Italy

COUNTRY OVERVIEW AND TRAVEL GUIDE

Sixty million people live in the boot-shaped country that juts into the Mediterranean Sea.  There are more UNESCO Sites in Italy than anywhere in the world, and the capital city is over 2000 years old.  Read on to find out more about beautiful Italy! 

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Welcome to Italy!

'BEL PAESE' - THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

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THIS INFORMATION WAS CURRENT AS OF AUGUST, 2021.   REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO SOME COUNTRIES CAN CHANGE QUICKLY. PLEASE ENSURE TO VERIFY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR YOUR NEXT DESTINATION.

With some of the world's most incredible architecture, food, art, and landscapes, it makes sense that Italy tops so many traveller's bucket lists.  From cliffside retreats on the Amalfi Coast to the important historical ruins of Rome and the picturesque canals of Venice, Italy has something for everyone. 

 

In Florence, why not visit the stunning Duomo, shop for quality, well-priced leather goods, and wander through the shops lining Ponte Vecchio bridge.  On to Venice which is a wonderfully romantic destination, even for the solo traveller.  There's something about the atmosphere and light basking the city in an ethereal glow as the sun sets over the canals.  Finally, Rome, Italy's 2,000-year-old 'eternal city'; its historical significance, architecture, charm, cuisine and more entice approximately 10,000 people a day to visit.  

This guide covers only the places I have personally travelled to, Rome, Vatican City, Venice, and Florence. Hopefully, a return trip will allow me to experience more of this remarkable country, from Sicily to the Amalfi Coast and Milan there are so many fascinating destinations to explore in this unforgettable country!

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CITIES IN THIS GUIDE

1.   VENICE

2.   FLORENCE

3.   ROME

4.   VATICAN CITY

CAPITAL CITY: Rome

CURRENCY: Euro

VOLTAGE: 230 V

LANGUAGE: Italian

TIME ZONE: CEST - Central European Summer

TELEPHONE CODE: +39

COUNTRY EMERGENCY CODES:  115 (Fire), 118 (Medical), 113 (Police)

Practical Information

GENERAL INFORMATION

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Weather & When to Go The best time of year to visit Italy is during the spring and fall.  During the months of May, June, and September to October, the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds to contend with.  Prices are lower at the beach and mountain resorts, but If you want to visit the major cities at this time prices will be at their highest.  

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What to Pack Make sure to pack both casual and dressier options when touring Italy.  A great option to have on hand is a sarong or wrap that can double as something to keep you warm and cover your shoulders when entering churches.  If you're visiting in the spring and fall make sure to pack items that you can layer.  A lightweight jacket or sweater is a great option to take with you in the morning and evenings when the weather can be slightly cooler.  You can find a more comprehensive packing list here.

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Travel Insurance There will be no other item you take with you on any trip that will be more important than travel insurance.  Life happens, my friends; things go wrong.  Even the best-planned trip is not without its potential mishaps, and a great place to start is your own credit card.  I purchased insurance for years before finding out that my credit card offered incredible protection for up to 15 days of International travel at no extra cost to me.  You can also look at insurance through your bank or a company such as World Nomads, which has very reasonable prices for their coverage.  

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Safety  Italy is a very safe destination for solo female travellers and families.  Whether you're visiting small villages in the countryside or exploring larger cities it is safe to walk around.  As with any European destination you need to be vigilant in busier areas and keep your belongings close especially at train stations and around tourist hot spots.  To keep yourself from becoming a victim of pickpockets keep your bags zipped shut and close to your body, especially in crowded areas.  Use RFID protectors for your credit and debit cards, and do not wear backpacks that are easily unzipped from behind.    

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Transportation Italy has a number of options for transportation from one side of the country to the other.  The trains are especially efficient and include high-speed options, regional and intercity.  For a quicker mode of transport, there are approximately 70 airports across the country.  You may also choose car rental, ferry, or buses.  When travelling within the cities in Italy, your transportation options include metro (in most major cities), tram, bus, walking, cycling, car rental (not recommended for inexperienced drivers in larger cities), taxi and Uber (in Milan and Rome).  At the time of writing, there are ongoing disputes about Uber in Italy so you may or may not see more cities welcome it in the future.  

