Italy in detail

Planning Tips


  • Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • Trenitalia ( Italian railways website.
  • Agriturismi ( Guide to farm accommodation.
  • ENIT ( Official Italian-government tourism website.
  • The Local ( English-language news from Italy, including travel-related stories.

Top Tips

  • Visit in spring and autumn – good weather and thinner crowds.
  • Always carry some cash. Some restaurants and hotels only accept cash, while unattended petrol (gas) stations don't always accept foreign credit cards.
  • If you're driving, head off the main roads: some of Italy's most stunning scenery is best on secondary or tertiary roads.
  • Don't rely solely on a GPS, which can occasionally lead you too far off the beaten track; cross-check your route on a printed road map.
  • Speak at least a few Italian words. A little can go a long way.
  • Queue-jumping is common in Italy: be polite but assertive.
  • Avoid restaurants with touts and the mediocre menu turistico (tourist menu).

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Check airline baggage restrictions
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Make bookings (for popular museums, entertainment and accommodation)
  • Inform your credit- or debit-card company of your travels
  • Check you can use your mobile (cell) phone
  • Check requirements for hiring a car

What to Take

  • Good walking shoes for those cobblestones
  • Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Electrical adapter and phone charger
  • A detailed driving map for Italy's rural back roads
  • A smart outfit and shoes
  • Patience: for coping with inefficiency
  • Phrasebook: for ordering and charming

What to Wear

Appearances matter in Italy. Milan, Italy's fashion capital, is rigidly chic. Rome and Florence are marginally less formal, but with big fashion houses in town, sloppy attire just won't do. In the cities, suitable wear for men is generally trousers (including stylish jeans) and shirts or polo shirts, and for women skirts, trousers or dresses. Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are fine in summer and at the beach, but long sleeves are required for dining out. For evening wear, smart casual is the norm. A light sweater or waterproof jacket is useful in spring and autumn, and sturdy, comfortable shoes are good when visiting archaeological sites.