by Mark Albert
Top Travel Tips in Two Minutes
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Love it? Live it!
Rome landmarks, including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, and the Pantheon.
Historic monuments, plazas, and fountains, including the Spanish Steps
Rome Metro (subway)
Luxurious shopping along Via Condotti and lively evening atmosphere in the Campo de Fiori market area.
In Rome, Mark and a friend stayed at the Quirinale Hotel. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) link to support our journalism.
While in Rome, drink in the spectacular view from Hotel Eden’s Bar La Terrazzo
What to see in this UNESCO World Heritage site, including St. Mark’s Square, the neighboring Basilica, and the famous Clock Tower.
In Venice, Mark and a friend stayed at the Duodo Palace. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) link to support our journalism.
Santa Croce Firenze. You’ll be surprised to learn who’s buried there.
Don’t miss the chance to have a meal at La Sostanza —where the locals eat. It’s small, narrow, and can be hard to find on Via Porcellana 25R, 50123. Enjoy the melting pot of food, culture, and language at it’s communal dining tables. A small, narrow joint where you sit at communal-like tables. (tip courtesy Jeff Kiernan)
In Florence, Mark and a friend stayed at the Balestri Hotel, right near the banks of the Arno River.
All major transportation services are available in Italy’s major cities, including international airports, trains, subway in Rome, trams, buses, rental cars, tour groups, cruise ships, and drivers for hire.
Venice is served by Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
Driving on Italy’s highways can be like driving the final lap at the Daytona 500: a death-defying experience. Pro tip: either speed up far past any reasonable speed limit or just get out of the way. During Mark’s nearly week-long drive through Italy, drivers would frequently race up behind his vehicle with no apparent intention of slowing down, forcing constant, white-knuckled evasive maneuvers. While driving through Italy’s rolling hillsides and world-renowned wine country can be an amazing experience, driving defensively is the lesson of the day.
Also to note while driving in Italy: streets or highways may be extremely narrow. In such circumstances and especially when approaching incoming traffic in a confined space, always retract the vehicle’s side mirrors—even while parked. Needless to say, robust rental insurance is one item you’re strongly encouraged to pack while in Italy.
Finally, when driving, take great care not to drive into one of the ubiquitous pedestrian plazas found in any Italian town. This seems obvious, but narrow streets and blind corners suggest otherwise. Police may fine or arrests drivers who do this.
Italy’s currency is the Euro.
The police emergency number in Italy is 113 (like dialing 911 in the United States).
Rather than pay for every attraction you visit, consider Italy’s Tourist Cards, which offer discounts on cultural events, museums, transportation and more. There are distinct Tourist Cards per region, so be sure you’re buying the right one. For example, the Tourist Card (Firenze Card) in Florence boasts that for €72, it gives you 72 hours of access to 72 “museums, villas and historic gardens located in Florence and in the surrounding area.”
When taking a taxi, ask for the estimated cost in advance. When riding with baggage, typically the first bag is free and you should not be charged extra.
Bars and restaurants tend to be tolerant when tourists ask to use their restrooms, although they may ask for token payment, just like in bus and train stations.
More free or low-cost options in Rome
For more in-depth—and often candid—travel advice when visiting Italy, consider LONELY PLANET’S ITALY guide on Amazon.com. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) link to support our journalism.
What did you do on your visit to Italy?
Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comment section below!
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