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Vaccines Some people are resistant to the idea of vaccines and medications, and that's understandable.  It's best to look into them with your doctor before travelling to see your potential exposure and make your own decision.  The suggested vaccines for adults travelling to Italy are Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.  The Hepatitis A vaccine's effectiveness will typically last for 25 years in adults, while Hepatitis B can last a lifetime when done in the proper succession.  In addition, to Hepatitis A and B, it is also suggested to have these common vaccines up to date, Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Flu, Measles - Mumps - Rubella and Polio.  During COVID, requirements about mandatory vaccination can change quickly, so be sure to check before you depart for your trip. 

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National Holidays If you're planning on visiting Italy during the holidays listed below, it may result in closures of museums, attractions and possibly some restaurants.  If there is a site you would like to visit, it's best to check the website ahead of time to ensure it's open.  Italy's public holidays in 2022 are: 

1.   New Years Day - January 1st

2.   Epiphany - January 6th

3.   Easter Sunday - April 17th

4.   Easter Monday - April 18th

5.   Liberation Day - April 25th

6.   International Workers' Day - May 1st

7.   Republic Day - June 2nd

7.   Assumption Day - August 15th

8.   All Saints' Day - November 1st

9.   Immacul. Conception - December 8th

10. Christmas - December 25th

11. St. Stephen's Day - December 26th

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Entry Requirements The entry requirements for a country can change quickly and for numerous reasons so be sure to check before you depart.  Currently, if you reside in Canada, your passport is required to enter, and it must be valid for 3 months beyond the date you will be travelling.  If you're staying longer than 90 days, you will also need a visa.  In addition, COVID restrictions can change rapidly; be sure to check the requirements when planning to visit Italy.  

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Budgeting  for Italy

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? - Italy is expensive.  A trip to this beautiful country will cost the average traveller about €132 a day.  This section will outline what to expect in terms of cost for hotels, transportation, attractions, & food.  Use the budget planner in this section to see if Italy is a feasible destination for your next adventure. 

ITALY IS AN EXPENSIVE

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TRAVEL DESTINATION

BUDGET TRAVEL

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN ITALY - In 2020, the average cost of a stay at a budget hotel or hostel is in the price range of €27 to €53.  

OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR BUDGET TRAVEL TO ITALY - The average cost per person, per day for accommodation, transit, attractions and meals would be around €52.  You will have to omit some of the pricier admission fees to stay within this budget or splurge on one or two days to see the attractions on your wish list.

MID- PRICE RANGE TRAVEL

MID RANGE ACCOMMODATION IN ITALY - In 2020, the cost of mid-range accommodation is approximately €67 - €134 per night.   

OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR MID-PRICE RANGE TRAVEL TO ITLAY- The average cost per person per day for accommodation, transit, attractions, and meals would be around €132.  This would allow for entrance to most attractions and a combination of meals in restaurants, fast food and street vendors. 

LUXURY TRAVEL

LUXURY ACCOMMODATION IN ITALY - Accommodation in the luxury price range will land you a hotel in a great location in the centre of the major cities.  In 2020, the cost of luxury accommodation is approximately €166 - €333 or more per night.

OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR LUXURY TRAVEL TO ITALY - The average cost per person per day for accommodation, transportation, attractions, and meals would be around €334.  This would allow for entrance to all attractions and sit-down meals in restaurants or cafes.

Resources for Booking

These are the sites I rely on most often for booking hotels and checking reviews.   Booking.com is my go-to site, where I have booked over 70 hotel stays.  Airbnb is also a great option when booking homestays, and Trip Advisor will help verify reviews for any hotel bookings, attractions and tours.   

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COST OF MEALS

The average cost of food per person per day can range from €14 to €88 or more.  Eating on a budget in Italy can be done by visiting street carts, delis and sandwich shops.  If you are eating at restaurants, it's advisable to stay away from tourist areas where the charges are higher, not to mention the food is not as appetizing as it will be at restaurants where the locals dine.

