the Grand Canal to explore this city costs from around £60.
How much spending money should I take to Italy?
You’ll need to budget around £70 per person per day or £490 per week for a trip to Italy, including all meals and excursions. Be sure to budget for more if you plan to eat in more upmarket restaurants. It’s worth considering all-inclusive options – try the Caesar Palace Hotel in Sicily from £495pp* for 7 nights.
Tipping in Italy
It’s considered a bonus to tip in Italy. Restaurants sometimes include a service charge on the bill (servizio incluso) so check first, but if it’s not included then tip 10-15% of the total bill. In bars, round up the bill to the nearest euro.
In taxis, tips are welcomed but not needed. Round up the bill to the nearest euro and this will be appreciated.
In hotels, depending on the cleanliness, tip the maid up to 1.50 euro per day.
*Prices correct at the time blog was published and are subject to availability. T&C’s apply.