Five Quick Facts About Travelling In Italy
- Italy is a safe country to travel in however do watch for pick pockets in major tourist destination particularly around transport hubs.
- Italy has a very good transport system with multiple options to get you around the country. Italy’s transport system is prone to strike action so keep an eye on the news and be prepared to adapt your plans. See Getting Around Tab for more information
- English is widely spoken across Italy making travel easy. As always it is polite to learn a few basic works of the language.
- Italy is not a particularly cheap country to travel in however by travelling off -season, staying in guest houses or similar and eating in local restaurants you can easily have a cost effective Italian holiday.
- Health in Italy is good so by exercising a normal hygiene regime, staying away from stray animals and eating well the risk to health while travelling in Italy is low (although always have travel insurance just in case).
Italy is a great place to travel to at any time of the year. Here is a guide to the different seasons and times of year.
High Season (July & August)
European summer and when most Europeans take their holidays means long lines at main attractions and busy roads. There are loads of festivals across Italy throughout the summer. Book ahead for accommodation as places get booked out early. The weather is usually warm to hot with mild nights.
Beaches are packed with holiday makers and the mountains are busy with hikers and campers.
Shoulder Season (April to June & September / October)
Spring and Autumn see milder weather and less crowds. Spring flowers are abundant in the fields and villages and in the later months the tress are in their full Autumn colours.
Hiking in the mountains is still popular.
Low Season (November to March)
A busy time for the ski resorts with the rest of the country being quieter with no queues or crowds. The weather is cold with both snow and rain, a great time to visit theatres and museums.
The currency in Italy is the Euro which is the currency of the 24 other EU member states plus Andorra, Kosovo, Monarco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican.
ATMs can be found throughout Italy. It is advisable to always carry a small amount of cash as no all eftpos machines accept foreign cards.
Italy Visa Policy
Italy is part of the Schengen Area Visa Policy.
Nationals / Citizens from Schengen States have right of movement and entry without a visa but will need a passport as proof of identity.
The policy applies to the Schengen Area which is 22 E.U member states and 4 non E.U states which are part of the EFTA – Iceland, Liechenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Romania are not part of the Schengen Area but have visa policies based on Schengen acquis.
Schengen Visa Policy Map
| ||Schengen Area|
| ||Other EU member states outside the Schengen Area but bound by the same visa policy and legally obliged to join the Area when they meet the criteria, and special territories of Schengen member states (freedom of movement in the Schengen Area)|
| ||Members of the EU single market with independent visa policies (freedom of movement in the Schengen Area)|
| ||Visa-free access to the Schengen states for short stays, usually 90 days in any 180-day period (|
| ||Visa required to enter the Schengen states, and to transit some Schengen states in some circumstance|
| || Visa required to transit any Schengen state|
| ||Travel documents not accepted|
Schengen Area Map
| ||Member state|
| ||Countries de facto participating|
| ||Members of the EU legally obliged to join the Schengen area, but not yet members|
Italy has a good internal transport system with many options to get around the country. Do note that transport strikes do affect the network from time to time which usually means less options and long delays.
Cheap flights can be found linking many of the major cities in Italy.
The most popular way of travelling around Italy is by train.
Most long-distance and many regional trains are operated by Trenitalia which operates an excellent website in multiple languages. There is also an app which you can download which stores your bookings.
Italy operates three different types of trains.
High Speed Trains.
These trains are called one of the following Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, or Eurostar Italia and link all the major Italian cities.
The high speed trains are fast (up to 300 kms per hour) stop at limited stations, are clean, efficient and generally run on time.
Reservation are required when travelling on fast trains. Tickets can be purchased on line or at the station.
These are the most expensive trains to travel on in Italy.
Inter City Trains
Inter City trains also link most Italian cities
Intercity trains (IC) are slower, stop at more stations and are less reliable that the fast trains however are considerably cheaper.
It is advisable to reserve seats on intercity trains particularly in high season.
Regional trains meander from town to town, are much slower than the other two train types stop at every station and often are delayed.
A good option if you are just going a short distance.
Eurocity trains links Italy with other European cities.
As with the fast trains reservations are a must and booking can be made on-line or at the station.
There are a few ways you can buy tickets for train travel in Italy.
NOTE: If you have a paper ticket you MUST validate it at one of the yellow validation machines BEFORE you get on the train, if you do not you may be fined.
- On-line. If you have purchased your ticket online you will receive have an e-ticket (PNR number) which can be stored on your smart device and shown to the conductor who will issue you a receipt. If you have a e-ticket you will not need to validate it at the station.
- At a vending machine at the train station. The machines are in multiple languages – touch the British flag icon for English.
- At a ticket booth at the train station.
Long Distance Bus Travel
While cheaper long distance buses are less popular than train. If you wish to travl long didtance by bus FlixBus is a good option.
- FliXBUS Connects many towns and cities in Italy, in addition to providing international services travelling to/from multiple countries.
Regional / Town Buses
Buses run between towns and villages and are quick and convenient. Simply head to the local bus station to find out times / routes and buy tickets.
What To Pack In Italy
What to pack for Italy is very dependent on when you will be travelling to the country and where you will be going. Summers are warm to hot but if travelling to the mountains a jacket or coat is advisable.
Winters are cold especially in the mountains so cold-weather gear will be needed.
It’s all about layering which allows you to add or loses clothing as needed
1 pair jeans – I know they are heavy and take ages to dry but I wear them constantly and find them comfortable
1 pair black travel type pants – Black pants are little smarter than jeans so good if going somewhere a little dressier. Mine is the lightweight fabric in the style of jean,
2 x pair of shorts. 1 denim and one lightweight travel fabric
2 x singlets – good for layering and sleeping in
4 x short sleeve cotton shirts, lightweight and breathable
1 x long sleeve sloppy joe.
1 x zip-up shell jacket
1 x lightweight raincoat – packable version that packs down into a small bag.
5 x socks
5 x underpants
2 x bras
1 x pair walking or hiking shoes.
1 x pair slip on flats
1 x pair flip flops (great for hostel showers)
Shampoo & Conditioner
Bar of Soap
Brush / Comb
1 x Earbud headphones.Light and small,
1 x IPad
1 x 6S iPhone
Charging leads for above
2 x USB
1 x power bank
1 x Cable organiser which keeps everything tidy
1 x 14” laptop – we run a business so this is essential for us.
1 x GoPro Hero 5
2 x Spare GoPro Batteries
1 x DSLR + 2 lenses
Spare micro SD Cards
1 x padlock
1 x headlight or torch
1 x Swiss knife
1 x medical kit