COST OF ATTRACTIONS 

The average cost per day for attractions in Italy is €22 but there are many free things to do also.  For example, in Rome, you can admire the fountains, visit major squares, see the Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica and wander the streets in awe of the historic architecture.  In Venice, you can visit St. Mark's Square, stroll the bridges and canals, and happily get lost in the historic side streets.

COST OF TRANSPORTATION 

The average cost of transportation in Italy is approximately €8 to €55 or more per day.  These costs are for travel within the city.  On the lower end, you will be using buses, trams and/or metro while those with a higher budget for transportation can take advantage of taxis or hired cars.  These prices do not reflect travel between cities by rail, bus or flight.  Those prices are highly variable depending on the mode and class of transportation you choose.  

Budget Planner This free budget template will help you plan everything from hotel and airfare to transportation, attractions and more! If you would like more free planning templates, click here!  

THE ARCH OF SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS

Things to See & Do

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TOP VENICE ATTRACTIONS 

1.  DOGE'S PALACE - Doge's Palace is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.  It includes council chambers, beautifully adorned residential apartments, and austere prison cells.  Within the palace, visitors will find works by artists such as Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, A.Vittoria, and Tiepolo.  Along the facades of the Palace run loggias that overlook St. Mark’s Square and the lagoon. 

2.  THE GRAND CANAL -  The Grand Canal is the largest in Venice, and it's lined with beautiful Renaissance Palaces.  Spend some time strolling along the bridges or find a place to eat and watch the gondolas and vaporetti (water bus) cut through the water.    

3.  BASILICA DI SAN MARCO  The best advice for visiting Basilica Di San Marco is to ensure you are inside when the lights come on; at the time of writing in August 2021, it was between 11:30am - 12:30pm.  The mosaics cover 8,000 square meters on the interior walls and ceilings, which is spectacular in itself, but when illuminated, the whole interior is bathed in shimmering gold.  It's spectacular!

4.  PIAZZA SAN MARCO - Piazza San Marco is considered the heart of Venice.  It is quite large, with a total area of 590 feet long by 230 feet wide.  Inside the piazza, you will find St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Museo Correr, the Campanile (the Basilica’s bell tower), and the Torre dell’ Orologio.

5.  CAMPANILE DE SAN MARCO - From the top of St. Mark's campanile, visitors can enjoy beautiful views over the city, the lagoon, and if it's clear enough, you can also get a glimpse of the Alps. Galileo demonstrated his telescope to Doge Leonardo Dona from this viewpoint.  

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6. RIALTO BRIDGE - This large bridge over the Grand Canal is lined with shops and is a busy place for tourists, so it's a good idea to head there in the morning.  Besides shopping, this is a great spot to get some photos of the colourful masks of Venice.

7.  BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE - A beautiful Baroque church of monumental proportions with an immense dome.  It was built to commemorate the end of the 1630 plague and is the work of Baldassare Longhena. 

8. BRIDGE OF SIGHS - The Bridge of Sighs is so-named because it was thought that prisoners' would take their last breaths in the free world when crossing it; once in Dogi, on the other side, there was little hope of ever being released.  This notion is challenged, though, because low-level prisoners were kept here.  The best place to view and photograph the Bridge of Sighs is from the Ponte della Paglia and Canonica Bridges. 

9.  MURANO - When visiting the Isle of Murano, you can tour glass factories and witness glass blowing demonstrations.  This isle is a great place to shop for jewelry and Murano glass pieces.  You may also like to stroll along the waterways to photograph the pretty streets and picturesque canals.   TIP:  Some places may not be selling genuine Murano glass.  A genuine glass piece will reveal which factory it came from and provide a certificate of authenticity.  Also, if it's marked as 50% off, it's probably fake.

10. BURANO - Burano is the most colourful of the Lagoon Islands, and a tour to see the sights will take an hour or so. The street from the ferry stop takes visitors to the main thoroughfare via Baldassare Galuppi. Once here, you will find an avenue lined with lace and linen stalls as well as open-air trattorias serving fresh fish.    

PIAZZA SAN MARCO, VENICE

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TOP FLORENCE ATTRACTIONS

1.  GALLERY DEGLI UFFIZI -  The Galleria Degli Uffizi holds the world's most important Renaissance art collection, but it's also Italy's most crowded museum.  The Uffizi has thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and many antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries. Artists whose works you'll see include Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.  TIP: Buy your ticket online and reserve an entry time to avoid lengthy queues.   

 

2.  PIAZZA MICHELANGELO  -  Visit Piazza Michelangelo for a great end to the day.  The sunsets are beautiful from here and will give you a great view of the city.

 

3.  GALLERIA DELL' ACADEMIA   Galleria dell' Academia is Europe's first school of drawing.  This museum is famous for its several sculptures by Michelangelo, most notably his sculpture of David.  There's a guided tour that lasts about an hour, and you are free to explore on your own after that if you choose.

4.  BASILICA OF SANTA CROCE - The Basilica of Santa Croce is the richest medieval church in Florence.  Inside, you will find a chapel by Brunelleschi, frescoes by Giotto, and one of the finest of all early Renaissance tombs.

5.  DUOMO - CATTEDRALE DI SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE -  One of Florence's most popular sites is its Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore). This Gothic masterpiece was constructed in 1296, consecrated in 1436, and holds 20,000 people.  A visit to the Duomo is one of the highlights of a trip to Florence.  It's a good idea to buy tickets online to avoid the queues.  

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6.  PITTI PALACE -  Plan on at least 3 - 4 hours for the palace and gardens.  There are many different museums to visit here, but the best ones are the PALATINE GALLERY which leads into the ROYAL APARTMENTS - The home of the Medici family and the King of Italy. It's an impressive collection featuring Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona, and other Italian and European masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

7.  PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA -  This is Florence's most famous square, and while it looks beautiful lit up at night, you may also want to return to see the statues in more detail during the day.  It's in the heart of the historic center and is a free open-air sculpture exhibit. The Loggia della Signoria holds some important statues, including a copy of Michelangelo's David.  Among other buildings around the piazza, you will find cafes and restaurants.

8.  MERCATO CENTRALE -  Stop by for lunch!  At Mercato Centrale, you will find an excellent selection of food stalls.  It's also a great place to get some photographs of the food you will find in Florence.  

9.  MUSEO DELL' OPERA DEL DUOMO -  Ghiberti's doors are located in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo.  They are dubbed the 'Gates of Paradise' by Michangelo.  The Museo dell' Opera has some of the tools that Brunelleschi used to work on the Duomo, as well as biblical carvings.

10.  PONTE VECCHIO -  Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345, was Florence's first bridge across the Arno River. Today, Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge that is still standing from Florence's medieval days.  Sadly, the other medieval bridges were destroyed in World War II.  Ponte Vecchio is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From here, you'll have a great view along the Arno River and beyond.

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TOP ROME AND VATICAN CITY ATTRACTIONS

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1.  PANTHEON -  The Pantheon is a remarkable building located near the Piazza Navona on the city's northeast side.  Built around 120 A.D., the Pantheon is the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. Standing inside and witnessing the massive dome that has stood 2,000 years after being pieced together brick by brick without modern-day building aides is nothing short of impressive.  The Pantheon should be a must-see on your Rome itinerary.  

2.  COLOSSEUM-  The colosseum is an incredibly well-preserved monument of ancient Rome.  More than 50,000 spectators were welcomed into this colossal marble structure.  Inside they were witnesses to not only gladiatorial sports between man and beast, but naval battles were also held here by filling the underground with water and floating ships inside.  

3.  ROMAN FORUM  The Forum, at the centre of Rome, was originally a marketplace that the citizens of the ancient city referred to as Forum Magnum.  It was the centre of daily life and was used for elections, trials, gladiatorial combat and public gatherings.  The plot is rectangular, and it consists of the ruins of several important ancient government buildings.  Plan for at least 2 - 3 hours or even half a day if you want to take your time and truly appreciate the sites. 

4.  PALATINE HILL - Palatine Hill was ancient Rome's religious, political, and commercial center.  On Palatine Hill, you will find the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Arch of Titus, and the House of the Vestals.  Once you enter Palatine Hill, you can take the walking path straight through to the Roman Forum and vice versa if you enter the Roman Forum first.    

5.  TREVI FOUNTAIN - Trevi Fountain dates back to ancient Roman times; it is one of the oldest water sources in Rome.  It was built at the end of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C.  The water from the aqueduct and fountain provided water to other fountains of central Rome and the Roman baths as well.  Expect it to be busy in this area; most times, you are jostling with other visitors to get close to the fountain unless you're there early in the morning.  

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6.  CASTEL SANT'ANGELO - Castle Sant'Angelo is divided into five levels.  Some important stops inside include the chamber of ashes and cells where several historical figures were imprisoned.  You will also see the Papal residence adorned with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period.  TIP:  Don't miss the views from the roof!  Visitors are treated to iconic views over the city. 

7.  ST. PETER'S BASILICA -  St. Peter's Basilica was created by many of Italy's great Renaissance architects, including Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante.  Inside you will find the basilica, treasury, grottoes, and the Dome.  TIP:  Make sure to find Michelangelo's Pieta. It's just to the right of the entrance doors to the basilica.

8.  VATICAN MUSEUMS - Next to the Louvre, the Vatican Museums are some of the most important museums in the world.  The complex is vast and has more than 8 kilometres of corridors; here, you will find masterpieces by the likes of Giotto, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.  And, of course, you cannot miss the Sistine Chapel.  TIP:  When walking down the famous spiral staircase, take a moment to look back up for a different perspective of Momo's double helix masterpiece.  

9.  CAPITOLINE MUSEUM - The Capitoline Museum is located at the top of Capitoline Hill; it contains many ancient sculptures from Rome, Greece, and Egypt.  Important to note, the colossal bust and foot of Constantine are located here.  TIP: It may be a good idea to buy a guidebook, so you know what you're viewing; the artifacts are not well marked.

10.  PIAZZA VENEZIA - This impressive square is located close to many tourist attractions such as the Roman Forum, Trajan's Market, and Palatine Hill; it is the true hub of Rome. The highlight of the square is the monument of King Vittorio Emmanuele II. 

DUOMO FACADE, FLORENCE

Italy Maps

In this section, you will find a collection of Google Maps of the must-see sights in Italy.  In addition, there are attraction site plans and other map-type literature collected during my time in Rome, Venice and Florence.  While I created the Google maps, I did not create the other attraction maps; they were provided at the site visited.  

ROME ATTRACTION MAPS  

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FLORENCE ATTRACTION MAPS  

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VENICE ATTRACTION MAPS  

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MURANO PROMENADE

Italy Itinerary

10 or 11 DAY ITINERARY FOR ITALY -  This Itinerary features stops in Rome, Florence, and Venice.  There are many museums and attractions that require more than just a brief stroll by which makes it difficult to do these main cities quickly.  It's possible to shave off one day in Florence so that you can complete it in 11 days.  This literary includes travel by train and also has links to Google Maps that show where the points of interest are located.  Hover over the boxes below to get started.  

DAY

4

A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.

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DAY 6 - EXPLORE FLORENCE

  • Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce

  • Visit Galleria degli Uffizi

  • Walk across Ponte Vecchio

  • Walk across Ponte Santa Trinita 

  • Visit Santa Trinita Church

  • See the impressive sculptures at Piazza della Signoria

  • End the day with Artisanal gelato at Bar Vivoli Gelateria

DAY 7 - EXPLORE FLORENCE

  • Visit the Duomo (Museum, Cathedral, Campanile) 

  • Haggle for a great leather bag at Loggia Mercato Nuovo

  • See the Arch of Piazza della Repubblica 

  • Visit the Medici Chapel

  • See the Basilica of San Lorenzo

DAY 8 -  OPTIONAL IN FLORENCE 

  • Visit Museo Galileo

  • See Santa Maria Novella Church

  • Stop for lunch and fabulous food photos at Mercato Centrale

  • Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Day 8 or 9 (If you spent 4 days in Florence) - EXPLORE VENICE

See this Google Map for these VENICE Points of Interest

  • Take the train from Florence to Venice in the AM (2hours 20min)

  • Walk along Mercerie and visit the wonderful shops

  • Visit Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo and climb the stairs for the view

  • Visit Piazza San Marco

  • See the Bridge of Sighs and Ponte della Paglia

  • Walk along the Reva degli Schiavoni promanade

DAY 9 or 10 - EXPLORE VENICE

  • Walk across Rialto Bridge

  • Relax at Riva del Vin

  • Watch the world go by on the Grand Canal 

  • Trendy boutique shopping at Calle Larga XXII Marzo 

  • Visit Santa Maria Delle Salute

  • Stroll along Fondamenta Gherardini, and its pretty canal

  • Visit St. Mary of the Friars church and its Renaissance Art

DAY 10 or 11 - EXPLORE VENICE

  • Visit Santi Giovanni e Paolo - Gothic church

  • Take a water taxi from the map location to the island of Murano

  • Spend the first half of the day wandering the isle of Murano

  • Take the water taxi to Burano and spend the afternoon here

  • Take the water taxi back to mainland Venice

Italy Itinerary
 
DAY 6 - 10 (or optional day 11)
Hover Over To See The Plan

A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.

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DAY 1 - EXPLORE ROME

See this Google map for these ROME points of interest

  • Enter Palatine Hill at Via di San Gregario 30

  • Visit the sights at Palatine Hill

  • Use the walking path to connect to the Roman Forum

  • Wander through Piazza del Campidoglio

  • Visit Capitoline Museums

  • See Trajan's Market and Trajan's Column

  • Stop at the impressive Piazza Venezia

  • See Area Sacra Dell Argentina

 

DAY 2 - EXPLORE VATICAN CITY

  • Walk across Pont Sant' Angelo

  • Walk down Via Della Conciliazione for views of St. Peters

  • Explore Vatican museums

  • Explore the Vatican Grottoes

  • Witness the Sistine Chapel

  • See St. Peter's Basilica

  • Visit Castel Sant'Angelo at sunset for rooftop views of Vatican City

 

DAY 3 - EXPLORE ROME

  • Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini - Multimedia experience

  • Visit Trevi Fountain

  • See the Spanish Steps

  • Wander through Piazza del Popolo

  • Visit Santa Maria del Popolo

  • Walk through the Porta del Popolo

  • Visit Galleria Borghese

DAY 4 - EXPLORE ROME

  • Visit the colourful market of Campo de' Fiori

  • See St. Maria Sopra Minerva

  • Stop at Bernini's Elephant Obelisk

  • Visit the Pantheon

  • Wander through Piazza Navona (cafes, fountains & architecture)

  • Visit Church of San Luigi dei Francesi

  • See the Column of Marcus Aurelius

  • Admire the Temple of Hadrian

  • Visit Sant'Ignazio di Loyola church and the plaza in front of it

  • Explore Galleria Doria Pamphilj 

DAY 5 - EXPLORE FLORENCE

See this Google Map for these FLORENCE Points of Interest

  • Take the train from Rome to Florence in the AM (1hour and 16min) 

  • Explore Galleria dell' Academia (Michelangelo's David is here)

  • Visit Pitti Palace (you will need at least 3-4 hours)

  • See the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo

Italy Itinerary
 
DAY 1 - 5
Hover Over To See The Plan

Planning Templates

Being prepared before your travels will help reduce the likelihood of misfortunes and undue stress during a vacation.  A great way to start planning and make yourself organized is by using printable lists and templates like those featured here. These PDF's will help with your travel budget, to-do lists and packing.   

Quickly Retrieve

Lost Luggage

Estimate and Plan Your Travel Expenses

Packing List

The Ultimate Printable 

Packing List

THE ROMAN FORUM 

Travel Tips

Photography Tips When exploring Rome, a great place to get a beautiful shot of St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican city is from the rooftop of Castel Sant'Angelo.  Try to time your visit so that you're touring the castle at sunset or golden hour.  There are several apps that give you the exact time of sunrise and sunset for cities around the world which are really useful.  Note: The large photo just below this section was taken from this viewpoint.   

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When travelling through Venice, be sure to include a trip to Murano and Burano.  They are very easy to get to via water taxi (8 minutes to Murano and about 40 to Burano).  The colourful buildings along the quaint canals are worth the visit and make for some wonderful photography. When heading to Florence, be sure to have your wide-angle lens with you.  The square around the Duomo is quite small, and fitting the Campanile, and Cathedral buildings in the shot proves difficult with standard lenses.  

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Solo Travel Tips  Italy is a wonderful place to travel solo!  In Rome, visit the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Colosseum and many other must-see attractions.  In Venice, you can stroll along the canals, shop in the boutique stores and even join a gondola ride with other travellers.  Finally, in Florence, explore the museums, Ponte Vecchio bridge, and eat gelato until your heart's content, even for breakfast; there's no one there to judge! :) 

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Driving Tips  Driving in Italy isn't too different from driving in North America.  You will be driving on the right, the motorways and most roads are well maintained, and the signage is similar (it's pictorial, so you are fine if you don't speak/read the language).  You will need an International Drivers Permit to drive here, and if you have never applied for one before, it's pretty easy.  In Canada, it is merely a matter of having a passport photo taken and either applying online or using a company such as CAA to provide you with the permit.  At the time of writing, it was $25 to obtain this licence through CAA.

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BudgetTips  Try to rent an Airbnb or apartment with a kitchen and get groceries from the local supermarkets, which are plentiful throughout the cities.  You can find wine, pasta and cheese at great prices.  Limit dining out to curb the spending; if you're a foodie, omit some of the attractions that are not must-sees to give you a larger budget for restaurants.  When dining out, don't go to places with a tourist menu; the food is often subpar, and the prices are more exorbitant than they would be at the restaurants where the locals eat.  

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Cuisine - Which Foods to try Yet another country whose food options seem to be endless, so here is a brief list of some can't miss items.  For appetizers, try an antipasto misto, which usually includes sliced, cured meats, local cheeses, olives, and bruschetta (toasted bread with olive oil and other toppings). Italy's carb category is a comfort-food lovers' dream; the items to indulge in include pizza, lasagna, pasta (look for a great carbonara), arancini (fried rice balls) and risotto.  If you're looking for a great meat dish, try ossobuco (bone-in veal shank) or bistecca Fiorentina (a thick-cut t-bone steak).  Finally, for dessert, try a tempting tiramisu, cannoli, or gelato.  Other food items to try include pesto and truffles.

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Souvenirs and KeepsakeYou'll most likely want a souvenir or keepsake to take home as a reminder of your time in wonderful Italy.  For yourself or the foodie in your life, consider bringing home a great bottle of wine, cured meats, olive and truffle oil, pasta, grappa, spreads, chocolate and cheese.  If you're looking for collectibles or home decor, check out the beautiful Venetian masks, lace from Burano, ceramics and pottery, or Murano glass.  Other items include leather goods (purses in Tuscany), perfume, designer clothing (especially if you're visiting Milan), leather sandals made for you onsite (Amalfi Coast and Tuscany).  You can also find religious items from Vatican City, such as bibles, rosaries and holy water that the pope has blessed.  These are just a small sample of the great souvenirs you can bring home with you to remember your time travelling through Italy.  

VIEW FROM CASTEL SANT'ANGELO

Create a Photo Book

No one wants a vacation to end, but when it does, it's always nice to have mementos of the amazing experiences you had during the trip.  Mixbook is the ultimate way to share those memories with loved ones as well as look back and reminisce years down the road.  

CLICK TO SEE MIXBOOK SAMPLE PAGES CREATED FROM PAST TRIPS

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Related Posts

Use these related posts to get even more in-depth information on visiting Italy.  You can also go to the bottom of the home page and type Italy into the search bar to see all relevant information.  Please be advised that this is a new site and quality content takes time.  Every week I will be posting new articles, photos, maps and pages.  I have so much information to share!  

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